He Will Inspect the Atikokan Mine -- The C.P.R. May Build a Branch
Port Arthur, May 26. -- W.J. Rattle of Cleveland, an expert on iron ore deposits, arrived to-day. He makes an examination of the Graham McKellar locations on Atikokan range which are under lease to Pickard's et al of Cleveland. It is believed that upon the result of his report will depend whether the Canadian Pacific company will build the Atikokan branch this season or not. Mr. McKellar accompanies Mr. Rattle and they go by canoe from Savanne on the old Dawson Route.
-- Manitoba Daily Free Press, May 27, 1890, Pg. 1. (via Findmypast.com).
American Capitalists Investing in Canadian Mines.
A St. Paul Man Purchases the West End Location Near Port Arthur -- Inspection of Gold-bearing Leads at Tache.
Port Arthur, Aug. 20. -- One of the most important deals ever consummated in Port Arthur silver district has just been closed. The result is that the Americans have captured another most valuable silver mine. Elias F. Drake, the St. Paul millionaire, has given his check on the New York National Bank to the West End mining company for one hundred and fifty thousand dollars, being the purchase price of mining locations r.55, r.56 and r.57, in the Silver mountain camp known as the West End mine. The property consists of 240 acres with three-quarters of a mile of vein and a well developed mine. The mining force will be increased at once and a silver mill built when the railway reaches there next month. H.N. Nichols of Port Arthur, president of the West End company, negotiated and carried through the sale.
Mr. Thomas, of Ishpeming, Mich., who has been visiting the Atikokan iron range, states that no such an immense body of pure ore exists on the south shore of Lake Superior as is to be found at Atikokan River.
The steam yacht Picket, with President McLeod of the Duluth board of trade and some friends, cleared for Nipigon to-day but had to return owing to the heavy southwest gale which prevailed.
Messrs. Nester, of Baraga, Michigan, are here with a party of friends from South Bend, Indiana. They came on their big steel tug Colton, and leave again for Duluth to-morrow.
A Party of American capitalists to-day left for Tache to examine some gold veins near the Canadian Pacific there, which promise well, the assays giving from $13 to $53 per ton in gold.
Arrived: Colton and barge Marill from Chicago; Enterprise and Albacore from Buffalo with coal.
-- Manitoba Daily Free Press, Aug. 21, 1890, Pg. 1. (via Findmypast.com).
A Belgian Bank Will Operate the Atikokan Iron Range Deposits.
Port Arthur, Dec. 15. -- The Belgian bank known as the Society General to-day controls the Atikokan iron range. The last contract was signed this morning, and Consul General Von Beugassa and Messers. Wiley and Russell left together to-day for the east. The contract between the mine owners and the Belgian bank provides that the bank shall have until November, 1892, to test the deposits. The railway is to be built within next year, and when so built the owners deed the bank an interest in the mines, and the bank agrees to mine and pay a royalty thereon. A minimum output of three hundred thousand tons per annum is guaranteed. The lands under contract cover ten miles in length on the range, including deposits of ore equal to all the mines on the Marquette range. Blast furnaces and rolling mill are under the contract, to be erected at Port Arthur.
-- Manitoba Daily Free Press, Dec. 16, 1891, Pg. 1. (via Findmypast.com).
This Is What The Cured Say:
Dr. McLaughlin: Dear Sir, -- I will drop you a few lines concerning your Belt, and the good it has done me. I was in the Atikoken Hospital from November 18 until April 6. For four and one-half months I was helpless in bed with sciatica, lumbago and inflamatory rheumatism. My weight at that time was only 98 pounds. I wore the Belt from April 6 to 28, and in that time gained 30 pounds in weight. By May 15 I was completely cured. After leaving the hospital I walked a distance of 100 miles. I have been in the train service of the Canadian Pacific Railway since 1887, and have been troubled with rheumatism off and on for ten or twelve years, but since wearing your Belt I have felt nothing of it whatever, and would advise young and old to try Dr. McLaughlin's Electric Belt. Yours Truly, Frank Anderson, Port Caldwell, Ont., February 15, 1902.
-- Part of an advertisement in The Manitoba Morning Free Press, Tuesday, April 22, 1902, Pg. 7. (via Findmypast.com).
W.H. Bastardt, Merchant, Fails in an Attempt to Swim the River.
Fort William, Ont., July 7. -- W.H. Bastardt of the firm of Bastardt & Felton, general merchants, was drowned in the Atikokan on Saturday while bathing. Atikokan is the first division point on the C.N.R., west of Port Arthur. Bastardt was not a good swimmer, and he attempted to swim across the river. He went down when about half way over, and although his companions tried to save him, he was out of sight before they reached him. The body has not been recovered.
-- Manitoba Daily Free Press, July 8, 1902, Pg. 1. (via Findmypast.com).
Fox farming is profitable, says E.C. Tripp of Atikokan, Manitoba, who claims to be the only man on the American continent making money by running a fox farm, which he has established on Clearwater lake, eighteen miles north of Banning, on the Canadian Northern railway. It is three years since he started with a pair of silver gray foxes. Now he has thirteen silver gray and four black foxes.
His farm consists of sixteen acres, which he is fencing with wire netting ten feet high, sunk to bedrock and water level. Inside this inclosure are the breeding pens, where the females are kept separate during breeding time. This is imperative, as they will kill each other and also the young if they are not watched. He is now making arrangements to spend $10,000 on his farm, and will add to the number of foxes on hand. He figures that his farm will shortly be worth more than a gold mine, on account of the fact that black and silver gray fox skins are getting scarcer each year and he will reap the benefit of a rising market.
About the same time that Mr. Tripp started his fox farm Louis Selbery discovered there was money in raising skunks, and started a farm on Half Moon Island in the Lake of the Woods, not far from Banning. He secured six of these little animals, and, as they are prolific, had forty-eight the next year. Last winter he killed 400 skunks and realized $4 apiece on the skins, and this winter he expects to be able to kill nearly 1,000. Occasionally he has found one entirely black, which he has kept separate, and consequently now has quite a number of the little black animals. He figures his skunk farm is worth more than Mr. Tripp's fox farm.
-- Attica (New York) Daily Ledger, Dec. 20, 1904. Plus others. (via Findmypast.com).
Roiotous Galicians on C.N.R. Suppressed After Struggle.
Rainy River, Ont., Nov. 8. -- Passengers on the east train last night report that a serious disturbance took place yesterday at Huronian, a station east of Atikokan. It appears a number of Galicians employed in one of the camps had some dispute with the foreman and being under the influence of liquor, obtained in some unknown manner, proceeded to make things lively by attacking him with sticks and stones. Reinforced by some of the C.N.R. trainmen, who came to his assistance, a general melee resulted, which ended in the station agent being laid out, the office damaged, including the switch-board, and several windows and doors. Crazed by drink the foreigners fought like demons, using stones and clubs. One of the gang had a board an inch and a half thick split over his head and several others were used pretty rough before they were compelled to be quiet. As yet no arrests have been made as there is no police protection nearer than Fort William or Fort Frances. The C.N.R. employees deserve every credit for the mild manner in which they succeeded in putting the Galicians to flight without any of them being severely injured. Efforts will be made to discover the party who supplied the Galicians with liquor.
-- Manitoba Free Press, Winnipeg, Monday, Nov. 11, 1907, Pg. 3. (via Findmypast.com).
C.N.R. Station at Atikokan Robbed of $600.
Fort William, Ont., May 18. -- Word was received here this afternoon of a daring crime at Atikokan station on the C.N.R. Friday night, a man named Forrester, formerly C.N.R. agent there but who had resigned, about one in the morning walked in and with a revolver made the night operator hold a light for him while he rifled the safe, securing in all about $600. Forrester then made the operator go to a boarding house with him, while he packed his grip and then disappeared to the north. LaDouchler walked to the next station, seventeen miles away to give the alarm, and detectives are now searching for Forrester. They found his grip and canoe on the shore of Steep Rock Lake to-day, but there was no sign of the man. The officers are confident he cannot escape.
-- Manitoba Free Press, Winnipeg, Tuesday, May 19, 1908, Pg. 1. (via Findmypast.com).
Man Suspected of Robbing C.N.R. Station at Atikokan Caught.
Kamsack, Sask., May 22. -- Forrester, the man who is believed to have robbed the C.N.R. station at Atikokan, Ont., a few weeks ago, was captured here this afternoon by Corporal Churr and Constable Wilson, of the mounted police. Twenty minutes after Forrester arrived on a freight, he was landed in a cell. The prisoner was armed with a gun and a belt full of ammunition, and was working westward. A large sum of money was found concealed on his person, from his stockings to his shirt collar in small wads.
Recognized at Grandview.
Grandview, Man, May 22. -- To J.A. McKellar, the C.N.R. agent here, is due the credit of the capture at Kamsack of Forrester, who is alleged to have robbed the Atikokan station of $600 a week ago. Forrester, who is a member of the O.R.T., arrived here in a box car about 7.30 this morning and introduced himself to Mr. McKellar, who is the O.R.T. chairman. The local police not being in sight at the moment, Mr. McKellar notified the C.N.R. secret service, who put the authorities at Kamsack wise.
