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The Real Cobalt
The Larose Mines


“YOU'VE been looking for it all the way through? Been looking for the Larose?” I knew it, all the time. It's just a way I have of saving some of the good things for the last. Say. if you could but see this great mine, with its millions of wealth in sight, you would sure wonder how I could have kept back the telling so long. Why bless you, this very thing is indicative of the camp itself. It started out well, so did I, with the Hudson Bay. I shall end well, so far as the thing I'm telling goes, and as to Cobalt, it is proving its richness to be so far beyond expectation, that it hardly seems the same camp. The thousands in the expectation of 1903 have long since grown into millions of realization. In the case of the Larose, in these early days, of 1908, millions of value are blocked out, and to be mined at leisure. In 1903, where was but little reason for hope of more than ordinary gain, is now the riches of a Croesus. This, too, after thousands of tons of ore have been shipped—more than from any other mine in the district, one car returning $126,000, and during 1907 nearly 100 carloads were sent out.

If Cobalt had but one mine, and that the Larose, it would still be reckoned among the rich silver camps of Canada. For this reason its history is so much a part of the country that to write of it in less than a whole volume to itself, is a real task.

To the casual relater, the Larose was the first mine discovered. J. H. McKinley and Ernest Darragh had found mineral a month before, but, as I have said, they kept it so quiet that it was not known at the time Fred. Larose found it in September of 1903.

It was on September 29th that “Fred. Rose” signed the application for the discovery made by him on September 15th, 1903. His application stated that he had found mineral at Station 113 on the T. and N.O. Railway, about 1,300 feet north of Cobalt Lake (then Long Lake). His discovery was copper. This application was sworn to before H. McQuarrie, a notary of Haileybury. It was signed by “Fred. Rose” and Duncan McMartin, who staked the claim, and together staked a number of other claims—rumor says that they were first to discover what afterward became the great Nipissing mines.

John and Duncan McMartin, two brothers from Glengarry, were contracting on that part of the T. and N.O. Railway which passes Cobalt. Larose, from Hull, P.Q., was their blacksmith. All the way along from Mud Lake had the brothers encountered rock—vast cuts of rock—and yet no mineral was noticed until they had passed where now stands the station at Cobalt—about a half mile north.

Incidentally, there are no more popular mine owners in the camp than these Two Men from Glengarry. Great riches often make of good men veritable cads, and you are tempted to regret that they have been stniled upon by Fortune. In these two brothers we find the sort one does so like to stop long enough to commend Fortune for her selection—the elder known as “The King of Cobalt,” and Duncan, the younger, doubtless the next M.P. for Glengarry.

Some one has suggested that John might follow his name with a K.C. (King o’ Cobalt); and still another, that plain “Mr.” preceding it would be more distinctive, since the late deluge of K.Cs.

They took in three partners from Mattawa, Ont.—Henry and Noah Timmons, and D. A. Dunlop. Buying out Fred. Larose, they formed a close corporation, with the capital placed at $5,000,000—an instance of a seemingly high capitalization proving very low in comparison to actual values.

No “Strictures,” Just a Few Facts

I have been told that I shall not be allowed to “pass strictures” on the Government. I shall not do so. Wouldn’t do it for the world and an interest in the Gillies Limit. Oh, no, I shall not pass one. Neither shall I pass a Fact if I see it along the way. Too many Facts are passed unnoted for the good of this great upper half of a great Province.

Fact No. i. The application made for the 40 acres of the Larose property was dated—as above—on September 29th, 1903. The company went to work on the development of the mine, and were not long uncovering a fabulously rich vein. This vein ran across the railway. It was in plain view, and so remained for over two years. During all that time nobody ever intimated that it was not a part of the Larose. All at once the Government, seeing so much wealth lying along their road, said: “Now we own the surface right-of-way, guess we better take the mineral down below,” and they took it, and sold it to J. P. Dickson for $50,000, and J. P. paid for it in the first two cars shipped. The Government had not—up to that time—made any reservation. But a little thing like a “reservation” never seems to faze them if they want to “reserve” as an afterthought. Like John Sherman—or was it Horace Greeley?—who said: “The way to Resume is to Resume.” Here “The way to Reserve is to Reserve,” no matter when the “Reservation.”

Fact No. 2. The Larose Company made a number of discoveries on lands to the east of their mine. These were honest discoveries. Applying for the lands they were refused. Suit was brought to compel the Government to grant the application. It was suggested that they employ a certain Toronto lawyer to conduct the case for them. He was employed. The case was set for trial; witnesses were brought from a distance at great expense to the company. The case was postponed. It was set for another date, and witnesses were again called. Again it was postponed. It was set for trial for the third time, and the witnesses called to attend. Another postponement. By this time the expenses had run up to $50,000. You are now asking: “ Was it wisdom for the Government to incur so great expense ? ” Why, bless you, what need they care so long as somebody else paid it? No matter if the payers were some of their own citi-zensl Citizens! Why, in New Ontario, rank foreigners ate shown more consideration. That’s not a “ Stricture ”—just a little Fact!

