Help support the WCHA Forums by making a tax-deductible donation!

Assembly 2019

Discussion in 'Annual Assembly' started by JClearwater, Aug 28, 2018.

  1. JClearwater

    JClearwater Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Jean and I could not make the 2018 Assembly. Jean tripped over the dog, fell and broke her left upper arm in June. Surgery was needed to install a rod and three screws. We were hoping it would heal enough for us to make the trip but alas it was not to be. We will be there in 2019. I presume the dates have been set. And the dates would be?

    Jim C.
  2. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

    July 16-21, at Paul Smith's College. The 40th Anniversary Assembly, featuring Centenarian Canoes -- canoes a hundred years old or older.
    Kathryn Klos likes this.
  3. OP

    JClearwater Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    So next year if I was to bring my father with us (he came with me to Assembly in the early 1990s) and if we paddled my oldest canoe the combined ages of canoe, Pop and I would be 273 years! God help us - older than dirt.
    Kathryn Klos likes this.
  4. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

    When Deborah and I come with our oldest canoe, our combined ages will be around 272 -- how old is dirt?
    Kathryn Klos likes this.
  5. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    I would like to know how you are dating these 120+ year old canoes since there aren't many build records from that era.

  6. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    That's always been one of my pet peeves...casually dating canoes from a period where records are not known to exist. I recall that a prevailing trend here on this forum was that every Morris was built in 1906 and dated by a WHCA also used to show up in Craiglist and Ebay adds, "1906 jiberwhickey dated by a WCHA expert..." To the casual uninformed seller/owner every WCHA member armed with even minimal information is an expert....

    From my perspective there are a couple things that you can do to provide 100 year guidance:
    • Old Town, Kennebec, Carleton canoes with verified SN's are easy.
    • Morris factory burned in 1919...assuming every remaining Morris was built in 1919 these would celebrate their 100 year anniversary next year.
    • Rushton shut down production in 1917...any Rushton canoe would be old enough.
    • Gerrish stopped production in Bangor in 1909. Any Bangor tagged Gerrish would be old enough..
    • Detroit ended production in 1916..they would qualify.

    Someone will need to assembel a list of eligible canoes and guidelines for properly identifying other canoe types, family provenance (documented and not anecdotal), bill of sales etc. Coincidentally that ties in to the topic of this thread and the work done by you and Dan.
  7. OP

    JClearwater Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    You guys are so serious. My reply (#3 above) was ment to be fun not scholarly. I was referring to my Old Town from 1903 or 1904 (which has been to Assembly many times), my father who will be 94 next summer and I will be 64. I think that calcs to 273 years.
    Kathryn Klos likes this.
  8. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    I'm sorry. My guess was that both you and your father weren't that old. (My 103 year old aunt will not be attending the Assembly next summer but everyone seems young from her perspective.)

    Kathryn Klos likes this.
  9. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

    This canoe, maker unknown, probably dates from 1890, give or take a few years. It was once thought to be a Gerrish, but Rollin Thurlow looked it over and pretty well ruled Gerrish out as the builder, but was comfortable with the idea of 1890 as an approximate date, given various details of its construction. There is no way to prove its age short of carbon dating, however.
    ss 100_4558.JPG
    ss sm Copy of 100_4391.JPG
    ss 100_4472.JPG

    I have another canoe, a rowing canoe, built by Dan Neal. He was an active builder between 1907 and 1923. The canoe's builder's plate gives Dover, Maine as Neal's place of business, indicating that it was likely built before 1922, when Dover "married" Foxcroft, the town across the river, and both then became Dover-Foxcroft. Neal changed his hand-stamped builder's plate to reflect the towns' marriage.
    ss 100_5709.JPG
    ss 100_1367.JPG
    ss 100_5550.JPG

    So this canoe could easily be 111 years old, or even more, because Neal occasionally built the odd from any time after 1880, although he did not formally set up business until 1907. Or, it might be as young as 95 years old. There are a couple of construction details that point either way.

    So what to do. If I bring them, I think I shall call the first canoe above a centenarian and the second one a likely or probable centenarian.

    At Assembly, where anyone can bring and exhibit any canoe, it seems to me any claim of age, backed by whatever evidence or explanation the owner has, should be enough. Let observers decide if the explanation/evidence is good enough to claim the centenarian title (and let any potential buyer, as always,beware). Part of the fun of old canoes is trying to establish age, by documents, looking at other, similar canoes, and listening to owner's "history," and then evaluating whatever evidence there is. Sometimes "close" is as good as anyone can get, and sometime that is quite good enough.

