Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Pelka'mulox and Nkwala

Nkwala's father, Pelka'mulox, was the third chief in the lineage of Okanagan chiefs to bear that name, which was by linguistic origin Spokan.
The name Pelka'mulox means "Rolls-Over-The-Earth."
The first Pelka'mulox was apparently born c. 1675-1680; the second born 1705-1710.
Our fur trade records appeared to show that the third man we know as Pelka'mulox died in November 1822.
He did not.

The third Pelka'mulox had a brother named Kwali'la, who assumed the joint Thompson-Shuswap Country chieftaincy at Kamloops at Pelka'mulox's death.
In years past, Kwali'la had supported young Pelka'mulox in wars against the Secwepemc [Shuswap], Nlaka'pamux [Thompson's River], and the Kutenai.
Kwali'la had also helped Pelka'mulox establish the Okanagan people around Nicola Lake, which had been Secwepemc territory until that time.
Nkwala was one of four children and heir of Pekla'mulox -- his eldest boy if not his eldest child.
With his dying breath, Pelk'mulox entrusted Kwali'la with his children's upbringing, and ordered that Nkwala be raised to avenge his death.

And so we must adjust the date of Pekla'mulox's death -- he may have died some eight or nine years before 1822, when Nkwala was still a boy.
From information contained below, we know it was sometime after the winter of 1809-1810.

The argument that resulted in Pelka'mulox's death was caused when a Lil'wat chief from Lillooet Lake denounced Pelka'mulox, who had returned to the area after meeting North West Company traders Lagace and MacDonald at David Thompson's Saleesh House, in what is now Montana.
The Lil'wat chief called Pelka'mulox a liar because he did not believe Pelka'mulox's descriptions of the North West Company men at Saleesh House.
And with this story, we are suddenly part of a David Thompson story -- John Work descendents will also perk up!
One of two Legace men were with David Thompson at Saleesh House; Jack Nisbet, author of "The Mapmaker's Eye," says it was Charles Legace.
MacDonald was Thompson's clerk, Finan MacDonald.
David Thompson's men built Saleesh House east of Kullyspell House in 1809.

This story has so far led us from David Thompson's Saleesh House, to Pelka'mulox's murder at the Fountain, on the Fraser River north of Fountain Ridge.
It is going to lead us westward down the Lillooet River to Harrison Lake and Fort Langley some forty years later.
The Lil'wat people remained isolated from the fur trade for many years, though they probably eventually traded at Fort Langley, established on the Fraser River in the 1820's.
In 1827, Francis Ermatinger and another man partially explored the Lillywit River, hoping to find a route to coastal Fort Langley.
In 1846, Alexander Caulfield Anderson set out on the same exploration, with the same goal in mind.
From Kamloops, he crossed rain-swollen rivers and followed Hat Creek to Marble Canyon.
He trailed the Pavillon [now Pavillion] River to the banks of the Fraser.
A few miles downriver was the fishing village called the Fountain, where thirty-five years earlier Peka'mulox had lost his life.
Anderson sent his horses back to Kamloops and crossed the Fraser River, walking down the west banks of the river to the mouth of Seton River.
He and his men walked the sloping north shores of two mountain lakes [later named Seton and Anderson], and crossed a height of land.
The party followed a stream until they reached a village at the north end of a lake Anderson called Lillooet Lake.
The Lil'wat people who lived here had no food to spare, but they possessed "some good cedar canoes, made after the model of those seen on the coast.
"After some parlaying I succeeded in hiring a couple of these, together with the necessary conductors."
The combined parties paddled past the rapids that blocked the lower end of Lillooet Lake and reached the lake Anderson's Native guides called Little Lil'wat Lake.
At a second Lil'wat village Anderson hired another canoe and men to paddle them downriver, and the party made camp that night at the head of a violent rapid.
The river on the other side of the portage was rough and filled with rapids.
"At this stage of the water it is a perfect torrent; and at a higher stage .. must afford a very precarious navigation," Anderson wrote in his journal.
"In fact, but for the expertness of our Indian boutes, who are thoroughly versed in the intricacies of the river, we should, I fear, have much difficulty in getting through."
On the second day of river travel the two canoes floated into a large lake, called by the Fort Langley men "Harrison's Lake."
The next day they travelled through heavy rain to Harrison's River, and three hours later Anderson's Lil'wat paddlers brought the fur traders into the Fraser River south of its barrier of rapids and falls.
That evening, Anderson's party arrived at Fort Langley.

