Wednesday, 16 November 2011


Some Interesting dates in Nipigon's past
compiled by L.M. Buzz Lein and scattered in the margins of the Souvenir Edition of our Nipigon Historical Museum Welcome Brochure newspaper in 1982.

  • 1655 Nipigon District leased to the Company of 100 Associates, Chief Clerk Claude Dupuy
  • 1667 Claude Allouez, Jesuit missionary, ascends the Nipigon River en route to Lake Nipigon. Celebrated the first mass ever in the area.
  • 1678 Sieur Dulhut went up the Nipigon River as far as Lake Nipigon. Left his brother behind with a small crew to set up posts on Lake Nipigon.
  • 1680 De La Crois is manager of these French set up posts.
  • 1684 Sieur de Greysolen setting up posts on Lake Nipigon. One post at the confluence of the Albany River and the Kenogami.
  • 1685 Fort Outoubis built at the north end of Lake Nipigon.
  • 1721 Sieur Deschaillons, commandant at Nipigon , moved to the head of the lakes to take over the Kaministikwia post.
  • 1724 Sieur de Vercheres, a relative of Madeleine, in command at Nipigon and Kaministikwia.
  • 1727 Sieur de la Verendrye spends two years in the Nipigon area, principally rebuilding the posts originally set up.
  • 1736 Monsieur de la Valtrie stationed on Lake Nipigon, presumably in the employ of La Verendrye.
  • 1742 Fort la Maune was commanded by Nicholas Roch de Ramsay.
  • 1751 Nicholas Joseph de Noyelles, Sieur de Fleurimont, replaced La Verendrye. Here to 1749 Pierre Francois Raimbault was the last of the French commandants in the Nipigon District under the French regime. The year before the district reported 80 to 100 packs of pelts.
  • 1758 The Nipigon District was leased for 3000 livres.
  • 1756 Seven Years War raging in Europe. Louis Menard and his crew of voyageurs and Indians ascended the Nipigon River; crossed Lake Nipigon and went on up to the Albany River.
  • 1767 Marcont and La Carpe were given trading concessions on Lake Nipigon.
  • 1775 HBCo (Hudson's Bay Company) builds Fort Nipigon on Lake Nipigon, north, probably at the mouth of the Ombabika River. The HBCo came down from the Albany.
  • 1776-1779 Formative years leading to the establishment of the NWCo (Northwest Company)
  • 1776 John Long made the first of two trips into the Nipigon Area to a trading area west of Lake Nipigon and in the vicinity of Sturgeon Lake.
  • 1784 NWCo sends Edward Umfreyville up the Nipigon River and across Lake Nipigon en route to Lake Winnipeg on an exploratory mission to check the usefulness of this particular route. Venance St. Germaine, Jean Roy, Dubay, and Raymond were the names of some of the crew.
  • John Duncan Cameron came to the Nipigon country as a clerk for Angus Shaw, an independent trader. Only 56 packs of fur produced this year.
  • 1795 Fort Duncan built by the NWCo on Lake Nipigon in the vicinity of the lake and the Wabinosh River. Named for Duncan Cameron mentioned above who is now in charge of the Nipigon District for the NWCo. Only 24 bundles of fine furs were produced this year in this district.
  • 1797 Cameron reports that snowshoes had to be used until the end of May. The ice did not go out of Lake Nipigon until June 24 of this year. (Normally this lake is clear of ice in the south by May 15; and all clear by May 25)
  • 1798 Nipigon House (HBCo) An Indian brought in a whole moose which he divided up among the HBCo, NWCo and the XYCo.
  • 1802 Richard Duncan Fraser ascends the Nipigon River along with Duncan Cameron en route to his post at Fort Duncan on Lake Nipigon.
  • 1807 Daniel W. Harmon of the NWCo arrives at Fort Duncan on Lake Nipigon. He was here to recover his health and because Dr. John McLoughlin was also here.
  • 1808 Daniel Harmon en route to Lakehead, "Came to an Island in Lake Nipigon where we intend to pass a few days in fishing for trout which are here in plenty."
  • 1821 Hudson's Bay Company and the Northwest Company amalgamate, with the HBCo becoming surviving company.
  • 1852 Missionary priest who has snowshoed in to Nipigon House on Lake Nipigon from Port Arthur is bitterly critical of all the dogs in the area. Henri De la Ronde is the man in charge for the HBCo.
  • 1859 Red Rock Trading Post has its first inauspicious beginnings near the present dock area of Nipigon. Originally, it was Supposed to be a look-out post to keep free traders from going up to Lake Nipigon.
