Sunday, December 18, 2011

A little more on the Stuwi'x people of the Nicola Valley

As you know, I am searching for information on Blackeye, the Similkameen Chief who Anderson met in 1846 at the foot of the Coquihalla.
My research has brought me to the Stuwi'x people who were found in the Nicola valley about the time Anderson was there -- they have since disappeared or been absorbed by other tribes.
They are also called Nicola Valley Athapascans, and Archibald McDonald's 1827 map of the Similkameen Valley shows that, to him, the "Schimilicameachs" occupied the valley of the Similkameen (Red Water Branch), the Tulameen River, and Nicola Valley up to the junction of the Nicola River with the Coldwater, west of Nicola Lake.
[This map says it was drawn by 'Andrew McDonald' of the HBC in 1827, but I believe that it was Archibald, not Andrew. Archibald McDonald's map is in the B.C.Archives and so I should check and see what it says].
A second map from Langley Museum shows the Nicola Valley Athapascans occupying the Similkameen valley from Keremeos west to the Tulameen, and northward through the Nicola Valley almost all the way to the junction of the Nicola with the Thompson River.
Ashnola (where Ashnola John resided) is close to Keremeos and so Ashnola John might have been Blackeye's son -- as I have speculated previously -- or he might have just been a Native chief that Anderson would have come to know in the years he led the Fort Colvile brigades through the Similkameen valley.
So, that question has not been answered, yet.

But another early article on the Stuwi'x people has been brought to my attention, and while I think it does not prove anything, it offers more interesting information that might lead to an answer.
This information on the Stuwi'x is found in the Tenth Report on the North-Western Tribes of Canada, found on -- another good resource if you are going to research the Natives of Canada!

From the Fifth Report on the Indians of British Columbia, by Franz Boas, 1895:
"During the months from September to December 1894, I revisited British Columbia under instructions of the Committee, the object of the journey being to fill, so far as possible, gaps left in previous investigations....
"On account of lack of time I was unable to visit the He'iltsuq, and for the same reason I delegated the work in Nicola Valley to Mr. James Teit, of Spence's Bridge, who is thoroughly conversant with the language and the customs of the Ntlakya'pamuq [Nlaka'pamux]. His report will be found embodied in the following pages....
"II. The Tinneh tribe of Nicola Valley, by Mr. James Teit (p.30)-"
Here, following, is what James Teit had to say, after his visit to the Nicola Valley in March 1895:

"I saw the three old men who are said to know the old Stuwi'hamuq language, which was formerly spoken in Nicola Valley, and found that they only remembered a few words of what they had heard from their fathers. One of them could only give me five or six words, another one twelve, and another one twenty... One Indian, who also knows some words of the language, is living at present in Similkameen; therefore I was unable to see him. It is unfortunate that the work of collecting the remains of the language was not undertaken a few years sooner. An old woman who was half Stuwi'hamuq died in Nicola only five years ago. She was the last person who could talk the language properly. The three Indians whom I saw are only one quarter Stuwi'hamuq blood; each of them is old and white-haired, and I should judge over seventy years of age. One of them said he remembered that when he was a boy his grandfather (who was by then a very old man and hardly able to walk) pointed out to him the spot on the Nicola a little below the lake where he (the old man) was born, and also told him that his people had always inhabited that region. This old man must have been born in Nicola at least 120 years ago, and it seems that he had no knowledge of the origin of his tribe."

So already, in 1895, the Stuwi'x have almost disappeared into the tribes that surrounded them. Tait continues further down the page;
"They have a tradition that at one time their tribe was numerous and that their southern boundary extended to Keremeous, on the Lower Similkameen River. They have no tradition regarding a foreign origin, and were quite indignant when I mentioned to them Mr. McKay's theory of their being descended from a war party of Chilcotin... Their personal names, so far back as they can trace them, are ... Ntlakya'pamuq [Nlaka'pamux]. The oldest personal name that they could give me was that of a man of note among them called Tsuqkokwa's. This is the only name that I do not recognize as Ntlakya'pamuq [Nlaka'pamux]. They said that the pure Stuwi'hamuq whom they had seen were of about the same height as the Ntlakya'pamuq [Nlaka'pamux] and Okanagan, but generally heavier in build. They were also of the same complexion. Their features were slightly different, but they could not explain wherein the difference consisted..."

But later in the story is an interesting addition, which has been mentioned in my previous posting, I believe:
"One of the old men whom I saw, named Tcuie'ska or Sesuluskin, is the first person of the Ntlakya'pamuq [Nlaka'pamux] whom I have seen tattooed on the body. He is one quarter Stuwi'hamuq, one quarter Okanagan, and half Nkamtei'nemuq. He said that formerly the Stuwi'hamuq were occasionally tattooed on the body, as were also some of the Nkamtci'nemuq."

Who are the 'Nkamtci'nemuq' today?

Boas finishes his report -- and Teit's -- with this conclusion: "From what we know about Indian life, Mr. McKay's theory that the Stuwi'hamuq are descendants of a Chilcotin war party, which was hemmed in by the Ntlakya'kpamuq [Nlaka'pamux], seeems very unlikely, and Mr. Teit's data prove beyond a doubt that the people have lived in the Similkameen and Nicola regions for a long time. I do not doubt that they must be considered the most northern of the isolated bands of Tinneh origin which are found all along the Pacific coast." However, in the next paragraph he says that the dialect "was much more closely related to the Tinneh languages of British Columbia than to those farther south, although it would seem to have differed from the former also considerably."

So, still clear as mud. But it has occurred to me that I should check Alexander Caulfield Anderson's writing to see what he had to say.
In his "Notes on North-Western America," which was published in Montreal and accompanied his 'Skeleton Map of North-West America' to the gigantic Philadelphia International Expedition of 1876, he writes quite a long paragraph about the Tinneh people:
"The Chipewyan race, who for convenience sake are now classed as the "Dinee" or "Tinneh" tribes, occupy as will be seen a very extensive tract. They have evidently been great wanderers; for to them the isolated sept of the Sarcees of the Saskatchewan owes its origin; and a similar offset, the Klatskanai (now extinct), not very long ago inhabited the highlands beyond the mouth of the Columbia River, while traces of the language appear even farther south.
"Dinneh means literally a man...."

In this manuscript he speaks of the people who live and lived in North West British Columbia, but does not appear to have recognized that Blackeye was Tinneh -- which may mean he was not.
But in scraps of a manuscript written by A.C. Anderson and stored in his son's fonds in the archives, he has a lot to say about identifying Natives:
"In dealing with the subject I have only mentioned those heads of tribes which have always stood prominently forward as representative of the multitude of minor divisions and subdivisions of tribes or families.
"It must be borne in mind that in attempting to make a [division] the lines of demarcation are of a very arbitrary nature in any attempt to define the territorial limits of the nomadic tribes inhabiting the wild part of North America & to arrive at any degree of accuracy as to the proper division of those tribes living conterminously with each other on or near the boundaries or apparent boundaries would require years of study of their habits, physical characteristics & language -- certainly much more than I have had the opportunity of giving the subject & it seems almost presumptuous to attempt even a rough sketch such as I have given without a more thorough knowledge of all the points so necessary in arriving at conclusions as to the derivation & relationship of the different races under review."
Anderson knew George Mercer Dawson (in fact it was Dawson that he wrote this manuscript for), and I believe that McKay was the Kamloops Indian agent when Anderson was acting as Dominion Indian Commissioner in 1877.
I think he probably had to explain to both men -- and to others such as the Royal Engineers -- that identifying the various Native tribes in British Columbia was not going to be an easy task.
I think I agree with him.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Angus McDonald

James Robert Anderson, son of Alexander Caulfield Anderson, was about ten years old when he first met Angus McDonald, his father's clerk at Fort Colvile.
James wrote of Mcdonald in his memoirs, "Notes and Comments on early days in British Columbia," and it is very obvious that he adored the man.
The story I am telling below took place in either 1849 or 1850, by which time young James knew Angus quite well.
"A few days before the date of my Father's expected arrival on his return journey from Fort Langley," James wrote, "Mr. Angus McDonald the gentleman in charge of the post in the Flathead country, made his appearance to await the brigade and convey his outfit to the post.
"Two days before my father was due, Mr. McDonald suggested to my Mother that he and I should proceed a day's journey to meet my Father.
"This having been decided upon, we made a start after breakfast on our horses for the Mission where we were to cross the Columbia, but what was our chagrin when we espied my Father cantering towards the Fort by another road.
"Having his eyes fixed on his destination he did not see us, and we had to follow ignominously in his wake.
"Needless to say, we were most unmercifully chaffed...."

Angus, who liked to surprise and tease people, would have been especially humiliated at missing the return of Anderson to Fort Colvile.
He must have felt very humbled when he and James rode into Fort Colvile, long after Anderson had arrived at the place.
But Angus would have recovered his good mood almost immediately.
McDonald entertained the Anderson family with his poems and music on many occasions, and that evening would have been one of them.
James wrote that "it was a treat to hear him sing in Gaelic, strutting about as if in the act of playing the bagpipes and to see him dance the sword dance."

James continued with McDonald's story -- a short biography:
"Angus McDonald lived and died in the interior; he was always employed in the Flathead country and vicinity and as late as 1860 was in charge of Fort Colvile....
"He was a rough specimen of a Highlander and despised many customs as effeminate.
"I met him last at Fort Vancouver about 1865 and on that occasion he expressed his contempt of the galvanic battery offering to take the highest charge.
"Dr. Benson accepted the challenge and I was deputed to work the instrument; it was an old-fashioned concern and in the act of increasing the voltage the bar slipped and the highest charge was given.
"McDonald gave a yell and dropped to the ground much to his consternation and disgust."
Another humiliation for Angus McDonald...

According to Steve Anderson's biography, called "Angus McDonald of the Great Divide: The Uncommon Life of a Fur Trader, 1816-1889," [Museum of North Idaho Press, 2011] McDonald was born in seaside village of Craig, in Ross-shire (Scotland) in 1816 -- which date makes him only a few years younger than Alexander Caulfield Anderson.
McDonald's parents were farmers who moved to Dingwall when their child was quite young, and Angus went to school in that town and for a short time clerked in a Dingwall business.
In 1838, Angus joined the fur trade and in spring 1839 he was assigned to his great-uncle Archibald McDonald's post of Fort Colvile.
Angus McDonald travelled west with Roderick Finlayson, Dr. John McLoughlin, and apprentice clerk Dugald McTavish (who kept a journal of the journey west); he was rescued from death by drowning in a Columbia River whirlpool by Big Michel, Fort Colvile's French-Canadian/Cree steersman.
All in all he had enough of adventures by the time he reached Fort Colvile -- but that thirst for adventure would not long be diminished.

