James Churchward, who lived from 1851 to 1936, wrote a series of books on the Lost Continent of Mu , in which he postulates that the Garden of Eden was on a now sunken continent in the Pacific Ocean. He wrote that he had been studying the subject since the 1860s when he was in India. He stated that the now-lost Pacific continent of Mu maintained a high level of civilization and colonies around the world. He also stated that Mu was the birthplace of the human race and that cataclysmic events sunk Mu beneath the waves thousands of years ago.
What most people don't know is that James was also an Engineer, or that he wrote and illustrated books and articles for Sportsmen. In 2005 I created a website dedicated to information on James Churchward and his theories. In 2011 I put out a request to find an original copy of James Churchward’s 1894 work entitled "Fishing Among the Thousand Islands". Thanks to the generosity of of Thousand Islander, Robert Matthews, the work has been scanned and I have a copy that was published by the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad.
When James got to the United States in the 1880s, he worked as a salesman on the railroad in the Northeast United States. He also began to patent some of his inventions pertaining to the railroad. These inventions included spikes and wear plates. His association with the railroads provided the opportunity to travel through the Northeast and engage in two of his favorite pastimes, fishing and hunting.
"Fishing Among the Thousand Islands" appears to be James' first published work and like the later "A Big Game and Fishing Guide to Northeastern Maine" was written in support of encouraging people to ride the railroad to engage in recreational activities in the untamed wilderness. Unlike the later work, James only covers fishing in this one, and his love of the sport is clearly evident in both.
In chapter 1, James sets the stage by describing the St. Lawrence River and the scenery in alluring terms, surreptitiously beckoning the reader to escape to the unparalleled beauty of nature and revel in the experience called, "The Fisherman's Paradise." He describes the entire enterprise, from the ever changing loveliness of the scenery in the safety and comfort of the St. Lawrence skiff, to the consumption of a lazy gourmet meal and the enjoyment of a cigar, followed eventually by the inevitable exchange of experiences after one reaches shore. After reading this, one might wonder if this is what is called heaven.
Chapter 2 starts the intelligence briefing about the expected targets of the leisure-time endeavor, allowing that a great many types of fish are present. The reader is informed that the true game fish to pursue are the Pike Proper, Black Bass, and Muskallonge, followed by an entire chapter devoted to the description of each, how to hook them, and keep them on the line until they are in the boat. His narrative is chock full of examples that lets the reader know that James did not go fishing a couple of times before he wrote this work; his skills and the advice he offers was crafted through years of diligent practice and experience.
The intelligence briefing continues with tips on trolling for that 'Muskallonge from eighteen to twenty-five pounds (that) will give the fisherman more trouble, size for size, than any fish that exists.'
Next is presented a primer on fishing tackle with the inside information that brings you up to speed on the hardware requirements of your mission to 'Fisherman's Paradise.' James discusses lines, hooks, rods and everything else required to be correctly outfitted, he even includes a list of the contents of a Muskallonge tackle box at the end.
The final section discusses the best places to find the Muskallonge, as James mentions they are not to be found throughout the St. Lawrence River. He provides charts and descriptions of the nine best Muskallonge 'fishing holes' on the St. Lawrence in the early 1890s.
As the later book "A Big Game and Fishing Guide to Northeastern Maine" showed, this work contributes to an added dimension of James as an accomplished sportsman and man of his time. While there is no discussion of the hunting aspect in this work, James was also proficient in the care and use of firearms and suggested in "A Big Game..." that in addition to your hunting rifle, that one should carry a "holstered revolver (38 or 44 caliber)" and a hunting knife (not double-edged.)
Like many of his subsequent written works, James also provides the illustrations for this work, some of which have graced this article.
by Jack Churchward, http://my-mu.com, Clearwater, Florida
Jack E. Churchward spent six years in the United States Navy and went on to earn his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of South Florida. He has over thirty years experience in the Aerospace and Defense industry, having worked on both manned and unmanned Space and Military platforms with the same firm. In addition to earning the rank of Eagle Scout and participating in archaeological digs as a youth, Jack is a fourth generation engineer and fourth generation patent holder and identifies himself as a Tibetan Buddhist.
Jack research into the life and theories of his great-grandfather James Churchward, author of the series of books about the Lost Continent of Mu, is conducted using his technical expertise, unique connections, special viewpoint and access to a portion of James' original source materials. Armed with his knowledge and capabilities, Jack seeks to create a more complete understanding of James Churchward and his theories.
He writes, “He has been married to the same lovely lady for 35 years, has three grown children and five grandchildren”.
Note: The illustrations below were published in the New York Central RR brochure, 1894, “Fishing among the Thousand Islands”. This brochure is part of the Robert Matthews Collection and generously shared with Jack Churchward and Thousand Islands life Magazine.