In Loving Memory of James Luther Hosking- The Father of Aboriginal Archaeology



Today I am documenting for posterity the story of  James Luther Hosking that was originally published in the Sherbrooke Record in 2009. Thanks to David Hosking for sending this and letting the whole world share what a great man his Father was.

In Loving Memory of James Luther Hosking—24 May 1922 – 17 June 2008

By David Hosking

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Five years ago, in his 86th year, Jim Hosking bought the farm, having lived only half of the time on this Earth that he wished for, and perhaps three or four times longer than what a few of his relatives had hoped for. Incredibly, for over eight decades, Jim escaped near-death experiences at least two million times. Never afraid of hard work, he was a very active man who was prone to overexerting himself at whatever task he undertook. His favourite expression following each endeavour was That damn-near killed me!” and he fully enjoyed relaying the intricate details of each of these brushes with death to anyone within earshot.

He was born into an impecunious family in the boondocks of New Jersey, and he was raised by his grandmother who used to swear at him a lot, albeit lovingly. They cut their own firewood, grew their own vegetables, stole chickens from the neighbours, and shot a wide variety of varmints for the cooking pot in order to survive the lean and hungry years of the Great Depression. Speaking of food, Jim loved to eat and could never pass up a meal, or even a snack. He ate lots of animal fat which never seemed to adversely affect his overall health and stature. Throughout his youthful years, Jim suffered from asthma. This ailment prevented his acceptance into the military at the outbreak of WWII. Instead, he served the wartime effort as an electrochemist with the Aircraft Radio Company where he participated in the development of the first remote-controlled airplane.

To escape the unhealthy New Jersey climate, as well as a failed marriage, Jim moved to Sherbrooke, Quebec in 1949, and brought along his two young children, Linda and Jimmy, to be raised in a more civilized place. At this point in his life, he met Elaine Marian Bishop who swept him off his feet with her incredible beauty and compassionate heart. He was star-struck and could hardly believe his good fortune in finding the true love of his life. Elaine and Jim were married at the United Church in Bishopton in 1950. Three years later, Elaine and Jim gave birth to the fifth member of the family, David, who eventually grew up, despite the strong doubts of his parents, teachers, relatives and law enforcement.


Blueberry Point Lake Massawippi

The family lived in Sherbrooke during the winter months but spent the summers at their cottage on the western shore of Lake Massawippi near Blueberry Point. Jim and Elaine cleared the wilderness property and built two cottages, mostly by hand, for the express purpose of steering their children away from joining street-gangs in Sherbrooke. The travails of building the cottages gave Jim at least one million opportunities to use his favourite expression “…damn near killed me!”

Jim was passionate about hunting and fishing, as well as archaeology. He is considered by some to be the father of aboriginal archaeology in the Province of Quebec. He loved and respected all aspects of the natural environment; he was a member of the Naturalist Society (not to be confused with Naturist) in Lennoxville where he enjoyed listening to talks about the birds and the bees from his colleagues. For years he was dedicated to improving the water quality of his adopted lake, annoying friends and neighbours alike by selling memberships to them in the Lake Massawippi Fish & Game Club. He also dedicated many hours to the sportsman’s community by serving as one of the first district instructors for the Quebec hunter’s safety course. This was an ideal public venue for discussing the potential for death and dismemberment by firearms—one of Jim’s many favourite topics.

Jim was a Freemason, who was raised a Master Mason in 1953. He was twice Past Master of the Prince of Wales Lodge in Sherbrooke and then Chaplain of the Lodge in Magog. Membership in the Fraternity had a major and positive influence on his outlook toward mankind and on his relationship with God.

In 1995, Elaine, his loving wife of forty-five years, passed away quietly at the Sherbrooke Hospital after a very long illness. For many years, until her demise, Jim attended to Elaine’s daily needs as she slipped further and further away. He is survived by his three children, Linda, James, and David, all who have been blessed with good looks and brilliant minds. His kids participated in the mass Anglo Exodus from Quebec in the 60s and 70s and now they reside in various other parts of North America.

Jim is survived by his daughter Linda Hosking (Wright), son James Raymond Hosking and other son David Luther Hosking. His grandchildren are Laura Wright and Michael Wright, Julie Hosking (Fitchet), Lisa Hosking (Stanton), Elaine Hosking and Collin Hosking. He was also the great-grandfather of Tyler Fitchet and Olivia Stanton. Expanding the family circle a bit further, Jim was the brother of William, and the sister of Katherine, Alice, and Evelyn, all of New Jersey. Regarding Jim’s obituary, published in 2008 in the Daily Record, some of Jim’s in-laws pointed out that their names were not mentioned in the newspaper. Unencumbered by experience with writing such things, that same author shall try to make amends herein. Accordingly, Jim was the brother-in-law of Lloyd and Rita Bishop, the late Douglas and Ethel Bishop, Lorne and Pauline Bishop, and Douglas and Shirley (Bishop) (late) Willard.

Jim’s presence on this Earth is sorely missed by his family and friends, notwithstanding his corny humour. Clearly, he was a character—strong-willed, quick to help, quick to laugh, and most certainly not a slave to fashion. He had a significant impact on all who met him.

Love to you always, Dad.


James L. Hosking is considered the father of prehistoric archeology in this region. Originally from the United States, he settled in Sherbrooke in 1949. He discovered more than a dozen sites in the region, including the one at Lac des Nations. In the early 1960s, he helped found the Société d’archéologie de Sherbrooke with Abbé René Lévesque. For more than 50 years, he gathered many artifacts, creating one of the most impressive private collections of the region’s prehistoric archeology. In 1973 at Lac des Nations, James L. Hosking discovered an artifact that leads us to believe that First Nations people were in this area between 6 000 and 4 000 years before present.

Hosking, James L.  1922-1928
Passed away suddenly on Tuesday June 17, 2008 at Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital. Dear father of Linda Wright of Kitchener. As requested by James, a private funeral service will be held, graveside in Sherbrooke, Quebec.

Related reading:





Newspaper article from David Hosking

Where is Pointe James Hosking?–Click here

Monday, January 18th, 2010

As of December 1st, 2009, the Southern portion of Lac des Nations is officially known as Pointe James Hosking.  It fulfills one of Jim’s most intense and long-lasting wishes. He would often speak with a sense of urgency over the matter of having a plaque put up along the river`s edge to make known the culture that lived there before us.

It was made known to him when he found the spear point in the lake, and he wanted so badly to share this knowledge with others because he had a deep love and respect for anything involving conservation, history, culture and above all, people – even if they lived there thousands of years ago and he never saw them. It didn’t matter – he still had a deep respect for them and would often say how he wished he could have met them.

His convictions are a crying voice to the memory of our forgotten ancestors, a voice that would not have been so readily expressed by any other person other than himself. I am proud of James Hosking for this. He wanted them to be remembered, and it is ironic that through his generous disposition he will be remembered along with them, thus becoming a part of what he loved so much.

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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