29 - John Discovers a Uranium Deposit, 1948

The Nisto Find: "By God, That's Uranium!"

From "The Hunt for the Singing Atom," by C. Fred Bodsworth in Macleans, August 15, 1948.

By 1948, John Albrecht was living in Stony Rapids, trapping from a base camp on Selwyn Lake which straddles the Saskatchewan-Northwest Territories border. In June of that year John became the prospecting partner of Leroy (Roy) Tobey (1905-1985), a prospector and former civil service engineer from Meota, Saskatchewan. 

StarPhoenix, Sept. 10, 1948.

"The year 1948 saw the lifting of the veil of secrecy from uranium and prospecting was thrown open to sourdoughs," the Regina Leader-Post reported on February 18, 1950. The United States government's desire to acquire as much uranium as possible from Canada drove the development of uranium mines in northern Saskatchewan. By 1948, Canada had entered into large contracts with the US Atomic Energy Commission. Eldorado Mining and Refining Limited, a federal crown corporation, the only legal purchaser of uranium ore and prior to 1948, had full control over the development of Saskatchewan's uranium deposits.

In March of 1948, Joe Phelps, Minister of Natural Resources for the Government of Saskatchewan announced that 40 individuals would be assisted in carrying out prospecting activities in the province's north. The Prospector's Assistance Plan (PAP) provided prospectors with free mining licenses, free air transportation from La Ronge or Flin Flon, the loan of supplies and equipment for two months in the bush (not including pack sacks and bedroll), cash awards for new finds, and assistance from qualified geologists in the assaying and recording of claims. (Source: Saskatoon StarPhoenix, March 11, 1948; Feb. 25, 1949.) The goal of the PAP was to open up the mineral potential of the north.

Tobey was working under the PAP when he and Albrecht became prospecting partners. In August of 1948, after about three months of fruitless prospecting for uranium - their clothes in rags, their food provisions almost gone -  John decided to give up and head back to his cabin to look after his traplines. Before leaving Tobey, John suggested they pick up his bear trap at Black Lake. Within hours after making camp at Black Lake, Tobey's Geiger counter started acting up. The partners eagerly dug into the moss and discovered pitchblende (now known as uraninite), a radioactive, uranium-rich, iron-red rock veined in black.

Geiger counter, no date. Western Development Museum, WDM.-2012-S-28.

"We were [camped] about five miles away from Black River. And so, along the ridge I was going towards home," John recalls in an interview with Berry Richards. (Source: Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan, audio recording R-A873. Berry Richards' interview with John Albrecht, La Ronge, Saskatchewan, July 14, 1975.) "So I hear crashing. What the devil, I said, that must be Tobey. Hello! Hollering ,... By god, he got the first kicks [from the Geiger counter], you know. Excited! ... So by god, that's uranium. So, you know, by 11:00 o'clock in the night we had the whole Nisto shoal discovered." ("Nisto" is the Cree word for "three" but it is not clear why it was applied to the Nisto mine.) 

The Nisto find received national media coverage. Ottawa Journal, Feb. 15, 1949.

The twosome traced out a 2,400-foot zone of radioactive activity before splitting up. Tobey, the only one of the two who was working under the PAP, headed to Regina to register their claim. Albrecht headed back up north to check his traps, taking Tobey's Geiger counter with him. 

Tobey took out a concession over a 25-square-mile area for both himself and Albrecht to give their claim some protection. Initially, they received no offers for their claim, but eventually Tobey's and Albrecht's discovery of the Nisto uranium find "set the mining world right back on its heels." [Source: StarPhoenix, March 20, 1951.] It was followed by a rush for the government's adjacent concessions. Trans-Continental Resources (TR) from Toronto recognized the potential of the find and offered Tobey and Albrecht each $15,000 for their claim. Subsequently, TR created Nisto Mines Ltd. for the purpose of developing the property.

John Strikes It Rich

"My god, I was there, you know, in the cabin. I had some fox or something," Albrecht told Berry Richards (1975). "There comes a Hudson's Bay man, sends a wire with and Indian. ... Tobey had the contract already sent out, you know, for me to sign. So, we read with the Hudson's Bay man the contract. Sounded good. $30,000 - $15,000 for me, $15,000 for him. 300,000 shares. $3 million share company firm. $150,000 each. I thought, 'This is the first clear money.' I signed! No other way!"

Albrecht and Tobey signed an agreement with Transcontinental Resources transferring Nisto prospecting rights. Albrecht's partner Roy Tobey on right. Source: Regina Leader-Post, Dec. 2, 1948.

John and his partner Roy Tobey made a considerable amount of money on the Nisto find. However, Nisto Mines Ltd. was not large enough to be profitable. As for John's riches, he later chuckled when he told his friend Bob Lee, "I put most of the money back in the ground!" He was always searching for another mine. 

Hints of Government Scandal

There were allegations made by members of the Liberal opposition that underhanded deals had been made by employees of the Saskatchewan CCF-NDP government in the development of uranium during the early 1950s. For example, it was suggested that Dr. M. C. Schumiatcher, while still serving as the executive assistant to Premier Tommy Douglas as well as legal advisor to the provincial cabinet, profited from the incorporation a company called Search Corporation shortly after Tobey and Albrecht discovered the Nisto find. The Search Corporation received some of the uranium concessions in the Black Lake area adjacent to Nisto before Schumiatcher resigned from government service. 

The leader of the opposition, Walter Tucker, asserted that other former civil servants had taken advantage of their positions in government to obtain mineral claims for themselves. Alex Cameron, Liberal MLA for Maple Creek, called this a "scandalous undertaking" and demanded that the government conduct an investigation. [Source: Hansard, Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan, Budget Debate, March 21, 1951.]

On March 13, 1952, Premier Tommy Douglas responded in the Saskatchewan legislature to the accusations about Schumiatcher, stating that Schumiatcher had indeed formed the Search Corporation and taken out uranium concessions in the area where Albrecht and Tobey discovered the Nisto find. "These concessions could have been procured by any other person willing to make application for them," Douglas asserted, not addressing the fact that Schumiatcher - while still employed by the government - had the inside scoop. He went on to say that, because Search Corporation had been unable to do the necessary exploration work, the company was "virtually insolvent." [Source: Hansard, Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan, Budget Debate, March 13, 1952.] 