    And by next summer, Deborah and I will have combined ages over 140, leading to the number 272 above, all in fun -- and the question still stands, how old is dirt?
  10. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    And this is why we have no competitions at Assembly. Who cares if your canoe is only 99 years old, it will still be welcome.

    The dirt under my fingernails is new every day.
    Kathryn Klos likes this.
  11. OP

    JClearwater Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Dan is right. A canoe's age or pedigree is irrelevant in the big picture. We should simply have fun with them, soak in a little history and enjoy each others company. I own a 1974 VW Beetle and my father owns a 1953 Ford F-350 Pickup, both in mint condition. We have gone to a lot of car shows and garnered our share of trophies. But I really couldn't care if I bring home a $5.00 plastic trophy or not. I go to see the other cars and appreciate the talents that go into their restorations. Some people however get all bent out of shape when the feel slighted or passed over in favor of some one else's car that they feel isn't as good as theirs. I hope the WCHA never ever has classes, judging or awards.
    Kathryn Klos and Dan Miller like this.
  12. Michael Grace

    Michael Grace Lifetime Member

    This is an interesting discussion and one I've had for years in my head and with fellow antique boat enthusiasts. But everyone should know that there are no plans to judge compliance with a "hundred-year-old" rule at Assembly 2019. As already pointed out here, it can be difficult to assign build dates to many canoes. More important, the WCHA's Annual Assembly isn't about judging or meeting criteria - it's about camaraderie, fellowship, learning from each other and our canoes, and fun and instructive activities on and around the water. Thus the theme of this year's Assembly is simply intended to excite people, to bring out early canoes for stimulating discussion, and for all of us to have a chance to learn more about the wonderful early history of our shared passion. Some canoes will be documentably centenarian; others will be obviously or at least likely centenarian based upon physical features or oral and written histories. Still others will be question marks, and they will provide valuable discussion. And of course there will be more recent boats including newly-built and recently-constructed ones. As always, all are welcome!

    Plenty of judged antique boat shows exist, and they can be great fun (notwithstanding the many rules and regulations that come with them). But this isn't the WCHA. Please bring you canoe(s), whatever the age(s), and enjoy the excitement of Assembly. Every year at Assembly there are amazing examples of very early canoes. This year's theme will hopefully bring out even more of them (100 years old, ones even older, and ones younger) for us all to marvel at and learn from.
    Kathryn Klos likes this.
  13. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    100% agree and that was not what I was suggesting..I was trying to point out that if the WCHA has an event honoring boats 100 plus years old that there are ways to provide very simple dating guidance for many canoe builders boats. There are of course many that defy dating. Trying to figure out the age of these is part of the fun of collecting and studying them.. In addition to very old ones I also have wooden canoes that were built as recently as 50's, 60's, 70's and even one we built in 2008...they all have different purposes and value (not monetary) yes, the WCHA is wise not to make the hobby a competition....
    As an aside, my first VW was a 57...I wish I still had it.
  14. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    It was not my intent to pick a fight with anyone on this topic. I have always appreciated the lack of competition at the WCHA's events. However, I have been compiling a list of canoe builders by date based on business directories and other advertising as many of you know. This currently runs from 1877 to 1966 with nearly 200 North American builders which may be helpful if someone wants assistance dating a canoe.

    For example, Greg's comment that Dan Neal "was an active builder between 1907 and 1923" can be confirmed by listings in the Maine Register and other sources. His other canoe with the narrow ends may be similar to the one shown at and identified as a Gould Brothers canoe from 1898. It appears that this firm became C. A. Gould in 1900 and then Martin S. Jameson took over in 1905. This firm continued until at least 1923 and may have even lasted until 1940 based on the information listed the Maine Registers. This is not to question Rollin Thurlow's (or anyone else's) assessment but only to suggest that it might be interesting to consider other possibilities.

    The article about the age of dirt at says: '"It depends on what you mean by dirt," says Milan Pavich, a research geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. "The oldest sedimentary rocks are about 3.9 billion years old—they're in Greenland—and at one time, they were dirt. That's pretty close to the time the Earth formed." But those rocks are just proof that dirt existed on the planet way back then. The stuff in your backyard is much fresher.'

    It will be fun to see what turns up on the green at the Assembly next summer.

    Last edited: Aug 30, 2018
    pklonowski likes this.
  15. Rob Stevens

    Rob Stevens Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    And on a different tack, member Greg Howe (Canton, NY) has offered to tour the local brew pubs soliciting donations for next summer's Assembly Raffle and Auction. I may join him for a road trip. Attached, page by page, is an article from the Summer 2018 issue of "FLAME" (Wow, try finding that online. Who knew!)

    Attached Files:

Share This Page