Saturday, March 17, 2012

More on the French-Canadians & Metis, in Anderson's New Caledonia

Good morning everyone (and Happy St. Patrick's Day).
On Sunday, May 30, 2010, I posted what I could find out about the French-Canadian and Mixed blood men who worked under Alexander Caulfield Anderson at Fort Alexandria.
This was sometime before Bruce McIntyre Watson's book, Lives Lived West of the Divide, was published, and now I can correct some of the guesses I made in that posting.
Let's see what Watson has to say about the men who worked under Anderson, at Fort Alexandria in the years between 1842 and 1848.

Pierre Cadotte -- I did not know who this man was, but Bruce Watson has more information:
Pierre Cadotte was of mixed descent, born in Rupert's Land about 1821; his parents were Laurent Cadotte and Susanne, Cree. He probably died east of the Rocky Mountains somewhere.
In 1841-42 he was a boute at Fort Alexandria, and a middleman in the brigades, mainly responsible in transporting people around the Columbia -- which means he might have been one of the voyageurs who transported Anderson up the Columbia River in the summer of 1842. In 1846 the death of his wife might have caused him to desert the fur trade, Watson says, though Anderson has him posted at Fort Alexandria in October 1844 -- I wonder if there were two Pierre Cadottes -- alternatively the man at Fort Alexandria is the first man's son, for in the 1850's, Pierre Cadotte and his son of the same name were hunting in the Upper Missouri out of Forts Benton and Union. So.... no real answers here!

Abraham Charbonneau -- A French-Canadian, born about 1815 in Montreal. Watson says that Abraham joined the Hudson's Bay Company in Montreal in 1840 and at first was a comer and goer in the Snake Country. He then was sent to New Caledonia, probably to Kamloops. He went south following the cross country expedition under Anderson, at the end of his contract, and his employers advised the man in charge of Fort Colvile that he should not be rehired because of his attitude and work habits. In spite of that and probably because of the shortage of men at Fort Vancouver, he was rehired there but deserted -- probably for the California gold fields. So, it is clear that this man is no relation to Touissant Charbonneau who crossed the country with the Lewis and Clark Expedition, as I guessed in my first posting.

Edouard Crete -- As I said in my posting, Crete was a French-Canadian, born near Lachine or Sorel about 1821. But Watson has more information about him than I was able to discover: He was a middleman at Fort Vancouver, 1838-1839; in New Caledonia, 1839-1848; at Fort Nez Perce, 1848-1849; and Fort Vancouver, 1849-1850. As middleman in the Columbia in late 1847, he manned one of the boats who brought the survivors of the Waiilatpu Mission Massacre to Fort Vancouver with Peter Skene Ogden. In 1848 he was a Private on the Muster Rolls during the Cayuse War, which meant he no longer worked for the HBC, I presume. In 1850 he retired to Crate's Point below the Dalles, raising stock and transporting immigrants downriver to Fort Vancouver.

William Davis -- This William Davis was born in Quebec and joined the HBC in 1845 on a three year contract -- his name is not French-Canadian and so he is probably of British descent. After his cross country expedition with Anderson in 1846, he deserted from the brigade, as you can see from my previous posting about the man, and he was taken back with the threat of capital punishment if he deserted again. He did not, and retired from contract in 1848, returning the Canada.

"Delonaise" -- who is he? We don't know anything more than we did before, and Bruce Watson isn't clearing anything up. However, I do occasionally find people under other names in this book, and so I might eventually figure out who "Delonaise" was.

Joseph Desautels is the same man as the Joseph Desautel (DeGaspar) who I believe I have written about in the Fort Colvile listing a little while ago. Desautels was at Fort Alexandria when Anderson was there, and at Fort Colvile in 1851 and 1852.

