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Update History


Background & History Updated 5/09!


Maps and Geography Updated 5/09!

The Book

Your Comments and Thoughts


Printings and Editions

References to the Book


Who Are We?


Email Us!


his web site is dedicated to the novel Trap-Lines North, written by Stephen W. Meader, illustrated by Enos B. Comstock, and published in 1936 by Dodd, Mead and Company.

The novel tells the story of Jim Vanderbeck and his family during the winter of 1931-32 in the wilderness north of Thunder Bay, Ontario. 

The Vanderbecks made their living guiding hunters and sportsmen and by trapping. That winter Jim was eighteen and his brother Lindsay was sixteen. The Depression had reduced the number of sportsmen coming north to hunt and fish, and the income they generated for the Vanderbecks. With their father hospitalized in Toronto, Jim and Lindsay had to take over the business of running the family's traplines. Their success was critical to the family's livelihood.

What distinguishes this story among so many other great outdoor tales is that the Vanderbecks are a real family. This book is based on the actual diaries Jim kept that winter.

In 1935, boys' adventure writer Stephen W. Meader came into possession of Jim's diaries. Fascinated by the story they contained, he traveled from New York to Nakina, Ontario to meet Jim and the Vanderbeck family. From those diaries and the family's personal accounts, Meader crafted a remarkable account of Jim's daily life that winter as he ran a seventy-mile trapline alone, traveling by canoe and snowshoes, sleeping in cabins and lean-tos in temperatures as cold as 50 below zero.

Meader's story focused squarely on what Jim, Lindsay and their family did to overcome their many challenges that winter. Over the years, countless readers have been inspired by this book's account of Jim's physical endurance, ingenuity, determination, and strength of character. Equally inspiring are interdependence and the love and respect for the wilderness that the Vanderbeck family shared.

If you read Trap-Lines North and wondered what became of Jim and his family, you've come to the right place. If you haven't read it, we hope we can help you find your way to a copy. We also invite you to share any questions, thoughts, or information about Trap-Lines North, the Vanderbeck family, or the history of the Nakina area on our message board. Just click the link on the left titled Your Comments and Thoughts.

Note: Images used in the header, left column, and throughout this web site were created by Enos B. Comstock and appeared in Trap-Lines North, written by Stephen W. Meader and published by Dodd, Mead and Company.  




May, 2009

Here's a real gem--a letter from Harold Leece giving an account of his experiences working with Lindsay Jr. in the mid-1960s. The link is at the bottom of the Background & History page. 

Here's  a great find by Russ--a detailed log of a canoe trip down the Drowning River by Mr. Perry Jameson, in which he describes the remains of a cabin started, but not finished, by Lindsay Vanderbeck Sr. Check it out on the Maps page. 

April, 2009

A long overdue update -- here's an article John Callan wrote after visting Nakina in 2008. (Sorry for the delay in getting this up, John!) Enjoy, everyone. Check it out on the Background & History page.

September, 2008

Been a while, but here is a bunch of new information and some fascinating images brought to us from the good folks in Nakina by our friends, Russ and John! Check out the new hand-drawn map of a 1931 canoe trip led by the Vanderbecks on the Maps page. Then, peruse the new photos on Photographs page. And as if that's not already too much to believe, read a TLN exclusive article, Two Legends of the North, on the Background & History page. Some information on that page has been corrected and added as well.

April, 2007

Added References to the Book page, which includes a dissertation on Meader's books and Washington Post listing for a radio dramatization of Trap-Lines North.

Added Printings and Editions page.

Added Tyson family history document on the Background & History page.

Updated links on the Links page.  

August, 2006

Made changes to the new Trap-Lines North Message Board. They're described on the Your Comments and Thoughts page.

June, 2006

Corrected identities in photo of Emile Cote, Jim, and Lindsay on the Photographs page.

May, 2006

Added Robert W. Service poems back to the Poetry page.

Added a link to a new Trap-Lines North Message Board on the Your Comments and Thoughts page. 

Added photo of Jim & Lindsay and Emile Cote to the Photographs page.

Removed Robert W. Service poems from the Poetry page page. Note: This was a result of a little confusion about copyrights. Because Robert W. Service's poems are now in the public domain in the U.S. I restored those poems in May, 2006.

January, 2006

Added the Poetry page with information about two poems by Robert W. Service which are mentioned in the book.

December, 2005

Added a link to Nakina's restored web site on the Links page.

November, 2005

Added photographs of Jim and Helen Vanderbeck taken in 1981 to the Photographs page.

October, 2005

10/31: Added a Google™ Maps view of the Nakina area to the Maps page. You can use it to see annotated color aerial photos of the Vanderbeck traplines.

August, 2005

8/19: Added a separate link to the Photographs page to make it easier to find. Previously, you could only get to it from the History page.

8/11: Updated the Background & History page with more information from provincial and county records about Big Lindsay and Maude Vanderbeck. Thanks, Jo Ann, and to Patty from New Brunswick for forwarding that!

May, 2005

5/13: Updated link to Fedmaps web site on Maps page.

5/10: Started making some updates to the Background & History page based on some updated information from Jo Ann. Thanks to her efforts, I should be getting some more information soon from relatives from the Vanderbecks. Thanks!

April, 2005

4/20: Added an email address at the bottom of the left pane for anyone who wants to contact us ( Please send us your comments either via email or through the Your Comments and Thoughts page!

December, 2004

12/14: Our good friend Scott McLeod brought us the fantastic news that Southern Skies has reprinted a new edition of Trap-Lines North in both hardback and paperback! I added a link to the Southern Skies web site on the The Book page. 

November, 2004

11/1: Added Vanderbeck and Round photographs.

October, 2004:

10/27: Made the site ad and popup-free!

10/7: Added photographs of Nakina history. 

10/5: Added a new version of the book's map to the Maps and Geography page. This is the map that was published on the inside cover of the first edition of the book. The new version of the map is annotated to show the current names of the lakes, creeks, and other features.

10/1: Added an article originally published in The Nakina News about early Nakina resident May Round Tyson to the Background & History page.

Recent posts from new people including several former and current Nakina residents on the Your Comments and Thoughts page.

  Current Weather in Nakina (or at least in nearby Geraldton)

Click for Geraldton, Ontario Forecast


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