Friday, 9 March 2012

Before Columbus

The Fenwick "Papers"
Nipigon Historical Museum Archives

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

January 25, 1938 page 1

States Recent Discoveries Show Vikings at Beardmore 400 Years Before Columbus

By Canadian Press

Winnipeg, Jan 25 - Philip H. Godsell, noted author and Arctic traveller, yesterday declared recent discoveries in Canada indicated the Norseman actually penetrated Ontario in the eleventh century, more than 400 years before Columbus came to North American shores.

"A find that definitely links the hardy Vikings with the forests of Northern Ontario and proves the followers of Eric the Red and his successors penetrated into the heart of the North American continent was made on the Dodd mining claims North of Beardmore, 125 miles northeast of Port Arthur," Godsell stated.

During assessment work, a Norse axe, sword and shield handle were found. Mr. Godsell said they have been pronounced by competent authorities as genuine Norse weapons of the eleventh century.

Great Significance

Godsell, who mushed over Arctic trails for thirty years and was a Hudson's Bay factor in Northern Ontario, said the Beardmore find is of the greatest historical significance. It gives rise to innumerable conjectures as to how the Norsemen came to find their way into this remote area previously inhabited only by Ojibway Indians.

A fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, Mr. Godsell said he believed the wandering Vikings made their way through Hudson Straits, landed near the mouth of the Albany River, from which point they may have procured canoes from the Cree Indians.

Then they worked their way inland , up the Albany River and its tributaries, or the Pagawachewan River which the Revilon Freres Trading Company used for freighters only a few years ago.

Suggests Woodland Fight

Godsell continued:
"I can picture the Norsemen holding councils with the Redmen, accompanying them on deer and moose hunts in the forests of Northern Ontario and reverting to the barbaric life of earlier ancestors through force of circumstances; or perhaps the owner of these arms was a member of the band of Norsemen who penetrated further Westward and left behind them the Runic stone, found in 1933 at Sandy Hook, a Lake Winnipeg beach resort."

"Or Beardmore Ont. may have been the scene of some woodland fight between these hardy wanderers and Redmen who for the first time gazed upon the palefaces who were eventually their downfall. The Indians may have looked upon them as Weetigoes, cannibal spirits or visitors from another world."

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