Notes from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, 1900

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Record of work done for Charles D. Walcott by S. Ward Loper on the Cambrian formations of Cape Breton, August - September 1900. Included in these notes are diagrams (maps) of locations, lists of fossils found (including trilobites, mollusks such as brachiopoda, and other types of specimen), and stratigraphy of certain locations. Numbers included in these field books may refer to station numbers, which may be represented in the diagrams. Localities include but are not limited to Upper Leitches Creek, Barachois River, Marion Bridge, and McLean's Brook.

Date Range


Start Date

Aug 07, 1900

End Date

Sep 24, 1900

Access Information

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  • Geology
  • Paleontology


  • Canada
  • Cape Breton Island
  • Nova Scotia
  • Barachois Creek


  • Fieldbook record
  • Field notes
  • Maps

Accession #

SIA RU007264

Collection name

Collected notebooks, manuscripts, drawings, photographs, and correspondence on vertebrate and invertebrate paleontology, United States National Museum, circa 1850-1940 and undated

Physical Description

1 field book

Physical Location

Smithsonian Institution Archives


Box 2 Folder 3

U.S. Geo. Survey Cape Breton [[?]] [[?]] 1900 S. Ward Loper [[preprinted]] MEMORANDUM [[/preprinted]] [[label]] Nova Scotia [[underlined]] Cape Breton [[/underlined]] Loper 1900 [[/label]]
S. Ward Loper Middletown Conn. U.S.A. Please return to above address if found. [[end page]] Page II. Record of work done for Chas. D. Walcott, director of U.S. Geo. Survey, on the Cambrian formations in Cape Breton during August and Sept, 1900. August 7th. Arrived at Marion Bridge, 12 miles from Sidney at noon. After dinner got a boy to show me the way to McNeil's brook where the Upper Cambrian beds of Mr. Mathew's Section outcrop. This brook empties into Mira River a mile and a half east of Marion Bridge. Found outcropping of Cambrian Shales along the west bank of the stream in cliffs 10 to 25 ft. high. Beddings made up of thin black and grey shales with bands of hard grey and blueish limestone and sandstone. Half a mile or more upstream above the first bridge crossing the the stream above the old Sacomill pond found [[end page]]
2. [[image - hand-drawn map of survey site]] [[end page]] [[start page]] 3. many small trilobites brachiopods. Traced these fossils some distance above the bridge and collected a good number of specimens. [[end page]]
4. [[end page]] [[start page]] 5. August 8th, Followed the Upper Cambrian Shales on McNeil's brook for one and a half miles towards the 3rd bridge on McDonald road. See diagram page 2. Hired Rory McDonald to help me work up some of the very hard sandy bands out of the water on the bed of the brook. Out of these we secured quite a number of good specimens. In the afternoon worked down the stream and below the bridge crossed by the Shingle Mill road found [[strikethrough]] Lower [[/strikethrough]] Middle Cambrian brachiopods. These were in a hard band in greyish shales about 10 ft. above the bed of the brook on the west bank of the stream just below the bridge. Left the fossils of this bedding for tomorrow. See diagram page 2. Two localities marked Aug. 8th & Aug. 8th & 9th. Forenoon & Afternoon. [[end page]]
6 August 9th, Worked all day on the shale below the bridge on the Shingle Mill road on the McNeils Brook and secured a good number of brachiopods. [[end page]] [[start page]] 7. August 10th, Made a more thourough search for fossils along the Upper Cambrian of McNeil's brook but found nothing more. On the hill going east up Shingle Mill road found a outcropping of limestones with impressions apparently of small brachiopods. Very indistinct but made a collection. August 11th, Raining very hard all day and not able to do any field work. [[end page]]
8. [[end page]] [[start page]] 9. Monday, August 13th, Worked all day on Mr. Mathew [[Etchemission?]] at McCodrum's brook. Could not find fossils of any kind. From the exposure of the conglomerates up there are accessible about 30 ft. of grey and blue shales with many hard sandy bands. From this to the next brook for about a mile eastward, the shales are covered. McCodrum's brook is about 2 1/2 miles west from Marion Bridge, and north of Mira River. [[end page]]
[[start page]] 10. Aug. 14th Worked on the different bedding at McBodrum brook until 1 o'clock when a hard rain set in and obliged to quit. No fossils found. [[end page]] [[start page]] 11. August 15th. Went 12 miles to Salmon River locality, and 1 mile south of the Salmon River bridges, and half a mile from the limestones, seen outcropping by the side of the highway, found grey shales or flags along the east slope of Gillis Hill from which some small brachiopods were obtained which may be Etcheminian. This is in the region of the Etcheminian Zone of Mathew. No rock, however, was found in situ, but the shales are scattered along the whole hillside. [[end page]]
