Sunday, May 27, 2012

Weather Conditions in the Fraser River Valley in the early years

In December 1858 the British Colonist newspaper reported that the Fraser River was frozen all the way across below the mouth of the Harrison River.
At Port Douglas, the new town at the north end of Harrison's Lake -- at the south end of the new Harrison Lillooet trail to the goldfields -- the snow fell for three days before the sky cleared and the thermometer plunged to 5 degrees below zero.
A party of one hundred twenty miners came downriver from Fort Yale in canoes; when they struck ice at the mouth of the Harrison River they took to their feet and walked downriver toward Fort Langley.
They supposed the HBC fort was a mere fifteen miles away -- but they were wrong.
The journey would have taken them three days, but they had provisions for only one.
Their trail had to be made though ten inches of snow over a high mountain, and in places the men waded waist deep sloughs and pushed their way through the thick underbrush that clogged the valley floor in those years.
But many were rescued by the captain of the steamer, Enterprise, who pushed his way up and down the Fraser River, continuously sounding his horn and stopping to pick up anyone he found.
The people he rescued were in terrible shape when found -- the December 15 [1858] Gazette tells us that he rescued "the large number of persons scattered around, and who, after two days suffering from intense cold, sleet and snow, without food, and almost without clothing, having been forced to throw away our blankets, rifles and other arms (from being able to carry them along further through fatigue and exhaustion) and denude ourselves of our drenched clothing..."

Does it sound colder than it should be to you?
Do you think that the Fraser River should freeze over in mid-winter?
It doesn't anymore -- but it did then.

As you know if you have read my book, there are at least two very bad winters mentioned in it -- the winter of 1847-1848, and that of 1861-62.
The frozen winter of 1858 was just a normal year -- those of 1847-48 and 1861-62 were abnormally cold!
My source for the stories that follow is Jason Allard, son of the Ovid Allard who worked at Fort Langley and Fort Yale under James Murray Yale.
This is what he has to say about Fraser River's mid-winter weather, in his Reminiscences [E/C/Al5A, BCA):

"Weather conditions in the Fraser valley since the early days of the Gold rush up the Fraser has greatly changed.
"At Yale in early days the First snow fall usually took place in the begining [sic] of November -- October and November were always wet so was March April and May.
"It was nothing unusual for a rain Fall for weeks at a time particularly in the lower Fraser Valley
"It was a regular event for the Fraser to freeze over in December and remain closed until the Month of March.
"Since the coming of the whites to the Fraser Valley -- there has been two very Severe Winters -- 1847 and 1861/2.
"An old Indian Chief of Yale who was aged about 90 yrs at the time I speak of in 1858.
"The Chief Tal-Tal-wheet tza Said he remembered a severe winter in Yale when the river opposite Yale was Frozen over--
"Goats and deer and other game died of Starvation and were Completely wiped out.
"Mountain Goats & Deer came down to the Valley and stood around, and also on top of the Indians Subterranean houses for Warmth.
"They were so tame that they were killed with Clubs.
"The old Indian said it was pitiful to listen to the cries of the Deer for Mercy when being clubbed.
"As a matter of fact it got so that the Indians would not kill them -- and besides their meat become unfit food through starvation."

So that is the cold winter weather in Yale in 1858 -- he goes on to describe the winter of 1847-48 at Fort Hope and Fort Langley:
"The winter of 1847/8 Was a remarkable Cold winter.
"The river was Frozen from Hope to Langley.
"Mr. Chief Trader H.N. Peers a H.B. Co's Officer Skated from Hope to Langley on the Ice --
"The Severe Weather and deep Snow Killed nearly all the Hudson's Bay Co's Cattle at Fort Langley.
"Those cattle that did not die of starvation Were drowned in Crossing them on to Island where there were bull rushes.
"A Few head were saved by the Indians, who gathered rushes for the Starving Cattle -- My old Nurse Rose told me that the Snow in Langley was three Ft. deep Early in May and the run of Ull-a-chons (small fish) died on top of the Ice.

