||Dec. 13, 2002
A Second Look at the Vanished Village of Klock
There is nothing left of the village of Klock, which
existed for decades sixteen km east
of Mattawa on the Ottawa River. I
wrote an article on the village a
few weeks ago based on the material I had at the time.
Sine then, I have had
various people come forward with additional pieces of information and photographs, some of which I will share today.
||The village of
Klock with the sawmill in the background and the Guilbeault store in the
centre. Isabelle Rainville
In terms of chronology, it appears that there was a
lumberman by the name of Richard
Nagel at the Klock site before R.H. Klock who had a much larger interest
arrived. R.H.'s two sons James B. and Robert A. carried on his work
into the turn of the century when they moved on and other smaller companies
moved in. Two of those companies
were the McLachlan Bros. and the Algonquin
Lumber Company. James Marshall
Souter bought the Algonquin operation
and made cedar basket bottoms for the basket industry for many years.
By the 1930s and 40s, very little remained except the station and bunkhouse,
with various station agents including Valda Backer and Laura Nazarchuk.
James B.Klock was the first Reeve of Cameron Township in
1887 at he age of thirty-one.
In 1896 he was elected the first Federal Member of Parliament for
the new district of Nipissing. He
was a conservative, and the Liberals under
Wilfred Laurier won the election, limiting Klock's effectiveness. Dwayne Backer,
son of station agent Valda Backer, who is interested in the history of Klock, sent me a clipping from the Sudbury Star
newspaper (1979) recounting James
B.'s election fight. That clipping
led me to a second clipping
courtesy of the Sudbury library about the next election, which recorded that James B. and his people messed up on his
nomination forms, which were not
completed in time, and the Liberal got in by acclamation.
James Klock is the only Klock mentioned in the 1901 Mattawa Census
and he soon disappeared from the area, living until 1927 in Preston,
||James Bell Klock, the Nipissing District's
first Federal Member of Parliament
in 1896. Joy Jenveau photo.
Streets and townships were named after MPs and MPPs in
those days,. And James's name
adorned Algonquin Ave. in North Bay until the street became known as Algonquin in honour of the Algonquin Regiment.
Klock Township near Temagami
is also named after him.
The minutes of the Mattawa Area Masonic Lodge from the
1890s where Robert A. played a
major leadership role, describe Klock. The
minutes state that "even the
greatest luxuries may be had there on the shortest notice, all but one
thing: there is no intoxicating drink at Klock's Mills, and while there is
an excellent boarding house, there is no hotel, tavern, or beer saloon."
The minutes also state that "when the limits were finished at
Klock's Mills everything, including
the mill, moved to Quinze Lake Quebec, where they carried
on the same kind of operation for years.
A newspaper called the Tribune reported some interesting
additional information on Klock in
1896. It states that "in
everything that has to do with the
wealth of Mattawa, the name Klock has always been intimately associated.
The name R.H. Klock has been identified with every movement for the
advancement of this town and indeed the whole district as far north as civilization
reaches." The Tribune report
describes the Klock limits "along the
upper Ottawa and beyond the Quinze, the latter covering three hundred square
miles. The have an alligator and a steamer on the Quinze, and a leased
mill at Aylmer, which added six or seven million feet to their cut this
season." The report also
states that "in the near future, under the direction of the brothers, Klock's Mills promises to become
one of the most attractive points
along the river, as it is now one of the busiest and most prosperous." Klock's
farm and buildings were described as "facing the river and
of excellent construction, the dwelling house looking more like a villa than
one of the largest lumbering businesses in the country."
The Cameron history book (1973) has a brief profile of
Klock and mentions Anthony
Guilbeault's store (see photo). His
daughter Isabelle Rainville remembers
her trips there from Mattawa when she was just a child.
Mr. Guilbeault had moved
there from Klock to establish a large general store.
Isabelle's brother Romeo was an altar boy at the chapel at Klock
and later became a highly respected missionary priest.
Isabelle recalls that Romeo used
to return to Klock for meditation and reflection when in the area.
||The family of Valda Backer, station agent at
Klock - husband Clarence and sons Gerald, Paul and Dwayne in front
of the Klock flagstop station
in the 1940s.
The Souter Lumber Company mentioned above had a fine home
on the shore of the Ottawa.
Kathleen McMeekin, who still lives nearby, recalls a pleasant visit
to the beautiful Souter home when she was a child with her aunt who was
a music teacher and excellent pianist. They
played for the Souters and especially
for Mrs. Winnie Souter who played herself and had a beautiful piano.
Mrs. Nazarchuk, the last station agent, raised five
children for several years at Klock.
Her daugher, Jeanine Bell, recently recalled her teenage years
there. She went to high school in
Mattawa on the train five days a week,
and came home by bus, taxi or the late train, depending on the circumstances. She
recalls the Souter house on the river, where she and her siblings played regularly.
She remembers that the house was later owned by Harold
Bell, the Mattawa hardware merchant, and that it burned accidentally. Jack
Bell, Harold's son, a retired school principal and Justice of the Peace,
recalls the time that he spent there as a child. Jeanine remembers that
there was another small house at Klock with a young couple and a child living
there. The priest used to come regularly, and numerous local people would
gather in the living room of the station for mass.
I talked to Mrs. Real
Lamothe who came from the Larente family of eleven sons and four daughters
who lived on a farm on Highway 17 and walked to Klock for church service
Jeanine also remembers an incident where one of the men on
a CPR repair crew staying briefly
in Klock showed her and her sisters a thousand dollar bill to
their amazement. A few days later the RCMP swooped in and arrested the gentleman
for a big recent bank robbery. This
is one of the many stories that
make up the history of Klock as it existed and is now gone into the records
as another vanished Ontario village.
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