Hubert Staines, a member of the Liberal opposition, declared at a public meeting in Kennedy, Saskatchewan, on May 31, 1952 that Schumiatcher and the Search Corporation "had no intention whatever of developing these concessions but merely obtained them to make a very quick cash profit." Staines went on to say that Schumiatcher had obtained blocks of shares entitling his corporation to further profits once the uranium concessions were developed by other companies. [Source: Regina Leader-Post, May 31, 1952.]

(I still have more research to do on this topic and will add any further findings to this post.).

Uranium in Popular Culture

"The Great Rush for Uranium" -  prospecting for uranium in Saskatchewan. British Pathe, 1952.

 Here's a recording by Warren Smith called "Uranium Rock" (1958). 

"I got a big Geiger counter, it's a pretty good rig                                                                                    When the needle starts clickin' it's where I'm gonna dig                                                                   Money-money honey, the kind you fold                                                                                            Money-money honey, rock 'n' roll                                                                                                          Rake it in, bale it up like hay                                                                                                                 Have a rockin' good time and throw it all away."

Here's another called "Uranium Fever" by Elton Britt (1955):

"Uranium fever has done and got me down                                                                                        Uranium fever is spreadin' all around                                                                                                     With a Geiger counter in my hand                                                                                                            I'm a-goin' out to stake me some government land                                                                          Uranium fever has done and got me down."


NEXT: Nan and John's Dogsledding Accident

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28 - John's Naturalization to Canada

 Worthy of Canadian Citizenship


"Once a German - Always a German." A British anti-German propaganda poster in the collection of the Canadian War Museum, c1940. Source

John's Naturalization Application 


John's Oath of Allegiance to King George the 6th, July 12, 1937. Source: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Immediately after the outbreak of the Second World War, John Erdmann Albrecht, a German immigrant, disappeared into Saskatchewan's far north. He had been granted a certificate of naturalization by the Government of Canada on September 9, 1937, but unfortunately it did not reach him. The certificate had been mailed to him at Wollaston Lake via Brochet, Manitoba at the north end of Reindeer Lake. A letter from Canada's Naturalization Branch to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police dated October 27, 1941 states that the certificate had been returned to the department by the Post Office. 

Letter to John at Wollaston Lake enclosing his naturalization certificate, Sept. 9, 1937. This letter never reached him. Source: IRCC.

I do not know when John received his naturalization papers. Without the necessary papers, however, John - considered an "enemy alien" during the Second World War years - had little recourse but to keep out of sight from 1939 to 1945 in the Selwyn Lake area north of Stony Rapids, Saskatchewan. He had spent over two years in a British prisoner-of-war camp during the First World War and he feared being imprisoned again. "I will never go behind barbed wire again," he had told P. G. Downes in 1939.(Read story HERE)

In order to apply for citizenship in the 1930s, a person had to have lived in Canada for five years. Under the Naturalization Act of 1914, aliens could petition for naturalization. If successful, they would swear allegiance to the British sovereign and would be granted the rights of someone born within the British Empire. Source

John first applied for Canadian citizenship in 1934 - five years after his arrival from Germany. At that time, he was trapping out of Dore River in the Big River region. By the time of his naturalization hearing at the Prince Albert District Court in the summer of 1937, he had moved to the Wollaston Lake area of Saskatchewan; he gave his address as Brochet, Manitoba.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) conducted an investigation of Albrecht in 1937 as part of his naturalization process. They noted that because John had spent the past several years trapping in the north, he was not very well known. The RCMP interviewed three people as character witnesses for John's application: Thomas Thibeault, liquor store vendor at Big River; Ivor Newton, trapper in the Big River area; and Jim Cumines, Game Guardian at Brochet. Each witness declared that John had resided in Canada continually for a period of five years and that he had conducted himself in such a manner to be worthy of Canadian citizenship. The RCMP concluded that John was "not in any way connected with the Communistic movement or with any other radical organization." [Source: IRCC.]

"Enemy Alien"

Anti-German sentiment was widespread in Saskatchewan during the Second World War. Source: Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, May 15, 1940.

With the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, German immigrants who had arrived in Canada after 1922 were forced to register with the authorities. 16,000 registered but I have found no evidence that Albrecht did.

Source: Regina Leader-Post, May 25, 1940.

The Canadian government also invoked the War Measures Act on August 25, 1939, giving the Minister of Justice the power to detain both enemy nationals and Canadian citizens suspected of spying and subversion. Internment camps were established in Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick. Source  Although I have found no evidence that he was a Nazi sympathizer, and I doubt very much that he was, John Albrecht kept out of sight at his remote cabin at Selwyn Lake until the war was over.

NEXT: John Discovers a Uranium Deposit, 1948 Click HERE

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27 - John Albrecht: Guide for P. G. Downes

 Journey to Sleeping Island


John Albrecht in 1939. Source: Sleeping Island by P. G. Downes, 1943.

John Albrecht made countless, wide-ranging trips throughout northern Saskatchewan from the 1930s to the 1970s, but perhaps the most remarkable is the trip he took with P. G. Downes in the summer of 1939. John served as Downe's guide for an arduous, 22-day canoe expedition from Brochet, Manitoba at the northeast end of Reindeer Lake to the Hudson Bay Company's post at Nueltin Lake on the Windy River, Northwest Territories.

P. G. Downes

Prentice G. Downes was a teacher at a private boy's school on the outskirts of Boston, Massachusetts. An avid outdoorsman, Downes had made the first of his summer trips to northern Canada in 1935. By 1939, he was anxious to travel to a huge lake on the edge of the Barren Lands called Nu-thel-tin-tu-eh or Nueltin Lake, the mystical "Sleeping Island Lake" of the Chipewyans in present-day Nunavut. At the time it was one of Canada's largest unmapped and least known lakes. The first white man to see Neultin Lake was the great explorer Samuel Hearne in 1770. After that, few non-Indigenous people visited the area.

P. G. Downes on a portage in 1940, Source: Sleeping Island, 1943.

Downes was fascinated by the ways and traditions of Canada's Indigenous peoples and travelled with them whenever possible. When he arrived at Brochet, however, he was dismayed to discover that there were very few Indians at the post. John Albrecht, a white trapper from Wollaston Lake, stepped up and offered to go with Downes. "This presented a new problem," Downes writes in his book, Sleeping Island [New York: Coward-McCann Inc., 1943; Ottawa: McGahern Stewart Publishing, 2011 (edited by R. H. Cockburn)]. "John did not know a foot of the way, and indeed had never been north of Brochet in that direction: it would be a case of us both finding the route. ... He could not speak Chipewyan or Cree. ... Furthermore, particularly vexatious, was the matter of an intangible mutual responsibility which I did not relish."  I'm not sure how to interpret this last line, but I think it has to do with the competitive male spirit which did rear its head during the journey.