"I remember well the severe winter of 1861/2.
"It was at first a pretty open winter and owing to the low stage of the water in the Fraser the St[eame]r Col Moody Maade [sic] her last trip to Yale for the time being in Decr.
"It was on the Morning of the 4th of February -- 1862 that I was awakened by My Father Ovid Allard who was then in charge of the Hudson's Bay Co's business in Yale...
"As soon as I Was awakened -- I heard the Wind blowing and when I looked out the drift snow was half way up the roof -- the very Same day the river was partly frozen over on both Sides of the river leaving a narrow channel where it was swift Current.
"I engaged two Indians to take the Board of Management's letter to Ft. Langley & thence on to its destination...
"Yale was completely snowed under.
"A few who had snow shoes broke roads on the side walk of the one business street.
"Communication with the lower Fraser and Victoria was at a stand still and travelling was laborious and dangerous on account of the Ice....
"Business and Transportation were on a stand still until the 14th day of April when the steamer "Flying Dutchman" Capt. Bill Moore blasted the Ice at Union bar above Ft. Hope in order to reach Yale.
"There was good Sleighing on the Ice between Ft. Langley and Sapperton.
"Hay & Grain was in great demand and prices were high -- at Yale a hundred dollars was asked for hay & none could be got at that price."

I am more or less taking a day off -- well, I am doing work I have delayed doing and am also looking for documents that I have lost and that I need to find!
My house has been packed up twice in the last few months, and unpacked -- these documents could have gone anywhere [and probably have].
I am also putting together my costume for the St. Stephens talk -- it will be anything but genuine but I am, after all, a writer, not a re-enactor!
So wish me luck, and in the meantime be glad that we do not have winters like they used to have up the Fraser River valley!

Friday, May 25, 2012

St. Stephens Church celebrations

The church where Alexander Caulfield Anderson is buried is celebrating its 150th birthday, with its "Homecoming Weekend," June 1st to June 3rd.
If you have any connections at all with this church, you are invited to attend this celebration.
Respond to St. Stephens Anglican Church, P.O. Box 162, St. Stephens Road, Saanichton, B.C., V8M 2C3, or go to
Their celebratory email address is
It will cost you $12.00 to attend, and the church is welcoming any donations above and beyond that sum of money -- which is, of course, going to keeping the church open.

On Friday afternoon, from 4 to 8pm, they are having a Meet and Greet with light refreshments served.
On Saturday there is a golf tournament; a vintage car display; and between 2 and 4 o'clock there will be cemetery tours, put on by church staff and others.
Details are not settled yet, but I will be offering one or two tours, taking people around to the fur traders burial sites, including those of the Anderson family.
Quite a number of Anderson descendants are buried here.
I have to find a costume to wear!

On Sunday morning at 10pm. there will be an outdoor service with a family barbecue.
And in the evening, a number of celebrations are listed -- amongst them being a Blessing of the Animals at 2pm., and the Annual Hymn Sing featuring jazz singer Louise Rose.
We will see you there!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A second view of Anderson's 1847 expedition from Kamloops to Fort Langley

As I dug through my files this morning, I stumbled on a piece of writing that I had forgotten I now owned.
This article was written by my uncle, Elton Alexander Anderson, sometime before his death in 1975; it is his vision of Alexander Caulfield Anderson's exploration from Kamloops to Fort Langley in 1847 -- the Tqua-youm Portage.
It was Elton's explorations up and down the Fraser canyon that identified, for me, the many streams and landmarks that Alexander Caulfield Anderson crossed; the installation of the new and modern highway up the Fraser Canyon would almost certainly have prevented me from getting off the road and hiking up the creek beds, as he did.
And because of Elton's contributions to Alexander Caulfield Anderson's story -- which I inherited after his death -- I dedicated my book to him. If you want to know who he is, you can read his story on this blog, which I posted in early days.
Its date is Saturday, July 18, 2009, and titled "Elton Alexander Anderson, 1907-1975."
Elton's Tqua-youm is my Squa-zoum -- Anderson's writing is hard to read and one has to translate it as best as we can.
So, here is my uncle Elton's version of his grandfather's 1847 expedition up and down the Fraser River, as he put it together more than thirty years ago. Remember that he researched and wrote this article long before James Gibson's book about the brigades was published, and before other British Columbia historians did any research at all on the fur trade.
It is also written before Barbara Huck researched and wrote about the Salish Wool Dogs, found all the way along the Thompson River and up and down the Fraser well above Yale; little or no information was available to Elton on the massacre at Waiilatpu; nor did he have access to the Hudson's Bay Company Archives as at that time they were still in London, England.
Elton also had no access to much of the new research on the Natives of British Columbia, done since 1975. If he had known who N'Kwala, Tsilaxitsa, and Blackeye's son were, his story would have been quite different.
But he did not.
New research will change the old stories; and that is how historians help each other, in researching and sharing new information with other historians or writers.
So, say thank you to your researchers, your local historians, your writers.

This will be fun to read -- I wonder if he uncovered some little piece of information that I failed to find.....

