Search just our sites by using our customised site search engine

Click here to get a Printer Friendly PageSmiley

Click here to learn more about MyHeritage and get free genealogy resources

The Real Cobalt
Some other Lakes

WE’VE looked over the great mines that surround Cobalt Lake, now let’s take a run out through and around the lakes that lie to the east and southerly from Cobalt.


Just over the hill to the east, and within the limits of the Nipissing’s 846 acres, is a three-leafed lake named Peterson, after August Peterson, a Swede pioneer. When the Earle syndicate bought the Nipissing property, they thought they owned this lake, but they were mistaken, and it became a separate company, selling for $240,000, and afterwards capitalized at $3,-000,000. This lake reaches a bit beyond the Nipissing’s eastern limit, and touches the Nova Scotia, another of the well-known mines discovered by Murty McLeod and a Mr. Wood-worth. To the east of the Nova Scotia is the Airgoid, one of the many W. S. Mitchell properties.


To the south of Peterson is a beautiful lake called after Fred Giroux, an 1895 pioneer, whose story is worthy a passing word, as showing what it was to be a pioneer of the wilderness of thirteen years ago.

Fred and his father, Peter Giroux, came to Haileybury from the valley of the Gatineau. They came to find and locate land. They were told that all the land but two lots was taken up, but going to see John Armstrong, the Crown Land Agent, at New Liskeard, they learned a different story. Little of the land was taken, although a very few were trying, by all sorts of means, to claim “everything, and the lots adjacent thereto.” The Girouxs took each a claim, but it cost Peter his iife. He was set upon and beaten so terribly that in a few weeks he died “of heart disease” as the verdict stated. After his death some one made application for his lot. In the affidavit for cancellation the “some one” swore that “Fred” Giroux was dead. Fred at once denied the statement. Said he never was more alive since he was bom, and the “some one” had to be content with one lot less. It is said that Fred had things made very interesting for him because he wasn't dead. But he could not be driven out He took up lot 12 in the second concession of Bucke, on part of which is now North Cobalt. Peter Giroux took up the lot on which afterwards were located some of the famous mines of the camp, the Green-Meehan, Red Rock, Cobalt-Contact, the Hunter, the Stellar, and several others. Fred discovered the Strathcona on lot 10 of the second concession of Bucke, which he sold for $25,000. Thus his pluck in not being scared off has made him one of the successes of the district, and is living retired and in comfort.


Cross Lake is the longest of all the lakes of which Coleman township has so many. It starts near North Cobalt and runs angling to the south-east some three miles. It is long and narrow. A little steamboat plies its full length, by which many of the mining properties are reached. From the steamer may be seen the Colonial, the Violet, the Watts or King Edward, the Victoria, and numerous others. About a mile south from its southern point is a rich “nest” of mines and promising properties, of which the Temiskaming is the “nest egg,” the greatest surprise of the camp. Starting on a little calcite vein, it has run into fabulous wealth, even since I first reached the camp in May.

Here are the Lumsden mines, the Coleman Development, the Beaver, the Rochester, etc.


Next to Cobalt Lake for rich surroundings are Kerr and Glen Lakes. They lie to the south-east of Cobalt—one mile east and one mile south to take the exact angle.

Around Kerr are the Drummond, Jacobs or Kerr Lake, Silver Leaf and the famous “Lawson vein."

Around this little sheet of water clusters so much of wealth— silver and human—that I might write of it a volume of intense interest, if I but told the simple facts. Here it was, upon its eastern border, where went out the life of one who had made a whole world happy. It was here where dear Dr. Drummond spent the last days of his life, and there in that cottage, on the very crest of the hill, he breathed out a last good-bye to the sorrowing thousands who had so learned to love him.

Drummond's Prophecy

Following is the last verse penned by the Doctor. It was written the day he was stricken with the illness from which he died a few days later. It was written to Judge W. Foster, of Knowlton, P.Q.

Note the prophecy in the letter. Were he living to-day, he would see the beginning of his prediction, as the riches of Cobalt Camp is proving greater with each succeeding month of its development.

Drummond Mines, Limited, Giroux Lake Post Office, via Cobalt, Ont., March 31st, 1907: .

My Dear Judge,—
From far-off wild Temagami,
Land of the silver gnome;
My warmest greetings go to thee,
Among the hills of Brome.

We were among the first of the pioneers to come to this district of silver, cobalt, nickel, copper, and arsenic, and have done i fairly well, and still “playing the game.” We are not a stock. company, save among ourselves, and are not selling shares, only. ore, of which we have shipped a good many carloads since beginning operations. The camp as a whole has provided over $6,000,000 worth, which is not bad for a piece of country: practically shunned by even the Indians only a year or two ago; To-day, however, the Cobalt region has no reason to complain of its obscurity, for its reputation is world-wide.

“Wild cats” flourish, of course, and I wish the Government would proclaim an “open season” for these destructive animal^ without any limit to the number killed. North of us lies a territory which, in the opinion of geologists, is soon to yield us, gold, and perhaps particularly copper galore.

