- One of our excellent author-historians published a great book many years ago called History of islands & islets in the Bay of Fundy, Charlotte County, New Brunswick, 1876. In it is this intriguing section:
Champlain speaks of having anchored at one time near the Southern Head of the island (Grand Manan). and it appears he left the best proof possible that be did so; for, in the year 1842, Mr. Walter B. McLaughlin, whose residence is at Southern Head, found the remain of a large anchor that must have lain beneath the salt water wave, subject to the corroding hand of rusty time, for over 200 years! Our informant states as his opinion, circumstances tending to confirm it, that the bold navigator, Champlain; must have run his vessel aground in one of those “fog-mills,” which almost invariably make an annual visit, enveloping for the time being the entire island, its islets, and the surrounding waters, in a pall of density so thick as to render it impenetrable to vision. Even “Peeping Tom,” were he here in a fog·mill, would have to acknowledge his poor eye-sight. Mr. McLaughlin stated that the shank of this anchor was eleven feet long; and, at one part of it -the shank- it was seven inches in diameter and although it must have originally weighed some 14 cwt., it was reduced by the long lapse of time, subject to rust and the action of the sea, to less than 300 lbs – an indubitable evidence that, over two centuries had passed away, with all the strange and mighty changes which the old and the new world, the eastern and the western hemisphere, have experienced~ since Champlain lost his anchor at Southern Head, Grand Manan!
But where is this anchor today? The Walter B. McLaughlin Gallery at the Grand Manan Museum features an awesome array of artifacts, but I don’t see a very old anchor in the pictures. I do remember an anchor on the lawn a few years ago but that as I recall was more modern. So there are many questions. Was this really an anchor from one of Champlain’s ships? Is it in the Grand Manan Museum collection? Did it find its way to another museum? Is it hidden away in a barn somewhere? Or … has it disappeared totally?
It would be great to hear from anyone who has some answers.