Sunday, July 26, 2009

Following Alexander Caulfield Anderson around British Columbia, part 3

The first days of April 1847 were pleasant and warm, though snow still lay on the ground at Fort Alexandria, New Caledonia. On April 23, a man arrived at the fort with dispatches that instructed Anderson to explore for another route to Fort Langley from Kamloops -- this time through the rugged canyons and rapids of the Fraser River. This would be Alexander Caulfield Anderson's third and fourth exploration.
Anderson's party was not the first exploring party to follow the Fraser south to the ocean. In 1793, Alexander Mackenzie began his journey southward, but on the advice of the natives took the West Road River west. Fifteen years later, Simon Fraser and John Stuart explored the Fraser to its mouth and returned to New Caledonia, disappointed at its difficult course. In 1828, Governor Simpson descended the river from Kamloops with a few chief traders (James Murray Yale amongst them), and frightened themselves silly in the Fraser River canyons.
Now James Douglas and Peter Skene Ogden asked Anderson to explore a route through the Fraser canyons to Fort Langley. Yale, now Chief Trader at Fort Langley, knew that the natives travelled through the canyons regularly, and thought there must be a practical route. Anderson was expected to find it.
Pahallak, a native tribal chief from Chilliwack area, guided Anderson and his men downriver to Fort Langley by their native trails, some of which clung to the cliffsides above the Fraser River. Anderson knew that the brigaders could never use the cliff-side trails, but thought it possible they might be able to bring their boats upriver through the rapids. On June 1, 1847, Anderson set out from Fort Langley with his men and two canoes, to see if they could follow the river north to the native village of Spuzzum, on the banks of the Spuzzum River.
This series of photographs illustrates Anderson's journey up the Fraser River to the area around the modern-day Alexandra bridge, in the summer of 1847. The photograph at the top of the page shows the Fraser River north of Yale but south of Spuzzum. For the most part, this is what the Fraser River looked like to its early explorers -- a narrow, rugged and foaming river that twisted around rock faces and gave no safe footing on its banks. But south of Yale, the Fraser widened and slowed, and by the time it reached Hope it flowed smoothly but rapidly. In the second photo, we look upriver from the place where Fort Hope was later constructed on the river's east bank.
The photo below shows the Fraser River between Yale and Spuzzum, looking north toward Spuzzum. The next photo is of one of a few quiet spots in the river; the final photo in this cluster is of modern day Spuzzum, looking up the Fraser River toward the Alexandra bridge.

The next photographs are of the rapids that Anderson walked past coming downriver and going up. Anderson estimated the length of this difficult part of the river at 3 miles; obviously this is only a short section of that rapid-filled river.
At Yale, Anderson crossed the river from its west to east bank, and followed that bank upriver to the place where a cluster of oak trees stood, a little more than a mile north of the place where Fort Yale was later constructed. They crossed the river and dragged their boat up the Fraser's west bank through a set of rapids to another quiet patch of water. Again they crossed the river, and lined their boats up the river's east bank to the last set of rapids.
To this point, the explorers had a fairly untroubled journey upriver, and Anderson remained optimistic about the possiblity of success. But at the top of these rapids, trouble struck. As the steersman stepped out of the canoe, the strong river current caughts its bow and sheered the boat into the river's current. The rotten bow-line snapped, and the canoe plunged down the boiling rapids, carrying its lone native crewmember with it.

Fearing for their comrade's life, the natives shouted and took up their arms, but were quickly calmed by the Company men. The runaway canoe came to rest in an eddy at the bottom of the rapids, and natives and explorers alike rushed down the river bank to see if the bowman had survived his harrowing journey. The man was safe, but throughly frightened by his experience.

At this point, everyone sat down for an extended smoke and a parlay to settle their nerves. Then the natives carried the canoe upriver by an overland path which bypassed the rapids, while the Company men walked ahead with their axes, cutting the branches to clear their way. The difficult journey took five hours out of their day, but at last the two parties were reuinited at the head of the rapids.
On June 5, 1847, Anderson paid his native guides for their time, and the explorers paddled their Northwest canoe upriver, hugging the river banks to take advantage of the river's many eddies. At Kequeloose (a native village somewhere in the area of Alexandra Bridge) they hid the native canoe in the bushes for Pahallak to return to Fort Langley. Then Anderson distributed axes to all hands, and everyone chopped down trees to clear a new path that zig-zagged up the hill behind Kequeloose. This path became the route of the new brigade trail up the Anderson River to Nicola Valley.
The following photograph was taken just south of the Saddle Rock tunnel and shows the Fraser River as it flows south toward Yale. The final photograph of this series was taken at the upper end of the modern-day Alexandra bridge (the third bridge), and we can see the second bridge in the distance.

Chief Trader Alexander Caulfield Anderson, 1846

At Fort Alexandria, Alexander Caulfield Anderson received his long expected Commission as chief trader in the Honorable Hudson's Bay Company's Service -- 15 years after he entered the fur trade. There were only three positions available to the Gentlemen of the Company -- clerk, chief trader, and chief factor. Although after 1834 the numbers of chief factors were reduced and the number of chief traders increased, fewer than 50 active and retired chief traders received dividends in any one year. Retired chief traders received dividends a full six years after their retirement, and until a retired chief trader no longer received dividends, no senior clerk could be granted his commission as chief trader. Many a clerk did the work of a chief trader without ever earning a promotion and, as in the case of Anderson's father-in-law, James Birnie, some men were never considered for promotion.

It was always an honor to be named chief trader, for it was public recognition of the good work done for the Company, and it meant a marked increase in wages. Even more importantly, the new chief trader now shared in the profits of the Company. Since 1821, the Company's dividends had been divided into 100 shares, with 40 of those shares going to the men who worked in the field. These 40 shares were immediately divided into 85 shares, which were then distributed amongst the chief factors and chief traders. Each chief factor was entitled to two shares (or 2/85th of 40% of the total dividends of the Company) and each chief trader to one.

Immediately upon receiving the letter that advised him he was now a chief trader, Alexander Anderson wrote of the joyful news to his brother, James, now in charge of the Lake Nipigon post. In his response, James expressed his pleasure that at least one of them had received their long awaited chief tradership. "Since one of us was to suffer disappointment and disgrace," James wrote, "I rejoice that the blow has fallen on me, not on you." Although James had never had a complaint lodged against him, he had been superseded in his department by 3 junior officers, men who in his opinion could never have properly run a fur trade post. James was so angry at the slight that he considered leaving the Company's service, and so humiliated he could hardly show his face in the fort.