This century certainly belongs to Canada, and the whole : railway trail to James Bay will see, in a few years, the smoke \ of concentrators and so forth rising up over the land, hitherto ' supposed to be barren of anything save a few trees of miserable dimensions.

Yours faithfully,

(Sgd.) W. H. Deummond.

The stories of the discoveries of the mines around Kerr Lake ; are too much a part of the camp to leave out. One of these stories j connects the old with the new'—the very first of long ago with the present.

A Mining Family—the Wrights

It was E. V. Wright who in 1879 discovered the first mine in this upper country. Mr. Wright had long been connected with the lumber business, and while looking after his interests in the vicinity of Lake Temiskaming, ran upon mineral six miles north of Ville Marie, on the Quebec side of the lake. For years his sons, E. C. and Marty, used to come up with their

father, first to see the mine and later to work it, thus gaining a knowledge of mining that later stood them in such good stead. A good story is told of the day the Ottawa boys were starting for

The North-West, or Riel Rebellion

The day they were leaving the Union Depot Mr. Wright, E. C. and Marty were at the station, to come up to the mines. An old apple woman, seeing the two little boys among the soldiers, and thinking that they were going to fight, said: “Wurra, wurra, phat koind o’ mithers musht ye buys hev, ter lit ye be going to the war!”

This was in 1885. Mr. Wright and the boys went with the soldiers as far as Sturgeon Falls, where they started across through the Temagami country to the Temiskaming Lake. The country was a vast wilderness. No trail which they could take, and yet without guide they came through with their canoe, reaching Temiskaming without mishap. Mr. Wright’s knowledge of the woods is that of the bom guide.

Like Father, Like Sons

In the spring of 1903 the son, E. C. Wright, came to Hailey-bury to. take charge of a sawmill. It was in August of that year that McKinley and Darragh made the first Cobalt discovery, followed a month and two months later by the discoveries by Larose and Herbert (the Nipissing mines). E. C. being on the ground, took a deep interest in the finds, and writing his brother Marty, so interested him that he too came up, in 1904. Starting out to prospect, they came over to this lake, where the indications showed that mineral must be found. They were not long in making two of the great discoveries of the Cobalt camp.

The Drummond and Jacobs

Marty discovered the great Drummond mine, and a few days later, in September, E.C. found the Jacobs. These discoveries made both men comparatively rich, and repaid them for the years spent in the old days gaining a knowledge of mining in the rocks of this far north country.

Marty, seeing the vast unused water-powers of the Montreal River, and knowing the uses to which they might be put, applied for the greatest one of all—the Notch, almost at the very mouth. The Government being convinced that he was well conversant with hydraulics, and that he would properly develop the power, granted him a charter for this wonderful fall, where the whole river passes through a gorge so narrow that it can be harnessed and utilized at a minimum of cost.

The brothers have many other interests in the country where they came as poor men to take their place among the “Successes of the Camp.”

The Silver Leaf

The name “Silver Leaf” is known wherever the fame of Cobalt has reached. It lies on the westerly side of Kerr Lake. Its history is one of the best stories of the camp. It was staked, thrown out, staked again, thrown out, and not until the most lucky man of the whole camp made on it a discovery, was it looked upon as anything but barren rock. By persistent prospecting it finally promises to become one of the good things of Cobalt. I sincerely trust so—I got in at 31.

We now come to the last of the four claims that surround Kerr Lake. By reason of the vast wealth spent in the many law courts, through which it has passed, and the phenomenal rise of the man who discovered it,

“The Lawson Vein”

has few equals in the silver stories of the world. On the very surface, there by the road-side, leading to the Jacobs or Kerr Lake, may be seen a wide vein of solid silver. So rich is it that even in this camp of wonders the oldest world-miners stand in amazement, as they exclaim: “We never saw the like before!”

I’m going to let an old miner tell the story of this rich find.

One day while sitting around a prospector’s tent, just across from the Haileybury railway station, listening to the mining stories of a lot of prospectors, who had here collected from almost every mining country of the world, and after each one had told of the wonderful finds of some far away land, this prospector, who had always sat silent while the stories of other camps were being reeled off, broke in with: “Talkin’ ’bout accidentals, let me tell you, y’ don’t have to go into yer Death Vallies to get blowed up, en starved crazy, t’ find good stories ’bout strange deescoveries. Y’ve herd of th’ Lawson Mine? Ever hear th’" fax ’bout its discovery? Never? Well, ’twas this way, in ’s few words as I can tell it, as I haint much on story tellin’. Four men with two names formed a prospectin’ company. They’d never knowed each other ’fore they got to this country. They jist sort o’ drifted natchurly tergether and started to hunt fer leads. There was Murty McLeod, of the Ottawa Valley, an’ John McLeod, of out in West Ontario somewhere, an’ Donald Crawford, of Acton, Ontario, an’ Tom Crawford, of Renfrew. They hed only two names between ’em an’ yit they were no more relation than we are.

