Peter Pond newsletter :: August 2002 :: #13

Peter Pond

Peter Pond


It's time for another newsletter since pieces of information have been piling up.

First of all, I might have mentioned a few times that a big announcement is coming. But I'm still not ready to announce since I'm waiting for something in writing first. I'll give a hint saying that the grave search is not over yet. My source says expect something by the end of October.

Now on to other things, mostly interesting emails received since last we corresponded. Here they are, in chronological order and not so much in descending order of significance. You'll find some more interesting than others, but they're all interesting.


In early July I sent a non-newsletter on the fact that the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial hype has started earlier than I thought it would, based on a cover story in TIME Magazine and President Bush announcing an official proclamation. Both have been added as links in my website. Remember, my premise is without Peter Pond, there'd be no L & C. Ric Driediger, a Peter Pond Society member and outfitter who enabled my trip down the Clearwater in 1988, wrote back with an interesting Canadian take on the L & C hype. Maybe some Americans will agree too. Some of you might have seen this when he first wrote, but I don't think all since I have split Peter Pond Society newsletter recipients into two parts for easier emailing. Also he compliments the work, included in my bibliography, by Derek Hayes, a Peter Pond Society member.

Its interesting how much press Lewis and Clark get. Their crossing of the continent was impressive. However, Alexander McKenzie crossed the continent somewhat sooner than Lewis and Clark (using some of the maps made by Peter Pond). He did it twice - once ending on the Arctic Ocean, and then again ending on the Pacific in 1793. Lewis and Clark used maps made by David Thompson of the Northwest Company and Peter Fidler of the Hudson Bay Company. Both these explorers and map makers had travelled much of the terrain that Lewis and Clark explored in order to make their historic crossing. In fact, by the time Lewis and Clark crossed the continent, fur traders from Montreal and Hudson Bay were already travelling to the Pacific coast on the Columbia River to trade the valuable Sea Otter Pelt. So, Lewis and Clarks crossing of the Continent was not the first, or even the second. It was the first south of the 49th and north of the Gulf of Mexico. They became famous because they had a great promoter. They got their book out sooner than McKenzie. And they were American. Read the excellent book: First Crossing by Derek Hayes. Published in 2001 by Douglas and McIntire, 2323 Quebec Street, Suite 201, Vancouver, BC. V5T 4S7.

Ric Driediger
Horizons Unlimited Churchill River Canoe Outfitters
Box 1110
LaRonge SK S0J 1L0


Next came a note from Louise Ladd, my writers workshop mentor who has also joined Peter Pond Society, about a Library of Congress map exhibition on the American west, based on the L&C hype. This has also become a recent link on my site. Guess who leads the list as an early influential mapmaker?

Another link added to the site has to do with a fine documentary on the Clearwater River. Part of it shows an actor portraying Peter Pond floating down the river in a birchbark canoe, the first white man to do so. I saw this in an excerpt on the site. It's the first time I've seen anyone portray Peter Pond. To inquire about contacting the distributor who will be more than happy to fulfill video requests, contact: Good Earth Ventures, 314 Roncesvalles Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M6R 2M7, Attention: Nida Marji.

Yale University finally wrote back with a site showing an image of the Peter Pond map copied by Yale founder and first president Ezra Stiles. It's recorded in Stiles diaries that Peter Pond paid him two visits in March 1790, regaling the president about his adventures in Canada, to which he never returned. Stiles was impressed enough to copy a Peter Pond map which was included in the Hayes book. Stiles also mentioned Peter Pond gave him a pair of copper Indian knives obtained undoubtedly from around the Coppermine River near Great Slave Lake. It's still a mystery what happened to those, though I'm still looking. But here's the rundown on the map and how to find it on the net:

Dear Mr. McDonald,

I am writing in reply to your letter of 12/21/2001 with apologies for the delay.

We do have a large collection of Ezra Stiles papers, including diaries and the copy of the Peter Pond map. We have an image of this map in our Digital Library. Under 'Beinecke Digital Images', click on 'Photonegatives' and follow the search instructions. Also available from our website are ordering instructions to obtain reproductions.

Please let me know if you have further questions and do forgive the tardy response.

