Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Storydello: Mona's Wedding

December 27th, 1911. When Cyril's sister Mona married an up-and-coming lawyer named Herbert Wood, two ministers conducted the service. Both were long-time friends of the Knight family. One was Rev. Malcolm MacGillvray and the other was Rev. Donald Gordon, principal of Queen's University.

The wedding took place at Christmas time. Swarms of friends and family descended on Kingston to celebrate the event.  During the ceremony, chimes pealed from the tower of Chalmers Church.

Posted today on Storydello.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Alphadello: Q is for Quail

The quail is prone to rustle for a living, picking up a bit of grain here, an insect there, spiced with a bit of vegetation to flavor, and now and then a few grains of sand or fine gravel to grind the mixture.


Quailology: The Domestication, Propagation, Care & Treatment of Wild Quail in Confinement, by Harry Wallas Kerr (1903). Click here to read the book online, or download it free, from the Internet Archive.

posted yesterday on Alphadello

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Storydello: Memorial to Cyril

After Cyril's death in 1960 at the age of 81, the Royal Society of Canada printed a memorial about him. It was jam-packed with notes about his accomplishments. He'd been the author or co-author of 44 papers, member of no less than 10 associations or societies, one of the founders of the Geological Society of Canada, and the recipient of a Coronation Medal, by command of Her Majesty the Queen, in recognition of his services to the geological profession. But, like his father Archie, Cyril preferred to keep a low profile. He was a down-to-earth person, who enjoyed a joke on himself.

He told a funny story about a visit to Haliburton, where he'd gone for a summer holiday. Noticing a labourer at the side of the road, digging a trench, Cyril stopped the car and asked "Any work going on at Fission Mines?"

To his delight, the workman replied, "Nope. Just a couple of geologists friggin' around."

Posted yesterday on Storydello.

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Image: Photo of Cyril Workman Knight, circa 1923, [detail] courtesy of Mary Elizabeth Clark, Cobourg, Ontario, 8 August 2014, scanned by John Carew.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Storydello: Cyril and Grace

By late 1905, sixteen mines had sprung up near Cobalt, Ontario--but by that time, Cyril was off to new adventures. First, he finished postgraduate studies at Columbia University in New York City. Then he began a career in the field of mining. He served as Associate Provincial Geologist for the province of Ontario, and then as chief geologist and president for a couple of mining companies, before starting his own: the Cyril Knight Prospecting Company.

Along the way, he married an extraordinary woman named Grace Hewson. She was one of the first female law students in Canada, called to the bar in 1908. She and Cyril raised three sons and travelled the world together. They even flew to Egypt at a time when international flights were still a new and dangerous adventure.

Ironically, when two mining companies were racing to stake a claim in the far north, at Rankin Inlet, Cyril decided to use canoes instead of those new-fangled airplanes--and his company won!

Posted yesterday on Storydello.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Alphadello: P is for Penguin


This afternoon I saw two...engaged in a very fierce fight...After a couple of minutes, during which each had the other down on the ground several times, three or four other penguins ran up and apparently tried to stop the fight.

The text is from the book Antarctic Penguins: A Study of their Social Habits, by Dr. G. Murray Levick (1914). Click here to read the book online, or download it free, from the Internet Archive.

Posted yesterday on Alphadello.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Storydello: Cyril in Cobalt

In May 1904, Cyril went back to the site of the silver strike, again as Professor Miller's assistant. One day, an excited acquaintance burst into their camp and begged them to come right away and witness a discovery.

Professor Miller played it cool. Cyril remembered, "Whatever excitement he may have felt he kept well under control."

The next morning, they all went together and found two spectacular veins that would eventually yield more than 40 million ounces of silver. The excited acquaintance was soon shipping out "great slabs of native metal stripped off the walls...like boards from a barn."

And that wasn't all. One day, while canoeing in the area, Professor Miller found a rich deposit of cobalt along the shore of a lake.

Years later, Cyril said "I still have a vivid mental picture of his tall, erect figure as...he nailed a board to a post. On the board he had written the word Cobalt. And that was how the the town got its name."

Cobalt, Ontario, became the centre of a huge silver rush. At its peak in 1911, more than 31 million ounces of silver were shipped from the area. The mining rights to Professor Miller's cobalt alone were sold for more than a million dollars.


Posted yesterday on Storydello.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Storydello: Cyril and the Silver Strike

When Cyril and the others reached the site, they found silver everywhere. Plenty had been dug up along the newly-built railroad, and Professor Miller reported that "every depression in the rock on top of the hill contains much free silver."

Pieces of silver "as big as stove lids or cannonballs" were lying on the ground, but the rocks were so dirty-looking that the railroad workers had been walking past them without a second glance.

Winter soon set in, but news of the silver strike was already spreading. Everyone knew what would happen in the spring. And Cyril was going to be right in the middle of the excitement.

Posted today on Storydello.