Saturday, 31 March 2012
Investigations Conducted by J.W. Curran of Sault Ste Marie Are Aided by Judge A.J. McComber and Dr. G. E. Eakins of Port Arthur - Claim Doubter Discredited
From the Nipigon Historical Museum Archives
The Fenwick "papers"
The News-Chronicle, October 7, 1938 \page 11
"I absolutely believe Dodd's story is right," said Dr. G.E. Eakins, when asked by the News-Chronicle for his opinion on the reported find of Norse relics in the vicinity of Beardmore in the light of recent inquiries made by J.W. Curran, editor of the Sault Daily Star, who makes a study of such things and spent several days in Port Arthur and vicinity in September.
Dr. Eakins, a former president of the Thunder Bay Historical Society, and also deeply interested in such matters, corroborated with Mr. Curran in gathering the material which the latter has used in interviewing various parties who might be able to offer relevant material.
"After checking up," continued Dr. Eakins, "I can't see how anyone could make up a story like that. Moreover, Dodd is a smart fellow and would know that his statements would be subject to verification. The Ontario Museum is convinced that the articles now in their possession, are genuine and I am told that Eli Ragotte, fellow trainsman of Dodd's , who first cast doubt on the story by saying he had seen similar article in a Port Arthur basement, has since visited the Museum and made the statement they they were the same articles."
"Then, Dr. Eakins went on, "there is the story about a man named Bloch bringing them over from Norway. This story I believe to be a myth. Bloch, from all I can gather, on speaking to those who knew him, was an educated, cultured and intelligent man. He would have an appreciation of the value of such relics and would not permit them to be thrown in a basement as rubbish."
"We also have the fact that Professor McIbraith, representing the Ontario Museum, made a visit to the location of the reported finds near Beardmore and himself found another somewhat similar character."
"In my opinion the Dodd story is corroborated."
Following is a story prepared by Mr. Curran on the basis of his inquiries in Port Arthur and published in his paper, The Sault Daily Star:
By J.W. Curran
"If James E. Dodd of Port Arthur really found priceless Norse relics on his Beardmore mining claim in 1931, how is it that he said nothing about them for some years afterwards?"
That is what the world asks.
Why didn't he try to sell them sooner than 1935? Why did nobody hear about them till then? He was a poor man, - had only averaged five months work a year during the depression - and if he had only told a newspaper he could have sold them for the money he admits he so badly needed.
The questions and doubts are natural enough, and reasonable enough until you meet James Edward Dodd. As a matter of fact Mr. Dodd didn't keep quiet about them at all. He hawked them here and there and had people coming to his house to see what at first were supposed to be Indian relics. He had them at the Mariaggi Hotel - for long the swank hostelry in Port Arthur. His friends seem in fact to have grown a little weary of having him talk about them.
Mrs. Dodd found some of these visitors a little trying. Her husband was in the habit of coming home at all times with men who really didn't want very much to see old mining tools or Indian relics or whatever they were but they like "Eddie," as he known to his many friends, and didn't want to hurt his feelings by refusing. His palls on the C.N.R. were claim stakers - and what railway man in Northern Ontario isn't "interested" in a mining claim - wanted to talk mining more than scrap iron. "What s- gave those things to you?"had asked Pat Bohan, section man at Dorion right after the find in 1931 when he was at the Dodd cabin on the mining claim. They joked about James Edward and his find and at last as one put it " thought he was bugs". No wonder James E. retired inside himself.
THEN A SCHOOL TEACHER ARRIVED
The along one day came a "school teacher from down around the Soo" (it was really near Kingston) and gave Dodd the idea they might be valuable, if only somebody could say what they were. "A man from the U.S." talked the same way. And so the owner got more interested in what people called junk, and the more he thought about the stuff the more he wondered.
It was the Kingston school teacher who first wrote Dr. C.T.Currelly, curator of the Royal Ontario Museum at Toronto about Dodd's find. The Doctor thereupon wrote to James Edward but he says he got no reply.
He kept the relics "in a box under the sink", and so Mrs. Dodd got tired moving them every time she wanted to sweep. So they were moved to the cupboard, the cellar, and the good wife followed them with what patience she could muster.
"Once I found them behind the china cabinet," she told the writer. Finally, patience gone she threw them out in the yard. But that was after she had offered to gild them and hang them on the wall where hubby could get his fill of looking at them and where callers wouldn't need to haul them out an muss up her kitchen. Husband wouldn't let them be gilded she said as that" might spoil them." But after they landed in the yard, Mr. Dodd considerately put them in the woodshed. Even as she told the story Mrs. Dodd sighed with relief.
"You don't know how old things like that clutter up a place and make work," she said. "Of course men don't know how trying a few old iron relics cam be to a housewife."
It wasn't James Edward's fault that the world didn't know about his find. And after a while he found even his friends a little bit diffident about going to see the articles or even talking about them. From indifference they began to joke, and James E. had occasionally to hear a jeer or two. Fact is he could do his part as a brakeman or a freight train conductor, but as a publicity agent for old iron articles found on mining claims he was a failure.
To Be Continued
From the Nipigon Historical Museum Archives
The Fenwick "papers"
The News - Chronicle , October 6, 1938
By Canadian Press
TORONTO, Ontario - Oct. 6
Dr. C.T. Currelly, director of the Royal Ontario Museum of Archaeology, said today he was confident James Dodd's claim he found Norse relics while prospecting in Northwestern Ontario had been proved beyond doubt. The museum purchased the relics for $500 from Dodd two years ago.
"The whole story is perfectly clear now," Dr. Currelly said. "As soon as the evidence has all been presented the story told by James Dodd of his finding the relics will be justified."
The curator said credit for establishing the facts belongs to J.W. Curran, publisher of the Sault Ste. Marie Star, Judge Alexander McComber of Port Arthur and Dr. George E. Eakins of Port Arthur.
Friday, 30 March 2012
The Fenwick "papers"
The News-Chronicle, October 5, 1938
While spending a week of hollidays in Port Arthur during the latter part of August, J.W. Currran, editor of the Sault Daily Star, used a considerable portion of his time to investigate and, if possible, verify reports of Norse relics having been found near Beardmore.
The finding of these relics, if authentic, is regarded as proof that Norsemen visited this part of the country, probably entering by way of Hudson Bay centuries before the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus.
As a result of his investigation a dn inquiries, Mr. Curran writes in his paper that he is fully satisfied with the story of the discovery credited to J.E. Dodd, a Port Arthur trainman who in his spare time is prospector and mining man.
Mr. Curran uses three columns in his paper to tell of his impressions which he formed. In his opening paragraph he describes it all as " A preposterous, unbelievable story that turns out to be true. I have no more doubt that James Edward Dodd, Canadian National Railway freight conductor and amateur mining prospector of Port Arthur, Ontario, found Norse relics in 1931 at the spot near Beardmore, where he says he found them, than that Hudson Bay exists where people tell me it is located."
Thereafter, the editor investigator proceeds to give the details of his inquiries, with credit to Judge A.J. McComber and Dr. Geo. E. Eakins for valuable assistance. One of his most interesting deductions is that in time the bona fides of the find will be accepted with the result that Ontario will have come into possession of an historic shrine "that may rival the Dionne quintuplets as a lure for the scientist and the general public...The little mining town of Beardmore will become the Callander of the North and the neighbouring cities of Port Arthur and Fort William will benefit as North Bay has benefitted."
Mr. Curran summarizes his findings and conclusions as follows:
- That Norsemen came into Ontario by James Bay probably before 1,100 A.D.
- That they travelled by the Albany and Kenogami Rivers and thence by the route on which Pearl and Beatty Lakes are situated - an age-old trail to Lake Nipigon which runs close to Beardmore.
- That the weapons found by Mr. Dodd belonged to one man who probably died on the spot, and was buried with his warrior equipment there as was the old Norse custom.
- Ontario has found a historical shrine that may rival sthe Dionne quintuplets as a lure for the scientist and the general public. At present there is no motor road from Nipigon (1938), fifty-seven miles from Beardmore, so that the traveller must visit the place by train. The whole area is primitive and difficult for travel. But the railway lands the visitor within a quarter mile of the grave of a man who was buried probably 900 years ago. The little mining town of Beardmore will become the Callander of the north and the neighbouring cities of Port Arthur and Fort William will benefit as North Bay has benefitted.
The evidence collected and in view will probably intrigue the scientific world for the next thousand years. Books without number will be written about the find, and science will inevitably step in and enlarge the scope of a story that is bound to fascinate manking for centuries.
