Wednesday, 21 September 2016


2:24 pm
September 21, 2016
Someone, from United States of America or Germany became the 100,000th viewer!
If you were reading about the De la Ronde Letters; Death Records 4; The De la Ronde Title; or Law of the Land then it could have been YOU.
I have been checking every couple hours and at noon today we still had 13 Pageviews to go.
This is the Woodland Art of Isadore Wadow.
It is a happy picture.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Nipigon Bay - 1876


Written for the Thunder Bay Sentinel newspaper by A. Walpole Roland, November 13, 1876

SIR—In consequence of the early closing of Navigation I was unable to forward the promised sketch of the Nipigon Lake and River district before the departure of our first winter mail, which leaves here “weather permitting” on the 14th proximo.  Of the River as a famous trout stream, little remains to be said that is not tolerably well known to most of your readers,  but of the district, generally, it may be said to afford a rare example of the economy of nature in grouping together --- the useful and the beautiful.

Rock and River --- tinged with Amethyst, half seen, half hidden, by the hazy mist.”

Of the native grandeur of the surrounding scenery there can be no question; and that the soil is in many places as rich and good as any in the lower Provinces is fairly admitted by competent and impartial judges;  and of its mineral wealth, etc., more anon.

The River is the largest and clearest water flowing into Lake Superior --- and the Harbour entrance with bald ridges of columnar trap, and red rock, rising from the water edge to a perpendicular height of nearly 500 feet is very picturesque.  At this point the River measures about two thousand yards but gradually opens out on the west side, where the high saddle-back headland runs due west, giving place to a rich belt of splendid land carrying north east to the River’s mouth and forming a perfectly secure Harbour with sufficient depth of water for vessels of any class.  A steamboat channel runs nearly straight and due north to the H.B. Co.’s Post, Red Rock, a distance of three and a half miles from entrance to the Harbour, where navigation by steamer , may be said to end.

Then the Hudson’s Bay Company held an important trading post and Depot for their interior supplies, and one of the finest docks west of Montreal, measuring over 130 yards, with a depth of from 11 to 14 feet of water at all seasons.

 Many improvements have been made in this district, and within the last few years Townships and town lots have been surveyed and disposed of to eager and ENTERPRISING speculators, at a time when hopes were fondly entertained, of this becoming the Lake Superior terminus of the coming railroad.

Nipigon , however, like your own magnificent Thunder Bay, lacked the necessary natural qualifications, that is, an “old sand bar,” consequently the scheme was abandoned and the terminus “moved on” – to a more favoured location.

The Nipigon it is true, can boast of a small “sand bar” of her own, as one or two Lake Superior Captains can testify with regret.  But why did they attempt the impossible feat of making a short portage instead of coming by the old route?  In a previous letter I gave a brief description of the “Co.’s” Post etc., so that excepting  an additional “exploratory line” there is nothing new and really , judging from the number of C.P.R. lines together with the absence of any real engineering difficulty we may yet see this portion of the railroad in progress.  But until the financial difficulties are bridged over, we cannot reasonable hope of, ever hearing of the discovery of a practicable route.

Going Up The River

Near the H.B.Co.’s dock , commences one of the swiftest currents on the River, sweeping downwards from the Lake Helen rapids with a velocity of 5 knots per hour.  Lake Helen, a beautiful sheet of deep, clearly blue water, is nine miles long,  two broad and one mile from steam boat dock.  The River enters this lake from the west side, and its upward course is N.N.W. to camp Alexander, a distance of five miles, where the current is again pretty stiff to the Alexander rapids, when another portage is made by canoeing up Portage Brook for one mile, and where a portage of two miles connects to Lake Jessie.  Opposite Portage Brook is Cameron’s Pool, “Pectorabus Sacrum,” where Mr. Cameron of Cincinnati , and the Isaac Walton of the Nipigon, has for 15 successive seasons, landed speckled trout that would rather astonish the author of the “Complete Angler.” Lake Jessie or Minor Lake is a very pretty bit of water, -- with numerous small islands, and separated from Lake Maria by the Narrows, where the River measures no more than 100 yards across.  The entire distance over both lakes including “ the Narrows,” is about 6 miles, the next portage is “Split Rock”, and is but a short one. The scenery here is very fine and continues to improve as we ascend , the River being here bounded on both banks, by high ridges of black traprock.  A little higher up Island Portage is made ( or run by a small canal) by curving over a small rocky Island in centre of the River.

One miles brings us to the foot of Pine, or “One Mile Portage”. Another mile from the head of Pine Portage is a rather dangerous fall, or rapid, where the water comes flowing down as they do at “Ladore.”  Near this fall is Little Flat Rock Portage, where the H.B.Co.’s  canoe route branches off, running West through Lake Emma and Hanna and reaching Lake Nipigon by an easier and more direct route than that of the River, when rapids increase in number and velocity between Lake Emma, Camps Victoria and Minor, to the Grand Fall, or head waters of the River St. Lawrence.  We now stand on the South Shore of Nipigon Lake, and about 350 feet above the level of the mouth of the River and distant about 33 miles.

