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The Real Cobalt
A Cluster of Good Ones


I HAD been in and around Cobalt more than two months before I knew personally of some of the most promising mines in the whole camp. Meeting an Ottawa friend one day, he asked me to come out to the district in the southeast comer of Bucke township, to the south of North Cobalt. It is now a pleasure to say that I accepted the invitation and went, for I shall ever remember that visit as the most enjoyable of any I made, by reason of the much kindness shown me.

It reminded me of that day in old Virginia, when caught in a snowstorm, I was snow-bound among a lot of most delightful people at a little cross-roads. The kindness there was the same, but with the difference that I here found men of wide travel. There was R. W. Edey, the mining expert, long with the Clergues of the Soo, who with Ed. Mohr, also of the Clergues, are now connected with the Hiawatha Mining Company. Near by was George Dawson, of Montreal, long in the Klondyke, who with his brother are finding good things at the Ruby Silver Mine. The famous Red Rock Mine, and the equally famous Green-Meehan, are just to the east and adjoining the Ruby. At the latter I found Manager Charlie O’Connell, of California, who seemed at once my friend when he spoke of Dr. Drummond. It was to Charlie that the Dr. sent his last poem. It was signed the very day he was stricken. Just to the north and adjoining, is the Hunter Mine, known locally as the Latchford, from Hon. Frank Latchford, its president. Here I found M. P. Powers, the manager, going with his men to dinner, which meant that my dinner was ready too, for in all this district hospitality is so general that one might think himself in “The Valley of Virginia.”

The next mine to the east is the Stellar, with H. G. Watkins, of Kingston, an old Frontenac miner in charge—my good friend J. F. Black, also of the Nancy-Helen, manager. Not far away I found George Fillion, manager of the Cobalt-Contact, justly elated over one of the most important finds made in the whole district. It was free silver, and quite near the surface. From here I turned to the north to find the Argyle. Passing up the lake shore, I was surprised to hear my name called by some little berry-pickers. I went up along the side hill, where I found a number of the little children whom I had seen that day at the Sunday School picnic at the Old Mission, down the lake. To be remembered by the little ones is ever a real pleasure, and to strengthen the friendship I stopped and helped them fill their remaining empty bucket. It is these occasional stops through life that make for lasting memory—stops to help the little ones fill the “remaining empty bucket.” Not far away I came to the most beautifully located mine in all the country—the Argyle. It lies high above the lake border. The camp is as pretty as a well-planned summer home.

From the Argyle I returned by way of the Hunter, and other mines, to my starting point.

His Compass Was Wrong

On my way across to some of the other mines I heard a man calling, as though in great distress. I went to the voice, and found a lost man—one of the most lost fellows I had ever found. He was almost frantic. Never before had I seen a Philadelphian so excited. “Really, Mr., I do think I had gone out of my mind had you not come in time. I’ve been going since noon, and I just thought I never would get out of these awful woods.”

“If you are addicted to the habit of getting lost,” said I, “you should never go into the woods without a compass.”

“Compass? Why, bless you, I have a compass, but every time I turned around it went wrong, and I got lost all over again. I never in my life saw such a fool compass as this one,” and he showed it to me. It sure was a good one. I couldn’t but think of the fellow who fell out of a canoe, and trying to swim was near drowning and called lustily for help, when a man on the bank yelled at him to “stand up,” which he did in less than three feet of water. Same with my lost man, he wasn’t a hundred yards from the road that would have led him back to the camp from which he had started, and to which he was praying to be returned. He seemed to think that he was still in Philadelphia, for he offered to pay me $5 for finding him. But I told him this was Canada where they find people as a pastime, and refused his “five.” He seemed disappointed, which showed how scared he was.

THE NORTH COBALT MINING COMPANY, LIMITED

Over in that “Nest of Good Ones” is one especially promising. It is rich in native silver and, what is peculiar in the district, it is free from cobalt. This is owned by the North Cobalt Silver Mines Company. It was discovered by! John ^McMahon, of Haileybury, who had so much^ faith fin his find that in selling, he took a good part of the^price in the stock of the company. His wisdom is being shown in the rich ore now being bagged and stored for the rise in silver. This is one of the companies with a well-filled • treasury, and can hold the product until price warrants shipment. It must shortly be added to the list of shipping mines, as under the wise management of H. E. Jackman, a practical mine man, of Rochester, New York, it grows richer with depth. It has a well-equipped plant, good substantial buildings, and is being increased by the instalment of new and up-to-date machinery.