[[start page]] 12. N. [[drawing of cross section north indicated]] [[sideways writing Road to Marion Bridge]] [[sideways writing 1 mile across]] Mountain W Morley Road old Dam conglomerates. McCodrum's brook. Mathews Etchiminum Pasture lots old quarry woods conglomerate 1 small brachiopod Aug. 16 2 large Lingulas " " 3 1/ 40 ft. 20 ft. | 40 ft. McLean's brook. [[sideways writing Fence]] McLean's Valley | Fence shales along here no fossils [[pencil]] These beds not known to Dr. Mathew [[end page]] [[start page]] 13. August 16th, Worked all day on outcroppings of black and bluish and greyish shales on McLean's brook. This is the brook one mile east of McCodrum's brook. At first outcropping on the west bank of the brook found a few small brachiopods. At second outcrop of shales as marked in diagram found large Lingulella - or Mathews Obolus. Made quite a collection at this outcrop. These evidently belong to the Olenus Zone of Mathew Section.
14 August 17, th. Forenoon raining. In Afternoon showery but went to McLeanis Brook and collected 20 specs. from outcrop No.2 [[end page]] [[start page]] 15 August 18 th. In forenoon searched along Mr. Keegaris Brook which is one mile and a half West of Mc Codrum's brook but found no Cambrian shale. In the afternoon returned to Mc Lean's Brook and secured a good number of specimens from outcrop No 2 Alenns Zone.
[[start page]] 16. Monday August 20 Raining in torrents. Packed two boxes of specimens and attended to correspondence. Wrote last week to Mr. Mathew telling him that I could not find any fossils on his Etchminian. Received a letter today from him to day stating that he was not suprised that I did not find them, that they were very rare. Said they were in the sandy beds of the shale. Shall make another search for them. [[end page]] [[start page]] 17 August 21 Still raining very hard. No chance for field work. Ground up hammers and chisels and wrote letters. [[end page]]
[[start page]] 18 August 22nd Still bad weather but went out to McLean's Brook and worked under an umbrella and collected about 50 fine specimens. These from outcrop No. 2. Showers all day. [[end page]] [[start page]] 19 August 23d. Spent the forenoon and until 2 P.M. searching again for fossils at McCodrum's Brook on Mathew's Etcheminian. Found nothing. Went from there to McLean's Brook and finished the day on No. 2. Got about 40 specs. [[end page]]
[[start page]] 20 August 24th Searched along Morrison's Brook 2 1/2 mile east of Marion Bridge, south side Mira River. Found in Cambrian shales there some fine and peculiar trail markings. In ravine near Mr. Morrison's house found a few Dictyonema Brachiopods. In afternoon searched along Little Trout Brook half a mile east of Morrison's Brook. Found there on the farm of Daniel Lammond a few nice brachiopods and trilobite [[tails]]. [[end page]] [[start page]] 21 August 25th. Unpleasant weather, light rain nearly all day. Went to McNeil's Brook by way of the river road, one mile [[crossed out and added]] 1 1/2 mile east of Marion Bridge, and near the old dam, just south of the river road bridge managed to collect about 75 small brachiopods. These probably Olenus Zone, Middle Cambrian. See diagram page 2. Also page 22. [[end page]]
[[start page]] 22 [[drawing in pen; east, south and west indicated] Pond [[upside down]] Lingula Aug. 27. Old dam [[upside down]] small brachiopod Aug. 25. Mira River Road Bridge Mira River Marion Bridge High Ridge Road Mira River [[end page]] [[start page]] 23 Monday August 27th. Had planned to go to Big Trout Brook today, 7 miles east of Marion Bridge. Began to rain so stopped at McNeil's Brook and worked on shales south of where collection was made on Saturday. Found very fine Lingulas, and, between showers, secured over 100 nice specimens of several genera & species mostly Lingula or Lingulella. Same fossils found in hard limestone bands as in shale. See opposite page. [[end page]]
24 [[end page]] [[start page]] 25 August 28th Went 7 miles out on the Bengal road - east from Marion Bridge, to the forks of Big Trout Brook and Little Trout Brook where Mr. Mathew said fossils were to be found. Not many were found. Searched the shales along both brooks for many miles and only secured about 25 specimens of trilobites & brachiopods. These were same as found in the Upper Cambrian of McNeil's brook. Bad weather came on at 4 P.M. & we returned to Marion Bridge in driving rainstorm.
