A Note of Thank You

July 21, 2017

wpid-wp-5322.jpgTo my Followers,

This concludes the 2017 real-time version of Tom Thomson: Journal of My Last Spring. This has been my sixth annual edition.

I want to thank everyone who has followed, or more importantly, believed in me on this adventure. There is no greater motivation for me than followers who have made this story their own story too, and this has truly given me energy to carry on each year.

I also want to thank those who have pointed out errors, asked me questions, or provided me with new information to add to the story. My goal, if all goes well, by 2017, is to have the most accurate and detailed timeline of Tom’s last months on this earth. This includes the detailed time after his sad and tragic passing.

I remind you that there are still lost clues and sketches out there to be found. The mystery continues and I am gathering clues to what might another solution to the mystery.

I hope that this story, after 2017, 100 years after Tom’s death, will tweet in perpetuity on an annual cycle for everyone to learn and appreciate a defining moment in our Canadian history.

In the meantime I will return once again in real-time on November 28th, 2016 (100 years on from 1916) with the fifth edition of Tom Thomson: Journal of My Last Spring. Leading up to this date I will be intermittently tweeting, adding journal entries, or doing the occasional haunting and solving the mystery.

If you’ve enjoyed Tom Thomson’s Last Spring, I’d love to know. Tweet to me, re-tweet me, favourite me or mention me or send me an email at ttlastspring@gmail.com .

I can’t predict what will happen next year. Something, to be sure.

Affectionately

‘Tom’

 

July 21, 1917 Knox Presbyterian Register of Deaths

As entered by Reverend P. T. Pilkey in the Knox Presbyterian Church Register of Deaths

Thomas Thomson (Artist), Accidental Drowning, Canoe Lake, Algonquin Park, July 8, 1917, age 39 years, Born August 5, 1877, Buried at Leith, Ontario, July 21, 1917, Talented and with many friends and no enemies, a mystery.

July 20, 1917 Owen Sound Sun: Tom Thomson’s Body Missing for more than a Week.

The Owen Sound Sun, July 20, 1917

Still a Mystery as to How the Drowning took Place – Canoe Was Found in the Lake a Few Hours After the Artist Was Last Seen

A telegram was received on Tuesday evening stating that the body of Mr. Tom Thomson, the celebrated artist, had been recovered in Canoe Lake the evening before. It will be remembered that on Sunday, July 8th, his canoe was found several hours after he had been last seen and a telegram to that effect was sent to his parents here. The fact that two paddles were found strapped into the canoe gave the impression that it might have drifted from shore and that possibly Mr. Thomson was marooned on one of the islands. Another alternative was that he might have gone into the woods sketching, but the finding of the body clears up all the uncertainties.

The artist was drowned in Algonquin Park, the scene of so much inspiration to the painter and where he has spent many summers in depicting the beauties of nature. He possessed a rare charm and promised to become famous amongst art lovers of the Continent for the excellence of his work. He not only painted nature, but lived and felt and understood the great beauty of the wilds. His work possessed a truth and fidelity that could only come from direct and sympathetic touch with his subject and that he had died on the threshold of fame makes his demise the more to be regretted. He was one of the fine type of young manhood that the country has every reason to be proud of.

[…]

Referring to the work of the late Mr. Thomson, Eric Brown, in a recent article in the London “Studio” says: “Critics look to him to carry forward the Canadian landscape painting far beyond anything at present realized. Wandering alone the best part of the year in Algonquin Park, inured to hardship and reputed the best guide, fisherman and canoeman in the district, he lives with these wonderful seasons and they live through him. Here, again is the decorative sense ly developed and visible in every composition. There is no loss of chararcter; the northland lies before you, whether it is a winding river fringed with spring flowers seen through a screen of gaunt black pines, or whether the green blocks of melting ice float on blue liberated waters of the lake.”

The sympathy of everyone will go out to the bereaved relatives in their sad loss.

July 20, 1917 Owen Sound Times: Tom Thomson Drowns

Owen Sound Times, July 20, 1917

TOM THOMSON DROWNS WHILE CANOEING ON CANOE LAKE

Tom Thomson, who was drowned in Canoe lake, Algonquin park, July 8th, 1917, was the son of Mr. and Mrs. John Thomson, 428 Fourth avenue east, Owen Sound. He was born in the village of Claremont, Ontario county, and spent twenty years of the early part of his life at Leith. He afterwards attended college and then lived for five years in Seattle, Washington. After returning from Seattle, he lived the remainder of his time in Toronto, and for some years worked at artistic designing for some of the engraving companies of Toronto.

While engaged in this line of work, he endeavored to develop his artistic tastes along a high line and commenced the study of landscape painting. His love for nature, which was developed through his early associations with nature, caused him to choose this line of art. After a time he devoted his whole time to the pursuit of this wonderful and uplifting study.

Every year he went to Algonquin park for six months. Here he went far into the wilds, traveling at times by way of canoe and at other times on foot, and often entirely alone, so that he could study nature in its different aspects. He was with nature so much that he became a part of it, and this enabled him to paint just what he felt.

In the winter months he enlarged his sketches and he had a wonderful collection in his studio in Rosedale, Toronto. His work was steadily growing in esteem and he had a very bright future before him. His pictures were steadily sought for, for the collections of the Ontario and Dominion governments. He had a bright and cheerful disposition and was filled with kindness for all. He was loved by all who knew him.

The body, accompanied by Mr. George Thomson, is expected in Owen Sound at noon on Friday, and in this case, the funeral, which is to be private, will leave his father’s residence Friday afternoon. The remains will be interred in Leith cemetery.

July 19, 1917 Mark Robinson’s Journal Entry

Thursday July 19

Mr Churchill, Undertaker of Huntsville, Ontario, arrived last night and took up body of Tom Thomson artist under direction of Mr. Geo. Thompson of Conn. U.S.A. The body went out on evening train to Owen Sound to be buried in the family plot.

The Arts Association propose having a Memorial Exhibit of Mr. Tom Thomson’s paintings and to place a Memorial in the Park near where he loved to work and sketched so well. Thus ends a career of unselfishness of a gentleman, sportsman, artist and friend of all.

July 18, 1917 Letter from Shannon Fraser to J Thomson

Mowat Letterhead-640

July 18, 1917

Mr John Thomson
Owen Sound

Dear Sir:

We found your son floating in Canoe Lake on Monday moring about nine o clock in a most dreadful condition the flesh was coming of his hands. I sent for the undertaker and they found him in such a condition [illegible] he had to be buried at once he is buried in a little grave yard over looking Canoe Lake a beautiful spot. The Dr found a bruse over his eye and thinks he fell and and was hurt and this is how the accident happend.

Yours Truly
J. S. Fraser