AS showing the values
in Casey Township, another mine in this locality has recently been sold
in London for $1,000,000. It is the Casey Mine, discovered on the John
Bucknall farm. IJe was the first man to discover cobalt bloom in this
section. This was followed by the discover}- of silver by W. S.
Mitchell, one of the most enterprising young men in the whole Cobalt
district. Mr. Mitchell, a representative of a great banking house of
London, came to Canada two years ago, and has already become identified
with some of the most valuable properties in Northern Ontario. He is one
of the few who are never satisfied to follow in the track of other
prospectors. He must ever lead. He and his unique band of prospectors
were the first to find mineral outside the beaten track. He found gold
in Playfair Township a month before Dr. Reddick made his famous
discovery at Larder Lake. His Town site Mine, in Cobalt, was the first
Cobalt mine to be listed on any of the great exchanges of London, New
York, etc. They were first to discover silver in Casey, and among the
first to discover silver in the surveyed part of James, up the Montreal
River. The story of the hardships of his band of prospectors, while up
this wild river, is a most entertaining one, as may be seen further on
in my own story of this young man.
He is a great
organizer. It was he who organized the Elk Lake Silver Mines, Limited,
with large holdings in James. Another of his enterprises is the
Oposatica, and Chibogamoo Exploration Company, now exploring the mineral
lands of the Province of Quebec. His Airgiod Co. has among its members
some of the most prominent Scotchmen in Canada—many being members of the
Dominion Parliament, Senators, and successful men of affairs.
Mr. Mitchell has other
valuable properties in Coleman, not yet organized.
Being a resident of
Haileybury, he is taking a most active interest in the upbuilding of
this Wonder City of the North, which such as he are making to grow with
marvellous rapidity, as may be seen in my chapter on “Haileybury.”
Mr. Mitchell's Montreal
As above, Mr.
Mitchell’s party were among the first to prospect, successfully, in the
surveyed part of James.
By reason of the
personnel of the men composing this party, it is doubtless the most
unique among prospectors of New Ontario. There were Jack Munroe, who
once made matters so interesting for big Jim Jeffries; Joe Acton,
champion lightweight wrestler of England; Jack Hammell, the cosmopolitan
humorist, and clever writer; Tom Saville, “The White Indian,” a noted
guide; and Mose, “The Hungry Indian.” Later the party was joined by
surveyor Charles Fullerton, of New Liskeard, and Neil Sharpe.
The Diary of the Two
I was shown the diary
kept by Munroe and Hammell. In it was a graphic account of their first
trip up the Montreal. It tells of the hardships they endured while
searching for silver claims. While Munroe gives the serious side,
HammelFs sense of humor crops out in every line, making his part of the
“log” a most entertaining chapter. He might be half starved and yet
could laugh at poor Hungry Mose’s Oliver Twist-like calls for “More!
More!” He might be all but frozen and yet smile at Neil Sharpe’s frozen
ears—taking out the stings with his laughter.
It was in the dead of
winter. On the last day of December, 1906, they ran out of provisions.
Latchford was the nearest point at which they could replenish their
store—and Latchford 55 miles away! The tossing of a penny decided who
should make the return trip. These were sent by the penny: Jack Munroe,
Acton and Saville, leaving Jack Hammell to look after Mose-the-Hungry.
As soon as the return
party had gone, Hammell took up the diary. He started in with a
resolution to begin the year without drinking. Next day he writes: “Am
still on the water waggon.” Munroe said afterward: “No wonder, for we
had taken what little there was left.”
Jan. 1: “Been chasing
six-hour-old moose tracks all day. First I lost the Indian, then lost my
fool self. Somebody had side-tracked the scenery. Think I must have
walked 1,000 miles before I located the camp.”
Jack did a bit of
snowshoeing one day. “Crust just hard enough to let you break through
and enable your shoes to sneak underneath, so as when you go to lift
your foot you bring a ton of crust along with it. As for going down the
hills, I generally slide them. To-day I flopped and then dived them.
First your feet break through, then the dive starts. I am champion
acrobatic hunter. Oh, if only the 42nd Street bunch could see me now,
they sure would laugh! This woods life is the only life! Great for
people with strong backs and weak minds!”