“They’d hunted an’ hunted, till one day Murty, while snoopin’ ’round, struck the goods—struck the pure stuff, an’ then they set up a holler which haint done soundin’ yit. Y’ may guess they hed reason fer hilarity if y’ ever stood on the big vein o’ solid silver thet Murty found thet day out there by Kerr Lake.

“They staked it in Tom Crawford’s name, an’ Tom he ups an’ sells out the hull thing to a feller by th’ name of Lawson— H. S. Lawson—for $250. Yes, millions fer a measly $250. The other three wouldn’t stan’ fer it, an’ went an’ put a injunck-shun ter stop the sale. Then the fun started. It’s gone thru three courts—each one decidin’ thet all four hed an ekel interest. The other three sold their chances t’ the Larose Mine Company. Clark and Miller got mixed up somehow, and are in for a possible one thirty-second of Tom’s one-fourth. My eyes, but it was a conglomeration! It ran in the courts fer two an’ a half year, an’ I guess haint thru yit. It wus worth millions an’ yit

when things wus th* highest they coodn’t do a thing but jist law, an’ law, an’ law. Yes, I guess yer don’t hev to git out o’ Cobalt t* find as good accidentals as y’ can find in all th’ hull wurld,,, and the quiet prospector went away back and sat down on a log by the tent flap.

Of course you will all want to know about Murty, you whoVe never been here—the rest know him already.

Murty McLeod

The name of Murty McLeod is so identified with Cobalt that to think of the one is to recall the other. Coming from Bracebridge, Ont., to New Liskeard, a thriving town ten miles north of Cobalt, in 1902, he was among the first to appreciate the importance of the discovery of silver, and from the poor man of 1902 he is to-day one of the rich men of the Cobalt camp.

The McLeod Discoveries

are among the most important of the whole district. He it was who discovered the now famous Lawson Vein; in July of 1904, with George Glendenning, he discovered the first silver outside the immediate mines around Cobalt Lake, on what became the Colonial mine; with Marty Wright he prospected around Kerr and Giroux Lakes, where Marty discovered the Drummond and he the near-by Silver Nugget; and in October, with Mr. Woodworth, he discovered the Nova Scotia mines. His knowledge of Coleman stood him in good stead—knowledge gained while helping make the survey of the township.

Mr. McLeod is connected with many of the mining companies. He is President of the Hudson Bay Extended, which, with the Clear Lake Mining Company, forms the Cleveland-Cobalt Mining Company. He is President of the Prince Rupert Mining Company; director of the Brooks-Hudson Silver Mining Company, and with interests in many other companies. He^holds one-tenth of the City of Cobalt, one of the great mines. "

Not only is he interested in mining, but in many other things.

He is President of the Galoska Mercantile Company, President of the Macgladery Hardware Co., with stores in New Liskeard and Englehart; and a large owner of coal lands in British Columbia.

Unlike so many men of wealth, Mr. McLeod takes an active interest in the welfare of his town. He has long been a member of the New LLkeard School Board, and to him much is due the high standard of education in his town. Already New Liskeard has a $20,000 public school building, and is shortly to have a fine High School.

His success is but one of the many instances of what has been done in this country of successes, where men have come with a determination to do their part. Many have grown rich by accident; Murty McLeod has grown rich by wise judgment and indomitable push. Coming with no money, he did whatsoever his hands found to do. He worked on the North Road as a day laborer, and, as above, he helped on surveys—at anything that presented itself to turn a dollar. To such as he wealth is a blessing—not only to himself, but to the community of which he is a part.

Every mining camp has its figures who stand out when its discoveries and doings become history. Cobalt has its figures, and its history would be most incomplete without the name of Murty McLeod of New Liskeard.


Now let’s go down the road a short distance southerly, as Kerr and Glen Lakes are quite close together, and visit among the mines that surround the latter. Here are the Cobalt Central, out of which “Big Pete” made a fortune, the Bailey, the University and one of the most famous and the best equipped of the whole district, the Foster.

The day we visited this mine—the Foster—we had so timed the hour that we reached there for dinner. Not so much for the 3

meal, but to see how it was served, as we had heard so often about “that little railroad that runs from the kitchen right through the whole length of the long dining-room, carrying dinner for eighty to a hundred men.” I’ve never seen a better equipped road from track to rolling stock. And the freight! “Gee whiz,” as Leo would say, “that dinner!” No wonder the Foster can have its pick of the miners! Everybody likes “good eatin’,” and the miner is no exception. “It pays,” said Mr. McDonald, the manager. “Feed men well and they will work well.” When I reach the age of reason, and quit writing, I shall apply for a position at the Foster. “What can I do?” “Why, help handle the ‘freight1 on ‘that little railroad’.”

Here is just where will fit the very best story of my collection. I had thought to reserve it for my second edition, but I will not keep it from you—“too good to keep.”

Return to our Book Index Page

This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus