Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Carhagouha - 1615 site of first Mass in Ontario

August 12, 1615 first Mass celebrated in Ontario by Father Joseph LeCaron in the presence of Samuel Champlain. There are two crosses that mark this site.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

How Long a Trip Was It?

It would appear from reading Champlain and Sagard that most trips up to Huronia in their time originated at Three Rivers or points west between there and Montreal Island where trade sites had been established. Most trips appeared to have taken about 30 days including a couple of short stopovers with people like the Nippissing. In most cases it would appear that the French landed at the villages of the people with whom they were traveling. This may have been preplanned from the outset or just happenstance but one would assume that if you planned to visit the Bear Nation, you would travel with people of that Nation as the landing places servicing the principle villages of these Nations were many leagues apart. The Rock Nation and the Bear for example were situated some 50 km distant overland from each other. This would not be a distance taken lightly should one get dropped off in an unintended destination.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Where is Carhagouha

According to the landmarks in Tiny Township Carhagouha is located just east of the lot line between lots 20 and 21 in Conc. 17 and accessible from Conc. Rd 18 at the intersection of the Cedar Pt. Rd. It is marked by a large cross that commemorates the first mass in Ontario that was conducted by Récollet Father Joseph Le Caron and witnessed by Samuel de Champlain along with a dozen or so Frenchmen (probably including Etienne Brule) and a few natives of the Northern Bear Nation of the Wendat Confederacy.
Was this the place?

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Q? post 1651 - recommend essential texts if you would

Outside our main focus but still history of Huronia.....

1651-1900 what are the essential books to read?

see this link:

for an online exhibit at the Ontario Archives about 17th and 18th century French Ontario

Q? essential reading list

What are your recommendations for an essential reading list of the history of Huronia, focused 1615-1651?

Friday, May 19, 2006

A Tiny bit of interest.

Had a great meeting this evening with the Tiny Township Heritage Committee. They appear to share many of our goals and objectives and I would anticipate a strong working relationship with them when it comes to building an inventory of sites and the preservation of this valued history in their area.
The have a particular current interest in Carhagouha and perhaps someone can create a post on information regarding this site, its authenticity and its history. I believe the ownership was recently transferred from the Knights of Columbus to the Shrine. Was a village site ever found here? Have excavations ever been done?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Canals and Water Level.

This site plan of Ste Marie l done by Rev Hallen in 1852 shows the large trench or canal flowing freely to the Wye River and probably fed by the smaller North South trench directing the spring water from the hill where the Shrine now sits. I believe that the "canal" was filled with river water and the other drainage ditches flowed into it. I doubt that there were any locks as suggested by Jury. They would not have been required if the Wye River (Georgian Bay) water levels were up by 10-12ft over current levels.
The current program at the Ste Marie site leaves the question of the canal as a loading and docking area for the canoes up to the imagination of the visitor. I would think that this is an important enough feature of this local to warrant further science in an effort to provide a more definitive interpretation.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Q? Forest type during the 1600s

I am a little curious about what the forest was like in the 1600s. Today we have only a pocket or two of original forest left. The only one I have been told about is a mosquito laden pocket of swampy cedar woods in one small section of Awenda Provincial Park. Everything else is new growth forest.

  1. So was there a deciduous/coniferous mix? How dense was it? I recall some writer somewhere saying that a squirrel before European contact could climb a tree on the shores of what is now Massachusetts and without touching the ground sashay from tree to tree to the Mississippi River. Or was that poetic license?
  2. Also, what effect did Wendat agriculture have on the forests? As villages cultivated land and as trees were felled for various uses, did the area have a series of denuded ground with the whole process repeated as a village was abandoned and a new village site started.
  3. With 20,000 people in the area, how much land was deforested for agriculture, for wood fires, for wood construction materials?
Can anyone share any good informatin sources for these questions? thanks....Bill

Q? Water levels of Georgian Bay in the 1600s

I was reading a newspaper article recently about local water levels and was wondering about the cycle of water level during the Ste. Marie period. Can someone point me to the commentary on the height of the Wye River at the Ste. Marie site. Someone in conversation suggested that it was 10-12 feet higher than today. This might have implications regarding the location of some villages. It might also affect line of sight between Ste. Marie and the burning village as decribed regarding the death of Brebeuf and Lalemant. Thanks...Bill

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Martyrs' Shrine web site page - Archives

see - Archives page at

some fascinating information and links on this page...regards, Bill

Huronia Historical Association- Mandate

The following is what I would like to propose as the mandate of the association. I might be possible to organize the posts under the various headings in the mandate?