The officers of the company are: President', Mr. Joseph D. Qualey, of New York City; Secretary-Treasurer, Mr. Ernest K. Henderson, New York City. Directors: J. D. Qualey, E. K. Henderson, John J. Welch, of New York City; Louis D. Webster, of Chicago, and Fred. A. Day, of Haileybury, Ont.

Mr. Qualey, who gained his knowledge of mining in Mexico, is one of those genial characters so popular in the mining camp— a sort of a Charlie Gifford, McMartin Brothers type—the kind that makes you glad you’re alive. The kind that makes you like to stop and talk about them, and then go on thinking better of this cold old world. That’s the kind of man is Joseph D. Qualey.

Mr. Day, one of the leading young lawyers of the Cobalt district, is the attorney as well as resident director of the company. The mine is on part of the north-east one-fourth of the north half of lot 13, in concession 1 of Bucke township, just a mile north of the Coleman and Lorain line, and a little south of east of the North Cobalt station on the T. and N. O. It is the furthest north, of the producing mines, in the Cobalt district —possibly because of its much development.

HUNTER COBALT SILVER MINING COMPANY, LIMITED

In this immediate vicinity, in fact joining the North Cobalt Company, just mentioned, is another that is bound to become one of the good ones of the camp. It was staked before the township of Bucke was laid out, so that the lines of the 40 acres cut into the Green-Meehan, North Cobalt, the Cobalt Company, the Big Ben, ten chains from the rich Cobalt-Contact, and but a short distance from the Stellar. We find it thus adjoining a shipper, and others which must shortly be added to that much-desired list. It is held under a direct patent from the Crown. It is locally known as the Latchford Mine, from its president, the Hon. Frank Latchford.

It lies a short mile due east of the T. and N.O. Railway, at North Cobalt, and is in lots 13 and 14 in the first and second concessions of Bucke township, two miles north-east of Cobalt, and a little over a mile south of Haileybury. From this it maybe seen that its situation is most excellent. It has one of the best sets of buildings in the district, consisting of a large two-story sleeping camp; fine two-story dining camp, with cook camp in the rear; a 16 by 24 office; blacksmith shop, powder house, boiler house, ice house, stables, storehouses, etc. Both sleeping and dining camps are covered with metal siding and shingles.

The assays show from $8.50 up to 1,258 oz. in silver and carries high values in gold. One assay by the famous R. H. Hersey, of Montreal, yielded $29 in gold, and another by Mr. Connor, of the Geological Survey, gave $28 per ton in gold.

The officers and directors of the company are: President, Hon. F. R. Latchford, K.C., ex-Attorney-General of Ontario; Vice-President, W. Lake Marler, late Manager Merchants Bank of Canada; Sec.-Treas., J. J. Heney, of John Heney & Son, coal merchants; all of Ottawa. Superintendent: M. P. Powers, of Haileybury.

Its head office is at 19 Elgin Street, Ottawa.

The capital stock of the Hunter is $1,000,000, with $250,000 in the treasury.

When I visited the mine in the early autumn, I found Mr. Powers busy trenching, sinking shafts, and drifting. No. 1, or the Powell shaft, was down 60 feet. From this level, drifts were in, north and south, 62 feet; No. 2 shaft was down 53 feet on a large vein of calcite, cobalt and native silver. From the 50-foot level of this shaft drifts were in 30 feet; No. 3 shaft was down 64 feet. Only a little drifting was done from this shaft, and that simply to tap the vein which had left the shaft at the 57-foot level. From the vein in this shaft calcite was found 14 inches in width, and when the calcite is replaced by the native silver, as they have all reason to expect, the values must be great. Several tons of ore have since, been sacked, and the Hunter must ere long join the shippers.

THE STELLAR SILVER COBALT CORPORATION, LIMITED

I had seen some of the beautiful samples from the Stellar before I visited the mines cornering the Green-Meehan, to the north-east, so that I wasn’t surprised to have Captain H. G. Watkins say: “See that, and that, and that,” as he pointed out, on the sorting table, fine specimens of native and wire silver and argentite, which are now the product of this valuable mine.

The Stellar lies in Lot 14, in the first concession of Bucke, and comprises some over forty acres.

