Canoe identification

Longpaddle

Curious about Wooden Canoes
I was thinking this was a Chestnut now I am not so sure.

Dimensions

Width 34.25"
length 17.0'
height mid ship 13.25"
height ends 23.5"

number stamped into stem 25173

Thanks
Longpaddle
 

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It sure looks like it has all the no frills look of Chestnut production to me. Even the yellowing varnish.

Whats the depth?
 
Longpaddle,

The canoe in the photos has the building details, hull-shape and more or less the right measurements for a late (1970’s) Chestnut “Cronje”. The small discrepancy in measurements can likely be blamed on changes in hull form or the way you took the measurements. The Chestnut Cronje’s rib measurements are 2 3/8” wide, 3/8” thick and spaced 2” apart.

Dick Persson
Headwater Wooden Boat Shop
 
People interested in 19th century history or 20th century cricket may know the name of Cronje. How about you? ;) Using Google won’t give you any clues about the connection to Chestnut. Maybe you can educate us about the name and the assumed connection to Chestnut.

Cheers
Dick Persson
 
Kronje (first name Piet?) was a commander of some Boer forces during the Boer War. He surrendered his forces to, I think, Lord Roberts at Magdeburg (?). I always assumed this was the Cronje referred to as another model Cruiser is named for the President of one of the Boer states (the Tranvaal or Orange Free State?), Paul Kruger (after whom is named a model of a pipe, Oom Paul.) Kronje’s surrender did not end the Boer War. It continued for some years under Jan Smuts, as a guerrilla war. The name of another Boer guerilla leader escapes me for the moment.

Lord Roberts was a diminutive fellow, popularly known as “Bobs,” and I have heard that the Bob’s Special was named after him.
 
Thanks Larry,

Another interesting theory put forward by our own Roger MacGregor, I quote:

“I have often wondered if the Chestnuts, who evidently were newspaper readers, took to the language of the South African campaign to the extent that they knew the Afrikaans term “slim,” meaning wily and cunning. It was often used in the English papers to describe the Boer generals, especially De la Rey and Joubert. Did Harry and William Chestnut choose the code words CRONJE and KRUGER for the slender cruising model canoes chiefly because they were above all – at least in English – slim?”

:) Cheers
Dick Persson
 
I have no idea why the Chestnuts picked these two names, or who Stoessel is. Of course the names were selected some years after the Boer War closed. Needless to say, during the war, the Boers were high villains to members of the British Empire, and naming canoes after Boer figures would be akin to Old Town calling their models the Himmler and the Hirohito. The Chestnuts were from the Anglo side of Canadian national identity, so their selection of these names is a bit of a puzzle. It was not too long after the Boer war ended that a good bit of reconciliation occurred. By WWII, Smuts and Churchill were colleagues and Churchill doted on Smuts, no doubt in part because it was South African gold that aided British balance of payments. (Churchill of course fought briefly in the Boer War, was captured, and escaped.) In Parliament, at the War’s end, he was one of the first to advocate burying the hatchet.

Of course there’s likely a very simple explanation, such as these names were so unusual, they could be sent by telegraph with little chance of confusion!
 
If I remember my collage African history classes (and hopefully I didn't sleep through the ones on the Boer War and there abouts) P. (Peter?) Kruger was the President if South Africa in the late 19th century and into the early 20th. There is a National Park named after him which I think he established in the late 1890's.

That might have some link to naming one canoe "Kruger" and another "Cronje"..both South Africans....?? However, that doesn't account for naming the third cruiser "Stoessel". I don't know if there was a S. African so named.

The only Stoessel I know of from around that time (1890's - 1940's) was a fairly popular American violinist and composer by the name of Albert Stoessel. I came across his work, (also in collage...Music School to be exact) when studying American Classical composers. Maybe ol' Mr. Chestnut loved his tunes. Although from what I remember, his craft was somewhat lacking. No accounting for some peoples taste, I guess.

Come to think of it, all the canoe names Kruger, Cronje and Stoessel were labled "2nd Grade" in the catalogue. Maybe that's what Chestnut thought of those folks...all second grade types.:D
 
Who was STOESSEL? Well I have no idea personally, so I am quoting Roger MacGregor again:

Anatoli Mikhailovitch Stoessel was another figure from the front pages of the 1904 newspapers. Stoessel was the commander of the 3rd Siberian Corps and the Russian general in charge of the garrison at Port Arthur in southern Manchuria during the Russian-Japanese war.

:) Cheers
Dick Persson
 
Trivial pursuit

Well that’s contemporaneous—but weird and obscure. According to Wikpedia, Stoessel surrendered to the Japanese under questionable circumstances, was sentenced to death in Russia afterwards, but reprieved.

So both Cronje and Stoesell were generals who surrendered around the turn of the century.

Did the Chestnuts have any interest in Trivial Pursuit?
 
Trivial Pursuit yeah, who knows?

Someone in the Chestnut organization must have had a weird sense of humor.

The first grade cruisers were named:
Premier, Primus and Leader all variations on the word First

And the second grade cruisers were named:
Kruger, Cronje and Leader all generals on the loosing side.

This is what a rainy Sunday will do to you!:) :)
Cheers
Dick Persson
 
Just to totally exhaust this subject, I thought to try to connect Cronje and Stoessel chronologically. Not much there. Cronje surrendered at Paardeburg February 1900, Stoessel in January 1905. Not likely to be the same newspaper.