However, James pulled himself together enough to warmly congratulate his younger brother, and to advise him that his first dividends should be excellent because the returns in the east had been especially high. James' prophecy did not prove accurate, and in a year or two the fur traders in the east suggested that a fixed amount of 400 pounds a year be permanently established for chief traders' dividends. But, James wrote, "Who will bell the cat?" Governor Simpson had a free hand to do whatever he wanted to do, and no one had the power to prevent him from keeping dividends low. In the years after 1840, a chief trader's annual dividends averaged little more than 300 pounds sterling.

James had also heard through the grapevine that his younger brother had obtained his chief trader's commission through the influence of Peter Skene Ogden, who was now firmly entrenched as one of Governor Simpson's favorites. James also expressed his concern that their cousin, James Anderson B, knew no chief factors personally and, as a result, could hardly expect to make chief trader. In this fur trade it had become apparent that those who received their chief trader's commission were those who had powerful friends amongst the chief factors, some of whom, James remarked, used their influence "in favor of relatives, at the expense of their Honor & Conscience." Governor Simpson even admitted as much, when he wrote that the men who had been promoted "were placed in situations where their services came more immediately under the notice of those on whose recommendations the promotions take place."

Sources: Harold A. Innes, The Fur Trade in Canada (U of T Press, 1964)
Letters, James Anderson A to Alexander Caulfield Anderson, A/B/40/An32, PABC

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Following Alexander Caulfield Anderson around British Columbia, part 2

In 1846, Alexander Caulfield Anderson made two explorations across the mountains that separated Kamloops from Fort Langley. In his first exploration, he and his men followed Anderson and Seton Lakes west to Lillooet Lakes and finally to Harrison Lake, arriving safely at Fort Langley.

From Fort Langley the explorers set out in canoes, disembarking at the mouth of the Coquihalla River where Fort Hope later stood. Anderson's native guides led him up the banks of the river through a broad, thickly wooded valley. Where the Coquihalla turned sharply northward, another river -- the Nicolum -- flowed in from the southeast.

The explorers followed the course of the Nicolum River up its narrow valley, and walked over two heights of land to arrive on the shore of the lake Anderson later named Outram Lake. They continued to follow the river eastward, and where the stream joined another that flowed in from the south, they met a native hunter from Thompson's River who had crossed the mountains to hunt beaver. For the next two days, the man guided them eastward by a native track that followed the banks of the Sumallo River. Then he showed Anderson a well-marked trail that ascended the mountain from a grove of trees where the wild Rhododendrons bloomed. The stream that Anderson and his men followed to the top of the mountains was the Snass, and the red Rhododendrons that they saw still bloom at Manning Park's Rhododendron Flats -- one of the few spots in the province where the California Rhododendrons grow wild.


Most people would picture the rhododendron growing in bright sunlight, but the California Rhododendron (Rhododendron macrophyllum) likes shade and cool, dry environments. This plant grows under trees -- in California the rhododendron grows under the Redwoods; in British Columbia it likes our forests of Douglas fir, cedar or Ponderosa pine.

The California Rhododendron is an evergreen shrub that grows in thickets, and each plant grows 6 to 12 feet tall with branches that reach toward the light. The leaves are 3 to 6 inches long; the plant blooms in mid-June and its flowers are a bright, showy pink.

Manning Park's Rhododendron Flats is a quiet place -- peaceful and undisturbed. From the parking lot a trail leads through the trees and toward the river. It takes a couple of minutes for the walker to realize that the tall, straggling bushes that surround him is the Rhododendron he has come to find. They are everywhere, in thickets or standing alone, either reaching skyward or spreading their branches across the ground to find a sunny patch. The grove is still and quiet, and the last of flowers stick stubbornly to the branches of the rhododendrons. From amongst the trees, a tall, thin, man leads a cluster of chattering French-Canadians and a few heavily burdened natives through the flowering Rhododendrons, looking ahead to find the path that will lead him to the top of the mountains.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

General Sir James Outram, A.C. Anderson's heroic cousin

The Outram name appears in a number of places in British Columbia -- Mount Outram in the Coast Range and a mountain of the same name in the Rockies, and Outram Lake. Outram was an Anderson-Seton family name, but only one of these place-namings can be directly attributed to Alexander Caulfield Anderson. Sometime before 1867, Anderson named Outram Lake for his first cousin, General Sir James Outram, whose story appears below.

According to the B.C. Lands Dept. Hope-Princeton Sheet, 1939, the Nicolum River flowed west out of Outram Lake, a lake nestled close to the base of the mountain that loomed high above the valley floor that Anderson walked down in 1846. But according to Anderson's 1867 map of British Columbia, Anderson gave the Outram name to the second lake he came to as he explored this valley -- the lake at the head of the Sumallo River. This lake still exists, and its photograph is above. But today's Outram Lake has disappeared under the Hope Slide, buried under the tons of rock and rubble that fell down the side of Mount Outram in 1965.

This is General Sir James Outram's story. Alexander Caulfield Anderson's cousin, James Outram, was born in 1803 and was much older than his many Anderson cousins. With the huge difference in age and situation, A.C. Anderson could hardly have known his cousin personally, but he knew who he was. In 1845, when A.C. Anderson first mentioned his cousin's exploits in a letter to Governor Simpson, Outram had already become famous in London and India.

James Outram was the 2nd son of Benjamin Outram and Margaret Anderson, daughter of Dr. James Anderson and Margaret Seton. Margaret Outram was an eccentric woman who accused both her Outram brother-in-law, and Alex Seton, her brother, of not supporting her family after her husband's early death. Both men had supported her family through many difficult years, and while Frances, her oldest son, recognized their support, James did not, and cut himself off from his Anderson family.

In 1819, James joined the East India Company's Bengal Army as ensign in the 4th Native Infantry, and sailed for India on the ship York. He arrived in August, and joined his regiment at Poona as a lieutenant in the 1st Grenadier Native Infantry. He was shortly transferred to the 12th Native Infantry and became acting adjutant in July, accompanying his regiment to Baroda. In December he became ill; in Feb. 1822 he rejoined his regiment but had a narrow escape when a native boat in which he was travelling was blown up by the fireworks that Outram carried with him. Outram was scorched about his face, but otherwise uninjured -- perhaps this is why he is always pictured with a heavy beard.

James Outram served his army in the native states of Kittur, and was sent with 200 men to seize the hill forts of Meywar and Joshpur. He served afterwards in Bhil, where he was entrusted with the duty of raising a light infantry corps under native commissioned and non-commissioned officers. (The East India Company's Army always had British officers and native soldiers, or sepoys.) The Bhils were a wild tribe considered robbers by the British, but Outram was successful in convincing many to join his Army. Natives often joined the Army to wear the bright red coats the soldiers wore, apparently, but the Bhils especially respected Outram for his courage, sportsmanship, and fearlessness in the face of danger.