This spot may be called the Ultima Thule of tourists and sportsmen all in this direction: few caring to advance beyond the Falls from whence a very fine view of many of the islands is obtained, bounded in the west, by the pale blue mountains, and in the far away north by the sky. This great inland sea measures nearly 70 x 50 miles, with over 1,000 islands of various dimensions;  and a coast line of over 500 miles.  Among the many natural features worthy of special mention an “Echo Rock” and the Inner and Outer Barn, the latter rising from the surface of the Lake almost perpendicularly, to a height of over 600 feet, with tons of over-hanging masses of rock apparently ready to come tumbling down upon the slightest provocation;  while higher yet the hardy fir and mountain ash flourishing luxuriantly and waves defiance to the winds. How truly are these subjects worthy of the magic touch of the artist’s pencil. Never have I witnessed more equitable changes of light and shade, not more striking contrasts of the bold and beautiful.  As I close this hurried sketch the “Indian Summer” sun is fast disappearing behind the lofty Mount St. John with a brilliant glow of fiery red, that brings back pleasant memories of sunsets in Oriental claims:

Is there not in yonder glorious scene,

A beauty and a grandeur not of earth

A glory breaking from yon cloudy screen;

Revealing to the (…) its nobler berth!

The Nipigon region has been thoroughly explored by Captain G. B. Weeks, with his Surveyors and assistant, (under the direction of Professor Campbell of N. York,) with the most satisfactory results.  Captain W. is at present supt. one of his latest discoveries, “The Victoria” and when last heard from had out “150 tons good ore, with 300 of low grade concentrating ---and shaft 30 feet.”

At a more convenient time I shall have much pleasure in giving particulars of current events.  Mining, I am assured, will go ahead here lively, bye and bye.  “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” you know.

-          A. W. R.




Wednesday, 7 September 2016

PAGEVIEWS : 99,030

Bursting with excitement.

Golf Nipigon, 2016

North Shore Golf Course, Nipigon, September 7, 2016
Still open for business.
Looking at the Clubhouse/restaurant.
Looking across the 6th fairway.
In its previous "life" this was a dairy farm.
Hard to see in this photo but a flock of geese are "playing through"
the 2nd Fairway behind the trees.
This is the new entrance/exit to Golf Course Road being created
 to join the "Twinned" highway 11/17 -
 that "twinning" also under construction.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

FUR TRADE: The French regime

FUR TRADE : The French Regime

One of the best writers for the “feel” of the Fur Trade was Louise Phelps Kellogg, Research Associate of State Historical Society of Wisconsin.

The French Regime in Wisconsin and the Northwest”, published by The State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Madison, 1925


L.M. “Buzz” Lein found the following pages to have information relating to our “Nipigon”  history;

Pages: 96, 154, 226, 237, 313, 336, 382 and 114.

Page 154, describes Allouez’ plans for a journey to visit the Nipissing Indians in retreat North of Lake Nipigon, 1667.

Page 237, has Duluth’s brother, la Tourette at his post on Lake Nipigon, circa 1688, (Ombabika Bay area) “ tapping for the French the greatest fur-bearing country on the continent.”

Page 313, Prior to 1750 the French were bent on opening a route to the Western Ocean, “Therefore they maintained posts on Lake Nipigon and Kaministiquia.”

Page 336, When la Verendrye was in charge of his post on the Nipigon he heard  local tales of “a great salt water in the West.” They even drew him a map which he and his sons used as they started west in 1731.

Pages 381-382, Wherein the “Posts of the Nipigon” were on the list of “Most important” for the French Fur Trade.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

FUR TRADE : The French Advance

FUR TRADE:  Memorandum from Chief Justice Draper, 1857

Excerpt from page 230  ? (Buzz’s notes)

Control of “Canada” was it political or just for the Fur trade?

“ The French Government , it appears, would not agree to the proposal which would have  limited them to the 49th parallel. Colonel Bladen, one of the British Commissioners under the Treaty of Utrecht, wrote in 1719 in reference thereto, “ I already see some difficulty in the execution of this affair, there being at least the difference of two degrees between the best French maps and that which the Company delivered us.”  No settlement of the boundary could be arrived at.”

“If the later claim of territorial limits had been advanced during this negotiation, there can be no doubt it would have been resisted even more strenuously than the effort to make the 49th parallel the boundary was, not merely by contending that the territory so claimed formed part of Canada, and had been treated as such by the French long before 1670,  but also that the French King had exercised an act of disposition of them, of the same nature as that under which the Hudson’s Bay Company claim, by making them the subject of a Charter of a Company under the Sieur de Caen’s name, and after the dissolution of that Company had, in 1627, organized a new Company, to which he conceded the entire country called Canada.  And this was before the Treaty of St. Germain-en Laye, by which the English restored Canada to the French. In 1663, this Company surrendered their Charter, and the King, by an edict of March in that year, established a council for administration of affairs in the colony, and nominated a Governor;  and about 1665, Monsieur Talon, the Intendant of Canada, dispatched parties to penetrate into and explore the country to the west and north-west, and in 1671 he reported from Quebec that the “Sieur du Lusson is returned , after having advanced as far as 500 leagues from here, and planted the cross, and set up the King’s arms in presence of 17 Indian nations assembled on the occasion from all parts , all of whom voluntarily submitted themselves to the domination of His Majesty, whom alone they regard as their sovereign protector.”

