Sunday, September 11, 2011

Fort Colvile men, 1848-1852

Here's a few more men who worked under Alexander Caulfield Anderson at Fort Colvile -- there's quite a few of them.
All of these biographies come from Bruce Watson's books, Lives Lived West of the Divide.

Greig, John (c. 1825-1893) (British: Orcadian Scot)
The early life of John Greig, a tall, thin, wiry Orcadian is obscure but he was likely born in Kirkwall. He joined the HBC in 1844 and sailed to York Factory. After making his way to the Columbia, he began work at Fort Colvile as a labourer in 1845. Very little is on record at Fort Covlile, but no doubt working with blacksmith/miller James Goudie, John came to know the Goudie family and eventually married the daughter, Margaret. An engaging character, described by an anonymous writer as being humorous, an avid reader and fiddle player (like his father in law), and very religious while liking his "nip." He retired in 1851 and moved north to Fort Victoria.

Hubert, Francois Xavier (c. 1806-?) (Canadian: French)
Middleman, Fort Colvile (1842-1848); Untraced vocation, Fort Colvile (1849-1850); Middleman, Fort Colvile (1850-1852). Francois Hubert joined the HBC from Canada in 1837, and first appeared in the Columbia in 1843 on a contract that ended in 1845. In outfit 1848-49 he received his wages in England. In the next outfit, he was at Fort Colvile and retired in 1852.

Inkster, John [e] (fl. 1848-1853) (British: Orcadian Scot)
Inkster joined the HBC from Orkney on a contract which ended in 1854 and sailed for York Factory. He worked at Fort Colvile after 1849 and was a labourer at Fort Vancouver in 1852-53. He retired in the Columbia in 1853.

Irvine, Peter [a] (fl. 1851-1857) (British: Shetlander)
Peter Irvine joined the HBC from Shetland on March 7, 1850, on a five year contract. After making his way overland from York Factory, he served out his contract at Fort Colvile and left in 1855. He may have returned overland on the brigade and sailed for York Factory to Shetland; if so, he might have emigrated to Vancouver Island in 1857, but this cannot be confirmed. There are undelivered letters in HBCA, one from a desperate Mary Phillips attesting her undying love to Peter.

Johnstone, John [b] (?-1853) (British: Orcadian Scot)
John Johnston joined the HBC from Sandwick, Orkney on May 3, 1853, and sailed the following month for York Factory. He worked for many years in the Columbia, and at Fort Colvile 1849 to 1853. Toward the end of his life his constitution weakened and when he got an inflamed knee, it was more than he could take and he died on Nov. 11, 1853, at Fort Vancouver.

Kainhewait, Ignace (1815-?) (Native: Iroquois)
Columbia district and New Caledonia (1834-1845); Boute, Fort Alexandria (1846); Boute, Fort Colvile (1847-1853). Ignace Kainhenwait joined the HBC from Sault St. Louis in 1834 or 1835. He carried on until 1853, at which time he retired in the Columbia. In 1846 he deserted from A.C.Anderson's brigade of that year, and was briefly imprisoned at Fort Alexandria and released after promising to return to duty. He wanted to take his wife with him on future brigades but was denied the request.

Kaonasse, Michel (c.1815-?) (Native: Iroquois)
Michel Kaonasse joined the HBC in 1833 or 1834, and on his way to the Columbia served as a boute in the Athabasca. In March 1837 he is recorded as returning east over the mountains and in outfit 1839-40 he was paid a gratuity for an extra trip to the Columbia. While stationed at a post, he did carpentry and other work and, in outfit 1840-41, received a gratuity for services between Jasper House and Boat encampment. His wife died at Fort Alexandria April 19, 1843, while Anderson was in charge of the post and he was a boute there. Kaonasse moved down to the Columbia but was at Fort Colvile in 1851-1852 and 1852-1853. Kaonasse's contract ended in 1854 at which point he retired.

Kirorole, Baptiste (c. 1824-?) (Native: Iroquois)
Baptiste Kirorole joined the HBC in 1847 on a three year contract and crossed into the Columbia in the fall of 1847. He was Middleman, or Boute, at Fort Colvile, 1847-1852, and horsekeeper in charge of Fort Okanagan, 1852-1853. He eventually retired in 1856.

Lafleur, Joachim (c. 1806-c.1860's) (Canadian: French)
Joachim Lafleur joined the HBC from Yamaska around 1828 as a middleman and spent his career at either Thompson River or Fort Colvile. He was manager of the Okanagan post off and on with the help of Francois Duchoquette and retired in 1854 to Colvile, opening a little store near Marcus. In the 1860's, while on a trip to purchase a supply of goods, he was murdered near Walla Walla.
I think I have already mentioned that Joachim Lafleur was afraid of snakes.

