Saturday, March 20, 2010

To the right or below we have the map of the district that surrounded the headquarters of the New Caledonia district, from whence the brigade travelled in spring 1840.
The brigaders travelled in boats much like that shown above.
This boat is exhibited at Fort Langley and is fairly typical of the boats that travelled up and down the Fraser River in those days.
When Peter Skene Ogden arrived in the territory in 1835, he asked his men to build these boats to replace the birchbark canoes that had, until now, been used in the territory.
By the time the 1840 brigade left Stuart's Lake, there were almost certainly enough boats to carry them all south to Fort Alexandria.
Every year three-quarters of the male population of New Caledonia travelled out with the New Caledonia brigade.
This year Anderson, too, travelled out with the brigade.
He had arrived in New Caledonia in winter 1835-36 and remained there until spring 1840.
Now he was being transferred out of the territory.

The McLeod Lake men transported their furs to the to the Stuart's Lake post, probably by dog-sled, over the rough trail that existed in those days.
Other men from posts north of Stuart's Lake also delivered their furs south to the headquarters.
At Fraser's Lake, the HBC employees prepared their own boats for taking the furs downriver to Fort Vancouver.
The combined Stuart's Lake/McLeod Lake brigades met the Fraser's Lake brigade boats at the Native village of Chinlac, at the junction of Stuart's and Nechako Rivers.
From Chinlac, the brigades travelled together to Fort George, which stood on the south west bank of the Nechako where it flowed into the Fraser.
Interestingly, one of A.C. Anderson's maps showed two Fort Georges -- one on the west bank of the Fraser River where historians have always known it to be, and the other -- "the Old Fort" on the east bank of the Fraser.

No one knows for sure whether there were two forts or not, or when they existed.
The staffmembers at Prince George museum believed that Anderson erred when he showed the "old fort" on his map.
They may be right.

To the right we have the map of the Fraser River south of the Fort George canyon, all the way to Fort Alexandria.
The outgoing brigade travelled by boat down the Fraser River to Fort Alexandria, where they beached the boats and stored them over the summer season in the hay sheds.
The brigaders left Fort Alexandria on horseback.
About one hundred and fifty packhorses travelled south from Fort Alexandria over the old trail that led to modern-day Williams Lake and Lac la Hache.

In 1840, Fort Alexandria was on the west bank of the Fraser River, where it had been re-located sometime after Anderson arrived in the territory (in 1836, I believe.)

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