On this journey through Anderson and Seton Lake and over the hills to the streams that fell into the Lillooet Lakes, Anderson's Native guides showed him a "Large isolated block of granite, bearing the impression closely resembling that of a human foot.
"The Indians call it the Foot-stone, and have, of course, a marvelous tradition connected with it."
He heard the story of the Transformers, a magical group of people who transformed the lives of all the people who lived here -- but modern day researchers have transformed the story.
This is where Anderson supposedly heard about the Sasquatch.
And I will tell that story in my next posting...

Monday, December 27, 2010

Chief Nkwala and his extended family

The man who was to become Chief Nkwala was born at the head of Okanagan Lake, or in the area of Nicola Lake, about 1785, and died in 1859.
The fur traders called him Nicola, and to the fur traders in New Caledonia and Thompson's River district, he was the most powerful chief of his time.
But where did Chief Nkwala come from, and how did he get his power?
And who were the people who were in his family?

His father's name was Pelkamu'lox; Nkwala's mother was Pelkamu'lox's second wife, a Stuwi'x woman.
Nkwala's father was a noted Okanagan chief descended from the Spokan people, who lived in a fortified stone house at a place called Sali'lx, or "heaped up stone," at the junction of the Similkameen and Okanagan rivers.
About 1790, he moved north to the Nicola Lake area on the urging of his half-brother, Kwoli'la, a Secwepemc chief from the Thompson River district [Kamloops].
Palkamu'lox and Kwoli'la spent their summers on the open prairies around Nicola Lake, and made their winter home at Nkamapeleks at the north end of Lake Okanagan.
Pelkamu'lox was called "Grand Picotte" by the fur traders, and was considered their friend.
But at the Fountain on the Fraser River, Pelkamu'lox was killed by a Lil'wat (Lillooet) chief while on a trading expedition for the HBC.
This would have been in late Autumn, 1822, and if we say that Pelkamu'lox was about 20 years old when his son, Nkwala was born, he could have been about fifty-seven years old.
As the result of Pelkamu'lox's murder, the Okanagan and Secwepemc prepared for war, and Nkwala was recognized as the principal war leader.
Nkwala assembled 500 mounted warriors from all quarters, and conducted a successful retaliatory raid, killing or capturing hundreds of Lillooet people.

The Lillooet people did not come from the area near modern-day Lillooet, they came from Anderson and Seton Lakes west of the Fraser River, the Lillooet River and lakes, and Harrison Lake.
This country is rough and not horse friendly -- it is unlikely that the Okanagan and Secwepemc people rode their horses any further west than the 'Fountain' fishing village on the east bank of the Fraser River south of the mouth of Pavilion River.

Nkwala overshadowed all the other chiefs of his time in southern British Columbia, and despite his military actions toward the Lil'wat, was known for peacemaking and friendship with the fur traders.
As early as 1822, John McLeod wrote that "of all the Indians resorting to this place [he] has rendered the most aid to the whites and [is] undoubtedly the most manly and the most to dread if he turned against us."
Nkwala or one of his sons always acted as guide for the fur traders' brigades as they travelled through the Okanagan Valley toward Fort Okanogan (this tradition would be carried on by his descendents, as I have discovered).
And when Chief Trader Sam Black was murdered at the Thompson River post by a renegade Secwepemc youth, Nkwala encouraged the Secwepemc people to support company efforts to find and punish the murderer.
Nkwala's son was one of the party which eventually captured and shot the young man.