In 1830, Outram set out to invade and subdue the Dang country and did so in a fortnight's time. In 1831 he was successful in stopping certain outrages committed in the districts of Yawal and Sauda. In 1833 he was promoted to Captain, and captured the Bhil rebel chief Hatnia. In 1836 the married his first cousin Margaret (sister of James Anderson B, HBC) but was obliged to hurry off to the Mahi Kanta on appointment as political agent. Outram's measures were violent, but the reproofs he received were softened by compliments on his military genius, energy and sound judgment.

Outram continued his work in the HEIC Army and remained successful in everything he did. In 1839 he made brevet major after a dangerous tour through Afghanistan when he delivered a dispatch from Afghanistan to the Governor of Bombay disguised as an Afghan and accompanied only by a private servant and two guides. In 1840, Outram was made political agent in the Lower Sindh, on the south banks of the Indus River in northern India near Afghanistan. A short time later he was granted the political agency of the Upper Sindh in addition to the Lower, and remained in charge there until 1842. The East India Company, a company that had started its life as a trading company similar to the Hudson's Bay Company, had long been unable to control its appetite for conquest. Sir Charles Napier determined to annex the Sindh and remove its princes from power, but Outram opposed the province's annexation. With the support of the British government, Napier wrested control of the Sindh from its princes and celebrated his victory with the pun, "I have sinned."

No political position survived for Outram afterward. He returned to England on furlough, and represented the princes of Sindh to the British government; the very public arguments between Outram and Napier raged in the London newspapers for years afterwards.

In 1844 Outram returned to India, and almost immediately helped put down one of India's many mutinys. In 1845 he was made Resident at Satara; in 1847 he was Resident at Baroda, the highest position under the Bombay government. Residents were part of the British system of ruling India, and Outram had a great deal of power in this last position. However Outram tried to put a stop to the corruption the British practiced and was removed from office. In 1856 he returned to England; in 1857 he was back in India and fighting the Persian war. Also in 1857 the king knighted Outram.

Shortly afterward the Indian Mutiny broke out. The mutineers massacred the British residents of the Residency of Cawnpore and besieged the Residency of Lucknow. With General Havelock, General Sir James Outram fought his way into the Lucknow Residency to relieve it from its siege, only to be besieged himself. The conditions that existed inside the Residency during its long siege were terrible, with dysentery and other diseases killing many of the men and women trapped there. The second relief came in October 1857, and Outram finally led everyone to the safety of Fort Alumbagh. But Outram's health began to fail, and he died in the south of France in 1863.

In 1846, Alexander Caulfield Anderson made two explorations across the mountains that separated Kamloops and Fort Langley, looking for a possible brigade trail. On his second exploration, he started from Fort Langley and followed the Coquihalla River toward the east. He and his men lunched on the banks of a river where the Coquihalla turned sharply northward, and another river -- the Nicolum -- flowed in from the southeast.

The explorers followed the course of the Nicolum River up its narrow valley, and Anderson saw that the river banks offered a soft surface for the horses' hooves. At that day's end, he expressed his optimism that this trail might become the new route into the interior. The explorers continued to follow the stream the following day, climbing over a height of land to arrive on the shore of a little lake nestled in a mountain valley. Here the country was fine and clear, with groves of large cedars and soft, mossy ground, and Anderson knew it would be a simple job to build a horse road through this open country. This is the lake that Anderson later named Outram Lake.

The Outram name was later transferred to the first lake Anderson had come to, and the mountain that loomed over it Mount Outram. The lakes remain unnamed in Anderson's journal of that time, nor do they appear on his 1858 map. But by the time he drew his 1867 map, Anderson had heard of his cousin's death, and named the second lake for General Sir James Outram.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The HBCo. brigade trails in British Columbia

Local historians are becoming interested in the many brigade trails that wind their way through the British Columbia countryside, and groups are now working to preserve and develop the pieces of trail that still remain. There are six trails in all, and Alexander Caulfield Anderson rode over every single one of them during his years in New Caledonia. At times, he was the first gentleman to take the New Caledonia brigades out over a newly established trail.
Building a brigade trail through this heavily wooded and rocky country was not a simple task of finding a trail and cutting down a few trees. Through experience good and bad, the Hudson's Bay men had developed strict requirements for their brigade trails. These Company men looked for trails that hundreds of horses could safely pass over without injury, and a trail that might work well for a native man on foot would not work for the heavily loaded brigade horses. Sharp rocks on the trail-bed was only one of many hazards -- if the ground was too soft, the passage of so many horses through a muddy streambed could turn the trail into a quagmire the animals could not easily cross. Safe fords over rivers and creeks were essential, especially as so much of the early summer travel was done in the season of high water. Gradient was important, but a steep slope might be overcome by switchbacks if the hillside allowed room. The horses needed food and water, and the trail-builders sowed alfalfa and white clover along the edges of the horse-road. Finally, on sharp corners where the pack animals liked to rub their loads, the men attached protruding triangles of wood that forced the animals to swing wide, thereby preventing damage to the packs they carried.

The first trail -- Okanagan trail to Kamloops from Osoyoos Lake
The oldest trail led from Fort Vancouver, by boat up the Columbia River to Fort Okanogan, where the Okanagan River flowed south into the Columbia. This trail was built in 1826, and today its few remnants are 183 years old.
(Note: the Americans spell the fort's name Okanogan; the Canadians use Okanagan. On his entry into the country in 1832, Anderson learned to spell the fort's name Okinagan, and pronounced its name O-kee-na-gan.)
North of Fort Okanogan, the brigade trail led up the east bank of the Okanagan River. Above the Okanagan's junction with the Similkameen River, the men of the brigade waded across the Okanagan River to its west bank at a place where an active native fishery flourished. They continued to follow the river through its open grasslands to pass west of Lake Osoyoos, and northward still. According to both Sam Black's pre-1841 map (CM/B2079, PABC), and A.C. Anderson's 1867 map of British Columbia (CM/F9), the trail did not follow the Okanagan River north of Osoyoos Lake. Instead it passed west of the spectacular rock bluff south of Lake Vaseaux (possibly passing through the area around White Lake), and joined Okanagan Lake where modern-day Summerland stands.
Four km. of this brigade trail still exist near Summerland, and there must be more pieces in the area that remain unidentified. The concern is that no part of the Okanagan brigade trail is protected, whether identified or unidentified, and the Summerland portion is now severely damaged by mountain bikers and other recreational riders. This is the portion of the brigade trail piece that we will be attempting to find protection for, and I am planning a quick visit to Summerland to walk the trail and photograph it. Then I will post the photos so that others can easily view the damage that has already been done.
But to continue: When the brigades reached the western shoreline of Okanagan Lake, they entered a rocky terrain where many creeks tumbled across their trail. At the north end of the 70 mile lake, they rode past Lac Ronde (Monte Lake) and climbed the ridge of land that separated the Okanagan watershed from the Thompson River. From the top of the hill they followed Monte Creek to the South Thompson River, and followed that river west until they reached the Thompson's River post. Before late 1842, the Thompson's River post was located on the east bank of the North Thompson River at its junction with the South Thompson.