-- Manitoba Free Press, Winnipeg, Saturday, May 23, 1908, Pg. 1. (via Findmypast.com).
Alleged Robber -- Forrester, the man whom it is alleged robbed the C.N.R. station at Atikokan, and who was arrested at Kamsack, was brought to the city on Sunday night. Of the $711 alleged to be stolen, $641.95 was recovered, and the balance is available in wages due. He has confessed his theft, and has been taken east to stand his trial.
-- The Winnipeg Tribune, Tuesday, May 26, 1908, Pg. 10. (via Findmypast.com).
A small bridge on the Canadian Northern Railway, five miles west of Atikokan, was the scene of an accident on Thursday night. The bridge, which was under repairs, gave way under the weight of a heavy freight locomotive, which was crossing with caution. The locomotive went into the gully but suffered little damage.
-- The Winnipeg Tribune, Satuday, Aug. 15, 1908, Pg. 10. (via Findmypast.com).
Trestle Construction Near Atikokan Lets Three Freight Cars Through
Port Arthur, Dec. 14. -- A trestle bridge on the Canadian Northern Railway train line near Atikokan, and 151 miles west of Port Arthur, collapsed with the weight of a freight train at three o'clock on Sunday morning, precipitating three cars into the abyss below. The crew of the train had extraordinary escapes but none of them were hurt. The train was a mixed freight bound west. Immediately the news was wired to Rainy River and Port Arthur and breakdown gangs were hurried to the scene of the mishap. By seven o'clock they were both busily at work on the wreckage of broken trestles and by midnight had rendered it possible for a train to pass. It so happens that no passenger traffic was delayed.
The work of the engineers in so quickly making the bridge ready for traffic again is regarded as a very smart performance.
-- The Winnipeg Tribune, Monday, Dec. 14, 1908, Pg. 1. (via Findmypast.com).
J.D. McArthur Lumber Co. Suffers $50,000 Loss at Atikokan.
The large sawmill of the J.D. McArthur Lumber Co., at Atikokan, on the Canadian Northern, in the Rainy River district, was destroyed by fire Saturday afternoon. Word to this effect has been received by Mr. McArthur from the manager of the mill, but the message did not state what had caused the blaze. The loss is about $50,000, with insurance of half that amount.
The mill was built a year ago, and had a capacity of 60,000 feet per day. The season's cut of lumber was commenced two weeks ago. The lumber turned out was saved, along with the planing mill, which is operated in connection with the sawmill. The season's cut of logs is "boomed" in the vicinity, and work will be started at once on a new mill, in order that the logs may be sawed with as little delay as possible.
The message from the manager of the mill stated that bush fires had broken out in the vicinity of Atikokan.
-- The Manitoba Free Press, Monday, June 20, 1910, Pg. 1. (via Findmypast.com).
Big Limit Near Atikokan Owned by Minneapolis Firm Burned With Loss of $1,500,000.
Fort William, Ont., June 23. -- In addition to the destruction of the sawmill of the J.D. McArthur Lumber Company, fire did extensive damage in the vicinity of Atikokan. A Limit, 41 square miles in area belonging to the Wayerhouser company of Minneapolis, was totally destroyed, there being $1,500,000 worth of standing timber consumed by the flames. At Eye River, fourteen miles west of Atikokan, the Rat Portage Lumber company lost all their dams. This rendered them unable to run drives this morning. This firm also lost its camps and a large amount of standing timber.
The Northern Construction Company's camps have also been destroyed. They are the largest lumber operators in the district and employ in the winter camps from 500 to 600 men. The fire is raging practically all the (way) from Atikokan to Fort Frances, and in some places runs at a depth of fifteen miles from the railway track. The principal timber in the burned area is red, jack and white pine.
-- The Manitoba Free Press, Friday, June 24, 1910, Pg. 1. (via Findmypast.com).
Mr. Thos. Davis, License Inspector, received word last week that his son, Arthur, was ill at Atikokan of typhoid. We are pleased to know he is recovering.
-- The Durham (Ont.) Chronicle, Thursday, Dec. 8, 1910, Pg. 1. (via Findmypast.com).
As a result of a quarrel in a mine at Atikokan yesterday, an Austrian, whose Christian name is George, but whose surname could not be learned, is now lying at the point of death in the R. N. & G. Hospital, Port Arthur, having been struck with a miner's shovel by a Finlander named John Peck. The wound made a gaping hole in the Austrian's skull half an inch deep through the brain, and chances of his recovery are very slim.
His assailant took to the woods after the onslaught and is thought to be heading west. Constable C.W. Symons, of the Provincial Police, is on the case.
-- The Medicine Hat News, Thursday, April 20, 1911, Pg. 1. (via Findmypast.com).
Victor Haapanen Fatally Injured on C.N.R. at Atikokan.
Port Arthur, -- Victor Haapanen, a Finlander, was found on the C.N.R. tracks at Atikokan Tuesday morning with two legs and one arm crushed. He was brought to the hospital here and died the next day.
-- The Stonewall Argus, Wednesday, July 26, 1911, Pg. 7. (via Findmypast.com).
This is Allegation of Citizens of Fort Frances and Antikokan in Representations -- Consul-General Demands Release.
Because he had taken an active part in an anti-liquor prosecution, F.D. Henion, formerly a resident of Winnipeg for seven years and for the last five years a locomotive foreman on the C.N.R. at Antikokan, has been made the object of a spite attack, with the result that he was arrested by the military authorities in that district and thrown into jail at Fort Frances.
This at least, is the version of the affair offered by some citizens who are hotly indignant and who have deluged Winnipeg authorities with protests. That their side of the case is true seems to be borne out by the fact that Henion's release has been demanded by Frederick Ryder, American consul-general here, after a full investigation of the facts.
The local military information department has seen fit to send an officer to the scene to investigate, and a report from him is hourly expected. It is possible that Henion will take criminal action against those responsible for his incarceration.
Believe Error Made
It is stated that having incurred the emnity of certain liquor interests, Henion was lured into an argument during which it is said he made anti-British or pro-German statements, though this allegation seems to require proof, for Henion is a well-respected citizen. He was born in New York state, as was his father before him: his grandfather came from Holland. No alien blood flows in his veins and he is not credited with possessing alien sympathies.
Henion was arrested at Antikokan by Corporal Walker, of Winnipeg, upon representations made to the intelligence department. Local military authorities incline to the view that a mistake has been made.
Influence on Wife
It is said the prisoner, when arrested was not allowed to see counsel, nor given any specific charges. Indignation of fellow citizens, however, was prompt and speedily acted upon. That his presence was not desired by interested parties is substantiated by alleged influence brought to bear on Henion's wife to induce her husband to go back to live in the United States.
-- The Winnipeg Evening Tribune, Friday, March 26, 1915, Pg. 1 & 12. (via Findmypast.com).
NOTE: See Fred and Mabel Hanion in the 1911 census listing for Atikokan, on this website.
Locomotive Foreman Arrested by Winnipeg Police Officers.
Fort Frances, Ont., March 25.--F.D. Henion of Atikokan, a locomotive foreman on the C.N.R., an American born citizen and resident in Canada for 12 years, was arrested by Corpl Walker of Winnipeg, brought to Fort Frances and lodged in jail. No charge was laid and all information was refused. The prisoner is not allowed to see counsel. Corporal Walker urged the wife of Henion to persuade her husband to go back and live in the United States.
The real trouble seems to lie in charges laid against the hotel in Atikokan. Henion was active in the prosecution, and threats had been made on the pretence that he is an enemy alien. The matter has been laid before the American consul at Winnipeg.
-- The Manitoba Free Press, Friday, March 26, 1915, Pg. 1. (via Findmypast.com).
American Consul at Winnipeg Intercedes for Him.
Ft. Frances, Ontario, March 26 -- F.D. Henion, an American citizen, arrested at Atikokan, Ontario, yesterday by Canadian military authorities and lodged in jail here, was released tonight after American Consul General Ryder at Winnipeg had interceded in his behalf. Henion had been employed by a Canadian railroad company. He was born in New York State and said tonight he would return to the United States Immediately. The charge on which he was arrested was not made known.
-- Cincinnati Commercial Tribune, March 27, 1915, Page 2. Plus others. (via Findmypast.com).
The dance given by the Atikokan Station staff, held in the school house at Atikokan, Ont., on the evening of Friday, June 6, was a well attended one, and the proceeds were devoted to the school fund. Mrs. E. Russell and Miss C. Russell, Mr. C.E. Wendeborn and Mr. G. Cullen provided music for the entertainment.
-- The Manitoba Free Press, Thursday, June 12, 1919, Pg. 6. (via Findmypast.com).
Mrs. C. Jones and family left for Atikokan, Ont., on Saturday. Mr. Jones preceded his family east last week.
-- The Dauphin Herald and Press, Thursday, December 11, 1919, Pg. 14. (via Findmypast.com).