"The Tqua-youm Portage -- 1847," by Elton Alexander Anderson

"A.C. Anderson covered a lot of ground in the summer of 1847. Some of us have read of his 1846 explorations from Fort Kamloops to Fort Langley coastwards by way of what later became Seton and Anderson Lakes, and back to the Interior by way of what is now the westerly portion of the Hope-Princeton Highway: but few have heard much about his much more demanding 1847 reconnaissance expedition to find a shorter and more direct route.

"As far back as 1813, the North West Company had taken to the use of horses for the transport of furs and trading goods in the regions west of the Rocky Mountains. The furs from New Caledonia, for the most part, came down to the mouth of the Columbia River laden alternately on the backs of horses and in the bottoms of roughly-built wooden bateaux. The furs from the Columbia and New Caledonia came this direction because it was not economic to take them to Montreal over the time-honoured birch bark canoe route, and because a market for the furs had been found in China.

"The winters in the Interior Fur Posts were spent in the gathering and preparation [of] the pelts for shipment, but the late Springs and summers were travel time. The Horse Brigades would gather and head south from Fort Alexandria on the Upper Fraser River in April. At Fort Kamloops, the Brigade would round up fresh horses, take on the furs from Kamloops, and head off for the Okanagan. At Fort Okanogan, situated where the Okanagan River joins the Columbia River, the loads would be transferred to the bateaux, and the Brigade would charge off down-stream to the mouth of the Columbia. In the early period, particularly, there were variations in this procedure; but, by and large, this was the annual event. The return "voyage" was made by the end of the month of August.

"The Hudson's Bay Company, which came into the region west of the Rocky Mountains in 1821, upon amalgamation with the North West Company, carried on the Horse Brigades, closed down Spokane House as a head-quarters, and established Fort Vancouver as a central depot into which all the furs were brought from the Interior. In the years that followed, the coastal fur trade was expanded by the establishment of forts such as Fort Langley. When Fort Langley was built, it was not thought that it would ever serve the role of a central depot for the Interior furs. Fort Vancouver was serving that role well, and besides, the route into the Interior by way of the Fraser River Canyons, as a result of the explorations of Simon Fraser in 1808 and Governor Simpson in 1828, was considered to be impassable for horses and unnavigable for boats; and no other route was known. But in 1846, with the 49th Parallel being set as the Boundary by Treaty, the Hudson's Bay Company could not look forward to a continuation of the brigades to and from Fort Vancouver. Fort Victoria, supplemented by Fort Langley as a gathering point, would take over, to a large extent, the role that Fort Vancouver had played; but men out in the field would have to blaze a trail -- a horse trail -- into the Interior to make it all possible.

"Chief Trader A.C. Anderson was the man who found the path. He had been in Oregon and New Caledonia since 1832. He was then 33 years old and was then in charge of Fort Alexandria, and a rising young officer in the Company. He had, in fact, written to Governor Simpson suggesting that the reconnaissance be undertaken, and that he, Anderson, be the person to do it.

"In the Spring of 1847 he left on horseback from Fort Alexandria. His wife, the former Betsey Birnie, of the Oregon Birnie Family, and their young children, the oldest being 6, were with him. He left them with friends at Fort Kamloops for a summer holiday, as it were; and on May 19th he rode out of the Fort with his men, Montrose McGillivray, Edouard Montigny, Theodore LaCourse, Michel Fallardeau, and Joseph desAutels. Ascending the hills south of Kamloops, the party headed for Lac de Nicholas (now Nicola Lake), which was so called after an old fur trapper who lived there.

"Upon reaching the far end of the lake, Anderson and his men turned and rode down what was then called the Similkameen Branch of the Thompson's River, or sometimes "Nicholas' River (now Nicola River). The first night's camp was at the western end of the lake, and the second was at a place called Thlikumcheena, which is now Spence's Bridge. The route thus far travelled was well-known, because small trading parties from Kamloops came out this far every year, but it was new country to Anderson. In his Journal he wrote:-

"Along this stream (Nicola River) are sparse camps of Indians, the inhabitants of which were occupied plying their scoop nets from stages erected near the waters edge. The produce of this fishery is a fine kind of trout, from 10 to 12 lbs. weight. Of these we procured a sufficiency for supper. The country rugged with volcanic rock. Wormwood, cactus known as crapaud, and rattlesnakes characterise the lower land."