"A Seasoned and Experienced Man in the North"

Downes acknowledges that there were a number of factors in John's favor as a guide. "His reputation as a canoeman, particularly with a pole, was very well established, not an insignificant thing in a country where criticism is great and judgement is stern and reserved," he writes. "He was known as a good and a tough traveler. He was a seasoned and experienced man in the North. He seemed enthusiastic about the trip."

Downes decided to hire Albrecht as his guide, paying him $300 for the journey. [Source: Bob Lee, The North Called Softly. Unpublished, 1977. Bill Smiley Archives, Prince Albert Historical Society.] He did so under the rather brutal condition that if something bad happened to either of them such as getting lost, the other would make no attempt to look for or save him. Each man had to get back to his main occupation before autumn - Downes to his teaching job in Boston and John to his trapline.

Downes gives us a good description of John's physical appearance. "He was a small man, about my own height, five-feet-seven, with disproportionately long arms, a small head, a very broad chest and back. I never saw him with his cap off, but I believe his hair was dark. His eyes were small and extraordinarily deep-set and divided by a beak-like nose." John wore a black sweater with a thick roll collar, dark patched pants, and moccasins for the trip. 

In a seventeen-foot freighting canoe secured from the Hudson Bay Company, Downes and Albrecht pushed off from the shore at Brochet on July 7, 1939. John paddled stern and Downes paddled bow. "I could feel John digging in with the big, deep strokes you use when you start. Neither of us looked back." 

Downes' map from Sleeping Island, 1943. Note that he labeled the west side of Wollaston Lake as "John's Country." This was the area where John Albrecht had his trapline in the 1930s.


"As we glided along, we were each, I am sure, making judgement upon the paddling abilities of the other," Downes writes. "A silent acknowledgement passed between us that neither would prove a burden in the canoe." Downes was relieved to note during the first hour of the trip that "John did not display any of the small mannerisms which can make a long association with a fellow paddler torture."

Fred Darbyshire and unknown trapper poling a canoe, likely on the Foster River north of Lac La Ronge, Saskatchewan. The canoe used by Downes and Albrecht did not have a motor on the back. Source

John, having learned to pole a boat as a child in East Prussia, proved to be a master at poling the freighting canoe. The two men had cut tamarack poles sixteen feet long which they used to maneuver up river rapids. Standing up in the canoe, Downes and Albrecht set their poles and thrust the canoe forward. "It is imperative that the thrust with the pole is not with the arms but with the whole body and particularly that the impetus is directed so that the canoe is not forced away from the pole," Downes explains. "The entire procedure is a combination of balance, timing within the face of the swirling, plucking current, the boulders bottom, the ledges and reefs, the submerged rocks, and the instability of a canoe is a great art." At one point near Chipewyan Falls the men were unable to find the bottom with their poles. Downes struggled, but John, "standing firm and immovable in the stern, kept the canoe headed into the current with a silent and intense ferocity."

Here's a video showing the technique for poling a canoe upstream. Source: Youtube, canoepoler, 2019.

Another activity which revealed the competition between Downes and Albrecht was portaging. When encountering an obstacle such as rapids or waterfalls, or in order to get from one waterway to another, canoeists must carry, or portage, their canoe and gear overland. In Sleeping Island, Downes acknowledges that he was competing with Albrecht on their portages. "There is an odd, savage, masochistic joy in finding yourself able to pile on more and more until you can stagger to your feet," he declares. A few trips back and forth were required to complete a portage. "With a savage exultation you dogtrot back over the trail with feverish impatience for the next load and the secret anticipation that if you hurry you can, maybe, catch up with and pass your companion." I wonder if John felt the same compulsion? Perhaps he did, for as Downes concludes, "There are no sweeter words to the man of the North than: 'By God, there is a man that can pack!"

Philip Goodwin's artwork provides a romanticized portrayal of portaging. The man in the front is using a tumpline on his head to carry his gear.

The tense nature of the competition between Downes and Albrecht is further revealed in this description of John's stubbornness. "In his years of solitary trapping and living, he had developed a degree of independence which at times was very amusing," Downes recounts.

The frame and mold of his own judgements was so hardened that he could not bring himself to agree without reservation to anyone else's opinion. If I was sure a certain bay was the correct one to take, I could absolutely count on John's conviction that it was not. The only thing for me to do was to suggest what I thought was the wrong way to go, and John would then stoutly maintain that we should go in the direction I secretly approved. Several times John was quite aware of my subterfuge and yet even then could not bring himself to admit or change his ingrained habit.

I wonder what John would have said about Downes.

John's Eye Injury

One night early in the journey, something lodged itself in John's eye, causing him considerable pain. Both men tried unsuccessfully to remove whatever it was, and John had to resort to tying a handkerchief around his head. "He made a pocket in it and filled it with steeped tea leaves, which thus plastered against the eye seemed to bring some relief," Downes writes. "His piratical-looking bandage did not seem to do any good and he began to have trouble with the other eye." 

John wearing his tea-bag eye patch while preparing lunch. Source: P. G. Downes, Sleeping Island.

Downes began to think that John should go back to Brochet with any Indigenous people they might encounter in order to seek medical attention. "To his great credit, John would not agree to give up yet. He had unshakeable confidence in the tea leaves," continues Downes. "In the meantime we rested, as John found the glare of the water on his good eye coupled with the pain of the bad one almost unbearable."


After a particularly difficult portage in the pouring rain, John suggested to Downes that they stop for a smoke and talk about the trip. "The fear flashed through my mind that if we stopped to talk this trip over we might not go on," Downes recalls, "there was something so weary and so discouraged in his comment." As Downes completed the last run of the portage, he looked back at John. "He was sitting in the canoe, his head bowed in his hands, a thin wisp of smoke trailing above his head," Downes continues. "Even from a distance I could see blood trickling down his face from the blackflies." In a footnote, Downes confirms that John was indeed discouraged. "John had no real stake in the venture; also he was drawn very thin," he writes.