26 August 29th Went out Big Trout Brook way again to finish up the search in that direction. Searched several ravines leading up from the brook. Found plenty of Shale but no fossils. Along the hillsides were fragments of shales and flags like what Mathew calls Etcheminian but no fossils were in them and none were in situ. People in that vicinity said that Mr. Mathew spent considerable time in the open pasture lots on the drift material. [[end page]] [[start page]] 27 August 30th. Drove eighteen miles to Grand Mira. Found there considerable shale and Etchiminian slates but no fossils. On way back on the other side of the river stopped again at Salmon River locality described on page 11 and looked for more fossils along Gillis hill. Found a very few. these appear to be Etchiminian. [[underline]] Am not sure [[/underline]] [[end page]]
28 [[end page]] [[start page]] 29 August 31st. Worked all day on McNeil's brook, on the east shore of the old Mill pond working beyond the point worked the 27th and secured a fine lot of specimens Just at night found a fault in a ravine at the south end of the pond and here in the reversed shales found some good trilobites. Diagram with thickness of beddings on next page.
30 [[NOTE: Diagram with thickness of beddings; North to the left, Road to Marion with arrow pointing West; South to the right]] E. Middle Cambrian [[NOTE: Labels/notations reading from left (North) to right (South)]] 36 ft Small brachiopods in two hard bands. Several species collected Aug. 25th 1900 [[image of Old dam]] 60 ft 74 ft Lingula 200 ft Fossils abundant. 236 ft Fossils all along in hard bands. 300 ft 375 ft Bridge over Ravine [[image of Ravine]] Trilobites Aug 31 & Sept 1st. Beddings on east shore o fold Mill Pond on McNeil's Brook. Approximate measurements, not drawn to scale, one of the best localities for fossils and evidently never before thoroughly worked. [[end page]] [[start page]] 31. September 1st Worked through the forenoon on the beddings where the trilobites were found yesterday in the ravine at the head of the pond as shown in diagram on opposite page. Exhausted the locality by noon but secured quite a number of good trilobites and brachiopods. Some of them fine specimens. [[end page]]
32 [[end page]] [[start page]] 33. Monday Sept. 3d Worked from head of the Pond on McNeil's Brook from the trilobite ravine - (page 30) going south to the bridge at the Shingle Mill road where the upper Cambrian comes in. Examined all the beddings carefully but obtained few fossils. September 4th Worked in forenoon making boxes for packing specimens. In afternoon went to McLean's Brook and got 60 specimens of brachiopods and fragments of trilobites from outcrop No. 2 - Diagram page 12.
34 [[end page]] [[start page]] 35 September 5th. Worked again on Mathew's Etcheminian on McGodrum's Brook. Examined every layer of the shale and hard sandy bands carefully without discovering even a fragment of a fossil. The conglomerates crop out on the west side of the brook near the old dam and a few rods above cross over the brook and run northeast into the pasture. Where they cross the brook is seen the contact of the shales. Next to the conglomerate are a few feet of soft shales, red, grey, resembling Kavlin, above this are about 30 ft. of Mathews Upper Etcheminian Shales. And above these in the pasture lot are a few ft of hard red somewhat calcareous sandstone. From this point for one mile everything is covered to McLean's Brook.
[[start page]] 36 [[map; sideways orientation; north indicated at top of page]] Mountain W[[est]] Morley Road Conglomerates McCodrum's Brook. Old Mill Dam Upper Etcheminian Shale. Old Quarry McLean's Brook N[[orth]] McLean's Brook 1 40 ft. 2 20 ft. 3 40 ft. 4 10 ft. McLean Valley Shales along east side of Valley but no fossils until No 4 is reached. In No. 1 in a very hard limestone band are the small fossils collected Aug 16. In No. 2 & 3 are broken Lingulellas worked Aug 16-18 & 23. (Also worked Sept. 6th) In No 4 are small crushed Lingula [[bottom of page upside down writing; start at bottom]] Mira River S.[[outh]] Road to Marion Bridge [[end page]] [[start page]] 37 Sept. 6th Worked on outcrop No 1 in McLean Valley as shown in the diagram on the opposite page. A few specimens were found here Aug. 16th. Today quarried extensively into the cliff and got access to the hard band carrying the fossils and was fortunate enough to obtain a fine lot of over 200 beautifully preserved brachiopods belonging to the Glenns Fauna of Mathew. Just at night found outcrop No. 3 some distance up the valley. Evidence here of fine fossils. Same broad Lingulellas as in No. 2. Shall work this outcrop tomorrow. [[end page]]