French Advance

The French kept continually advancing forts and trading posts in the country, which they claimed to be part of Canada: not merely up the Saguenay River towards James’ Bay, but towards and into the territory now in question,  in parts and places to which the Hudson’s Bay Company had not penetrated when Canada was ceded to Great Britain in 1763, nor for many years afterwards.  They had posts at Lake St. Anne, called by the older geographers Alenimipigon;  at the Lake of the Woods; Lake Winnipeg; and two, it is believed, on the Saskatchewan, which are referred to by Sir Alexander McKenzie in his account of his discoveries.”

 Hudson’s Bay Company

Enough, it is hoped, has been stated to show that the limits of the Hudson’s Bay Company’s territory are as open to question now as they have ever been, and that when called upon to define them in the last century, they did not advance th claim now set up by them;  and that even when they were defining the boundary which they desired to obtain under the Treaty of Utrecht, at a period most favourable for them, they designated one inconsistent with their present pretensions, and which, if it had been accepted by France, would have left no trifling portion of the territory as part of the Province of Canada.”

So far as has been ascertained, the claim to all the country the waters of which ran into Hudson’s Bay, was not advanced until the time that the Company took the opinion of the late Sir Samual Romilly, Messrs. Cruise, Holroyd, Scarlet, and Bell.”

Friday, 2 September 2016

The Forsaken by Duncan Campbell Scott, 1905

Duncan Campbell Scott (1862-1947)

The Forsaken

              Once in the winter

              Out on a lake

              In the heart of the north-land,

              Far from the Fort

              And far from the hunters,

              A Chippewa woman

              With her sick baby,

              Crouched in the last hours

              Of a great storm.

            Frozen and hungry,

            She fished through the ice

            With a line of the twisted

            Bark of the cedar,

            And a rabbit-bone hook

            Polished and barbed;

            Fished with the bare hook

            All through the wild day,

            Fished and caught nothing;

            While the young chieftain

            Tugged at her breasts,

            Or slept in the lacings

            Of the warm tikanagan.

            All the lake-surface

            Streamed with the hissing

            Of millions of iceflakes

            Hurled by the wind;

            Behind her the round

            Of a lonely island

            Roared like a fire

            With the voice of the storm

            In the deeps of the cedars.

            Valiant, unshaken,

            She took of her own flesh,

            Baited the fish-hook,

            Drew in a gray-trout,

            Drew in his fellows,

            Heaped them beside her,

            Dead in the snow.

            Valiant, unshaken,

            She faced the long distance,

            Wolf-haunted and lonely,

            Sure of her goal

            And the life of her dear one:

            Tramped for two days,

            On the third in the morning,

            Saw the strong bulk

            Of the Fort by the river,

            Saw the wood-smoke

            Hand soft in the spruces,

            Heard the keen yelp

            Of the ravenous huskies

            Fighting for whitefish:

            Then she had rest.


            Years and years after,

            When she was old and withered,

            When her son was an old man

            And his children filled with vigour,

            They came in their northern tour on the verge of winter,

            To an island in a lonely lake.

            There one night they camped, and on the morrow

            Gathered their kettles and birch-bark

            Their rabbit-skin robes and their mink-traps,

            Launched their canoes and slunk away through the islands,

            Left her alone forever,

            Without a word of farewell,

            Because she was old and useless,

            Like a paddle broken and warped,

            Or a pole that was splintered.

            Then, without a sigh,

            Valiant, unshaken,

            She smoothed her dark locks under her kerchief,

            Composed her shawl in state,

            Then folded her hands ridged with sinews and corded with veins,

            Folded them across her breasts spent with the nourishment of children,

            Gazed at the sky past the tops of the cedars,

            Saw two spangled nights arise out of the twilight,

            Saw two days go by filled with the tranquil sunshine,

            Saw, without pain, or dread, or even a moment of longing:

            Then on the third great night there came thronging and thronging

            Millions of snowflakes out of a windless cloud;

           They covered her close with a beautiful crystal shroud,

            Covered her deep and silent.

            But in the frost of the dawn,

            Up from the life below,

            Rose a column of breath

            Through a tiny cleft in the snow,

            Fragile, delicately drawn,

            Wavering with its own weakness,

            In the wilderness a sign of the spirit,

            Persisting still in the sight of the sun

            Till day was done.

            Then all light was gathered up by the hand of God and hid in His breast,

            Then there was born a silence deeper than silence,

            Then she had rest.

Published 1905

Based on a story of an abandoned woman who survived a winter at Deer Lake that he heard at Nipigon House, Lake Nipigon.