A day or two later Jack
laments: “No food in sight yet! If the boys don’t soon come we’ll have
to stew up the moccasins and snowshoes. Indian says, ‘Him hungry!’ That
Indian is always hungry! Can’t blame him, though, to-night—have almost
forgotten how to eat, myself. Oh for a look in at Del-monico’s with the
boys! This woods life is so different—No, can’t blame the Indian!”
From famine to feast!
Munroe and party got back the next morning, and Hammell is said to have
got off the “ water waggon ” before nine.
Munroe takes up the
diary, and tells of the hardships of the 55 miles return to Latchford
for supplies. They ran out of all food but a little bannock (Indian
bread), which they had to divide up between the three.
The Squirrel Chase In
One night they stopped
in an old lumber camp in which a squirrel had locatcd. After a long
chase around the big room, Jack caught it. The other boys claimed that
Jack called lustily for them to “come quick and help me hold it.” But
the boys do say lots o’ things about big, good-natured Jack. The only
thing they could get to cook it in was a tobacco can they found. A
little corn meal—very old—was also found, and with it and the squirrel,
a tasty broth was made. For the squirrel they cast lots for the parts,
and sat down to a contented feast.
“Shou Me the Mon 'Oo It
Me With a Brick!”
At another time, when
the whole party were together, they were sleeping in a lumber camp with
a dozen or more lumbermen. It is the custom, in very cold weather, to
sleep in their clothes—boots and all. To preface this story I must tell
you that Tom Saville had a dog that had a way of crawling in among the
sleepers to keep warm. He crawled in with Jack Hammell this night—as
Jack thought. Jack was sure of it, for he could feel the dog’s hair
rubbing against his face. Now Jack did not object to the dog sleeping
with him, providing he slept at the “foot,” but he drew the line at “the
head,” and especially his head. “Get out, you beast!” said Jack, and
emphasized it with his fist. Imagine his surprise at having Joe Acton
jump up, with a loud yell, and as he pranced around the cabin over the
sleepers, wanting to know: “Wough, hl’m ’it! ’Oo ’it me? Shou me the mon
’oo ’it me with a brick!” But everybody was asleep, and Jack Hammell was
snoring loudest of all, for he respected Joe’s reputation of being able
to look after himself. Joe related his night’s experience next morning,
and was surprised that nobody should have known of it. “Didn’t you ’ear
me, Jack? W’y, you were right next me!”
“Never heard a sound! I
sleep tight when once I start,” said Jack, with the faintest sort of a
The weather was bitter
cold along about Jan. 13th. The diary says: “Very cold. Neil’s face
froze several times. We had to watch each other all the while to keep
Many Valuable Claims
With all their
hardships they returned with many valuable claims staked. Some of them
will turn out to be great mines, as the work already done indicate
wonderful things to come.
That was but a few
months ago. They were among the pioneers of many thousands of
prospectors who have gone into the Montreal River country. Where was
then a wilderness, is now a busy camp, with towns springing up, and
before the year is out, much of the valley from Latchford to the height
of land will be looked upon as an “ Old Camp,” so rapid follows
improvement in a mining country.
I must not leave out
one of Jack Hammell’s best. It’s one that the boys tell on him. It
happened just before they returned from Latchford with the supplies. He
and Mose were down to the bottom of the “barrel,” and were both pretty
hungry for meat. As they sat around exchanging experiences, Jack started
Jack Makes a Good Shot
“Oh, I didn’t tell you,
did I? Well, Mose hasn’t spoken to me all day, just because I batted him
one with a hunk of tree. It was this way: I goes for a pail of water
this morning, and, coming back, I spies a big, voluptuous partridge
right up in a tree, just in front of the tent, so I calls to Mose, ‘Hey,
Mose,’ says I, soft like, ‘ grab something and come quick, there’s a
great big partridge up this tree. It’s meat for us, if you’re a good
shot.’ So Mose he grabs a stick of wood and steps out of the tent. ‘Now
be careful,’ I tells him, ‘and don’t breathe heavy, and when I counts
three, let loose at him.’ Old Mose he sets himself. You’d have thought
he was gettin’ ready to fight a grizzly by the look on his face. But
somehow things didn’t go just right. Old Mose he couldn’t hold himself,
for when I got to the ‘Two' count, it was all off. Mose couldn’t wait
any longer. He just had to take a swash at him, and me, Mr. Simp, not
wanting to be out of it, took a clout at him on the fly. Missed him, of
course—that is, the bird, but not the shot. No, Mose he grabbed it right
below the belt. Well, you should have seen that Indian’s face—the hurt
look he threw at me! He immediately sat down and commenced hugging
himself with both hands. He wouldn’t even notice me. In fact, it was
some little time until I could get Mose to sit up and take notice to
anything. Finally he stopped loving himself, got up and sauntered away,
muttering something about some people being—poor shots, which was an
injustice to me, for if ever a man made a pretty shot it was me, with
that hunk of tree. It just goes to show, though, how dense some Indians
are. They never seem to look at things in a broad-minded light.