So far, almost all of this information has come from www.livinglandscpaes.bc.ca -- a project of the Royal British Columbia Museum.
This is a very good biography of Nkwala, and it lists many good sources which I will eventually follow up:
"The Golden Frontier: the recollections of Herman Francis Reinhard, 1851-1869," ed. D.B. Nunis, Jr. (Austin, Texas, 1962);
George Mercer Dawson, "Notes on the Shuswap People of British Columbia," Transactions of the Royal society of Canada, Section II, 1891, 3-44;
James Teit, "The Salishan Tribes of the Western Plateau," in Forty Fifth annual Report of the Bureau of american Ethnology, Ed., Frans Boas (Washington, 1930);
Kamloops Museum and Archives, John Tod and Donald Manson, "Thompson River Post Journal, 1841-43" (John Tod's post journals for 1841-3 are in B.C.Archives);
Paul Fraser, "Thompson River Journal, 1850-1852," and "Thompson River Journal, 1854-1855";
William Manson, "Kamloops Journal, 1859-60;"
Mary Balf, "A Very Great Chieftain," and "Notable Local Indians of the Early Days," vertical files, [Kamloops Museum and Archives];
John Tod, "History of New Caledonia and the Northwest Coast," BCArchives.
James McMillan and John McLeod, "Thompson's River Journal, 1822-23," B.97/a/1, HBCA;
Archibald McDonald, "Journal of Occurrences at Thompson's River, 1826-27," B.97/a/2, HBCA;
Letter, John Tod to Simpson, 1846, D.5/16, fo. 366-68, HBCA;
John Tod, "Narrative of a Chief Factor of the Hudson's Bay Comapny," 1878, Bancroft Collection, Bancroft Library, Berkley (this will also be in BCArchives).

Nkwala died about 1859 and was temporarily buried at Kamloops near the fort.
His body was removed and reburied at Nkama'peleks, at the north end of Okanagan Lake.

Now, to get onto Nkwala's geneaology....
Nkwala had fifteen or more wives taken from numerous tribes including the Okanagan, Sanpoil, Colville, Spokan, Secwepemc, Stuwi'x and Nlkak'pamux of Thompson's River.
He had 50 or more children whose descendents live in southern British Columbia or in Washington State.

I know only one of his sons, and that is Selixt-asposem, about whom I have already written.
Alexander Caulfield Anderson met Selixt-asposem in 1877, and as far as I know this is the only time they met.
But Anderson knew Selixt-asposem's cousin, Tsilaxitsa, much better.

Tsilaxitsa was the son of Nkwala's favorite sister.
I have a short biography of Tsilaxitsa, who I looked up when Anderson wrote in his 1877 Indian Reserve Commission journal that he had ridden many miles with Tsilaxitsa.
This short biography is a page of Notes on page 59 of the 42nd Report of the okanagan Historial Society Journal, 1978.
It reads:
"Silhitza (Chilliheetza, Chillihutza) was one of the most important Okanagan chiefs of this period.
"His father was an Okanagan from the Keremeos area.
"His mother was Chief Nicolas' (Nkwala) favourite sister and when she died giving birth to Silhitza, Chief Nicolas adopted the infant.
"On Nicolas' death in 1865, Silhitza became the nominal head of the Okanagan tribe, or at least of its northern branches.
"He played an active role in the political affairs of the 1860's and 1870's, especially in relation to the land question.
"He advocated peaceful methods in dealing with whites and laid stress on the hope that the Queen would deal justly with the Indians.
"He was the main Okanagan negotiator with Gilbert Sproat and the Indian Reserve Commission and in some interpretations is largely responsible for averting war in the late 1870's.
"After Sproat's re-establishment of Okanagan reserves, Silhitza moved to the new reserve at Douglas Lake.
He died in 1885 and was succeeded as chief of the Douglas Lake Band by his son, Johnny Chilliheetza."