It was little risk and no surprise when pay ore was struck, for the Stellar lies adjacent to the Cobalt-Contact, due south, and adjoining; the Latchford, or Hunter, adjoining on the west; the Green-Meehan, as before said, is cornering on the south-west, while in all directions, and near-by, are many other good ones. But this contiguity is outweighed by the valuable material the Captain is bringing up from another point, or direction, not on the compass —from below.

“They may have it on the surface, but it won’t go down,” is almost a stereotyped phrase of the camp croaker. The Stellar has gone to some trouble to make this said pessimist say that of some other mine. With a diamond drill, a depth of more than 200 feet has been reached. Here a vein was found 3 ft. and 9 inches in width, and rich in native silver. This same vein, on the surface, was but one foot in width. This shows conclusively that the values not only go down but get better as they go. Several other veins were struck by the drill, at depth, and all of them good.

The company have a steam plant at work. It consists of a twenty horse boiler, a 5 x 5 steam hoist, and a steam drill. Camps have been built, consisting of dining-room, bunk house, blacksmith shop, stables for the teams, etc.

The management is under the direction of Mr. J. F. Black, who is the President and General Manager, and as in my mention of the Nancy-Helen, he is also Managing Director and part owner of that mine as well. He is one of the most practical and best equipped mine men in the district, having long been connected with the great Sudbury mines.

Only a few of the 1,000,000 $1 shares were placed upon the market, and these are practically held by friends of the officers. The Stellar is an instance where “it pays to keep a good thing in the family.”

The officers, besides Mr. Black, are Joseph Morin, Esq., Vice-President, and Charles McCrea, barrister, Solicitor for the company.

The bankers are the Traders Bank of Canada.

THE HIAWATHA COBALT SILVER MINING COMPANY, LIMITED

The Hiawatha, in Bucke, is a connecting link between Coleman and the mines to the north-east. It corners on to the northeast of Coleman, and again comers on the Ruby, which connects it with the Red Rock, Green-Meehan, Stellar, Hunter, North Cobalt, etc. It is known on the older maps as the Ranger property. It was discovered by R. W. Edey, a well-known mining man of Ottawa.

Much development work has been done on the Hiawatha, in the way of stripping, trenching, and a number of shafts sunk. Assays show it to be one of the promising mines of the district. Of it, G. Fillion, the late efficient Superintendent of the Cobalt-Contact Company, said: “I saw exposed several ledges of calcite and quartz, running from four to five inches in width, and the leads seem to be free from the walls, and the cobalt and silver present in smalltite form. The veins are all true fissure, and any one of them may make a valuable mine.”

The rock is beautifully stratified and it is thought that the ledges go down to an indefinite depth. The good ledges of the Ruby and Red Rock lead directly into the Hiawatha.

The capitalization of the company is $1,000,000. As little as possible of the stock was placed upon the market, since the directorate axe conducting it upon a business rather than upon a stock manipulating basis.

They have good, substantial camp buildings.

The officers and directors of the company are: President, Lt.-Col. Norreys Worthington, M.P., Sherbrooke, Que.; Vice-President, J. A. Seybold, Ottawa; Managing Director and Sec.-Treas., W. M. Ogilvie, B.Sc., Ottawa; G. M. Brabazon, M.P., Portage du Fort; Stillman F. Kneeland, State Advocate General of New York, New York City; Superintendent of Field Operation, R. W. Edey and E. R. Mohr, Mine Foreman, both of Ottawa.

THE CENTURY SILVER MINING COMPANY, LIMITED

When one has been in the Cobalt district for months, visiting from mine to mine, one can somehow tell the good claims at sight. As soon as I looked over the Century’s comer lot I was convinced that the superintendent had chosen wisely when he selected it, and as I have watched the manner of his development of the work, I am more convinced that its worth will shortly be demonstrated, and that it will soon be among the great producers of the camp.

This excellent property lies in the very north-east comer of Coleman Township, with the second claim one lot removed to the west. On both of these^properties are many well-defined veins—some twenty—discovered by John Bock, the former superintendent, and S. Sager. On lot No. i, a shaft being sunk is now down over fifty feet, following a heavy calcite vein and two smaller veins, each carrying silver values. On lot No. 2 they have gone down 37 feet on an 18-inch vein, which shows silver values up to $100 per ton. The vein matter consists of calcite and conglomerate stringers occurring in a contact of diabase and grey granite. Besides the silver there are traces of cohalt and bismuth, with some smaltite showing.

