Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Boundary Markers: "Soup Plates"

In the September of 1872, some two-hundred and fifty astronomers, blacksmiths, cooks, engineers, medics for the work animals and the working humans, naturalists, surveyors, topographers, wheelwrights, and woodworkers, gathered at the small isolated town of Pembina two degrees south of the parallel. When their American counterparts, flanked by the United States cavalry, arrived, the five-hundred members of the North American Boundary Commission were united in common cause. - From Beneath My Feet
George Mercer Dawson
A few months back, a friend of Jake Rempel - who is also a friend (and a fellow local historian) of this blog's writer - found a dish in an old basement north of Fort Dufferin near modern day Emerson, Manitoba.

How it got there is not known. Oral history has it that the building that used to be upon the foundation, was once a bar and a house of pleasure.

Boundary Marker Plate

Jake said, "I know they used different types of steel markers; I am not sure what they used right in the beginning, pole markers of some kind. George Mercer Dawson followed the survey crew and seems to have placed soup plates as each marker. This reference (below) in his book, Beneath My Feet, is all I have found about this type of marker..."

From George Mercer Dawson's Beneath My Feet
There is still an International Boundary Commission to this day. They describe their ongoing mission "...as maintaining the boundary in an effective state of demarcation. This is done by inspecting it regularly; repairing, relocating or rebuilding damaged monuments or buoys; keeping the vista cleared, and erecting new boundary markers at such locations as new road crossings."

Monday, June 06, 2016

St. Vincent Girl Driven to Suicide

Recently I was contacted by a descendant of Dr. Alexander Campbell, St. Vincent's first doctor.  She said that another relative had just discovered an old newspaper article about Dr. Campbell's daughter, Agnes.

It was a very sad story:  one of ill health; a vague, terminal prognosis; and inevitable despair that pushed Agnes - a young, promising medical professional - to take her own life.