History

These excerpts were taken directly from The Corporation of the Town of Iroquois Falls Commercial Professional & Tourist Guide, printed in 1972, and added here simply for your enjoyment. The Iroquois Falls Pioneer Museum is an excellent source of history related to Iroquois Falls and it's surrounding area.


The Temiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway (a provincially owned railway) helped to develop that part of Ontario north of North Bay to Cochrane and Timmins. In the municipality of the Town of Iroquois Falls, the Railway made a subdivision in each of the following hamlets: Monteith, Kelso, Porquis Junction (originally known as the Town of Iroquois Falls but not for long as Iroquois Fails was built at the Falls on the Abitibi River). From Porquis Junction, a railway was built to Timmins.

Monteith and Kelso had their origin in 1909. The Railway crews built their bunk houses on the east bank of Driftwood River. The men were laying steel west towards Cochrane. The Department of Agriculture was establishing an experimental farm on the west bank of the Driftwood River. Monteith was originally known as Driftwood City. The settlement derived its name from the Honourable Nelson Monteith, Minister of Agriculture in the Province of Ontario.

Postal services were established in Monteith and Kelso. Kelso or 'Mileage 222' has the honour of having its first public school opened in the Municipality on November 22nd, 1910.Kelso, the portage point to the Timmins area, the trail to transport men, construction and mining material was known as the 'Porcupine Trail'. Kelso was a thriving community with hotels, boarding houses and stores. It is reported that as far as four hundred teams of horses were used to haul, the material to the Porcupine Camp.

In the winter of 1913 and 1914, Abitibi Paper Company men were busy clearing up the site at Iroquois Fails for the construction of a paper mill. The construction of the railway from Porquis Junction to Iroquois Fails was rushed to haul in the heavy equipment for the mill which started to produce paper in 1914.

As this area is Ojibway Indian territory, people wonder why the name Iroquois was given to the falls . There is quite a legend on how the name Iroquois Falls was given.

The Abitibi Paper Company built a townsite for their employees close by the mill. Employees and business men who did not like to pay rent, bought lots and built their homes and businesses across the tracks. This area was called the Wye, a name derived from the 'Wye' in the tracks. Other mill employees figured that the town would grow by the rock. The area was called Little Canada. Both Little Canada and the Wye obtained their post offices, the former was called Montrock and the latter Ansonville.

Mr. Anson was the founder of the Abitibi Paper Mill, Ansonville and Montrock residents in 1918 applied to the Ontario Government to be granted a municipal government.  This was granted in December of 1918 under the name of the Corporation of the Township of Calvert.

In the great bush fire of 1916, all the area covered by Monteith, Kelso, Porquis, Montrock, Ansonville and Iroquois Falls was overrun by fire. People living close by the mill ran to it for protection. All of the hamlets rebuilt except Kelso.

The Department of Agriculture established an experimental farm at Monteith and two years later in 1918 a training school was opened in conjunction with the farm to train World War I veterans in the northern farming method. In 1935 the experimental farm was taken over by the Provincial Jail System as an Industrial Farm. During the Second World War, it was used as an internment camp.

From the year 1909 for certain; and possibly a time in history pre-dating the turn of the Century, Kelso, Monteith and Porquis Junction were urban settlements identified chiefly as postal addresses.

Note: December 22, 2014, the Abitibi Paper Mill (now known as Resolute Forest Products), closed their doors permanently, sadly marking the end of era.

Through the years that followed and with the advent of the large Abitibi Mill on the Abitibi River, the Town of Iroquois Falls originated and became incorporated in 1915. The settlements of Ansonville and Montrock sprang up as rural developments and were incorporated in 1918 with a township status which also encompassed the hamlets of Kelso, Monteith and Porquis Junction. Finally on January 1st, 1969 by application of the Township of Calvert and order of the Ontario Municipal Board the Town of Iroquois Falls and Township of Calvert amalgamated to form the Town of Iroquois Falls which now exists as a Town having a larger geographical area than Metro Toronto.


Legend of Our Name

HOW IROQUOIS FALLS CAME TO GET ITS STRANGE NAME


Many, many years ago, long before white men walked the forest trails of Ontario's North Country, the Ojibway braves of the Nipissing and Dokis bands had come to know and fear their war-hungry neighbors far to the east and south, the tomahawk-wielding Iroquois.

More than once the Ojibway braves had suffered at the hands of the cunning tribes who every once in a while travelled up the Ottawa river, along the deep waters of the Mattawa and, from its headwaters, overland to Lake Nipissing. Paddling along the wide, sandy shores of the lake after dark, the Iroquois would creep up on one of the Ojibway settlements. Then, with blood-curdling war whoops, they would descend on the wigwams, killing the men, plundering their belongings and paddling away with their loot.

RAIDED VILLAGE

On one such trip, the savage Iroquois tribesmen fell upon an Ojibway camp where today stands the Indian reserve village of Garden Village, not far from the mouth of the Sturgeon River.

