Glaciers and Mastadons in the Great Lakes Country

The Glencoe & District Historical Society is thrilled to launch a speaker series that delves into the captivating world of prehistory, sparked by the remarkable discovery of a mastodon tooth in our very own community.

Our journey begins with James Watson, a local farmer from the Glencoe area, who stumbled upon this extraordinary find while plowing a drained bog in 1939 approximately four miles northwest of Glencoe. The massive tooth was promptly taken to the University of Western Ontario for examination.

The tooth has been passed along down the generations until one of Mr. Watson’s descendants donated it to Glencoe & District Historical Society’s collection. The tooth weighs 4 1/2 pounds, with a grinding surface measuring 7 1/2” x 4”. The depth of each crown extends to about 4 inches.

Mastodons, relatives of mammoths, once roamed North America during the late Pleistocene epoch, from 15,000 to 9,000 years ago. These colossal woolly creatures weighed between 3,000 to 5,000 kg and became extinct around 9,000 years ago.

Our speaker series promises to unearth even more intriguing stories about the animals, people, and antiquity that emerged and evolved after the last great glacier receded. Join us as we embark on this extraordinary journey through time, exploring the mysteries of prehistory right here in our community.

First up is Larry Cornelis on October 17, 2023. Larry Cornelis will tell the story of the impacts and challenges faced by our local forests and landscapes over the last 15,000 years. This includes climate change at both ends of that time frame, the advancement of ecosystems north, indigenous land care and European colonization, extensive habitat loss and the extirpation of many native species across our region.

Glennda Dupuis with the Watson family mastodon tooth donated to the Glencoe & District Historical Society 2022