Alexander Caulfield Anderson first met Tsilaxitsa in 1847, when he and Blackeye's son guided the fur traders up the newly opened Native road that led from the banks of the Fraser River near modern-day Boston Bar, over the hills to the Nicola Valley.
Blackeye and his son were Similkameen Natives who summered at Otter Lake, near modern day Tulameen, but who had their winter village in the Similkameen valley to the east.
It is probable that their winter village was somewhere around Keremeos -- but it could have been elsewhere.
But this makes me wonder -- what is Blackeye's relationship to Tsilaxitsa?
Are they related through Nkwala, who had a wife or wives in the Similkameen district?
Were Blackeye's son and Tsilaxitsa cousins -- were they half-brothers?
Or were they related through Nkwala's favourite sister who had a child by a Similkameen man from the Keremeos area?
Was Nkwala's sister married to Blackeye, or to one of Blackeye's relations?

And who was Blackeye's son-in-law, who Anderson had met in 1847 -- was this the same man who Anderson (and other fur traders) later called Blackeye's son?
Or was he another man, married to one of Blackeye's daughters?

We we still have the question -- who was Blackeye?
Assuming that Blackeye was the name the fur traders gave him, what was his Native name?
A Stlo:lo website says that he might be the man they knew as Yo:a'la -- is that a Similkameen or Okanagan Native name?

The importance, to Anderson, of the Natives who lived near Keremeos was shown when, in 1877, an early winter forced the members of the Indian Commission to abandon their work at Osoyoos, just east of the Similkameen Valley.
From Anderson's journal: "Owing to the advanced period of the year it has been found inadvisable to attempt the Similkameen country at present.
"It was judged prudent, however, that one of the Commissioners should visit the Indians and explain to the Chiefs our reasons for suspending our original intentions.
"Accordingly, Mr. Anderson, the Dominion Commissioner, diverged at Osooyoos [sic], and accompanied by the interpreter, Antoine, and travelling in light marching order, passed round by Keremeeoos [sic] and Ashnola (the latter place some forty miles up the Similkameen) reaching this place [Penticton], by a short cut over the mountains, on Monday afternoon, simultaneously with the rest of the party from Osooyoos by the direct road.
"Mr. Anderson did not see the chiefs, as they were absent on a hunting tour in the mountains, and were not expected back for a week.
"He therefore left a written memorandum with Mr. Price of Keremeeoos to communicate to the Chiefs on their return, explaining the object of his visit, viz. as being merely to shake hands and smoke a pipe with them, and to show them that, though through circumstances we were unable to fulfil our intention of visiting them officially this Autumn, we were not unmindful of them...."

This story continued the next day, when "A message came from the senior Chief of Similkameen.
"He desired to say that, one of his children having died in the mountains, he had come to the village to bury it, arriving there shortly after Mr. Anderson had left.
"That he had followed to Keremeeoos in the hope of overtaking him, and expressing great regret that, after Mr. Anderson had taken the trouble to come so far, he and his people should not have been at home to receive him."

Sproat's letter to the Provincial Secretary is revealing of several things...
On December 10, 1877, Sproat complained [nothing new there] that "Mr. Haynes at Osoyoos so much dislikes the prospects as regards Indian affairs across the line that he fears some trouble in the spring. [The American Natives were at war].
"He showed us a letter from Mr. Price at Keremeos urgently asking one of us to visit that place to calm the Indians, though the ground being covered with snow, no work could be done.
"The Provincial Commissioners [Sproat & McKinlay] having no authority to speak for the future declined to accede to this request, but Mr. Anderson went of his own accord rapidly to Keremeos, and overtook us on way to Penticton.
"He did not see Ashnola John, the acting chief, but saw Mr. Price and left a message that the Commissioners were turned back by the winter and he had visited Ashnola simply to shake hands.
"This will probably do good temporarily and commits the Province to nothing.."

Ashnola John was the acting chief at Ashnola, according to Sproat, but Anderson said he was the senior chief.
Ashnola is close to modern-day Keremeos, in the Similkameen valley.
As Anderson had taken his brigades through this valley many times during his years at Fort Colvile, it is possible that he knew Ashnola John from the past.
But I wonder -- could this man be Blackeye's son?
Could Ashnola have been Blackeye's winter village?