The second trail, Thompson's River (Kamloops) to Fort St. James before 1843
This brigade trail led up the rocky east bank of the North Thompson River, and some (but not all) sections of the trail were very rugged and dangerous for the horses. The Traverse, where the men crossed the North Thompson River to its west bank, was forty miles north of the Thompson's River post where the town of Little Fort now stands. Immediately west of Little Fort, the trail mounted the grass-starved Thompson plateau (the Big Hill) and passed through the Grand Muskeg. From that swamp the trail travelled along the north shore of beautiful Lac des Roches, the north shore of Lac Tranquille (Bridge Lake), and well to the north of Salt Lake (Sheridan Lake), though that lake appeared on their maps. It then swung north to follow the north shore of Drowned Horse Lake (Horse Lake). West of Horse Lake, the brigaders followed Bridge River on its north bank to pass to the north side of Lac en Long (Lac la Hache). The brigaders then followed the San Jose River west, passing on the north side of Fish Lake (Williams Lake), before cutting north and west to reach the banks of the Fraser River at the Atnah Rapids (near Soda Creek). From there they jogged around White Earth Lake (McLeese Lake), touched the Fraser again at Le Barge (near Macallister), and followed the Fraser north to Fort Alexandria.
From Fort Alexandria the voyageurs took canoes (before 1835) or boats (after 1836) north to Fort George (Prince George) and Fraser's and Stuart's Lake, by way of the Nechako River.

The history of the trail from Fort Vancouver to Fort St. James is told in the book: James R. Gibson, The Lifeline of the Oregon Country; the Fraser-Columbia brigade system, 1811-47, (UBC Press, 1997). By the way, those of you who want to purchase a copy of Alexander Caulfield Anderson's 1867 map of British Columbia, you can now do so. It has been unavailable until now, but the Provincial Archives of British Columbia has finally scanned it into their computer and it can be ordered.

Third trail -- the new trail from Kamloops to Fort Alexanderia
This newer trail, first used in 1843, replaced the difficult trail up the North Thompson River and over the Thompson plateau. It started from the new fort of Kamloops, which replaced old Thompson River fort on the west side of the North Thompson River. The trail led along the north shore of Kamloops Lake to Copper Creek, up Copper and Carabine Creek and over the hills to Criss Creek, down Criss Creek to Deadman River, and up the east (and west) bank of the Deadman River past Mowich Lake -- possibly as far as Vidette Lake, according to book by Liz Bryan, Country Roads of British Columbia (Heritage House, 2008). However, I think it more likely the brigaders left the Deadman River before they reached Vidette Lake, and followed Brigade Creek (why else would it carry that name?) from Mowich Lake to Loon Lake's north end. From Loon Lake, the trail followed a northwest loop to avoid a height land, and reached the south end of Green Lake. West of Green Lake are one or two eskers -- raised ridges of land left behind by glacial stream-beds -- and Michael K. theorizes that the brigadiers would have found travel along these eskers easy to follow. But this trail is mostly undiscovered; it will take men on the ground to uncover exactly where the trail leads -- not an impossible task by any means. It was traversed twice a year for fifteen years, by two hundred loaded horses every year. Their regular travel would have left a permanent impression in the ground.
Green Lake is close to Drowned Horse Lake, on the old brigade trail, and the brigaders joined the old trail at Bridge River and followed it west and north to Fort Alexandria. In 1843 some brigade horses went missing from the outgoing brigade, and the Fort Alexandria man found them at Horse Lake. For a while I wondered how horses missing from the new brigade trail were found on the old, but when I realized how close to each other those two lakes were, I understood how the brigade horses could have browsed their way to the familiar trail they had followed in previous years.
Sources for this information: my uncle Elton's letters, 1972; a historical-geographer's unpublished thesis, A.C. Anderson's various maps, and Michael K (whose name will remain mysteriously unfinished until he indicates otherwise).

Fourth trail -- Anderson's River trail from Fort Langley to Kamloops
This trail is closely connected to Alexander Caulfield Anderson's 1847 exploration, and there is an active group of historians, business people, and native groups working to preserve it. The society's name is the New Pathways to Gold Society, at, address P.O.Box 29, Lytton, B.C. V0K 1Z0. Their overall goal is to have a park created that will include the remaining brigade trails; the suggested name for the park would be the Fraser Canyon Park, and a proposal has been presented to the Provincial Government. If you want to know a little more about the history behind this trail, order the booklet The HBC Fur Brigade/First Nations Trail of 1848-49, by Charles Hou, from Moody's Lookout Press, 3378 West 39th Ave., Vancouver, B.C. V6N 3A2, for $5.95 per copy. Charles also hopes to have the booklet made available at Hell's Gate, Yale Museum, Hope Museum, and Fort Langley, so look for it at those places.
The 1848 brigade left Fort Langley and travelled to Fort Yale in eight or nine boats. At Yale men and horses carried the loads across the Douglas Portage, arriving at Simon's House, a small post on the west bank of the Fraser near Spuzzum Creek. They ferried their loads and horses across the Fraser River at this point, then travelled north on the east bank to Kequeloose, the native village then in the area of modern-day Alexandra Lodge. From Kequeloose the brigaders climbed the long hill to the top of the plateau (Lake Mountain), and descended the bluffs on the plateau's north side to Anderson River. They then followed Anderson River down to Uztlius Creek (behind Boston Bar), and followed Uztlius Creek on its northwest (left) bank up the range of hills toward the Nicola Valley. At the height of land, the brigaders rode along the base of the mountains northward to the pass where it was easier to cross than anywhere else. From this point they could follow Spius Creek into the Coldwater River valley, and the Coldwater River all the way to the open grasslands that surrounded Nicola Lake. From there it was an easy hop over the hills to Kamloops.
The brigade trail as far as Spius Creek is clearly mapped on the 1939 Hope Princeton sheet, (CM/724, PABC). You can also find this exploration on A.C. Anderson's Original Sketch of explorations between 1846 and 1849, CM/B1094, PABC.