Says He Feels Fine and Enjoyed First Meal Yesterday
Saw Aeroplane Several Days Ago, But Aviator Did Not See Him
Fort William, Ont., Oct. 13. -- Laying on an improvised stretcher, strapped in the bow of a motor launch, Dr. Graham Chambers, of Toronto, lost in the woods of Atikokan since Sept. 29, arrived at Atikokan at 5.50 o'clock this afternoon. He was strong enough to grant a short interview, although Dr. C.P. Fitzpatrick forbade him to talk too much.
"Did you have anything to eat since Sept. 29?" was the first question asked him.
Could Not Eat Raw Partridge
"No," replied Dr. Chambers, "I did not shoot any partridge because I hadn't any matches and could not eat them raw. I feel fine though, and I had my first meal today, bread and tea and a little partridge broth."
Dr. Chambers' only complaint was the condition of his feet, which, he said, were terribly blistered and appeared like trench feet. He said that he had tramped through the bush the first day and then, knowing that he was lost, he did not move around much as he knew it would be easier for the searchers to find him if he did not go too deeply into the bush.
Foolishly Dressed for Bush
"I was foolishly dressed for the bush," said Dr. Chambers. When I started out I had summer underwear on and a white shirt, but I had one good warm piece of clothing, a sweater coat. The first night in the bush I picked out some wild hay and packed it against my chest. When it rained I crawled under a great log and packed up the sides with sticks and moss. I am just a little sore about the body from lying on some stones."
Several days ago, Dr. Chambers said he had been greatly cheered by seeing an airplane circling over the bush. He had got to a small open space and waved his hat, but the aviator had not seen him.
Ordered to Stop Talking
Here Dr. Chambers' story was broken by Dr. Fitzpatrick ordering him to stop talking, as he feared it would be exhausting.
The trip from Deer Lake was made over some of the roughest of the north country. The distance from Deer Lake to Atikokan is 18 miles and nearly five miles of this had to be portaged. Dr Chambers was carried on a stretcher over the portages.
-- Manitoba Free Press (Winnipeg), Friday, October 14, 1921, Pg. 1. (via Findmypast.com).
Port Arthur, July 7. -- Steve Horvath, an Austrian, for 19 years an employee of the Canadian National Railways at Atikokan, 145 miles west of here, has left for his home in Austria, with $20,000 in cash, his savings since 1903. Horvath during the last 19 years never left Atikokan except for an occasional trip to Port Arthur to deposit his savings. He has denied himself any relaxation or extravagance in order to amass his comfortable roll.
-- The Lethbridge Daily Herald, Friday, July 7, 1922, Pg. 11. (via Findmypast.com).
(AP) Port Arthur, Ont., July 29 -- In the depths of the Quetico forest reserve situated near Baril Lake, north of Atikokan, Ontario, the University of Chicago and the University High School of Kenilworth, Ill., has established a summer camp for students, who number 200. The camp will continue until the first week in September. It is called "Camp O'Wa-Kon-Z" and is equipped throughout by electric lights obtained from near-by water power and includes in its equipment ten buildings such as dinining, recreation, assembly and other public halls, a number of tents and several bungalows.
In locating the camp at Lake Baril, the university officers said it offered the best site in Canada for a study of nature and for means of offering the students a period of recreation in territory not available in the United States. For use on the lake, the students have at their disposal a flotilla of canoes, row boats, motor boats and several sailing craft.
-- Brownsville (Texas) Herald, July 29, 1922, Page 1. Plus others. (via Findmypast.com).
Port Arthur, police magistrate imposed a sentence of one year in prison on Mike Pteronezcuk, Austrian, convicted of reckless driving and being drunk in charge of an automobile.
H.C. Jenks, 52, Port Arthur, one of the best conductors on the Canadian National railway, died suddenly on his train while entering the Atikokan yards.
-- The Brandon (Manitoba) Daily Sun, Friday, November 24, 1922, Page 1. (via Findmypast.com).
A baby boy weighing fourteen and a half pounds was born at Port Arthur hospital last evening to Mrs. William D. Whytie, of Atikokan.
-- The Brandon (Manitoba) Daily Sun, Thursday, March 22, 1923, Page 1. (via Findmypast.com).
Details of one of the strangest experiments in the history of animal hunting are related by Stanley Clarkson, of St. Paul, Minn., who spent a winter in the Canadian wilderness seeking "hand to hand" combat with hungry timber wolves. Dressed in an armor made of heavy leather studded with 1,200 needle-sharp steel spikes, he invited attacks from wolf packs while armed only with a hunting knife. Although handicapped by an exceptionally open winter and an unusually large number of wild rabbits, which kept the wolves from suffering from hunger, he killed a number of the beasts with his ax. During a snowstorm on Steep Rock Lake, north of Atikokan, he was set upon by five timber wolves. He killed two of them and wounded a third. The wolves seized the hunter's arms and legs in their jaws, but could not do him injury because of the protruding spikes of the armoured suit, which is made of specially tanned thick cowhide that will turn water and will not harden from rain or snow. There also is a helmet and heavy wire mask that can be raised to protect the face.
-- Popular Mechanics Magazine, as published by the Sedalia (Missouri) Democrat, Nov. 24, 1924, Pg 8. Plus others. (via Findmypast.com).
Braves Smallpox Scourge To Nurse Dying Friend In Lonely Trapper's Cabin
"Al" Smith, of Fort William, Hero of Atikokan Tragedy
[Special to The Tribune]
Fort William, Jan. 6 -- Al Smith, trapper, prospector and woodsman, known all through Northern Ontario for his prowess on the trail and for his hospitality and geneality, is the hero of the smallpox epidemic now raging in the district of Atikokan, some 70 miles west of here.
The heroism was not spectacular, but he rose to the occasion when unquestionably brave men quailed, and to the plaudits of doctors there fighting the dreaded disease he replied, "Shucks, 'taint nothing."
This is the story as given The Tribune by W.C. Miller, government sanitary inspector, who landed back in Fort William today after superintending the burial of the smallpox victim at Atikokan.
The latest victim to smallpox was stricken down in a lonely trapper's shack north of Atikokan. News of his awful plight was brought into Atikokan to Dr. Henderson by a passing traveller who had looked in at the sick man and had fled in horror.
Awake 10 Days
It was impossible to move the stricken man to town, and just as impossible for the busy doctor to nurse the sick man. No one would go near the shack, and the government authorities had been wired for when Al Smith landed in town with his dog team for supplies.
It only took the time to unhitch his dogs, give them over to the care of a friend until he was on his way to look after the sick man, who had been his friend on the trail for many years. Dr. Henderson gave him the necessary vaccination protection.
For 10 days and 10 nights Al Smith ministered to the wants of the delirious man, the only people visiting him being Dr. Henderson and another government official.
Al took his rest in a chair, as there was no room for an extra bed in the shack. Each day the physical appearance of the sick man changed as the dreaded disease spread all over his body, ultimately blinding him.
On the 0th [sic] day it became apparent that assistance must be given the tired out watcher, whose eyes refused to remain open in spite of his wonderful will power.
The decision was hastened by the delirious patient escaping from the shack when Al closed his eyes for a brief sleep. It was with difficulty that the sick trapper was got back in his bed.
Bert Grey, ex-soldier, trapper and world traveller volunteered to take Smith's place and arrived at the shack just as the victim died.
The undertaker sent out the coffin, but did not accompany it. The body had to be interred at once. It was Smith who aided in coffining the body, who dug the grave and who read the burial service.
Atikokan is taking up a public subscription to show their appreciation of Al Smith's bravery.
-- The Winnipeg Evening Tribune, January 6, 1926, Pg. 1 & 2. (via Findmypast.com).
Exposes Himself to Death for 12 Days to Nurse Old Pal
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Jan. 6 -- (UN) -- Far up in the silent north a tiny railway village is astir with tales of Al Smith, an obscure trapper who has won lasting fame by his heroism during the recent smallpox scourge in the Atikokan district.
Smith exposed himself to death for 12 days and nights for the sake of a friendship which had warmed his heart along the snow covered trails of the Canadian trappers.
The village of Atikokan was too busy with its own troubles to send aid when a woodsman, fleeing in terror from the plague, reported that an old trapper had taken to his bed with smallpox in a one room shack far back in the hills. Atikokan iself was stricken with the plague and all the doctors and nurses available were needed to care for the village's own victims.
Trapper Decides to Answer Call
Hope of obtaining help for the stricken man was about to be abandoned when Al Smith returned to the village with his dog team from a trapping expedition many miles in the other direction. Smith heard the report and decided immediately to answer the call.
Leaving his dogs behind, Al set out on foot. For two days and nights he mucked through snow and blizzard, reaching the little shack at night and finding that the stricken man was an old pal. The two trappers had hunted together along the streams of central Canada years before.
Then began a long vigil at the bedside of the sick man. The disease became more intense, the trapper went blind, suffered terribly and all the while his nurse did everything to make him comfortable.
The one room shack contained but one bunk so Smith slept only a few hours in a dilapidated chair.
Trapper Victim Of the Plague
On the eighth day -- the plague had subsided in the village by that time -- a physician made his way to the shack. But there was little he could do. He returned to the village to send out aid. In his absence the old trapper died.
Two days later two nurses and a doctor came upon Smith reading a Bible over a fresh mound of earth in the yard behind the trapper's shack.
