Blog originally posted June 17, 2020
June is National Indigenous History Month in Canada, and June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day. It is "... a day for all Canadians to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples."1
Jacob Gill Gaudaur (1858-1937)
Did you know that Jake Gaudaur, five-time World Champion rower, was the great-grandson of Big Shilling, Chief of the Deer Tribe in Rama?
Jacob “Jake" Gill Gaudaur (1858-1937) was born in Atherley, Ontario, the son of Francis and Janet (Gill) Gaudaur. His paternal grandfather was Antoine Gaudaur, the first-known non-native permanent settler in Orillia. Gaudaur's paternal grandmother was Mary (Shilling) Gaudaur, daughter of Chief Big Shilling (Neb-Non-A-Quet “Summer Cloud"), chief of the Deer Tribe in Rama, under Chief Yellowhead.
970-63 Jacob Gill Gaudaur. Copyright: Public Domain
Jake Gaudaur took up competitive rowing at the age of 17, and was one of the greatest scullers in the history of Canadian rowing. During the 1890s especially, he was nearly unbeatable. In 1892, Gaudaur and George Hosmer won the World Double Sculls Championship in a race held on Lake Couchiching. A year later, in Austin, Texas, Gaudaur set a world record for the single sculls three-miles-with-a-turn race. He lowered the record the next year in a time of 19 minutes 1.5 seconds, a time that has never been beaten. Gaudaur became the single sculls world champion in a race held on the Thames River in England, and he held the title from 1896 to 1901. During the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations held at Orillia on May 24, 1897, Gaudaur had no trouble beating Erastus Rogers of Worcester, Massachusetts, in a two-mile race for the North American championship.
After 25 years of competitive rowing, Gaudaur retired and returned to his hometown of Orillia. He operated a fishing and boat livery business until just a few months before his death.
1. Government of Canada. Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada. "About National Indigenous Peoples Day." Last modified May 21, 2020. Accessed May 29, 2020. https://www.rcaanc-cirnac.gc.ca/eng/1100100013718/1534874583157
Northern Advance (Barrie), 14 Oct 1937, p. 6
Examiner (Barrie), 14 Oct 1937, p. 5
Examiner (Barrie), 27 May 1897, p. 1
“Hall of Famer Jake, Sr. Gaudaur." Canada's Sports Hall of Fame. https://www.sportshall.ca/hall-of-famers/hall-of-famers-search.html?proID=190&catID=all&lang=EN Accessed June 1, 2020
“Jake" Gaudaur 1858-1937. Ontario Heritage Trust plaque. http://ontarioplaques.com/Plaques/Plaque_Simcoe56.html Accessed June 2, 2020.
The Chippewas of Rama First Nation Historical Archives has information about the Shilling Family available on its website.https://ramafirstnation.pastperfectonline.com/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&search_criteria=Shilling&searchButton=Search
The Simcoe County Archives' blog post commemorating National Indigenous History Month 2017.