The indications at the depths now reached point unerringly to the near presence of the precious metal itself, and experienced mining men are enthusiastic as to the values evidently close at hand.

The Century lies in the great mineralized belt, in which are found the Larose, O’Brien, Nipissing, McKinley-Darragh, Buffalo, Trethewey, City of Cobalt, and many others to the south-west, while a short distance to the north-east are the Red Rock, Green-Meehan, Stellar, Cobalt-Contact, North Cobalt, etc.

Too many of the mining companies have stripped their properties bare of timber. The Century is carefully saving all the timber, of which it has abundance of the choicest in the whole camp, which must become of value as the work goes on, for buildings and fuel. It has already erected commodious houses —bunk-house, dining-room, blacksmith shop, etc.

The management of a mine has far more to do with its success or failure than is generally thought. What might have proven a good one may be managed—in starting—in such a way as to discourage a company into abandoning it, while a wise manager could have readily brought out its true worth. I have in mind an instance, not far to the south of the Century, which might be well to give, as showing what may be done. It is, moreover, most interesting, since it pertains to one of the successes of the Cobalt camp. The surface showed almost no indications of mineral. The company sunk a 50-ft. shaft on a calcite vein, drifted for a distance, but found no pay ore. A very unusual thing was then done—the shaft was sunk 25 feet deeper, and another drift run under the first along the hanging wall of the vein. At a point about 100 feet from the shaft silver was found sticking from the side of the vein. Here a shot was put in and ore of astounding richness was revealed. The vein, now two feet wide, was taken out for the distance of ten feet along the strike, to a height of ten or twelve feet above the level, and from this small space $90,000 of silver was taken—one of the richest carloads of ore shipped from the camp. That was but a short time ago. Since then $300,000 worth of silver has been taken out and the mine proven to be one of vast richness. This is not a fairy story told of some far-off country; I know, personally, that it is true.

It is the management of the Century that makes me feel that the best will be brought out, and to instance it as one of the best prospects in the district. And right here I would mention a fact worth the attention of all superintendents, not only of mines, but all works where labor is employed. I have found the mines where the men were treated with the most kindness to be the ones where the work was done for the least money. That may account for the results shown at the Century, for superintendent and miners work with an interest that is really pleasing to note. The company is favored with a competent superintendent, an experienced mining man, under whose wise and economical management the progress of the work is assured. He allows no indication of hidden riches, however slight, to slip by, but by painstaking care, combined with a personal kindly interest in the well-being of the workmen, follows up all advantages gained. It is due to no accident, therefore, that one of the surprises of the work is that such good results have been accomplished at so comparatively small an outlay, and that the prospects should even at this early date be of such promise as to warrant the highest hopes of the Century Company and all concerned.

The officers of the company are all successful business men of Buffalo, N.Y. Dr. H. N. Miller, the President, is a well-known physician, and a level-headed man of large affairs. Vice-President, Mr. Charles Lantaff, a prominent merchant; Secretary, Mr. George Laws, of the Bryant & Stratton College; Treasurer, Dr. Whytock; Directors, the above named gentlemen, together with Mr. A. C. Hynd, Mr. J. W. Keeley, and Mr. Charles W. Bradley. Mine Superintendent and discoverer of the claims, Mr. S. Sager, of Buffalo.

PORTAGE BAY

To the west of Cobalt is a district called Portage Bay, from a bay that comes into Coleman from the Montreal River. While much prospecting has been done and a number of promising claims are there, no shippers have yet been discovered. Still it is almost a certain thing that with depth, good will yet result, as all indications prove the presence of mineral.

Wide Area of Silver, Gold and Copper

A friend cut out of a newspaper the map of Coleman Township and, sending it to me, commented upon the extent of the mineral district, saying, “ Why, I am surprised! I had no thought that the area was so great!” That friend must have had a surprise indeed when I replied: “Coleman Township would be but a little black spot on the map of the known mineralized district of New Ontario, while the undiscovered, and yet almost certainly mineralized parts, must run into the tens of thousands square miles of area.”