The village of Atikokan is planning to give public recognition to Smith.
-- Modesto (Cal.) News-Herald, Jan. 7, 1926, Pg. 1. (via Findmypast.com).
Two Fresh Cases of Smallpox in Atikokan; Inhabitants Terror-Stricken
Officials Hindered by Wild Country
[Special to The Tribune]
Fort William, Jan. 8. -- Despite wholesale vaccinations and strict isolation of cases reported to medical authorities, the smallpox epidemic in the district around Atikokan, Northern Ontario, is spreading.
The toll to date is two dead and seven cases. It is hard, however, for the government medical officials to keep close tab, for Atikokan is situated in one of the wildest spots in Northern Ontario.
Trappers' shacks and lumber camps dot the territory and some of the patients now isolated were in communication with people before they realized from what they were suffering.
W.C. Millar, government sanitary inspector, has again returned to Atikokan to take charge of things.
Yesterday he arrived back in Fort William with the news that the scourge was in check, but late last night he received a wire telling him of two fresh cases.
Until he makes a report it will not be definitely known how serious the fresh outbreak is.
The smallpox is reported by Dr. Henderson as being of a most malignant type.
It was brought into the area by a hobo, "Rambling" Johnson, who died of the disease some short time ago.
Johnson worked in several lumber camps for a few days and visited many trappers' shacks.
The small town of Atikokan is terror-stricken at the outbreak. Most of the citizens have been vaccinated and every stranger arriving there is looked upon with suspicion until he is seen by a doctor.
-- Winnipeg Tribune, Jan. 8, 1926, Pg. 1. (via Findmypast.com).
Assays $26 a Ton and is 12 Feet Wide
A 12-foot vein of gold ore -- almost a mother lode -- assaying $26 to the ton, is one of the newest discoveries at Atikokan, Ontario, according to J.A. Johnston, miner of that community, who was in Winnipeg yesterday attending fur auction sales. Smelting pays at $3 or $4 to the ton, Mr. Johnston said, and this find is considered one of the best.
Atikokan is an old mining district, discovered 20 years ago, and is now staging a come-back after years of dullness. It shows rich deposits of iron ore, as well as gold. And there are considerable traces of silver, Mr. Johnston stated.
Quite a lot of free gold is found in the 12-foot vein mentioned. It is owned by the J.C. Hill syndicate, and is in the course of development.
-- Manitoba Free Press (Winnipeg), Thursday, March 11, 1926, Pg. 2. (via Findmypast.com).
Finds Ex-Officer in Black Watch Washing Dishes.
Fort William, Ont. -- From the lowly estate of a cookee or "bull cook" in a lumber camp to the exalted position of possessor of a fortune of $200,000, was the metamorphosis accomplished by delivery of a letter to Robert Pullar by the dog team post.
Pullar, a former officer in the famous Black Watch, and said to be the coveted owner of a Victoria Cross ribbon, arrived in Winnipeg recently broke and without a job. Something had to be done right away. He consulted an employment agency, but the only job offered was that of a second cook in a pulpwood camp near Atikokan, Ont. With characteristic Scotch thrift he decided that $35 a month and everything found was preferred to sleeping in the streets, so he took it.
The former kiltie was up to his elbows in dishwater at the Atikokan camp when the mail was brought in by dogteam. The mail driver, curious to know what might be in an official-looking document bearing a Perth (Scotland) postmark, delivered the letter in person.
"Been left a fortune?" laughingly inquired the postman, as he watched Pullar grab the letter and eagerly rip it open.
Pullar nodded his head and after he had finished reading it he resumed his work. Next morning the lumberjacks had to forage breakfast for themselves, for Pullar had deserted the camp long before daybreak.
It is understood that the relative to whose wealth he has partly fallen heir was the late Lawrence Pullar, owner of the Perth dye works.
Pullar enlisted in 1914 in the Black Watch and for intrepid bravery during the retreat from Mons is said to have been rewarded with the Victoria Cross. He served during the whole war, being wounded four times.
-- Circleville (Ohio) Daily Union Herald, April 21, 1927, Pg 12. Plus others. (via Findmypast.com).
New Troops Formed
New troops in the country are being registered every week at Scout Headquarters. The latest is the troop at Atikokan, Ont. This troop has a membership of eight under Scoutmaster W. Ronne(?). It is expected that the numbers will be increased very soon.
-- Manitoba Free Press, Winnipeg, Saturday, November 9, 1929, Pg 48. (via Findmypast.com).
Local News Item
John Klepah, of Sifton, is making a three months visit to his parents' home at Atikokan, Ont.
-- Dauphin Herald and Press, Dauphin, Man., Thursday, May 5, 1932, Pg 2. (via Findmypast.com).
Social & Personal
John Klypak arrived from Atikokan, Ont., on Wednesday night and is visiting his parental home here.
-- Dauphin Herald and Press, Dauphin, Man., Thursday, April 26, 1934, Pg 7. (via Findmypast.com).
The Local Round
Mr. and Mrs. Link, of Atikokan, Ont., who will reside in Dauphin in the future, are at present the guests of Mr. and Mrs. W.J. McPhee. Mr. Link is third trick operator at the station.
-- Dauphin Herald and Press, Dauphin, Man., Thursday, October 6, 1932, Pg 4. (via Findmypast.com).
Large Areas of Wooded Country in Ontario Present Spectral Appearance of Mid-Winter
[Canadian Press Despatch]
Fort William, June 13. -- The wooded country along the Canadian National railways Fort Frances line, between Shebandowan and Atikokan, Tuesday night, had the spectral appearance of mid-winter, as poplar, aspen and cottonwood trees, stripped of their foliage by green caterpillars, raised bare branches to the weather.
For miles both north and south of the track these insects have penetrated, according to prospectors and others who have come out of the woods, and it is believed the invasion may extend even to the Head of the Lakes.
The caterpillars are reported to be so thick in the infested area that they cover railway tracks as they swing their offensive from side to side over the right-of-way.
Trains have been delayed several hours owing to the crushed bodies of caterpillars making the rails so slippery that locomotive driving wheels revolved without gripping. Most difficulty is experienced after trains have come to a full stop and then attempted to get up speed.
The caterpillars apparently attack no trees except those of the poplar variety. They are said to be the species known as Acronycia Populi, or dagger moth, the larvae of which select poplars as their prey.
The plague has occurred in isolated places in this area before, but never has such wholesale destruction of foliage been caused as is taking place at present.
No permanent damage to the trees is anticipated and naturalists claim that "secondary" buds, which grow at the base of each leaf will come out after the caterpillars have turned into butterflies and the woods will again assume their natural color.
-- The Winnipeg Free Press, Wednesday, June 13, 1934, Pg. 1. (via Findmypast.com).
Ft. William, Ont. -- Armies of caterpillars which have stripped trees and foliage along the Fort William line of the Canadian National Railways, near Atikokan and Shebandowan, are advancing rapidly on settlements at the Head-of-the-Lakes. Railway locomotives are still reporting difficulty in gaining traction in sections where the tracks are covered with worms. Gasoline speeders used by section hands have been put out of commission in some sections, and in others men have had to carry them past hordes of caterpillars before they could find a place where the wheels would grip the track.
-- Troy (Missouri) Free Press, June 22, 1934. Plus others. (via Findmypast.com).
Following is a report of the drowning of John Wesley Chapman, appearing in the Daily Times-journal, Fort William, July 14:
"Flung into the waters of the Atikokan river when the canoe in which he was riding alone, overturned near the Atikokan iron mine yesterday afternoon, John Wesley Chapman, 33, lost his life when he was unable to swim to shore.
"Although Chapman, whose home address is 12 Dease street, was brought to shore shortly after he went under, efforts at resuscitation by friends failed to revive him.
"Chapman was employed as cook at A.B. Evans' camp at Sapawa Lake, 120 miles west of the city. In company with friends he was attending a picnic when the tragedy occurred. Mr. Chapman was paddling about in the river just below the falls when suddenly he lost control of the craft and it turned over, throwing him into the waters. Mr. Chapman was unable to swim and sank quickly.
"Friends on the shore witnessed the accident but were unable to reach him in time. Immediately one of the party dived down and brought the man to the surface and to shore.
"The late John Chapman had been a resident of the city for the past four years. He had been out of work for a lengthy period and this spring he had an opportunity to go to Sapawa Lake.
"Chapman was born in Eastern Ontario but came west when a boy. He lived in the west practically all his life until coming to Fort William.
"He is survived by his young widow and two children, Robert, 3, and Gracie, one year old. He is survived also by his mother and step-father, Mr. and Mrs. W. Attridge, Rapid City, Man., and four sisters, Mrs. H. Henry, of Rapid City; Mrs. S. Gardner, Transcona, Man.; Mrs. H. Tebbe, Woodridge, Man., and Mrs. Mae Blanchard, Wingham, Ont. Two brothers paid the supreme sacrifice in the Great War."
We understand that the above report errs in one respect. Deceased had with him a companion who succeeded in grabbing him in the water but was unable to save him.
The funeral was held at Fort William July 17 and was largely attended. Mrs. S. Gardner attended but Mrs. Attridge was prostrated with grief and unable to travel. Many beautiful floral tributes were placed on the casket.
