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
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.
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.
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.
(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
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
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
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
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