“Was the case set for the fourth trial?” I knew you’d ask that. Oh, no. There was an easier way. The Government just stopped bothering about trials, and handed the property-covering some 200 acres—over to the O’Briens (I’m saying nothing against the O’Briens). And there you are. Yes, without trial, settled a case that involved millions of value.

Oh, it’s easy if you know how! And they do know how, up here. “Is that all? Did it close at that?” Say, you must hear the rest of the story. As I told you, they do know how to “Reserve.” In this instance, the Government just reserved a one-fourth interest in all that great property, and are to-day getting one-fourth of all the ore mined upon it. “What right had they to it, other than of that of any other mine about which there is a question?” Now, see here, you will have to ask a wiser than I, or any one else in New Ontario. I don’t pretend to know—neither does anybody else in the camp.

There Would Have Been No Cobalt

Here is another fact which is not generally known, even in the district, or if known, not fully appreciated. But for this great company, there would have been no Cobalt, so far as the wide public is concerned. It would have been another Sudbury, or another Yukon, with a few of our Americans owning the whole. Didn’t know that, did you? Am I telling secrets? Then I am simply writing “The Real,” as I promised to do at the outset. Did the Government know this? Did it know that the very men who had “done” our country were here after Canadian industries? Ask your men who represent the greatest Octopus in the world. They can tell you—but will they? “Not loyal to my own country, to speak thus?” Wrong again. I am loyal to my own. So loyal, in fact, and soappreciative of its interests, that I would decry the men who have so long enriched themselves at my country’s expense, and will decry the men who are helping them grow rich at yours. These men from my country have been helped to get what you could not. Now, who is the loyal one—I or he, or they, who would favor another country rather than benefit the masses of their own ?

Enough of this for the present—the rest I shall reserve for another time—another time when I shall have more space to devote to the subject.

Fred. Larose Well Treated

Before I came to Cobalt, I had heard so much about how the Larose Company had wronged Fred. Larose, that I thought so ill of them that I had purposed to pass unnoted even so great a mine. But when I looked into the early history of the camp, and learned the uncertainty of things when the purchase of Larose’s interest was made, I saw it in a very different light. This interest was purchased at a time when nobody knew if the whole camp would be worth the $30,000 paid the blacksmith. We hear very little about the thousands of dollars that have since been paid for claims which have proved of no value. Nobody thinks to berate the men who have paid $50,000—aye, an hundred thousand dollars for simple prospects that have been a total loss to all but the lucky sellers of the worthless lands. When that purchase was made, the shaft on the discovery was down but a very few feet, and scarcely no value showing. When the $50,000 or $100,000 were paid, the camp had proven its value. The Larose Company risked what to them was then a fortune— a fortune on a bare possibility. It turned out well, and it has been the pleasure of many to say ill of the fortunate purchasers. Too many would rather say of a fellow-man: “We’re sorry for the poor devil!” than: “We’re delighted at his great success.” We can ever know the mental calibre of a man by the size of his bump of envy.

I have carefully investigated the manner of this company’s later purchases. They bought the controlling interest in the University, paying a fair price for the stock; when the holders of the Lawson vein were at their wits’ end to know how to retain their rich claim against the men who would have taken it from them, it was John McMartin, the President of the Larose, who came to their rescue and made them men of wealth; and so on down through their purchases of the Princess mine, the Fisher and Epplett, the Silver Hill, the Cochrane and the old E. V. Wright mine, over in Quebec. Whilst others had acquired hundreds of acres of enormously valuable holdings for a bare $i per acre, these men paid thousands for their properties. And just here, and incidentally, I must remark a notable fact. Men, in the early days of Cobalt, made a few thousand dollars by being very shrewd. Some of them were exceeding shrewd, but they devoted so much time to trying to take from honest holders, honest holdings, that they let their own properties slip away for the few paltry thousands, whilst the very men whose lands they would have taken, on simple technicalities, are now, in instances, worth millions. It is the best illustration I have ever seen, where it pays to be square.

The Riches of the Larose—A Second Comstock Lode

To speak of the enormous riches of the Larose Mine is like telling you that a busy mint has vast stores of silver. No one who has not seen its veins of silver—one of them (No. 3) traced for 1,000 feet—can form any conception of what lies in the property—in the original 40 acres—and the “J.B. 4,” that joins it, yet barely prospected.

From the 70 foot level, drifts have been run out more than 1,000 feet; over 700 feet on the 200 foot; and work starting from the 300 foot level. They are proving that the pessimists were wrong when they said: “It’s a surface camp.”

The Lawson, the University, and Others

|5| On or before March first, work will be resumed on the celebrated University; the fabulously rich Lawson vein; the Fisher and Epplett, with its 18-inch calcite lead, in the vicinity of the famous Temiskaming; the Princess—near the McKinley-Dar-ragh—which promises to be another of the great mines of the camp, shipments of ore having already been made that runs over 4,000 ounces to the ton; and on the Cochrane, another in the Temiskaming locality. In a few months every one of these will be busy camps, for the Larose people never do things in a small way. If what they will do may be judged from what they have already done, then I may well repeat: If Cobalt had but one mine, and that the Larose, it would still be reckoned among the rich silver camps of Canada, yea, of the world, and one would be safe in predicting that it will be a second Comstock Lode.


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