Wednesday, 21 December 2011


From Dr. Bryan's daughter to the Nipigon Historical Museum.

Letter to District Manager
August 6th, 1905

Mr. C. E. Perry
District Engineer.

Dear Sir:

Enclosed find Medical Report of Caches and Camps of Party 4.

Wabinosh Cache
Cache Keepers: Hamilton & Lynch.
Provisions on whole in good shape.  Some mouldy smoked meat.  Bad butter, musty oats and curdled cream.
I find the grounds about the cache where huts have been erected, giving a foul odor, especially near the water at left cache.  This should be cleaned up and care taken to burn refuse, etc. from subsequent camps.

Rocky Island Cache
Cache Keepers: McLeod & Sanderson.
Find Mr. Sanderson has itch.  Gave him lotion and ordered necessary precautions for prevention of spread and care.
Cache grounds were clean and cache goods in fairly good shape.  A few cans of bad butter and some curdled milk.

Mr. Lunquist(?)
Camping ground clean.  Here I found that some parties suffered with scabies.  Gave treatment & precautions.

Separd Cache
Cache Keepers: Joe Gaudrault & Geddes.
Geddes has a weak heart and should be out of here.  The provisions are in good shape.  A good cook and good provisions.  All men in excellent health.

Herman Bryan
M. H. O.   T. C. Railway

Diary No. 1    Dr. Herman Bryan ( provided by his daughter to the Nipigon Historical Museum)

Nipigon , Ontario

July 24th, 1905

The day was clear and bright, but so strong a north wind that we could not cross Lake Helen. At 8:00 P.M. canoe loaded- Thompson in bow and McDonald in stern. Deforest & I walked to Lake Helen  Landing. Left at 8:15 P.M.  McDonald & Thompson (Joe) wanted to camp on Lake Helen, but we objected.  McDonald wanted to go back and stop with his new bride.  At9:15 P.M. we got two Indians to take us to the Courts and Thompson and McDonald went back.  I took stroll. Arrived at Courts at 10:20 P.M., unloaded and rolled in at 10:30 P.M.

July 25th, 1905

Got up at 6:20 A.M.  Breakfast at 7:00  Thompson and McDonald  arrive at 10:00 A.M.  Left Courts at 10:30 .  Camp for dinner about one mile up.  Left around Noon.
Bass Creek at 1:30 P.M.
Alexander at 1:45 P.M.
Portage. DeForest and I fish.
Left Portage Alexander at 3:25.
Saw Mill at 3:45.
Lake Jessie passed at 4:20.
Lake Maria at 4:50. Had something to eat here.  A very pretty place.  Leave at 6:30 P.M.
Split Rock at 7:30.  Leave at 7:50.
Rock Island at 8:30.  Leave at 8:40.
Pine Portage at 9:00 P.M.  Put up for the night.

July 26th, 1905

Up at 6:30 A.M.  Left at 9:00 A.M.  Dinner at 12:15. Cut to South Bay.  Join “Bow”. Leave at 1:30.  From the bay up to the narrow , stony channel full of jackfish and clams, across Lake Hannah through the long, hot portage to South Bay and Lake Nipigon. Hot day – bare rocks.  I lay under the canoe.  Supper and leave.  The launch goes to South Bay.  We camp in an ideal spot on Island. (Battery Rock ?)

July 27th, 1905

We break camp.  Leave at 11:30.  Lunch at 4:15.  Arrange sail for long crossing.  Reach the landing and camp at 9:15 P.M.

July 28th, 1905

Leave camp at 9:30 A.M.  Dinner at 11:15 and leave at 12:25.  Sight Nipigon House (Jackfish Point) – Inner Barn Island, behind the House Outer Barn.  Lay up for winds 12:25 – 3:00 P.M. 
4:45 – Nipigon House.  A very beautiful spot.  The old post.
6:00 P.M. around point.  Camp on Island about 7:30 P.M.

July 29th, 1905

Fishing in the morning at 7:30.  While I get my line, canoe drifts off and DeForest shouts, “Doc, look at canoe!”  I looked and the canoe was out about twenty feet. All there was to do was jump in a swim for it.  I got the canoe and we were ready to start.   I got undressed on the shore, got in the canoe and spread my clothes out to dry as we paddled toward Wabinosh at 9:00 A. M.
Arrive at Cache Wabinosh at 11:30 A.M. Hamilton and Lynch.
Goods in fairly good shape.  No juices or tartaric acid. Plenty of fruits – apples etc.  Smoked meat mouldy. Butter poor ration. Rolled oats – musty. Cream – curdled.  Leave at 2 :00 P.M.
It was a sad sight to visit the grave of Mr. Laidlaw.  Thompson stood looking at it for a few moments after the rest of us had left, then, still keeping his eyes fixed on the grave after he started away , he said, “ It’s too bad, Laidlaw.”  What thoughts surge up in our minds as we stand by such graves and recognize the fact that our only association with such men has been when we were drinking and joking with them.  What a great abyss now separates us from them, yet we know not, for God willith and we cannot tell. (Written at first portage on Wabinosh.)
Second portage. – very long.
Third portage 1/7 mile – Joe portages canoe.
Fourth portage ¼ mile – Double trip.
Camp on Round Lake on rocky island.

