Sunday, July 11, 2010

Jean Baptiste Lolo's descendents at Fort Alexandria

The Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online tells us that Jean-Baptiste Lolo (also known as St. Paul) was an HBC employee, trader and Native spokesman born in 1798 of French and Iroquois parents.
He probably worked for the North West Company as an interpreter, and by the time he is mentioned in HBC records in 1822 he was stationed at Fort St. James.
He worked in other posts, but from 1828 he worked at the Thompson's River post on the east bank of the North Thompson River.
When Sam Black was murdered in 1841, Jean Baptiste Lolo kept the abandoned fort safe from Native invasion until John Tod rode in from Fort Alexandria to take over the post.
From Robert C. Belyk, John Tod, Rebel in the Ranks (Horsdal & Schubert, 1995)comes the information: "On 3 August 1841, Tod arrived with Chief Factor Peter Skene Ogden and a small party at Fort Thompson where they were greeted by Lolo and his family. While the occupants of the post had suffered much hunger and hardship during this time, Tod noted that the buildings locked by the Europeans when they departed remained secure. Although he never entirely trusted Lolo, Tod was nonetheless impressed by his strength and courage."
Tod's first duty was to locate the murderer of Sam Black and punish him; when this was done he began construction of a new fort on the west bank of the North Thompson River.
Few journals for the post exist, but these years are covered in the Thompson River Journal by John Tod, 1841-1843, A/B/20/K12A in BC Archives.
I have only copied the months that covered Anderson's journey into New Caledonia in 1842, but Lolo is mentioned in these journals.
On Monday October 24, 1842, "Beaudoin, M. Ogden and Lolo (the foreman in the kitchen) remained at the old establishment."
At this time, the new fort Kamloops was under construction on the west bank of the river and most of the men worked at the new post.
On Wednesday 26th, "All hands excepting Lolo and the cook employed with Mr. Cameron at the buildings on the opposite side."
On Thursday November 3, "On the afternoon the F. Express with Mr. Anderson and four young hands arrived from Colvile all well." Anderson was riding into New Caledonia to take over the charge of Fort Alexandria, after an embarrassing situation at Fort Nisqually.
On Friday 4th -- "Mr. Anderson getting his horses collected in order to start tomorrow. Exchanged [Theodore] Lacourse for one of the young hands, who Mr. Anderson recommends as handy with the axe. Michel Ogden also proceeds to N. Caledonia with Mr. A."
I don't believe Anderson had anything to say about Lolo, but it is apparent that they were both once at the same place.
When the Thompson's River post was abandoned and the men removed to the new post of Kamloops, Jean Baptiste Lolo remained in the old buildings for many years.
He left a large family of at least seven sons and four daughters, including Sophia, who married John Tod.
Today Lolo's restored house still survives as part of the Kamloops Museum.

Many people in the fur trade carried the Lolo name, and it is assumed that they are among the children of Jean Baptiste Lolo.
In the Fort Alexandria journals there are quite a few mentions of people named Lolo -- one you have already seen in Vautrin's biography a few postings earlier.
From early days at Fort Alexandria, Anderson mentioned the Indian boys who worked at the fort, without naming them.
But on Tuesday December 27th, 1842, Anderson "dispatched Edouard Lolo and Marineau's brother in law to Kamloops with the letters rec'd yesterday."
On Monday January 23, 1843, "Edouard and his companion returned from Kamloops yesterday, having reached that place with the letters their 5th day."
On Tuesday August 29th 1843, Edouard Montigny is listed as present at the fort, but Edouard Lolo is not mentioned. However, a few days later "Edouard returned yes'day from Chilcotin, all well there." He may be working with Donald McLean at the Chilcotin post. -- However, be warned, when Anderson speaks of Edouard, it is usually Edouard Montigny, not Lolo.
Monday September 11, 1843, "Dispatch M. Ogden, Montigny, E. Lolo & Lafleche (the last as guide) to the barrier on Chilcotin River to trade salmon. They have 20 horses to load, if they can trade sufficient."
The above entries were found in Fort Alexandria Journal 1842-1843, B.5/a/5, HBCA.

In the Fort Alexandria Journal 1843-1845, B.5/a/6, HBCA, a second Lolo appears.
On Friday September 26, 1844, "I sent off Laframboise & Baptiste Lolo to Thleuz-cuz (see letter this date). They are taking back the horses & apres that remained there owing to the fatigue of the former."
Monday October 7th -- "Evening Laframbois & Baptiste Lolo returned from Thleuz-cuz. They have brought back the horses left there. The news from thence, I am happy to say, very satisfactory."
Friday January 24th 1845 -- "In the evening Edouard Lolo arrived from Kamloops wt. a packet from Vancouver. I lose no time in forwarding the letters for the interior..." Edouard Lolo has been working at Kamloops.