After a short stint at Fort Colvile, Angus was sent into the Snake District, to work with Francis Ermatinger -- a man who could "equal any free trapper when swilling whiskey or injecting foul language into a conversation."
But Ermatinger was a good trader and a willing teacher, and taught his young protege a great deal about the Snake District's fur trade.

Angus McDonald was a writer and a poet, and because of this common interest, he and Anderson got along very well.
His writing and poems are featured in Steve Anderson's book; McDonald described the voyageur Joseph Monique's "personal appearance was as proposing as was his singular address in the prow of his canoe or barge...One glance of that fiery black eye of his read leagues of the turbulent stream at once."
But Monique drowned on one of his river journeys, and Angus wrote his first poem after the voyageur's death:
"Up! Boy up! The day stands blue to his steep
I hear the hoarse cheer of the winds rushing strong from the deep
Quick! Boy! Quick! [Up] from the frost covered yoke where you kneel
And ride the bold pride, of the torrents that long for your keel...."

From one of the captions in Steve's book I learn that when McDonald took charge of Fort Colvile after Anderson left the place, the fort itself had deteriorated significantly -- a sign of Anderson's unhappiness at Fort Colvile, I presume.
But of course the fur trade in the Columbia district was in serious decline and no one knew how long the British fur traders would be allowed to remain in what had become American territory -- perhaps Anderson felt it was just not worthwhile to maintain Fort Colvile to any degree.
I know that when Anderson arrived the fort, its palisades were long gone.
Because of the Cayuse War that now inflamed the Columbia River south of Fort Colvile, Anderson ordered the construction of new palisades around the main part of the fort.
According to Angus McDonald, this smaller stockaded area enclosed the north side of the fort and the fort's offices.

From a book called "Readings in Pacific Northwest History," [I have no other information on publisher to give] I found a description of the buildings at Fort Colvile, at the time Angus McDonald was in charge.
From an article "Fort Colvile Dispatches the Winter's Fur Catch," from a book by John K. Lord, "At Home in the Wilderness: What to Do There and How to Do it," (3rd ed., London, 1876) pp. 53-63 -- "It may prove interesting en passant, to give a brief outline of the plan adopted by all the far inland fur-trading posts, for the conveyance of the year's furs to the place....
"As a description of one will apply with equal force to all of them, I shall select for description Fort Colville [sic], which is situate on the banks of the Upper Columbia about 1,000 miles from the seaboard.
"This quaint old place, one of the Company's earliest trading stations west of the Rocky Mountains, is worthy of a passing description as affording a good example of the fur-trader's 'Home in the Wilderness.'
"The trader's house is quadrangular in shape, and built of heavy trees squared and piled one upon another...
"The visitor, on entering the somewhat ponderous portals of this primitive mansion, finds himself in a large room dimly lighted by two small windows, the furniture of which, designed more for use than ornament, consists of a few rough chairs and a large deal table, the latter occupying the centre of the room.
"Looking beneath this table one cannot fail to notice an immense padlock, which evidently fastens a trap-door, and if you happen to be a guest of the chief trader, (and here I must add as a result of long experience that the Hudson's Bay Company's traders are the most hospitable kind-hearted fellows I ever met with), the probabilities are greatly in favour of your discovering the secret of the trap-door, very soon after you enter the room.
"The table pushed back, the trap-door is unfastened, and the trader descends into a dark mysterious looking cave, soon however to emerge with a jug of rum, or something equally toothsome.
"Now, if you are of an inquisitive turn of mind, you may find out that in this underground store-room, all valuables are deposited and secured.
"This room beneath which the cavern has been excavated, has some person to occupy it night and day, and the chief trader sleeps in it; hence it is next to impossible that the savages could steal anything unless they forcibly sacked and pillaged the establishment.
"An immense hearth-fire, both warms and lights this dreary sitting room, for at least eight months of the year..."

Then this gentleman goes on to describe the trading shop... "The trading shop, and store of goods employed in bartering with the savages, adjoins the trader's house, although not actually a part of it; and the fur-trader stands therein behind a high counter, to make his bargains.
"The Indians have a curious custom in their barterings, which is, to demand payment for each skin separately, and if a savage had fifty marten skins to dispose of, he would only sell or barter one at a time, and insist on being paid for them one by one.
"Hence it often occupies the trader many days to purchase a large bale of peltries from an Indian trapper....
"In many of the Posts the trade room is cleverly contrived, so as to prevent a sudden rush of Indians, the approach from outside the pickets being through a long narrow passage, only of sufficient width to admit one Indian at a time, the passage being bent at an acute angle near the window, where the trader stands."
Note that this is not necessarily how Fort Colvile was set up; the Natives here were quite friendly with the fur traders and these precautions may not have been needed.
"This precaution is rendered necessary, inasmuch as were the passage straight, the savages might easily shoot him [the fur trader]...
"Over the fur shop are large lofts for storing and drying the furs in as they are collected.
"Beyond this a smith's shop, a few small log shanties, and an immense 'corral,' for keeping the horses in, whilst fitting out the 'brigade,' make up all that is noteworthy as far as the buildings are concerned at Fort Colvile...
"The houses are by no means uncomfortable, and I can truthfully say, many of the happiest evenings of my life, have been passed in the 'big room' at Fort Colvile."

This writer also described the brigades to Fort Hope, though he was very critical of the brigade system.
"This journey from Colvile to Hope occupies nearly three months for its accomplishment.
"About the beginning of June preparations commence at Fort Colvile for the Brigade.
"The horses (the Hudson's Bay Company never use mules), in number about 120 to 150, are brought by the 'Indian Herders,' who have had charge of them during the winter, to a spot called the 'Horse Guard,' about three miles from the fort, where there is an abundance of succulent grass and a good stream of water.
"Here the animals are taken care of by the trustworthy Indians until their equipment or 'rigging' is ready, which process is at the same time going on at the fort.
"Here some thirty or forty savages may be seen squatting round the door of the fur-room; some of them are stitching pads and cushions into the wooden frames of the pack-saddles; others are mending the broken frames; a third group is cutting long thongs of raw hide to serve as girths, or to act in lieu of ropes for lashing and tying; and a fourth is making the peltries up into bales, by the aid of a powerful lever press.
"Each bale is to weigh about sixty pounds, and the contents to be secured from wet by a wrapper of buffalo-hide, the skin side outermost."
[I think it more likely the bales were ninety pounds each, but maybe he's right..]
"This package is then provided with two very strong loops, made from raw hides, for the purpose of suspending it from what are called the 'horns' of the pack-saddle.
"Two of these bales hung up each side of a horse is a load, and a horse so provided is said to be packed.
"When all the preparations are completed the horses are driven in from the 'guard' to the fort, and the packing commences.
"They use no halters, but simply throw a lassoo round the animal's neck, with which it is held whilst being packed; this finished, the lassoo is removed, and the horse is again turned loose into the 'corral,' or on to the open plain, as it may be."

"Let us imagine a horse lassooed up awaiting the operation of packing.
"First a sheep or goat's skin, or a piece of buffalo 'robe', failing either of the former, called an 'apichimo,' is placed on its back, with the fur or hair next to that of the horse, and is intended to prevent galling; next the pack-saddle is put on.
"This miserable affair with its two little pillows or pads, tied into the cross-trees of woodwork, is girthed with a narrow strap of hide, which often, from the swaying of the load, cuts a regular gash into the poor animal's belly.
"Next a bale is hung on either side, and the two are loosely fastened together underneath the horse by a strap of raw hide.
"This completes the operation of packing, and the horse is set free, to await the general start.
"When all the animals are packed, each of the hands who are to accompany this cavalcade mounts his steed; then waving their lassoos round their heads, and vociferating like demons, they collect the band of packed animals, and drive the lot before them as shepherds do a flock of sheep.
"The principal trader, as a general rule, takes command of the brigade, the journey being anticipated by both the master and his men as a kind of yearly recurring jubilee."

If you think that the voyageurs are acting like a bunch of cowboys, then you will appreciate this description of the arrival of the brigade at Fort Hope, from Susan Allison's "A Pioneer Gentlewoman in British Columbia:"
"From the doorway of our shack we could see the Hudson's Bay Company's Post and watch the pack trains come in from Colvile, Keremeos and other places.
"Sometimes there would be a grand stampede and the pack trains would disrupt.
"Horses and men could be seen through a misty cloud of dust, madly dashing all over the Hope flat, lassos flying, dogs barking, hens flying for safety anywhere.
"Suddenly the tempest would subside as fast as it had arisen, the pack boys would emerge from the clouds of dust leading the ring leaders in the stampede..."

Young Susan also described the horses -- "These Hudson's Bay Company horses, though called "cayooses," were most of them splendid animals, hardy and enduring, with lots of good horse sense."
She was told that they were "descended from the Spanish Barb brought to American three hundred years ago by the Spaniards and left to run wild."

And on one occasion, Susan took a walk up the brigade trail to pick berries, and met Angus McDonald on his way to Hope:
"..I heard bells tinkling and looking up saw a light cloud of dust from which emerged a solitary horseman, the most picturesque figure I had ever seen.
"He rode a superb chestnut horse, satiny and well groomed, untired and full of life in spite of the dust, heat and long journey.
"He himself wore a beautifully embroidered buckskin shirt with tags and fringes, buckskin pants, embroidered leggings and soft cowboy hat.
"He was as surprised to see me as I was to see him, for he abruptly reined in his horse and stared down at me, while I equally astonished stared at him.
"Then as the Bell Boy and other horses rode up, he lifted his hat and passed on..."

Monday, December 12, 2011

Native fishermen at Fort Colvile

When Alexander Caulfield Anderson first rode into Fort Colvile in 1849, he might have been privileged to watch one of the fort's most interesting entertainments -- the Native fisheries at Kettle Falls.
In his memoirs, Anderson's son, James Robert, also wrote of these Native fisheries -- sometimes it is hard to tell which description is Anderson's, and which are his son's.
We will begin this chapter with James' Memoirs, when he writes of his journey to Kamloops in 1848, where he would remain until his father returned from Fort Langley.