If anyone knows the answers to any of these impossible questions, please let me know.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas in the Fur Trade

Christmas and New Year celebrations were the most popular holidays at fur trade forts in the interior, and those two days were never ignored or forgotten.
But rarely did a gentleman or clerk ever jot down what occured on those days.
One exception is Daniel Harmon, who complained, "This being Christmas Day our people pay no further attention to worldly affairs than to drink all day...."
Harmon's idea of Christmas celebration was to read the Bible and meditate on the birth of Jesus.
The source for much of the material I will be giving you in this posting comes from Carolyn Podruchny's book, "Making the Voyageur World: Travelers and Traders in the North American Fur Trade, (Toronto: UofT Press, 2006) -- a great read if you want to know more about your voyageur ancestors' lives.
Other information will come from the Fort Alexandria journals, and some will come from other sources, which I will tell you.

No matter what Daniel Harmon's feelings were about the voyageurs' celebrations, it is clear that they had no objection to the use of alcohol on Christmas day.
On Friday, November 18, 1842, clerk Donald McLean handed the charge of Fort Alexandria over to Alexander Caulfield Anderson, and left for his isolated Chilcotin post.
On December 24, Anderson wrote: "Fine. As Christmas Day falls tomorrow I gave the men this day for themselves, with a regale of pork and horse flesh for tomorrow...."
The voyageurs who were to celebrate this Christmas at Fort Alexandria were: Dubois, Pierre Le Fevre, "John Lennard," Lacourse, Marineau, Edouard Lolo, Jean-Baptiste Vautrin, Trudelle, Quebec, and Therioux.
Anderson did not mention what almost certainly happened on Christmas morning.
The day began orderly enough -- The voyageurs rose at dawn and lined up inside the post with their flintlock guns primed with gunpowder.
They fired their guns into the air, one shot following another in rotation -- BANG, BANG, BANG -- to tell the world they celebrated Christmas and to inviegle a drink of rum from the gentleman in charge of the post.
In return for having been startled from bed by the blast of gunpowder, the gentleman gave his voyageurs their real regale -- alcohol.
It seems that the morning ritual was often (if not always) followed by "chaotic parties, where wild abandon and heavy drinking predominated.
"Alexander Henry the Younger complained on New Year's Day in 1803 that he was plagued with ceremonies and men and women drinking and fighting pell mell." (Source: Podruchny, Making the Voyageur World.)

Voyageurs sometimes travelled great distances to join their friends at other forts, rather than spend their Christmases alone.
It was common for the gentlemen and the voyageurs to celebrate together on these days.
Sometimes all hands pitched in to prepare an enormous feast of fish soup, roast pork or swan or duck, and spirits.
Working together to produce a celebratory feast created a feeling of goodwill between the two classes of men -- gentlemen and voyageurs.
After the feast the wives of gentlemen and voyageurs might line up to be kissed by all the men in the fort.
Following the formal beginning of the party and exchanging gifts (if that happened), the men celebrated by drinking liberally; sometimes the celebrations lasted three of four days.
There was singing, dancing, and fiddle music, possibly accompanied by an aboriginal drum.
Sometimes aboriginal men came to the fort to join in the celebrations; and sometimes the voyageurs visited the Native men's tents.
Not only did the voyageurs have the regale of liquor the gentlemen handed out to them, they brewed their own beer:
In July 1884 Anderson noted in the Fort Alexandria journals, "Brewed some beer, from 3 bush. Malt."

