“THE ONLY SOURCE OF KNOWLEDGE IS EXPERIENCE.” ~ALBERT EINSTEIN.
Hi, I have quite an unusual story, that I explain best by weaving the many lessons I’ve learned along my tumultuous life journey through my novel writing. My insights have been shaped by an endless series of traumatic events that have spanned more than 27 years.
I guess you can say that I’m a survivor.
I was born and raised in the United States, although I’m 50 percent Canadian. If we measure the depth of the roots of our lineages, some might say that I’m actually far more Canadian than I am American. My Canadian roots date all the way back to the founding of Quebec in the early 1600’s. I’m a direct descendent of Jean Baptite Poisson, Samuel D. Champlain’s body guard on several of his transatlantic explorations. This 10th great grandfather of mine was a fierce French soldier, born in Mortagne Au Perche, Orne, Normandy, France in 1591. Talk about having grit, Samual D. Champlain, Jean Baptiste Poisson and the crew, certainly had an abundance.
My grandmother Ruby Poisson, daughter of my great grandfather Henri Poisson, was born in Cobalt, Ontario in 1912 during the heyday of the silver rush that put Cobalt, Ontario on the map, and transformed it into a thriving mining hub that shone like a beacon to the wealthy and powerful across the globe, pulling them to North Country like a magnet, where they hoped to get a piece of the action. The Prince of Wales arrived in October 1919, and legend has it, so did Al Capone, or at least an army of mafia thugs, who made their way to Cobalt after Prohibition was ratified in 1919. Many of the miners became bootleggers.
My grandfather, George Walsh, was also born in Cobalt during the heyday. Thus, my grandmother and grandfather grew up together in the midst of all the razzle and dazzle of this spectacular era in Canadian history. After the Great Fire in Cobalt in 1922, when this glorious mining town burnt to the ground, most town folk fled further north to Timmins where the Hollinger Gold Mine was operating at full capacity, pouring gold out of every nook and cranny and transforming global culture into the golden twenties. Meanwhile, my great grandfather, Hugh Walsh, was out staking and claiming dozens of land parcels that eventually became dozens of gold patents.
One such gold patent was associated with the renown Croesus Gold Mine “which produced the richest ore ever mined in Ontario.” Others were part of the Porcupine Gold Rush. My great grandfather founded the Walsh-Katrine Gold Mines in Cobalt in 1924, which was made up of three significant gold patents that had much promise due to their close proximity to the Kerr Gold Mines. Don’t even get me started about this part of the story, though. It’s meaty, so it will have to be a novel. But, these three land patents were in a very formidable location along Larder Lake Station Road in North Country. No one alive today can explain how Hugh Walsh trekked that far out into the raw wilderness. I tried to access the property by a 4-wheel drive truck (huge 4-wheels) and a guide, but the sheer rock made passage impossible. The safest way in, is still canoe. But somehow Hugh Walsh arrived at this precarious location, with his men, and their gear, erected a head frame, and sunk a mining shaft deep into the rock. It was 1925. My great grandfather built a name for himself by achieving the impossible.
Hugh Walsh died under mysterious circumstances in Montreal on July 24, 1929. All of his gold patents were transferred to his new business partner, Edwin Giblin, and a mysterious woman, Edna Calbeck, who claimed to be Hugh Walsh’s widow, when in fact she was not. Rather, Edna was a close associate of Edwin Giblin, and together the two confiscated all of Hugh Walsh’s assets, leaving his real wife, my great grand mother Margaret Anne Wescott Walsh, and her children, with nothing.
I’ve investigated the death of my great grandfather for my family as well as the disappearance of all Hugh Walsh’s assets. The story just keeps growing bigger and more complicated with every turn. As I mentioned, Al Capone and the Mob were all over the Ontario gold belt in the 1920’s-30’s, and much of the bootlegging that made Al Capone millions during Prohibition was crafted in Canada. The story becomes even more bizarre if you factor in that Al Capone’s personal attorney was named Vincent Giblin. Was Vincent Giblin related to Edwin Giblin? Maybe. Edwin Giblin was born and raised in Montreal, which was a Mob epicenter during the Roaring Twenties. Hopefully you can see why I’m writing a novel and screenplay to capture this historic era along with this horribly twisted nightmare.
As if this isn’t enough Canadian history for this American girl, back to the Poisson family in Quebec’s early days. Life in New France was harrowing. Very few French were strong enough to make it in New France, a community of 55 – 100, with lots of Indian neighbors. My French great grandmother on my mother’s side, Mary Demers, was the direct descendent of Peirre and Anne Dagenais who were both slaughtered by the Iroquois during the barbaric Lachine Massacre on August 9, 1689. (The Iroquois tortured their enemies, throwing them on open fire pits, and eating them for dinner. Seriously.)
I like to believe that being a direct descendent of both of these rugged Canadian pioneers, is where I get all of my grit and initiative as well as my adventurous spirit. And even though I was born and raised in America, and never knew any of these Canadian details until rather recently, I’m obviously very Canadian too.
So back to the missing gold. The only resolution that brought me any closure was creating Gallant Gold Media in honor of my great grandfather Hugh Walsh and the passionately adventurous Poissons and Dagenais who were deeply connected to the Indian nations throughout the Canadian East.
And now for my American roots.
My father was born and raised in White Plans, New York, attended UCLA law school, joined a firm in Beverly Hills and thrived as a successful attorney in Southern California until my siblings and I entered elementary school. My father then relocated the family to Connecticut and accepted a position as in house counsel with Pratt &Whitney Aircraft. He had a stellar career with Pratt and retired as Executive Vice President.
I have extensive sales and sales management experience, excelling for large corporations that include AT&T, Macy’s West and The Limited. Additionally, I was a sales manager over-achiever for an elite, private, high-end boutique corporation, Joan & David in Princeton, NJ, headquartered on 5th Avenue in Manhattan. These positions in sales management, in my early career right out of college, with a goal of becoming a buyer, provided me with exceptional experience at running all aspects of multi million dollar businesses. My consistent sustained rank at the top of my sales tier, has provided me with confident assurance that I will meet, and exceed, expectations.
Alongside my professional career, I pursued the arts as a passionate hobby. Photography, graphic design, theater, music, documentary film making, and writing. But then one dark day, on July 1, 2018, while standing at my father’s bedside just before he died, he clutched my hand and made me promise I would follow through with pursuing my dream, the American dream, that of of transforming my hobby into a career and founding Gallant Gold Media LLC.
My passion for nature and trees and the wilderness must be in my blood. Who knew? Hugh Walsh and his agonizing victory in the battle of man vs nature, along with Jean Baptiste Poisson and his torturous triumph in the same battle — the Quebec wilderness in the early 1600’s that could only entice 55 French citizens brave enough to tackle the perilous mission — while Jamestown, Virginia had a thriving population of 2,000 with its more idyllic climate. So yes, nature. Nature is in my blood as well as my DNA and has made me a force to be reckoned with as we all try and tackle climate change.
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