I am going to take a break, and return to Fort Alexandria.
By accident I discovered the name of my favorite man there, and I will write his story, as far as I can.
I was hard to tell in the various writings in the fur trade journals whether this man was named Martineau, or Marineau -- I decided it was Marineau and that was the name I used in my manuscript.
It appears that Bruce Watson, in his Lives Lived West of the Divide, was almost as confused about the name as I was.
He wavered between the names 'Martineau' and 'Marineau,' but gave him another proper name -- Desasten.
No wonder I couldn't find Marineau in his book!
So, from Bruce McIntyre Watson's book, Lives Lived West of the Divide, volume 1, page 327, here is Marineau's description:
Desasten (Martineau), Louis [variation: Desastin] (c.1800-?) (Canadian-French)
Birth: Probably Riviere du Loup, Lower Canada, c. 1800
Death: Possibly west of the Rockies.
Fur Trade employee
HBC Middleman, New Caledonia (1826-1829),
Middleman or Labourer, Thompson River, (1829-1840),
Middleman and trader, Thompson River, (1840-1841),
Middleman, New Caledonia, (1841-1842),
Middleman, Fort Alexandria, (1842),
Middleman, New Caledonia, (1842-1843),
Horsekeeper, New Caledonia, (1843-1850),
Horsekeeper, Fort Alexandria, (1850-52),
Horsekeeper, Thompson River, (1852-1853), and
Middleman, Thompson River, (1853-1858).
Louis Desasten (Marineau) joined the HBC in 1825 from Riviere du Loup. He worked mainly in the New Caledonia and Thompson River area until about 1858.
From the Fort Alexandria journals of Alexander Caulfield Anderson, this is what I know about the man:
"Monday 21st (November 1842) -- Fair and mild. Despatched Mr. Donald McLean for Chilcotins on Saturday last, with Linneard [Leonard] & Marineau & sundry goods & provs. as per Blotter...
"Mon. 28th (Nov.) -- Yest. Marineau & John arrived from Chilcotin trip -- Mr. McL. informs me all is well there.
Thurs. 15th (Dec.) -- Fine. Michel Ogden and Marineau ret'd from Barge [the Native village south of Fort Alexandria]. They have brought a mere nothing -- say some half score Beaver & a few small furs. The Indians have not hunted at all in that direction since last summer. A great many, from all directions, were assembled at the Barge, & they one & all make great promises for the future.
Saturday 17th -- Thomas, who came here with Marineau for his rations -- sought his horses, but did not succeed in finding them.
Marineau had a Native wife: "Tuesday 27th -- Dispatched Edouard Lolo and Marineau's brother in law to Kamloops with the letters rec'd yesterday [from Fort St. James]. Sent likewise 30 iron harrow teeth, requested by Mr. Tod."
1843 -- "Fri. 6th Jan. -- Snowing in the morning. Then a violent south wind arose & the snow drifted much. Sent Marineau & Michel Ogden off before day to the Island to see after the Torche who remained there last night. I was fearful that he would attempt to cross in quest of the mare & share her fate; but they found him all safe and crossed him without difficulty a little higher up, where the ice is quite solid. I reproach myself with not having sent Marineau yesterday, by which measure the loss of the mare would have been avoided. [Torche is a horse].
Marineau is spending his time at the Horse Guard, obviously. "Sat. 13th -- Misty and rather colder. Marineau returned from below accompanied by Thomas, who come for his rations.
But I wonder is the man I thought was Mariscotte, is Marineau? These names are handwritten, and not necessarily clearly written! "These horses, it is necessary to state, were lost prior to my arrival, Mariscatte having been alone down at the guard & apparently having neglected them. Since Thomas has been there I have every reason to be satisfied with their care of the horses...."
Feb., Wed. 15th -- "Having sent Linneard to visit the cattle at Stonia on Monday last, he brought the intelligence that one of the cows had got tangled in the flooring of the barn there, and had lost her life in consequence. Yesterday I sent off Marineau & Tout-Laid to get the skin, which they brought.
Marineau often led the outgoing express in the early spring to Fort Colvile -- I think he travelled more than Peter Skene Ogden did!
April 25th, 1843 -- "About noon the long looked for party from Colvile made their appearance (Marineau, Vautrin, & an Indian) -- the express had not rached Colvile when they left 7th inst. Marineau informs me that the missing horse from the Land had reached Thompson's River.