"In 1849 [1848] a horse trail having been constructed in the interval between the time of my father's exploration and the above date, the route was for the first time used for the transportation of supplies to the various interior posts.
"In the year previous, my father had been transferred to the charge of Fort Colvile and we all moved to Kamloops where we, mother and family, spent the summer whilst my father was absent on his journey to Fort Langley, and on his return, we went to Fort Colvile where my father relieved Mr. John Lee Lewis [Lewes]...
"In 1848 after the return of my father to Kamloops we left that place and proceeded to Fort Colvile where as mentioned before, Mr. Lewis was relieved, who with his wife and family consisting as far as I can remember of an elder son, Adolphus, two good-looking girls and some younger children...

"Fort Colvile was a pleasant post, the country in the vicinity was clear of timber up to the foot-hills one or two miles distant.
The fort was situated about a miles from the Columbia River on the left hand bank and about the same distance from the Roman Catholic Mission down the river, presided over by Pere de Vos, a Jesuit Priest.
"Quite near the mission which was situated on higher ground than the Fort, were the Kettle or Chaudiere Falls which stretch clean across the Columbia.
"Here the Indians used to congregate when the salmon were running.
"The manner of capturing the fish was accomplished in two ways -- one was by baskets, so called, made of withes some ten feet long, closed at the sides and lower end.
"This was suspended so that the upper end touched the water of the falls, the other end being lower.
"The salmon, in attempting to leap the falls, often missed and fell struggling into the basket when he was hooked out.
"The other way was by spearing the salmon whilst in mid air, from a frail looking staging sticking out over the seething torrents, a most exciting pursuit....."

Alexander Caulfield Anderson wrote about the same manner of fishing in a manuscript which has now more or less disappeared, but which might have been written for the Royal Engineers in 1860 or thereabouts.
It exists today in scraps in one of his son's folders in the archives.

This is what Alexander Caulfield Anderson wrote:
"Modes of fishing are very varied & as a matter of course the conditions under which fish are captured are so widely different that innumerable means were employed.
"On rivers & lakes salmon were captured by means of spearing, traps & scoop nets & baskets set under water falls into which the salmon falls if he misses his leap or in cases of short streams where some salmon, on going down the stream, numbers fall in to the baskets & are caught.
"These baskets are made of withes or split pieces of wood from ten to twelve and perhaps more feet in length fastened with cedar roots or boughs to transverse pieces with one & two sides raised sufficiently high to prevent the salmon from escaping.
"By means of long poles well secured to the shore in a horizontal position, the basket is suspended so that the open end goes well into the water of the fall, or in cases where the volume of water is small, the open end may reach the rocks, the closed end being slightly lower so that the fish in falling into the basket slides to that end where from a frail platform it is hooked by the gills & thrown ashore to the women who immediately prepare them for drying."

These fish traps sound as if they were well designed and quite ingenious.

Anderson wanders away from Fort Colvile in his discussion of the spears used for fishing, but he will return....
"Spears were made in different ways, the most kind I think were thrown.
"The shaft of the spear was generally made of a split piece of fir about twenty feet long, perhaps an inch in diameter at each end & slightly larger in the middle.
[The prongs or ends, sometimes, in the case of two prongs of unequal length, made of hardwood, are fixed] "to the shaft by means of cedar roots or cherry bark & consisted of one, two & sometimes four, the latter being used generally on the sea coast for spearing crabs, octopi, flat fish &c, the barbs were made of bone & were either rigidly attached to the prongs or fitting on the end, were when the prey was struck, detached from the prongs & held to the spear by means of ropes.
"The spear intended for throwing had a flat piece of wood with places cut in to fit the fingers, fastened to the upper end in order that it could be used with greater force.
"The ordinary salmon spear was however never or very seldom thrown, it was used in shallow water where the fish could be seen, sometimes at night by the aid of torches.
"The most exciting method of spearing I ever witnessed was at the Kettle Falls on the Columbia River where the Indians stood on the end of a very rickety looking platform overhanging the seething waters & struck his prey in mid air as the salmon attempted to leap the falls."

Many Native tribes gathered at Kettle Falls for the annual fisheries, and we would have more stories of them if only Fort Colvile had become a part of British Columbia.
The fort was south of the boundary line, however, and so it did not.
As most of Anderson's later essays were confined to British Columbia's history, we have lost many stories that Anderson may have told about Fort Colvile.

There is, however, another source of information on the salmon (and other fish) that entered the Columbia River, and that is Alexander Caulfield Anderson's fisheries reports for the Dominion of Canada, in the years 1876 to 1884.
In his "Notes and suggestions regarding the Salmon Fisheries on Fraser River," in Sessional Papers of the Dominion of Canada, 1875, Anderson tells us that the salmon that swam up the Columbia River were as large as the Chinook which came up the Fraser River.
The weight of the Fraser River salmon sometimes exceeded fifty pounds and on one occasion a sixty-five pound Chinook was caught near Victoria, and Anderson compares the BC chinook with the Columbia River salmon:
"This fish -- the saw-quai of the lower coast tribes [the Chinook].. does not obviously differ externally from the large spring salmon of the Columbia River (s. quinnatt eqannett chinook.)
"But there are certain apparent differences in their habits, which lead me to infer that they are probably distinct varieties.
"One fact observable with the Fraser River kase [Chinook] is, that they do not, so far as I have observed or been able to ascertain, enter any of the lakes, such as Stuart's Lake, Fraser Lake, &c, along the course of the Fraser and its tributaries.
"Upon reaching the outlet of these lakes, they diverge up the adjacent streams to spawn -- the smaller variety, or ia-lo (suck-kai of the Lower Fraser) [sockeye] alone continuing their course through the dead-water of the lakes, to the tributaries beyond.
"The equannett of the Columbia (s. quinnatt) exhibits no such apparent reluctance; passing unhesitatingly through the lakes of the Upper Columbia on its course towards the head-waters, where its spawning grounds are situated.
"Again, the run of the large Columbia salmon from the sea is apparently more continuous and regular than that of the nearly corresponding fish of the Fraser; and commences, also, at a somewhat earlier date.
"This last fact, however, may reasonably be assigned to local causes only."

[The chinook carried a different name on the Upper Fraser than it did on the lower, hence the two names -- kase, and saw-quai -- in above paragraph. It sometimes confuses me that Anderson, in all the years after he left Fraser's Lake, continued to call the Chinook by its northern name, the kase.]

I understand that there is some argument about the size of the salmon that once swam up the Columbia River to be caught at Kettle Falls.
Alexander Caulfield Anderson's Fisheries reports confirm that the Columbia River salmon that reached Kettle Falls and beyond, in the 1850's, were sizable fish.
That makes the apparent flimsiness of the Natives' fishing utensils even more amazing, that they could withstand the weight of a fifty pound fish falling down the falls into the baskets!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Book-sellers around the world

I have just done a google search to see where my book: The Pathfinder: A.C. Anderson's Journeys in the West, is listed, and I have found quite a few listings.
In Canada the book is sold through, and through the Chapters and Indigo bookstores at
In Victoria the book is listed on my favorite bookstore's site -- Munro Books, at (you can get signed copies from them).

For American readers in the Seattle, Portland, and Spokane areas, it is listed on Barnes and Noble, at -- and is also available at Powells Books, at -- a major Pacific Northwest bookstore.
That's very good coverage and means it will be readily available in the Pacific Northwest, an area that is thoroughly covered in the book.
There are other listings that appear to be American, that I am unfamiliar with -- these are and (a world-wide bookseller, it appears)

Many Anderson-Seton descendants still live in England, and so they might find the book on the British version of Amazon Books, at

For those many Alexander Caulfield Anderson descendants who lived in New Zealand and Australia (the majority near Feilding and North Palmerston, NZ),the book is readily available through these online booksellers: and;;; and -- as well as
The New Zealanders who would be most interested in reading Alexander Caulfield Anderson's story are those who are descended from Anderson's eldest daughter, Eliza Charlotte Anderson, who married James R. Beattie at Victoria and moved to Feilding, New Zealand (and yes, that is the way Feilding is spelled).
By the way, if you are a descendant of Alexander Caulfield Anderson, you should never be shy about contacting me; we have an active group of researchers who would like to hear from you.
I did not do all the genealogical research by myself -- we shared information and we continue to share information.

In the Hong Kong market, the book is available through -- probably a good market for those Asian or Japanese historians interested in the story of the wreck of the Honjunmaru on the Pacific northwest coast in the early 1840's.
That's a pretty amazing list of online sources for this book -- I am really happy to see it is so well promoted overseas and in the Pacific Northwest.
I am told that the new author spends hours in searching bookstores for her newly published book, and weeks in worrying about book reviews and book prizes, and authorly stuff like that.
I guess that's the stage I am in right now.
I am told the best thing to do is to get to work on the next book -- and that is what I am ready to do.

Oh, by the way, a reader has already informed me about an error in the book.
No book is ever perfect, and so I was prepared for this.
The error appears in the coloured map in the middle of the book which shows the 1848 Anderson's River brigade Trail, and the 1849 Coquihalla Brigade trail -- the trails have been reversed.
My editor overlooked it, and so did I.
Angie will find another error in the book; it was something I learned from her just as the book was running through the presses so she will know where to look...

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Blackeye the Similkameen

I have stumbled on some new information that might actually allow me to identify Blackeye, the Similkameen chief Anderson met on the north side of the Coquihalla mountain in 1846, near modern day Tulameen.
Even if this is not the answer to my question, "Who is Blackeye?" it is a wonderful story and I am going to share it with you.
Firstly I will quote the story as written in "Notes on the Shuswap People of British Columbia," by George Mercer Dawson, found online at, published in the Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada, Section II, 1891, pp. 3-44.

[p.24] "Mr. J. W. Mackay, from different sources, has put together the following notes bearing on the early history of the Indians now inhabiting the Similkameen country. In quoting these notes, which Mr. Mackay has kindly communicated to me, I retain his orthography of the native names:--

"A long time before the white man first came to the country, a company of warriors from the neighbourhood of the Chilcotin River made their appearance in the Bonaparte Valley, apparently with the object of attacking the Indians who were there and of making slaves of such as they could take alive. This happened during the salmon-fishing season.

"At that time it was customary for the Shuswaps who lived on the banks of the Thompson River between Kamloops and the mouth of the Bonaparte and in the Bonaparte Valley, to take their winter stock of salmon from the Fraser River at the western base of the Pavilion Mountain.