Sometimes I think that Mose’s mind must be bad, otherwise he wouldn’t
mind a little thing like that.”
Later.—Poor Mose is
dead—died late in the fall—shortly after my trip up the Montreal, of
which I shall tell you further on. I met Mose at Elk Lake City. I had
thought him the typical, high cheek bone, tall, blanketted and—well, the
picture-book Indian. He was so different that I could scarce believe
that the well-dressed boy I saw at Elk Lake City was the same as he of
whom I had heard so much—Poor “Hungry Mosel” Hungry no longer.
Coomstock Lode to be
Surpassed by Cobalt
But to return to Mr.
Mitchell. He has made a deep study of the situation in the Cobalt Camp.
“Look at that,” said he, during one of my interviews with him. “ That, ”
was the United States Mineral Report. The particular part to which he
called my attention was the world-famous Comstock Lode of Nevada. “Now
see,” said he, “up to 1900 there was taken out $203,636,-062.84 of
silver. It took 40 years to take this out, and they had to go down 3,300
feet to get it. The greatest year was 1874—
the fifteenth from its
start in 1859—when the production was $21,780,922.02. Now follow. This
will be equalled, in 1909, by the Cobalt district, the fourth year after
machinery was installed.” I could scarcely realize this, but when he
showed what is being taken out from the mines now shipping, and with
such mines as the Cobalt Lake, Nancy-Helen, North Cobalt, and a dozen
others, now almost ready to start in as big shippers, I had to admit the
correctness of his prediction. Only to-day, I visited a mine, and
watched the men bagging ore at the rate of a carload every twenty-four
hours. Marvellous! And again, wonderful, this story of Cobalt and its
fabulous wealth of silver.
Later.—They struck a
rich vein in the Casey, just as this goes to press, that runs 5,300
ounces of silver.
THE IMPERIAL LARDER LAKE
This Company, with head
office in New Liskeard, Ont., whose low capitalization and large
holdings of 43 well-selected claims, in the rich parts of the Larder
Lake district, and in the townships of Boston, Catherine, and Harris,
must become one of the successful mining enterprises of the country.
It has had assays of
$1,354 in gold, with good showings of copper and silver, in their
township claims. Its capitalization is but $250,000, with shares at par
$1. Only enough of which will be sold to develop the properties, and not
run as a stockjobbing enterprise. The high standing of its officers and
directors is a guaranty of honest management.
I have not seen their
other holdings, but I have visited their mine in Harris Township, and
from it judge the carefulness of the company. These are in the joining
concessions to the Casey Mines, recently sold in London for $1,000,000,
and the $5 par 9hares of which have already reached above $7. The
formation of the rock in exactly the same as the Casey, and is growing
richer as they go down.
The officers and
directors are all successful business men of New Liskeard, and have gone
into the matter as an honest business enterprise: President, George
Weaver, Real Estate Agent and Mining Broker, and Vice-President of the
Temiskaming Telephone Co., Ltd.; Vice-President, R. G. Zahalan, hotel
proprietor; Secretary-Treasurer, G. W. Weaver. Directors: Frank Loudin
Smiley, Barrister; Henri Loudin, Business Manager; J. H. Obrien,
Contractor; W. J. Yates, Merchant; and W. E. Kerr, Government Inspector
Solicitors: Hartman and
Smiley. Bankers: Imperial Bank of Canada.