Fifth trail -- the Coquihalla Trail from Kamloops to Fort Hope
This trail is closely connected to Alexander Caulfield Anderson's second 1846 exploration, but in no way follows the route he took over the mountains. From Kamloops, the New Caledonia brigaders crossed the hills to the Nicola Valley, and waded across the Nicola River at the east end of the lake. From there their trail continued south-west to the top of the hills by Quilchena Creek, then following the native trails that cut through fine open country to modern-day Tulameen. Again, their trail is not recorded, but it is likely they found their way past Courtenay Lake to the headwaters of Otter Creek, and followed that Creek south past Thynne Lake to Otter Lake and the Tulameen river.
The Coquihalla trail started from the Tulameen River just south of Otter Lake, and followed the narrow Soaqua (sometimes Manson) River valley to the top of the mountain. The first stopping place for the brigade was on the plateau near Lodestone Mountain, twelve miles from Campement du Femmes (Tulameen). Another twelve miles brought them to their camp on a bend on the east bank of the Tulameen River at Podunk Creek, and the next day they followed Podunk Creek west, making their way to Encampement du Chevreuill (Deer Camp), just below the summit on the Sowaqua Creek side of Manson Mountain. Nineteen miles further on, Manson Camp lay at the head of Peers Creek, and on the next day they rode down Peers Creek and the Coquihalla river valley into Fort Hope.
This brigade trail is also shown on the above-mentioned Hope Princeton Sheet, PABC. The trail already has heritage protection and is close to being open for hiking its entire distance -- but not yet! The group that is managing to do this is Hope Mountain Centre for Outdoor Learning; their website is and contact name and number is Kelly Pearce at At the moment they are waiting for funding and will begin work in the late summer or fall. Considerable work has been done on the east end of the trail, and only 30 km. requires work on the west side.

Sixth trail -- the brigade trail between Fort Colvile and Campement du Femmes (Tulameen)
This trail ran along the Kettle River, over Anarchist Mountain (I assume), across Osoyoos Lake, and over the hills to the west of Osoyoos into the Similkameen River valley. Normally the Fort Colvile men took their furs downriver by boat to Fort Vancouver, but in 1848 they were forced to bring them out by horse over the difficult Anderson River trail. The brigades first used the Coquihalla tail in 1849, but the Fort Colvile men had ridden first to Kamloops, then south through the above-mentioned trail to Tulameen. That summer, Donald Manson and Alexander Anderson had a noisy argument in front of all their men at Fort Langley; after that, the New Caledonia and Fort Colvile brigades were encouraged to come out to Fort Langley separately. Hence, Anderson brought the Fort Colvile brigades across country directly to the base of the Coquihalla rather than taking the long diversion north to Kamloops, and the new brigade trail was born.
From Fort Colvile, the brigaders swam their horses across the Columbia River and followed the Kettle River west, crossing the river twice near its big bend. Once in modern-day British Columbia, they followed the Kettle River west along its north bank, crossing Rock Creek (and Anarchist Mountain?). At Osoyoos Lake they crossed the lake by its shallow sandbar, then mounted the hills to the west of the lake and rode into the Similkameen River valley. The brigades followed the Similkameen west until they could ride across country to the base of the Coquihalla mountains at Campement du Femmes, where they rested for the night. The following day they mounted the Coquihalla trail and made their way to Fort Hope.
This trail continued to be travelled until 1852, when the Fort Colvile men again brought their furs down to Fort Vancouver by boat. This almost forgotten brigade trail is shown on Alexander Caulfield Anderson's 1867 map of British Columbia, which few people have had access to.

I am a firm believer that these trails must be re-discovered, uncovered, preserved and protected, but open to the public. This is our history, and we must not lose it. Fortunately, it sounds as if others feel the same and are working to save some of the trails. Thank you.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Elton Alexander Anderson, 1907-1975

Elton Anderson was the grandson of Alexander Caulfield Anderson and, more than any other family member, resembled his grandfather. Like A.C., Elton was an explorer, a naturalist, and a historian -- and had he lived long enough, he would have written his grandfather's story.

Elton was born in Saanich on August 10, 1907, the second child and the first boy of Arthur Beattie Anderson, youngest son of Alexander Caulfield Anderson. Elton's mother, Emily May (Emmy), was the daughter of Reverend Granville Christmas of Duncan, and grand-daughter of Reverend Henry George Tierney Elton, youngest son of Rev. Sir Abraham Elton, 5th Baronet, Clevedon Court, Somerset.

Elton's father, Arthur, had spent his youth logging and mining in the Kootenays, and was 41 years old by the time he returned to the coast to marry Emmy in 1905. Presumably Arthur logged in Saanich during the early years of his marriage, but about 1918 he saw an opportunity for raising sheep on Valdez Island and bought 54 acres of land there. The two boys -- Elton was in Grade 6 or 7 and Harry in Grade 5 -- were pulled out of school to be their father's logging crew on Valdez.

Logging was hard work and the boys had no heavy equipment to help them. Because of the high amount of pitch in the local trees which made a cross-cut saw hard to handle, they had to cut the tree high up, and Arthur made a springboard from old lumber he found on the beach. Their inventive father also made a little cart on which to put the logs to roll them down the steep slope to the water; he made brakes for the cart out of pieces of old cross-cut saws and wire, and to prevent the cart-wheels from jumping the track in its rush down the bank, he cut grooves in the tires. The two teenage boys handled the big job of falling the wind-hardened trees and booming them up in the bay on the fringe of Porlier Pass, which was a tidal nightmare.

When the boys did not make enough money logging, they rowed across Porlier Pass to the Japanese fishery on Galiano Island, where the herring-fishermen threw the boys the useless dogfish they had caught. Dogfish oil was worth forty cents a gallon in the local sawmills, but it took a lot of livers to make a gallon, Harry said, and it was a wet, cold, and smelly job. The dogfish carcases they sold at Nanimo for fertilizer, but of course to make the sale they had to row the carcases all the way to Nanaimo. One day they earned $2.00, and that was a red-letter-day for the boys.

When the logging and farming failed to support the family and the taxman took the property, Arthur abandoned Valdez and returned to Duncan. Elton and Harry logged in the Duncan and Cowichan area for almost eighteen years, and any money the boys earned was supposed to go to support the family, especially as Arthur was now too sick to work. Elton was the responsible older boy who handed all his money to his mother, but the rebellious Harry refused to give up everything and enjoyed a little time in the local beer parlour.

When World War II came, Elton tried to sign up with the Air Force, but the recruiter told him he needed to prove he had a high-school education. Elton had attended school in Saanich; he wrote to the principal of the Saanich school and explained his predicament to him. The principal, who had not known Elton, based his response on the intelligence of the letter. He told the recruiting officers that the school records had been destroyed by fire, but that he remembered Elton, and that Elton had graduated with honors from his school.