Note: 2012 Train service is no longer available - CNR pulled the rails in 2010
Thursday, 29 March 2012
The Fenwick "papers"
The News-Chronicle, October 5, 1938
New Evidence of Norsemen Will be Made Public Soon, Soo Editor Says; Believes Relics Story
By Canadian Press
SAULT STE. MARIE, Ontario, Oct 5 -
New and important evidence that Norse adventurers were the first white men to set foot on North America will be made public soon, J.W. Curran, publisher of the Sault Daily Star, said today in an article in The Star.
He and two other investigators are prepared to report that three Norse relics were actually found in 1931 near Beardmore, in Northwestern Ontario. They were produced in 1935 by James E. Dodd of Port Arthur, who sold them to the Royal Ontario Museum.
Mr. Curran said he investigated with little hope at first that the weapons could be proven to have been found in Ontario. He was assisted by Judge Alexander McComber, senior judge of Thunder Bay District, and Dr. George E. Eakins of Port Arthur.
The Relics sold by Dodd, a railway conductor and amateur prospector, were proven to be genuine Norse weapons of the 11th century but their discovery in Ontario was disputed. Dodd said he dug them up while prospecting for gold.
"I accept Mr. Dodd as a truthful man, and so accept his story as true and exact. There is no question in my mind but that he found the Norse relics where he says he did."
"There are important facts, to be revealed in due time, which will heighten very greatly the interest in the episode and widen its significance. The evidence concerning these now is being gathered with care. More than (page 2) the museum's three pieces have been unearthed."
Mr. Curran asserted the newly gathered evidence might possibly prove that Norse sailors came to Ontario by James Bay before the year 1100, or 400 years before Columbus crossed the Atlantic, and reached Lake Nipigon by way of the Albany and Kenogami Rivers.
Recently Mr. Curran supported a theory that so-called "white Indians" living on the west shore of James Bay might be direct descendants of Norse sailors.
The Fenwick "papers"
The News-Chronicle Saturday, September 17, 1938
To the Editor of the News-Chronicle:
Sir, - A friend in Canada has sent me your editorial of August 19, (1938) , "Norsemen Here First." It is temperate and sensible. Particularly I want to thank you for not having misquoted me as badly as did some news dispatches which also have been sent me from Canada. I did not say, of course, that I was inclined to favor the view that certain "white Indians" on southwestern Hudson Bay were of Norse descent. The best I could do when interviewed was to say that the view, while not absurd, was highly improbable. I pointed out that since the days of Henry Hudson, who was abandoned on Hudson Bay in an open boat, there have been so many possibilities of European admixture that whatever whiteness the said Indians may have is much more likely to be from that source - unless, indeed, it can be established that they were there at or before Hudson's time.
I am writing, however, because of my interest in the rest of your editorial, the part which deals with your alleged Norse finds.
Danish archaeologists during the last few years have found Norse remains from the Middle Ages (though perhaps merely Norse things traded to Eskimos) in Greenland will north of Etah where Peary used to have his base stations during his northern work. The Sverdrup expedition considered they found Norse remains on Jones Sound. You will find mention of this in Sverdrup's New Land, Vol. 2, page 311, but the subject has been dealt with more in detail, and from a different point of view, by the Norwegian Geographical Society . The chief article was written by Sverdrup's second-in-command, Gunnar Isachsen - in translation the title is : "How Far North Into the Wilderness Did the Norsemen (of the Middle Ages ) Attain onTheir Hunting Expeditions?" This is in Vol. 4, Oslo, 1932.
No scholars apparently doubt that the European Greenlanders were in the habit of making voyages to Labrador for timber needed in Greenland for housebuilding and other purposes, and for sale of this timber to Iceland, as late as 1347, when one of the ships in this trade wrecked in Iceland. This is a sample of those elementary things which make it by no means impossible either that Norse relics may be discovered on or near Hudson Bay hereafter, or even that the finds to which you refer may be authentic.
That is the point. Your finds may be a spoof; - but they could be authentic. My suggestion is that your city, the origin of these reports, should form a committee of thoughtful students to investigate and to make an authoritative report. Should these be one at Port Arthur who is thought qualified for the technical side of the investigation, it will not be difficult for you to secure specialists from one or another of the Canadian Universities.
There are many throughout the world deeply interested in the possible authenticity of the Beardmore relics. An inquiry on them is far more easy than that on the Kensington Stone. The question these is whether the relic itself is genuine. It seems that no such point has been raised against the Beardmore finds - they appear to be securely authentic so far as concerns being of Norse origin and of great antiquity. The sole question for you is whether they were planted or whether they are an authentic discovery.
V. Stefansson, New York, September 13, 1938
Tuesday, 27 March 2012
The Fenwick "papers"
The News-Chronicle, September 13, 1938
The Lakehead Cities - Port Arthur, Fort William, Westfort - Schreiber, Nipigon
George Finlay of Port Arthur has sent the following letter on the subject of white Indians to the editor of the Sault Daily Star:
Dear Sir - I am attaching two cuttings from the News-Chronicle issue of September 9, relative to 'White Indians" of James Bay.
Taking first the article "White Indians" of James Bay," wherein you state "all doubts of their existence is set to rest," I definitely challenge this statement and contend that all evidence points to the contrary.
1. "These white Indians are pretty well bunched on the shores of James Bay at and north of the Albany River." This would mean that their dwelling places would be at Albany, Kapisko, Attawapiskat, and Opinaga or Negatosaki. I certainly saw no white Indians during my stay at these posts.
2. 188.8.131.52.7. all deal with Finlay's interpretation of characteristics
8. Turning to the editorial. If, as the News-Chronicle states, "He attaches principal importance to the fact that the Crees had a word for white man, "Mistigoche,' which could have been used only on account of their coming," I feel that your theory fails at this point. The word "Mistikoose" or "Mistigoche" means a boat, the first syllable "mistik" meaning wood, tree, log, timber or stick. However, we find that the word for boat used on the west coast of James Bay is "Cheman".
"Chemanis" being a small boat or canoe. The translation of white man into Cree would be "Wapiskusuki," literally white skin. Now at Moose Factory and up the coast we find the word used to indicate "white man" is "Wamistikosew," this literally meaning Frenchman. Incidentally, and American is "Kitckemookoman", literally Big Knife, no doubt a reference to the Bowie knives so freely used some time ago by American frontiersmen. It should be remembered that Radisson and Grossilliers had been in this country, that is at the site of Moose Factory, before the lack of interest by the French King in their discoveries led them to England and the formation of The Hudson's Bay Company. These explorers were French and the word used now to indicate white man has a direct reference to the men and their companions, who took the overland route, that is down the Abitibi and Moose Rivers.
The Fenwick "papers"
The News - Chronicle , Friday September 9, 1938
The Lakehead Cities - Port Arthur, Fort William , Westfort - Schreiber, Nipigon
SAULT STE. MARIE, Ontario, Sept 9 -
If the "white" Indians of James Bay were dressed in the clothing of the palefaces, they would be no different in appearance from white people, J.W. Curran, editor of the Sault Daily Star, says in the second article devoted to the origin of these men and the theory that Europeans were seen in James Bay before the French came, probably adventurous Norsemen.
After summarizing the contention of the first article, Mr. Curran starts out his second series with this statement: "All doubt of the existence of "white" Indians on James Bay is set at rest by the statement of several residents of the Garden River Ojibway Reserve beside Sault Ste. Marie, who have been to James Bay believe they are 'real' Indians. Put white clothes on them and they would look like whites - not Indians - they say.
KEEP TO THEMSELVES
"These 'white' Indians are pretty much bunched on the shore of James Bay at the north of the ALbany River. They are peaceable people, who keep to themselves. They are fine physical specimens and good workers. This is the testimony."
"Before the railways were built many of our Algoma Indians worked on the Lake Superior - James Bay portage route via Michipicoten River , Dog Lake, Missinabi and Moose Rivers to land at Moose Factory. These young fellows of today, the elders say, know nothing about the old days. They have never been anywhere. But the old fellows are full of yarns of the Bay up to , say twenty years ago."
"The finding of Norse relics in North America - if any - has little bearing on the fact that it was the Crees of James Bay who invented the first American names for the white strangers from the sea. Champlain first recorded the word in 1610, and apparently it was the St. Lawrence River tribe he called the Montagnais (French for mountain people) who gave it to him. These spoke a language allied to the Algonquin and Ojibway."
"But the Moose Cree claim that there are "white" Indians living on the west shore of James Bay - possible descendants of wrecked Norse sailors - maybe a tangible link in the chain of evidence which may establish Norse priority in America."
"Patiently pursuing this lead, some very interesting stories , current in the Lake Superior region, have been collected from several sources."