Elders of the band living there today will tell of the raid, a story handed down to them from father to son over many generations.

The Iroquois had slain most of the men who were still in the village when they made their murderous visit. A scant handful of braves were tied with thongs of buckskin and led away to the war canoes of the blood-thirsty visitors.

"You will guide us into new territory to the north, for there we know we will find new wealth in furs", they were told.

The Ojibway braves had no choice but to obey. Faced with death, they were placed in pairs in the Iroquois war canoes, one to paddle in the bow and direct the party, the other to paddle in the stern. Then the war party and its captives moved on, heading up the Sturgeon River and into the wild north woods.

For many days they travelled on, leaving the headwaters of the Sturgeon River, making their way through the Temagami country, home of powerful Mendoked, medicine men, and still to the north.

At last, directed by their captive guides, the Iroquois band, laden with still more booty taken from Ojibway settlements they had come upon, came to the Abitibi River.

Here it was that Ojibway braves knew they would be able to settle their score with their enemies. One morning, before the band of invaders had climbed into the canoes, the captives managed to whisper among themselves and hit upon a plan of action.

Down the river they went, telling the Iroquois of a rich Indian village that lay ahead and which would yield them plenty of loot. If they continued to paddle through the night, they said, they would reach the village by dawn and would have it at their mercy.

The Iroquois, arrogant with their victories and thinking their Ojibway prisoners were too frightened to do other than obey them, ordered the Ojibways to continue paddling while they themselves slept.

A TRICK

In the night, while the snoring Iroquois slumped in the canoes, the Ojibway braves ranged their canoes close together and began paddling, grouped closely, as fast as they could. As they went along in the darkness, they could hear a distant rumble. Their captors, however, slept on. The Ojibways silently passed long buckskin lines from one canoe to the other, until all were linked. Then, as they rounded a bend in the river and the current seemed suddenly to gain new swiftness, the Ojibways ran the canoes to a rocky ledge on the shore and silently leaped out. With them they took all the paddles and pushed the canoes out into the stream.

There was silence for a time. Then, as the Iroquois began to waken to the heavy sound that seemed to draw nearer, the thunder of waterfall, screams of rage and terror filled the night.

In the darkness on shore, the long-suffering Ojibways heard their hated enemies' shouts fade into the rumble of the waterfall. The lroquois, unable to steer their craft, were carried with increasing speed until howling with terror, they plunged over the mighty falls and were drowned.

That, say the Ojibway, is how Iroquois Falls came to be named after an Indian tribe that existed hundreds of miles away. And never again, they add, did the Iroquois pay another such visit.


ANSWERS TO QUIZ


                           See Also:

Iroquois Falls Pioneer Museum

The DeTroyes Expedition

How Iroquois Falls Came To Get Its Strange Name

The Great Fire of 1916 - Nushka



Ansons Folly - The Story of Iroquois Falls

The Iroquois Falls Historical Society proudly presents this long-awaited account of the history of Iroquois Falls. Quanity is limited. CONTACT DENIS CHARETTE OR PURCHASE YOURS TODAY AT: The Iroquois Falls Pioneer Museum, Town Hall, or the Anson General Hospital’s Tuck Shop $30.00 + GST.


IROQUOIS FALLS TRIVIA

Test your knowledge!

So you've lived in or around Iroquois Falls for how many years? Let's have a little fun with your keen memory.  Then again, do as I do and just guess!



Click here for the answers! (put Anchor here...)


Did you know?

  •     Charles McLean (OLS) surveyed Jacob's Hill Road, formerly Highway 578, in 1892.
  •     Ogilvie Flour Mills Ltd., backed F. A. Anson to start the first Abitibi Mill.
  •     Mr. Charles Bernier was the first Post Master in Montrock.
  •     Mr. Auguste Trottier was one of the earliest business men at "the Wye."
  •     Mr. Jake Perlmutter operated the Economy Dry Goods Store
  •     Mr. Joe Johnson was first truant officer and bailiff.
  •     Perkus and Company was the first ladies wear establishment in "the Wye."
  •     The North Star theater first in town featured silent movies.
  •     Barney Nosov, an early grocery store owner was very active in civic affairs.
  •     Father Alexander Pelletier was the first Parish Priest at Saint Anne's Roman Catholic  Church.

Iroquois Falls was organized as a town in 1915. In 1915, the ladies of Porquis Junction got together and organized the Women's Institute.  The group kept busy knitting socks and scarves for the soldiers of both wars. The Institute had a fair every fall to promote better breed of animals on farms.
Ladies would showcase their knitting and sewing and received prizes. The President of the Institute, Mrs. R.D. Hopkins, died at the nice age of 100 in May of 1959, very proud of her contribution to the residents of Porquis.

Something we can boast about...

On January 23rd, 1935, the thermometer recorded a temperature of -73 degrees!



Porquis Agricultural Fall Fair. 
The Porquis Agricultural Society Fall Fair is still a very popular and well-attended annual event!



      

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