HENRI RANGER - PROSPECTOR

Henri Ranger was among the early prospectors whose discoveries made Sudbury the largest Nickel producing area in the world. While working for Rinaldo McConnell, he discovered what became the Victoria Mine.

The following is from a book, "Sudbury Basin. The story of Nickel" by D.M. Le Bourdais, Ryerson Press which was found for me by a colleague of my daughter, Lorraine Baldisera, named JILL DUFRESNE, a librarian at Falconbridge Nickel Mines. The CAPITALS and [brackets] are my editorial comments. -- L. Coderre

Chapter V "Glint of Gossan" - p.40

McConnell employed a number of scouts and Riopelle was probably one of them. HENRI RANGER was another of his scouts, in some ways as colourful a character as McConnell himself. Born at Vaudreuil, Quebec, in 1845, he had served as captain of a barge on the Lachine Canal and for a time had been a farmer at Mattawa before becoming a timber cruiser at which he was employed when he joined in the search for gossan showings.

p. 42 & 43

HENRI RANGER was one of the most active prospectors in 1886. He discovered evidence of copper on lots 8,11 and 12, concession 4, of Denison township, and on the north half of lot 1 and the south halves of lots 6, 8 and 9, concession 5 of the same township. RANGER assigned his interest to Rinaldo McConnell and nominees of the later. These properties later constituted the McConnell mine, subsequently known as the Victoria.

Having finished scouting for McConnell, RANGER set out to prospect on his own account. He succeeded in locating mineral along the north half of lot 10 concession 1, Creighton township but when he applied for the property was informed that Metcalf and McAllister had applied for this parcel among others on August 10, 1885. Patent had not yet been applied for by the previous applicants and it was not until January 24, 1887, that it was issued to the Canadian Copper Company, nominee of the applicants [and one of the three companies that amalgamated to form the International Nickel Company now Inco Ltd] In view of the subsequent value of the property, [After one hundred years of mining Creighton mine is still one of Inco's largest producers.] there was a feeling in some quarters that RANGER had been discriminated against in favour of a large corporation, but the procedure seems to have been in accordance with existing regulations. No staking was required, mining lands could be bought for one dollar an acre, and priority of application was what counted most.

HENRI RANGER was active again in 1887, on September 3rd discovering gold and copper on lot 6, concession 4, of Denison township. His interests was transferred to Robert J. Tough, who applied for patent covering also lot 5, and patent was issued to him on October 9th of that year. This became the Vermilion mine. It was in a class by itself. First regarded as a gold mine, several thousand dollars' worth of gold was taken from it. The nickel copper content of it's ore was unusually high, and it was also rich in platinum and palladium.

p. 46

Others who searched for gossan were the RANGERS - XAVIER and FRED [probably Ferdinand] as well as HENRI -

"Royal Ontario Nickel Commission - Report No. 62 and Appendix 1917"

p.40

McConnell or Victoria Mine

In 1886, HENRY RANGER, originally a wood ranger, was prospecting for minerals on behalf of Rinaldo McConnell. Though without previous instruction of any kind, RANGER developed keen prospecting instincts, and was looked upon as one of the best in his line. At this time the particular scene of his labours was the township of Denison. He tells us that he found copper on lot 8 in the fourth concession, also on several lots in the immediate locality, and McConnell applied to the Department for the lands, namely the north halves of lots 8,11 and 12 in the fourth concession, the north half of 1 and the south halves of 6, 8, and 9 in the fifth concession, in all 1,165 acres, 26th October, 1886. Patent was issued 25th January, 1887, to Emma McConnell, Alexander McIntyre and Joseph Riopelle, McConnell having assigned on half interest to the two latter. The property was developed to some extent by McConnell, and sold in 1899 to Dr Ludwig Mond. This work and further development by the purchaser by means of the diamond-drill and otherwise, proved the presence of several bodies of nickel-copper ore, and particulary a valuable persistent deposit on the north half of lot 8 in the fourth concession. Until a comparatively recent date when other sources also began to be drawn on, this deposit furnished the bulk of the ore treated by the Mond Nickel Company. [Another of Inco's co-founders] It is still being operated by that company and shows the deepest workings of any mine in the Province, the lowest depth at the present time is about 2,600 feet. [The last I heard Creighton was down to about 8,000 feet.] The ore shows no diminution in metallic content resulting from depth. At first the property was called the McConell mine after the original grantee, but it was renamed Victoria mine by the Mond Company.

Ore began to be drawn from the property in 1900, the total production to 31st December 1915, being 619,612 tons. All of this but 8,225 tons came from Victoria No. 1, The average ore contains 1.62 percent nickel and 3.36 percent copper.

