Peter Pond newsletter :: JANUARY 2001 :: #6

Peter Pond Society editor Bill McDonald
Peter Pond Society editor Bill McDonald

PETER POND SOCIETY WEBSITE AS EDUCATIONAL RESOURCE

Things are going great with this web site. The hits have exceeded 3000, and many appear to be school children commenting that they are using Peter Pond as a history sunject. One is going to portray Peter Pond in a project. But now comes an actual Peter Pond Society member with a truly gratifying email to profoundly validate and justify my work so far. Hence the subject of this latest newsletter.

Meet Judith Pond of Norwich, VT. She teaches eighth grade in Richmond School, just across the Connecticut River in Hanover, NH. Claiming to be a Peter Pond descendant and inspired by my site, she has acquired a \\$4000 grant from her school district to truly research this fellow and his glory years in Canada, i.e., the fur trade and his dealing with the Indians, and apply it to her school curriculum.

I can separately email her five-page grant proposal to anyone upon request. Those who do request it will see her allude to my historical novel on Pond which I haven't told the general Peter Pond Society membership about. I never felt it was the time, but now I guess it is. It almost had a publisher, but is still seeking one. That's enough of that for now.

But Judy's study will examine: historical novel writing, whiteman's treatment of the Indians, seeking family roots, and just how much Peter Pond influenced North American history.

She plans to visit Fort McMurray, where Peter Pond is honored in several sites; Fort Chipewyan, near where he built his first post and Mackenzie embarked on his famous 1793 voyage; Prince Albert, where the Peter Pond cairn is; and Sorel, Quebec, a Montreal suburb where supposedly a half-breed Peter Pond offspring, Peter Pond of Sorel, settled as a blacksmith in 1820 after growing up out west in the fur trade. From January to June she will read all she can, visit me, establish email contacts at various places to visit along the way that will include both fellow teachers and fur trade experts, get in better physical shape, and sharpen her paddling skills. In July, she will do her traveling around Canada. This will include (7/15-20) taking the same canoe trip I did in 1988 with the same outfiffer, Ric Dreidiger of Horizons Unlimited, La Ronge, SK, down the Clearwater River, which Pond was the first white man to descend in 1788. In fact, it was Ric, a Peter Pond Society charter member, who sent Judy to me after she started searching through Canada for Peter Pond-related canoe trips. I don't know how fast the trip is filling up, but Judy invites any Peter Pond Society member to sign on. You will see that Horizons Unlimited is one of the links on my site. I can't make it, as I'm planning a family trip out to California this summer. But some day I really would like to take that Clearwater trip again, hopefully with one or all of my kids. As of now their ages are: Meghan, 20; Liam, 17; and Maura, 13.

In August, Judy plans to write up the report and prepare her curriculum for the school year. I am flattered beyond belief that someone has taken the ball and run with it on the scale that Judy has, based on my initial input. I know some of you already have done the Clearwater trip. But you should all visit Peter Pond Country in the Saskatchewan-Alberta area some day. It's fascinating. What's more, Judy is using me as mentor in her research and coming for a visit to Milford here, offering to take me out to lunch. I can offer a small Peter Pond tour, including the gravestone of his mother and a plaque marking the spot where the house stood in which a serving girl started tearing up some of his diary for stove kindling in the 1880s. It was Mrs. Nathan Gillett (Sophia) Pond who stopped the servant and read the diary, sent inquiries to Canada asking who this guy was, and later had the diary originally published in Connecticut Magazine in 1906, that caught the notice of Minnesota Historical Society, which led it off in the heavily-annotated "Five Fur Traders of the Northwest," published in 1935. The original diary is among the Pond Family Papers donated to Yale University. I have seen it, but it takes a while to get through the bureaucracy for access.

Oh, and Judy is not the Beaver Club medal holder. That person is another descendant and Peter Pond Society member, who still wishes to be anonymous.

So we should all wish Judy good luck and thank her for working to enhance Peter Pond.

Bon voyage et bonne chance, Judy.

Au revoir,
Bill