John, who Downes characterized as a rational man (in contrast to himself, a romantic man), was ready to quit the trek more than once. As they approached their destination on Nueltin Lake in the Northwest Territories, for example, they encountered a confusing maze of lakes, islands, bays, and channels. "I dunno," Downes quotes John, "A man get himself caught up in that mess of islands and bays, he could spend a lifetime trying to get out. I dunno if we should try it; you can go on forever, but how about finding your way back?"

End of the Journey

Together, through trial and error, foul weather, and plagues of blackflies and mosquitoes, Downes and Albrecht found their way to Nueltin Lake, the lake of Sleeping Island.

"We were both thin," Downes recalls. "John's naturally deep sunken eyes had retreated further and his cheekbones stuck out in mosquito-scarred bumps." While the twosome remained strong for the rest of their journey, their stock of flour and oatmeal was long gone. "We still had sufficient tea," Downes continues. "The real worry was that the tobacco supply was getting pretty thin."

It was time to return home. Downes went out by plane to Churchill, Manitoba and from there by train to Winnipeg via Flin Flon. John, on the other hand, headed back to Brochet at the north end of Reindeer Lake by canoe, retracing their route over the same rapids and portages. Downes writes that he had agonized over the "ethics of the matter" of John traveling back alone. John - despite his apparent earlier reservations of finding their way back - assured Downes that, after trapping and traveling in the Wollaston Lake country by himself for nine years, there was no reason to worry about him. 

Nevertheless, Downes loaned John the canoe, some maps, and his Mannlicher rifle, all of which John left for Downes to pick up at Brochet.

When John arrived back a Brochet, he learned that Canada was at war with Germany. "He made no comment but packed his outfit, took our faithful canoe which I had managed for him to have and that is the last record we have of him," Downes writes in the epilogue to his book. 

Cover illustration by Roderick MacIvor for Sleeping Island, Heron Dance Press, 2006.

During the war years, John disappeared into Saskatchewan's far north. He had been granted a certificate of naturalization by the Government of Canada on September 9, 1937, but unfortunately it did not reach him. Read what happened HERE. Without the necessary papers, John kept out of sight. He feared being imprisoned again. (Read story of John as a POW here.)

"Oh! - John - I think of him often," Downes wrote. "He was the magnificent traveler of the trip. I will never forget his remark, 'I will never go behind barbed wire again'."


NEXT: John's Naturalization to Canada: Click HERE

PREVIOUS: John's Years as a Trapper: Click HERE



©Joan Champ, 2021. All rights reserved.


26 - John's Years as a Trapper

"I Was Not So Bad!"

John Albrecht arrived in Regina, Saskatchewan on June 1, 1929. As he could not speak English, he went to work for a German farmer near Bulyea, about 70 kilometres north of the Queen City. He worked there until the fall, helping with the harvest. When the threshing was over, the farmer said, "John, you know the wheat is going down in price. If I was in your shoes I would go north. North there is lumber, sawmills, there's fishing, and if you're really tough, go trapping." [As quoted in Berry Richards. Interview with John E. Albrecht, La Ronge, SK, July 14, 1975. Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan, audio recording R-A873.] The farmer must have had a crystal ball. With the crash of the stock market in October of that year, wheat prices plummeted.

Laura and Adolph Studer, 1938. Source
John left the farm at Bulyea in mid-September and moved to the St. Walburg area. He worked for a year on the homestead of Adolph Studer, a farmer and trapper who spoke a little German. It was there that John first tried his hand at trapping. Studer encouraged John to trap and offered him a loan. "No," replied John. "I got enough money." He bought himself 100 to 120 small traps and, on Studer's advice, went trapping for weasels. 


Life as a Trapper

John left the St. Walburg area on October 1, 1930 to become a trapper in the Big River area (Dore River); he stayed there for four years. "I was not so bad," John told Berry Richards in a 1975 interview. "I made quite a few dollars with weasels; in the spring, rats [muskrats]."

It was while he was at Big River that John began to learn English. He ordered at least 20 books from mining people in Big River, receiving books on minerals and geology. These books not only helped him learn English, they also sparked his interest in prospecting. [Source: Berry Richard's interview with John, 1975.]

While at Big River, a trapper named Ragnar Jonsson from Wollaston Lake talked John into heading further north and west to Wollaston. In June of 1934, John headed to the Snake Lake-Souris River country. There he bought a canoe, more traps, and five sled-dog puppies from local Dene people at Pinehouse Lake. "The puppies were small, but they could run behind me," John recalled. "And there I went on a trip - I tell you!" John trekked through hundreds of kilometres of wilderness to Wollaston Lake, walking or portaging 50 kilometres (30 miles) along the way with close to 800 pounds on his back, including a canoe. 

This Google map shows the distance from Big River to Wollaston Lake via Pinehouse Lake using present-day roads. John got there by canoe and on foot.

He reached Wollaston Lake by the end of September 1934, only to discover that his friend Ragnar Jonsson had just left for Reindeer Lake and then further north to Nueltin Lake. "So I was alone there. Alone on Wollaston," John lamented to Richards. Clearly, it was a lonely time for him. 

The Chipewyan had a rough year and even they didn't come. So I was just clean alone there. There was nothing. That's the damnedest north, you know? It's one hell of a long stretch. And I tell you, no maps! I didn't even figure out where I could get maps. No maps, nothing!

John trapped in the Wollaston Lake region for three or four years. According John's friend Dr. Klaus Lehnert-Thiel, John's cabin was located on what is now the site of the Rabbit Lake Mine near the western shore of Wollaston Lake. [Source: Author interview with Klaus Lehnert-Thiel, January 15, 2018.] He later moved his camp to Fiddler Bay on the east side of the lake.

Les Oystryk, a historian and retired conservation officer from Creighton, Saskatchewan, has done considerable research into the life and work of Jim Cumines, a fish and game warden stationed at Brochet on Reindeer Lake. Les and I have been emailing for several years, and he has generously shared information that he has culled from Cumines' reports relating to John Albrecht. 

Jim Cumines, game warden, on winter patrol by bombardier in 1942. Source

Cumines first met John in May of 1936 during a patrol of Wollaston Lake. John had been trapping under a license issued at Souris River using the name "John Gilbert." John told the warden that the license issuer had misspelled his name. Seven months later when Cumines encountered John again, he was still using the same license issued in the name of Gilbert. [Source: Email to author from Les Oystryk, March 28, 2018.]