If Mariscat is Marineau, he went out with the brigade and returned with Anderson [who did not go all the way to Fort Vancouver] in May -- "23rd, Mariscat & Montigny arrived with Mr. Anderson's baggage." So, Mariscat and Marineau might be two different men, or they may be the same. Whatever the answer may be, there is no sign of Marineau around the fort until ....
Aug. 1843, "29th ... Marineau visited the horses & crossed more to fort. At present stationed here. A.C.A., Gendron, Therouiac, Marineau, Michel Ogden, I Linneard, Edouard Montigny (Tout Laid, Jack & Baptiste [?] Indians). And at the Chilcotins, Mr. McLean & Bapt. Lapierre.
Friday 1st Sept., "He [Linneard] & Marineau, with M. Ogden & an Indian, afterwards carting barley of which 10 cart loads were brought home."
Tues. 5th -- "Unfortunately one of the wheels of Linneard's cart got broken, through the upsetting of the cart. This about noon, the vehicle was laid by & Marineau continued alone.
Fri. 8th -- "Marineau took in the remainder of the large field wheat. This, with one half of the patch near the barn (which by the way contained 3 loads only) fills the barn-- say 72 loads in all. Afterwards all hands at the other wheat fields. The oats are sheaved and stoked.
Sept. 27th -- "Moody weather. Liard thrashing our barley. The rest at cavereau except Marineau, who arranged his saddles and the apres in the store.
Thurs. 28th -- "Fine. Sent Marineau down to Terre Blanche [White Earth] to see that the horses are all well, and in readiness for express party, now shortly to set out.
About six months of journals missing.
[no date] "Want of ink has interrupted my journal for a time but now by the arrival of Marineau from Colvile, I have received a supply. He & Gendron arrived here yesterday (18th) but there was no intelligence of import, further than the safe arrival of Mr. Ogden at Colvile on the 16th ulto.
Saty. 20th -- "Marineau at apres, Gendron sifting flour.
[Apres is saddles and saddleblankets, harnesses, etc.]
Marineau is nowhere around the fort until September 1844: "...find myself with Marineau, Gendron, Therioac and Michel Ogden ... to conduct the duties of the place.
"Friday 6th -- "Rainy. Water high & [driving]. Theriouc & Marineau working at tumbrill... 7th -- Marineau & assistants collecting horses, some of which have strayed off.
Friday 26th -- "Men continued making road on hill. Montigny & Marineau collecting horses, to take them to Terra Blanche where they should have gone before, but for the detention of Montigny.
In October 1844, Monday 7th, "Marineau off to meet the Express party at Colvile. He is accompanied by Tout Laid taking on a relay of horses to leave at Kamloops for return, say 40 in all.
And in November 1844 he returns: "the Yk Express arrived on Sat'y in charge of Mr. Thos. Charles, a young man recently from England. Three servants (new hands) with Marineau & Toutlaid.
And this is hard to read: Nov., Mon. 18th, "Today .. great surprise, Vautrin cast up from thleuz-cuz having a letter from Mr. Todd dated 17th inst. notifying that the [fall] fishery .. that he had killed a horse (Rapide) some time previously for food, and now trusts entirely upon what I am [sending] by Marineau." It appears that Marineau is delivering the food supplies west to the little Thleuz-cuz post.
Thurs. 5th December -- "Poor Marineau, having met with severe lacerations of the eye, lies [in a bad way] & suffers much. I am doing what I can to relieve him.
[He bleeds him].
Saty. 7th -- "Marineau is much relieved. His eye is now, I trust, out of present danger.
Tues. 10th -- "Michel Ogden & Laframboise set out in quest of the two horses left behind by Marineau.
Mon. 30th & Tues. 31st -- "Marineau & the Indn lads cutting wood.
1845, January 3rd -- "Carting hay, thrashing &c &c. Marineau visited the horses at Prele Island & found them well & fattening.
Fri. 17th -- "Marineau carting snow out of the fort, with Tout Laid &c.
Fri. 24th -- "Men disposed as follows: Gendron, Kitchen; Marineau, cutting wood in lieu of Rene who is sick; Linneard & Cadotte thrashing wheat...
Sat. 8th May -- "This morning Mr. Lane set out for Colvile on his way to Canada. Two retiring servants accompany him, Lefevre & Thirouiac -- Marineau & Gendron also, to return to Alexandria.