38 Sept. 7th. Worked the outcrop in McLean's valley found last evening. This will be outcrop No. 3. as shown in diagram on page 36. Found some very fine brachiopods here. Same species as found in No. 2. Exhausted the find then searched farther north and found another outcrop of fossils in a higher bed where small Lingulas were very numerous but many of them badly crushed. This makes outcrop No. 4 in McLeans Valley. Secured a lot of these fossils. [[end page]] [[start page]] 39 Sept. 8th In forenoon making boxes for packing specimens. In afternoon packing boxes. Monday Sept. 10th. Explored ravines about 3 miles east of Marion Bridge on the north side of Mira River where told there were Shales. Found no Cambrian Shales there. They lie far above the Cambrian. Packed my baggage in the evening and tomorrow morning start with my boxes of specimens for Sidney.
40 Sept. 11th Got to Sidney at noon. After dinner shipped 6 boxes to Mr. Walcott on the Plant Line Steamer Florida Write to Mr. Walcott. Am to Stop here in Sidney overnight and in the morning go out 12 miles on the Internation Railway to Leitches Creek where I am told there are many fossils. This is not far from Mathew's Boisdale Section. [[end page]] [[start page]] 41 Sept 12th. A very hard rainstorm prevailing today and wind blowing a gale. Shall not go out to Leitches Creek until it clears up.
42 Sept. 13th Took early train this morning from Sidney to Leitches Creek, Cross Roads Station. At this Station hired a team to take myself and baggage out 3 miles to Angus Johnson's at Leitches Creek on Forrester's Lake where there are fossils. Mr. Angus Johnson could not keep me but 1/2 a mile farther on found a boarding place with Norman Johnson. After dinner Angus Johnson went with me to the shore of the lake. There were no Cambrian Shales there but hard limestone of the Silurian. As nothing else could be done worked those until Sundown and secured a number of fine specimens. [[end page]] [[start page]] 43 Finding that it was only an hours drive from Norman Johnsons to Mathew's Boisdale Section concluded in the evening to remain with Mr. Johnson and hired him to help me and furnish team to all the points on Mathew's Section. Am to pay him $2.00 per day for himself and team. and $3.-- per week for board. As Mr. Johnson has always lived until recently at Boisdale -- which is only 4 miles distant, he knows the whole country and is familiar with the shale outcrops. He also knows localities not worked by Mr. Mathew. [[ end page]]
44 [[overstrike]] Sept. 14 [[/overstrike]] [[across page]] Talked with Mr. Mathew on my return to St. John about this locality He knew nothing about it. Did not get on to it. [[/across page]] [[end page]] [[start page]] 45 Sept. 14th Mr. Johnson took me 4 miles to Johnson's Brook on his farm at Boisdale. A locality not refered to by Mathew. Examined the shales along this brook from the highway where a sawmill is being built. After going over about 1000 ft. of Shales, about half way to the syenite on the mountain we found a thick band of coal black shales carrying numerous small trilobites apparently Sphaerophthalmus of the Peltura Fauna. Worked this horizon until 2 P.M. securing a fine representation of the fossils. Spent the rest of the day searching the shales exposed up the stream to the syenites on the mountain. This whole stream shows a great exposure of Cambrian Shales. [[end page]]
46 [[sketched diagram of locality map]] [[across page]] N [[top of page]] E [[at left of page]] W [[at right of page]] Boisdale Hill [[title]] Boisdale Station [[upper right corner]] Little Bras D'Or Lake [[fills right side of page]] McClane's Brook [[path extends left from Lake]] 4 miles to Glen [[from lake along brook]] Barachois Glen [[fills middle and left of page]] Brook in Ravine [[path extends south from McClane's Brook in middle of page]] No. 2 Sept. 15 Fine fossils & abundant XXX Mr. Mathew knew nothing about this locality. [[further left another, smaller brook line extends south from McClane's Brook in left quadrant of page]] No. 1 A few fossils Sept. 15 XXX Mr. Mathew knew nothing about this locality. 2 miles to Upper Leitches Barachois Glen Mountain Range [[fills lower edge of page]] [[end page]] [[start page]] 47 Sept. 15th Learned last evening of an extensive outcrop of Shales 8 miles south of Mr. Johnson's on Upper Leitches Creek district, we drove down there this morning and found a farmer who knew the locality, hired him to go with us. In a little ravine 2 miles from Upper Leitches Creek we found a few small brachiopods. This ravine is in what is called Barachois Glen. Going a little farther down the glen, and towards the mountain, we found another extensive outcrop of Cambrian Shales in a ravine through which a small brook runs to McClane's Brook. This is 4 miles from the mouth of McClane's brook which empties into Little Bras D'Or Lake. There we found a very prolific band in the shales and obtained a large number of finely preserved brachiopods. These, also, evidently Peltura Fauna. Well paid today for hiring extra man & guide Diagram of locality opposite page. [[end page]]