"The warriors above mentioned had evidently calculated that most of the Shuswaps would be absent from their winter quarters on the Bonaparte and Thompson valleys, and would be encamped on the Fraser River during the salmon season, and that therefore they might make an easy prey of the few Indians who might be remaining in these valleys. It happened that during the previous winter provisions had been more than ordinarily scarce, in consequence of which all the Shuswaps belonging to these localities had removed to their salmon fisheries on the Fraser.

"The strangers from Chilcotin were evidently ignorant of the geography of the country into which they had penetrated, and as they saw no Shuswaps where they expected to find them, they continued their advance southward down the Bonaparte and Thompson valleys till they reached a position opposite the mouth of the Nicola River. At this place they were discovered by some scouts belonging to the N-tla-ka-pe-mooh tribe, who immediately descended to Nicoamen and Ti-kam-cheen (Lytton), where most of the members of this tribe were assembled for the salmon fishery. They gave the alarming information that a hostile company was advancing down the Thompson.

"A strong force of the N-tla-ka-pe-mooh immediately set out to intercept the strangers, and having soon ascertained their position and probable strength, established themselves both in front and behind them. The intruders, after they discovered that they were thus menaced by a force stronger than their own, took advantage of the night to cross the Thompson and proceeded to ascend the Nicola Valley. The N-tla-ka-pe-mooh followed and harassed them, continuing to do so till the strangers were driven into the Similkameen valley, where they took a firm stand, and by their prowess, obliged their pursuers to desist from molesting them. The strangers were mostly young men, who had their wives with them, but only a few children, for in these primitive days the women accompanied their husbands to war and were valuable auxiliaries. The neighbouring N-tla-ka-pe-mooh and Salish of the Okanagan soon discovered that the stranger women were larger and better looking than their own, and treaties for peace and intermarriage were made. The language of the strangers fell gradually into disuse, and only a few words of it are now remembered by the oldest Indians of the Similkameen, the N-tla-ka-pe-mooh and Okanagan dialects being now used by these people indiscriminately. These strangers, who are said to have come from the Chilcotin country, are thus the earliest inhabitants of the Similkameen valley of whom any account has been obtained.

"The traditions and legends of the British Columbia Indians would make it appear that before the advent of the whites the different tribes of Indians were constantly at war and endeavouring to enslave the weaker bands. The more northern races were the most warlike and were continually dispossessing the less warlike southern tribes of their fisheries and hunting grounds. It thus appears possible that the intruders may really have been a Tinneh tribe which was driven south before the advance of the Tinneh now inhabiting the Chilcotin region."

A footnote on page 26 says: "[Finan] Macdonald is mentioned by Ross Cox as having been in the employment of the Northwest Company in charge of a post among the Flatheads in 1812, so that the events here narrated must have occurred about the beginning of the century.

If this incident occurred in, say, 1810 when Blackeye, the Similkameen, was a young warrior twenty years of age, he would have been only fifty-six years old in 1846 when Anderson met him.
Anderson did describe him as "old Blackeye," and so there is plenty of room for him to have been ten to twenty years older -- The story fits, and is possible.
And that's always nice to know.
Let us continue; there is more.

From: "Account of the Similkameen Indians of British Columbia," by. [Mrs.] S.S. Allison, from The Journal of the Anthropoligal Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, vol. 21 (1892), pp. 305-318 (available at

[305] "Of the origin of the former inhabitants of the Similkameen I know nothing, but of the tribe at present occupying the valley tradition relates that about 150 years ago a small bank of the warlike Chilcotins, accompanied by their wives and decked out in their war paint and feathers, crossed the Frazer River on the war path to avenge a wrong (the death of a chief) inflicted on them by the Shuswaps of the Bonaparte and Thompson.

"Penetrating too far into the interior the winter suddenly set in, they found their retreat cut off and themselves hemmed in by their enemies. They were, however, in a country abounding in game of all kinds, which, together with the long black lichens that descended from the pine trees, afforded them ample sustenance.

"Establishing themselves in the upper valley of the Similkameen they manfully faced the rigours of the winters, and bravely held their own against their foes. Making friends with the Spokans (who admired the fairness of their women) they inter-married with that tribe and increased in numbers for many years till, in common with all the neighbouring tribes, they were nearly obliterated by that dire scourge, small-pox. Whether this is due to the entire change that has taken place in their food and manner of life it is hard to say, but I know from personal experience that the Similkameen Indians of to-day are totally different both physically and mentally from what they were thirty or even twenty years ago. Though the women are of small stature (possibly from the custom of marrying them before they have attained their full growth) the men average five feet six in height; their frames are lithe and muscular, their movements quick and graceful..."

She continues to describe these people and many of their customs, and I believe that for the most part she is speaking of the Chilcotins, not those who lived thre later.
She has stories of some of the Similkameens hiking over the Coquihalla to Hope, bearing goods....if this happened before 1843 that would have encouraged James Murray Yale to tell Alexander Caulfield Anderson of the trail over the Coquihalla, that resulted in his 1846 exploration from Fort Langley to Kamloops, via the Coquihalla, Nicolum and Summalo Rivers.

In the latter part of the article I found this intriguing line: "Slaves taken in war were well treated, but always had one eye blemished to mark them..."
Is that where the name Blackeye came from -- our Similkameen chief was the leader of a group of Natives who "blacked" the eyes of their slaves?

The Chilcotin people are of Athapascan or Tinneh [Dinneh] stock, and there are many mentions of Athapascans being squeezed into the lower Nicola Valley and the Similkameen.
In fact, even Diamond Jenness, in "The Indians of Canada," first published in 1932, admits as much when he says, "At the end of the eighteenth century there was a small Athapascan-speaking tribe, wedged in among these five Salishan tribes, which occupied the valley of the Nicola river and part of the valley of the Similkemeen. Early in the nineteenth century the Thompson River Indians absorbed it so completely that only a few legends, and a small vocabulary of names, bear witness to its former existence."

In George Dawson's afore-mentioned "Notes on the Shuswap," I learned that Chief Nkwala's mother was "a Similkameen woman of the Tinneh type, which is clearly shown in the physiques of her descendants to the present day."
So Nkwala's father, Pelka'mulox, probably married one of the Chilcotin women who fought their way through the Nicola valley to the Similkameen.
Tsilaxitsa, who was Nkwala's cousin, would, through Nkwala's mother, be a close relative to Blackeye, if Blackeye was actually one of those same Chilcotin warriors.

However, the further you look into the story, the more confusing it becomes!
The story might not be true at all!
I have discovered they are Chilcotin/Similkameen peoples are called the Nicola Athapaskans or Stuwi'x, today.
They lived in the Nicola valley and around Tulameen, and the last members of the group who lived near Nicola Lake were assimilated into the Secwepemc people by the end of the nineteenth century.
Historian Mark S. Wade (who happens to be in my family tree but not an Anderson) wrote that they were the first known inhabitants of the Similkameen but were driven out by the group today living there. [This book is said to be a little inaccurate and, perhaps, rushed to publication.]
The Stuwi'x retreated to Douglas, Stump, and Nicola Lakes where they were sheltered by Chief Nkwala, their close relative.

The Canadian Enclopedia informs us that: "The Nicola-Similkameen were an enclave of Athapaskans living in the Nicola and Similkameen River valleys of south central BC, surrounded by Interior Salish.
"One theory about Nicola-Similkameen settlement in this area suggests they originated from a Chilcotin Athapascan war party that stayed and intermarried with the Thompson and Okanagan Interior Salish in the mid-1700's.
"Another suggests that the Nicola-Similkameen had a long history in this area, having moved from a more northerly Athapaskan homeland many hundreds of years ago, but archaeological data have not supported this theory."

I think this question needs a lot more work before I can satisfactorily identify Blackeye and his son.
It is time to give the question a rest!

You might wonder why the Tulameen area was called the Similkameen by the fur traders.
From "Glorious Tulameen," at www.tulameenbc/com/tcc/history.pdf I find that "in the early sixties [I am assuming this in 1960's], the Tulameen River was also known as the North Similkameen.
"The two branches come together at Princeton, which was at one time called The Forks.
"There is no agreement as to the meaning of the Indian word Similkameen, but its sister word Tulameen means red earth, and refers to deposits of ochre which are common in the area.
"This ochre was formerly highly prized by the native peoples who came long distances to trade for this paint. Allison subdivision in Princeton before the white man came was called Yak-Tulameen or the place where the red earth is sold. "It was the first market place in the valley, and red ochre was our first export."

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

If you want to order a book from me...

...and some of you (one or two) have said that they would like to do that:
The book costs $21.00 in Canadian money, including HST (which is only 5% on books).
Postage rates vary, of course, and I have discovered that books shipped to the following places have these postage rates:
England by air mail -- $17.06
North Carolina -- $8.35
Winnipeg -- $11.44 plus HST
Washington and Oregon states -- $9.90
Lillooet -- $9.70 plus HST
Kamloops -- $8.21 plus HST
If you want to purchase a book directly from me, I will of course sign it before I ship it off.
Contact me by email and I will give you my address so that you can send cheque or mail order (mail order will be faster).
Enclose enough money to cover what we think might be the postage and I will include change -- in Canadian money, probably.
The difference between American prices and Canadian is merely because the Americans have a small package rate which we Canadians do not have, and one book fits nicely into that small package rate.
Thanks a lot -- my email, if not visible anywhere, is

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Book Launch!!

Come if you can! I think this will be a smaller, more intimate affair -- at least, I hope so.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

First speech

I gave my first long speech in front of the Victoria Historical Society on Thursday night, and survived the experience.
I wrote the entire speech out and read it off and it was fairly successful, and I never omitted anything or made any mistakes -- The power point worked for the most part, and so everything was okay.
But looking back on the speech, I think I would change a few things.
I am told that the maps did not show well at the back of the room, though they looked great from where my sister and I were.
Maps are hard to deal with in a power point presentation, and so I will have to do it differently.
I think I would show the map, as I did, and then prepare and show black and white maps that show the exact area we are speaking of, so that people can follow along a little better.

I also felt that the speech could have been improved if I had added a few sections where I could just talk freely -- perhaps introducing the characters to the audience. I will plan that for the future.
I found that I had to rush a little to finish, even though the speech was perfectly timed for 40 minutes, as instructed -- power point takes time and other little things will cause a delay, too.
Next time I will write a shorter speech and have little periods of time when I can just talk to the audience.
It's all a learning experience....