"Put Soo clothes on those "white" Indians on James Bay and you would think they were white people. Many have red hair or very fair hair with very light eyes - some blue. They only talk Cree," said Dan Jones of the Garden River Reserve, who has made three trips to Moose Factory, on one of which he went up the west shore of James Bay to the Albany River. At the Hudson's Bay Company post in July at the mouth of the river there were about 200 Crees living in wigwams and small houses. That was on his last trip twenty years ago. He estimated that of these, about fifty were "white" Indians - well-built strong men, and none of them small."
LOOK LIKE WHITES
"There were some white Crees at Moose Factory and a score more were met on the Moose River."
"I don't believe they are real Indians," said Mr. Jones. "They look like white people. They talk Muskego (a Cree dialect), and some talk a very little English. But most I ran across couldn't even say 'yes' or 'no'. Some of the women wore narrow cloth bands to tie back their hair, which is not like our Indian women. But I understood that the women would not wear dresses or clothes like white women. Those I knew wouldn't even sit on a chair."
"It must not be assumed that all 'white' Crees are of one nation. There are some with English and Scotch names. These may have had ancestors who were employees of the Hudson's Bay Company, which had regular ships, annually or oftener, calling at James Bay. They would thus not have to give up hope of returning to civilization. But Norsemen wrecked before the Hudson's Bay Company began business in 1670 faced an altogether different situation. They had little or no chance of leaving the coast they were wrecked on."
Sunday, 25 March 2012
The Fenwick "papers"
The News-Chronicle, September 9, 1938
Maintaining his reputation for originality and ability to put his home town on the front pages and feature pages, J.W. Curran, editor of the Sault Daily Star, continues discussion of the possibility that "White Indians" on the west coast of James Bay are actually descendants of Norsemen who crossed the ocean some time in advance of the Christopher Columbus discovery of 1492.
The Soo editor quotes different authorities and cites other evidence to prove that there are among those people European characteristics that can be traced to no other source. He attaches prinicpal importance to the fact that the Cree had a word for white men, "mistigoche"(spelling keeps changing) which could have been used only on account of their coming. There are, it is said, other words to indicate that they "came sailing" and "were blown on shore."
Disregarding the opinion of George Finlay, Port Arthur man, who lived in the James Bay territory for seven years and says he knew in that time every individual, but that there were no "white Indians", that factor of language or words is in itself important.
Is it not to be regarded as peculiar that, if Norsemen or any others were shipwrecked or otherwise placed on the shores of James Bay to continue as a group of White natives or Indians, they did not perpetuate at least a good portion of their own language? Nothing would be more likely handed down from generation to generation than words. Yet it does not appear that there are any of European character among the so-called White Indians.
The Fenwich "Papers"
The News-Chronicle, August 27, 1938 Page 4
The Lakehead Cities- Port Arthur, Fort William, Westfort - Scheiber, Nipigon
To the theory that the Norsemen were the first Europeans to reach the continent of America and that they came down from the north into the central areas of Canada by way of Hudson Bay, is added another , which is that White Indians of the west shore of James Bay are actually descendants of the original Norsemen.
The thought has been advanced by J.W. Curran in his paper, the Sault Ste. Marie Daily Star, and given publicity elsewhere, has received some credence. Mr. Curran bases his theory in part on the word "Mistogoche," described as the Cree word for White Men and which, by its use in the language, would indicate the coming at some time in history of the white Norsemen.
Mr. Curran argues that Cree Indians in conversation with Champlain referred to white men as "wooden boat men", and that the Cree word for white men, which had been in use for a long time, spread southward among many tribes. The Swampy Crees of Hudson's Bay had another word for white men which meant "he is blown on shore", suggesting that some of the earlier arrivals were wrecked. Mr. Curran also mentions a Norse inscription found on a stone in Minnesota and an iron sword, iron axe and a shield handle of Norse workmanship, believed to be eight or nine hundred years old, reported to have been found in a gravel bed of a mining claim near Beardmore. This has been the subject of considerable controversy in Port Arthur where statements have been made throwing doubts on the bona fides of the discovery.
Mr. Curran quotes a Cree Indian as saying that there is a tribe of white-skinned Indians with fair hair and gray eyes living on the west shores of James Bay, north of the Albany River, and speaking Cree but no English.
Interesting as is the Soo editor's theory it does not receive support from a Port Arthur man who has made a study of the James Bay Indians and who has had the advantage of residence among them for a period of several years. That man is George Finlay, a public accountant, native of Scotland who for six and one half years subsequent to 1920 served the Hudson's Bay Company in the James Bay area.
Mr. Finlay covered the entire west shore territory of James Bay and claims to have known practically every man, woman and child in that area. He tells the News-Chronicle that he never saw or heard of a "White Indian." Mixed blood was apparent in a number of the families but Mr. Finlay, studying the matter of origin for his own satisfaction, came to the conclusion that all this could be attributed to the coming of Hudson Bay men or to the modern day traders. At Moose Factory he had access to old marriage certificates which showed the union of Hudson Bay employees with native women and this, Mr. Finlay believes, along with the further circumstances of traders coming into the territory, explains the appearance of a lighter colour in some of the population. He states he never saw any evidence of any kind, relics or anything else, to indicate the presence in pre-1492 history of Norsemen or other white men. Moreover, Mr. Finlay says the word "Mistogoche" is the Ojibway word for White Men and that the Cree word is "Wi - mistogoche."
In confirmation of his theory regarding the influence of white men on the Indain population, Mr. Finlay points out that previous to coming to this continent he spent three summers in the Orkney Islands, to the north of Great Britain. Residents of these islands were favoured by the Hudson Bay Company as employees and it was the custom to take them on at Stromness, the last port of call for ships trading into Hudson Bay for the Gentlemen Adventurers. Geographical location and the roving habits of the Norsemen suggest that there may have been an early Norse influence on the Orkneys.
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.
The following posts from the "Fenwick papers" follow discussions about "white Indians" in connection with Viking visits.
The News-Chronicle, August 16, 1938
Lakehead Cities - Port Arthur, Fort William, Westfort -Schreiber, Nipigon
White Indians - Soo Star Publisher Discusses New Subject
By Canadian Press
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Aug. 16 -
Possibility that forebears of "white Indians", reported to live on the west shore of James Bay, may have come to Canada before Columbus or Cartier landed on North America is discussed in the Sault Daily Star by J.W. Curran.
Mr. Curran, publisher of the Star, suggests Norwegians may have been the first white men to visit these shores and that the "white Indians" are their descendants. They speak the language of the Crees and have no knowledge of English.
The News-Chronicle, August 16, 1938 page 2
The Lakehead Cities - Port Arthur, Fort William, Westfort -Schreiber, Nipigon
TELEPHONE COMMUNICATIONS FROM MINE TOWN IS EXPECTED IN A WEEK
Long Lac Bureau of The News-Chronicle
GERALDTON: Aug. 16 -
Telephone communication between Beardmore and the outside world will be possible within a week, it was announced today by R.J. Gibbs, manager of Long Lac Telephone Ltd., Geraldton, who returned here after a week-end at Beardmore where switchboard and equipment are at present being installed.
Mr. Gibbs said installation of the switchboard is almost complete and the service is expected to be placed in operation next Saturday, August 20. It is possible to talk from Geraldton to Beardmore now, over a temporary line reserved for official telephone business, but permanent connection will be completed this week. Local telephone service in Beardmore will also be inaugurated next Saturday, it is expected.
In the meantime Geraldton's telephone facilities are also being expanded to match the growth of the town. New cables strung to the southern boundary of the town will have placed twenty-five new connections in readiness for use by Jonesville and Johnstonville residents, while thirteen more telephones can also be accommodated from Little Long Lac if necessary.
Chief difficulty at present, Mr. Gibbs said, is not in securing new subscribers but in installing facilities necessary to meet the rapidly increasing demands for telephone service.
Saturday, 24 March 2012
Friday February 4, 1938
The Lakehead Cities -Port Arthur, Fort William, Westfort - Schreiber, Nipigon
Bearing on the reputed finding of ancient relics in Northwestern Ontario and possible proof there in that Norsemen were here 900 years ago, J.G. Molinski writes the News-Chronicle from Rossport that a few years ago, while working on the south side of Copper Island, skidding logs, he found an old sword in the gravel bed.
It was, says Mr. Moliski (Molinski?), apparently made of iron, about two and one half feet long, over all and about three-quarters of an inch wide near the handle.
E. Ross Mackay, formerly of Port Arthur and now of Sault Ste. Marie, wrote in his paper the Sault Daily Star a year or so ago, about the possibility of Norsemen having come to this country before Columbus. He pointed out that the idea that the Norse adventurers, who settled in Greenland in the tenth century and explored the coast of Labrador, Nova Scotia and possibly as far south as Massachusetts, may also have penetrated as far inland as Lake Superior is not a new one. There are certain old copper workings on Isle Royale which appear to indicate that that is a possibility, for one thing, the Indians of this part of the continent displayed no skill in metal working before the advent of the whiteman, whereas the Norsemen, crude though their methods were, had for centuries been working in iron and other metals.