Was John hiding his German ancestry? He had applied for, but not yet obtained his naturalization papers from the Canadian government and was considered an "alien." Trouble was brewing in Germany. According to Oystryk, Cumines eventually issued a non-resident trapping license to John so he could sell his furs.

In 1937, John moved up to Brochet on the northern end of Reindeer Lake. That summer, he served as the guide for P. G. Downes on a journey to Neultin Lake.

Hand-drawn map by RCMP Constable Marcel Chappuis in 1937-1938 of the Wollaston Lake/Reindeer Lake area that he covered by dogsled during his 1937-1938 winter patrol. John Albrecht's cabin on Fiddler Bay, Wollaston Lake is identified at top centre. Thanks to Les Oystryk for bringing this map to my attention.

By March of 1938, Cumines wrote that John was trapping out of his main camp at the narrows going into Fiddler Bay on Wollaston Lake. John had "a good cabin and seems to keep everything in order," Oystryk quotes Cumines."but complained that this winter he made no hunt at all." Foxes, wolves, caribou - all game was scarce. Cumines also reported that John had put up quite a lot of fish for his sled dogs, "but he claims the Indians helped themselves to his fish cache and now is very short of dog feed."

Illustration from "Memories of Deep River." Source
Two years later Cumines reported that he had seen John at the Swan River fur trading post on Reindeer Lake. He had 20 fox pelts of poor quality and a few mink and otter. By June of 1940, Cumines determined that John had gone by plane with two Swedish trappers to Stony Rapids, Saskatchewan. John had apparently left some debts behind at the HBC post at Swan River on Reindeer Lake. [Source: Email from Les Oystryk, March 28, 2018.] John formed a trapping partnership with one of the Swedes, Oscar Johnson, a man in his 70s. The two of them lived in a cabin at Selwyn Lake north of Stony Rapids  and split their fur proceeds 50/50. The two also did some prospecting, finding some gold, nickel and copper, but the prospecting didn't work out. The trapping supplied the money for prospecting. "We made more than we needed," John told Berry Richards. "We had always money,"

Oscar Johnson decided to quit the north in 1945. After a few years trapping out of Selwyn Lake, the 75-year-old told John, "I can't take it anymore." So he "went out." (According to Klaus Lehnert-Theil, when a trapper, who spends most of the year in the bush, says he "went out" it means out into civilization.)

Three years later, John's life changed dramatically. He co-discovered a major uranium source and got a new partner - Nan Dorland - who shared the same cabin at Selwyn Lake that he had previously shared with Oscar Johnson.

NEXT: John Albrecht: Guide for P. G. Downes: Click HERE

PREVIOUS: John Albrecht's Early Life: Click HERE


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25 - John Albrecht's Early Life

 Idyllic Childhood, Hellish Youth

Cover of "Guide Through Memel and the Surrounding Area," 1913. Source

John Erdmann Albrecht was born in Szieszkrand, East Prussia on December 7, 1898 and raised on the Baltic Sea where his father, a Prussian civil servant, was in charge of a lighthouse on the northeastern end of the Curonian Spit. "There between the Memel River and the long narrow sandspit, with the Baltic Sea to the west and the Curonian Lagoon to the east, John spend his youth in an unspoiled environment of unmatched beauty," writes Dr. Klaus Lehnert-Thiel. "Fishing, hunting, trapping, skating, and sailing were activities the young John Albrecht enjoyed from a very young age." [Source: "John Albrecht: Dead at 93," in The Northerner, La Ronge, SK, Oct. 16, 1991.]

Memel, East Prussia, 1918. Source

John's family lived in or near the town of Memel (now Klaipeda). His father Johann Albrecht commuted between their residence and the lighthouse. To facilitate travel during the winter, Johann invented a sailing boat on skids. "In doing so," Lehnert-Thiel writes," he became the forerunner and acknowledged inventor of a new sport which 50 years later became widely accepted." 

The Curonian Spit, a peninsula between Russia and Lithuania, as been called the "Northern Sahara," "the gem of the kingdom of dunes, a wonder of nature." [Source: Vasilijus Safronovas, "Migrants and Refugees on the Curonian Spit, Vilnius: Vilnius Academy of Arts, 2019. Full article here.] It became part of the German empire after 1871. 

There are a number of lighthouses on the Curonian Spit, but after doing some research, I believe that the lighthouse looked after by John's father was the White Lighthouse build in 1884 on a 2150-metre quay. At a height of about 9 metres (30 feet), it had a fixed red light at the top. Narrow-gauge rails were built into the lighthouse to transport coal and to facilitate maintenance. It was blown up by the Nazis in January 1945.

The White Lighthouse outside Memel, c1900. Source

This could be John's father Johann Albrecht, keeper of the White Lighthouse near Memel. Source

The White Lighthouse, nd. Source

World War I

In August 1914, just weeks before the outbreak of the First World War, Russia invaded East Prussia, forcing thousands, including the Albrecht family, to flee. The Germans fought back, and by the end of the Battle of Tannenberg (August 27-September 13) over 90,000 were captured and 70,000 were killed or wounded - a devastating defeat for Russia. [Source] "I remember John telling me that [he] and his family were living in a refugee camp with nothing to do," Dr. Lehnert-Thiel told me. "As a bored 16-year-old he volunteered to serve in the [German] army."

A team of German soldiers using the Maschinengewehr 08 (MG 08), the standard German weapon during WWI. John Albrecht would have used this machine gun. Click here to see a 3D animation of the operation of the MG 08.

As a teenager, John saw continuous front-line action as a machine-gunner in the Schwarze Division ("Black Berets") for over two years. He was captured by the British on June 7, 1917 at the Battle of Messines (aka the Capture of Wytschaete) at Flanders, Belgium near Ypres. 

John was captured at the Battle of Messines on July 7, 1917. Source

(As part of its battle plan, the British forces detonated deep land mines that had been laid under the German front position since 1915. This is reported to be the largest planned explosion in history prior to the Trinity atomic weapon test in July 1945 and the deadliest non-nuclear man-made explosion. The shock wave from the explosion could be heard as far away as London and Dublin.)

