March of 1870 a meteorite hit near Halifax,
Nova Scotia - near the opening of the Bedford
Basin. As reported, it brought with it some
strange occurrences, which were seen as far
as New Brunswick. This phenomena would have
passed over Sackville too (where Fenerty lived).
Since few meteorites have ever hit Canada, and
none ever to hit Nova Scotia (known), this would
have been much talked about. It's likely that
Fenerty's poem, To a Meteorite, was about this
one. The poem takes you on a journey through
space; wondering where the meteor came from.
Halifax Citizen; March 19, 1870
one thy history thou mysterious thing
Born of the rolling spheres!
Tell me the story of thy wandering
Through time’s uncounted years!
the same time another meteorite was making headlines,
it was called The Iron Creek Meteorite.
The 386 pound meteorite (over 91 percent iron),
is said to be Canada's largest. Struck many
years before it was found, it is believed to
have been moved from Strawstack Hill to Victoria
Mission around 1866. It is certain that W. F.
Butler saw it in the mission yard in 1870. Butler's
account was the first one to reach the general
public mentioning the reverence in which it
was held by the Indians: "No tribe or portion
of a tribe would pass in the vicinity without
paying a visit to the great medicine... The
old medicine men declared that its removal would
lead to great misfortunes, and that war, disease
and death of buffalo would afflict the tribes
of the Saskatchewan." (Sir. W. F. Butler,
The Great Lone Land, p. 304). Eventually these
things did happen to the tribe. The meteorite
is on display at the Alberta Museum. It's not
known which meteorite Fenerty wrote this poem
about, but it's likely it was one of these two,
placing the date he wrote it in 1870.