In this immediate district around Coleman, Lorain to the east, Bucke and Firstbrooke joining on the north, and the Tema-gami Reserve across the Montreal, are all full of good prospects, with a number of shipping mines in Bucke, while in Hudson, the second township to the north, the Brooks-Hudson Company have sunk a number of shafts, which prove that copper is there in vast quantities, and with further work will have large shipping mines. South of Lorain, along Lake Temiskaming, what is known as “The Unsurveyed,” is just now attracting much attention, by reason of recent discoveries of silver that run far up into the hundreds of ounces. In the spring there will doubtless be a great rush in that direction. Other districts to the north and north-west are rich enough to warrant special notice, which I shall give in extended detail.

CASEY MOUNTAIN MINES

One of the promising districts outside of Cobalt proper is in Casey Township, not far from the upper end of Lake Temiskaming, where the White River enters the lake. Some months ago David Williamson, a California miner, was going up the White River in the little steamboat, when up about five miles, on looking to the west, noticed a high elevation of rocky land. He got off the boat and walking about a mile west of the river, he came to what is known as Casey Mountain. His long experienced eye saw at once that he had made a valuable discovery. The result was “The Casey Mountain Mines Company, Ltd.,” with a capitalization of $250,000, with the following officers: R. G. Williamson, Toronto, President; James Thompson, Havelock, Ont., First Vice-President; H. A. Wood, Peterboro, Ont., Secretary and Second Vice-President; D. A. Reid, Brandon, Maii.; David Williamson, California, Superintendent.

They have nine forty-acre claims, on which they have already found ten true fissure veins from 2 to 8 feet wide, on one of which they have sunk a shaft. At 60 feet they began drifting to the west, and in the forty feet of a drift I saw three well-defined cross veins, which run from 2 to 4 feet. They have already found rich cobalt, nickel, and good assays of silver.

The plans laid out by the superintendent are to drift 100 feet, sink 100 feet, thence back and raise up to meet the main working shaft. While thus blocking out, he will always have free circulation of air. This plan will be carried along throughout all the work, the object being to get the ore by overhand stoping instead of underhand. By this plan very little dead work will have to be done throughout the whole mine.

This promises to be one of the good mines of the country.

Later.—The shaft is down 108 feet and is rich in cobalt. They have about 15,000 tons of ore blocked out,‘which will run $35 to $35 in values. Just as this goes to press word comes that a very rich vein has been struck at no feet—another case of “two feet further.”

PENSE TOWNSHIP

SITTING in a theatre one evening, I heard two men—between the acts—talking about some rich finds they had recently made. Their conversation was more interesting than the play, and at once I was all attention. When the curtain was rung down and the orchestra had played God Save the King, with which all well-regulated theatres close in Canada, I asked of the men, “Where is the new mining district of which you were speaking ? ”

“In Pense Township.”

“And, pray, where is Pense Township?” I asked.

“Across the lake north from Haileybury, then up the White River, through Harris, Casey, and Brethour Townships. All told, some 25 miles. It lies along the Quebec line and is the last surveyed township toward Larder Lake, from which it is distant some 20 miles south.”

“How is it reached?” I asked, as I was so interested that I would visit it.

“Easy enough. Take the boat at Haileybury, get off at Pearson’s Landing, and—and—”

“Well?”

“Then walk.”

I did. Must tell you about that trip, as it was one of my most interesting experiences, by reason of the many agreeable settlers I met up the White River.

The little boat was the most unique affair I’d ever travelled upon. It was loaded with everything from cows to dynamite. The passengers were a cosmopolitan lot. The newspaper man from Boston; prospectors on their way to Larder Lake, via Toms Town; sawmill men on their way to mills along the river; settlers and their wives returning from shopping and business trips to Haileybury; and—and—well they were all there on that little boat going up the White River, which has almost as many mouths as a large family. We’d start up one, find it blocked up with logs, then go up another till we’d come to a boom, and then come back and take still another, only to find it blocked by both boom and logs.

Our Little Captain and His Log-Climbing; Steamboat

The captain finally said “things,” rang for a full head of steam, and believe my “Geo. Washington pen,” he ran right through, or over, boom, logs and all—an acre of them. “What?” The very question that Cobalt man asked when I told this to him. Yes, I have the photograph, but it came out too dim for a good cut, and I want nothing but the best for you. You see that captain wouldn’t stop at anything, once he set his head, and rang for log climbing steam. Wish I had space for the stories those settlers told me about “Our Little Captain,” as they call him. “Ours,” for he was that obliging. “Why,” said they, “he’d stop and run over to the bank, to take our eggs down to market, and bring us a spool o’ thread next day.” I saw him run jam into the bank to let a passenger on. “Why, Cap,” said I, “you might have struck a rock!” “Aw, go wan! I know the bank!” Guess he must have from the many prow prods I saw along the way.

