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Background, History, and Photographs
Background & History Updated 5/09!
Maps and Geography Updated 5/09!
e were very interested in what became of Jim Vanderbeck and his family after the period in which the book was set. This part of the web site provides all the information we've been able to dig up on the Vanderbecks and the Nakina area before, during, and after that period.
Again, most of the information provided here has come from or through Jo Ann--a fact for which we are very grateful! Some information came from relatives of the Vanderbecks, other current and former Nakina residents, public records, and what family correspondence and written history we could find.
If you have any additional information or any corrections to the information provided here, we would appreciate it very much if you would send it to us via email using the link at the bottom of the left column of this page.
Before the Book
Jim Vanderbeck was born April 15, 1915 in Rileybrook, New Brunswick. In the book's Forward, Stephen Meader wrote that Jim Vanderbeck told him that his family first came to Canada 100 years before (about the 1830s). His great grandfather moved from the Dutch settlements of the Hudson Valley to New Brunswick, settling on the Restigouche River. During a great fire there, the family put their eight-month old baby in a brush raft and sent him down river. The book doesn't say whether the rest of the family perished in the fire, but it does say that the baby was found downstream by people who knew the Vanderbeck family. He grew up to form the New Brunswick Vanderbeck family of which Jim's family was the third generation.
Bill and Jessie Vanderbeck lived in Rileybrook, and had three sons, James, William, and Robert Lindsay (R. L.); and a daughter, Isabelle. They may have had another child too.
Records from the 1901 census list eight-year old Maude Fraser Ellis as living in Victoria County, New Brunswick. According to provincial archive marriage records, she and R.L. "Big Lindsay" Vanderbeck were married on December 12, 1910 in Victoria County.
Maude was Lindsay's second wife. According to Victoria County records, Lindsay and Rena Ross had been married there on February 21, 1903. The 1901 census shows that Rena was born on July 21, 1873 in New Brunswick, in the parish of Lorne, probably in Rileybrook. She died in 1905 in Rileybrook. Maude and Rena may have been related. It is also possible that Lindsay and Rena had a child and that Maude cared for her after Rena's death and before marrying Lindsay.
The book mentions that Jim had a married sister who lived in Nakina, but doesn't mention her name. Irene Vanderbeck was the oldest Vanderbeck child. It is not clear whether she was Big Lindsay's daughter from his first or second marriage.
Ida, Jim, Mary, and Lindsay Jr. were born to Big Lindsay and Maude in Rileybrook.
A successful guide and outfitter in New Brunswick, Big Lindsay came west into northern Ontario with his family in search of game and wilder country. They were some of the earliest white settlers of the territory north of Thunder Bay before the Canadian National Limited Railroad founded the town of Nakina in 1923. Native guides Charlie Blue and the Legarde brothers, Joe, Michael, and Tommy, came with Lindsay too. And many of their patrons continued to seek their services in Ontario.
When Big Lindsay moved his family to that new country, they stayed first in the Kowkash area, then wintered in Mattice so the children could attend school. They built a log cabin on the outskirts of what became the town of Nakina. The Canadian National Railroad moved the nearby town of Grant there in 1923, renaming it Nakina. When Nakina was surveyed in 1926, the Vanderbeck cabin fell within the town borders. The new tracks laid by the CNR into Nakina ran right in front of the cabin. Big Lindsay started Northland Outfitters on Cordingley Lake near Nakina, Ontario in the 1930s.
According to current residents, most Nakina residents at that time worked for the railroad, and the Vanderbecks probably would not have been included in most of their activities. Although their cabin was within the town boundaries, it was separated from most of the town by a considerable distance. The family kept mostly to themselves, but likely socialized with a few other families who also lived in the bush. The Vanderbecks were always busy running their guiding business as long as the season allowed, then preparing for the winters spent deep in the bush at the family cabin on Wababimiga Lake, from which they ran their traplines.
After the Book
Big Lindsay died on September 2, 1935 after an extended illness. He was buried in the town cemetery, but his grave is no longer marked. His widow Maude and sons Jim and Lindsay continued to run Northland Outfitters. Family friends Emile Cote and Joe LeGarde continued to guide for them.
Emile Cote was a French trapper and longtime family friend of the Vanderbecks. His father worked for the railroad, but Emile was always a trapper and a guide. When Jim and Lindsay joined the service, Maude and Emile continued to run Northland Outfitters together. They were married in 1942. In his book Paddle, Pack and Speckled Trout, written in 1960, Edwin W. Mills wrote of his experiences fishing the Albany River basin with Jim Vanderbeck as his guide. He also wrote of his experiences fishing with Emile Cote as guide in 1943 and 1947. Maude died in 1947. She is buried in the Nakina cemetery. According to the family, she is buried next to Big Lindsay.
Jim moved to Hamilton, where his sister Ida already lived. There he took a course in welding. Both he and Lindsay joined the Canadian Air Force during World War II. In the Air Force, Jim became a precision welder. He came home from the service in 1945. He met his wife Helen in Timmons, a mining town in northern Ontario, where she was playing in a country and blues band. According to Helen, Jim noticed her legs. They were married three weeks later. Helen had a son from a previous marriage. Her first husband had been killed in the war.
Jim and Helen had a son and a daughter together. Jim worked for Inco, a mining and metals company in Sudbury. After retirement he worked for the department of corrections until his death in 1988.
According to an old school newsletter, Lindsay and his wife Marion were married in 1942 while he was on leave from the Air Force. Upon returning they went to Nipigon where he worked for Ontario Hydro. According to Jim's daughter, Lindsay and Marion had no children. Later, Lindsay lived in British Colombia where he was married to another woman, with whom he had two children, a boy and a girl.
