‘First’ can mean a lot of things in the world depending on the scale you use. There can be the first ever in general, the first in a country, and at the smallest, the first in a town. This doesn’t necessarily diminish any of them, of course, as being a trailblazer can be difficult regardless of the size of it. A good example of this is Lois Beckett, Sault Ste. Marie’s first female police officer, and as it stands one who set the record for the longest service of her gender.
Beckett was sworn in as a policewoman in 1949. This was an official term at the time, as women were not given the rank of Constable upon joining until 1962. The arguable sexism of this did not stop Beckett from staying on the job, although in 1961 she did switch from Sault Ste. Marie’s police force to that of neighbouring Tarentorus.
As mentioned in our page on the Chicora Incident, you can often never tell when something will become historical. Sometimes a work written on a whim can become very important. This can be shown very well with Anna Jameson, a woman born in 1794 who wrote an account of her tour through Canada that became a notable historical source.
That isn’t to say Jameson was not a fascinating person in her own right, of course. A creative woman from her youth, her first work was an autobiographical book by the invented personality of a dying woman. This was published as The Diary of an Ennuyée, gaining notoriety when the book’s real author was discovered. Her first significant work under her own name was Characteristics of Women. This book was an analysis of the heroines in Shakespeare’s work, and shows a great deal of critical insight. Jameson also worked as a governess from a young age, something that would influence her in the future.
Obviously, the president or financer of a company like Algoma Steel fill very important roles. But it can be easily forgotten that a hard worker among the hands-on employees can often be sources of great inspiration and deserving of respect. David Kyle is one such worker.
In fact, David’s time with Algoma Steel was before Sir James Dunn had anything to do with the company beyond an investor’s role. He had come to the Sault in 1909 and was in charge of installing a gas engine that would connect to the plant’s No. 3 Furnace. By all accounts he did this job well, well enough that when it was concluded in 1912 the plant’s owners employed him in a permanent position of Mechanical Superintendent. He would later receive a further promotion to that of Assistant General Superintendent.
Throughout this project, we have seen men covered who were very ambitious, be it in politics, recreation or business. But we have not seen anyone that could be called a true capitalist quite yet. In that regard, few could be seen as more iconic in Sault Ste. Marie than Francis H. Clergue.
Though of French descent, Clergue was born in Maine following his father’s emigration to the United States. In school Clergue was said to be popular, and known for dreaming big and having a great deal of optimism. These traits would inform quite a bit about his path in life.
While looking around the Museum or our website, one might notice two names: David and Margaret Pim. They occupy a unique role to the Museum, as while they may not have had anything to do with the actual Museum, they did have a great deal to do with the building’s original function: The Sault’s Post Office. The couple served as the first two postmasters for the service, but their story goes much wider than that.
Much of David’s early life is unknown, but he was born in Dublin, Ireland around 1827, and was known to have lived in Toronto for some time after immigrating to Canada. It was there he met his to-be wife, Margaret Campbell Butchart, and the two were married in Owen Sound in 1852. Soon after, the two moved to Sault Ste. Marie.
The Durham Wing is not the only part of the Sault Museum named after a famous individual born here. On the third floor of the Museum is the Russ Ramsay Sports Hall of Fame, chronicling Sault Ste. Marie’s history of teams and athletic feats. But who is Russ Ramsay?
Born locally in 1928, Russ was only twenty when he acquired a job as an announcer with local radio station CJIC-AM, and he did not stop there. Just four years later he had become sports director at the station, a role that put him into close contact with many who played them. There are several images in our collection of him alongside teams such as the Greyhounds and the Collegiate Wildcats. Four years following that, in 1956, he became General Manager of the station itself, which had evolved to TV broadcasts by that point.
Sometimes it isn’t a single person that becomes noteworthy in History, but an entire event in and of itself. There are many examples of these causing great change throughout the years, even if they happen to be a footnote for greater news. What came to be known as the Chicora Incident is one such case.
To fully explain the Incident one must go back a short while before it, to something that affected Canada as a whole in its early years: The Red River Rebellion. This refers to an incident where the Metis people, led by leader Louis Riel, formed an uprising against the Canadian government over land that would come to be known as our province of Manitoba. The land, then known as Rupert’s Land after the governor of the Hudson’s Bay Company, had been purchased from the company by Canada in 1869.