Sometime in 1987 Bruce Neal,discovered a White Owl cigar box full with 93 old black and white photographs in his aunt Beatrice Maunder's attic. It was immediately obvious they were of life in a Hudson's Bay Post somehwere in the high Arctic. One photograph was annotated "Billie Pennell Bafan Island". Research conducted off and on determined the Post was Lake Harbour on Baffin Island and the photographs dated between 1920 and 1921.
Photographs of Wolstenholme Post and, in particular, of a memorial to W.R. Ford and C.C.T. Shepherd, who drowned in a canoe accident in 1913, directed the research into details of the Ford family and their involvement in the establishment of HBC Posts throughout Hudson Strait and Baffin Island. Anauta, a world-famous, part-Inuit woman, and W.R. Ford's widow, once lived in St. John's with her sister-in-law Elizabeth who was married to an Alexander Watson of Scotland. Perhaps the pictures were taken by her during subsequent returns North, or were supplied to her by the HBC, as were several similar shots she used in her biography "Land of the Good Shadows" published in 1947. As Aunt Beatrice was involved with a Charles Watson of Scotland for most of her life it seemed a logical connection that pictures might have ended up in her estate. However, no connections could be found between Alexander and Charles.
A separate inquiry into the role of William (Billie) Pennell also failed to show any local connection. The mysterious Mr. Pennell became even more obscure when it was found his personnel records in the HBC Archives in Winnipeg were missing. His years of service were reconstructed from various Post journals, but, few if any other references to his life with HBC were uncovered. Given the depth and detail of every other Arctic employee throughout the period this is very peculiar.
Bruce is convinced some of the Maunder's might have had connections to HBC activities in Baffin Island but no further information on this possible connection was uncovered. As the Maunder's were connected to several St. John's shipping companies during the early 1900's, and HBC chartered St. John's based ships for the annual summer Post re-supply and removal of goods, posession of the pictures by the Maunder family might be likely.