Then, too, markings have been found on stones in various parts of the continent which have been identified as Runic inscriptions and which seem to show that Norse travellers reached the interior of the continent. One was found a short time ago in Manitoba. One found a few years ago in Minnesota was interpreted to mean that Norse adventurers had travelled overland from Hudson's Bay.
Ten years ago Prof. Oluf Opsjon read markings on a stone found within the city limits of Seattle as giving an account of a battle there in 1910 between Norsemen and natives, in which twelve Norsemen had been killed, the stone marking this burial ground. Other investigations throw doubts on all the Runic inscriptions.
It is all interesting speculation. Eric the Red, sailing from Iceland, discovering Greenland in 982 and established a settlement there. In 986 Biarni, setting out from Iceland to go to Greenland, got off his course and skirted what is thought to have been the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador before reaching his destination. On 1002 Leif, son of Eric the Red, set out from Greenland to seek the lands Biarni had reported seeing. It is he who gives the first account of Helluland, supposed to be Labrador, Markland, believed to be Nova Scotia, and Vinland, believed to be in the region of Massachusetts. After him came his brother Thorvald and then another brother Thorstein, and after them Thorfinn Karlsefni, who spent three years on his voyage and whose son Snoore is believed to have been born in what is now Nova Scotia in 1020.
According to the American Geographical Society of New York one of Thornfinn's hunting trips took him up the St. Lawrence and Dr. Burwash points out that one old account of the Norse adventurers speaks of five fresh water seas, which would correspond to the Great Lakes. This story of the "five fresh water seas" was, says Dr. Burwash, dismissed as incredible, but the weapons found near Lake Nipigon by Mr. Dodd will give a new interest to the whole theory.
The Norsemen, the Vikings were a remarkable people. From what we know as Scandinavia there went fort men who occupied the Hebrides, Caithness, Northern Ireland; raided England and gave it a king in Canute; occupied Normandy, from which came another king of England, William the Conqueror; founded the Russian Monarchy at Novgorod; established a kingdom in Sicily. Perhaps they were the first Europeans to see Lake Superior, though Etienne Brule remains the first whiteman whose visit is definitely known.
Friday, 23 March 2012
Thursday, 22 March 2012
The News-Chronicle, January 31, 1938
The Lakehead Cities: Port Arthur, Fort William, Westfort, - Schreiber, Nipigon
Out of all the controversy raging around the reported claim of J.E. Dodd of Port Arthur to having found Norse or Viking relics on his mining claims near Beardmore, the admitted fact exists that there are or have been lately some Viking relics in this neighbourhood.
Whether they were brought to Port Arthur by a latter day immigrant and thereafter permitted to become junk in the basement of a home here or were left near Beardmore by some visiting Viking 900 years or so ago, they are rare articles. Their authenticity as relics of Viking days is declared.
At present the relics are in possession of the Ontario Museum at Toronto. That organization may do something by way of investigation that will sift the truth from contradictory statements about their finding and thus add to historical knowledge.
In the meantime the question of who discovered America is re-opened. It becomes a matter of interest to review the situation seeking to learn, if possible, whether it was Columbus or the Norsemen or even Irishmen before him.
Admittedly there is difficulty in the fact that exploring Norse or Irish left no definite records. Runic stones figure in the discussion.
SOME OF THE EVIDENCE
Wilfred Bovey, F.R.S.C., of McGill University, in a paper presented to the Royal Society of Canada in May, 1936, refers to two runic stones, one found in Nova Scotia, the other at Kensington, Minnesota. No mention is made of the so-called runic stone discovered at Winnipeg in 1933, since archaeologists and geologists have come to the conclusion that the markings on the stone, first taken for runic inscriptions, were only the coincidental formation of crystals.
Though there are some who doubt the authenticity of the Kensington stone, a great deal of importance is attached to it by other scholars. This stone, found in 1898, was deciphered and told the brief story of a band of thirty Goths and Norwegians who reached the spot, and how some of them were massacred by Indians. The stone bears the date 1362, that is 130 years before Columbus made his discovery.
But the date 1362 is much later than the date of expeditions to this continent recorded in Scandinavian sagas. In his paper, entitled "The Vinland Voyages" Mr. Bovey refers to the thirteenth century historian Snorre Sturleson, who wrote the Heimskringla, or the "Book of Kings". For the year 999 A.D., Snorre makes the following record: "The same Spring King Olaf also sent Leif Ericsson to Greenland to proclaim Christianity there, and Leif went there that Summer. In the ocean he took up the crew of a ship which had been lost and who were clinging to the wreck. He also found Vinland the Good."
ST. LAWRENCE VALLEY
Where was Vinland the Good? It was first believed to be on the coast somewhere between Boston and Nova Scotia, but Mr. Bovey, by following the descriptions ofs the journey given in the sagas, makes a case for the St. Lawrence Valley as the territory discovered by Leif and names Vinland.
The background of these American expeditions is the Icelandic colony in Greenland, Mr. Bovey states. Iceland was settled by the Norwegians under Ingolf about 874 A.D. Before the end of the tenth century, Eric the Red, an adventuresome leader, who had first been exiled from Norway and then from Iceland, discovered Greenland.
Three manuscripts, supported by the evidence of other records, report the discovery of North America by Greenlanders. Several voyages are reported, notes Mr. Bovey, of which the first are the following:
- A voyage made by Biarne Heriuifson (?) about 986. He did not land, but seems to have reached North America first and then returned to Greenland.
- A voyage made under the command of Leif Ericsson, son of Eric the Red, about 1000.
- A voyage made under Thorfinn Karlsefne and Freydis, a natural daughter of Eric the Red, about 1003.
The manuscripts describing these voyages are the Saga of Eric the Red, contained in MS. No. 557 of the Arno-Magnaean Collection at Copenhagen; The Saga of Thorfinn Karlsefne, contained in MS. No. 544 of the same collection, known as Hauk's Book; and the Flatey Book No. 1005 of the Old Royal Collection, Copenhagen. The MSS. are all old, although not contemporary with the events they describe.
The second and most important voyage, that of Leif Ericsson, is described in detail in the Flatey Book, and Mr. Bovey uses the translation of the Norroena Society made in 1906. He notes that the Saga of Thorfinn Karlsefne says that Leif found America by accident and gives credit by naming three regions on this continent - Helluland, Woodland and Vinland - to Thorfinn. Mr. Bovey is dubious about the claim and suggests, though not in plain words, that it might have been the result of a family disagreement, Leif being the son of Eric the Red, and Thorfinn's consort, Freydis, being Eric's natural daughter. Mr. Bovey points out that Leif was a natural adventurer of the old school, while Thorfinn was a different type, a rich man, a cautious trader. He refers to an incident when Thorfinn ran away from attacking Indians, leaving Freydis to hold them at bay, a thing Leif would never have done.
The Flatey Book says that "large ice mountains were seen far away", by Leif, and that "to the ice mountains from the sea was a field of stone - this land seemed to be good for nothing."
Leif called it Helluland (Flat-Stone-Land), which has been identified as Labrador.
Leif sailed away and found another land "level and wooded, and there were wide white sands wherever they went, and the shore was low." He called it after its appearance, Markland, which Mr. Bovey states is Newfoundland.
"Now they sailed from land on the sea before a northeast wind and were out two days before they saw land," the Saga continues.
Mr. Bovey notes that two days sail from Newfoundland with a northeast wind, would bring them to Anticosti, north of and in sight of the high south shore of the St. Lawrence.
"Afterwards they went to their ship and sailed into a sound that lay between the island and a cape, which went on the north of a land and stood in westering past the cape."
"It is evident," declares Mr. Bovey, "that the voyagers were going forward, and therefore the "sound" would be the St. Lawrence south of Anticosti, the "cape" would be "Cape Gaspe".
The Saga goes on:"They cast their anchor and brought their feather bags ashore and made booths. They decided afterwards to stay there for that Winter and made a large house. There wanted not salmon in the river nor in the lake, and larger salmon than they had before seen."
This description fits several places, Mr. Bovey remarks, but particularly suits Port Daniel on the south shore of the Gaspe Peninsula. This would explain the fact, he says, that the description is repeated in the story of Karlsefne, where the version speaks of "Leif's Booths" as a well-known fact.
Then follows the discovery of Vinland in the St. Lawrence Valley, so named by Leif because of wild grapes that were found there.
