Selected Chapters of Temiskaming Heritage-Chapter 2 cover

Selected Chapters of Temiskaming Heritage
Chapter 2
Cobalt Historical Society

Proceedings from the symposium held June 1, 2019 featuring selected pieces of Temiskaming heritage. Four presenters gave unique presentations that have been collected for this book.

ISBN: 978-1-989615-06-5 | WMPub#7932 | 8½" x 11;"
48 pages; 80 pictures; trade paperback | $15.00

Debra B. North

Debra B. North: Annie Saunders: Cobalt's First Nurse

Through extensive research Debra has been able to follow this amazing woman from her birth in England to her arrival in Cobalt. Annie resumed practising her profession when she had not planned to nurse again, due to ill health. Through pictures, some not seen publicly before, the viewer will have the opportunity to walk in this dedicated woman's footsteps as she devoted nine years of her life to Cobalt. In order to develop a full understanding of Annie's sacrifices, the presentation will include details and photographs of her children and family life.

Bruce W Taylor

Bruce W. Taylor: George Taylor Hardware Limited Cobalt Branch 1905-1941 Employees Who Made a Difference

Cobalt is well known as the ¬Cradle of Canadian Mining.¬ The mining industry in Ontario really took off when silver was discovered at Cobalt in 1903. The mining practices, expertise, and technology developed in the mines at Cobalt spread throughout northern Ontario and into Northwestern Quebec at Noranda and Val d¬Or, as well as into other provinces. The mines in Cobalt (and elsewhere) depended upon a variety of private companies that supplied explosives, mining equipment such as drills, pumps, wire rope, chemicals, and other essential materials that kept them operating.

One company that was on the scene very early was George Taylor Hardware Limited. When the scope of the mining activity in Cobalt became apparent, the company was quick to pitch a tent on Haileybury Road in 1905, and began selling hardware and other supplies to prospectors and the early mines in the area.

Management of the Taylor Hardware branch in Cobalt recruited many talented and hard-working men and women over the years, and a significant number of them advanced to positions of responsibility within the Taylor hardware organization and elsewhere. This is the story of some of these people who made a difference.

Rocky Larocque

Robert Larocque: Historical Photo Analysis of the Landscape of Early Cobalt, Methods for the Interpretation of Cobalt's Early Landscape Images

A glimpse through the camera lens of the early photographers provides one with an intriguing look at the early years of the mining camp. The early landscape images we have today offer the viewer a great wealth of details regarding the growth of Cobalt during the first few years after silver was first discovered in late 1903. They are the visual story of a moment frozen in time, captured in the lenses of medium and large format cameras of the day. They are the stark images of a bygone era that tell us how the rag tag assortment of canvas tents and haphazard shacks along the shoreline of Long Lake would become the "Silver Capital of the World" in just a few short years.

Although they certainly depict the early life of those who flocked into the mining camp in search of fame and fortune, more importantly the images are the richest source of 'the truth' of Cobalt's much fabled history. With an ever-evolving persona, Cobalt was transformed from a crude railway workers¬ camp in 1903 to a booming city by 1912. Understanding the images that have been preserved requires a methodical approach to authenticating the historical details and the makeup of the landscape through the years.

The intrepid photographers who ventured north to seek work in 'New Ontario', have provided us with an insight to how this transformation took place. The work of photographers such as Alex MacLean, Lake & Lewis, Bogart & Stokes, and others recorded the various chapters of the town as it grew into a thriving metropolis. A close study of the streetscapes, the architecture styles and the various structures that came and went during these years allows one to see the dramatic changes that took place as the mining camp gained momentum. We can form a timeline that will accurately date the various aspects of the town itself. As such these historic images provide one with a sense of balance between the legendary tales of the town, and the real story of what has become Ontario's "Most Historic Town."

Maggie Wilson

Maggie Wilson: Horatio Claude Barber and the Cobalt Open Call Mining Exchange

In early September, 2018, the Cobalt Historical Society received an email from Terry Grace, a volunteer with the Amesbury Heritage Centre in the UK. He asked if we knew anything about Horatio Claude Barber and the Cobalt Open Call Mining Exchange.

Terry knew that Barber was a wealthy aviation pioneer in the early 19-teens in England. Much has been written about the man and his aeronautical exploits, but little personal information is available that relates to Barber's time after he left home in 1892 when he was 17. According to the Barber family, Barber made his considerable fortune "from mining in Canada." Also, apparently, before he returned to Europe around 1908, he won big at a casino in New York.

A quick scan of the newspaper archives revealed several references to Barber arriving in Cobalt in the spring of 1906 and announcements of the opening of the exchange. Barber placed ads in the papers offering his consulting services as 'a practical mining man.' Judging from his status as independently wealthy post-Cobalt, we might assume that he was successful as a mine promoter.

Are our assumptions correct? Were Barber's claims that he was a knowledgeable mining man true?

Follow us as we follow the newspaper accounts of Mr. Barber as he travels from England to Australia, to British Columbia and to San Francisco, and finally to Ontario. You will see that the man was comfortable taking risks for he was indeed involved in some risky business.