Sunday, January 17, 2010

Alexander Caulfield Anderson's Dictionary of the Fur Trade

I have had to uncover the meaning of many different words in Anderson's writing, and have as a result put together a sort of dictionary.
American elk -- (HBC) Moose
Appichimons -- square pieces of robes used under saddles while travelling, or under beds in camp.
Artemsia -- sage.
Atnah -- (Native) Stranger, a Tacully word for Stranger tribes
Babiche -- strips of leather used for tying or for snowshoes, etc.
Babine -- (Fr.) Large lip of a beast
Batture -- sand or gravel flat in a river bed, which is dry or submerged according to the season.
Bourdignons -- (Fr.) rugged projections in the ice on a lake or frozen river.
Campement du Chevreuil -- (Fr.) brigade trail camp at top of Cascade Range.
Cavereau -- (Fr.) ice house for storing food.
Chaudiere -- (Fr.) kettle -- ie. Kettle Falls.
Chaussure -- (Fr.) a shoe? or a sock.
Chevreuil -- (Fr.) deer.
Une couleuvre -- (Fr.) rattlesnake
Cypress -- Yellow cedar.
Dalles -- (Fr.) a rapid or rush of water through a gorge or canyon.
en cache -- (Fr.) in cache. The usual fur trade cache was a platform between tree trunks high enough off the ground that large animals couldn't reach the goods.
Escargo -- (Fr.) young sturgeon, a foot or two in length.
Fountain -- (Fr.) or fountaine, meaning spring or source of stream.
Hoo-tsee-kaya -- Native name for the Caribou region of the Carrier Natives.
Hot-se -- (Native) Carrier name for Caribou.
Kase -- (Native) the Fraser Lake natives' name for Chinook salmon
Les Eboulis -- (Fr.) Landslide.
Liard -- cottonwood tree
Lillooet Fork -- Harrison River where it flowed into the Fraser River.
Little Fork -- Nicola River where it flowed into the Thompson River.
Mare -- (Fr.) open space in an ice covered lake or river.
Mount Hooker Pass -- now known as Athabasca Pass.
Musquash -- Muskrat.
Necessarium -- (L.) outhouse -- I don't know how commonly this was used in the fur trade, but Anderson used the word.
Peet -- (Native) salmon trout at Fraser's Lake
Poire -- (Fr.) Service-berry
Poisson a la Brassee -- Eulachon, a small herring-like fish
Prele -- (Fr.) the plant called horsetail.
Red Pine -- Ponderosa.
Reindeer -- caribou.
Riviere de Font -- Bridge River.
Sa-quai -- Fort Alexandria natives' name for Chinook salmon.
Salmon River -- Translation of the Native name for the Similkameen river.
Shai-pai -- (Native) trout at Fraser's Lake
Siffleur -- (Fr.) Rocky Mountain Marmot
Suck-kai -- Fort Alexandria Natives' name for Sockeye salmon
Ta-cout-che-Tesse -- the Native name for Fraser River as understood by Sir Alexander Mackenzie.
Ta-cully -- The Carriers of New Caledonia
Ta-lo -- Fraser Lake Natives' name for Sockeye salmon
Thlik-um-chee-na -- Native name for the forks of Nicola River and the Thompson.
Tsz-chin -- Fort Alexandria Natives name for Tiger Lily
Thle-et-leh -- Native name for river junction where Fort George sat.
Verveau -- (Fr.) fish weir
Wapiti -- Large red deer of the coast, Elk.
This is just a beginning -- I will continue with this listing of names that Anderson knew and used.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Robert Birnie

Alexander Caulfield Anderson left the Fraser's Lake post in the winter of 1839, and waited at Fort George to make another journey up the Fraser River to pick up the leather supplies for the territory.
Peter Skene Ogden cancelled those orders, and asked Anderson to come to Stuart's Lake to spend the remainder of the winter with him.
Anderson learned that he would be reassigned to the Columbia District in the spring, and that he would be leaving New Caledonia with the outgoing brigades in the summer of 1840.
On the last day of January, 1840, Ogden reported that "Anderson arrived from Fort George today. He did not come by [Fraser Lake] but by [Stuart River], a far shorter route, and one we shall in future follow -- a great saving of time and provisions."
Up to this time, the HBC men had fallen into the habit of travelling via the Nechako River to Fraser's Lake, then taking the overland trail to Stuart's Lake.
It appears that the HBC men in New Caledonia had, by the 1830's, forgotten many of the routes that had once been well known to the NWC explorers.
After Anderson re-introduced the new route in 1840, the HBC brigades from Stuart's Lake and from Fraser's Lake travelled south by separate river routes, meeting at the native village of Chinlac and travelling together to Fort George.

In our explorations of this territory, we will travel south with the outgoing 1840 brigade all the way to Fort Vancouver, over the old brigade trail across the Thompson plateau and down the North Thompson River to the Thompson's River post.
Peter Skene Ogden led out the brigades, and with him travelled Alexander Caulfield Anderson and his family, Archibald McKinlay and his wife and children (if any), and Robert Birnie.
Robert Birnie was Betsy Birnie's younger brother, who had travelled north with the New Caledonia brigade to accompany his sister to Fort Alexandria, where she was married to Alexander Anderson.
Apparently, Robert Birnie spent a few years in the fur trade at Fraser's Lake, in the care of his brother-in-law.
When he returned to Fort Vancouver on June 10th, 1840, he officially joined the fur trade and clerked under James Douglas.
In 1841 Robert Birnie was sent to San Francisco, then called Yerba Buena, via the Sandwich Islands, in the ship, Cowlitz.
He left San Francisco in the same ship that Governor George Simpson and Dr. John McLoughlin travelled in, and shortly afterward left the employee of the HBC at Sandwich Islands.
He worked in the Sandwich Islands as a bookkeeper for a while, then returned to California where he worked in a store in Santa Barbara and various other places.
About 1846 he arrived in Oregon and helped his father set up his new farm at Cathlamet, after which he returned to California, where he farmed.
This information comes from the Bancroft Library manuscript called Personal adventures of Robert Birnie, born at Astoria, Oregon, 1824, Feb. 7 -- Mss. C-E65:33.

New post

I have completed a post that I began on Sunday November 15 -- the story of Anderson's journey up the Fraser River and across Leather Pass (Tete Jaune Pass) to Jasper's House and beyond in the winter of 1835. You'll have to go back to read it.

I have added a second post on the day December 13th, in which I speak of Anderson's visit to Kluskuz Lake on Alexander Mackenzie's West Road River, and the breeding colony of American White Pelicans he found there. They no longer breed at that lake, and only one breeding colony exists in British Columbia today.