The teachers up that way are the kind I so used to love; why, they let out school on the very slightest provocation. One we saw had “ let out ” to come down to see our little boat come in. I tried to “take” her and the scholars, but one of the boys “moved,” and it’s a waste of “copper” to give you the picture of the other little chap.

Pearson's Landing

I was sorry when, along towards noon, we reached Pearson’s Landing, we’d had that jolly a time coming up.

Know Jack Pearson? Didn’t know but you did—everybody seemed to know Jack, used to live in Toronto, where he left off selling things to come up here to run the hotel, store, and now a little post office of his own, just to oblige the neighbors who used to have to go down to Judge, three miles below, for their newspapers and advertisements for new seed potatoes. Great potato country, and the new variety men know it.

Thought I recognized a brother in Jack, and asked: “Are you a Mason?” “I am,” said he, at which his little girl ran in to her mother, and in disgusted surprise asked: “If papa is a Mason, why has he been running all over the country hunting for one to fix that old smoky chimney?”

"Why Does Papa Sell Him Coal?”

The children’s stories of this northland will rank with the best for brightness. In one of the towns “papa” sells coal. One morning “mamma” was combing the little five-year-old’s hair, when getting the tangles out she pulled a bit too hard, when the little one said: “D-it, mamma, you hurt!” “Why, ’Neta, where did you get that word?” “Bridget uses it every day • when you ain’t here.” “Do you know where little girls go who use such words ? ” “ No, mamma, where do they go ? ” “ To the bad place, where the bad man burns them all up!” “Is that so! Then I wonder why in the d-1 papa sells him coal!”

Was surprised to meet Toronto’s Street Commissioner, Jones. “What are you doing here?” I asked. “Visiting,” and there he was Mrs. Pearson’s father. My eyes, the variety of people I do meet up here, building up this great country.

Waded

That night at the theatre the men told me that to reach Pense from Pearson’s Landing that I’d have to walk. They were wrong. I waded. Say, you ought to see some of the Government roads! They dig ditches on either side of a narrow strip of muskeg, and wherp ’* o bad they lay little eight-foot poles across and call them “corduroy roads.” The “narrow strip” is made more so by the “mill races” that cut in on either side after a rain. With so much land to use, I do wonder that they make the roads so narrow. They seem to be trying to “run things on the cheap.” Some of the older roads are good— where the settlers have taken to road-making themselves.

Part of this particular road was so bad that I had to “take to” the piled-up stumps along the road-side to get through at all.

I reached the Brethour Mills in time to go to bed. Apropos of these mills, I found many of the men from Hanover, the home of Tommy Bums, the world’s champion heavyweight. The boys had many good stories to tell of him, and are naturally very proud of the prominence he has brought to their town. “We had a better man than he, if he had only trained. He could always best Tommy in the early days. He went into contracting and sawmilling, while Tommy took to another sort o’ “ mills,” and has made “both name and money. Geo. Reegan is the other. He is now the manager of the Brethour. That’s why we’re here.”

$7,500 in Eighteen Days

It was at these mills I saw the Englishman Wilson, who, later, quit work, struck it rich in a mining claim, got $7,500, and spent them in New Liskeard in just eighteen days. He did not spend the dollars, he threw them away. He’d burn a ten dollar bill merely to prove to the gaping crowd that he had “money to bum.” He would pay a cabman, who had driven him a short distance, thirty dollars. He bought watches and jewellery for the children whom he had known around the mill. He would get “insulted” if “Lorna” would offer to give him the nine dollars change of a ten bill. He would buy fine clothes for the boys—himself wearing the same old prospector’s suit. “I don’t need ’em. They all know I’m rich.” They didn’t know it long. In eighteen days he was glad to borrow a dime from those who had been given his dollars. Men of his class are confined to no district. I found him away up at the Brethoui Mills.