In my head, I start off my revised speech with the book cover and the following words:

Good evening, everyone. My name is Nancy Anderson and I am the author of The Pathfinder: A.C. Anderson's Journeys in the West, published this fall by Heritage House.
(I am not sure that's necessary as I have already been introduced).
Alexander Caulfield Anderson is best known as the Hudson's Bay Company fur trader who, in the mid-1840's, threaded his way through mountain passes and down rapid filled rivers in search of a horse-friendly trail through the rugged country that separated the Kamloops fort from Fort Langley, on the lower Fraser River.
This is the story of those four cross-country expeditions and the difficult years that followed, when the fur traders were forced to make their way over the new trails to the coast -- horses fell from clifftops carrying valuable trade goods with them, and frustrated fur traders had fist fights while their French Canadian employees deserted at Fort Langley for an easier life in the California gold fields.....
The information presented in this talk is taken from Anderson's records, and the reports and letters of the other fur traders such as Henry Newsham Peers, Donald Manson, and Peter Skene Ogden.

[Maybe here I would insert a little paragraph telling people what I am going to tell them, to prevent confusion, ie.:]
I will tell you where the brigade trails ran before 1846, when Anderson was granted permission to explore for a new trail between Kamloops and the coast;
I will explain why the fur traders had to find a new trail, and what forced them to use the new trail before it was ready;
I will describe what happened on the difficult 1848 brigade, and how they found a new trail in 1849; and I will tell you a little about some of the people who were involved in opening up these trails.

Image: Simple map of old brigade trail, Fort St. James to Kamloops:

Before 1843, the outgoing New Caledonia brigades started their journey in Fort St. James, carrying their furs downriver by boat to Fort Alexandria, south of modern day Prince George.
There they loaded their packs onto horses and followed their brigade trail east across the Thompson plateau to the North Thompson River. They swam their horses across the river and rode down its rugged east bank into the Kamloops fort.

The trail that led south from Kamloops was first used two hundred years ago, and was in regular use all the way up to 1847, when everything changed.
The trail led them past Monte Lake and followed the hills that lined the west shore of Okanagan Lake. It passed through Summerland and Oliver, along the west shore of Osoyoos Lake and reached the Columbia River at Fort Okanogan.

At Fort Okanogan the fur traders loaded their furs into boats and headed downriver toward Fort Vancouver.
At Fort Nez Perce they stopped again. Just east of Fort Nez Perce was an American mission -- called the Waiilatpu Mission -- that in 1848 will play an important role in Anderson's story.
The boats reached Fort Vancouver in early June, and departed in July for the Okanogan post.
In August they approached Fort Alexandria and everyone rushed out of the fort to help them the last miles home.
By September they had returned to Fort St. James, where they had begun their journey five months earlier.

In the early 1840's the fur traders looked for a new trail to cut off the difficult trail via the North Thompson River and Kamloops.
The suggested trail led north from Kamloops Lake, around the south end of Loon Lake and the north end of Green Lake.
In the area around Lac la Hache it joined the old brigade trail that led west to Fort Alexandria.
When Anderson re-entered the territory in 1842, on his way to Fort Alexandria, he rode over the trail; the following spring he brought the brigade out by this new route and this was the first time the trail was used as the brigade trail.

Image: 4 Explorations Map (See book for this map), with a talk on where Fort Langley is on the map, and where Kamloops is, and how Anderson drew the map.

Now that we have covered the background, I will tell you of Anderson's four expeditions across country in 1846 and 1847, and the international forces that caused the fur traders such anxiety over these next few years:
The boundary line between the the United States and British territories had already been established to the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains.
In the early 1840's, the fur traders were aware that the British and American governments were now negotiating the placement of the boundary line west of the Rocky Mountains -- between Oregon Territory and so-called British territories.
Only Natives, HBC fur traders, and the first rush of American settlers who had come over the Oregon Trail, jointly occupied Oregon Territory (what would later become Oregon, Washington, and North Idaho.)
Anderson thought the fur traders might eventually require a trail to Fort Langley, on the lower Fraser River, from whence they could transfer their furs to Fort Victoria and London.
He offered to explore for that new route, and the governor of the Company immediately accepted his offer.

Image: Photograph, Hell's Gate Canyon

It was 1846. The fur traders already knew they could not reach Fort Langley by boat through the two rapid-filled canyons (Hell's Gate and Black Canyon) that blocked the Fraser River between Kamloops and Fort Langley.
But the fur traders also knew that Natives from above Hell's Gate and Black Canyons traded at Fort Langley, and that the Sto:lo on the lower Fraser travelled north past those canyons.
There must be a trail around the two canyons, and Anderson was expected to find it!

Image: Photograph, Brigade Trail behind Alexandra Lodge, Fraser Canyon Highway

The trail had to be horse friendly. The country must provide good grass and water for the horses, and the trail bed must be solid enough underfoot that two hundred heavily laden packhorses could pass in safety both ways.
Switchbacks were needed on steep hillsides to allow the horses to clamber safely up or down, and safe fords or bridges must be provided if the horses crossed deep creeks in the season of high water.

Image: Map of route from Kamloops to Anderson and Seton Lakes, and down Lilloet River to Fort Langley

In summer 1846, Anderson's party of six men started off from the Kamloops fort, and rode down the south shore of Kamloops Lake to cross the Thompson River at the lake's west end.
His party rode westward through turbulent Deadman River and the Bonaparte; they followed Hat Creek to Marble Canyon and joined the Fraser River at Pavilion, and followed the river's east shore south to the place where the Natives gathered at their fishery.
There Anderson looked at the end of massive Fountain Ridge, and realized he could not take horses there. Leaving the animals behind, he crossed the Fraser in borrowed canoes and led his men down the west bank of the Fraser, as far as the mouth of Seton River.
They walked along the north shores of Seton and Anderson lakes, and hiked over various heights of land until they stumbled on the Lillooet River.
At a village they borrowed canoes, and their Lil'wat paddlers brought them quickly and efficiently down that rapid filled river to Fort Langley.

An archeologist/anthropologist who does research among the Lil'wat people who live on today's Lillooet River, collected a story from one woman, who said her many-times-great-grandmother, as a child, had been hidden away by her parents because 'strangers were coming downriver.'
He figured out the generations and thought the story had taken place about 1850 -- close enough to 1846 for it to have possibly been Anderson's descent of the Lillooet River.

(Isn't it amazing that the story came down to this woman through the many generations of women who came before her?)

Image: Photograph, The Coquihalla from Fort Langley

This is the Coquihalla mountain range behind Hope, as seen from Fort Langley. Imagine Anderson and James Murray Yale standing on the bank of the Fraser and looking at these hills, while Yale tells Anderson of a trail that ran through or around these mountains.
Yale had arranged that a Sto:lo chief named Pahallak would guide Anderson by one of his trails through this mountain range.
Anderson's party travelled upriver from Fort Langley, and after a short diversion to explore the Silverhope River (which Anderson eliminated because of rocks on the route) they began to walk up the banks of the Coquihalla River.

Image: Map of B.C., Coquihalla Detail (see book for this map)

They followed the Nicolum River east, crossing over the ridge of land that separated that river from the Sumallo -- where the Hope Slide blocks the valley today.
At Rhododendron Flats (Manning Park), they climbed up the south side of the Coquihalla to the top of the mountain, where they found the entire plateau covered in snow, deep enough that horses could not traverse it.
They crossed the plateau in a south to north direction, and followed the rocky canyon of the Tulameen River down the Coquihalla's north side to open country, where they met two Similkameen Natives -- Blackeye and his son-in-law.
Blackeye told Anderson of a Native trail to the to of the mountain: "It is of course very short as compared with the long and painful circuit made by us," Anderson said. "The road mentioned by Blackeye is that by which all, or most, of the Indians of the neighbourhood proceed every summer, in July, to the height of land with their horses to hunt Siffleurs (marmots) and gather roots; a journey of two days with their loaded horses. He expressed his willingness to guide us through it at the proper season, but like the rest of the country in that vicinity, it is impassable at present owing to the snow."

Anderson returned to Fort Alexandria (where he was posted) -- One year later, in 1847, Peter Skene Ogden instructed Anderson to make another exploration, this time down the banks of the Fraser River to Fort Langley -- to see if a snow free route could be discovered.
When Anderson set off from Kamloops, he was already aware that the Similkameen people, who lived on the Similkameen and Tulameen Rivers south of the Nicola Valley, had recently opened a trail that led from the banks of the Fraser River all the way up the hills to the Nicola Valley.
The fur traders had arranged that Blackeye show Anderson the trail, but the Similkameen man was not at the meeting place when Anderson made his journal entries that night.
Sometime later -- perhaps days later -- Blackeye's son joined Anderson's party.

Image: Photograph, Thompson's River

From the Nicola Valley, Anderson rode to the mouth of the Nicola River and, leaving the horses behind, crossed the river in borrowed canoes.
He and his men walked down the south bank of the Thompson River toward modern day Lytton, and next day met their Sto:lo guide, Pahallak, where the Thompson flowed into the Fraser.
Pahallak travelled with "..a large concourse of Indians of every age and sex," Anderson recorded. "They are on their good behaviour and show every external desire to conciliate, but they are a scampish looking set of vagabonds; nor does their ordinary conduct, I believe, at all belie their looks; and though there is little to be apprehended from them under present circumstances, we are of course, as usual, on our guard."
They camped for the night at the meeting place and began their walk downriver the next day.
One day later they reached the Native settlement Anderson called Squa-zowm, at the west end of the newly opened Similkameen trail.
If Blackeye's son hadn't arrived before this time, he and his close relative, Chief Nkwala's nephew, met Anderson near modern-day Boston Bar, where Squa-zowm village stood.

Image: Lake Mountain from North Bend, with a word on Boston Bar, Anderson River, and the location of Hell's Gate and Black Canyons just around the corner of the river.

Blackeye's son led the fur traders up his newly opened Similkameen trail, and at a place that two of Anderson's men recognized, they paused. The men assured Anderson that, from this place there already existed a reasonably good horse road that would take them all the way to the Nicola Valley and Kamloops.
Now Anderson had only to find the trail to Fort Langley, past Hell's Gate and Black Canyons and the miles of rapid-filled river north of modern day Yale.
From the mainstream of the river, the Natives led Anderson's party up a cliff climbing trail that took them to the top of Lake Mountain, where another long sloping trail led them southward to a Native village called Kequeloose, on the Fraser River south of the two canyons.