Michel Fallardeau -- another favorite of mine. He was mixed descent, as I said in my earlier post, and born about 1806. He joined the HBC service in 1827 and came west with the returning York Factory Express in the fall. For the next twenty-four years he worked at the New Caledonia posts and likely spent much of his time at Kamloops. Bruce Watson also records the story that he was killed by Paul Fraser in 1855 and died two years later, but the records are not clear. Here is Watson's story on that: "Morice reports an apparent exchange between the builder of Fallardeau's coffin and Paul Fraser two days after the even when Fraser indicated that rough boards were good enough for the rascal Fallardeau. The coffin builder, Baptiste, the Iroquois, replied that rough boards would be too good for Fraser. A short time later, as the story goes, Paul Fraser was killed by a falling tree. This does not square with the records, for Michel Fallardeau goes off the records around 1851 but continues on the sundry accounts which could mean that he may or may not have died. However, there is no mention of his death."

I have a Fallardeau story you might enjoy: From James Robert Anderson's memoirs, talking about the journey from Fort Alexandria to Kamloops in spring, 1849: "I have good cause to remember Lac la Hache for it was in that vicinity the following incident took place. I was riding my spirited little horse Petit Cendre mentioned before: we were on a level plain, my sister by my side, when an eagle's nest distracted my attention, and carelessly dropping the reins, my horse in stooping to take a bite of grass stepped upon them and throwing up his head snapped them; in an instant with one bound he cleared the space in front where the elders were riding and set off at a mad race across the plain. My horse was by odds the swiftest in the whole brigade so that when I looked behind the last of them were seen far behind, my father alone was scouring across the plain in a vain effort to head me off. A hill on my left, I fervently hoped was in my line of travel, but no, the road took through a dense wood and I realised that my danger was imminent, so twisting my hands in the mane of the now maddened horse, I offered up a prayer.... Two Indian women whom I met scurried away in terror instead of making any attempt to stop my horse, evidently believing I was from another world.  Shortly after entering the wood the trail was blocked by a fallen tree, which had jammed about six or seven feet from the ground, and the road had therefore deviated and been made round the stump. My horse never hesitated but rushed madly up the obstacle; holding to the pommel of my saddle I threw myself to one side and instantly had safely passed the obstruction, and before I realised the cause of a wild yell, found myself in the middle of a cavalcade of Indians who instantly captured my horse. As luck would have it, amongst the Indians was a French Canadian, Fallardeau by name, how he came to be there I do not to this day know, but it was through him I was enabled to make known my plight. A few minutes after my father came racing through the woods having made a detour, and after a time everybody else, the women folk in tears....." Did you notice that young James called Fallardeau a French-Canadian even though he is apparently Metis? That is what makes these histories so difficult.

Alexandere or Alexis Gendron was a French Canadian born near St. Michel de Yamaska, Quebec, about 1811. He joined the HBC in 1832 and spent most of his time in New Caledonia. In 1853 he retired and moved to the Colvile district, where he died in 1888.

Michel, Theodore and Pierre LaCroix or Lacroise are listed in Bruce Watson's book, and they were not apparently related. Here goes:

Michel LaCroix, a French Canadian born about 1821 in Montreal, joined the HBC around 1839 (though he might have been here earlier). In 1841 he was at Fort St. James; around 1869 he moved away so his children could be educated. He settled on the Fraser River in 1869 and died in 1873 at the age of fifty-four after two days of illness.

Theodore LaCourse was apparently a French Canadian, born at St. Francois, Quebec about 1823, who was posted at Kamloops in 1841-1842 in his first year of employment with the HBC. He retired in 1848.

I cannot identify Pierre Lacourse in Bruce Watson's book: there is an Amable Lacourse who does not appear to be this man, though he was in New Caledonia at various times. Francois Lacourse was a man of undetermined origin in New Caledonia until 1852, when he retired to Canada and complained that Peter Ogden Jr. had beaten and kicked him so severely he now suffered epileptic fits. However, this Pierre Lacourse might be a half-breed son of the Pierre Lacourse who was with David Thompson -- but if so, why would he return to the East? So I guess I don't know who he is.

Joachim Lafleur -- the man who was afraid of snakes -- I have written about in the Fort Colvile posting.

Francois Laframboise was apparently French Canadian born near Montreal, who was at Fort Vancouver by 1831. He spent the next eighteen years in various forts and retired in 1849, settling on a claim in the new Washington Territory.