Prisoner of War 

Fragment of list No. 148, A 9105, POWs Interned in Europe. Erdmann (John) Albrecht appears second from top. His rank is cited as Msk. (Ert.) which means Musketier (Eratzrekrut) - or replacement recruit gunner. His service information shows as Luf. 44, 10 cie. N1122. His place of internment is Co. 85. I have not yet determined where this POW camp was in England. Source (Scroll up to "Albrecht, D")

John spent two and a half years in a standard British prisoner-of-war camp. Prison - while not a happy place to be - must nevertheless have been an immense relief for him after the extreme violence and danger he had experienced on the battlefield. He later told interviewer Berry Richards (1975) that he met a Canadian of Scottish descent while in the POW camp. John learned about Canada from their conversations. "Why stay in Germany?" the Canadian apparently asked John. "Get into Canada." [Berry Richards. Interview with John E. Albrecht, La Ronge, SK, July 14, 1975. Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan, audio recording R-A873.] 

John may have been incarcerated at the Dorchester POW camp at Dorset, UK. Source

Return Home to Post-War Chaos

German prisoners were repatriated by the British in the spring of 1920. After his release, John returned to his home in Memel which had by then been placed under the protection of France under the Treaty of Versailles. His plan, according to Lehnert-Thiel, was to look after farm property owned or managed by his father.

In 1923, the Treaty of Versailles was broken when Lithuania rose up against French occupation. An ethnic struggle ensued when most people in Memel region opted to emigrate to Germany rather than stay under Lithuanian rule. (Less than 600 of 150,000 opted for Lithuania.) Source.

"Either the heavy handed Lithuanian administration or John's nationalistic feelings made it difficult for him to remain in his home country," Lehnert-Thiel explains, "and precipitated his emigration to Canada in 1929. He applied in 1925 and by 1929 he had his visa and passport. 

John came to Canada aboard the SS Polonia in 1929. Source

On April 24, 1929, 30-year-old John waved goodbye to his sisters and brother on the pier at the Port of Danzig (now Gdansk, Poland) and sailed for Canada on the Baltic America Line's ship named SS Polonia. He arrived at Halifax, Nova Scotia on May 5 and took the Canadian National Railway west to Regina, Saskatchewan. It wasn't long before he headed north where he spent the next four decades as a trapper and prospector.

NEXT: John's Years as a Trapper: Click HERE

PREVIOUS: Nan and John - Partners in Prospecting: Click HERE


©Joan Champ. All rights reserved.

PART TWO: 24. Nan and John - Partners in Prospecting

"An Enormous Amount of Fun"

"I see no reason why girls can't take their places beside the men in the field. Mind you, they must expect to pull their weight and not be crybabies when things don't go too well - when it rains and the fire goes out, or when the black flies make life miserable." - Viola MacMillan, President of the Prospectors and Developers Association, radio broadcast, 1948. Source


John and Nan prospecting for uranium at Robins Lake in northern Saskatchewan, 1949. Nan - identified as "Nan Di Leo" in this government photo - is holding a Geiger counter. Photo: Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan, R-A9325    

"Uranium was the cause of the Morenus-Albrecht partnership," the reporter for the Prince Albert Daily Herald wrote in March 1950. Nan had likely heard about John's important uranium discovery, along with Leroy (Roy) Tobey, on Black Lake near Stony Rapids, Saskatchewan in August 1948. Because of her interest in prospecting, I think she decided to track him down in the fall of 1948 to ask him to help her stake claims in the same area that he had found uranium earlier that year. 

Another possible reason that Nan Dorland came to northern Saskatchewan is provided by John Albrecht's friend, Bob Lee. "She had just come from Squamish [British Columbia] when she arrived in Stony Rapids in 1948, seeking an interview with a trapper which would be the basis of her next story," Lee writes in his unpublished memoirs, The North Called Softly (1977). "The Hudson Bay Company manager was quick to suggest John Albrecht as a suitable candidate." [I have not been able to verify that Nan had been in Squamish, BC.]

Nan Arrives in La Ronge

In late summer of 1948, Nan Dorland Morenus arrived in La Ronge, Saskatchewan, reportedly to take a prospector’s course. She may have stayed with a couple named De Lea (or De Leo or Di Lea or Di Leo]. Nan eventually took the surname De Lea. Natalie Thompson, an employee at the La Ronge Precambrian Geological Laboratory, informed me that Nan's first year of claims and prospecting work were submitted to the provincial government under the name De Lea. Thompson's theory is that Nan's hostess in La Ronge, a Mrs. De Lea, had taken the prospector's course which was a requirement for getting financial assistance under the Prospectors' Assistance Plan. Nan had applied for assistance under that plan, but because she had not yet taken the prospector's course the government gave her a time limit to get it done. Instead, according to Thompson, she took the name of the woman who had already taken the course. [Due to COVID-19 restrictions I have not been able to verify this. I plan to visit both La Ronge facility and the Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan once things open up.]

At some point that fall, Floyd Glass, a Prince Albert pilot, flew Nan and an unknown man up to an area west of Stony Rapids. The mystery man may have been "Joe" - the man Nan had gone prospecting with in northern Ontario in the summer of 1947 (see story HERE). He was not her former husband, Richard Morenus; they were divorced in 1947. I am guessing that Glass flew the couple either to Goldfields or to Fond du Lac. Goldfields, a gold-mining town during the 1930s, saw new life in 1948, serving as a base for the exploration of the new gold: uranium. Goldfields' population surged as hundreds of prospectors, almost entirely male, poured in looking to discover their own finds. Source. Fond du Lac, one of the oldest, most northern remote communities in Saskatchewan, is the home of the Denesuliné First Nation.

Source: Google Maps

Glass provides an account of Nan’s time in Saskatchewan in “A Northern Romance,” his contribution to the book, Gold and Other Stories [W. O. Kupsch and Stan Hanson, eds. Regina: Saskatchewan Mining Association, 1986]. He recalls that when he flew in a few months later to see if the couple was ready to come out, Nan's mystery man ran down to the plane. “He was going out,” Glass recounts. “He said as far as he was concerned he didn’t know what she was going to do, but he thought she was staying.” When Glass went up to talk to Nan, he discovered that “there was no way she was going out. She was up there to find a uranium mine. That’s all there was to it.”

Nan gave Glass some money to pick up a dog team and sleigh for her. He brought her six dogs as well as a net so she could catch fish for the dogs. He thought Nan didn’t know what she was in for, but “she thought everything was fine.” Glass had no way of knowing it, but Nan was by then an accomplished dogsledder. See story HERE.