But it turns out Cronje was infamous for something late in 1904: his participation in the St Louis Worlds Fair (aka the Louisiana Purchase Exposition).

There was (I’m not kidding) an Anglo-Boer War Concession at the Fair!

“Different portions of the concession featured a British Army encampment, several South African native villages (including Zulu, Bushmen, Swazi, and Ndebele), and a 15 acre arena in which soldiers paraded, sporting events and horse races were held, and major battles from the Second Boer War were re-enacted twice a day. Battle recreations took 2-3 hours and included several Generals and 600 veteran soldiers from both sides of the war. At the conclusion of the show, the Boer General Christiaan De Wet would escape on horseback by leaping from a height of 35 feet (11 m) into a pool of water.”

After participating in these shows, Cronje was ostracized back home.

Personally, I think another Boer general would have been a better pick, obviously De Wet model canoe would have made sense.
 
According to Solway, the Chestnut Canoe Company grew out of various Chestnut family businesses and was formally incorporated in 1907. However they were building canoes in one of their factory workshops in 1904. Their first catalogue (and Kruger, Cronje, Stoessel is in it) was published in 1904 or 1905. Several of the Chestnut males were also active in traveling to various exhibitions for business and tourism promotion purposes, including the 1901 Chicago Sportsman’s Show. They traveled around the US quite a bit for purposes of promoting tourism in New Brunswick. I would bet in 1904 they, or some one of them, also attended St Louis Worlds Fair.

The wood canvas canoe is pretty new at this point in time and they were go-getters anxious to use the latest technology. Evidence is their effort to “patent” the wood canvas canoe and prevent other Canadian firms from making them. I would bet they were assigning telegraph ordering codes to their various models, got to the second rate Cruiser models, and having seen Cronje in St. Louis, whimsically went with Kruger, Cronje, and another second rater in the news, Stoessel.
 
I can't believe that anybody involved in retail for more than a few minutes wouldn't know that the secret to retail is in the detail. The Chestnuts wouldn't have said, "Well, these will work in a pinch, but they are really pretty piss poor, as canoes go."

No one would name their product after an acknowledged second rate anything. My guess is that these names were recognised as tough, spartan, hard-as-nails, and unpolished at the time they were building these canoes. They were survivors in the face of enormous odds. That's something the Victorians could wrap their collective psyche around. And a good thing for your canoe to be.
 
On the face of it, I agree. But who, interested in a canoe, is going to be moved by an association with Kruger, Cronje and Stoessel? Or Peach, Gooseberry, or Moses—other telegraph code names Chestnut used in that 1905 catalogue? Boone, Crocket, Teddy (likely Roosevelt), Garry, Voyageur, Fort—all good strong associations.

And these were telegraph code names—likely more useful for keeping things simple between the factory and the buyers than for marketing the canoes.
 
I don't think you are looking at this from an historical perspective. And again, the Chestnuts were a family of merchants. They knew how to sell stuff, and these guys from the Boer wars were big in the news, big in European courts, and put up the toughest fight the English had seen since 1812. I can't believe that if it was just for telegraph codes they wouldn't have made up names as unique as Old Town did.

You may be right, but until one of the Chestnuts comes over and tells me so I'm not buying it!

:p
 
I was thinking this was a Chestnut now I am not so sure.

Dimensions

Width 34.25"
length 17.0'
height mid ship 13.25"
height ends 23.5"

number stamped into stem 25173

Thanks
Longpaddle

Hi - I am new to this forum, doing a little browsing and found this old thread. This looks like my Chestnut, which I recall being called a "Kronje" model. The S/N on mine is stamped in the same place, number 25114 - close to yours. It was purchased in April or May of 1972. I also found the Boer War discussion interesting. The town I live in, Ladysmith, BC, was named by its founder to honour the successful relief of Ladysmith during the Boer War. Several of the streets in town are named after British Generals - Kitchener, French etc., and including Baden-Powell, founder of the scouting movement. I don't know of any Dutch or Afrikaans names in town though.
 
Ladysmith, and its relief, as a symbol in the Boer War is a rather complex and murky story. When the war started, the Brits were pretty cocky they’d win easily and hands down. Instead, in the early days in Natal, the Boers easily whipped a Brit force sent out from Ladysmith and the Brit commanding general, Lieutenant General Sir George White, pulled back into Ladysmith, where the force got trapped and besieged. This gave the Boers the strategic initiative. The Brits sent out reinforcements, named General Sir Redevers Buller, to command. But having to relieve Ladysmith became Bullers’ top priority. It was a tough job, as Ladysmith was behind a river overlooked by mountains. The Boers had good defensive lines and rapid firing Mausers, which they knew how to use. Trying to break through, the Brits lost several famous battles, Spion Cop among them.
When the Brits finally relieved Ladysmith, privately many English officers were exasperated at White. They thought the Ladysmith garrison force had just quit on the war and White had just lost his nerve. It all was a bit like Rosecrans, the Battle of Chickamauga, and the siege of Chattanooga in the Civil War. Buller lost his job and his career was ruined. But for morale and propaganda reasons all this was hushed up and the Relief of Ladysmith became a myth, with White elevated to the status of hero.
 
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