It took a stranger to the fur trade to write a really good description of a fur trade Christmas.
Artist Paul Kane wrote about a Christmas celebration he enjoyed at Edmonton House, I believe in 1846..
"On Christmas Day the flag was hoisted, and all appeared in their best and gaudiest style, to do honour to the holiday.
"Towards noon every chimney gave evidence of being in full blast, whilst savoury steams of cooking pervaded the atmosphere in all directions.
"About two o'clock we sat down to dinner.....
"The dining hall in which we assembled was the largest room in the fort, probably about fifty by twenty-five feet, well warmed by large fires, which are scarcely ever allowed to go out.
"The walls and ceiling are boarded, as plastering is not used, there being no limestone within reach, but these boards are painted in a style of the most startling barbaric gaudiness, and the ceiling filled with centre-pieces of fantastic guilt [sic] scrolls, making altogether a saloon which no white man would enter for the first time without a start, and which the Indians always looked upon with awe and wonder...
"No tablecloth shed its snowy whiteness over the board; no silver candelabra or gaudy china interfered with its simple magnificence.
The bright tin plates and dishes reflected jolly faces, and burnished gold can give no truer zest to a feast....
"My pleasing duty was to help a dish of mouffle, or dried moose nose; the gentleman on my left distributed, with graceful impartiality, the white fish, delicately browned in buffalo marrow.
"The worthy priest helped the buffalo tongue, whilst Mr. Rundell cut up the beaver's tails.
"Nor was the other gentlemen left unemployed, as all his spare time was occupied in dissecting a roast wild goose...
"Such was our jolly Christmas dinner at Edmonton; and long will it remain in my memory....."

Next came the dance, and Kane continued in his description:
"In the evening the hall was prepared for the dance to which Mr. Harriett had invited all the inmates of the fort, and was early filled by the gaily dressed guests.
"Indians, whose chief ornament consisted in the paint on their faces, voyageurs with bright sashes and neatly ornamented mocassins, half-breeds glittering in every ornament they could lay their hands on; whether civilized or savage, all were laughing, and jabbering in as many different languages as there were styles of dress.
"English, however, was little used, as none could speak it....
"The dancing was most picturesque and almost all joined in it.
"Occasionally I, among the rest, led out a young Cree squaw, who sported enough beads around her neck to have made a pedlar's fortune, and having led her into the centre of the room, I danced round her with all the agility I was capable of exhibiting, to some highland reel tune which the fiddler played with great vigour, whilst my partner with grave face kept jumping up and down, both feet off the ground at once......"
I had this information somewhere, but could not find it.
I finally located it in a book I had on my shelves, Brock Silversides' "Fort de Prairies; The story of Fort Edmonton," (Heritage House, 2005), pp. 26-27.

At Fort Alexandria in 1842, the Christmas celebrations ended on Monday 26th, though Anderson did not list any of the work the voyageurs were involved in.
By the next day a few men set off for Kamloops, and on the 28th he wrote that the men were "employed as usual."
On the 31st he wrote: "The men had today as a holiday, the New Year falling on Sunday, set up a prize of a pair of leggings to be shot for by the Indians & Canadians.
"The shooting was very poor, owing a good deal to the cold & the soberness of the day.
"Grand Corps eventually carried off the prize, though by no superior shooting.
"Indeed upon the whole the Canadians surpassed the natives.
"Men regaled themselves with flour, horse flesh &c., & the Indians got 6 kegs potatoes & 1 yard tobacco by way of festive."
Even the Natives joined in the Christmas and New Year celebrations!
(source: Fort Alexandria Journal, 1842-1843, B.5/a/5, fo. 35, HBCA.)

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Alexander Caulfield Anderson

"Everything around us wears now the aspect of winter; certainly a premature one, but nevertheless, in appearance, bona fide the winter of the good year 1844.
"Would I could predict with honest Sir Hugh that 'there are pippins & cheese to come' -- but alas! I fear cold fingers and hunger will be the more probable lot of many in the interior, and we, who are comparatively in comfort, have reason to be thankful that we are so.
"Yet are we but too prone, while contemplating the difficulties that seemingly environ our own lots, to compare them with the lot of others, in appearance more fortunate; while we lose sight of our neighbours' great misery, with which our own comparative comfort ought properly to be contrasted.
"But these are trite truths, as old as the days of Solomon, and which are perhaps misplaced in the common place diary of a plodding Indian trader.
""But who among mortals is always wise?" Wherefore I will avail myself of my plea; and like sager men urge it, for sometimes playing the fool upon paper.
"T'is a glorious privilege to be able to write nonsense now & then, when there is no censor of the press, or rather of the pen, to check one -- Enough! A good fire, a warm house, & divers acceptable concomitants, with a foot of snow around one, are circumstances that may well occasion a momentary glimpse of contentment in a mind not always swayed by cheerful emotions."