July 30th, 1905

Slept in.  It was 11:30 when I got up.  Had dinner.   Weather was rainy and windy.  Picked  blueberries.  DeForest and Joe read prayers.  Thompson tells stories.  Supper at 7:30.  Air is cold, weather cleared and wind fallen.

July 31st, 1905

Leave at 8:30 A.M.  Made 10 portages and one double portage. Rocky Mountain Portage.  Saw mink. Clearwater Lake.  Hellmuth and men at Portage west of Clearwater Lake. Arrived at Stony Island Cache.  McLeod & Sanderson at Cache.  Bad butter & milk.

August 1st, 1905

Left Cache 15 at Stony Island at 8:25 A.M.  We are now on the height and across it the slope is now toward the North into James  and Hudson Bays.  The air is fresh and cool – timber abundant but small.  Tamarac Lake at 11:00 o’clock. Had dinner on Tamarac Lake Portages.  Got some birch bark.  Reached Trout Lake but got into wrong bay.  Found  blazed trail and old camp.  Joe climbs a tree and looks up trail.    Moved to Rush Bay Lake.  Had supper.  The long portage – Thompson and I stop.  Joe fires and finds camp, brings two men and another man meets us and we reach camp at 8:00 P.M.

August 2nd, 1905

Joe and I go to Mattice.  Oraniakawash(?) Lake (  Onamokawash?).  Cache 16 a.  Had a great dinner.  Pick up supplies: carbolic, Bichloride, cathartic, vasoline, bismuth, adhesive plaster, phenocitrin, instruments (McIntosh’s tooth), tobacco pouch for Allen.

August 3rd, 1905

Left Mattice and go to Loon Lake.  Shot partridge.  Met Dr. Varden from Galt – friend of transit man.  Lay in at Tempest’s  camp.

August 4th, 1905

Remain at Tempest’s camp.  Sleep, read, etc.  Rain in the afternoon.

August 8th, 1905

Tempest Bay.  Moring is very foggy.  At Alexander met Dr. Myers and Party.  Leave at 4:00 P.M.

August 16th, 1905

Nipigon.  Arrive at Courts at 5:30.  Alexander Portage at 8:00 P.M.  Met Dr. Derby and son and Dr. Varden and Party.

August 18th, 1905

Mr. Vivian and party.  Head.   Camp – Flat Rock.

August 19th, 1905

Last night we were pleased to land even on this rock-bound coast.  The waves were washing our canoe and it took two men standing in the water to keep her from floundering on the rocks.  The sea was angry and it was with thankful and glad hearts, though forlorn looking and drenched bodies that we once again stepped over to the terra firma.  Which one of us would have thought a week ago that we would have been caught

in a storm here on Nipigon again on this same western shore.  We watch the lowering sky, the white caps, the storm and squall.  “Turn back, Indians no like camp.”  Joe and Jack come back.  Jack empties water out of our shoe packs.  Lunch.

August 20th, 1905

Reached Nipigon House at 11:00 A.M.  Found our boys on the dock and clothes,  etc., out on fence drying.  Thankful for safety.  Dinner.  Left on sailboat and arrived at Wabinosh at 5:00 P.M.  Crew in good shape.  Have supper and bunk for the night.

August 21st, 1905

Boys leave.  Do washing.  Take pictures of Laidaw’s grave.   Take pictures of rapids where he was drowned.  Leave Wabinosh at 7:00 P.M.

August 22nd, 1905

Had lodging and breakfast at Nipigon House.  Left Nipigon House at 9:00 A.M.
Arrived at Mud River Cache at 6:30 P.M.  Ernie Eagles – Cache Keeper.
Goods in excellent condition, except some peaches.   Best cache – very sanitary condition.

August 23rd, 1905

Left Mud River Cache at 8:00 A.M. for Ombabika.  Heavy wind.  Paddle McGuire was here.  He tells of farming land on Mud River.  Arrive at Ombabika at 2:40 P.M.
George Summer – Cache Keeper.
Cache goods: 20 cases curdled cream
                       Pickles frozen for two winters – vinegar gone
Mr. Summer is alone – he wants a companion – also wants a holiday.
Northern Lights are beautiful.

August 24th, 1905

Left Ombabika at 7:40 A.M.  Reached mouth of Red Paint (Buzz thinks Onoman) at 3:00 P.M.  Camped at second portage – beautiful rapids and falls.