Elton was more than 30 years old when he joined the Air Force. He was sent to train on Cocos Island, an Indian Ocean island that belonged to Australia. Elton was called Andy Anderson by his all-Canadian crew members, who also called him 'Pop' because he was so much older than them. They flew an American bomber called a Liberator, and Elton trained as a waist-gunner. But when his training was finished, Elton was seconded by the RAF and spent most of the war flying over Burma as a tail-gunner in an all-British crew -- probably flying in a Lancaster. Tail-gunners were a very important part of the crew; they are the men who shoot down the enemy planes attempting to sneak up from the rear of the bomber where no other crew-member had a good view. Air Force veterans tell me that tail-gunners have a very good chance of not surviving their flights -- a 50% chance of not returning on every flight.

On his return to Canada, Elton told his sister, Peggy, a few war stories. On one occasion one of the men in the barracks fell ill, but the Royal Air Force had no patience for wimps and marched him until he died. It disgusted Elton that the Force had not taken the time to discover whether the man was actually sick or not. He also told Peggy of another occasion over the Indian Ocean, when one of the planes in their convoy was shelled. The plane went down, but the members of the crew had ditched and were alive in the water. Their plane was low on fuel and could not pick them up, but when they refueled and returned they couldn't find the men. That failure haunted Elton, and he would never talk to us about his war-time experiences.

By the time Elton had returned from the war, Peggy and her husband had bought a farm on Cortes Island, in the Discovery Islands east of Campbell River. Elton joined them to set up a small logging operation on the land they owned. The owner hadn't sold the logging rights, and when Elton cruised the timber on the property, he paid the old owners what he thought the timber was worth. When he later discovered that there was much more timber on the property than he had first thought, he wrote a cheque to the old owners and sent it off to them.

For the first few years, Elton and my father, who worked for him, logged with draft-horses. Within a few years new logging equipment began to appear on the market, and Elton bought a Caterpillar D9. This caterpillar enjoyed many adventures on the island and built some of the roads that connected the Cortes Island communities.

From early days Elton was a selective logger, protecting special places from damage and respecting the forest. He refused to log a beautiful strip of woods we called Mossy Swamp, and it was not until he sold his business that this magical place was logged. On Elton's tree farm one could hardly tell that active logging was going on. The roads were muddy and slick, perhaps, but it was not until you got to the booming ground that you understood that logs were being removed from the forest around the farm.

My mother remembered Elton coming home from a hard day of work, gently holding a wild flower in his hand. Before he had even changed out of his clothes, he would sit down and look through his plant books until he could identify the flower. Elton never knew the name of domestic flowers and called them all "galacticas," but he quickly learned the names of all the wildflowers that grew on Cortes Island.

Elton spent his off-island days attending the Truck Loggers' Convention, and the Vancouver Natural History camps. He took us on many camping trips around British Columbia, and I later came to understand that we were exploring his grandfather's trails around the fur-traders' New Caledonia. In one camping trip, Elton took us to Bella Coola, near which his grandfather had been posted in 1833. We ate lunch in a restaurant, and though we were the only people in the place, the proprietor came over to tell Elton that we were sitting in the 'Indian' side of the bar. Elton was the grandson of a Scottish fur-trader and his Metis wife and knew he carried Indian blood; he shrugged off the proprietor's warning and didn't move.

Our cousin, Doug, remembers Elton as a rough man who gruffly warned him to not find his way to the logging site because of the danger of falling trees. Doug, being a rebellious child, found this warning a challenge and turned up at the logging site only a few hours later. When Elton spotted him hiding amongst the trees, he took his nephew up on the Caterpillar and carried him around with him all day. Doug was not a child used to kindness, and remembers it to this day.

My mother and father sold the farm and left Cortes Island in 1963. Elton retired soon after and sold his company. He then began travelling extensively around the province, always carrying with him a copy of Lyon's "Trees, Shrubs and Flowers of British Columbia," and Peterson's "Field Guide to Western Birds." Elton owned a camper which he drove everywhere, and called it his 'tin tent.' His journals detail his passion to get off the main roads, and on one occasion he laughed when the road he took circled a mountain and brought him back to where he had begun. His letters were written on paper left over from the VNHS newsletters, and every inch of the page was jammed with typewritten words. Every letter had a carbon copy which he sent to someone else, and Elton expected his letters to be read and then returned to him on his next visit -- they contained much information that had not made it into his journals.

I was delighted to find in one of his 1972 letters that he had visited Harley Hatfield (Coquihalla brigade trail explorer and writer) in the Okanagan. A few days later, Elton was exploring the backroads immediately north of Kamloops Lake -- Criss Creek, Red Lake, Carabine Creek and Copper Creek -- where he had been told the brigade trail between Kamloops and Fort Alexandria ran. He was right; that is where the brigade trail did run, but Elton could not locate any of the locals who could show him exactly where it was.

In the 1970's, Elton became involved with the British Columbia Nature Council, a small group that included some eight natural history societies. Elton fought to have the trees removed behind the Mica Dam prior to flooding; he worked for the removal of no-deposit/no-return bottles (you take your bottles back to the grocery and liquor stores because of him); and he led the fight that saved the Skagit Valley from flooding (Elton Lake in the Skagit Valley was named for him). Elton advised the then British Columbia Nature Council that, to be an effective force within the province, they had to work towards uniting all the natural history clubs in all parts of the province. Moreover, Elton said, they needed to have a newsletter that would connect them. Elton took on the job of uniting the various natural history clubs under the umbrella of the Federation of B.C. Naturalists, and it was said that wherever Elton travelled in the province, a new natural history club sprang up. Soon the Federation of B.C. Naturalists had 33 member clubs, and its growth was almost entirely due to Elton's work, particularly his writing of the Federation's newsletter.

In 1974 Elton won the Ted Barsby Trophy as B.C. Conservationist of the Year. By that time he was already sick with the disease that killed him. He and his brother, Harry, and sister, Peggy, visited (anonymous place), where he discovered a clump of extremely rare Phantom Lilies. To protect the location of this rare flower he kept the hiding place secret, and allowed his sister-in-law (Harry's wife) to take credit for finding the flower. A day or two later he fell ill and went to hospital. He died on July 9, 1975.