All this indicates that the Vikings were here before Columbus, but, says D'Arcy Hinds, registrar of Osgoode Hall, with books to back him up, the Irish were here long before the Vikings.
He speaks of St. Brendan, a holy man and a fearless navigator, who came to these parts in the sixth century. The Vikings, he said, found Irish settlements before them in Iceland, Greenland and North America, and he points to "Brandon's Isle," named after the saint, on Toscanelli's map, which was used by Columbus.
But between the Irish and the Norwegians, Columbus is being eased out.
The Fenwick "Papers"
The News-Chronicle January 29, 1938 page 5
The Lakehead Cities: Port Arthur, Fort William, Westfort - Scheiber - Nipigon
By Canadian Press
TORONTO, Jan. 29 -
Dr. C.T. Currelly, Director of the Royal Ontario Museum, said yesterday Norse armor in the Museum's possession could be considered "Important" if it was proven the pieces were found in Northwestern Ontario.
Norse scholars agreed the weapons were genuine Vikings and if it were established they were found in Ontario, as claimed by J.F. Dodd of Port Arthur, history books would have to be altered to the effect Vikings came to Canada before Columbus discovered America, the director said.
Mr. Dodd said he found the relics at Beardmore, as far back as 1931. The claim was disputed at Winnipeg by Edward Ragotte who said he found one of the pieces while cleaning the basement of Dodd's Port Arthur home in 1928.
Dr. Currelly issued the following statement on the matter: " About a year ago Mr. Dodd brought to the Museum the Norse articles under discussion. I saw at once that they were a set and of the same period."
"In my 30-odd years of hunting, this was the first set I had ever been offered for sale, and I paid a price for them that I would be willing to pay had Mr. Dodd told me he had bought them on King Street in Toronto, in London or in Norway."
"Every Museum man knows one thing, and that is that the story costs nothing, but the chance of getting a Viking set had never come before."
"Now the question of their finding was most important and that is why the Museum for a year said nothing about it, has not exhibited it and has been doing its level best to find out really what were the facts."
"Photographs were sent to certain distinguished Norse scholars in the northern museums of Europe, and the agreement is complete that they were of the one period and dated from 950 to 1000 A.D."
Wednesday, 21 March 2012
By Alexandra Paul ; The Canadian Press
VIKING DESCENDANTS TO SET SAIL ON LAKE WINNIPEG
Winnipeg: Descendants of Vikings in North America a thousand years ago will set sail on Lake Winnipeg this year for a voyage to Hudson Bay.
... They(Johann Sigurdson and David Collette) are going with sonar and radar to collect data without digging...
Tuesday, 20 March 2012
The News Chronicle, Lakehead Cities - Port Arthur, Fort William, Westfort, - Schreiber - Nipigon
January 28, 1938
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."
DODD "LYING LOW"
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.
DIDN'T MENTION RELICS
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."
FIRST HEARD... IN THE PAPERS
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."
Monday, 19 March 2012
which would have had a wood handle insert, was struck ,
and a piece of stone (flake) would be struck off.
what I see. Sure has been a long time finding out the use.
Thank you Tony Romano for recognizing its use from an old
artist's painting of early American Culture. Many have been
found in the Lake Superior region since Bill Ross was trying
to identify ours in the 1970's.
Sunday, 18 March 2012
THE FUR TRADE AXE: A PRELIMINARY REPORT OF IRON TRADE AXES FOUND IN NORTHERN MINNESOTA, NORTHERN WISCONSIN AND NORTHWESTERN ONTARIO
By David Peterson page 165 - 186
David is creating a catalogue of every trade axe he can find in that area. With over 500 accounted for he can put country of origin and sometimes even name the blacksmith by the marks on the blade to the axe he is working on. Our Nipigon Museum just added 12 axes to his book this past weekend at Lakehead University.
Thanks to a talk with Tony Romano at the Archaeology Workshop at LU on Saturday, March 17, 2012.
I'll get a better photo and post it later...along with what they did.
Wednesday, 14 March 2012
Nipigon Historical Museum Archives
The News-Chronicle January 28, 1938 page 3
The Lakehead Cities , Port Arthur, Fort William, Westfort - Scheiber - Nipigon
NEW RELIC STORY TOLD
F.W. Scully Reports Finding Parts of Old Boats Twenty Years Ago
While Port Arthur interest was focused on the reputed find recently of Viking weapons indication of the existence of other historical relics in the district was seen in the report of a Port Arthur resident that he had seen, twenty years ago, the skeleton framework of two boats which were different in structure and appearance from any form of vessel known to present day shipbuilders.
F.W. Scully, of Brent Park, who was a member of the Dominion Police in 1918, said he had been told by a Cree Indian that remains of two unusual boats were to be found in a swamp in the vicinity of Pagawa, near KowKash on the Canadian National Railways.
Acting on the Cree's suggestion, Scully said, he proceeded to the swamp and found the remains. The woodwork had fallen into such a state of decay that it was difficult to determine what type of boats they had been, but they were obviously of unusual construction.
Some pieces of the woodwork and some iron spikes which had been used in building the boats were forwarded to the National Geographical Society for their examination. Experts on historical lore were unable to identify the relics, but it was not believed that anything of their type had been reported to them before.
Lacking data with which to check their findings , the Society let the matter rest, and since that time no further efforts have been made to secure what is left of the boats or to identify them.
According to Mr. Scully, the boats are in the middle of a thick swamp, extremely difficult to access. He believes they may have reached this district from the James Bay area, by way of the Indian trade routes. In substantiation of his belief, Mr. Scully pointed out that all Indian trade routes to the north lead directly to the Head of the Lakes.
Tuesday, 13 March 2012
Nipigon Historical Museum Archives
The News-Chronicle January 27, 1938 page 1, and 14.
The Lakehead Cities Port Arthur, Fort WIlliam, Westfort, Schreiber, Nipigon
ANNOUNCES ACTION TO RECOVER RELICS
J.M. Hanson Declares He Will Move to Gain Possession of Articles He Believes to Be in Possession of J. E. Dodd
J.M. Hanson advised the News-Chronicle today that he intended to take proceedings for the recovery of Norse relics which he believed to be in the possession of J.E. Dodd. He claims the relics were left in a house which he rented to Mr. Dodd some years ago.
The announcement is sequal to reports of the finding on the Dodd mining claim at Beardmore of relics indicating the presence of Vikings in this country in the eleventh century.
Mr. Hanson told the News-Chronicle there was no doubt as to the authenticity of the relics.
"I believe they are genuine Norse weapons of the eleventh century," he said, "and I personally valued them at $150, although I don't know what value experts might set. The relics were given to me by a Norwegian named Bloch, and he got them from his father's collection of historic weapons in Norway. I think that accounts for the good condition of the articles. If they had been buried in the ground all this time I don't think there would be much of them left."
New York, January 27 - The reported find of Norse Relics near Beardmore, Ont., yesterday brought from Dr. Nels Nelson, curator of prehistoric archaeology at the Museum of Natural History, an expression of surprise that such metal implements had not entirely rusted away in the course of nine centuries.
"Increasing evidence is being brought to prove that Norsemen were the first European discoverers of America, Dr. Nelson said, but he was doubtful that many of the metal relics supposed by authorities to be Norse could have escaped eroding "out of all recognition."
In Winnipeg recently Phillip H. Godsell, author and Arctic traveller, told of discovery of an axe, sword and shield handle, believed to be Norse, on the Dodd mining claims north of Beardmore. Godsell said they had been pronounced by competent authorities to be Norse weapons of the eleventh century, indicating the Vikings penetrated Northern Ontario long before Christopher Columbus reached North America.
One of the strongest props of the Norse theory, Dr. Nelson recalled, is the reputed Runic Stone discovered near Kensington, Minnesota, in 1898. The inscription on the stone was deciphered by H.R. Holland of Ephraim, Wisconsin, as relating the massacre by Indians of some of a band of thirty Norsemen who reached the spot. The stone was said to bear the date 1362.
Holland's translation of the carvings on the Kensington stone has been accepted by many archaeologists and termed the earliest record of the white race in America.
Dr. Nelson admitted that metal objects of Roman origin still were unearthed occasionally in Great Britain. In certain conditions of the soil, he said, it might be possible for iron or bronze implements to have resisted rust through the centuries sufficiently to be recognizable.
REPORTS ARE CONFLICTING
Viking spirits of a thousand years ago hovered uneasily today somewhere between a block of sixteen mining claims near Beardmore and the basement of a Port Arthur home as conflicting reports built up an aura of mystery around the discovery of rusted Norse weapons reported to have been unearthed by James E. Dodd while cross-trenching on his property at various times during the past six years.