Jean-Baptiste Lapierre was born about 1795 at Cumberland House and was, of course, of mixed descent. He was in New Caledonia as early in 1821 and was considered a valuable man as he was an interpreter. In the 1840's he worked mainly at Fort Alexandria and the two outposts of Chilcotin and the Thleuz-cuz post, which he helped to establish. He retired, and was reengaged at Fort Colvile in 1852, and died there thirteen years later in 1865.

Thamire Liard (Stanislas) was born in 1816 in or near Montreal, Quebec, and died at St. Paul Oregon on March 18, 1852. He was, of course, French Canadian. He spent most of his time in New Caledonia and was, like Jean Baptist Lapierre, one of the men who established the Thleuz-cuz post.

John Linneard was at Fort Alexandria when Alexander Caulfield Anderson was there, and it is he who appears in the journals of that time -- not Jean Baptiste Leonard. Linneard was an Orcadian Scot who worked at Fort Alexandria up to 1856, and who later died by drowning in the South Thompson River while trying to retrieve a duck. He has been confused with another man by the name of Jean-Baptiste Leonard, a French Canadian who Alexander Caulfield Anderson met at Fort St. James when he took over the place from Peter Skene Ogden for a few months in 1843.

Edouard Montigny -- another favorite of mine -- joined the fur trade from Ruperts Land, according to Bruce Watson and he's done the research. He is clearly Metis, and he spent most of his time west of the Rocky Mountains -- his brother,Tapisshe, was also employed at Fort Alexandria though Anderson knew him as Baptiste and called him a scamp.  

Jean Baptiste Paquet (not Paquette) was born in Lachine about 1830 and came west on a journey that exhausted the sixteen year old; that is why he stayed behind at Kamloops in 1842. He worked for quite a few years west of the mountains and retired in 1858, taking up farming outside Fort Alexandria.

Pierre Roi was a French Canadian born in Sorel or thereabouts, about 1821. He spent the first thirteen years of his career in New Caledonia, doing a variety of jobs while he was there. For more information on his time at Fort Alexandria, please see my earlier posting -- May 30, 2010. Roi retired in 1853 but re-enlisted as a miller at Fort Colvile. He finally retired in 1858 to his farm at Chewalah where he had the only Blackshop shop. He changed his name to Peter King and hewed and framed logs, made farm implements and raised a large family. Many parties and dances were held at the Roi/King residence, but his tranquil life was brought to an abrupt end in 1885 when he died as the result of an accident. In 1853 he married into the large Finlay family (Mary Anne) and so I know I will hear more about him from a Finlay genealogist!

Charles Touin was born about 1813 in Montreal, and came from a fur trade family. When he left Montreal in 1833, he had a wife who might have been behaving badly -- it appears that after two years of marriage Charles was willing to leave her behind and come west of the Rockies where he spent the rest of his fur trade career. He was at the Babine fort and indirectly involved in the murder of William Morwick -- here is the story according to Bruce Watson:

"In 1843 he was indirectly involved in, if not the cause of the William Morwick affair at Fort Babine for he challenged Lekwe to a duel and grazed him with salt shot. Lekwe, in retaliation, rushed Touin and stabbed him twice in the arm. Thinking that Lekwe had been killed by Morwick, father-in-law "Grand Visage" shot Morwick through the pallisades. Touin escaped to Stuart Lake with the news that he delivered to P.S.Ogden," and Anderson, who temporarily replaced Ogden at Fort St. James, had to clean up the mess. His son was the man who purchased Fort Alexandria in 1895 and in 1922 razed the buildings for firewood. Interesting!

Jean-Baptiste Vautrin was a French Canadian whose story has been covered in this blog, in a posting that follows the first Fort Alexandria men posting of May 30th, 2010.

"Allard" is now identified as Joseph Allard, born in about 1820 in St. Charles, Quebec, and a French Canadian who joined the fur trade as a nineteen year old in 1839 from Lachine. He was posted to Fort George [Prince George] and spent much of him time there, but appeared many times in the Fort Alexandria journals. In 1860 he retired; by 1873 he was living as a farmer outside Fort Alexandria.