The Lame Guide

Next morning I got a guide and we started for Pense—three miles above the mills. Pete said, as we started out: “Now, I can’t walk very fast, I’m lame.” Say, did you ever try to follow a Brethour cripple? Next time I went to Pense I hired a small boy. I didn’t want to have to keep up with “no cripples.” I could hardly sleep that night, I was that tired—and Pete as fresh as when we started out.

But now about Pense: From Pearson’s Landing to the very edge of that township, the land was so level and farmlike—not the remotest sign of rock—that I was sure I was on a “wild-goose chase,” or, in this case, on a chase for “fool’s gold.” But when we got across the line the change was as marked as was possible to be. Where most of Harris, Casey and Brethour were ideal for farming, Pense was all rocky. I don’t believe it has one clear farm. All up hill and down, with “up” predominating—ideal-looking mineral land, and heavily timbered in places, and all fairly well timbered where the rocks were not too close to the surface.

I sure would have been lost a dozen times but for Pete, who seemed to know every part of the ground. A creek—he called, it a creek—Otter Creek—runs through angling, was a rushing river that day, with but a great tree bridge to cross to the north •and westerly side, where much development work is going on.

As we passed along, Pete would point out the various claims. “Here is George Reegan’s lot,” as we came to one that looked as though a few shots would turn out the goods. “George has several good claims.” Going over to where a shaft had been started, he said: “This is one of Armour Doonan’s and A. Perkins’ lots. An assay from this shaft showed well in copper and $61 in gold. They being among the very first to prospect Pense, had their pick of the best—and I guess they picked them. They are farmers down in Brethour, through which we just passed. They were struck by the formation of the rock of Pense and did much prospecting before there was any excitement* Now most of the good claims are staked. Another Brethour farmer—one of the pioneers—John Wilder, has also been busy. He has gotten hold of a number that promise well. He has one in Pense, two in Brethour, down near the mineralized part of Casey, and two good ones in Abitibi.” I could not but note, when I first came to New Ontario, that many of the good mines had been discovered by farmers. “Jack” Hummel, one of the discoverers of “The Dr. Reddick,” was from Brethour. From a poor man he reached wealth in one quick bound. Samuel McChessney, whose farm residence near New Liskeard is one of the “show” houses of New Ontario, found a mine in Coleman.

The Campbell-Thompson Mines

A man by the name of Campbell, of Chicago, owned a Veteran claim in Pense. * Mr. J. C. Thompson, of London, and his nephew, Fred. Thompson, of New Liskeard, finding on it “a great showing of mineral, got in communication with Campbell. It resulted in a company to develop it. They had not proceeded far when, from assays shown in Chicago, an offer of $100,000 was made and refused for it, and big development works were started. Already they are sinking two shafts and have done much trench-ihg. The Thompsons have a number of other good claims in Pense and have great faith in its becoming one of the big mining camps of the district.

The James Veteran Lot

Possibly what will prove one fully as rich as the “ Campbell,” lies immediately north of this claim. It is a Veteran lot; south half of No. s, in Concession 4. It belongs to W. A. James, a Grand Trunk engineer, who bought it, as he said, as “ a flyer.” If indications go for anything it certainly will be a good one.

The Pioneers

When I get into a new district, I always want to record and preserve the names of its pioneers, for in writing of an old country I am glad to find the names of the early ones written down by some thoughtful recorder.

This is a new country, up along the White River—the oldest inhabitant coming to it but a few years ago, Among the very first were the families of Judge, Keys, Roberts, the Bolgers, the Gibbons, John Bucknell, who was the first to discover cobalt in these parts. His find became “The Casey Mines,” to be mentioned further along; Armstrong, a few families of Jones, but no Browns, with only a few Smiths; Wilder, Bristow, the Doonans, O’Brien, Broderick, Penman, Perkins, Moore, Ellis, Gouge, Pierson, Sheedy, Littlejohns, Cannon, the Gannons, Reed, Breen, Coutts, Hummel, John Schmidt, “who digs part of his potatoes in the fall, the balance in the spring.”

I later visited that country in winter. Ah, that’s the season these people have their fun! Distance counts for naught, if the fiddler is to be at the end of the journey—at the home of some-hospitable friend. Great sleighs, holding twenty-five or more, start out, with everybody singing: “And we won’t come home till morning,” and they don’t! Ah yes, winter is the season, up the White River. Few old people live up there, and young folk will have their fun.


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