Lagrave, Godfroi (c.1833-?) (Canadian: French)
Godfroi Lagrave joined the HBC from Yamaska in 1848 on a two-year contract. He came west over the Rockies and worked at Fort Rupert (1849-1851) and Colvile (1851-1856) before retiring in 1856, long after the two year contract was finished.

Landrie, Joseph [a] (c.1806-?) (Probably Mixed descent)
He might have been born in the Athabasca district, and was Middleman at Fort Colvile (1842-1845), and Fort Colvile boatbuilder (1845-1850). He was discharged in 1851.

Lapierre, Jean Baptiste [a] (c.1795-1865) (Mixed descent)
Born in Cumberland House, Jean Baptiste Lapierre spent many years in the fur trade of New Caledonia, before working for Anderson at Fort Alexandria and Thleuz-cuz post between 1845 and 1849. From 1852 to 1856 he was a labourer at Fort Colvile, and he died there thirteen years later.

Larance, Supplie (c. 1808-?) (Canadian: French)
Suplie/Tuplie Larance joined the HBC from Lavaltrie in 1831 and spent much of his career in New Caledonia as a boat builder. He was boatbuilder at Fort Colvile, 1850-1851. When he was discharged in 1851 he appeared to carry on transactions with the Company until 1853.

Working alphabetically, we now come onto two of the "gentlemen" that Alexander Anderson worked with at Fort Colvile. Both are very interesting men.

Lewes, John Lee (1791-1872) (British: English)
Birth: Southwark, England
Death: St. Andrews, Manitoba
HBC Chief Trader, Spokane House, 1821-1823; Chief Factor in charge, New Caledonia, 1845-1847; Chief Factor on furlough, Columbia Department, 1851-1853.
The son of a well known actor-singer of the day and a Miss Rigley, John Lee Lewes joined the HBC in 1807 at the age of fifteen as a writer. He worked east of the Rockies until amalgamation, at which time he was appointed chief Trader and sent for two seasons to Spokane House. Returning to various posts east of the Rockies, he was appointed Chief Factor in 1830. It was while he was in the Mackenzie River area in 1844 that he accidentally shot off his right hand. Consequently, he took a years leave of absence, taking his son, John Jr., to England. In 1845, he was to relieve Donald Manson and put in charge of New Caledonia but, "ill health ... forced him so far to remain [at] Colvile." During the cold winter days, he used to pass the time setting traps for foxes. After that, his career was dotted with one leave of absence and two furloughs until he retired on June 1, 1853.
The above is from Bruce Watson's Lives Lived, and reflects what his records says about him. John Lee Lewes was in charge of Fort Colvile when Alexander Caulfield Anderson arrived at the post, and he left the following spring with the express. Before he left Fort Colvile, he gifted Anderson with a copy of Joseph Howse's dictionary of the Cree language. I have seen the book, which was privately sold to a Vancouver collector about five years ago. In the front of the book, Anderson wrote his name and the date, with "Fort Colvile" written beneath.

McDonald, Angus [b] (1816-1880) (British: Scottish)
Birth: Craig, Ross, Scotland
Death: Flathead Reservation, Montana
HBC Passenger, Prince Rupert IV, 1837; Servant, Fort Colvile, 1839-1840; Post master and clerk, Fort Hall, 1840-1846; Post master and servant, Snake Party, 1840-1847; Clerk, Fort Colvile, 1847-1853; Untraced vocation, Fort Colvile, 1853-1856 (He was actually in charge of the district but worked out of Flathead House for most of the time, I believe); Chief Trader, Fort Colvile, 1856-1869)
Nephew to Archibald McDonald (I don't believe this is true), Angus McDonald joined the HBC as a general servant in 1838, sailing from Orkney to York Factory. Fluent in Gaelic, French, and later several Native languages, McDonald identified strongly with the Natives, particularly the Blackfeet. Preferring to live in lodges and tents, he was noted for his entertaining yarns as well as singing off key. (James Robert Anderson, A.C.'s son, loved this man.) His zest for life endeared him to the Natives and rubbed off on his family. For example, one daughter, Christine, became a fur trader in her own right at Fort Colvile.
Edward Huggins described Angus as: "..rather a good looking man, about six feet in height, straight and slim, but was said to be very wiry and strong. He had a dark complexion and long, jet black hair reaching to his shoulder, and a thick, long, and very black beard and mustache. He wore a dressed deer skin shirt and pants, a regatta, or rowing shirt, and had a blackish silk handkerchief tied loosely around his neck. He had a black piercing eye, and a deep sonorous voice, rather musical, and had a slow and rather monotonous manner of speaking."
As I have told you already (or perhaps it will be the next post when this one is published) Steve Anderson has written a biography of this man, which book will be available about October 15th. I think it should be an interesting read.

This post is a little late because I have taken some time to do the index for my book. It is now finished, and I will continue with the Fort Colvile men in the next post -- or two. I am amazed at how many there are, but the men who worked in the fur trade moved around a lot.

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