Alexander Caulfield Anderson, October 25, 1844, written after the first severe snowfall of the winter.
Source: Fort Alexandria Journal, 1843-1845, B.5/a/6, fo. 13, HBCA.
"Pippins and cheese to come," is from William Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor, and Sir Hugh refers to the character Sir Hugh Evans, a Welsh parson.

"Fort Okanagan"

As I told you last week, I discovered a number of photographs in the British Columbia archives, mislabelled "Fort Okanagan."
I thought that I might have found Eric Sismey's lost photographs, but I have not.
The image listed under G-05822 is the negative for photo listed under A-013033 (you can view the second photo online, by the way).
The other two are more interesting, especially to American historians.

The first, I-83628, is a "group photo with the image of a flag on the site of the original Fort Okanagan" -- note Canadian spelling.
On the front of the cardboard that surrounds the photo is written: "Return this photo to T.C. Elliott, Walla Walla, WA."
On the reverse it says: "Photo at the gathering on the site of old Fort Okanagan in 1911 to commemorate the establishment of the post called Fort Okanagan established by the Astor Co. in 1811. This photo is taken of the exercises held on the site of the later Fort Okanagan, the post built by the N.W. Co. and afterward maintained till 1860 by the H.B.Co."
On bottom are notes which indicate that this photo was published in some magazine article (I assume) many years ago:
"Get flags in -- 3858 -- 3 col. -- strike pause -- Sunday-Bell."
If you want to get a copy of this photo, contact BC Archives and quote both the call number, I-83628, and catalogue number HP040762.

The second photo bears call number I-83627, Catalogue number HP040761.
This is a photo of a group of men clustered around a tall flagpole bearing a U.S. Flag.
The note reads: "Set in type, Fort Okanogan Picture No. 2.
"On the site of the old Astor post established by the Pacific Fur Co. in September 1811. The old fort called Fort Okanagan existed on this site for about 5 years and was then re-built about a mile away. This photograph represents the centennial celebration held there in 1911."
In brackets at the bottom: "Return to T.C. Elliott, Walla Walla, WA."

(If anyone who reads this happens to know when and where these photographs were published, can you please put a comment on the blog that tells other researchers where to look. Thank you.)

I know who T.C. Elliott is, but apparently the B.C. Archives does not.
T.C. Elliott is the first historian who identified which man might have been the anonymous "Beaulieu" who was Charlot Birnie's father, and Betsy Birnie's grandfather.
When I get to Fort Colvile and Spokane House area (only a few miles away) I will tell you the story of this most interesting man.
But I have to say, while we are confident we have identified who he is, there is plenty that we do not know, and we will be asking for your help in continuing this search.
We have a number of secondary sources that identify this man, but would a historian actually agree with our conclusions?
I think he would argue that we have not proven he is our ancestor.
But I think we are right in our conclusions, even if we cannot prove it.
If you are a fur trade historian with information that would help us, I would like to hear from you.
But wait for the story.....

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Fort Okanogan

Thank you to the people who sent me old photographs of Fort Okanogan.
The first I received was an engraving called, "Engraving of Fort Okanogan by John Mix Stanley, 1853-54, U.S. War Dept., Reports of Explorations & Surveys to Ascertain the Practicable & Economical Route for a Railroad..."
You will find the image embedded in an article on www.history.link.org, written by the David Thompson biographer and his wife, Jack and Clare Nisbet.
John Mix Stanley was one of the most accomplished Western artists of the nineteenth century, in spite of the fact that so much of his finished work was destroyed by fire.
Born in New York in 1814, he came to Oregon in 1853 and was expeditionary artist with territorial governor Isaac Stevens' survey of a northern transcontinental railroad route to the Pacific coast.
Whilst in the area around Fort Vancouver he painted a portrait of Peter Skene Ogden, a copy of which is in the B.C. Archives.
In this portrait, Ogden looks like the rough, tough, and aging gentleman-fur trader he was at that time.
It's a good image of the man.