Charles Onarese remains unidentified, unless he is the son of Charles Onaharashan who worked for the NWC on the Pacific slopes in 1818 and was a trapper in the Snake district in 1824. I will keep an eye open to see if I can identify him better.

Dubois appears to be Pierre Dubois (Below), a French Canadian born in St. Cuthbert, Quebec, about 1806. He joined the HBC in 1825 and may have been a freeman by 1844, when he began using the name Below. But during his fur trade career, he spent time in New Caledonia (1840-1844) and Fort Colvile (1843-1845) where he was a freeman boute. So, he may temporarily have been at Fort Alexandria when Anderson arrived there in winter, 1842.

Michel Kaonasse was born about 1815 in Sault St Louis, Quebec, and was  Native Iroquois. He joined the HBC about 1833 and went to the Athabasca on his way to the Columbia district. While stationed at Fort Alexandria -- as he was in 1843 -- he did carpentry and other work. His wife died while he was at Fort Alexandria or in the neighbourhood, and after that he worked on the Columbia River rather than in New Caledonia. He retired in 1854; his wife's body was "decently interred" on a hill behind Fort Alexandria, at its old location on the west bank of the river.

Joseph Lebrun came south from Fort George where he was working in 1846. He was a French Canadian from Boucherville, Quebec, born in 1811 or so, and he spent his entire career in the New Caledonia -- probably mostly at Fort St. James. He retired in 1854 and Donald Manson's son, William, tried to convince him to return to Fort St. James but he refused. He died in summer 1856.

Pierre LeFevre (Beaulac) was a French Canadian, born 1824, and a middleman in New Caledonia and at Kamloops from 1842 to 1848 -- the same time that Anderson was at Fort Alexandria. At times LeFevre served as an officer's servant. I presume he returned to Quebec when his contact was finished as there is nothing else here; but I think the HBC Biographic sheet must have said he retired in 1845 so this might not be the right man.

"Lambert" is Felix Lambert, born in St. Aimee, Quebec, about 1824. He is French Canadian, and was middleman at Fort Alexandria 1843-1845. His employment than took him down to Fort Vancouver and Fort Umpqua, and he retired in 1849. He probably died in the Pacific Northwest, as he took a land claim on the prairie near St. Louis.

Jacques Muriscott/Mariscatte/Mariscat might be a son of Joseph Morisette, who was a French Canadian born in 1824 or thereabouts and posted in New Caledonia in 1823-1825. In Anderson's journals he might well be a Native or part Native man, and so I think this is likely. I might stumble on him somewhere else...

Jean Baptiste Trudelle was a French Canadian man born about 1810 in Montreal area. He was a middleman in New Caledonia between 1840 and 1844, and was also a blacksmith. He returned to Quebec in 1844 and so disappears from the Fort Alexandria fur trade.

Thirouac turns out to be Damase Thirouac, born about 1819 in L'Islet, Quebec and a middleman, carpenter, and miller at Fort Alexandria from 1842 to 1845, when he returned to Quebec.

The man that Alexander Anderson called Wentrel appears to be William Wentzel, born 1819 in the Athabasca District and a man of mixed descent. He was a labourer at Fort Vancouver in 1842; at Fort Alexandria 1843 to 1846; at Fort Nez Perce in 1846 to 1848; and in the Snake Country to 1850. In the spring of 1847 he accompanied Thomas Lowe (who is also in my family tree as brother in law of Alexander Caulfield Anderson) on the HBC express, and he retired in 1852.

I think I have written about Marineau, who has several possible identities and no descendants at all as far as I can see.
I am still looking for the following men in Bruce Watson's book, and as they have various names I might have to post their biographies later -- if I find them at all:
Michel Cola;
Michel and Camille Lonctane
Ignace Kananhurat[?] or Yarintrimarat[?]
"Quebec" -- I have no other name than that but I might find him, somewhere
Rene Talanalong, or Old Rene
Olivier Laferte dit Theroux, a French Canadian
Thomas was probably a Native man.

It is not an easy task to identify all of these men, and those of you who have to search for your ancestors in the fur trade records have a difficult task ahead of you.

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