Mon. 10th -- "Fine weather. On Saturday night, notwithstanding every precaution that I had taken, the rascally dogs from above broke into the yard, and having forced their way into the poultry house, destroyed nearly all the turkeys & one half of the hens, before they were discovered. Fortunately I overheard the noise & saved the remainder. 4 hen turkeys only remain. 33 or 34 head of all sorts have been destroyed. I have sent a note after Mr. Lane to endeavour to send me a couple of turkey cocks by Marineau.
Marineau's return was invisible in the journals, but he must have returned. In October 1845, Saty 4th -- "I am anxiously expecting the boat from above, having everything in readiness for Marineau's departure, but delaying solely on this account. I have determined on waiting till Monday, when if the party be not arrived, Marineau must set out with Tout Laid who is the only disposable individual I have to accompany him.
Mon. 6th -- "Fine weather. Marineau set out for Colvile with the horses for the express party. Tout Laid goes with him. They take hence 40 horses, 20 having been sent on to Kamloops some time ago, to recruit in readinesss -- say 60 in all -- 30 of which go on & 30 remain at T.R. as a relay.
Friday 10th -- "Yesterday evening the long expected boat arrived, having been delayed at Stuarts Lake during 13 days for some reason -- Marineau is now off 4 days and will probably arrive at Kamloops today, so it is bootless to think of overtaking him, even had I horses &c in readiness, which I have not.
Again, Marineau's return is invisible, and in November 1845 he is sent "to bring these animals back; and it is understood that should circumstances render it imprudent to take them the whole distance, they will be sent back and the party proceed on foot.
Fri. 19th -- "Marineau arrived from Ft. George. Eight of his horses have remained along the road. Five of these were left at W.Road River being tired; but as they are in excellent pasturage with long grass & prele, there is little to apprehend as to them passing the winter. Two others are close at hand, & will be sent for in a day or two. The remaining one is doubtless dead, having been left weak and sick upon the road. By referring to the entry of 24th ulto. it will be seen upon what terms I supplied these horses for the accommodation of Mr. [Paul] Frasers' party, and I am now compelled to remark that the promise then made by Mr. F. has been [infringed]. Marineau on several occasions (as he tells me) represented that owing to the snow being deeper than was expected in the portage, it would be advisable not to take the horses further, but to no purpose. ..the responsibility remains with Mr. Fraser.
December, Fri. 26th -- "Marineau for some days past has been visiting his horses in different directions. Some of the poorest I have caused to be brought to the yard to winter. In general where sickness has not reduced them, the horses are in good condition.
1st January 1846 -- "...which Michel Takatane will take on with the accounts tomorrow morning to Fort George. Gendron & Marineau will remain in charge here during my temporary absence. I shall endeavour to get back in 20 days.
March 1846 -- Thurs. 19th. "Same weather. Express party off about 8am. to encamp at the guard when they will get fresh horses. Marineau, Wentrel, Desautels, Lanctot, & Charbonneau compose the party -- the first and last to return from Colvile.
In September Marineau is cutting some of the crops. On October 26th Marineau and party "returned from trip to Barrier & Barge, having traded nearly 9M salmon, with some salmon oil & a few furs as per Blotter."
Oct. 9th -- "Rainy. Yesterday evening the long expected boat from S. Lake arrived, and this morning Marineau & Ignace, with Mr. Willm. Todd on his way to Vancr., set out to meet the East side Express. Four men, Crete, Fallardeau, Vautrin & Roi are come down to winter here.
Friday, Nov. 17th -- "So he will wait until the arrival of the Express party which cannot now be long delayed.
Tues. 8th -- "Montigny is arrived from the guard for provisions. His time has been out two weeks or more, but he delayed from day to day in hopes of Marineau's arrival.
Saty. 19th -- "We continue anxiously to look out for Marineau, who does not yet make his appearance.
Wed. 23rd -- "This afternoon Edouard Montigny cast up with the east side packet, having left Marineau at the Lake this morning. The detention of the party arose from the late arrival of the East side people.
Thurs. 24th -- "Marineau arrived today.
January 1847, Tues. 5th -- "Marineau, Linneard & Fallardeau carting -- the first fuel, the two latter with trains transporting hay from Stonia.
Saty. 23rd -- "Marineau's wife has been laid up for some time & is in much danger. A sharp inflammation of the lungs has supervened upon other disorders.