The second came from the B.C. Archives and is labelled "Fort Okanagan," which is why I did not find it in a quick search.
Anyone who wants to see this photo can go to the B.C. Archives website, and in the search page enter either "Fort Okanagan" (watch the spelling), or put in its number -- A-01033.
Remember to check Photographs at the left of the search page or you'll get nowhere.

At the same time I checked this, I discovered that there are three other images of Fort Okanagan at the B.C. Archives.
Their digital images are not on display, but I can go to the archives and ask to see the pictures.
One seems to be an old image with undetermined artist and date.
But the third and fourth are photographs taken about 1911, of the site of the original Fort Okanagan.
I might have accidently found Eric Sismey's missing photographs in the B.C. Archives!

As I have said, I am slowing down on this blog for a little while.
I have a tremendous amount of work to do on the other project -- that is, the book.
I have hinted before that it will be published in Fall 2011.
Now I have received the signed contract and it suddenly becomes very real.
Let me list for you the work I have to do.
It's really interesting....

Immediately: Re-read and edit the manuscript and merge it into one document with all appendixes and additions (do I have to write a forward or introduction?), cutting the manuscript to about 70,000 words -- the ideal length.

Next, and almost immediately: Decide on illustrations I want in the book, photograph them or obtain digital copies, Place the illustrations where I want them in the manuscript and write their captions.
Then I put all illustrations onto a CD labelling them very clearly so the publisher can place them accurately in the manuscript without making expensive errors, and submit both 2nd copy of manuscript and CD to publisher.

Within two months: Get a professional photograph that the publisher can use for marketing the upcoming book.
Complete author biography, answering tons of questions including suggesting book prizes I feel the book would be eligible for (all of them), book events in which I can market the book, and historical or other societies where I can later give presentations.
I have to speak to bookstore owners to let them know about the upcoming book.
As historical societies book their speakers up to a year ahead of time, I am contacting those societies I can easily reach to let them know a book of interest to their members will be available next year.
I will also be submitting articles to Pacific Northwest history publications, to raise interest amongst their readers in Anderson's story.

The publisher will edit the book and decide how many photographs they can use; then it is up to the author to apply and pay for copyright on archival photographs and to get written permission from those who have loaned photographs from their private collections.
B.C. Archives charges $25.00 for each image used, and more for the cover portrait -- but they will negotiate on price.
As many of my illustrations come from Anderson's 1867 Map of British Columbia, which archives staff have told me is tremendously important to British Columbia residents (who cannot see the map because it is hidden in the depths of the archives stacks), I hope they will negotiate a reasonable price to allow our citizens to see portions of the map.

Eventually I will have to index the book, and I assume that I will do that to the publisher-edited copy.
I will also have to read the edited manuscript to catch any errors they have made in editing -- ie. putting a modern or Canadian spelling on words like Colvile or Okanogan/Okanagan, or something like that.
This will also be the last chance for me to catch my own errors before publishing.
Of course I will make errors, and someone will contact me to correct those errors.

I will have to suggest people who will read early copies of the book and give cover quotes -- that is, I hope, not a problem as I have worked with a few historians in this project.
I just hope these important people have time to take out of their busy schedules to read the book.
I will have to approach the best news media persons to promote the book -- my sister learned in promoting our mother's book that if you promote yourself in a minor newspaper before approaching a major one, the latter will not be interested in promoting your book.
Finally, I will have to learn power point, and learn how to create good presentations.
These are the things I know I have to do; I wonder what else I will be learning how to do through these next exciting years?