The Nipigon Historical Museum Archives
The Fenwick "papers"
The News-Chronicle, August 19, 1938, Page 4
The Lakehead Cities - Port Arthur, Fort William, Westfort - Scheiber, Nipigon
It is now some months since controversy waged over the bona fides of Norse relics said to have been found on mining claims in the Beardmore district to the Northeast of Port Arthur.
A mining man, well known in Port Arthur, had turned certain articles over to the Ontario museum when other residents and former residents of this city made the statement that they were identical with some known to have been brought to this city from Norway a few years before. The prospector held steadfast to his claim that he had unearthed them while examining his property.
Among those who have shown a willingness to consider the possibility of these articles having been left by Norsemen on some trip by way of the Northern seas into Canada in the eleventh century is the noted Canadian Arctic explorer, Vilhjalmur Stefansson, now resident of New York.
Stefansson, since the controversy of last spring, has been writing to Al Cheesman of Port Arthur for further particulars and especially for supporting evidence, expressing a willingness on his own part to believe if there were reasonable substantiation. Among other things he recognized the possibility of Norsemen finding their way south by the Albany River and Nipigon Route into the Beardmore territory.
These possibilities are now being linked with a further supposition that White Indians, reported living on the west shore of James Bay are descendants of early Norwegian voyagers. Stefansson believes this may be so.
It was J.W. Curran, Editor of the Sault Daily Star, who recently advanced the theory now under discussion. Mr. Curran's theory is that the use of the word "Mistigoche" - meaning white men - by the Crees indicated they had learned it from voyaging Norsemen. It is a word which should have been foreign to the Cree language. These "White Indians" are described as fair haired, with grey eyes.
Asked for comment on the theory, Stefansson said an important link in the chain of evidence supporting it would be forged if it proved that the eleventh century Norse relics found in the Beardmore district actually were left there by early explorers. "While I know of no evidence to prove or disprove the theory, I see no improbability in it," said Stefansson.