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The Real Cobalt
Romance of the Camp


THINGS romantic always seem to occur away off at the other place. We cannot look upon them near by with the natural eye as when we read of them, and see them through the eye of the romancer. For this reason there is occurring in our midst, every day, that which if told of some far-away place would have all the qualities of fiction. Then, again, real-life things never seen* to fit. It’s only in fiction that we look for everything coming out right in the end. But there are exceptions, and I’m going to tell you of one of these exceptions, right here in the Cobalt Silver Camp—right here on the border of Glen Lake.

The story is of a young man who has figured largely in the early beginnings of Cobalt. He was a mining engineer—a graduate of a Michigan college, putting himself through with his pen and by teaching district schools. After graduating, he went into many of the western mining camps. Somehow a fate drove him along from one to the other, for scarcely had he been well located when a “strike” would come and drive him on to the next. Being a Canadian, and hearing of the wonderful things of Cobalt, he came to find for himself the truth or error of the marvellous stories of the riches that lay hidden in this upper country. He reached here in March of 1904. He worked upon a claim he had staked during the remainder of that year and all throughout 1905. His money giving out, his father, a dentist, sent him $50 a month. Growing tired of hearing of no results, the father said: “Give it up and come home.” He had reared the boy and yet did not know him. “Give up? Never!” And that winter he went to a near-by village and clerked for a hardware merchant. Spring had scarce chased away the snows of winter when the youth was again at work upon his claim. He had never lost faith in the good pay that was leading him on to fortune. His pluck and perseverance made his father think that “The boy must have reason for his perseverance,” and the $50 per month was renewed. This, as above, was the spring of 1905. Later the father came to see what was being done with the money. He found his son, and an English workman, hard at work trenching, and incidentally he (the son) was the first one to try this means of finding veins. Now it is general.

"'Tis an Ill Wind That Blows Nobody Good ”

The black flies, which have made so many good Sunday School boys forget what their teachers told them, must have been as active in 1905 as they are this year. At any rate, they drove the father out of camp very early one morning. He wandered down to the edge of a little lake upon the claim, and while picking along its border, came upon a strange formation, which he carried back to camp. The minute the English workman saw it he cried out, “Hits the bloody bloom!”—while the son exclaimed: “At last! Father, you have found our fortune!” And so it proved, for by autumn the boy who had clerked in a store, rather than give up and go home a failure, could have bought out a hundred such stores.

That was not all. An adjoining claimholder had failed to find mineral and had abandoned his holding. Immediately it was restaked by the widest-known man in the camp—a man whose death has since caused more than one nation to mourn. He, too, failed to find paying mineral and gave it up. By this time the whole camp believed that there was silver on that oft-staked claim, and on Monday morning, following the Saturday of its abandonment, there were a half-hundred prospectors looking for enough to stake on. Forty-nine of them did not know that silver lay beneath a pile of brush hard by. The fiftieth one did know, but said not a word until his men came running in with “She’s staked!” That brush-pile flew in several directions, and the discovery stake was firmly planted. The fortunate one was the youth of whom I am writing. For this he and his men (for he has ever remembered the boys who helped him win his fortune) received $135,000. Incidentally the claim was capitalized for five million dollars, and has become one of the most famous in all the camp. The vein was but a “ stringer,” and running out, no other of much value has since been found, save a far-extending and generous “public,” many of whom might paper their dining-rooms with the stock, and thus get some use of it.

Later.—It’s goin’ to be a good un after all.

$84 to Take Out the First Car

One incident more: After the discovery was made by the father, that early morning, there was yet much work to do before shipping ore was reached, and during the time the first car was being dug and loaded, the young man had but $84 for incidentals to run the camp. But when once that car reached market, his financial worries ended and since that time—well—his only worries are how to wisely employ the results of his good fortune.

Many of you already know of whom I have been telling, while still more have heard parts of the story of the success of

Clement A. Foster

of the famous Foster Mine, about which so much is heard wherever stocks are sold. Mr. Foster is not in any way now connected with the mine. He sold at a time when the public’s faith was strongest.

He sought another mine of wealth. Looking about, his eye naturally fell upon the marvel of this northland—Haileybury three years ago a little country village, with summer communication by the lake steamers, and in winter shut away from the world till the melting of the ice in spring brought round the boats again.

It was little part of wisdom to see that the village must become a thriving city, and yet no one could have reasonably predicted the rapidity with which has come the realization. From a few houses scattered here and there among the stumps, Haileybuiy has spread far up and down along a magnificent hillside, and has grown and is growing so fast that one cannot get out of hearing of the music of saw and hammer. Where at first stood one-story “shacks” now stand blocks running up to three and four-story modern business buildings, while fine residences, whose architecture would beautify any city, are seen building all throughout the town. The very air is permeated with a progress that is truly wonderful, and I speak with reason when I call it the “Marvel of this Northland.”

It was to Haileybury that Mr. Foster came to seek his next mine of wealth. He was quick to note that its “calcite” days had passed and the pure metal lay ready to be garnered. Knowing that vast quantities of lumber must be needed for the building of the future city, he set going a great sawmill, and knowing that the boundaries must be widely extended, he looked about to see in which direction the town must naturally grow. Again, it was little part of wisdom to determine in which direction it must extend, with a stretch of land lying to the north already practically laid out with natural terraces, rising from the lake on the east to the railway on the west. It was here he purchased 340 acres, and has laid out the finest addition in the town. It is so situated that every building erected may face the lake—a rare and almost perfect condition. The lake shore will be beautified with a wide tree-embowered boulevard running the full length of his grounds. One can already see in mind the magnificent summer homes of the rich of many cities, who will come to enjoy these ideal sites, overlooking the broad Temiskaming.

Unlike so many men whom fortune favors, Mr. Foster thinks of those who are in need of generous care. He has already given 22 acres in the south of the town for the hospital which will shortly be built for Haileybury and surrounding country, and doubtless he will do more than his part toward its erection.

In concluding this “Romance of the Camp,” to round it out as only in fiction do we look for like rounding out—where two years ago this young man had to eke out existence as a plain clerk, he is now the Mayor of the town, doing herculean work for its advancement. He has already secured for it a High School and during his regime, Haileybury will doubtless be made the judicial centre of a wide district, while he is planning many things for giving it a permanency that will stop short of nothing but the making of it the city supreme of this whole northern country.

Nor did his good fortune stop when wealth had poured into his coffers. Another had been watching his career, and said “Yes” to life’s most romantic question, and now seconds him in every effort toward making Haileybury a social centre. No good work is ever proposed that Mrs. Foster does not do her part. Her beautiful home is thrown open for literary and musical circles, and the young people of the town have naught but good to say of her.

Could fiction excel this story? Could the romancer plan one more perfect? “This is the exception—right here in the Cobalt Silver Camp—right here on the border of Glen Lake.”


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