48 [[end page]] [[start page]] 49 Monday Sept. 17th Went this morning to the last locality discovered on Saturday afternoon. Worked there until 1 P.M. and secured a fine lot of well preserved brachiods of several genera & species. Then followed up McClane's Brook for two miles examining several shale beds found at two or three points a few fossils. At 2 1/2 miles found shales in two little brooks running into McClane's brook in greyish shales then we found a few brachiopods and fragments of a trilobite of a large species. From this point went on to McMullins on the cross road to Boisdale where Dr. Mathew had his headquarter when on this region. Found a few brachiopods in the shales south of McMullins. [[end page]]
50. Sept. 18. Hard rainstorm all day. No work [[end page]] [[start page]] 51. Sept. 19th. Went to Barachois and examined shales in the R.R. cuttings but found no fossils. In ravine a short distance south of the Barachois Post Office east of the R.R. in the banks of a little stream found shales of the Olenus Zone and made there a good collection of trilobites and brachiopods, all well preserved. Found two whole trilobites. [[in pencil]] Mathew knew nothing of this ravine. [[/in pencil]]
52 [[end page]] [[start page]] 53. Sept. 20th. Went to Barachios and made search along the R.R. cuttings and along the highway and shore of mainland on Bras D'O Lake, from here towards Georges River comes in the Alchemmian but could not find any fossils. Went north towards Georges River until we came upon the eruptive rocks near Georges River. Then returned to Barachois to the ravine worked yesterday here we got about 25 more good specimens among them one perfect trilobite. Examined 2 other small ravines. Do not see as much more can be done in this region. [[end page]]
September 21st Stormy day. Sept. 22nd Still Raining Sept. 23d Sunday - Pouring Wind a gale! [[end page]] [[start page]] Monday Sept. 24th Mr. Johnson carried me to North Sidney. Procured boxes and packed the bundles of specimens and delivered them to the Plant Line to be shipped to Boston on Oct. 2nd on the Steamer Florida No Steamer to Boston this week. Tomorrow start homewards.
[[blank page]] [[end page]] [[start page]] [[blank page]]
Localites to be numbered. [[under-scored]] [[over-written in pen; sideways; under-scored]] U.C. McNeil's Brook 1 1/2 miles [[over-written in pen; circled]]3h east of Marion Bridge, Cape Breton Olemus Zone - Mathews ____________________ McLean's Brook, one mile [[over-written in pen; circled]] 3i east of McCordrums Brook, and 1/12 miles west of Marion Bridge Glenns Zone, Mathew. [[over-write in pen; sideways; under-score and over-scored]]U.C. _____________________ Big Trout Brook 7 miles east of [[over-written in pen; circled]]3k Marion Bridge C.B. Peltura Zone Mathew [[over-write in pen]] M U.C. _____________________ Little Trout Brook 3 miles [[over-written in pen; circled; letter under-scored]]3l east of Marion Bridge C.B. ______________________ Morrison's Brook 2 1/2 mile [[over-written in pen; circled; letter under-scored]]3m east of Marion Bridge. ________________________ Salmon River. Gillis Hill [[over-written in pen; circled; letter under-scored]]3N 13 miles south of Marion Bridge [[over-written in pen]]? May be Etcheminian ___________________ Barachois C Breton [[over-written in pen; circled; letter under-scored]]3o 1 Peavine south of Post Office East Little Bras d'Or Lake Peltura Zone [[over-written in pen; under-scored and over-scored]] M.C. [[end page]] [[start page]] [[page torn with missing upper right-hand corner]] Re [[over-strike]] Boidsale C. Bralor Ravine 1/2 mile niven of McMillan's cross [[over-strike]] road to Birdsdale Station Peltura Zone. [[over-written in pen; over-strike and under-strike]] M.C. _________________ Barachois Glen, ravine [[over-written in pen; circled; letter under-scored]]3y 4 miles south of Settle Bras d'Or Lake Peltura Zone [[over-written in pen]]M.C. __________________ Johnson's Brook, Boisdale [[over-written in pen; circled]]3r Peltura Zone C. Breton [[over-written in pen;]] M.C. [[Youile eait]] Bras D'Or Lake _____________________ Forestry Lake [[over-written in pen; unreadable; over-scored circle]] Seitched Creek, C B Silurian [[circled]]
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