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J.R Robertson Canoe Company

Discussion in 'Open Forum' started by viking65, May 2, 2016.

  1. viking65

    viking65 New Member


    I am new to this site and, unfortunately not a wooden canoe owner. I do; however have some info on the JR Robertson Canoe Company of Auburndale, Mass. Long story short-I saved boxes of personal letters written by Ella Robertson, wife of John Robertson. There were also some newspaper clippings etc among the items I saved from the landfill. One interesting item was that of a land speed record (would have to dig in to find the dates, speed etc.) which was set by a car with a JR Robertson canoe as the shell. The canoe was flipped inside down and the 'cock pit' was cut out of the bottom. The main reason for my post is that I'm hoping there might be someone out there who knows of any relatives/descendants of John & Ella Robertson. I would love to pass this material on to a family member. My grandfather passed away before my birth so having his WWI squad photo on my wall means a great deal to me. Any leads of ideas would be most appreciated.

    Tom Nelson
  2. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    I would be interested in seeing this. My great-grandfather George Gray was in business with John R. Robertson briefly in 1902 when the Robertson and Old Town Canoe Company was in operation. I met a great-grandson of John R. Robertson many years ago but I don't have his contact information handy. How do you want to proceed?

  3. OP

    viking65 New Member

    jr robertson

    Thanks very much for your rapid response. I've had this stuff for about 26 years now and would love for 'it' to find its way home. If you can find his contact info that would be
    fantastic. What specifically are you interested in? Haven't had this stuff out in years and not really sure why I leapt into action today-maybe the dreary weather. I see you are in
    Maine-I'm jealous having tried to sell and move to Roque Bluffs/Jonesboro for many, many years now.

    I will await your response.

  4. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    I would be most interested in anything from the 1901-1903 era that might provide any background about how Robertson connected with the group in Old Town and why things didn't work out. Howard Crandell worked for John Robertson. He married John's daughter Mabel Robertson. Their son is William H. Crandell who I met in 2007 at the WCHA Assembly. I will send you his address and phone number in a private message.

  5. Robyn Crandell

    Robyn Crandell New Member

    I was just looking for more info or anything that might have come from a Crandell canoe. My grandfather was Howard Crandell. He ran the boat house on Lake Quinsigamond. His father-in -law was J.R. Robertson. My father,William, helped my grandfather run the Lake Quinsigamond boathouse.
  6. JClearwater

    JClearwater Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

  7. Roger Young

    Roger Young display sample collector

    Good of you to have saved and cared for this ephemera related to J R Robertson. I am sure it may prove most interesting to the historians amongst the WCHA, such as Benson (with whom you have already been in touch) and others. There is often a scarcity of old records/info to go on when it comes to knowing details related to older canoes, so it is important to be able to go through old correspondence, news articles, etc., to glean what one can. Hopefully your efforts over the past few years will assist, and you are to be thanked immensely for your part. As for me, I very fortunately came into possession of a J R Robertson Canoe Co. 76 " 'display sample' last year, about which little is known, other than it may be unique and likely dates to about 1910. Thus, any reference, however casual, to such a piece or product would be both exciting and extremely helpful to have in better placing and/or understanding its role in Robertson's enterprise. Robertson, personally, had a significant role in transferring early canoe-manufacturing techniques from Ontario to New England, which is not yet thoroughly explored or explained. Again, even little snippets of conversational interchange possibly contained in your saved correspondence could be most enlightening.

  8. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    Hi Robyn,

    I don't have much information about Crandell canoes to offer but the signatures of your great-grandfather and my great-grandfather shown below may interest you. This is from the original incorporation papers for the Robertson & Old Town Canoe Company in 1902. I have the packet of letters described in the messages above. They are mostly from the 1940s which is much later than the period that interests me so I haven't read them. Send me your address and I will forward them to you as I mentioned in my private message. Please let us know if you can tell us anything more about your family's canoe businesses. Thanks,


  9. Bev Reese

    Bev Reese Curious about Wooden Canoes


    Attached Files:

  10. Bev Reese

    Bev Reese Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Here's a couple of pictures of my Dad's Robertson canoe, we just had it repainted, wood and brass all redone. I've had a few people say it's something else but earlier today my brother saw one that was being auctioned, identical to ours except for the color.. ours is a royal blue with yellow and a 19 footer. We really aren't so concerned with monetary value, just trying to get an idea how old she is. I'm in my 70's and Dad had it long before I was born, we only know it was used when he acquired it. I'm hoping someone has one with a legible serial number which may assist us in deciphering ours.
  11. Bev Reese

    Bev Reese Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Pictures are above, blue with yelliw,

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