Steve Jones


Here is the first of two incidents where the Peter Pond Society site has helped answer some questions. First we'll start with an inquiry that came through the Milford Historical Society where Peter Pond Society is a link:

Paul G. Staneski
Milford, CT

My wife, Pam, and I (and children Hope and Adam) moved to Milford 4 years ago. We purchased a run-down mansion at 35 Point Lookout, built in 1890 by one Nicholas Pond and owned by the Pond family for over 50 years. We have done much to renovate the house. We are wondering if anyone knows anything about the Pond family that occupied it (or the house itself). We found an old portrait of an attractive woman (no name or date, looks to be 1920s) behind a mantle and wonder if it was an occupant.

I knew where to go find out. Pamela Pond Goss grew up in that house with her brother, also named Peter Pond. They moved out in the mid-1940's when the house passed out of family hands. Peter died July 2000 and was the subject of a lengthy obituary on his colorful life, not unlike the earlier namesake, found in Peter Pond Society7. Paul Staneski gave me a copy of the photo, which I copied, scanned and emailed to Pam. She confirmed it as her Aunt Nancy and relayed it to Nancy's son, who also confirmed in the following note, which has already been sent to Paul Staneski:

August 5, 2002

Dear Pam -
It is so nice to hear from you -and you can un-bate your breath: The photo is a copy of one I have long had and cherish of my mother, your Aunt Nancy. She was named for her mother -our Granny -Nanine Woodward Pond. Granny was Nanine Woodward Lawrence; both of them dropped the Woodward when they married, so Mother was Nanine Pond Greene and then Pervere. Granny was Nanine L. Pond -NLP on so many mementoes. I recall that Granny's friends always called her Nanine; Mother's friends mostly called her Nancy, some said Nanine. She happily answered to both.

Whence the name? Late in the 18th century , Giuseppe Lorenzo, a seaman on a Venetian merchant ship, got off in, I think, Charleston and made his way to New London. There he put up at a boarding house run by a Miss Brown, and in due course met her sister, Nancy Woodward Brown, daughter of Jeremiah and Nancy Brown. When they were to marry, Giuseppe cultivated the favor of his future parents-in-law by translating his name to Joseph Lawrence. As their children appeared, they were named (more bows to in-laws on both sides) Joseph Jeremiah, Sebastian, and Francis. The latter two never married, but Joseph Jeremiah married Sarah Gillette Pond. He left the whaling business his father had started in New London, and moved to New York, where he ran a shipping business, and captained several of its vessels.

In 1869 he took his pregnant wife with him on a trip to Europe (must have been a helluva trip for her), and their daughter was born in Paris in May. Your father (Uncle Larry!) assured me that the baby was named Nanine as a French version of Nancy, and so the naming-after-grandparents went on. Indeed, my second daughter is named Nancy Woodward Greene -though I must admit Edie and I looked no further back than my Mother when we decided on that, having named our first daughter after Edie' smother. All this about names I have only got into since retiring to Connecticut 19 years ago.

(860) 434-2826

It's time for another newsletter since pieces of information have been piling up.

Finally another note how the site helped get some answers:

The Peter Pond Society
8/14/2002 3:53:49 PM Eastern Daylight Time (McTavish, Cathy)
To: ('')

I found your website today, and I am so very impressed. I have been working on my family history, and only recently made the connection to the McTavish and MacGillivrey of the Northwest Company. Simon McTavish and William MacGillivrey are both great-Uncles of mine, I have a friend in Montreal who has been trying to get me a picture of Simon's gravesite and it was through your website, that I learned where the monument was (even though he is no longer buried there). I have become so fascinated with the Canadian Fur trade and would very much like to join your society. Can you please send me information on how to do so?
thank you so very much!
Catherine McTavish

Cathy is the latest member. She is also looking for a certain book. Can anyone help her?

Subj: RE: The Peter Pond Society
8/20/2002 12:34:28 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: (McTavish, Cathy)

Yes, I am very lucky the state Historical Society has their main library right down the road! I love to 'own' books though and have been searching for one title in particular.
Documents Relating to the North West Company--[Hardcover] Wallace, Williams...
This is supposed to have Simon McTavish's will in it! So if you ever see this copy for sale please let me know! We vacation every summer in Northern Wisconsin and I had such great fun with my younger nieces and nephews. I had them convinced that we were going to sneak across the border into Canada, and claim back Fort Williams in Thunder Bay for the McTavish family. It was a hoot!
I am loving anything and everything on the early Canadian Fur trade!
Thanks so much!
Cathy McTavish

Peter Pond Society editor Bill McDonald

That's enough for now, probably too much again. Until next time,
Au revoir,