"The march from Thlikumcheena to Thlickumcheen (Lytton) wa mde in a day and a half. Anderson and his men were now on foot, having sent the horses back. The overnight encampment was made at "Nick-a-o-meen," which was where Nicoamen River now crosses the highway and runs into the Thompson River. Setting out the next morning at 3:30, Anderson and his men arrived at the "Forks" of the Thompson and the Fraser at 10:45 am., and there were greeted by a large throng of Indians, apparently in good spirits at the prospect of active extension of the Company's trade [in] their country; but Anderson kept on the alert. In later years, he was to write to George Gibbs of New York about this particular incident, as follows:

"I was received among these people with the kindest demonstrations.... Man, woman and child at every village brought presents of welcome, whether of fish, wild-fruits or other local production. It was of course impossible to convey away the enormous piles thus accumulated... everything was couleur de rose on these occasions; but then one felt constantly as if seated on a powder-magazine, which a spark might at any moment ignite...."

"Anderson's Journal gives a description of the river junction at Lytton that enables us to recognize the place. He wrote: "...(Thompson's River) restricted with rocky shores to a width of 50-60 yards, flowing smoothly, evidently to a great depth. Its shores above this place consist chiefly of limestone and granite rocks, and are very rugged."

"At 3.15 the next morning, May 24th 1847, Anderson and his men began their march down the east bank of the Fraser River. In a day and a half they reached the Indian village of Tqua-youm, which was situated about a mile south of what is now Boston Bar. The "Tuckkwiowhum" Indian Reserve and the outfall of the Anderson River are there today.

"At the end of the first day's march towards Tqua-youm, Anderson wrote in his Journal about their crossing, earlier in the day, of an "impetuous stream" on the back of a fallen tree; and he referred to the scaling of a precipice in the vicinity of what is now called Jackass Mountain; and he went on to say:-

"We are now encamped near a populous village, one and all, I believe, fairly wearied out. A day's march among the arid hills of the Fraser's River with the thermometer between 80 and 90 degrees in the shade is a trying matter, however willing the spirit."

"Anderson and his men were off at 2.50 am the next morning. they arrived at Tqua-youm at 11.00 am. In his Journal entry that night Anderson wrote:-

"Tqua-youm is a populous village of Indians. The immediate banks of the river are clearly wooded with cedar, pines and the plane tree; behind, the hills rise somewhat abruptly and are free in parts from timber, affording good and abundant pasture."

"But he rejected the route thus far from the Forks as a horse road, the ground being too rough and there being little or no forage for the horses. In that now very rare publication, A.C. Anderson's "Handbook to the Gold Regions," which was published in San Francisco in 1858, the following description is given of the country between Tqua-youm and Thlikumcheen:-

"From Tqua-youm upwards a marked change in the character of the scenery takes place; though rugged, it is less densely timbered than the lower country, and shows every evidence of a drier climate. The vicinity of Tqua-youm itslef is rather picturesque; but, what is of more importance, it enjoys a prolific salmon fishery during the season."

"Tqua-youm lay at the mouth of what came to be known as the Anderson river, which fell in to the Fraser River from the east. The ground from which the river falls is fairly high, so the descent is quite rapid. The declivity leading down to the Fraser can easily be seen today from the highway at the Anderson River bridge. Once the heights are gained, one gains entrance to a valley leading to the south and east. By thus heading off from the Fraser and into the mountains, Anderson and his men were able to by-pass the Upper Fraser Canyon, in the Hell's Gate area; and, in so doing, they were able to begin to think that their march thus far had not been a failure, because the Anderson River Valley not only provided a by-pass to the Fraser River further down, but also led to a linking up with a horse trail from Lac de Nicholas to the fringe of this region. Plans were beginning to form in Anderson's mind for a recommendation to his superior officers that the Interior furs be brought out directly from Fort Kamloops to Fort Langley, by way of Lac de Nicholas and this mountain crossing to the Fraser River though the Anderson River Valley, a crossing that he called the "Tqua-youm Portage."

"Anderson was in high spirits as he wrote in his Journal that night: -- "Ascending the hills, the herbage is very luxuriant, and the surface of the ground bedecked with the larkspur, the red flowering vetch and flaunting glories of the dwarf sunflower, presents an agreeable contrast to the arid declivities which our way has hitherto lain in these parts."

