Carolyn Mayben Flowers: the Lady Prospector of Porcupine

June 9th, 2013 by

Working my way through some of the Canadian Collection on Commons this morning, I discovered a rather eye-catching picture:

Porcupine's lady prospector (HS85-10-24373)

“Porcupine’s Lady Prospector”, photographed at the Porcupine Gold Rush in the summer of 1911. Two things immediately strike the viewer: one is that the woman in the photograph is dressed decorously by the standards of Edwardian Canada, with a white blouse and a long dark skirt, despite the searing heat of that summer – Porcupine would later be devastated by wildfire – and the second is that she has a revolver slung casually on one hip.

There has to be a story here.

It turns out to be quite quick to put a name to her; the Timmins Daily Press captions a copy of the picture as Carolyn Mayben Flowers, and the Timmins Museum gives us still around in 1915, giving piano lessons. I haven’t been able to trace her after that, or indeed before. There is a “Cathaline Flowers” in Gowganda (aged 26, married, with a six-year-old daughter), but Gowganda is a long way from Timmins, and she doesn’t list herself as American…

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3 Responses to “Carolyn Mayben Flowers: the Lady Prospector of Porcupine”

  1. Davi Says:

    As an author, I would be interested in this story. Did you find anything out about her?

  2. Andrew Says:

    Nothing much, I’m afraid; she seems to disappear. The Timmins Museum might have more.

    (My personal suspicion is that her back-story as told in Porcupine did not quite match wherever she’d come from…)

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