News of the discovery which was given to the world Tuesday by Phillip H. Godsell, noted Arctic author, was followed yesterday by charges of "planting" when a former Port Arthur resident now in Winnipeg told newspapermen he believed the relics had come originally from the basement of a Port Arthur home. Categorical denial of the inferred charge was speedily forthcoming from Mr. Dodd as he pointed out his first discovery had been made fully three years before he had resided at the home in question.
REFRAIN FROM COMMENT
Archaeologists in Toronto, who had been informed of the find more than a year ago, refrained from comment beyond stating that the relics in question were now in the Royal Ontario Museum and that they had been identified with the Viking period of the eleventh century.
In the meantime, as authorities pondered the meaning of the discovery, speculating as to whether the weapons had been left by the Vikings themselves, or whether they had fallen into the hands of North American Indians via the barter route, J.M. Hanson, Port Arthur building contractor, told the News=Chronicle he had himself owned Viking relics of a similar description some years ago.
The relics came into his possession when a fellow countryman named Block offered them to him in settlement of an account, Mr. Hanson said, and he had been convinced they were genuine Norse relics of the Viking period. He had valued them at $150 and asserted they were "unquestionably the real thing". They had been stored in the basement of his home on Wilson Street, he said, but had since passed from his possession.
A LOT OF FUSS
According to the grizzled little prospector who has been credited with the discovery, the interest which followed Godsell's announcement at Winnipeg is "just a lot of fuss about nothing."
"We were going to keep the whole thing quiet until we had gone over the property to see what else could be found," he said. "The big question seems to be whether the Vikings reached this part of Canada from the east or from the west, and we hoped that other discoveries might prove it one way or the other."
His biggest worry was that news of the discovery might send an army of inquisitive people to his mining claims to hunt for other relics.
"I don't know how much they are worth," he admitted, "but I had hoped to realize something from my find. And if everyone else gets in there, they won't leave much for me."
Winnipeg Free Press
Classing discovery of supposed Viking relics on the gold claim of James Dodd, north of Beardmore, as one of the greatest hoaxes of all times, E. Ragotte, suite 20 Richmond apartments, declares that the rusty sword and shield now resting in the Royal Ontario museum were hauled, not from a mining property, but from a pile of ashes in the basement of Dodd's home.
"And I ought to know," Mr. Ragotte, rocking with laughter, declared, "for I was the man who actually discovered the rusty sword and dragged it from its resting place in a pile of clinkers."
Announcement of the supposed historical find was made Tuesday by Phillip H. Godsell, author and Arctic traveller, who received word of it in a recent letter from a friend in Ontario. Mr. Godsell expressed opinion that the discovery clearly indicated that the Norsemen actually penetrated Ontario in the 11th century, 400 years before the arrival of Columbus.
It was while cleaning the basement of Dodd's Port Arthur home, as far back as 1928, that the sword and shield were dragged from beneath the ashes Mr. Ragotte declared.
The finding of the armor was reported first by Phillip H. Godsell last Monday. He said an axe, sword and shield found near Beardmore, 125 miles north-east of Port Arthur, had been described by competent authorities as from the 11th century.
Re-affirming faith in the authenticity of the armor, Mr. Godsell last night commented: "Those who have examined the weapons or have them in their possession should be in a position to speak authoritatively as to whether they are spurious or not."
"Information regarding the finding of the weapons was received from a thoroughly and unquestionably reliable source with the query if I had, during my wanderings in that area while factor of the Hudson's Bay Company posts at Long Lac years ago, come into touch with any information that might have a bearing on this find, or, in fact, on any possible Norse incursion into that section of Ontario."
"If the weapons found in the Dodd property were, as alleged, merely of recent Norse origin and of so little value to be left lying among the clinkers in the basement of a house, as stated by Edward Ragotte, I fail to see how they could have found a resting place in the Ontario museum and be passed upon by competent authorities and pronounced genuine 11th century Norse weapons."
The reported discovery at Beardmore recalled the finding five years ago of a "runic" stone at Sandy Hook, Manitoba. At the time the odd markings on the stone conjured up pictures of the husky Norsemen penetrating Manitoba by way of Hudson Bay.
But Prof. R.S. Kirk of the University of Manitoba later pronounced the "carvings" on the stone as "just weathering" and it is now used as a doorstep at the home of E.B. Gibson, Winnipeg photographer.
Monday, 12 March 2012
Headline in The News Chronicle, January 26, 1938, pages 1 & 2
The Lakehead Cities, Port Arthur and Fort William, Westfort - Schreiber and Nipigon
James E. Dodd Says He Has Good Proof Discovery Genuine
Port Arthur Man Declares Statement Made at Winnipeg "False and Malicious" - Says Professor Himself Dug up Part of a Sword in Same Area - Charge Articles Found in Basement
A further contribution to the report concerning discovery of Viking relics on the James E. Dodd mining property near Beardmore was made this afternoon by J. M. Hanson, Port Arthur contractor and builder, who told the News- Chronicle in an exclusive interview that he owned relics answering to the description of those found on Dodd's property and that he had kept them in the basement of a house in which Dodd had been a tenant two years ago.
Mr. Hanson said he had accepted a collection of old relics from a Norwegian named Black, in settlement of an account. A native of Norway himself, Mr. Hanson said he recognized the articles as of historical importance, and that he valued them at $150.
James E. Dodd, on whose Beardmore mining property were reported to be found relics linking this district with Viking adventurers of a thousand years ago, today stoutly denied reports that the Norse weapons had been "planted" in order to create a sensation.
"They started a story like that several years ago," he said, "but I have my son and another man to prove that I found them while cross-trenching on my property. Not only that, but a university professor himself dug up part of a Viking sword in the same area last year."
Shown a dispatch from Winnipeg in which a former Port Arthur resident had made the charge of "planting", Mr. Dodd branded the report as "false and malicious."
"That fellow's word isn't good anywhere," he said. "I see he claims I found the relics in the basement of a house on Wilson Street. Well, I didn't live on Wilson Street until 1934 and I made my first discovery on May 24, 1931. He never saw the relics until three years later, so what does he know about it?"
Mr. Dodd was surprissed that the story of the discovery had been made public.
"I promised the archaeology fellow who was up here last year that I wouldn't say anything about it until we had further proof," he declared, "and he promised me the same thing. I don't know how the newspapers got hold of it at all."
"Do you really believe the things you found are Viking weapons that have been on your property for more than nine hundred years?" he was asked.
"I don't know how long they have been there, but the archaeology fellow says they are the genuine article," was the reply. "When I first ran across the stuff after we had blasted on a cross trench I thought so little of it I threw it upon sthe bank and left it there for two years."
"What led you to ask the opinion of archaeology experts?" the News-Chronicle asked.
"I happened to show the things to Professor Burwash and he was interested. That's how we got working on the stuff."
In addition to the sword, shield handle and battle axe, discovery of which was reported yesterday by Phillip Godsell, other articles had also been found, Mr. Dodd said. He would not say what the other articles had been.
"I'm not telling anything. You'll have to get in touch with the Ontario Museum or Professor McIlraith," he said. "I didn't want to have anything in the papers at all."
He added that a party of Toronto men planned to visit the property this summer and conduct a more intensive search for further articles of historical interest.
"That's all I have to say," Mr. Dodd concluded. "I don't know anything about these things. I don't know if the Vikings left them there or if somebody else left them. All I know is they were buried in my property and I found them on May 24, 1931. I'm not an archaeology fellow, and I just have to take their word for what the swords and things are."
Interviewed yesterday, before the telegram from Winnipeg had been received questioning the merits of his discovery, the veteran prospector was equally non-committal, about the matter.
"THere's really nothing to say," he averred. "We found a few things while doing assessment work on mining claims some years ago. We found more last summer and we think we may make further discoveries next summer, too."
"What sort of 'discoveries'?" we persisted.
"Well, the archaeology fellow tells me they're weapons used by the Vikings some time in the tenth or eleventh century. We found a piece of a sword, part of a shield and a battle axe among other things."
The weapons when found, he added, were in a poor state of preservation. "Just a few odds and ends of rusty metal, you might say," Mr. Dodd explained.
Discovery of the find, which archaeologists believe may prove the Vikings reached much further into the interior of Canada than was previously thought came about entirely by accident, according to the old-time prospector.
"We were cross-trenching on our claims about six years ago when we turned up the first piece," he said. "I forget what it was at the moment, but I mentioned it to Professor Burwash one time and he became interested. Then some experts found that they compared identically with weapons used by the Norsemen."
Other artcles were found in subsequent years, he added, and last year the sword and part of a shield were uncovered.
Mr. Dodd said he believed that a more intensive search of the area would reveal additional relics.
