William Henry Drummond -- The
Habitant Poet (1854 - 1907)
In 1904, Dr. Drummond heard of the
silver strike at Cobalt, Ontario. For $150 he grubstaked Martin
Wright, of Haileybury, who staked 80 acres for Drummond at the
north end of Kerr lake, three miles east of Cobalt. Soon there
was a log home constructed on the property and Drummond came to
superintend operations himself at the mine. The Drummond Mine
produced a vein running 6,300 ounces to the ton. It produced
3,707,137 ounces of silver, netting over $1,500,00 profit.
While in Cobalt Dr. Drummond
continued his writing. In 1906 a ceremony was held in his honour
at the Cobalt Lyric Theatre. Drummond kept the audience
spellbound. G.W. Dixon, a Cobalt engineer, claimed, "He was
the greatest man with a story I have ever heard."
Interestingly, beside Dr. Drummond on the stage was Woodrow
Wilson, another engineer, and later President of the United
In 1907, Dr. Drummond returned to
Montreal for Easter but on hearing of a smallpox epidemic in
Cobalt, he returned to help out medically. A week later he was
stricken with a cerebral haemorrhage. After five unconcious days
he passed away in Cobalt, April 6, 1907.
After his home was torn down
before the 1930's, the fireplace of the Drummond home was
preserved. In 1933 it was dedicated as a memorial cairn in honour
of Dr. William Henry Drummond, Canadian poet, by Lord
Bessborough, Governor General at he time.
The fireplace remained at the mine
site until 1987. The Cobalt Public Library Board conceived of the
idea of reconstructing the Cairn adjacent to the Library. The
ground work and the actual reconstructing of the fireplace, using
as much of the original material as possible, was finished by
Within the library are all Dr.
Drummond's published works as well as pictures and other
All are welcome to
visit the Drummond exhibit upstairs at the library and the Cairn
outside next to the library.
This project was made possible
with a grant from the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs, the
help of the Town of Cobalt and Cobalt Kiwanis Club and many
donations to the Drummond Fund.