For almost three weeks, Loa helped Mr. W. catalogue the artifacts he was sending back to the Museum in Ottawa. With the boxes they had just packed, there would be a total of 167 boxes of clay, stone, and bone artifacts.
Loa had come to understand that the year was 1915. It was Mr. W.’s second trip to the site, and it was Spring, not Fall. Now she knew why he seemed a little older. “Before leaving”, she had said to him, “we need to say a prayer to the bones”.
As they started to organize and pack the many notebooks, Mr. W. found the map he had drawn for Tigneny. He started adding to it, hoping they would be able to pinpoint the whereabouts of her family farm. And then, he had an idea!
Loa had heard all about the train, but had never ridden one. Mr. W. referred to the railway line (formerly the Bytown and Prescott Railway) as the Canadian Pacific Railway. After a short horse and buggy ride, Mr. W. and Loa arrived at the Spencerville train station ‒ Spencer’s as she knew it.
Mr. W.’s plan was to travel to Prescott by rail, and visit the County Land Registry Office. He was quite sure he’d find some information there relating to Loa’s family farm.
Their mission was successful.
Loa’s family farm was not far from Prescott…just a short horse and buggy ride north on Merwin Lane, and then west. On Main Street, they saw a few automobiles. These 4-wheeled vehicles miraculously ran without horses, but most people continued to travel the roads the way Loa had always known.
Loa and Mr. W. agreed to visit at dusk when everyone would be inside, getting ready to eat dinner. The less she knew about her family’s future, the better.
Their plan was to find the remains of the satchel that Loa had dropped 45 years ago. Then, they needed to return to Mr. W.’s encampment and find the spot where she, Tigneny and Tipler had landed three weeks earlier. Loa needed to leave from that spot with a piece of her satchel in order to return to her 1870s home.
As a thank you for all that he’d done, Loa gave Mr. W. the copper piece she’d found with Queen Elizabeth II, as she had learned, and its 1987 date.
Mr. W. was ecstatic! It pleased him to have a memento reminding him that others would follow in his footsteps. More importantly, he said, they would discover and study the Village that had, hopefully, become a second home for Tigneny and Tipler.
A few months later, Loa found the courage to share some of the details of her journey with her brother, Alan. He had noticed that she wasn’t wearing her necklace any longer and wanted to know why.
Apparently, 3½ weeks away in the future had amounted to just a few hours in the present, and no one had really noticed how long Loa had been away. She explained to everyone that Tipler had started to chase something, and that she had followed him until she was too exhausted to continue. Everyone consoled her, saying he was a smart dog and would find his way home soon. She knew better!
What surprised Loa the most, however, was the disappearance of the opening that led to the cave with the shiny, silver stalactites. It was as if the earth’s crust had re-arranged itself, and sealed the cave off for years to come.
Notes: Loa did really exist. In 1870, she would have been 8 years old. The names of her brother and sisters have been altered.
Like so many counties, townships, cities and towns in Ontario, Grenville County has a number of excellent historical resources that young people can use for school projects or the writing of historical fiction. This tale makes use of the following:
- Augusta: Royal Township Number Seven, Goldie A. Connell, 1985
- The Story of the Counties of Ontario, Emily Poynton Weaver, 1913
- History of Leeds and Grenville,Thaddeus William Henry Levitt, 1879
- Historical Atlas of Leeds and Grenville, Ontario, 1861-62