Card of Thanks
Will friends and neighbors please accept my sincere thanks and appreciation of the kindness and sympathy shown me since my sad bereavement through the loss of my only son by drowning.
Mrs. Wm. Attridge.
-- Rapid City (Manitoba) Reporter, Thursday, Aug. 2, 1934, Pg. 4. (via Findmypast.com).
Manitoba Principal Breaks Barricade Set Up By Striking Pupils
Port Arthur, Jan. 30. -- Senior pupils of the Atikokan Public School went on strike one day last week after some trouble with the principal, O.A. Bangs, and for two days more refused to attend classes, it was learned yesterday.
It is reported that before the arrival of the principal at the school, the senior pupils assembled in their room, barricaded the door, stuffed the keyhole with a lead pencil, then piled moveable furniture against the door. When the principal demanded admittance, they refused to listen to him and it is said he was compelled to force his way in with an axe when he discovered several of the larger pupils leaping from the windows.
He questioned the ringleaders and ordered them to take punishment. When they refused, he is said to have told them to remain away from the school until he had the opportunity to take the matter up with the school board. Subsequently an emergency meeting of the trustees was held when the principal made an explanation of his action. The trustees are reported to have agreed that the principal was entirely within his rights in doing as he did and decided not to interfere in the matter.
-- The Border Cities Star, Windsor, Ont., Wednesday, Jan. 30, 1935, Pg 19. (via ink.ourontario.ca).
Social & Personal
Mr. A.H. Parkes left Saturday morning to take over his new duties at Atikokan, Ont. Mrs. Parkes and son will stay here for a few weeks yet.
-- The Swan River (Manitoba) Star and Valley Times, Thursday, March 7, 1935, Pg. 4. (via Findmypast.com).
The spirit of the far north moves itself aright in a paper-bound, blue-tinted collection of verse, "Rhymes of a Proper Roughneck," by C.D. Lang (Jackson Trade Publishing Co., Winnipeg). Although I have a profound affection for poets of the Shelley-Keats order, I count myself a friend of Robert Service and of all sourdough singers. I am happy, therefore, to put my academic hand into the calloused fist of Poet Lang and repeat to him the lines of a humble poet, slightly altered --
C.D., you are quite a guy
To goad the language into verse.
Here, take this laurel garland now
And stick it on your noble brow.
Mr. Lang supplies us with a few autobiographical hints, but inasmuch as he sings the glories of Atikokan, a divisional town on the C.N.R. between Fort Frances and Fort William, I presume that he is well-known in that vicinity. He devotes one of his prosily printed poems to Atikokan, beginning it thus:
"We sing a lay, without a blush, of Atikokan in the bush. We could not love thee any more, O beauteous town by Scheider's store. So we have busted into song to let the gaping gang along, along the whole blamed C.N.R., get wise to what we have and are."
Internal evidence in other poems, however, proves that Atikokan Lang is at home in higher latitudes than the Rainy River section. He has hunted the bull moose in the sub-Arctic; he has watched the grain ships steaming away from the port of Churchill; he has paddled his green canoe "north of Nowhere and Beyond." Can we not say of him what he has sung of Spike Struce of Mine Centre:
He has hunted in the brules
For the cariboo an deer,
Caught the trout in shoals an schools
Usin not an hook an spear.
He has searched for yellow gold
Where the green an purple schists
Beckon to the brave and bold:
Strivin thro the morning mists,
Shootin wolves or mushin dogs,
Loggin pine, and cedar poles;
Running rapids, rollin logs.
I am divided in mind as to which poem in thie rugged collection I like best. "Higher Adventure" is a most humorous production, "The Happy Isles" a glorious comparison of the Canadian north with the sun-drenched beaches of New Guinea, but take it all in all, I think the first prize ought to be given to "Joe's Pancakes." Echoes of Longfellow and Tennyson are to be heard in the brave tones of this epicuran ballad of the north, but the poet of Atikokan has celebrated with an originality all his own the super-pancakes made by Joe Miller of Atakokan, Rainy Lake. With rich colors he describes a breakfast on the shore on an autumn morning, as the first batch of pancakes leaves the pan:
Life is real, life is earnest, earth assumes a rosy shade.
Life is new mown hay and violets, as the golden pancakes fade.
Incense of the burning poplar, tang of fragrant pine,
Wondrous rapture of the pancake in the maple syrup brine!
Men, my brothers, fellow roughnecks, sitting there upon the rock,
All the cares of all the ages missle swiftly out of stock.
The wild ducks streaming over pause sudden in their flight,
To sniff the rich aroma and gurgle with delight.
Such were the feats of Pancakes by rock and beach of sand--
One ate those Super-Pancakes and saw the Promised Land.
And this is how you'll know it, if that happy spot you reach:
Syrup flowing in the streams, Joseph's Pancakes on the beach.
-- The Winnipeg Evening Tribune, Wednesday, May 29, 1935, Pg. 13. (via Findmypast.com).
Costly Industrial Plants Now Rusting on Port Arthur Water Front
Port Arthur, Ont., July 4. -- Birds along the Port Arthur waterfront have a $5,000,000 home. They nest in a property now gone to wrack and ruin which once constituted the Canadian National railway coal docks and the Atikokan Iron Plant.
The Atikokan Iron company was formed 20 years ago. The big plant was built to extract commercial iron from low grade ores of the Atikokan range. But after a few years operation it was found the industry could not pay. The plant was closed. The coal dock continued to prosper for a time and then degenerated from a busy centre of industry into the bird sanctuary it is today.
In the ghostlike buildings birds rear their families and teach the young to fly where once sweating puddlers toiiled over molten "pigs." Blackbirds and starlings flit through the chasms of long-disused machinery once worth a fortune.
Great steam condensers and 20-foot drive-wheels are rusting away in the old iron works. For a time part of the building was used as a dog pound, but no use is being made of the structure now.
On the former coal dock unloading cranes are now a mass of twisted steel. Overhead trestles have been torn away and coal cars have dropped to the ground. Electric trolleys that travelled the 1,300-foot length of the docks are rotting away near the water-edge.
Roofs of the two massive sheds where 200,000 tons of hard coal once were stored have collapsed.
-- The Brandon (Manitoba) Daily Sun, Thursday, July 4, 1935. Pg. 9. (indexed as Pg. 16) (via Findmypast.com).
There was a large attendance of friends, relatives, members of the I.O.O.F. and the L.O.L. and also former business associates from the C.P.R. stores department, at the funeral, Monday morning, of Edward Sproule, 80, who died Friday at Atikokan, Ont. Rev. S.J. Parsons, of Rosedale United church, conducted a service at the A.B. Gardiner Funeral home, following which burial was made in Brookside cemetery. The body was brought to Winnipeg, Sunday, from Atikokan, where Mr. Sproule had resided for the past 19 years. Previously he had lived at Cranbrook, B.C., and Winnipeg.
-- Winnipeg Free Press, Wednesday, November 27, 1935. Pg. 2. (via Findmypast.com).
Woman Found Dead on Verandah With Throat Slit From Ear to Ear and Husband Behind Locked Door in Bedroom With Wound in Throat -- Man, Who Had Just Returned From Atikokan, Held by Police Pending Inquest -- Police Find Children's Toys Round Christmas Tree and Household Furniture Broken and Scattered.
[Special Despatch to the Free Press]
Fort William, Ont., Dec. 28. -- Police, called to the home of Dominic Priamo, an Italian living in the east end, found a scene of horror Christmas night.
Earlier in the evening the neighbors report the home was the centre of a festive Christmas party, but the police found Mrs. Priamo, 34, pretty and popular, dead on the verandah with her throat slit from ear to ear and her husband behind a locked door in the bedroom with a wound in his throat.
He is being held by police awaiting the outcome of a coroner's inquest.
Children Find Body
Children playing in the street noticed the woman's body lying near the front door and the police were notified. They found that the woman had been dead for some time, and in addition to the knife wound in her throat found another wound in her leg, the knife having penetrated to the bone.
They entered the house and broke down the bedroom door before locating her husband. Evidence was found that a drinking party had preceded the slaying. Priamo was drunk, according to the police, and bleeding from the wound in his throat. A fifteen-in. bread knife and a razor lay near him. It was the bread knife, the police say, which was used to kill Mrs. Priamo.
Home Turned Into Shambles.
The little home had been transferred into a shambles. The kitchen stove, furniture and household furnishings were broken and strewn about. In one corner of the living room stood a Christmas tree with the toys for the couple's three children piled at its base. Blood was spattered about. Police say that the woman, apparently mortally wounded, grasped the tablecloth, and wrapping it about her throat to stay the flow of blood, staggered out on to the verandah.
The couple were well known in the east end of the city, where they had lived for fifteen years. The husband had returned from Atikokan, where he was working, to spend Christmas with his family.
The three children were away from home attending a Christmas party.
Police records show that the murder is the first to occur within the city limits in the past 15 years.
-- Manitoba Free Press, Winnipeg, Monday December 27, 1935. Pg. 1 & 3. (via Findmypast.com).