The Fort Alexandria journal 1845-1848, B.5/a/7, HBCA, has mention of Jean Baptiste Lolo's former wife:
On Saturday September 27th 1845, "Baptiste Lapierre arrived from Thleuz-cuz. He is come by permission of Mr. Charles, to enter upon a connubial treaty with Lolo's former wife; but unfortunately for his views the lodge is at present absent. The old man wishes to form a permanent alliance with her; and as she is of a discreet age, and I believe of a decent character, I think the old man might do worse."
As you will see from the following note, this woman is Donald McLean's mother in law...
Saturday October 11, 1845 -- "Pere Nobili married Baptiste Lapierre to Mr. McLeans' mother in law today."
Monday November 3rd, 1845 -- "I sent off Liard & Grand Michel on foot, and afterwards followed myself, with Baptiste Lolo, to assist in looking for the packs --about 3 miles at the other side of Riv: Necauslay my anxiety was relieved by meeting the people returning, with the property uninjured. It was found lying in the road -- the horse having broken his girths and followed the party light without their perceiving the loss, till they arrived at the encampment. A more shamefully negligent thing to all concerned I have never met with."
Wednesday December 31, 1845 -- "I understand that Lolo has been sent by Mr. Tod to trade along the River & that he has invited the Barge Inds. to meet him at the Chilcotin fork to trade -- see note. This is an unfair proceeding; should the report prove well founded." The note at bottom of the page said, "As I expected, this report turned out to be quite unfounded."
Monday February 9th 1846 -- "Today dispatched Michel Ogden, Camille Lonctain, & Baptite Lolo (the last as Interpreter) to trade with the Chilcotin Indns." The Chilcotin post had been closed down by now and replaced with the new post at Thleuz-cuz.
"30th June, 1846 -- On Saty. 2nd May I set out on an expedition to Fort Langley [his first cross-country expedition]; and returned hither on the 13th instant, finding everything in good order. The fort has meanwhile remained in charge of postmaster Michel Ogden, to whom formal reference may be had for the several transactions during the interim. On the 27th, E. Montigny, Francois (the Priest's interpreter) & E. Lolo on his way to Kamloops, with [can't read] Montigny (engaged for the summer) set out for Okinagan with the horses..."
Friday October 16th 1846 -- "Fine weather. The river has risen to a few feet from the gate of the fort. Secured the potatoes. Edouard Lolo arrived, he saw our men but the water being too high [to cross the pieces], they sent back the horses until the river falls, they have lost several of the pieces they had cut." The fort is on the west side of the Fraser River at this time, and was moved to the river's east bank after it was flooded out sometime over this winter.
Thursday October 22 -- "W. Charles & E. Lolo set out with draught horses for the wood party at Stonia [a lake near Fort Alexandria] -- the water being now sufficiently low."
Monday 9th November 1846 -- "Fine. Yesterday evening the wife of J. Bte. Vautrin (a daughter of Lolo's) was taken ill, and shortly after gave birth to a still born child...." [see Vautrin's entry for the rest of this information.]
Wednesday January 27th 1847 -- "This morning two Indians died -- one (E. Lolo's beau-pere) suddenly apparently of apoplexy -- the other, a Chilcotin, after a few days sickness."
Thursday February 17th 1848 -- "Baptiste Lolo arrived this evening from Kamloops -- he had brought no letters; but the verbal tidings he brings are most distressing. It appears that when he left the post Mr. Tod was quite helpless & unable to write from the effects of the measles; and that every individual in the fort was in the same condition, save Gendron & his wife & child, the two latter of whom had the disease at Okinagin in the fall. Thirty five Indians are stated to have died in the immediate vicinity of the Fort...Baptiste brings a message to me from his father (who is the only Indian, with the exception of Marineau's brother in law, who has not yet fallen sick) to the effect that our horses are scattered in all directions & that the wolves are committing sad havoc among them -- that there is not a soul capable of looking after them, &c.
"Under these circumstances I determined on sending Marineau off forthwith to Kamloops... Baptiste reports that all the Indians of the Rapids & Barge who had gone down towards Kamloops in quest of food last fall, are lying sick, dead or dying, along the road. I receive all this with due allowance for exaggeration..."

This is the 1847 measles epidemic, which had an enormous effect on the fur trade -- I will speak of the epidemic in a later posting. For now, Anderson rode away from Fort Alexandria in May 1848, and we, too, must follow the brigade trail south toward Fort Okanogan.

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