Image: Fraser River at one of its narrow points (just so everyone gets the idea the journey wasn't that easy....)

From there they crossed the Fraser and made their way downriver -- with some difficulties -- until they were able to borrow canoes to bring them to Fort Langley.
Anderson's party immediately returned up the canyons bringing two unloaded boats to Kequeloose -- again, with some difficulties -- and followed his Native guides up the trail to the Nicola Valley, on foot.

Image: Tsilaxitsa portrait in colour (it's in black and white, in the book)

When the party reached open country, Anderson wrote a note to his clerk, giving him instructions: "The chief part of our survey being now completed, I propose entrusting to your care the further charge of the party...therefore you will proceed to Okanagan with the horses, accompanied by the men herein named -- Fallardeau, Lacourse, and Desautel remain with you. Also Nicholas' nephew, Blackeye's son, and Laronetumleun -- the last as interpreter."
In later years Anderson wrote that he rode many miles with Nkwala's nephew Tsilaxitsa, who was to become the most prominent Okanagan chief of his time.
I suspect that Tsilaxitsa and Blackeye's son, and other Native men who remain forever unnamed, regularly worked for the fur traders, helping them take out their furs and bring in the trade goods.

(At this point we are 15 minutes into the 45 minute talk!)

Image: Map of lower Columbia with Fort Nez Perce showing, and Waiilatpu Mission

About the time Anderson was making his 1847 exploration, measles, which had come north with Natives who traded for horses in California, spread slowly through the Columbia district south of Fort Okanogan.
Measles is an illness that spreads in crowded conditions, and Natives gathered in large numbers around the Waiilatpu mission, east of Fort Nez Perce.
Many died -- so many that the Cayuse chiefs became convinced the missionary was intentionally killing them with poison.
When he failed a test they set for him, the Cayuse swarmed into the mission-house, slaughtering fourteen residents and taking many hostages.

Image: Peter Skene Ogden

When news of the massacre reached Fort Vancouver, Peter Skene Ogden travelled east up the Columbia river to purchase the hostages and settle the tribes.
However, the result of the massacre was the Cayuse war that erupted amongst many of the Native tribes along the Columbia River.
The river was no longer safe for travel, and Peter Skene Ogden and James Douglas immediately instructed the fur traders of Fort St. James, Kamloops and Fort Colvile (on the Columbia River near Spokane) to bring their furs out to Fort Langley by one of Anderson's unimproved trails.

The two men chose the Squa-zowm River trail over Lake Mountain, and Douglas travelled to the Fraser River to assess how easy it would be to travel downriver to the new Fort Yale.
He was horrified by the river rapids and, discovering a rough passage that led through a rift in the rocks on the west side of the river, he ordered that a good road be built through it. This was the Douglas portage, north of modern day Yale.

Before 1848, a typical brigade generally consisted of about 200 horses. The gentlemen rode at the head of the column, and behind them came the provisioning brigade.
Next came the bell mare, that trotted in front of the many individual brigades of heavily laden pack horses. In a normal year, each string (or brigade) of seven to nine horses was in the care of two men responsible both for the horses and the loads they carried.
But in 1848, close to four hundred horses -- including many unbroken animals -- came out in the hands of fifty men, many of whom would not be returning with the brigades.
The outgoing brigade left Kamloops in late May, and travelled over the hills south of the fort before following the Coldwater River west.
They crossed the plateau and rounded the range of hills before dropping down the west side of the ridge, to the Squa-zowm river, which they now called Anderson's River.
Then up the cliffs to the plateau atop Lake Mountain where they passed Hell's Gate and Black Canyons -- down the long sloping hills to the village at Kequeloose and downriver to Spuzzum Creek, where they crossed their loads in "barges" that were difficult to handle and drowned some of their horses as they swam them across the river.
They arrived at Fort Yale in early June, and Anderson wrote: "It is needless to enumerate the difficulties which we had to encounter and surmount; suffice it to say that we continued to reach Fort Yale, which had meanwhile been established, and thence ran down speedily to Langley."

The outgoing brigades had carried out their packs of furs and castoreum -- the incoming brigades would now carry in trade goods -- packs of iron goods and axe heads, balls and black powder and flints for trade guns, salt, tobacco in 90 pound rolls or in carrots, awls for sewing leather, needles and fabric, ledgers for use as post journals and ink cakes to use with goose feather pens they made themselves.
The brigade would also return with fewer men -- nine men sent out with the Fort Colvile crew returned to Fort Vancouver and three men deserted at Fort Langley.

But a young gentleman named Henry Newsham Peers joined the brigade, and he kept a journal of the trip in.
They started off from Fort Langley, and Anderson travelled in the first cluster of four boats, with five more to come under Donald Manson's command.

Image: Donald Manson, with a description of this colourful and historic man

Anderson later described the upriver journal to Yale: "Hitherto, bateaux of about three burthern have been employed by the Hudson's Bay Company, for transport below the Falls (at Yale) -- a slow method when the water is high, as the ascent can then be effected only by warping along shore, with the aid of Indian canoes to pass the lines. By this tedious process, an ascent was made during the freshet of 1848, to the foot of the Falls (at Yale), in eight days; under ordinary circumstances, it would occupy five."
This was also the season of the Native fisheries, and Donald Manson reported: "The multitude of Indians who congregate on the banks of Frasers River at that season and who gave us a good deal of annoyance in passing...would render this route if not dangerous, at least a very precarious one, for our heavily encumbered and weakly [manned] brigade...."

From Peers' journal, on passing over the Douglas portage north of Fort Yale: "I and Mr. Manson left Ft. Yale on the 2nd August with the last trip 30 horses to rejoin Mr. Anderson at the other end; We got on very well on the portage with the exception of a couple of horses falling in the ascent of the big hill & some little confusion in a swampy part of the road rendered worst than its original state by the frequent passing & re-passing of horses. There is a pretty gradual ascent (one stiff hill intervening) as far as Douglas' River where there is a steep descent of about 700 feet to a bridge & a somewhat steeper though shorter ascent on the opposite side of this ravine, thence a level road till within a mile of Spuzzum River or Simon's House where the road descends pretty gradually to that place -- we were about three hours coming across & encamped on the south side of the Fraser River."

Simon's House was a little building constructed at the north end of Douglas portage, on the west side of the Fraser. Peers continues: "Remained at this encampment three days crossing Baggage & horses, etc., found all the goods correct & started on the 6th at 3pm. with some 500 & upwards pieces of goods in 15 brigades each brigade having 18 & some a greater number of horses to 2 men."

They travelled about six miles up the east bank of the Fraser to the place where the Alexandra brigade now crosses the river, and Peers said: "We encamped at the foot of Big Hill where the road leaves Fraser River, many of Brigades only arriving when pitch dark and consequently great confusion from horses straying with their loads and so forth; several fell down a steep hill on nearing the encampment...from weakness, threw their loads & a bale was swept off in the river before it could be seized & one animal killed."

Image: Jacob Ballenden's grave, with a short explanation

Peers's journal continues the next day: "Rainy weather -- this morning Jacob Ballenden was found dead near the encampment with his gun discharged by his side, shot through the heart. It is supposed he committed suicide. The day was spent in collecting strayed horses with their loads and all found but 6 pieces and another horse killed. A war party of the Chute Indians against those of Anderson's River passed the camp and created some little alarm...Nothing I may say here for the horses to feed on."

The brigades climbed Lake Mountain and descended the cliffs on the other side, to Anderson's River, and Peers records: "Some of the rear brigades got on very badly and 80 pieces were found deficient...Remained here today till the lost pieces should be brought in all of which were rendered but 2 bales...very little for the horses to eat."
Then they began the climb from Anderson's River to the top of the hills via Utzlius Creek, eventually reaching "a small patch of thinly wooded ground in which had been constructed a miserable horse-park. Two or three of the rear brigades arrived when quite dark and many horses necessarily strayed away before they could be freed from their loads, passing the night with the rest in the woods under a heavy thunder storm with little or nothing to eat."
Peers recorded that the horses were "much reduced from this constant want of food and the hard labour they had already undergone in the ups & downs of such a rugged & mountainous tract of country -- the pieces all but two or three were recovered after much searching and order was again restored. The Indians who had been employed for the last four days in searching for and bringing lost goods to the camp were paid off and seemed satisfied although there is some doubt as to their honesty."
The next day they camped five miles from the top of the hill; and men in the latter brigades went without supper (if you remember, the provisioning brigade was at the head of the column). On the following day Anderson rode ahead to the top of the hill, while Manson sent Natives out to search for more packs. At the end of the day the fur traders found they were still missing: "six bags of salt, two bags of ball and two rolls of Tobacco." [I mentioned at this point that each of these bags and rolls weighed ninety pounds.]

Anderson sent fresh horses back to Manson and Peers -- and Peers reported that "the early part of today was devoted to catching and loading young horses, about which some time was wasted." [this always happened in the brigades.]
The next afternoon Manson and Peers caught up to Anderson's brigades on the Coldwater River. The brigade reached Kamloops on August 22nd, and the gentlemen held a meeting to discuss the trail.
Manson reported that: "The new route to Fort Langley was found by possess so many impediments, dangers and difficulties that I considered it my duty to condemn it as utterly [useless] for a large brigade such as ours, and Mr. Anderson, who discovered and recommended it as a questionable for our brigades is now convinced of his error. Such a rugged and mountainous country I never before traversed with horses...."

(At this point we are a half hour into the 3/4 hour talk)

About 70 valuable horses had been lost or killed, 27 on the return journey alone. This route was far too difficult, and the gentlemen agreed that the snow-covered trail over the Coquihalla must be tried.
They sent Henry Peers with Edouard Montigny, one of Anderson's men, to Blackeye's camp to ask that he show them his trail to the top of the Coquihalla.
Their actual guide was Blackeye's son, who took them up his father's trail to the top of the plateau, and then guided them due west, across the mountaintop, to a stream he called Sowaqua.
He pointed out his trail down the west side of the mountain, by streams that later came to be called Peers Creek and the Coquihalla River. Peers and Montigny followed the streams to the Fraser, where they borrowed canoes and made their way to Fort Langley.
At Fort Victoria, Peers told James Douglas of his successful journey over the mountains, and Douglas immediately ordered the construction of a new fort near the mouth of the Coquihalla River. He put Peers in charge of building Fort Hope, and also of opening the new trail to the top of the Coquihalla plateau.
Problems occurred almost immediately. Snow began to fall early in the season and it kept falling and the trail up the Coquihalla River valley was buried under deep drifts of snow and remained that way all winter.
In the interior forts the heavy snowfall killed so many horses the fur traders thought they couldn't have enough animals left alive to carry out their furs in the spring.