The Federation of B.C. Naturalists created the Elton Anderson Award and, every year, gives it to a prominent conservationist. It's a beautiful trophy, a carving of a wolverine -- but no one now knows who Elton Anderson was. As the Federation is now putting together its own history for publication, my sister and I have been asked to write Elton's story for the book. It's been an emotional journey, because we miss him all over again, especially as we also recently lost our mother, his sister. We took a trip through the interior and saw for the first time the damage that the pine beetle has done, and wondered, what would Elton have done? Would he have jumped on the issue and fought for action as soon as the province lost control of the pine beetle? Could he have addressed the problem in its early stages and prevented what is happening now? We don't know, but we know he would have tried.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Anderson-Seton family tree

This is a partial list of the children of Dr. James Anderson and Margaret Seton, and their children. This list of notable siblings and cousins explains why Alexander Caulfield Anderson felt so much pressure to succeed in his career and life, and why he was so devastated when he felt he had failed his family.

Alexander Anderson-Seton (1769-1850), DP, JP, FLS, FHS. Dr. James Anderson's eldest son assumed the name Seton by deed poll in 1812; he was a businessman and Laird of Mounie. It was Alexander Seton who, as Treasurer of the Royal Horticultural Society, wrote the letter(s) that advised the Hudson's Bay Company directors the Society would no longer pay the botanist David Douglas' bills. Alexander Caulfield Anderson's uncle Alex had nine children, who include:
1. Lt. Colonel Alexander Seton (1814-1852) of the 74th Highlanders (British Army), who drowned in the sinking of the ship Birkenhead off South Africa. As his name lives on in Seton Lake and Birkenhead (now Seton) Portage, his story will later be told in this blog.
2. Major George Seton (1819-1905) of the 93rd Highlanders and the Royal Canadian Rifles (British Army). Seton came to Lower Fort Garry (Red River) in advance of his troops and, in July 1857, met John Palliser of the Palliser Expedition there.

Captain William Anderson (1771-1806), commanded cargo vessels based in Calcutta which sailed to the Dutch East Indies, China, Australia, and all over the far east. As the East India Company at this time secretly shipped opium to China in exchange for tea, it is possible opium was sometimes the cargo he carried. William died at Malacca, Dutch East Indies, on his return from China, in 1806.

John Anderson (1775-1807), who was apprenticed as engraver to Thomas Bewick, abandoned that career to take up land in Botany Bay, Australia. He jumped ship in Rio de Janeiro and died in Africa.

James Anderson, J.P. [Justice of Peace], of Bridgend, Brechin (1776-1864), was also a corn merchant whose publication on wheat pricing is in the British Library. Other corn merchants followed a second career in brewing, but our British researcher has no evidence that James was a brewer. He had 14 children, including:
1. James Anderson (1814-1874), called James Anderson (B) of the Hudson's Bay Company. James followed his cousins into the Hudson's Bay Company and served his apprenticeship in Montreal and St. Maurice Districts. Between 1837-1845 he served at Kibocock on Esquimaux Bay (northern Quebec). A few years later he returned to the north and managed Governor Simpson's experimental whaling operations at Eastmain and on the Great Whale River. James Anderson made Chief Factor in 1860, and retired from service in 1871.
2. Lieutenant William Andrew Anderson (1820-1848) of the 1st (Bombay) European Regiment (HEIC Army, I think). As Assistant to the Resident at Lahore, Lieutenant Anderson was ordered to accompany Mr. Patrick Vans Agnew to Mooltan (Pakistan) to receive the resignation of the Dewan Mulraj. Anderson's and Vans Agnew's brutal massacre by Goodhur Singh at that place brought on the 2nd Sikh War.
3. Lt. Col. John Cumming Anderson (1825-1870) of the Madras Engineers (HEIC Army), responsible for planning the British defences in India, and designer of the water supply for the city of Madras. He was engineer at the Residency of Lucknow when the Indian Mutiny broke out, and because of the death by war or disease of all his senior officers, became the engineer-in-charge of the defences of Lucknow Residency.

Margaret Anderson (1778-1863) married Benjamin Outram of Alfreton and later of Butterley Hall. Outram was a distinguished canal engineer and was involved in the planning of railways around England.
1. James Outram (1803-1863) who became General Sir James Outram, Bayard of India. As his name is preserved in British Columbia in Outram Lake (supposedly now buried under the Hope Slide) and forms a part of Alexander Caulfield Anderson's story, his life-story will be told in full in this blog.

Robert Anderson (1781-1840), officer in the New South Wales Corps (British Army), London merchant, and emigrant to Upper Canada. His children include:
1. Henry Anderson (1810-1845), ship captain and trader who owned his own boat. He died in a mutiny in Calcutta.
2. James Anderson (1812-1867), who joined the Hudson's Bay Company at the same time as his younger brother, Alexander Caulfield Anderson. This is James Anderson (A) of the Hudson's Bay Company, and his story will be told later.
3. Alexander Caulfield Anderson (1814-1884), whose story is told in this blog and the manuscript this blog supports.
4. Margaret Anderson (1817-1867) joined her brother Alexander at Cathlamet, and married the American artist, William Henry Tappan. Her story will be told as we pass through the Okanagan (in July-August 2010 posts).
5. George Anderson (1820-1905), joined the Hudson's Bay Company about 1840 and served at Fort Chimo on Ungava Bay. George worked well only if properly directed, and from early days had a reputation for heavy drinking. In 1847 George was in charge of seal oil extraction at Kibocock but could not explain how so little oil was processed that year (the oil stood in pools on the ground beneath the processing shed). He gave notice of retirement to avoid being fired, and while he waited for the ship at Rigolet, he drank his way through the Kibocock liquor supplies at the rate of two or more bottles of cognac or wine a day. George emigrated to Australia by way of the California gold fields, and died at Tibooburra in 1908. Tibooburra is a place of burning sun and red rocks where miners live underground to escape the heat and dig for gold and opals.
6. William Anderson (1823-1905). William came from Cathlamet to Victoria with his brother, Alexander Caulfield Anderson, in 1858, where he served as purser on his brother's steamships. William returned to Ontario and later served under Edgar Dewdney, Indian Commissioner of the Northwest Territories (and builder of the Dewdney Trail) as Indian agent at Regina and Edmonton.
7. Thomas Anderson (1830-1861), joined the Hudson's Bay Company in 1849 and had a lack-luster career in King's Posts. He died by drowning at Trois Riviere in 1861.

Captain Henry Anderson (1784-1810). Henry joined the East India Company's Army, and his journals record his active service during the infamous Monson's Retreat of 1804, the siege of Dieg, and assault at Bhurtpore. He contracted tuberculosis and, despite a sea trip to Ceylon for his health, died at his brother Robert's house near Kinshinagar, in what is now West Bangladesh.