"There's a heavy overburden on the property, and almost anything might be buried under it," he affirmed. "We made our early finds when we weren't expecting them, but now we intend to really get over the ground and see if anything else is there."
This prospector said he had promised his colleagues that he would maintain secrecy about the discoveries until they could be conclusively proved of Viking origin, but the press dispatch from Winnipeg yesterday revealed the secret prematurely. He would not tell the location of the property in question or describe the articles found in any detail.
"That's up to the archaeology people," he said. "They know what those things are and I don't. All I know is that they look pretty old and rusty and they may be of some historical value."
Sunday, 11 March 2012
Compiled by: Joseph W. Auger
in consultation with: Reverend John McHugh S.J.; Mrs. Mary Netamgesic; Mr. Ted Morriseau: Mr. Joe Hardy Sr.; Mr. James Graydon; Mr. Alex Salem; Mr. Moses Nokanagos Sr.; Mr. Robert Hardy Sr.; Mr. Dan Morriseau.
The following sections refer to othr high-rise features in MacDiarmid division, Thunder Bay District. The sections include the original Ojibway names with explanations and historical facts related to the localities.
Present name: Chisel Point
Original Name: "Eshgan - Nabik"
Translation: Rock slab shaped like a chisel
Location: Chisel Point is located on the east shore of Pitjitiwabik Bay on Lake Nipigon, a quarter mile north-west of MacDiarmid village, Kilkenny Township.
Present Name: MacDiarmid Tower
Original Name: "Jaganaski Oshtigwan"
Translation: The translation is not known but see "Frenchman's Head".
Location: It is located approximately two miles west of Kilkenny Township line.
Height: It is estimated at 1,400 feet above sea level. A vertical altitude survey was made by helicopter during 1962.
Present Name: Frenchman's Head
Translated from: "Wemtigoji Ostigwan"
Origin: When viewed from the east it has the outline of the French Military helmet of Napoleon's time.
Location: It is located on the left shore of South Bay entrance, Lake Nipigon.
Present Name: Otter Head
Translated from: "Nigig Oshtigwan"
Origin: There was a considerabel amount of discussion as to the origin of this high-rise feature. Apparently it was known as "Nigig - awaj - ka", literally translated, "abundance of Otter dens". Preference "Nigig Oshtigwan" was given. (Otter Head)
Height: The estimated elevation is 1,200 feet above sea level.
Present Name: Tchiatong Bluff
Origin: An elderly Indian resided across from the bluff known as Tchiatong Point. This bluff and point were named in honour of this man and his family. The meaning of the name can not be determined.
Present Name: Caribou Island
Origninal Name: "Adik - Onok"
Translation: Caribou Island - In earlier years Caribou yarded, grazed, and sheltered on this island.
Height: The height is estimated at 1,350 feet above sea level.
Present Name: "Gros Cap" - The French called this point Gros Cap because it was a large Cape. It is also known to local inhabitants as "Kitchi Neiashi" meaning "very big point".
Apparently names were chosen independently. THe French name was given in preference.
Present Name: "King's Head" - Abeki Point - map reference. We cannot relate this reference to any Indian terms.
Origin: The Indians originally named this feature "Ananaii Ajibika" meaning "cliff submerging under water".
Location: It is the north-east part of the Shakespeare Islands on Lake Nipigon
Height: It is the highest portion of the Shakespeare Islands and is estimated around 1,200 feet above sea level.
Present Name: High Hill Harbour
This name is derived from high hills on both sides of the harbour. Indians refer to these hills as a sacred land and named it "Tchibai - iag Kebabekipkishknowad" meaning when translated to English, "dead people piled in on heap covered over with rocks and boulders". Many people were killed here in the Battle of Lake Nipigon when the Sioux Indians and Ojibway Indians fought with bows and arrows, cudgels and spears. Signs of fox-holes or trenches were still evident as recently as 60 years ago (1963 time).
Present Name: Red Willow Islands
Original Name: "Miskobimaga Miniss"
Translation: Red Willows
Origin: These high-rise features were used by early Indians as identifying this part of Lake Nipigon because of a thick growth of red-barked shrubs. The northerly aspect is precipitous.
Height: The elevation is approximately 1,000 feet above sea level.
Present Name: Undercliff Mountain
Original Name: "Kijikabika" meaning "Precipitous mountain submerged under water". Note - Water depth is 40 fathoms, four feet from the shore. This was once called Echo Rock and later changed to the present name, Undercliff.
Height: These mountains are approximately 1,200 feet above sea level.
Location: They are located on the west shore of Lake Nipigon
Present Name: Jack Fish Island
Original Name: "Odissanake Miniss"
Translation: Brisket Island
Origin: It was called this because of the view from the Mountain Island. It has the outline of an animal's brisket or breast bone.
Height: The height is estimated approximately 1,400 feet above sea level.
Present Name: Barn Islands 1. Inner Barn 2. Outer Barn
Origin: In a southerly direction the islands have the appearance of barns from a distance. It is not recalled by any Indian origin. Its high-rise feature and oddity makes it of worth while interest.
Present Name: Mount St. John
Orignial Name "Mons Onok"
Translation: Moose Yard
Origin: "Ga-Wabi-Twanga" means "White sands". The White Sand Indian Reserve No. 81 was named after these sands but this has no definite bearing as to the reason for it being called MoutSt. John. The Indain name was only used to identify the area.
Height: The mountain rises approximately 1,200 feet above sea level.
Present Name: Haystack Mountain
Origin: There are 3 origins for this high-rise feature:
"Mashkossiw ojiw" meaning "grassy Mountain".
- "Ga badik adenak" meaning "up-right object" or "standing object".
- Appearance of a large haystack from any direction.
When conversing with Mr. Bob Hardy Sr. he related that this was used as a means of an enemy lookout for the Sioux or Blackfoot tribes coming from the west and that there were always two men posted up there as watchmen. At that time he related that this area was untimbered and barren like an extensive meadow.
Height: This area is estimated at 1,400 feet above sea level.
Location: It is located a short distance from the C.N.Railroad, Kowkash Subdivision Mileage 89.9.
Present Name: -
Original Name: "Agose Abawineng Ojiw"
Translation: Looking-out place mountain
Local inhabitants do not use this high-rise feature or refer to it any longer. There is exceptional aesthetic value in this feature, especially during tourist season, it being adjacent to oour Blacksand Provincial Park Road (1962) The Junior Rangers have made several trips up this mountain and have placed a marker there.
Location: It is located in Kilkenny Township, between Highway #11 and the C.N. Railroad.
Height: It is estimated at 1,000 feet above sea Level.
Present Name: Cedar Mountain
Origin: This mountain is not of any Indian Origin. It was named Cedar Mountain because of the exceptionally valuable highland cedar stands.
Location: It is located three miles east of Highway #11, two and a half miles south of Ledger Township's boundary line. It is in the Limestone Lake area.
Presnt Name : -
Original Name: "Na-tawnga Agose aba wineng ojiw"
Translation: Sandy Lookout Place Mountain. The name is no longer referred to by local inhabitants.
Origin: It is said it was to have served as an Indian Lookout in the late 1800's during "Mushsash Kode Wa Sinong" which means, "when large meetings took place, area trampled over by the party". Presntly it is used by the Department of Lands and Forests Blacksand Provincial Park (1963) as a scenic lookout. It has excellent aesthetic potential. It is ideal for this purpose from its standpoint of view of Lake Nipigon. It has a good stand of Red Pine (Pinus Resinosa). Selwyn Dewdney looked for pictographs here in 1962. He found none.
continued letter to L.M. Lein June 21, 1972
research by Mrs. Lacusta
Prior to 1919, the name Cameron's Pool was in use to identify a bay-like portion of the Nipigon River north of where the present day Cameron Falls is located. The earliest use of Cameron's Pool was on the Purdom Township plan, surveyed by O.L.S. B.J. Saunders in 1893. While construction of the Hydro project at Cameron Falls was begun in 1918, the community by that name was not existent until 1920. Robert Bell's report called these rapids Long Rapids on his accompanying map of 1869. The drop was described as 137 feet. The railway station located at Cameron Falls was known as Hydro until changed to agree with the locality name of Cameron Falls in 1939.