Huronia Historical Association

Dedicated to the discovery and preservation of the earliest recorded history of “Old Wendake” in the geographic area now known as “Huronia”.
  • Compile the historical record from existing primary and secondary source worksfrom local libraries, museums, universities and private collections.
  • Map the historical geography with reference to both events and specific locations andmark sites along with historic trails and indicate events appropriately.

Globalization and Huronia historical Association

Hi- thought I would open some future possiblities with this blog, the association and for the Huronia area. I am thinking of attracting universities/NGO's to the area by developing symposiums on Colonization and Globalization- Learning from History. Conferences could be held in the area and participants can visit the relevant sites, have presentations given by native leaders/communities in the area etc.. There was a Jesuit at the Shrine last year working on the effects of Globalization with the UN and I think the missionary work of the region during the 17th century may have something to offer scholars and social activists. The HHA could be a liason for the various groups represented.
archivist, Martyrs' Shrine

Ghost Empire by Philip Marchand - bibliography

a small test.....I have set up on my own website a page that contains the bibliography from Marchand's book that I thought was worth typing into my computer.

so that page has the bibliography, and this test post has a link to that page.

We could alternatively copy and paste the biblography text into a post here on this blog.

there are reasons pro and con to do it one way or the other. I don't know what they all are yet. : )

Marchand, Ghost Empire

Ghost Empire, Philip Marchand

Ghost Empire by Philip Marchand, subtitle: How the French Almost Conquered North America, 2005, McClelland and Stewart.

A copy of this is on the shelves at the Midland Public Library.

Marchand describes a lot of things in this work. He writes about La Salle and his various expeditions. He visits these sites in Michigan, Illinois, Arkansas, Texas. Along the way he examines his roots as a Franco-American in Massachusetts, the pockets of French descended Americans along La Salle's routes, professional and amateur historians, re-enactors, and the near total absence of the French from historical awareness.

I enjoyed the book a great deal.

tell me about Leagues?

I understand that in there is some possibility of confusion around distances measured in leagues. How long was a league in the 1600s?

invitations sent out to people to become "Team Members"

I sent out emails to a few people who have expressed interest in the proposed Huronia Historical Association.

Currently I have set up this blog so that any user can add comments or post. Down the road to avoid spamming and other nonsense we might want to limit the ability to add posts and comments to Team Members only.

This blog is free and is supported by Google.

Once again this is a test to see if we want to use something like this for our discussion purposes. So this is set up to test and try out features and then after a test period, perhaps a month, we can stop the test and clean up the blog and start fresh with new "for real" content or start a new blog and carry forward from there.


Saturday, May 13, 2006

photo test shows Ste. Marie Block House

Block House, Ste. Marie Among the Hurons, near Midland, Ontario, Canada

Ste. Marie Among the Hurons

Champlain landing note (J.C.W. Armstrong, Champlain)

Notes p. 301 for page 163 The Champlain Landfall in Huronia

"The accepted view is that Otoucha is the same word as Toanche, meaning the “double landing place,” which, incidentally is not to be confused with the location of the present-day community of Toanche. Rather, it was most likely that Champlain landed at the double sided promontory of Methodist Point in Awenda Provincial Park. However, pinpointing Champlain at any specific spot in Huronia is like trying to life globules of mercury with a fork. With rare exception, it is impossible to pinpoint any of the locations of Indian villages Champlain visited on today’s map simply because there are no remaining demographic landmarks. According to archaelogical expertise, Huronia at this time in the seventeenth century had the largest concentration of Indians anywhere in North America (now estimated to have been about 20,000), but most Huron villages moved any time after a period of ten years and one record suggests there were as many as four hundred villages in the region.

Where is Toanche

The Earth Beneath Our Feet

As owners and operators of a B&B in Perkinsfield my wife and I were informed by the Chamber of Commerce of an event to take place regarding the voyages of Samuel de Chamlain and his “discovery” of “Huronia.”
While there is some good evidence that Chamlain did arrive on these shores August 1st 1615, there is little to support where and on what shores he described in his writings. (Voyages of Champlain) and it is obvious that he wasn’t first as he met Father Joseph Le Caron at a native village where a cabin was already being built for him.

Huronia Historical Test blog introductory posting

This is a test to explore the possibility of using a blog to foster discussion surrounding the interests of a proposed historical association, the Huronia Historical Association. This assoc. is aimed at a select range of history in the Huronia area. The Huronia area corresponds closely to the Simcoe County region of south central Ontario in Canada.