The Vermilion Mine

A notable find in the year 1887 was also by HENRY RANGER who continued to prospect in his favourite field, the township of Denison. Here, RANGER states, he found gold on several lots, and on 3rd September, gold and copper on lot 6 in the fourth concession, subsequently called the Vermilion mine, from the River of that name. On 13 September Robert John Tough applied for lots 5 and 6 in the fourth concession, and filed affidavits of HENRY RANGER and Samuel McMartin showing no adverse claim. On 9th October, 1887 the patent issued to Mr Tough. The paper show that Rinaldo McConnell had made an application for lot 6 in the fourth concession on 12th October, 1886, supported by affidavits of Wabumaki and Joseph Faille, but he subsequently withdrew his claim as regards to lot 6 in the fourth concession and the southwest quarter of lot 6 in the fifth. In the files also a letter dated 7th November 1886 from Mr. S.J. Ritchie, president of Canadian Copper Company, claiming the lands mentioned in McConnell's application by virtue of their having been included in an application made the year before by J.D. Evans, the company's engineer. Mr. Ritchie expresses the view that a company like his, making so large an outlay at Sudbury, amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars, had a better claim than speculators, who only wished to sell to the company at an advanced price. Mr. Ritchie was given an opportunity to renew his protest when Tough's application was being considered by the Department, but apparently he failed to do so, and the grant was issued to Tough.

The Vermilion mine is unique among the Sudbury deposits. It was at first regarded a gold mine, and part of the property was worked as such, a small stamp mill having been erected to treat the ore. Wire gold was found freely distributed though the gossan and the upper portions of the deposit. In all, several thousand dollar's worth of gold has been recovered. Platinum in the form of sperrylite [Sperrylite crystals are very beautiful and are some times used as jewelry. When BERNARD PAPPIN was ordained bishop, Inco presented him with a ring which include a sperrylite crystal.] or arsenide of platinum, was discovered, in the gossan in October, 1885 by F.L. Sperry, chemist of the Canadian Copper Company, after whom the new mineral was named by the chemists Wells and Penfield, who studied its composition. The gossan was also found to contain palladium. Both platinum and palladium occur as well in the solid ore. Coleman states that by assay, 198.2 tons of ore carried four ounces of silver, four ounces of palladium, one and one-half ounces of platinum and one third of an ounce of gold per ton. The ore body is not a large one, as ore bodies go in the Sudbury district, but the nickel and copper contents are unusually high, running from two to four times as much as in other mines, and the precious metals contained enhance it's value. In the case of the nickel this is doubtless due to the mineral polydymite, which carries up to 42.35 percent nickel and occurs abundantly. The mine is owned and worked by the Canadian Copper Company, who treat the ore separately from their other mines. It's production has been small, amounting at 31 March 1916 to 4,014 tons, containing 6.64 percent nickel and 6.89 per cent. copper together with other metals.

p 55

Southwest of Windy Lake, in the township of Cascaden, on lot 4 in the third concession, HENRY RANGER has staked a claim on a showing of ore. Between the lake and lot 8 in the first concession, where the norite contact crosses the northern boundary of Trill into that township, HENRY RANGER and Michael McCormick have taken up claims on some five exposures of gossan and ore. There is said to be a good showing on the creek which crosses the northwest part of lot 7 in the first concession.

The greater part of the work of searching the northern norite horizon was carried out in 1897, 1898, and 1899. Among the leading prospectors were the RANGERS - XAVIER, FRED and the veteran HENRY ........

The above probably contains a great deal of information which is not of interest to you but, I felt that it was simpler to copy it than to try to condense it.

One item of particular interest to me is that when Victoria Mine was closed and the townsite abandoned, the church bell was salvaged for St Christopher Church in Whitefish, ON, where Lu and I lived for six years before moving to Gloucester.

Below is some of the information I have learned about HENRI RANGER and his family.

HENRI RANGER was a 3xgreat grandson of Hubert Ranger and Anne Girardy who were married in Lachine in 1686. The descent is as follows:

I Hubert Ranger and Anne Girardy

II Thomas Ranger and Marie Anne Tabeau

III Gabriel Ranger and Marguerite Poirier dit Deloge

IV Albert Ranger and Amable Louise Lamarche dit Petit

V Francois Xavier Ranger and Denise Berlinguette

VI HENRI RANGER and Antoinette Noel married in Mattawa, ON on 1 May 1872

 HENRI's brother, Francois Xavier, and his sister, Henriette, and a cousin, Albert Joseph Luc, were also married in Mattawa. Another brother Ferdinand whom I suspect is the "Fred" in the above articles married in St Philippe d'Argenteuil, QC. He is the great grandfather of Jean Paul Ranger.

 Two of HENRI's sons, Rudolf and Adrien, were married at Ste Anne, Sudbury in 1906 and at least five of his grandchildren were married there in the 1940's and 1950's. No doubt some of them and their descendants are still living in the Sudbury area.

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