Fort Williams, Ont. June 18. -- CP -- Railway schedules in the head-of-the-lakes division were disrupted today by an invasion of army worm caterpillars.
The worms, swarming over the tracks, made them so greasy that wheels of freight engines were unable to gain traction. Four trains between here and Atikokan yesterday were stopped. Trainmen were forced to cut the trains into small sections and take them piecemeal into sidings.
-- Chicago (Illinois) Daily Illini, June 19, 1935, Page 1. (Student newspaper of the University of Illinois). (via Findmypast.com).
The wedding of Anne, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. P. Grupa, of Valley River, Man., to Mr. J.R. Klepek, son of Mr. and Mrs. Roman Klepek, of Sifton, Man., took place Saturday, July 18, at the Greek Catholic church, Valley River. Mrs. and Mrs. Klepek will make their home at Atikokan, Ont.
-- Winnipeg Free Press, Saturday, July 25, 1936, Pg. 9. (via Findmypast.com).
[Special to The Winnipeg Tribune]
Ft. Frances, Ont., Oct. 22 -- Glen Lesage, Indian youth of Sapawe Lake, on trial for the murder of his step-father, Frank Lesage, was acquitted by a jury in the court house here late Wednesday night. The jury was out for three hours.
During the trial young Lesage took the stand to testify that he shot his step-father in the kitchen of their Sapawe Lake cabin last July 19, while the elderly Indian was clubbing the boy's mother with a .22-calibre rifle.
Evidence throughout the trial showed the slain man was a tyrant in the home, and throughout their married life Mrs. Lesage was the victim of his brutality, which finally drove Glen, her son by a previous marriage, to end it with a bullet from a 30-30 Winchester hunting rifle.
-- Winnipeg Tribune, Thursday, October 22, 1936, Pg. 1. (via Findmypast.com).
Atikokan, Ont. -- The home of Mr. and Mrs. C.R. Stokes was the scene of a pretty wedding, Nov. 24, when their only daughter, Lily Eva, formerly of Winnipeg and Brandon, became the bride of Mr. William Norwell McClintock, of Toronto, a graduate of the University of Alberta. Rev. J.E. Jones, of Fort Frances, Ont., officiated.
The bride entered with her father, preceded by Miss Grace Rogers, of Edmonton, Alta., her bridesmaid, to the strains of Mendelssohn's "Wedding March." The bride wore a gleaming white satin gown, fashioned on princess lines with the new swing fulness toward the back and the regal collar framing her face. Her veil was floor length, made in coronet fashion and caught with orange blossoms. She carried American Beauty roses.
The bridesmaid wore a tea rose satin gown with fitted bodice, full swing skirt and waist length cape with rows of tucks and long white gloves. She carried Talisman roses.
In a decorated sleigh drawn by seven huskies, the bride and bridegroom were drawn to the community hall, where the reception was held, attended by 74 guests. The dinner was provided by the Women's Institute and the bridal couple were guests of the community at a dance. Later the newly-weds proceeded by dog team to the Elizabeth gold mines, where they will reside.
-- Winnipeg Free Press, Saturday, December 5, 1936, Pg. 14. (via Findmypast.com).
James Carder, who has been attending the University of Toronto, studying theology, spent a few days with his parents at his home on the ninth concession before leaving for Atikokan, near Fort Frances, Rainy River District, where he has been appointed by the Board of Home Missions of the United Church as a student supply for the summer months.
-- The Amherstburg Echo, Essex County, Ont., Friday, June 17, 1938, Pg 6. (via ink.ourontario.ca).
NOTE: See Memoirs of Rev. James Carder on this website.
Of interest to the Upper Peninsula is the recent find of high grade hematite iron ore at Atikokan, Northern Ontario, 140 miles west of Port Arthur, where diamond drilling has disclosed the presence of 100,000,000 tons of something which Canada badly needs.
The find was made through the deductions of J.G. Cross, Port Arthur mining engineer. Dilligently studying all available mineral reports, he correlated them in the light of his own examination of the ground and the geology of the district generally. He concluded that the goods were likely to be found in commercial quantities beneath Steep Rock Lake. Backed by Joseph Errington of Toronto, he drilled the area, and found a large and rich iron formation, consisting of ore that is as nearly pure as any, and in quantities sufficient to permit mining on a fairly extensive scale for at least 50 years.
Plans for develping the area are slowly developing, and the coming enterprise bids fair to mean much to the Twin Cities of Port Arthur and Fort William on the north shore of Lake Superior, to the Canadian National railway, and to Northern Ontario generally. These communities have been hard hit by business depression over the last few years, and they have a right to feel happy over the promising approach of better times. Probably some of the output, when the mine gets under way, will find a path to the Algoma Steel company's plant in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, which up to now has been buying its iron ore on the Gogebic range. However this will make little difference in the long run, since the Algoma mills are getting ready to beneficate and use their own low grade deposits at Wawa, Ontario.
Thus old Lake Superior continues to yield up the mineral riches along its far flung shores. Probably ten generations will not suffice to see the end of the vast wealth dug out of the ancient Laurentian hills which fringe the mightly lake, and which have yielded such vast store of iron, copper, gold and other desirable helps to mankind.
-- Escabana (Mich.) Daily Press, March 15, 1939, Pg. 4. (via Findmypast.com).
Atikokan Ont. -- Mammoth blasts of dynamite recently opened the way for the mining of millions of tons of hematite, iron ore deposits buried for centuries under the waters of Steep Rock Lake.
The two blasts -- one of four tons and the other 14 tons of dynamite -- altered nature's drainage system in this part of northwestern Ontario by forging the last link in a chain of diversion projects through which the waters of the Seine River system will bypass Steep Rock. The remaining water now is being pumped from the lake preparatory to mining operations.
-- The Louisville (Colorado) Times, Feb. 24, 1944, Pg. 8. (via Findmypast.com).
--The Winnipeg Tribune, Thursday, July 4, 1940. Pg. 5. (via Findmypast.com).
A report from Atikokan is that men are being taken on there by Steep Rock Iron Mines, limited, for what is apparently preliminary work, including road construction, on the diversion of lake waters to facilitate open pit mining of the large ore bodies. These reports lack official confirmation. The work, as understood to be planned, could be carried on efficiently through the winter, in fact better in some respects than in the summer, since the frozen ground which can be dug easily with modern equipment, holds water that might otherwise be troublesome. It is expected that some official announcement regarding financing plans will be made shortly, and also on other plans which the company has had under negotiation for some time.
--The Winnipeg Free Press, Monday, November 17, 1941. Pg. 14. (via Findmypast.com).
In a multi-page article containing a list of returning prisoners of war, is listed: Pte. R.L. Labossiere, of Atikoken, Ont.
-- The Winnipeg Free Press, Wednesday July 4, 1945, Pg. 4. (via Findmypast.com).
Mr. and Mrs. N. Kachkowski and little son of Antikokan Ont., left for their home Saturday after attending the funeral of their mother, the late Mrs. J. Dzamar, who passed away early last week following a brief illness.
-- The Dauphin (Manitoba) Herald & Press, Thursday, May 23, 1946, Pg. 10. (via Findmypast.com).
Jacob Frizzley, well known resident of Rossendale, died Saturday at his home in Atikokan, Ontario. He was 77 years of age.
He came to Canada from Syria over 50 years ago, and had farmed in the Rossendale district until his retirement to Portage in 1939. For the past two years he had lived in Ontario.
Surviving besides his widow are three sons, Reuben of Rossendale; Joseph of Treherne and George of Atikokan; four daughters, Mrs. P. Young, Winnipeg; Mrs. M. Yasinski, Atikoken; Mrs. G. Tait, Salisbury, N.B.; Mrs. H. Simpson, Portage. There are six grandchildren and one brother David, who resides in McCord, Sask.
Funeral services were held on Tuesday at 2 p.m. from McKillops' funeral chapel, with Rev. P.C. Bays officiating. Burial was made in the family plot in Rossendale cemetery.
Pallbearers were Wm. Love, J. Fisher, A. Watson, A. Ferguson, A. Henry, A. Culbert.
Bearers of the many beautiful floral tributes were Jas. Watson, John Nichol, Edward Pearce, Russell Love.
-- The Manitoba Leader, (Portage La Prairie, Manitoba), Thursday, July 1, 1948, Pg. 23. (via Findmypast.com).
BARBER SHOP FOR QUICK SALE
in Atikoken. Party leaving town. Write John Welchuk, Atikoken, Ont.
-- The Winnipeg Tribune, Wed., July 5, 1950, Pg. 27. (via Findmypast.com).
Clayton Goodwin of Antikokan, Ont., paid a brief visit to renew acquaintances in town. On his return trip he was accompanied by Mrs. Goodwin who had spent the past week visiting here.
-- The Dauphin (Manitoba) Herald & Press, Thursday, August 10, 1950, Pg. 11. (via Findmypast.com).
In Canada's Great New Mining Town, Atikoken, Ont. -- Cafe, seats 75 persons. Latest and best equipment. Rapidly growing iron ore and mining centre. T.O. $250 day. Bargain price $20,000 plus stock $5,000.