There is a Lindsay Vanderbeck buried in Nipigon September 30 1970. His spouse Marion was buried on March 18, 1974.
Jim and Lindsay's names appear on Nakina's Remembrance Day listing with the names of other local men who served in the Canadian military. Their names are also listed at the Legion in Nakina.
Jim's sister Mary married Bobby Anderson, who was also from Nakina. Mary died giving birth to their daughter Mary Helen. She is said to have gone into labor after a family confrontation (it's not clear between whom) and died of complications. Bobby married Mary's sister Ida soon afterward and the two of them moved to Hamilton, Ontario, where they raised Mary Helen.
Jim's daughter visited the Nakina 70th anniversary celebration in 1993, where she sold signed copies of a specially reprinted edition of Trap-Lines North.
Irene Vanderbeck (the sister whom the book mentions living in town) had married Jim Archibald Thompson, the schoolmaster in Nakina. The couple lived in Hastings, Ontario at the time of Irene's death in 1966.
Some who knew the family suggested that it is possible that some strife may have resulted from Emile's gaining control of the Vanderbeck property after he married Maude Vanderbeck, and that this may have been a factor in decisions by Jim and Lindsay and their sisters to leave the area. However, Jim's wife Helen recounted visiting Nakina after the were married, and how happy they both were when their young children began calling Emile "grandpa."
In 1970, Emile and Mae Riddle moved into a Kimberly Clark bunkhouse which they had moved onto the Vanderbeck property in Nakina. It was next to the family home, which by then had fallen into a state of disrepair. The Nakina cemetery listing shows an Emile Cote who died February 8, 1975, and a Naomi Mae Riddle who died March 31, 1981. According to the family, Emile was buried near Big Lindsay and Maude Vanderbeck.
The original Vanderbeck house collapsed after that, probably under the weight of winter snows. However, the Vanderbecks' original barn still remains on the property. Jo Ann and her husband Bob purchased the Vanderbeck property in 2000, remodeled the Kimberly Clark bunkhouse that Emile Cote put on the property, and live there now.
Ike and Hellen Mackie bought Northland Outfitters from Emile Cote in 1960, and the Mackie family continues to run it today on the same site. They still outfit and guide hunting, fishing, and canoeing expeditions on area waterways, and fly clients into outpost camps on remote lakes.
Nakina has changed considerably over the years. When Jo Ann's father taught at the Nakina Public School in 1940, people in the area represented approximately 26 different nationalities, including Swedes, Finns, and Ukrainians. Now more than half the town's inhabitants are French, many coming in with Kimberly Clark logging operation and the lumber mill.
Thunder Bay Times-News Article
| Article (1 M) |
This is a June 25, 1984 article from the Thunder Bay Times-News about the Vanderbeck family titled "First Tourist Outfitter in Nakina Fulfilled Dream." It was scanned and reassembled into a JPEG image.
The Watch Grave
| Jottings from the Fence Post Article (172 K) |
Jottings From the Fence Post was a regular column written by Sid Rutherford (Jo Ann's father) and published in the Orono newspaper. This article, published on April 29, 1992 after his death, tells the story of the watch grave mentioned in Trap-Lines North. It also mentions Emile Cote. It was scanned and reassembled into a JPEG image.
May Round Tyson Interview and History
May Round Tyson was born in 1912 in Saskatchewan and raised in Nakina. Her family was the first white family to settle there, arriving a year before the Vanderbecks. May went to school and played with the Vanderbeck children.
Matt interviewed May and her daughter Pam in August, 2004. He wrote this article for publication in The Nakina News, a monthly local newsletter which was published by Bob and Jo Ann and sponsored by Nakina businesses and organizations.
| Tyson Family History (March, 2007) (3.7 M) |
May passed away in March, 2007 and her family compiled this fascinating and expanded account of the history of the Tyson family. (If it doesn't display when you click the link, download the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.) Many thanks to May's family for allowing us to share it with everyone here.
Two Legends of the North Article
John Callan contributes this article describing the history of Chuck Austin, an early aviator in northern Ontario with an interesting connection with R.L. "Big Lindsay" Vanderbeck. Thanks John for this TLN exclusive!
Photographs of the Vanderbecks and Nakina History
| Photographs |
This page provides photographs of Vanderbeck family members, as well as other people and places associated with them and mentioned in Trap-Lines North.
| The Community of Nakina |
Unfortunately, Nakina's web site has again disappeared. It contained a wealth of historical information about the area including photographs, newspaper articles, cemetery listing, Remembrance Day listings, and information about the Nakina Heritage Foundation. Hopefully, some of this information will reappear on the newer Greenstone web site. See the Links page for information about the Municipality of Greenstone and its web site.
of the North Article
John Callan provides this article describing the history of Chuck Austin, early aviator in northern Ontario, and an interesting connection with R.L. "Big Lindsay" Vanderbeck. A TLN exclusive!
& Lindsay Vanderbeck - Life After Nakina Article
Another article from John Callan based on research conducted on the 2008 visit he and Russ made to Nakina. The time they spent with Jo Ann and Bob and other folks enabled John to provide more detail and photos regarding the boys' history after leaving Nakina to join the Canadian Air Force in World War II. Thanks again, John!
Lindsay Vanderbeck Jr.
A letter from Harold Leece about his acquaintance with Lindsay Jr., working with him in the 1960's for Ontario Hydro. Harold gives a great account of a trip to the Waboose dam during which Lindsay demonstrated the old Vanderbeck skills in providing food for their team when bad weather delayed the arrival of supplies. Really great to get this account of the younger Vanderbeck brother. Thanks, Harold!