Image: Anderson's drawing of Kamloops, 1849, (in the book, in colour) and an explanation:

In early 1849, Peter Skene Ogden and James Douglas thought long and hard about the depth of snow on the Coquihalla plateau, and instructed the fur traders to bring out the furs by the Anderson River trail used in 1848.
Anderson, now in charge at Fort Colvile, led his men northward to Kamloops, arriving in May 1849. No improvement had been made on the almost impassible Anderson River trail, and the brigades took ten days to reach Fort Langley from Kamloops.
All the fur traders knew it was too dangerous to travel upriver through the Native fisheries a second time. As they came downriver through Yale, Manson instructed Anderson to go to the new Fort Hope and open up the trail up the Coquihalla River.
However, Anderson was now a chief trader and Manson's equal, and he refused, and came down to Fort Langley where James Douglas awaited them and ensured that everything ran smoothly.
Anderson supervised the unloading and re-loading of his boats, and as soon as possible he pushed his men and boats upriver to the new Fort Hope, where they began work on the trail.
When the pack horses that had been sent over the mountain from Kamloops finally arrived at Fort Hope, Anderson packed what Fort Colvile goods he could take on the horses assigned to him, and advised Manson of his decision to leave. The two gentlemen "exchanged high words."
The Fort Colvile men found the passage over the mountain quick and easy even though the trail was unfinished. Once over the mountain, Anderson avoided the long detour north to Kamloops, and led his men through the Similkameen River valley to Osoyoos Lake. They crossed the lake on one of its eskers, and riding over Anarchist Mountain, reached the Kettle River and followed it south to the Columbia River a few miles south of Fort Colvile.

Back at Fort Hope, Donald Manson worried about the unknown-to-him brigade trail across the Coquihalla. He travelled upriver to Fort Yale and Simon's House to see if it was possible to take his brigades out by that more familiar route, but at Simon's House he found many of his horses starved from lack of grass, or killed by Native fishermen.
But while he was checking out the possibilities there, the Nicola Valley Natives who had ridden over the Coquihalla to Fort Hope (on his instructions), followed him upriver to Fort Yale and told him the trail over the mountain was clear and easy to cross.
Manson left Fort Hope with whatever horses he could scrape together, but he could not carry out all his supplies, and the shortage of trade goods plagued him for the entire year that followed.

For Anderson, at Fort Colvile, it was a different matter. He probably left Fort Hope with the idea of returning to pick up the remainder of his goods.
He sent men and fresh horses back to Fort Hope to bring in his remaining supplies, and the Fort Colvile men made the second journey in short order.
A few weeks later, reports of Anderson's and Manson's argument at Fort Hope reached the ears of the gentlemen at Fort Vancouver, and Ogden and Douglas arranged that the Kamloops and Fort Colvile brigades travel over the mountain separately.
For the next few summers, James Douglas travelled to Fort Langley to meet the brigades -- because, as Peter Skene Ogden wrote, "without a conductor the gentlemen are not competent to conduct their own affairs, trifling as they are, and a separation is absolutely necessary as Pugilistic affairs between the two leaders is not exactly the proper mode of conduct in Brigades in the presence of the Company's servants."

Neither Manson nor Anderson would have called their affairs "trifling."
Their journeys over the mountains were, at times, difficult to impossible. Stress levels were high and remained high, the work was hard and there were sometimes heavy losses, and pay was low.
They worried about having enough men to do the work the fur trade demanded -- fewer men were joining the fur trade and the quality of the men that reached the Columbia district and New Caledonia was in a constant decline.
Moreover, many of their voyageurs attempted to desert the fur trade and make their way to the California gold fields.
Even Ogden sympathized with the deserters when he wrote: "What inducement does the fur trade hold out. None. They look around them on all sides and behold nothing but old men covered with grey hairs, having given forty years servitude and still steeped in poverty."

When the brigades came out in the summer of 1850 they found the trails much improved. From Campement du Femmes at the base of the mountain (on its north side), the Fort Colvile brigades followed Blackeye's trail twelve miles up to Lodestone Lake.
Another twelve miles brought them to a camp on the Tulameen River at Podunk Creek -- where Anderson's exploration of 1846 crossed the brigade trail that resulted from that exploration.
The next day they camped at Deer Camp, and nineteen miles further reached Manson's Camp, at the head of Peers Creek. Fifteen more miles brought them down Peers Creek and the Coquihalla River into Fort Hope, where they loaded their goods into boats and drifted downriver to Fort Langley.
By 1850 the new brigade trail was established and successful, though there were still hiccups. The shortage of horses in the interior remained a problem, and one portion of the trail still caused difficulties for the brigades.
The fur traders spent anxious years trying to find an alternative piece of trail for the part that descended Manson's Mountain, but never succeeded.
By 1852 Anderson was no longer riding over the trail, and could not suggest an alternative route -- his pathway down the wide valley that led up the south side of the mountain from the Sumallo River and Rhododendron Flats.
He had moved on and was happily or unhappily retired near Fort Vancouver.
He would pop up again in 1858, when he came to Fort Victoria and took responsibility for opening the first highway into the interior over the route of his first exploration via the Lillooet River to the Fraser River above the canyons.
By this trail, thousands of eager gold miners accessed the Fraser River gold fields north of the same canyons that had confounded the fur traders in 1848.

Historians often call the Harrison-Lillooet trail British Columbia's first highway, but I think the Coquihalla brigade trail -- or Blackeye's son's trail -- deserves that designation.
But whichever trail you feel opened up the province, Anderson played a part in finding it.
In 1860 the soldiers and engineers of the Columbia Detachment of the Royal Engineers substantially widened the Harrison Lillooet trail that Anderson had first explored in 1846, turning it into a good wagon road.
Then the Royal Engineers carved a good road out of the cliff faces between Yale and Boston Bar above the rapids and falls that had so troubled the brigades in 1848 and 1849. By Autumn 1862 their road reached Lytton, and in 1863 the first Alexandra Bridge crossed the Fraser River north of Spuzzum, its eastern end resting near the place where Anderson's men had buried Jacob Ballenden in 1848.
All these important roads are, one way or another, Anderson's trails -- and all of them helped to create the colony.
However the most important of these trails was the one that finally brought the fur traders over the Coquihalla range to Fort Langley; without it the history and importance of Fort Langley and Fort Victoria would have been severely impacted.
If Anderson had not been able to open up the brigade trail, what would have happened? How would the fur traders have brought their furs to the coast?

In 1975, historian Derek Pethick wrote that Anderson's "discovery of a practical, all British artery for the fur trade was to have a profound effect on the history of not only British Columbia, but also of Canada itself." Without Anderson's explorations, he said, British Columbia could hardly have come into being, and would never have become a part of Canada as it is today.

That was a three-quarter of an hour speech! and it appeared to be well received and everyone heard me -- which is the most important thing.
I'll work on making better maps for future presentations, and maybe I'll write shorter speeches so I can relax a little in between sections of the talk -- that would be nice for everyone including me.
People asked questions after the talk, and most of them were about Anderson's 1867 map of British Columbia.
I am quite disappointed that no one asked me what 'castoreum' was -- I had the perfect answer (which I got from a vegan site):
It is described as a "bitter, orange-brown, odoriferous, oily secretion, found in two sacs between the anus and the external genitals of the beavers."
Natives used it to attract beaver to their traps; Europeans used it in perfumes for its refined, leathery nuances.
It is still used today in perfumes, but also as a natural flavouring added to cigarettes and candies.

Thanks, everyone. I am still cleaning up all the papers, etc., that hit the floor when I am writing a speech or doing the last editing in the book.
We'll talk in a week or so, as I will have some free time -- until I speak in the middle of January in Hope.
Well, that's not quite correct -- the book launch is being held on December 1st -- one week away, but I am feeling quite relaxed by that.
It will I think be a smaller and more personal talk -- a little more relaxed.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Geneaology of the Okanagan people

For those of you who are looking for ways to research how you might have descended from Okanagan chiefs such as Nkwala, his nephew Tsilaxitsa, his son Selixt-asposem, or his close relative amongst the Similkameens, "Blackeye," then I have a new resource for you.
I will be using this resource when I try to discover what Blackeye's Native name might have been, and what name his son might have carried.
I just haven't got there yet -- I have a whole bunch of other stuff I have to do first (and as you can see, I am delaying).
This resource is online, and available to everyone....
Here it is:
"Genealogy of the Okanagon Chiefs" in Teit's The Okanagan.
Bureau of American Ethnology.
Annual Report to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, 1930?
Online at
See Pages 263-278.

There you go -- start your search, and I hope you find what you are looking for.
I have more information to pass on to the two or three people I already talk to -- be patient and start with this.
By the way, I noticed that Jean Baptiste Leolo (Lolo) is mentioned as belonging to Tsilaxitsa's family tree, so if you are descended from him or from Jean Baptiste Vautrin (Fort Alexandria employee) maybe you also should take a peak.

Heritage House Author's Celebration

As all of you know, the Heritage House Author's Celebration was held on Thursday, November 17, at The Maritime Museum of British Columbia, Bastion Square.
There were six speakers in the first part of the evening, and then we enjoyed a half hour break when we "nibbled, sipped and mingled."
Most of the people who were coming to see me arrived at that time, so I was busy meeting and greeting my own friends.

I was the last speaker in the second section of the program, and it was after nine o'clock when I got up onto the spectacular podium they have -- the raised platform on which Judge Matthew Begbie Bailey sat in judgement.
You will remember, I hope, that I told you this was an old courtroom -- one of the first in the country (was this where Alexander Caulfield Anderson stood when he told the prosecuting attorney that he lied, I wonder?)
Have I got your curiosity? Read the book.

Bob Griffin spoke just before me -- he is the Royal British Columbia Museum curator who is in charge of the Latin Bible and various other Alexander Caulfield Anderson items stored in the Museum.
He wrote a book on some of the Museum's artifacts, which should be interesting feeding. The book's title is "Feeding the Family."

Here is my speech, for those of you unable to make it to the Celebration:

"Good evening, everyone. My name is Nancy Marguerite Anderson, and I am the author of The Pathfinder: A.C. Anderson's Journeys in the West.

"His full name (and one he almost always used) was Alexander Caulfield Anderson.