-- The Winnipeg Tribune, Mon., August 14, 1950, Pg. 25. (via Findmypast.com).
Mrs. John Shaventaske has returned from a most enjoyable trip to Antikokan. While there Mary spent some time with her daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Morden and had a grand time with Rab and Louise Henderson. Mary also says that the scenery and country is very beautiful.
-- The Selkirk (Manitoba) Enterprise, Thursday, November 22, 1951, Pg. 5. (via Findmypast.com).
Mr. and Mrs. L.S. Pattyson and Geoffrey Atikokan are holidaying with Mr. and Mrs. Lorne Annis.
Mr. L.S. Pattyson left Sunday for his home at Atikokan after spending two weeks with Mr. and Mrs. Lorne Annis.
-- The Canadian Statesman, Bowmanville, Ont., Thursday, April 9, 1953, Pg 10, and Thursday, April 16, Pg. 15. (via ink.ourontario.ca).
Where is Atikokan?
The Canadian customs official in London, Ontario, looked at the destination on my declaration and blinked. "Where on earth is Atikokan?" he asked.
But my seat mate on the Canadian National plane headed for Port Arthur brightened when he heard the old Indian name meaning "Caribou bones."
"I'm the chief of police at Fort William," he explained. "One of my best friends, Syd Hancock was one of the pioneers up there at Steep Rock mines. I take it you are going to the mines, of course".
Today, the names of Atikokan, Ontario, and Steep Rock are synonymous to any north country resident.
Atikokan is the thriving new settlement of 4,000 mining families -- persons who have flocked from all corners of Canada and from the United States during the past decade to work in one of Canada's great iron ore processing centers, the Steep Rock Mines.
Once a Rail Crossing
Ten years ago, Atikokan was just a rairoad crossroads with 100(?) inhabitants living mostly in box cars.
Ten years ago, Steep Rock Mines were not mines at all. They were just a peaceful lake, surrounded by moose pasture.
Today men are fishing a fortune in ore out of the old lake bed and prospects point to much larger "catches" ahead.
The pay off is not just in dollars but in added security for a continent that has rapidly run worldwide wars and unprecedented peace demands.
Steep Rock was my destination this day as an Akron reporter because an Akron district resident had the courage -- when no one else could be found -- to give (his?) backing to the venture in 1942.
He is Cyrus Eaton, Canadian-born financier who lives on a big farm in Northfield, Ohio, when he is not spending his summers in Nova Scotia at his second home.
But while at Atikokan I also met the other "hero" of Steep Rock, Julian Cross, the man who made the discovery that there was iron ore beneath that huge lake, after everyone else had given up the search.
A retired Canadian prospector, Mr. Cross now lives in Port Arthur, the town 140 miles to the south on Lake Superior to which the precious carloads of Steep Rock iron ore are shipped.
Mr. Cross related the story of the amazing discovery in his own words as we rode the engine of an ore train going out onto the [..] and watched the precious [..] gold ore as it was dumped into the holds of the ore boats going down to the steel mill ports of the United States.
"The Steep Rock Iron strike is becoming the biggest thing we've ever had up here," this salty, rugged character told me. "It even turned out to be the biggest iron ore producing center since Minnesota's mighty Mesabi was opened a half century ago.
"But Steep Rock was a lot tougher than Mesabi which had ore close to the earth's surface and was easily reached," he added.
"Up here, we had to reach our ore from narrow veins deep in the ground and could do it only after rivers and lakes had been moved and entire drainage areas altered."
Mr. Cross then traced the story of Steep Rock back to the great glaciers, which, when they moved out centuries ago left Steep Rock Lake, an N-shaped hole, 250 feet deep, 15 miles long, containing an estimated 1,200,000 gallons of water.
As far back as a hundred years ago, he said, floating ore was turning up along its shores. Indian canoes came off the lake with red streaks along their water lines. More than one old prospector looked, staked a claim and started ripping up the shore in vain. All went broke and gave up.
By 1900, geologists begain to theorize there were ore deposits beneath the lake. But to get to these deposits was something else again. To drain the lake would risk having 30 square miles of water rush down on the scene in a body.
And there was still no real proof the ore was there.
"That's where I came in," relates Mr. Cross with a twinkle. "I'd been prospecting in the bush for 30 years with no success until I hit a nickel claim one day that was worth $250,000.
Picked Coldest Month
"That gave me the boost to try Steep Rock. I picked the coldest month of the year -- January, 1938. The 60-degree-below temperature worked to advantage. Only then could the lake ice be strong enough to support my drilling rigs, which can't be operated at all from boats.
"For weeks I worked, sending big bits down through the ice and in under the lake from the side. One day I hit something. At first I thought it was just a lump of dirt.
"I kicked it and knew it was iron ore. I knew I must have found a major deposit. I staked my claim to 5,000 acres of public land, organized a company and set out to find a man to finance it.
"That man was Eaton. He had the courage to try it."
Bonds were sold. The United States and Canadian Government approved stock issues. The Reconstruction Finance Corporation put in some money. By the year's end, Steep Rock Iron Mines Ltd., was in business for keeps.
Real Work Began
The the real work began -- the work that I saw still continuing in my trips down into the immense mines where power shovels dig ore night and day.
Workers had to divert an entire river -- the Seine. Draining of the lake by special pumps, followed. Steam shovels and powerful 22-ton trucks were still at work clearing lake-bottom sediment when I went town into the pits.
There were plenty of setbacks too. Once in 1944, when some 10,000 tons of ore had been moved, the pit caved in, burying equipment and newly excavated mine deposits. But a year later 500,000 tons of ore was moving down the Canadian National tracks and the railroad was building more ore cars.
Tonnage passed 1,300,000 in 1951, and this year a 1,500,000-ton movement is forecast. In five years the figures should reach nearly 5,000,000, it is estimated.
Underground, as well as open-pit mining has now been started there.
It is at Atikokan you get the real behind-the-scenes story.
You can reach the settlement only on the one train a day from Port Arthur. There are no roads in there.
This will all be changed by fall, however. Miners are looking forward eagerly to the opening of the first road to the mining center. Mine officials will greet the opening with mixed emotions. Tourists and visitiors will bring hundreds of new problems to the Steep Rock bosses.
It was a typical Atikokan Saturday night when I arrived. But the town was not a typical gold-rush town of the "Roaring Forties" such as I had half expected.
Miners and miners' children were eagerly watching the one train a day pull in. They saw their precious milk unloaded -- which costs 21 cents a quart -- and their daily mail.
A few miners carying fishing equipment were boarding the train with their families, going to spend a long week end at the "Lakehead." There was plenty of gaiety, but no shouting, or fighting, or disorder such as you sometimes see in mining movies.
Instead, just across the street and around the town were the lights of their comfortable modern little homes, on streets laid out where once the bush had crept right to the station platform. Spires of at least three churches pricked the shadows.
From the nearby recreation hall (called the "Rec") there came the thrum of an orchestra. The schottiche and polka were vying with square dances at a Saturday night "do."
Miners Help Each Other
I learned that some 185 of the three or four room-with-bath miner's homes, had been erected here by the Steep Rock Company. At the east end of the town some 400 new dwellings are now going up on a fine modern development that will even have a garden shopping center. These homes will all be sold to the miners. They do not want this to be a company owned town.
The miners help each other build their houses on the 50-by-130 lots. There is no profiteering allowed and very few contractors are necessary.
Atikokan is not actually a town yet, but it is well on its way to becoming one. At present, it is ruled by a "clerk" and the provincial government sends in policemen and an occasional Mountie to keep the peace. A small town library is open three days a week.
The phone exchange is four or five times bigger than the company expected when it went in there.
Tiny gardens are springing up despite the short summer seasons.
Mrs. Neal Edmonstone, wife of the secretary-treasurer of the company, found one year that deer had chewed off the tops of her carrots and that rabbits and bears were frequent visitors in her garden, located on the outskirts of the settlement.
Frost came early that year and finished it.
"I called it my lost garden," she explained blithely.
From the wives of the mining executives down, you'll find the Steep Rock women a cheerful, happy lot.
Old Story to Many
Many have been miner's wives and engineers wives for years, of course. They have known gold mines, and nickel mines before they came here.
The miners themselves are big, brawny, sun-tanned men, men with names like Kollsnyk and Kostashuk and Krukoski.
A Ferriggi works beside a Bergman.
Most are second-generation immigrants. Some have worked for years on western farms before coming here.
In their comfortable homes atop the hill overlooking the mines -- homes they soon must leave to make way for further blasting and a railroad -- I talked to executives' wives who have lived here since the mine was opened. They have their parties and dinners, just as if they weren't miles out in the bush.
Mrs. Edmonstone's beaver dinners are famous triumphs of culinary skill, served with rice and chutney, bananas and pineapple.
"But it isn't pioneering and frontiering now like it was when we came here 15 years ago and set up housekeeping in a one-room bunkie," said the wife of the man who is president of the company.
"Bears don't eat out of your garbage cans any more, and wolves don't meet you on the paths. But you can still hear wolves howling on the outskirts of town at night, and we found a bear family down here on the lake shore the other day.