The Ontario Geographic Names Board
Continued letter to L.M. Lein June 21, 1972
Research by Mrs. Lacusta
This creek was noted as Portage Brook on Bell's map to accompany his report of 1869. The spelling Fraser Creek appeared on B.J. Saunders' survey plan of Purdom Township in 1893. The lake from which it flows was shown as Frazer Lake by D. Beatty, O.L.S., on his plan drawn in 1900. It was this spelling, with a "z", which was adopted by the Geographic Board of Canada in February, 1910 for the lake and creek. The lake had been shown as Long Lake as early as 1866 on an unidentified plan.
|This way to Frazer Creek, June 13, 2014.|
Department of Lands and ForestsMacDiarmid DivisionGeraldton District
NOMENCLATURE IDENTIFYING HIGH-RISE GEOGRAPHIC FEATURES
Compiled by :
Joseph W. Auger, February, 1963
The Compiler of this report wishes to express his gratitude to:
Reverend John McHugh S.J. MacDiarmid, Ontario
Mrs. Mary Netamgesic MacDiarmid, Ontario
Mr. Ted Morriseau MacDiarmid, Ontario
Mr. Joe Hardy Sr. MacDiarmid, Ontario
Mr. James Graydon Beardmore, Ontario
Mr. Alex Salem Beardmore, Ontario
Mr. Moses Nokanagos Sr. Beardmore, Ontario
Mr. Robert Hardy Sr. Jellicoe, Ontario
Mr. Dan Morriseau Nipigon, Ontraio
These people were consulted and gave generously of their personal recollections.
The application of the name is correct and is used locally to identify this stream to its entry into Pijitiwabik Bay.
Pronounced "Wie Kwe". "Pinjtawabikang" translated to English means "precipitous shore line" or "rock cut entrance". The MacDiarmid Indian Reserve was recently (1961) named Rocky Bay Band derived from Pijitiwabik Bay.
The name Orient Bay is not of Indian origin. The Indians called this portion of Pijitiwabik Bay "Obod-tawnga" literally translated, "sand bars forming into narrows". The name refers to the waters within approximately one half mile north of the present Orient Bay Railroad Station.
PALISADES OF THE PIJITIWABIK
These mountains were never called by this name by local inhabitants. Names of parts of the features are given in eight separate locations. Details as the length of these cliffs or bluffs can not be given because there is no general name in use for this feature. The name is not known locally.
Apparently the name McKirdy was used in honour of the late Mr. William McKirdy Sr. who came to Nipigon during the C.P.R. Railroad construction in 1882. He was a general merchant at Nipigon, Ontario and was the original producer of McKirdy's Fly Repellent which was patented in 1906 and is still (1963) in production by a son Mr. Jack McKirdy.The McKirdy name has been used for several landmarks.Example: McKirdy Station; McKirdy Lake; McKirdy Siding; McKirdy Pit. Evidently the mountain's name originated from this same man's name.
These mountains are presently and originally called and recorded as "Kefkatikgwan Mountains" supposedly to mean "water fall".The proper spelling for water fall is 'Kabikedjiwan" meaning "there is a strong rapid in a river over rocks or a little cascade".
This high-rise feature is located east of Reflection Lake and south of COve Inlet and is referred to as Mackie Mountain by local residents who know about its background history.There seems to be a repetition as to exact location of Mackie Mountain and Mefinstasin Mountain as this location is broken only by a small brook. During spring run-off this creates a water fall and is called "The Cascade Falls" by local tourist outfitters.History of Origin:According to information received Mr. Wallace Mackie was a contractor for the C.N.R. Railroad between Hogarth and MacDiarmid. Later he came back to build a short section of Highway #11 near Reflection Lake. Apparently a large Masonic emblem, 20 feet from tip to tip, was erected on the face of this high-rise by Mr. Mackie. THis marker is still evident from Highway #11.Location: Mackie Mountain is located east of highway #11Size: The size is not known. Height: It is extimated around 1,350 feet above sea level.
According to Baraga's dictionary this should read "Misinatabegisin" meaning, "images reflecting over calm waters". This confirms the name "Reflection Lake" situated south of Kilkenny Township adjacent to Highway #11, south of Mackie Mountain separated by a small overflow brook.
or "Big Mountain" is situated east of Highway #11, north of MacDiarmid. Local residents do not have a name for this elevation. The Indian meaning for "Big Mountain" when translated is "Kitchi - Ojiw".The exact location is in Kilkenny Township. The elevation is estimated at 1,000 feet to 1,050 feet above sea level.
Information received regarding this high-rise feature is that this mountain was originally named "Wasowko Ojiw". The literal translation is "Brown Bear Mountain". This name was given to this feature by Indians. A hunter named Onakonagos witnessed the killing of a Brown Bear there which is a rare species in this territory. Local information does not substantiate Hedley's remarks re: origin etc. The estimated height is 1,200 feet above sea level.
DILLABOUGH MOUNTAIN, MOOSE MOUNTAIN, BARNUM MOUNTAIN:
These three high-rise features extend north-east and south-west starting at Sandra and Irwin though Summers and McComber Townships. The Forest Fire Detection Tower (Jackpine), Department of Lands and Forests is situated in the north-west extremity of McComber Township. The estimated elevation is from 1,200 to 1,450 feet above sea level. This range of hills cross Highway # 11 and the C.N. Railroad roughly at 45 degree angles.
The part between Highway #11 and the C.N.R. is called Moose Mountain and is referred to and used by local residents as a ski resort. The origin of the name Moose Mountain is apparently not derived from Indian origin. It is suspected that this feature was given its name by surveyors Phillips and Benner during the location of Highway #11.
Dillabough and Barnum Mountains can not be substantiated from local information as per Hadley's remarks re: origin.
Mr. Sam Dillabough was the original staker of Mining Claim T.B. 4880, District of Thunder Bay, Township of Summers. Subdivision and surveying were performed by J.W. Kilkenny, O.L.S., July 27th, 1935 and at present is Beardmore Improvement District.(1963)
Apparently Mr. Ross Barnum came to this area around 1924, original staker of Mining Claim T.B. 10370, Thunder Bay District, Summers Township. Subdivision and survey was made by J.K. Benner O.L.S., June 15th 1938 known then as Barnum addition and presently part of Beardmore Improvement District.(1963)
Moose Mountain is approximately one and one quarter miles long by half a mile wide. The height is estimated around 1,200 to 1,250 feet above sea level.
Barnum Mountain cannot be ascertained because map reference is not available.
The location of Dillabough mountain can not be either.
These mountains were referred to as the Northern Mountains in 1755. The Nipigon or Northern Mountain name is not referred to collectively by any such names in local usage.
To be continued:
Friday, 9 March 2012
6th Floor, Whitney Block
Parliament Buildings, Toronto
June 21, 1972
Mr. L.M. Lein,
Thank you for your letter of June 12, 1972, requesting information on several names for features in the Nipigon area. Mrs. Lacusta has attempted to trace down these names and has, after researching various sources, obtained the following:
The earliest reference noted in our records for the name Alexander as applying to Camp Alexander was in a geological report on Lakes Superior and Nipigon by Robert Bell in 1869. Alexander Camp was mentioned twice in Bell's report which appears in the Geological Survey of Canada Reports publication, 1866-69, page 337 -
"...The upward course of the river leaves the west side of this lake nearly at right angles to the shore. For six miles from this point, in a north-westerly direction, it has a width of about 5 chains, with deep water and a moderately strong current, flowing in a bed of alluvial sandy clay, with Laurentian gneiss close to the east side, sometimes approaching quite to the brink of the river; while on the west side, the same rock comes to the water towards the end of this stretch. Here the river makes a sharp bend to the right and is broken by a slight chute at Camp Alexander. At one-quarter of a mile above this point the Long Rapids begin, and continue for two miles; but in ascending the river they are avoided by turning into a brook on the west side, and following it for about three-quarters of a mile, and from it a portage of one mile and a half brings us to the foot of Lake Jessie..."
page 364 ..."For the immediate purpose of colonizing the shores of Lake Nipigon a waggon - road might be constructed from Camp Alexander on the Nipigon River, across to South Bay on the lake, the distance being not much over twelve miles. From this point, vessels on the lake would have access to upwards of 580 miles of coastline, exclusive of islands, many of which are inhabitable..."
Camp Alexander is shown on the "Map of the Thunder Bay and Lake Nipigon Regions to illustrate a report on the Geological Exploration made by Robert Bell", 1869. The name is also shown on the plan of the Township of Booth, surveyed by B.J. Saunders, O.L.S., in 1892, and is mentioned in Saunders' report to the Commissioner of Crown Lands in 1893.
A series of letters dated from June 30 to July 5, 1926 between the Hydro Electric Power Commission of Ontario, the Geographic Board of Canada and the Ontario representative on the Board, indicate that the proper spelling is Alexander not Alexandra; however no origin is noted although a reference to the Geological Survey Reports, 1866-69 is made as being the source of the name.
The designation Alexander Falls appeared in a Port Arthur Publicity Community Booklet dated 1939-45. Unfortunately we have been unable to determine why the name Alexander was used and what the camp actually consisted of.