Wed. 27th -- "Marineau doing no duty save taking care of his wife, who, I fear, may not recover. I am treating her with a continued course of Tartar Emetic; which seems to have a favorable effect & now that its effect as a vomit is subsided, causes a profuse expectoration of viscid phlegm.
I don't know if Marineau's wife recovered, but Marineau soon returned to work.
Thurs. March 18th -- "Express party set out this morning -- say Marineau (to return), Beardy, Perier, Lacourse, Charbonneau & Desautels; retiring servants.
April 23rd -- "The letters now read [are] dated early in January -- Marineau who I fear will not reach this place for some days, will bring us later intelligence -- which in the pending critical state of affairs along the Col[umbi]a is very desirable.
A few days later, Anderson left Fort Alexandria on his first expedition across country to Fort Langley from Kamloops, and returned in September.
Monday 27th -- "Marineau continues arranging his saddles &c for the trip to Colvile.
Wed. 29th -- "Same weather. Marineau called me to day to witness the state of the cords left here by the brigade, as large numbers of which are cut and hacked in a shameful manner. I have told the man to get these cords, or at least such of them as he can discover in looking over the heap, laid aside and tied in bunches with Lapierre as his witness -- as it has been too frequently the practice of [others] to ascribe this [...] to cutting of cords, and the dilapidated condition of the horse accoutrements through neglect along the road, to carelessness on the part of Marineau and others at Alex.r who occasionally have to deal with them. [Hard to read].
Monday 4th October -- "The party crossed over yesterday morning; but they did not get their horses in till late so camped and made an early start today. As directed by the Board of Management, Marineau is [provided] with the men &c necessary for transporting [unknown] from Colvile to Kamloops. Marineau, Crete, Gendron, Michel & two Owyhee set out; but Marineau has sent one of the Owyhees back, the plea that he can make no use of him and preferred being quit of him altogether. [Having been] disappointed of the arrival of Fallardeau, as promised [by ...] as horse keep during Marineau's absence, I am under the necessity of entrusting the band to two Indians (Tout Laid & Padou), the last engaged for the purpose till Marineau returns. This is the only alternative I can adopt, as I have no one here capable of the duty.
Monday 18th -- "Returned yesterday from the Guard. The horses I found well; with the exception of 3 which had been lost by Marineau on his way out, had fallen into the hands of Inds. Two of these I recovered at the other end of the lake -- the third (which had since its loss been stabbed by an Indn.) yesterday at the Rapids. It appears that the three horses were lost at the Rocher by Marineau, who commissioned an Indn. to look for them (the same that brought me the two above mentioned -- William's brother). He found them; while under his care an Indn of the Barge, Toolh-paesk, by name, stole one; and made off with it on the road towards Kamloops. Meanwhile Missoolah (alia, "the murderer") who had accompanied Marineau as far as Lac a la Hache, where the Inds. were assembled in numbers, met the thief on his return. He demanded the horse, but the demand was ignored, and as the thief was supported (as it was said) by numerous party, Missoolah had much difficulty and by his own account ran considerable risk in obtaining it.
A Mr. Martineau has come down from Fort St. James -- not the same man that worked all these years at Fort Alexandria, as Marineau is still away from the fort.
So, I wonder -- is Bruce Watson confusing the two men? Is Marineau the man he has named "Louis Destasten" in his article, or is it this Martineau man from Fort St. James?
Marineau returns to Fort Alexandria, from Fort Colvile, on the 26th of December, delayed because in spite of the horses the Fort Alexandria men sent to Kamloops, there were not enough to carry them home!
In January Marineau works with the cattle; and everyone gets a dose of the measles. Marineau, however, is sent off to Kamloops in mid-February, and returns in mid-April with flour and provisions for the brigade, and seed for the farm.
Some of the horses are scattered, and others damaged or killed by the Natives.
On Mon. April 24th, "Marineau &c gathering horses on this side preparatory to crossing them."
Of course Anderson left Fort Alexandria with the outgoing brigade, and when he returned from his second expedition to Fort Langley, he gathered his family, who had spent the summer at Kamloops, and led them east to his new posting at Fort Colvile.
I think you can see how steady a man Marineau is, and how his character shows through in Anderson's records.
Marineau remains my favorite fur trade employee, even though I do not really know if his name really is Desasten.
But if Louis Desasten is a different man than Marineau, then I haven't really solved the mystery of Marineau's identity.
I probably won't know if Martineau and Marineau are two different men until I read the Fort St. James post journals for the early 1840's -- if they exist!