Fonds - Brennans’ gold mine at Oldham

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Brennans’ gold mine at Oldham

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1 m of textual records (9 boxes)
10 photographs: black & white
29 site plans
4 maps

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Administrative history

The gold mine in the Oldham district near Enfield, Nova Scotia was a business interest of the Brennan family of Prince Edward Island. It was started in 1903 by William A. Brennan under the name Oldham Sterling Gold Company Ltd (1903-ca1916). W.A. Brennan had purchased the land from J.E. Hardman of Oldham, NS and from Frederick Taylor of Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, United States near the end of Nova Scotia’s second “gold rush” 1895 to 1903. He also established an ore crushing mill on the site for his use and the use of other miners in the area. Oldham Sterling Gold Co. enjoyed some early success mining gold 1907 to 1912. After W.A.’s death in 1916, the Oldham property was inherited by his 2 sons Arthur and Victor and wife Rosara. Lacking the financial means to actively mine the property themselves, the Brennans looked for investors. Their first investor was Charles Spearman, a mining engineer from Montreal, who mined the district under the name Acadia Gold Mines Ltd. (1926-ca1932). It may have also operated under the name Acadia Metals Ltd. for a short time. When Spearman was unable to meet expenses and payroll for the miners, the company went bankrupt and the property reverted back to the Brennans. After several attempts to attract new investors, Arthur Brennan sold it to George Reynolds of New York, United States, and another Montreal-based group of investors under the name Avon Gold Mines Ltd. in 1935 (1935-1955). This company was active until about 1943 when labour shortages and equipment restrictions brought on by the Second World War (1939-1945) made operating the mine unprofitable. It never recovered in the post-war era and ownership again reverted back to the Brennan family. By 1955, Arthur’s son William “Bill” Brennan sold off the remaining equipment and all mining operations ceased.

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Scope and content

Fonds consists of correspondence (1906-1955), mine leases (1903-1919), sales agreements (1908-1948), gold return memos from U.S. and Royal Canadian Mints (1903-1912, 1938-1940), monthly summaries of mine operations (1938-1942) and expense statements (1938-1941), geologists’ reports (1927, 1935-1938), prospectus reports (1903, 1928, 1935-1940), stock certificates (or shares 1903, 1935), plans of mine workings and lease holders (1891-1940), mineral maps of Nova Scotia (ca1901, 1912, 1935), and some photographs of mining machinery and above-ground buildings (1930s). The files are arranged by company name in roughly chronological order by the archivist.

Correspondence is addressed mostly to Arthur Brennan, and includes his correspondence with company representatives (1924-1949); the Department of Public Works and Mines (1921-1949); with mine managers Frank Reeves (1921-1945), N.O. Lawton (1939-1940), and R.W. Sweet (1940-1941); with his brother C. Victor Brennan, a mining engineer in British Columbia (1922-1948); with his lawyers (1922-1949); and with other prospective buyers (1921-1924, 1929-1934). Fonds also includes early correspondence of W.A. Brennan (1906-1915) and one file of correspondence to Arthur Brennan’s son Bill Brennan regarding closing the mine (1943-1955).

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Records acquired by Nova Scotia Archives in 2017 through private donation from Robert A. Brennan, family descendant.


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  • English

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Copyright held by Nova Scotia Archives.
See Nova Scotia Archives’ Services page for information on copying, reproduction, and use of materials.

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Associated materials

See also the Rosara Lefurgey Brennan fonds. – 1925-1937. – 33 cm of textual records at MacNaught History Centre and Archives in Summerside, PE.

See also the Charles Victor Brennan fonds. – 1887-1961. – 29 m of textual records. – 75 cm of maps. – 26 cm of graphic materials at BC Archives, part of Royal BC Museum, in Victoria, BC.

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2018-002/001 to 009

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