Nan arrived at Stony Rapids in the first week of December 1948 by dog team. "They [the dogs] were tired. And she was tired," Glass writes. "They had come over thin ice in places where the RCMP told me they didn't know how she ever stayed on top." If she had come from Goldfields, she had traveled about 150 kilometres (100 miles); if she had started out from Fond du Lac, she had traveled 77 kilometres (48 miles). 

It was at Stony Rapids that 37-year-old Nan met 50-year-old John Albrecht. Within a short time, Floyd Glass flew the two of them up to John's camp on Selwyn Lake near the border of the Northwest Territories and was told to come back in the spring. 

John Albrecht outside the cabin he shared with Nan at the south end of Selwyn Lake, SK. Dog houses in the background, with dogsled harnesses hanging from the eaves on the left. The box above the cabin's window is a "northern ice box." According to Dr. Klaus Lehnert-Theil, in addition to keeping things cold, the box kept things out of reach of the dogs. "When John returned from his trapping rounds he most likely stored the catch (mink, fox, fisher, marten, etc.) in this box until he felt like taking it into the cabin to unthaw and skin it." Source: Dr. Klaus Lehnert-Thiel.


The couple spent a year and a half together in northern Saskatchewan dividing their time between Selwyn Lake and Stony Rapids. In May of 1948, the Government of Saskatchewan lifted the ban on private uranium prospecting. Uranium was the essential ingredient in the development of the atomic bomb. With that in mind, six parties were selected to participate in the province's Prospector Assistance Plan for the 1949 season, including John Albrecht and Nan "Di Lea." All six parties elected to prospect in the Black Lake area where John and his former partner, Roy Tobey, had discovered uranium in 1948.

According to a document titled "Prospectors Assistant Plan, Season 1949" (see above) sent to me by Natalie Thompson of the La Ronge Precambrian Geological Laboratory, Nan "Di Lea" and John "Albricht" were Party #4 of the six parties. The text states that PAP No. 4 "made several uranium bearing discoveries in biotite and biotite-hornblende gneiss of granitized texture" at Robins Lake, 50 miles from John's Nisto find of 1948. According to the table on page 3, however, Party No. 4 did not make any claims in 1949. I have not yet discovered whether, during the course of their partnership, Nan and John staked any of claims together. 

Nan told the Herald she “finds Northern Saskatchewan a ‘wonderful place’ and her chosen work ‘just an enormous amount of fun’.” In response to the reporter’s question about who did the housework, Albrecht replied tersely, “Whoever gets back first gets supper ready.”


NEXT: John Albrecht's Early Life: Click HERE

PREVIOUS: Richard Writes a Book, Part 3: Click HERE  



©Joan Champ. All rights reserved.

23. Richard Writes a Book - Part 3

What is Missing


Illustration by William Lackey in Crazy White Man showing Richard standing alone in front of the island cabin he shared with Nan, with two Ojibway people in the canoe.

“Every individual’s story has its enthralling aspect, though the essential pivot is usually omitted or obscured by most autobiographers.” 

- Anthony Powell, Books Do Furnish A Room


“No one can tell the whole truth about himself.”

             - Somerset Maugham


They all said I was crazy," Richard Morenus begins in his 1952 book, Crazy White Man (Sha-g-na-she Wa-du-kee). "When I finally began to agree with them, it was then too late for me to do anything about it. I was seated in a canoe, well past the last outpost of civilization, headed northward toward the bit of insular real estate I had bought, sight unseen, deep in the Canadian bush country. ... I was on my own." 

But of course, Richard was not on his own. When he arrived on what is now Winoga Island near Sioux Lookout, Ontario in early May of 1941 he was accompanied by his wife Nan. Together, the couple lived on the island for about six years, with Nan proving herself more than capable of surviving in the remote outdoors. There must have been severe strains on the Morenus marriage during these years, for they were divorced in 1947. 


In Crazy White Man, published by Rand McNally, Richard omits Nan completely from his book. He may have felt, some would say correctly, that a story of a man surviving alone in northern Ontario for six years made for a more entertaining story, benefiting his book sales, his career, and his reputation. Details like his wife did not fit with his carefully constructed man-against-nature account. It is possible that, even though Nan had died two years earlier, Richard decided to expunge his former wife from his narrative due to lingering animosity after their divorce. Perhaps he did not want to upset his new, sixth wife Nora by writing anything about his fifth wife Nan. Or, who knows, maybe he and Nan had made a deal years earlier that she would not be included in any future book he might write about their time on the island. After all, they were both writers competing to cover the same material. Richard won in the end.


No Photographs


There are no photos in Crazy White Man, just illustrations by William Lackey. Richard and Nan had taken a camera with them into the bush and they used it. For example, Nan mentions in her 1946 Maclean’s article that they gave old Jim Chief a photograph. “It was a snap of him we had taken on his last canoe trip before freeze-up,” she wrote. “For once Jim was overcome. He stared in wordless fascination at the first picture of himself he had ever seen.” 


Richard writes in his book, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, that he found two reasons why taking pictures in the bush was extremely difficult. “One was that, when I had the camera along, there was never anything to take a picture of,” he explains. “The other was that, when there were things I wanted to take pictures of, I had no camera with me.” He adds that he “deplored the usual planned and posed photography that might give what I write the unpleasant flavor of a publicity article.”


So, if they had a camera with them, why are there no photos in Richard’s book?  First, it would have destroyed the illusion (which it was) that he was alone in the bush. Nan would have either been in the photos or she would have been the photographer. Second, I think Richard destroyed all the photos of their time on the island. 


Through a series of events, I now possess all the photographs that Richard left behind. Kim Clark and Richard Mansfield, owners of Winoga Lodge Island near Sioux Lookout, Ontario – once Nan and Richard’s island - sent me a box containing of hundred of photos of Richard from his infancy to his sixth marriage to Nora Smith. There is not a single photo of Nan (or any of Richard’s other five wives before Nora) in the box, nor is there a single photo of the island. The closest I found were photos of Richard re-enacting his time on the island, taken – likely in Michigan – for book promotion purposes.