"I was a University of Toronto graduate who had never had my feet off the pavement when I came up," the attractive company president's wife explained. "It was my first wedding anniversary when I came here. I began cooking on a two-burner oil stove. Indians used to paddle round and watch our bonfire on the lovely shore of the lake that is now a mine.
"We've had to move three times since, because the blasting started and the construction pushed us out.
One time we loaded our one-room shack onto a trailer and just hauled it through the woods to a new site.
"Sometimes I look at what is left of the lake now -- just a deep hole -- and I say, 'Look what they've done to my lake,' Then I think, 'But this is progress.'"
"One thing is sure, even though we've got to move again, I'll never go back to the city. My children, Bill, 10, and Polly 6(?), love it here." -- From The Christian Science Monitor.
Note: the "company president's wife", quoted in the last few paragraphs is obviously Betty Fotheringham.
-- The Amherstburg Echo, Essex County, Ont., Thursday, September 10, 1953, Pg 5. (via ink.ourontario.ca).
First Home Log Cabin
By Doris M. Fitzgerald
Most brides hope to start housekeeping with cupboards full of pretty clothes, linens, and china, and with new furniture, and the latest electrical gadgets, but, when Gwen Smith of Montreal, became engaged to Bill Neeland of Fort William she realized that she would have no immediate use for such amenities. Instead, her trousseau featured slacks and sweaters and long winter underwear. A good sleeping bag took precedence over a bed, and kitchen equipment included a coal oil lamp, a water pail, and an axe for chopping firewood. For William D. Neeland, who was born in Moose Jaw, grew up in Fort William, was educated at Ridley College, St. Catherines, and received his Master of Science degree from McGill University, is a geologist. His work of exploring and assaying the mineral ores deep below the surface of the earth, takes him to the remoter, unsettled parts of Canada, and when he has completed his findings in one area he moves on to another.
Apart from summer cottages, and resort hotels, Gwen Neeland had had no experience of country living, but she cheerfully renounced accustomed luxuries and conveniences, for a rugged life of camping in the bush, in order to be with her husband.
She got used to walking, and snowshoeing for great distances, and to travelling on trucks, trains, and railway jiggers, freighters, canoes, and bush planes, and she learned the hard way, many things that were not on the cirriculum of Miss Stone's School for Girls (now Weston School) in Montreal.
Log Cabin First Home
A snowmobile took the Neelands to their first home at the Thompson Cadillac Mine in northern Quebec. It was a very old prospector's log cabin, but being in the Amos-Val d'Or gold mining area where there was considerable settlement, it boasted electric light, and water was delivered to the door twice a week.
First White Woman
Things were different at Steep Rock, where Gwen Neeland was the first white woman to touch foot. Her husband was sent to the site, 150 miles west of Fort William, by the late Joseph Errington, to locate iron ore. When satisfied that there was a large deposit there, he returned to Fort William to fetch Gwen who was staying with his parents.
It was the end of February, and the ice on Steep Rock Lake, which has since been drained, but was then the only level spot to land, was not thick enough to bear a plane, so the two of them trudged 7 miles through the snow from Atikoken. Mrs. Neeland packed 40 pounds of food on her back, and her husband carried a larger load. Their new home was a small tent with a wooden floor precariously balanced on a rock, which fell sharply away under one corner. In the mornings the canvas roof would be sagging over their heads from the weight of fresh snow, and one day they woke up looking like black face comedians, because, in the night the wick of the little coal oil heater had crept up and covered everything with greasy black soot. This was a sorry mess to clean up in zero weather when buckets of water had to be drawn through a hole in the ice, and heated on a two burner coal oil cook stove. It was difficult too, to wash heavy underwear in a hand basin, and to bake bread in a portable tin oven. But she got used to these chores just as she became accustomed to the winter stillness, and her black spaniel Bous as chief daytime companion.
When freight could be brought in they ordered a prefab wooden "Bunkie" which came in easily bolted together sections. It had a front and back door and four windows, and seemed a palace after the tent. The coal oil heater was replaced by a wood stove, and Mrs. Neeland learned to cut down small trees for firewood, and always to keep a pail of water near the stove because green wood burns so fiercely.
"Was it warmer in the tent?" "Well, yes", she said "but our hair still frosted on the pillows, and every night and morning the canned goods on the shelf used to "pop" as they froze and unfroze."
As Low as 60 Below
Mrs. Neeland added that in the north country the temperature often falls to 60 below, and rises in the summer as high as 95 degrees, but neither of these extremes seem as trying as they would in southern Ontario, because the air is so dry.
90 Miles to Doctor
The nearest doctor lived ninety miles away, but there was a Red Cross nurse and a three bed Outpost Hospital at Atikoken. On one occasion when Mrs. Neeland was taken ill she was placed in a miners basket and transported by dump truck, boat and truck to Atikoken, where she remained until until the tri-weekly train came through and she could be taken to the hospital in Port Arthur. Their fourteen year old daughter Carol was born while the Neelands lived at Steep Rock, but Mrs. Neeland went to Montreal for that event. The Neelands lived at Steep Rock for four interesting years during which the site developed into the largest iron producing mine in Canada.
Bill Neeland next spent a year with the Sudbury Diamond Drilling Co., and then enlisted in the R.C.N.V.R. in which he held the rank of Lieutenant. Mrs. Neeland and Carol returned to Montreal, and George was born there in 1945. At war's end the family moved to Fort William, but Mr. Neeland was away from home for months at a time. He spent a year travelling all over Canada, and the north west for the Kennicot Copper Co., then went out to Regina to help organize a Mines branch for the Department of Natural Resources of the Saskatchewan Government.
Mrs. Neeland says that most people do not realize that northern Saskatchewan is very similar to northern Ontario. It is full of rock and muskeg and hundreds of lakes which are being fished commercially. The fish are filleted by Indian help, frozen, and shipped to the United States. Fish and other freight are flown from the north by big Canso planes in summer, and in the winter "cat trains" which are glorified sleds used for transportation.
Move to Flin Flon
When Mr. Neeland became resident Geologist and Inspector of Mines at Flin Flon, his family joined him there. Part of Flin Flon is in Manitoba and part in Saskatchewan, and housing accommodation was scarce in the town so they lived 16 miles out in a bush settlement of 10 houses at Denare Beach, Sask. (The word Denare is formed of the first two letters of Department of National Resources). Their neighbours were Ukranians, Icelanders, Poles and Crees. Duck hunting and whist were favorite pastimes, and in Flin Flon curling was such a popular sport that even 7th grade school children carried brooms around the street.
Teacher Loved Soap Operas
Carol attended the one room school at Denare where there were 22 pupils in several grades, and speaking several languages. Some of the lessons came by radio, and as the teacher had a weakness for soap operas the radio was kept on for those too. She did not make great progress so her parents sent her to Miss Edgar and Miss Cramp's School in Montreal for two years. When young George's education had to be considered, they decided it was time to establish a permanent home base. Two years ago the Neelands came east. Mr. Neeland set up his own practice as Consulting Geologist, and they bought a house in Thornhill.
Now Have Permanent Home
Though the family enjoy the comforts of a settled community, Gwen Neeland says that she will always be glad that she had those years of her life in the bush, where the air was clear and invigorating, and the scenery unspoiled. They came to look upon the animals and birds as friends and would have been loath to shoot a deer. In Saskatchewan a silver fox used to come out of the woods and take crusts from their hands. They also enjoyed meeting, and knowing all kinds of people, many of whom had had no formal education but were full of wisdom and character. They were spared that dread of all northerners, a bad forest fire, and the only things which they were truly glad to leave behind were black flies, mosquitoes and out-door plumbing.
In case this article leads you to picture Mrs. Neeland as a muscular Amazonian type, we would like to add that she is a slight, and very pretty young woman, who looks as though she had never worn anything but high heeled shoes and smart clothes.
-- The Richmond Hill Liberal, Thursday, October 7, 1954, Pg. 4. (via Findmypast.com).
Fort Frances -- Love found a way for two Polish immigrants who exchanged marriage vows at International Bridge here with the co-operation of Canadian and American Customs officials, a Fort Frances attorney and an International Falls, Minn., judge.
The newlyweds are Mr. and Mrs. Josef Byczyk of Sapawe, Ont., both natives of Poland and of German extraction.
The bride, the former Maria Zaryn has been a resident of Canada for some time and first met her husband when they were youngsters in Poland.
The bridegroom arrived in Canada recently and because of Ontario non-resident restrictions was unable to get a marriage licence here.
The bride-to-be was able to enter the U.S. but the bridegroom was not because of immigration restrictions. This seemed to bar a U.S. ceremony but with the aid of J.C. Smith, a Fort Frances lawyer, it came off after all.
Smith accompanied the prospective bride on a visit to Judge H.H. Palmer, Koochiching county jurist at International Falls and he agreed to accommodate the sweethearts by making a trip to the bridge to perform the rites although he had never before officiated outside his office. The wedding took place at 11 a.m. Saturday in the American Customs office at the bridge.
The happy couple now is honeymooning at Sapawe which is about 10 miles east of Atikokan.
-- The Winnipeg Tribune, Wednesday, Feb. 17, 1954, Pg. 12. (via Findmypast.com).
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