A Research Guide for Students by I Lee

Autobiography of Carl Kaas

A Member of the Dutch Underground in World War II

Chapter 103: Prospecting

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That summer, we got to know a veteran from the First World War by the name of George. He said he was gassed and got a small pension. Now he was the caretaker of a closed fish camp, Palmer. Having a lot of time on his hands, he turned prospector.

Here in Sioux Narrows was a gold mine, however, it stopped operating. The reason: not high enough grade, the price of gold set at $33 an ounce. Since it cost more to extract the precious metal, they closed it. George was not discouraged. He said, "If I can find the main lode, it will be worth millions. But I know a place near Geralton in northern Ontario where I have staked a claim." I was very sceptical. "Here," he says, "I'll show you." So he showed the papers and maps to prove there was gold. Indeed, gold was found, but in small quantities. I said, "Looks good, George, but where is the mother lode you are talking about?" "This year, as soon as the snow is gone, I will stake the exact location. If you want to be my partner, I'll split with you." "What will it cost me?" "Oh, just pay your part of the expenses, which will be transportation, grub, stake and tools, and a tent, etc." "Thanks, George, it is a beautiful offer, but I have to decline. You see, I have a job with Doc, and can't leave him." "Oh, yes, but it only takes a month and we are back. You will be sorry if you don't grab this opportunity."

When George came back from his trip, I asked, "Did you stake your claim?" "Not yet," said George, "the black flies drove me out, now I have to wait until next year."

Poor George, it was the same story for the next three years that we knew him. But he never gave in, he absolutely knew exactly where the gold was. When he brewed tea, he always offered us some, one little sip was too much for me. I said, "That is too strong for me, George." "Naw," he said, "if the spoon don't melt off the handle, it's kind of weak. He made his own cigarettes, smoked like a chimney, but still could not keep the mosquitos, black flies, and noseeums away." I wonder why they did not leave him alone, he was as skinny as a piece of fire wood. I did't think he had any blood left in him. I asked one time how long he had been prospecting, he said "Ten years." Again I thought, poor George.

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