Reworking of Previously Published Material 


Crazy White Man had the working title From Broadway to Bush, the same title as Richard’s Maclean's magazine article of 1946. In the book, he reworked material from his article, eliminating any references to Nan in the process. For example, while it had been Nan’s illness that prompted the couple’s move to northern Ontario, Richard writes in Crazy White Man that it was he who had been ill. Here’s a comparison of the text from each piece:


  • “From Broadway to Bush:” “I looked at my watch again—that badge of my profession I wore on my wrist. It was a stop watch, a cruelly clever instrument of inexorable time. My wife and I had been stop-watch slaves in New York for more than 10 years, I as writer-director of network programs, she as one of the more popular actresses who suffer daily in serials before the microphones. The big red hand of the studio clock had bound us until we were accountable to it for every one of its measured minutes. Its gifts were liberal, but the cost was great in ruined digestions, tired bodies, and nerves as taut as piano wires. Something had to snap. It had been Nan.”
  • Crazy White Man: “The glance at my watch, the badge of my profession that I constantly wore on my wrist, had been thoroughly unconscious. It was a stop watch, a cruelly clever instrument of inexorable time. I had been a slave to it in New York for more than ten years as a writer-director of network radio programs. The watch, like its oversized prototype on the studio wall, had a second hand, and I was accountable to it for every one of its measured minutes. The resultant cost was great in ruined digestion, a tired body, and nerves as taut as piano wires. Something had to stop.”

There are many more examples of Richard’s reworking material from his two Maclean’s article into his book. Here are a couple of short examples from his article “Dogs on Ice” (September 15 1948) which four years later transformed into a chapter in his book called “Hot Dogs on Ice.” (For more examples, see blog post “Getting Around in Winter.”)


  • First line of the article: “Streetcars, elevated trains, and subways—that is what transportation meant to me until my wife and I decided to leave New York and make our home in the Canadian bush.”
  • First line of the book chapter: “Up to the time I moved to the north, streetcars, elevated trains, buses, and subways had been about all that transportation meant to me.”

And another:


  • From the article: “In New York it had been a very simple matter to buy a dog, or any number of dogs, of any size, shape or breed. You merely went to a pet shop, picked out your dog, and led it away on a leash.”
  • From the book: “In New York it had been a very simple matter to buy a dog or any number of dogs of any size, shape, or breed. A visit to a conveniently located pet shop, the selection of the dog, and it could be led away on a leash.”

These can be considered examples of self-plagiarism, a term that, according to Miguel Roig (2015), refers to authors who reuse their previously disseminated content and pass it off as new product without letting their reader know that this material has appeared previously. [Source: Roig, Miguel. “Avoiding Plagiarism, Self-Plagiarism, and Other Questionable Writing Practices: A Guide to Ethical Writing.” United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Research Integrity, 2003, 2015. www.ori.hhs.gov ] (Note: The US Office of Research Integrity states that self-plagiarism is NOT considered research misconduct.)


Richard did not exactly conceal from his readers his previously published articles in Maclean’s – he mentions them about halfway through his book, stating that “Scott Young [musician Neil Young’s father], then nonfiction editor, had given me considerable encouragement toward continuing with a series.” But he does not reveal that those articles were about his experiences in the wilderness with his wife Nan. Of course, disclosing that fact would have destroyed the tenderfoot-alone-in-the-bush narrative he presented in Crazy White Man.


Illustration by William Lackey

While I have no evidence to prove it, it is possible that Richard consulted Nan’s published articles in Maclean’s magazine during the writing of Crazy White Man. It is interesting to compare their differing accounts of their encounters with Jim Chief, or as Richard calls him, Wa-she-ga, which he says means “the old bent one.” For example, here are excerpts from their respective writing about their visit to the old chief’s wigwam:


  • In Nan’s article October 1946 article “Jim Chief” for Maclean’s, she implies that she and Richard arrived unannounced at the wigwam of the old Ojibway chief and his wife, “We moored the dogs and toboggan a discreet distance from his grounds and climbed the low rise on which the wigwam squatted in a stand of balsam. … Smoke tumbled from the apex of the wigwam, and we heard a steady stream of chatter from within as we stood before the tightly closed flap. We waited five minutes . . . ten. No one appeared. It was impossible that Jim and his squaw had neither seen nor heard our dogs’ noisy arrival. The conversation from within had disintegrated into giggles and prolonged laughter. Dick looked as mad as I felt. ‘Enough of this,’ he said, and giving the flap doorway a vigorous shake, he called sharply, ‘Jim!’ The flap fell away and Dick stepped in, pulling me after him.”
  • Richard writes in the chapter of his book entitled “Nichies” (an abbreviation for nichi-nabi meaning Indians) that he received a much different welcome to the wigwam than the one described by Nan. “It was March of the second winter before I had the opportunity to call upon Wa-she-ga. It was a beautiful clear day and cold. I had informed him well ahead of the time that I might pay him a visit, and he was eagerly anticipating it. When I arrived at his camp, it was undoubtedly the first time in his life that he had received a social call from a white man. When he heard me, he came out of the wigwam to greet me. I stooped over and pushed back the entry flap and followed him inside.” 

I cannot help but conclude that Nan’s is the more accurate account, and that, for reasons of his own, Richard did not want to convey the awkwardness of their unexpected visit to Jim Chief’s wigwam.

Crafting his Reputation 


At the end of Crazy White Man, Richard declares that he never became used to living in the bush. 

I didn’t get used to the cold, the storms, the blizzards, or the rains. I didn’t get used to the unending struggle against the elements. I didn’t get used to hard physical work. I endured them all, but I didn’t get used to any of them. And notwithstanding all these and more things which I never got used to, I still love the bush. I love its grandeur, its majesty, its dignity; its virginal primitiveness, its insidious and fabulous charm; the greatness of it; its challenge. I knew its strength and had felt the immensity of its power. I respected it. And I was no longer afraid of it. The bush had taught me many things. But I never got used to it.

With a memoirist’s focus on self, Richard wanted to demonstrate to his readers the struggle and achievement of his six years on what is now Winoga Island. He had suffered and he had overcome, he tells us. He had persevered through numerous challenges and in the end reached a personal triumph. As a source of historical truth, however, Richard’s book must be read not for its accuracy but for its many insights into life in the Canadian wilderness during the 1940s. I for one, however, cannot forget that Nan Dorland was there with him.

Nan and Richard Morenus, c. 1943. Source

NEXT: I am taking a short break while I write the next and final installments to Nan’s life story. From northern Ontario Nan travelled west, ending up in northern Saskatchewan where she partnered up – both in business and in marriage – with trapper and prospector John Albrecht.


PREVIOUS: Richard Writes a Book - Part 2: Click HERE




©Joan Champ. All rights reserved.