There are many other interesting and important descendents of this family -- for example, Elton Alexander Anderson was grandson of Alexander Caulfield Anderson and his story will later be included in this blog. He was a historian like his grandfather, an explorer, and a naturalist, and I think he would have written Alexander Caulfield Anderson's story had he lived long enough. You will find Elton Anderson online -- the Federation of B.C. Naturalists still hands out the Elton Anderson award, though no member of the Federation now remembers who he was. That will change; the Federation is publishing a book for their 40th anniversary, and Elton's story will be included in that publication.

The Anderson-Seton family

The fur trader and explorer, Alexander Caulfield Anderson, was a younger member of the Anderson-Seton family of Scotland -- a family that resulted from the marriage of a stubborn young gentlewoman named Margaret Seton, who took as her husband a common tenant-farmer. The man Margaret chose to marry became the eccentric and intellectual Dr. James Anderson, Scottish economist, self-trained agriculturist, inventor of the Scotch plough, and editor of the magazine The Bee. This man was Alexander Caulfield Anderson's paternal grandfather.
James Anderson began his life as the child of tenant farmers. He was born near Edinburgh in 1739, and took over his family's two farms at his parents' early death. This was a time when Scottish farmers studied agricultural science at local universities, and James Anderson attended Professor Cullen's lectures on Chemistry. Eventually Anderson sold his parents' farms and took over the uncultivated lands of Monkshill Farm in Aberdeenshire, quickly making it a profitable concern.
In 1768 the young farmer met the heiress of the Aberdeenshire family, Seton of Mounie, who lived nearby. Margaret Seton was the daughter of George Seton of Mounie, and grand-daughter of the intellectual lawyer Sir Alexander Seton, Lord Pitmedden; she was descended from generations of noble Seton men who had fought and died beside their Scottish kings. She could have chosen any nobleman in the country to be her husband, but she chose the tenant-farmer James Anderson.
To marry into the Seton family, James Anderson had to take on the Seton name, something he did briefly and very unwillingly. Margaret gave birth to the couple's first children at Monkshill, a place where Anderson wrote so many knowledgeable articles on farming and agriculture that the University of Aberdeen granted him the degree of Doctor of Law. Dr. Anderson was a brilliant agriculturist, but an indifferent husband and father. Margaret inherited the estates of Mounie and the family took residence in the turreted house for a short time. But in 1783, Anderson moved his family to a rundown farmhouse in Leith, Edinburgh's port city, to be closer to his intellectual friends.
Margaret faded and died within five years, and her children grew up in their father's indifferent care. One by one they found their own path, but James Anderson's unloving and neglectful care affected all of them in different ways. The children knew themselves to be gentlemen and gentlewomen descended from the fine Seton family, but all were somehow cursed by their poverty-stricken upbringing and their father's emotional detachment.
The eldest son, Alexander, inherited Mounie, and as he was required to take on the Seton name to inherit, he changed his name by deed poll to avoid the confusion of his having two surnames. Alexander Seton was an honorable and hardworking man who supported all the younger members of his family financially until his personal fortune was almost depleted.
The third Anderson-Seton son, John, apprenticed as an engraver under the artist Thomas Bewick. Although John learned the trade quickly and showed great promise as an artist and an illustrator, he refused to do his work well, if at all, and was fired from his apprenticeship. John then set up shop in London. His work received much acclaim, but his business fell into disarray and he escaped his debts by sailing to Australia. John abandoned his ship in South America, and died in Africa in 1807.
The fifth son, James, was a grain-merchant who owned a good-sized house and sometimes consulted a craniologist, not unusual in those days. After his eldest brother, he was the most successful businessman in the family and retired well off. Despite his apparent success, James, too, sometimes borrowed money from his older brother and never repaid it.
An Anderson daughter, Margaret, married the civil engineer Benjamin Outram, who gave her five children but died suddenly without leaving her money to raise them. Margaret, an eccentric in her own right, accepted the legal help and the money that Alexander Seton gave her. Although she received an allowance that supported her family for years and put her children through school, Margaret complained to her sons that Seton had entirely neglected her.
Henry Anderson joined the army of the East India Company and, as a Captain, led his men through a series of grueling military campaigns, including the disastrous Monson's Retreat of 1804. In this battle, the East India Company's army attacked a Maratha leader they considered a robber chief, and were forced into a two-month retreat to the safety of the city of Agra, all the while fighting off their well-armed enemy. Only a few hundred of Monson's original force of 10,000 soldiers survived the long march, and it is probable that the appalling conditions of the running battle caused Henry's early death.
The man who became Alexander Caulfield Anderson's father was Robert, born in 1781 at his father's farm at Monkshill. In 1799, Robert Anderson sailed for India to join the East India Company's Army, but jumped ship in Calcutta. A year later, Robert was acting-midshipman on a Calcutta-based trading vessel that sailed between India, China and Australia -- a ship captained by his elder brother, William. The sea had not suited Robert, and when his brother's ship arrived in Australia in 1800, Captain Anderson paid for Robert's commission as ensign in the New South Wales Corps of the British Army.
Robert served at Port Jackson on Norfolk Island, at that time a place of confinement for the worst criminals the British government exported to Australia. In 1804, Robert was reassigned to Port Dalrymple, in northern van Diemen's Land (Tasmania), where his commander sent him on a short expedition of exploration up the Anderson River -- a creek which still bears his name. A short time later, Anderson defended the impertinent behavior of a female convict he called his woman and, in doing so, contradicted his superior officer, who sent him to Port Jackson in disgrace. Ensign Anderson promptly sold his commission and, abandoning the convict woman, sailed for India with his seafaring brother, William.
By 1809, Robert had married Eliza Charlotte Simpson, daughter of a high-ranking East India Company merchant in Madras and Calcutta. By 1810 Robert owned part of an indigo plantation near Ruttanpoor, north of Calcutta. He and his business partner, Alexander Caulfield, had already produced a great deal of indigo.
The demand for Bengal indigo varied, but after 1810, most indigo dye imported into England came from India rather than the West Indies. Anderson and Caulfield soon made their fortunes and, in 1817, Robert Anderson brought his wife and three sons home to London. Alexander Caulfield Anderson, then three years old, had been born on March 10, 1814, on his father's indigo plantation.

Notes: Robert Anderson is not an unusual name; there were two ensign Robert Andersons in Australia at the same time, and some historians mix the two. There were also two John Andersons who were engravers in Scotland at about the same time. Anderson is a very common name, unfortunately, and it sometimes makes research difficult.

Sources for above material:
Mary Frances Outram, Margaret Outram, 1778-1863, Mother of the Bayard of India (London, John Murray, undated)
"Sketch of the Life of Dr. James Anderson," Gentlemen's Magazine, December 1808, p. 1051-2
With special thanks to our English cousin, Virginia, who has researched our family for many many years, and who has shared her information with all of us.