  • 1863 Steamboats are now running on Lake Superior on a regular basis. Red Rock is one of the ports of call. Goods are now being brought to Red Rock from Sault Ste Marie and Port Arthur on a scheduled basis. This changes the distribution pattern and makes cheaper the delivery and goods cost.
  • 1866 Surveyor Herrick makes a survey of the Nipigon River from Lake Superior to the Lake itself. For the first time , Lake Nipigon has a surveyed locations.
  • 1866 Robert Bell made a survey in the Nipigon Area between 1863-1866. First time Lake Nipigon actually surveyed. Charles De la Ronde was in charge of Red Rock House, Mr. Robert Crawford was in charge of Nipigon House. Mr Henry De la Ronde was in charge of Poplar Lodge. Peter McKeller was in the survey party.
  • 1867 The Dominion of Canada became a political entity. Sir John A. MacDonald the first Prime Minister.
  • 1872 Surveyors for the yet unbuilt C.P.R. railway start swarming into the Nipigon area looking for good routes. One trial line ran back into the bush up the gully behind the Mission Church on Lake Helen.
  • 1872 Thunder Bay (using the modern name for Port Arthur) chosen over Nipigon as the site for the Lake Superior terminal of the C.P.R. Great consternation among the speculators who had bought up Nipigon land - including Donald Smith, later Lord Strathconna of the C.P. R.
  • 1873 Alexander Walpole Roland in the Nipigon area seemingly looking for copper in the Nipigon Bay area. He spent much time at Red Rock.
  • 1874 Township of Nipigon laid out by surveyor A.B. Scott.
  • 1874 Earl and Countess of Dufferin spent 3 - 4 days in Nipigon, fishing and camping on the Nipigon River. Camped at Alexander Falls among other places.
  • 1881 Thomas Reynolds is a clerk at Red Rock and later moved to Long Lake. He wrote a book about trapping under the pseudonym of Martin Hunter. Worthwhile reading for people who like to kill things.
  • 1885 A Colonist road built by the government for several miles north of the town of Nipigon towards South Bay. Never completed. M. Dwyer, road superintendent.
  • 1885 Soldiers en route to scene of Riel Rebellion de-train at Nipigon and march across the ice to the station at Red Rock (the real Red Rock not the HBCo store at Nipigon)  where they again embark to continue their journey.
  • 1885 Anglican settlement on McIntyre Bay (Grand Bay then) folds up as the attraction of a railroad proves too alluring and the settlers move south.
  • 1885 C.P.R. railway around the north shore of Lake Superior becomes a reality. At this time it is still several years away from 60 MPH speeds.
  • 1885 Marble and granite quarries being exploited in Nipigon Bay.
  • 1892 H.B.Co builds a winter road from Nipigon to Orient Bay on Lake Nipigon. To facilitate freighting of goods to Nipigon House. Hauled in winter by teams and picked up in the spring by boats from Nipigon House.
  • 1895 Propaganda being assimilated for the production of a booklet to extol the virtues of the yet un-built Thunder Bay, Nipigon and St. Joe Railway. To go to Lake Joseph on the Albany River from Thunder Bay by a route that looks suspiciously like the Spruce River Road of 1981. The third reading of the bill for the construction of this railway was in March 1899 but nothing seems to have happened.
  • 1894 Lord and Lady Aberdeen spend Sunday September 23, 1894 aboard their railway car in Nipigon. They mention Taylors, the hotel people; the McKirdys and Alex Matheson, Hudson's Bay Co. manager.
  • 1901 Capt. Knobel of Port Arthur ascends the Nipigon River to Lake Nipigon and then up the Blackwater River. Accompanied by, among others, Robert Flaherty of Nanook of the North fame.
  • 1905 Hudson's Bay Co. , Revillon Bros. and Wm. McKirdy all have businesses on Front Street. Red Rock is now only a warehouse for the HBCo and gradually being phased out. Dr. Herman Bryan, just out of medical school at the University of Toronto arrives in Nipigon to take over the job as attending physician for the workers who are surveying the North Transcontinental railway line across the north end of Lake Nipigon. The engineering office of the Division E of the North Transcontinental railway is constructed in Nipigon to become , in 1981, part of the Nipigon Museum Building.
  • 1906 First permanent Catholic Church built in Nipigon

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