Letters to the Granddaughter - The Story of Dillon Wallace of the Labrador Wild

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About the author:
The author's first taste of trackless wilderness occurred when he hiked the Long Range Traverse in Grosse Morne National Park in Newfoundland and Labrador. Shortly after this he began retracing the Hubbard and Wallace Saga after reading Dillon Wallace's "The Lure of the Labrador Wild". His good friend Gerard Kenney, an author of books on the North, lent him the book and the two of them the following summer in 1999, canoed up Grand Lake and portions of the Naskaupi and Susan Rivers. Little by little the author retraced about half of the 1903 trip forming the basis for "The Lure of the Labrador Wild" and most of the summer portion of the 1905 trip forming the basis for Dillon Wallace's second book, "The Long Labrador Trail". Not to be forgotten in all of this is Mina Hubbard's book, "A Woman's Way Through Unknown Labrador" and her 1905 trip, the author covering the greater portion of her trip as well.

A key event that convinced the author to write this biography was the Mina Hubbard Centennial in 2005, which took place in North West River, Newfoundland and Labrador, the starting point for the trips in 1903 and 1905. The author was invited by the organizers to do a presentation at it, as part of those invited "from away" as the organizers put it in good Labrador parlance. He was at first surprised and then concerned that organizers were completely ignoring another key figure in the events of 1903 and 1905, Dillon Wallace.

After convincing the organizers to not forget Dillon Wallace, he was invited by them to locate surviving family members. Thanks to this he got to know Wallace's son and daughter and then finally his granddaughter, Amy McKendry, who lives in the Seattle area. Amy and the author decided that it was time there was a biography on her grandfather and met for a week in October 2008 to look through the extensive archives held on the saga at Memorial University in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador. It has been a big job researching and writing the biography, with work on it taking place during spare moments as the author continued to work as an energy specialist for the Canadian International Development Agency.

The author lives in Kanata, Ontario (now a part of greater Ottawa), where he is married to Beth and has three grown children. Beth has shown great patience over the years with his heading off to Labrador and northern Quebec each summer.

Letters to the Granddaughter - The Story of Dillon Wallace of the Labrador Wild

Retracing the trips in the North and the remarkable life of the author of The Lure of the Labrador Wild

Authored by Philip Schubert
Introduction by Amy McKendry
Edition: 1

The North seduces you. It can kill you too.

Philip Schubert discovered the joys and dangers of travel in trackless wilderness starting in 1999 after reading Dillon Wallace's "The Lure of the Labrador Wild". He spent a decade retracing the routes in Labrador and northern Quebec described in "The Lure", in Wallace's follow-on book, "The Long Labrador Trail", and in Mina Hubbard's "A Woman's Way Through Unknown Labrador".

Nothing in Dillon's early life as an impoverished youth on a farm suggested that he would still fascinate people nearly 150 years later. Dillon was blessed in fact with "Grit A'Plenty", which no one would suspect from his unimpressive physique and unsmiling face. He pulled himself up by his bootstraps, rising from gristmill employee, to self-trained telegraph operator, to stenographer, to finally becoming a lawyer. His life from that point on, however, was equal parts tragic and heroic, but continued to be marked by splendid accomplishments. Starting at the age of 40 in 1903, he carried out a series of trips in Labrador and today's northern Quebec covering several thousand miles. No one person to date has been equal to the task of fully retracing them.

The first trip sadly resulted in the tragic death of his trip leader and best friend, Leonidas Hubbard, and a narrow escape for him. His book on the trip, "The Lure of the Labrador Wild", published in 1904, became a best seller and is still in print. It would change Dillon's life forever. It told the story of the trip as it was documented in his and Leonidas' trip journals. Leonidas' widow, Mina Hubbard, who would be forever changed also due to the unbearable loss of "her laddie", had commissioned the book. When Dillon refused to rewrite the book and make Leonidas into the larger than life figure she had been expecting, she became Dillon's sworn enemy for life.

There then followed two extraordinary trips in 1905 across Labrador, following the route planned in 1903. Dillon led one. Mina, drawing on skills that no one had realized she had, led the other. She planned hers in secret, and then provoked a life-long estrangement from Leonidas' family by telling the press as she left that she suspected that Dillon played a role in her husband's death and was on her way to investigate it. A third fascinating figure, voyager George Elson, the other survivor of the first trip, safely canoed Mina the length of Labrador down some of the most challenging rivers that George and his crack team of outdoorsmen had ever seen. No one was more impressed than George, or more disappointed than Mina, when Dillon and his only team member, forestry student Clifford Easton, successfully completed the trip as well. The evidence that George, a heroic figure in his own right, had fallen in love with Mina and which may have motivated him to agree to organize the trip at Mina's behest, added another fascinating dimension to the saga. The 1905 trip formed the basis for Dillon's second book and he went on to publish another 25 books, becoming a legend in his time.

This is the story of Dillon Wallace as told by Philip Schubert, with an introduction by Dillon's granddaughter, Amy McKendry. It includes extensively illustrated maps and dozens of Philip's photographs of the challenges faced and overcome in the wilds by the saga participants.

Publication Date:
1482388448 / 9781482388442
Page Count:
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
8.5" x 11"
Full Color
Related Categories:
Biography & Autobiography / Adventurers & Explorers

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