Christena M.

Napan, New Brunswick

Anglophone North Regional Heritage Fair

Merton Stewart

My project was done on my great grandfather Merton Stewart. Merton was an acclaimed prospector from Miramichi, New Brunswick who found important deposits and won national and provincial awards. Many don't know the importance of prospecting or even what it is in general, but without prospecting many important historical events such as the ever famous Klondike Gold Rush would not have happened. My video is a way of showing how one prospector, Merton Steward, impacted his field. "Prospecting, it's what makes the world go round!"


What was the most interesting thing you learned about your topic?

The most interesting thing I learned about Merton Stewart and his discoveries was how he came to find the East Kemptville tin deposit. He had been sent to Nova Scotia by a geologist he worked with to see if he could find anything special; that weekend the weather was very rainy and cold, which is not very good prospecting weather. So preparing for a weekend inside Merton headed to town to buy some supplies. While driving, Merton noticed some rocks that had been set aside for road work had started to rust, this made him wonder if there was some sort of mineral like iron/tin in them. Being the dedicated prospector he was, Merton pulled over and asked the truck drivers that were delivering the rocks where they had gotten them. Merton later went to that exact place, took some rock samples and sent them to the lab to be tested for minerals. Once the test results came back confirming his beliefs the claim was sold and companies began making millions from what is now called the East Kemptville Tin Mine.

What important lessons have you learned that you want to share with other Canadians?

While researching my project I learned many important lessons. One of the most important would be the one that focuses on how the East Kemptville tin deposit was found. Without Merton's East Kemptville discovery the East Kemptville Tin Mine wouldn't have been reality. This may not seem like such a big deal especially since it is closed now, but the East Kemptville tin mine was actually the only tin mine in all of North America! It was right in front of our eyes the whole time too and the rocks from the location had even been set aside for simple road work. Merton was the only one who noticed something peculiar about these rocks, without him the mine may never have been found. This just goes to show that we should always keep an eye out even for the simplest of things, and no matter who you are, your education or where you grew up, anyone anywhere can make incredible discoveries that help many people!

How would you compare your life today to the lives of those studied in your project?

When Merton was in the eighth grade he quit school to go work in the woods. I will be in the eighth grade next year and can't imagine quitting school; however, that is what many did in the 40s. In the 50s Merton had started making a living off of prospecting and eventually his findings started making others millions! My class just learned about rocks and minerals this year in school, and even with that I cannot imagine taking up a profession involving rocks for a living when I am older, so the fact Merton was able to do that a mere 10 years after leaving school is amazing! Merton once said that he wasn't upset that he never made a fortune from prospecting, but was just happy that he could provide others with jobs, not many people today would be able to say that with the same sincerity.