"He was the Hudson's Bay Company fur trader who, in the mid-1800's, threaded his way through mountain passes and down rapid-filled rivers in search of a horse-friendly trail through the rugged country that separated the Kamloops fort from Fort Langley, on the lower Fraser River.

"Over the summers of 1846 and 1847, Anderson made four expeditions to and from Fort Langley and discovered two possible routes -- both of which passed the canyons and rapids that, years before, had foiled both Alexander Mackenzie (in 1793) and Simon Fraser (in 1808).

"His work should have been done at this point -- but in 1848, Native uprisings on the Columbia River -- the fur traders' traditional route to Fort Vancouver, in modern day Washington state -- forced them to bring their furs out to Fort Langley by one of Anderson's unfinished horse trails.

"The journey out to Fort Langley was a chaotic disaster -- the return journey to Kamloops no better. Horses fell from cliff tops carrying valuable trade goods with them, and frustrated fur traders had fist fights while voyageurs deserted Fort Langley for an easier life in the California gold fields, and one man took his own life rather than tackle the return journey home!

"The following year proved equally difficult, and three or fours years passed before the fur traders had a reasonable, if not entirely satisfactory, trail into the interior forts from Fort Langley.

"Anderson was there. He lived and worked through these turbulent years and he left a written record of those difficult times in his various post journals and in the private letters he wrote to the Governor of the company.

"He was a writer and historian; even as a young man in the fur trade he wrote manuscripts for publication that recorded historical details not written elsewhere...

"He was an artist who painted images of the Kamloops fort and of the Fraser River; he drew maps on which he marked all the old trails the Hudson's Bay Company men travelled.

"Because Anderson left behind such a comprehensive record of the turbulent years he lived through, he is considered by historians to be a significant figure in early British Columbia history.

"Derek Pethick noted that, without Anderson's explorations, British Columbia could hardly have come into being. "His discovery of an all-British artery for the fur trade was to have a profound effect on the history of not only British Columbia, but also of Canada itself."

[Pause] "Alexander Caulfield Anderson was my great-grandfather, and I wanted to know who he was. It took me ten years to research his story; I accessed archives in Australia, in Scotland, and across the North American continent (and of course the Hudson's Bay Company archives in Winnipeg.)

"As I wrote the book, I learned things that threatened to destroy the historic and heroic fur trade figure that lived inside my head.

"There were many occasions when I flinched -- but I think those "flinches" transformed Anderson into a man, with quirks and flaws and character and kindness and a "poetic courtesy" -- an extraordinary human being.

"I loved the long journey of uncovering Alexander Caulfield Anderson, the man -- I hope that you, too, will discover this complex, intelligent, and talented man for yourself -- that you, too, will take pleasure in plumbing the depths of this man's story, which is also British Columbia's history."

My speech took five minutes, and I think it sold the book rather than the opposite.
My sister said she cried; the woman next to her touched her arm and told her "she's wonderful!"
I was -- except for a little muffle at the beginning I was word perfect!
I was word perfect because I wrote a speech, and followed it -- I was calm because I wolfed down a big pasta meal beforehand.
Two tricks that reeeeaaally work...

I also wrote a good speech because I spent at least two weeks writing it.
Good speeches take work.

When I finished the talk I looked at my speech and thought -- yes, that really is why I wrote the book.
I wanted to discover the man behind the history.
I have had so much trouble in writing a strong "statement of story and theme" for interviewers.
The first line was fine -- but how to end it?
Now I know.

Thanks everyone for your support. It was too bad that the foul weather -- miserable cold, hard rain and threat of snow -- kept so many people away from the event.
But when I left the hall I noticed that no more of my books were left on the Heritage House table, and I presume they sold all they brought.
I know I signed quite a few.
I signed one book (before it was paid for) to the man who told me that Anderson was the most significant figure in British Columbia history, and I saw his eyes light up when he saw the coloured illustrations in the middle of the book.
If he liked what he saw, I think you will, too.

Now I have to get to work and finish writing the speech I am giving in front of the Victoria Historical Society in five days!
I have only the closing to write, and the rest of the speech to perfect.
Then the power point images to prepare.
Almost done.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

More on George Simpson, the Governor's son

"Always great to read your posts," a regular reader wrote, "Ohhh, but where is the romance in you?
"You did not mention the wedding of young (or not so young) George Simpson to Isabella was shared with John D. Manson, who married another Yale daughter, Aurelia.
"It was a pageant on the Fraser attended by Governor Douglas."
And she (or he, but if some one is scolding me for not being romantic, I think its the she part of the couple) sent me the story from the book, Pioneer Women of Vancouver Island, which reads:
"The Brigade, their one hundred horses left at Hope, used to come to Langley with their chief Traders, Ogden, McLean, and their clerks.
"They brought rich loads of furs and stopped with us for a few days selecting their outfits for the year.
"My younger sister and I were married at the same time. She married Mr. G. Simpson, son of Sir George Simpson.
"He was much older than my husband [John D. Manson]...

"Our wedding ceremonies were performed by the Governor, Sir James Douglas, in the presence of his daughter, Miss Agnes, his niece, Miss Cameron, Mr. Dallas, Mr. Pemberton, and Mr. Golledge and Mr. Ogden of Stuart Lake.
"Captain Mouat gave the signal to the men who were waiting, and seven guns were fired from the fort to salute the weddings of the Chief Traders daughters.

"Mr. Ogden suggested a canoe ride after the ceremonies. So the boats were brought out, manned by the voyageurs.
"The Governor, the Chief Trader and bridal party took the first canoe.
"The remainder of the party followed in the other one.
"I can see it all still. We paddled up the Fraser River, the Canadiens singing their Boat Song.

"Those days are gone forever."

The person who mourned the loss of those days is, of course, Chief Trader James Murray Yale's daughter, Aurelia, who married Donald Manson's son, John D. Manson.
And I agree, it was a very romantic story.
I wonder if I can add anything to it, from young James R. Anderson's memoirs.
James knew everyone!

"It was in 1850 that I first saw Mr. Yale," James writes.
"He was then a man of about 50 years of age, of medium height, somewhat dark complexion, and of a rather taciturn demeanour, well-fitted for the post he was then in charge of as the Indians at that time were occasionally apt to be troublesome...

"I am not informed as to whom Mr.. Yale married, but at the time alluded to he had three daughters -- Eliza, who became the wife of Mr. Henry N.Peers, Aurelia, and Isabella.
"The two latter children were, at that time, pupils at the only school in the country, in the Hudson's Bay Company fort at Victoria, under the Rev. Robert John Staines, M.A. of Cambridge, and Mrs. Staines.
"The union of Miss Eliza Yale and Mr. Peers was productive of five children, the only ones that I ever knew being Minna and Brenda...
"The Misses Aurelia and Isabella Yale married respectively Mr. J. D. Manson, and Mr. George Simpson.
"Isabella died some years ago but Aurelia is still living, a widow, near Royal Oak, being about 90 years old."

Well, that explains it all -- James Robert Anderson is my great uncle.
He was clearly not a romantic man if he did not write about that marriage.
And I guess I didn't inherit the romantic gene either....
Too bad.

But James does go on to describe Henry Newsham Peers as a man of "quite a gay temperament, handsome and debonair."
Bruce Watson says that Peers was "hard drinking but worked competently in the dying days of the fur trade."
He was also "a fine violinist and good oil painter," and had some map-making skills even before he entered the fur trade.
Now the mystery -- According to Watson: "Upon his return [from London] he appeared to fall under the influence of friends and would do anything they told him.
"It was suspected he was being drugged by them.
"Henry Newsham Peers died there on the Colquitz farm on March 27, 1864 no doubt from the effects of a lifetime of drinking.
"When Peers died, his father in law, J. M. Yale, felt that he had been poisoned and got a local lawyer to threaten to charge Peers' friends with murder unless they immediately left the country, which they did."

I don't think this can have been a happy marriage for Eliza Yale; lets see if the other two daughters fared better.

I have already told you about Governor Simpson's son, George Stewart Simpson, in an earlier posting.
Let me see what Bruce Watson has to say about the marriage between Donald Manson's son, John Duncan, and Aurelia Yale.

John Duncan Manson was born to Donald Manson, probably at Fort Vancouver, in about 1836.
Watson writes: "He had a close call with death as a young man.
"A young John Manson was at the Whitman mission in Waiilatpu during the time of the measles outbreak, a pestilence which the local natives believed had been deliberately brought by the whites to wipe them out.
"Seeking revenge for what they thought was deliberate killing by the whites, the local natives on November 29, 1847, killed off the main principles of the mission, Marcus and Narcissa Whitman and twelve others, but, somehow in the confusion, young John was smuggled upstairs and a trap door closed behind him.
"When he was found a few hours later, he threatened the power of revenge of the HBC should anyone lay a hand on him. No one did and he was saved."
Tough kid -- like his father.
"This sparing of a Company man (in this case, boy) prompted some Americans to believe that the HBC had had a hand in the massacre.
"Later in 1854, Manson began his service with the HBC.
"He was not exactly the model of meekness and in some ways emulated the somewhat tough actions of his father both verbally and physically...
"John Duncan Manson married Aurelia, the daughter of James Murray Yale.."

So I think the two younger daughters, who married on the same day at Fort Langley, had better marriages than their older sister.
I know of another story of John D. Manson barely escaping with his life, when on the brigade trail he shared a tent with Paul Fraser.
Fraser, as a young man had been a laughing, cheerful lad who acted as witness for Alexander Caulfield Anderson's marriage to Betsy Birnie.
But, like Peers, he was sometimes under a cloud of suspicion because of his drinking habits.
And he was a violent man -- As an enforcer for the fur trade he was somewhat excessive -- Bruce Watson says, "it was around 1855 that Fraser's disciplinary excess appear to have led to the death of Michel Fallardeau [one of Anderson's men at Fort Alexandria], although records supporting this are difficult to track.
"On July 28, 1855, while he was reading correspondence in his tent on Manson's Mountain (on the HBC trail between Fort Hope and Campement des Femmes), a tree fell on him killing him.
"He was buried on the trail the next day.
"Because he died soon after Fallardeau, an air of suspicion has hung over the circumstances of his own death but it appears to have been an accident."
I hope so -- I have been told, by a descendant, that John Duncan Manson was seated in the same tent, beside Fraser, when the tree fell.

Well, I am not sure the stories I have told you today are romantic stories....
But enjoy them anyway.