August 25th, 1905

Left second portage at 7:00 a.M.  Had dinner on seventh portage.  Met Alex DeLaronde and packers on 8th portage – at the long Snake Creek – source of the Red Paint Indians.  I tell them to come over.  We camp on old camping ground.

August 26th, 1905

Leave camp at 7:00 A.M. and arrive at Cache 12a at 1:30 P.M.
W. John Hymers and John Turriff Cache Keepers.
No supplies except blueberries.
Here we are on the height  and cross over to where the land slopes towards Hudson Bay. Tillable land.  Jackpine and iron.

Location looks as if the prospects of this part of the country is good.
 Supplies needed at cache: Vasoline, Dusting Powder, Absorbent cotton and Linament.
This afternoon we crossed the portage.  Saw iron rock, jackpine, blueberries – then on the slope and the creek.  On the west of this portage the water runs south.  These are the headwaters of the St. Lawrence to the coast – these waters flow into Kowaposhgagami (?) and into Hudson Bay. ( Buzz thinks Kowashgagama?)

August 27th, 1905

A beautiful morning – we go to Allyn Lake.  This is the South Allyn Lake.  Clear blue, sprinkled with blue violets. A beautiful clear lake full of scenery and purity.   On our way we find many tracks of bear, moose, caribou and deer. All around the lake are the tracks of these animals. In the afternoon we pick blueberries – sleep – and in the evening we read.

August 28th, 1905
Breakfast and leave Cache. The long Snake Creek.   Come out on a pond. Hill to right with cabin and flag. Miss the trail as we took the wrong route.  Find River and old portage.  Turn back.  Camp at 6:45 P.M.

August 29th, 1905

Leave camp.  When we return we find Alex’s men there at the cache.

August 30th, 1905

Wait at the Cache.  I go to see Alex but he is not there yet. Return to Cache – Old Log River.
 Cache goods: Beans are mouldy.
                       Two cases of ham are spoiled.
                       Cornmeal and Oatmeal O.K.

August 31, Sep. 1, 2, 3,rd, 1905

Remain at Cache.  On 3rd of Sept. the mail arrives.

September 4th, 1905

Leave cache.  Kawakoshoshgogama (?) River (Glittering Waters).  Take pictures of my men pulling up the first rapids and also pictures of the first falls and first portage.  I tell the Englishman to jump.  He does so but bunts Halliday on the head and nearly upsets the canoe.

September 5th, 1905

Kawakoshgogama (?) – 8 A.M. – met Indians.  Meet packers up Fleming (?) River at first portage.  We come back to cache and find party has gone in over portage.  Cache 12 – Cache Keepers: C.L. Leachman and P.S. Quinn.  The portage from Kawakoshgogama to hill is all muskeg.

September 6th, 1905

The long portage (15 miles).  A bear crosses the trail.  We reach McKay’s camp.  Men in good shape. Sanitary conditions are good.  Went out shooting – met Mr. Hannington and transit man.  Camp is short of food.

September 7th, 1905

McKays headquaters. Went out shooting in the morning.  In the afternoon we came to Cache 11A – Twin Lakes – Stewart and McKay building.  Cache in very good shape.   Required: Yeast cakes, butter, mail, papers, etc.

September 8th, 1905

Back to McKay’s .  In the afternoon back to Kawakokshgogama (?). Meet Mr. Campbell.  Provisions needed are: ointment and bandages. Leave bacon etc. at 704

September 9th, 1905

Leave camp on line 1 mile from Lake Kawakashgama.  The long wet portage.  Arrive at Chace 12 at 7:20 A.M.  Get bacon, cream and pickles. Leave. Raining. Dinner on portage. More rain. Pass packers at 5:15.  Arrive at H. of L. (height of land) at 7:45 and find Hannington camped. Cross portage and stop with boys.  It’s been a long day.

September 10th, 1905

H.of L.  Mr. Hannington leaves.  Wash and shave.  Packers pass through.  Shoot partridge.   Boys write letters.

September 11, 1905

Leave 12 A.  Boys want snare wire.  Overcast.  Rain about 4:30. Stop for supper at 4:45.  Camp.  First portage. Get Mr. Hannington’s wire.

September  12th, 1905

Beautiful morning.  Typical fall – the sun is bright, clear, weather cool, while all about are the variegated colours of autumn foliage.  Meet packers at old cache.

September 14th, 1905

Leave Poplar Lodge.  Arrive at Virginia Falls at 2:30 P.M.  Stop at Little Flat Rock.  Speak to Bob McDonald regarding supplies as teams are leaving portage.

1 comment:

  1. I love this history! There are so many stories to be told! It is great that you have this blog going! I enjoy learning more about the people, activities and journeys!