Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Affidavits Over Relic Dispute Show Conflict

From the "Fenwick Papers" in Nipigon Historical Museum Archives

The News Chronicle, Lakehead Cities - Port Arthur, Fort William, Westfort, - Schreiber - Nipigon

January 28, 1938

page 2

Dodd refuses to Make Affidavit or Statement - Doesn't Want Publicity

Affidavits of a conflicting nature were being sworn out today by two principals in the controversy raging over the reported discovery of Viking relics on a mining property near Beardmore, while the man originally credited with the find returned to his mining claims and refused to discuss the matter further with reporters.

J.E. Dodd, veteran railroader-prospector, who claimed to have found pieces of a Norse sword, shield and battle axe at various times during the past seven years, declined to make affidavit concerning his discovery and left late last night for Beardmore, highly incensed at the surge of publicity and controversy which followed announcement of the find last Tuesday.

"I don't like seeing my name in black lines all over the front pages of the newspapers," he told the News-Chronicle shortly before he left. "I won't give any statements or any photos or any affidavits to any newspapers."


Beyond reiterating that he had found the relics on his property, Mr. Dodd would add nothing to the information he had already given.

"I'm lying low from now on," he said, "and if anybody libels me they're going to pay for it . You can ask Professor McIlraith all about it and he will vouch for me. This fellow Ragotte (who charged at Winnipeg Mr. Dodd's claim was false) is just sore at me and is trying to make trouble. But he's all wrong about finding any relics in the basement of Hanson's house in 1928. In the first place I didn't live in Hanson's house until 1931 and in the second place I didn't even know Ragotte in 1928."

Meanwhile J.M. Hanson, building contractor who claimed to have had similar Norse relics in his basement some years before the reported Beardmore discovery, swore an affidavit giving his side of the tangled story in which he told of receiving the articles from a Norwegian named Bloch and storing them in the basement of a house which was later tenanted by Dodd.


A second affidavit was offered by Carl Sorenson, Norwegian vice-consul at Fort William, who said he had known Bloch intimately during his residence at the Lakehead.

"His full name was Lieut. John Bloch, a retired officer of the Norwegian reserve army," Mr. Sorenson said. "I saw as much of him as anyone else while he was here, and he did not at any time mention having any Norse relics in his possession. I'm sure he would have told me if he had."

Lieutenant Bloch's father was a noted artist in Norway, Mr. Sorenson said, and was keenly interested in the historical lore of his country, particularly in the Viking period.

"Lieutenant Bloch showed me several of his father's paintings of Norsemen, but I never saw a single weapon or piece of armor that might have belonged to that period or any other ancient period in his possession. I do not recall him ever mentioning that his father had a collection of such weapons, and if he had any himself he certainly did not mention it to me."


Fletcher Gill, partner of Dodd in the Beardmore mining enterprise, told the News-Chronicle he was as much surprised as anyone else when he first read of the reported discovery.

"I certainly wasn't with Mr. Dodd when he found the relics," he said, "and in fact I did not know he had made the discovery until it appeared in the newspapers. I do recall an incident some time ago when Mr. Dodd and I were talking to some other men and he said to me:"Remember that stuff I found on the property, Fletcher." I didn't pay much attention to it, thinking he had found an old jack-knife or a saw, or something like that."

Mr. Gill said he had worked with Dodd for twelve years on the Beardmore property, but he added that frequently it was not possible for both of them to visit their claims at the same time.

"He might easily have found the stuff when he was there without me," Mr. Gill said. "That would account for my not having heard of it. Mr. Dodd was never inclined to talk a great deal about things like that anyway."

1 comment:

  1. many thanks to Curator brill for posting these articles. I have not given up on this issue and hope to visit the site sometime. meanwhile, i am posting links to these fine original documents on my FB site.