And at the end of the next day, he wrote:- "We (turned and followed the Anderson River or Tqua-youm River southwards) for a couple of miles, then ascended the mountain, and struck directly for Fraser's River. The ascent is tedious, but by making the road deviously, the inconvenience of the hill may be easily overcome. Upon the top of the mountain is an even surface free from underwood extending a couple of miles, when by diverging a couple of miles to the right, Fraser's River is seen again winding below... I struck off to take a bird's eye view of the rapid that obstructs navigation according near this spot (ie., Black Canyon and Hell's Gate)... judging from the agitated appearance of the stream as seen from our elevated position, this rapid is a succession of dangerous whirlpools, apparently unnavigable, and I am informed unavoidable by portage."

"The mountain from which Anderson looked down on the Fraser River has no name. It ought to be called "A.C. Anderson Mountain." It has an elevation of approx. 4,000 feet.

"On May 27th, 1847, Anderson and his men clambered down the mountain to an Indian village called Kequeloose or Teequeloose, on the banks of the Fraser just a little upstream of the place where the Alexandra Suspension Bridge was built about fifteen years later. They then made their way through the woods on the east bank of the Fraser for two hours. They came to a halt opposite another Indian village at the mouth of the Spuzzum Creek. There was a parley with the Indians, which resulted in the hiring of a canoe. Anderson and his men then set off down the Fraser, reaching the head of the Lower Fraser Canyon in 35 minutes.

"The Lower Fraser Canyon is that tortuous few miles of river upstream from what is now the Village of Yale. Anderson and his men went ashore at the head of the canyon, and made the passage on foot. The night's encampment was made on "a rocky eminence" on the right bank (descending), at a point two-thirds the way through the canyon, just below the little treed island in the river. Anderson wrote in his Journal that night:-

"These rapids extend... with intervals of navigable space for a distance of three miles, confined in some parts by lofty walls of rock. This is the case at the first stage of the rapid where the width of the stream is contracted 100 yards or less. In other parts, the shores are shelving with broken rocks, or smooth rocky surfaces... There is every facility on the right bank for carrying both boats and cargo by the portage, 630 paces in length... It is unobjectionable in all respects, passing through a small valley behind the confining rampart of rock."

"This "small valley" is clearly visible today on the west bank of the Fraser, at the head of the Lower Canyon where the gorge walls are the highest and the river the most narrow. Through this miniature "valley" were later built the Old Fraser Canyon Highway and the road bed of the C.P.R.

"The Journal continued:- "A couple of hundred yards lower down is the second stage, and to effect this there likewise is great facility. The third stage is formed by the rocky island in the middle of the river, where a portage over a rocky point upon the right shore (descending) is again quite practicable."

"The rapids of the Lower Canyon werre then known as Simpson's Falls, in commemoration of Governor Simpson's passage of them in  1828; but there was no abrupt drop in level as the name would imply. The whole stretch of the river in this area may be seen today from the highway; but a better and closer view may be had by making off to the Old Highway. One is induced, however, to get out and walk, and not to drive across and along the rotting, wooden sections of roadway that still exist in unused state.

"The Journal continues:- "May 28; Resumed our journey as soon as daylight enabled us to thread our way among the broken rocks. A few hundred yards below our encampment is another rapid where a portage upon the left side (descending) [would be] necessary...." This is now occupied by the road-bed of the C.N.R. "After passing the rapids, the pathway led along a dangerous causeway of cedar boards connecting the several projecting points of the precipice."

"In his letter to George Gibbs in 1855, Anderson described the geography of this part of the Lower Fraser Canyon as "a few miles of debateable land," and he went on to describe the Indian village that stood on the present site of Yale, as follows:-

"... we reach the first village of the Tachinco or Teets -- a palisaded fort. During the Salmon Season, trusting in the strength of numbers, the inhabitants of the upper villages of the Teets congregate and occupy the whole extent of the Falls and Rapids, in length about three miles; (withdrawing) to their palisaded dwellings below as soon as the fishery is over.... These Indians are ingenious and more industrious (than those of the Shushwap and Upper Fraser): hence comparatively rich. Their canoes are formed like those of the Chinooks... of cedar; and, as all their travelling is done by water every one has a canoe for daily use and convenience. From point to point as we descended the river the palisaded villages appear. Around gambol whole hosts of white (dogs), some shorn like sheep. others sweltering under a crop of growing fleece... The dogs in question are of a breed peculiar to the lower parts of Fraser's River, and the southern portion of Vancouver's Island and the Gulf of Georgia. White, with woolly long hair, and bushy tail, they differ materially in aspect from the common Indian cur; possession however the same vulpine countenance. Shorn regularly as the crop of hair matures, these creatures are of real value to their owners; yielding them the material from whence blankets... are manufactured."

"At the Tachino village, Anderson hired canoes. At 9.50 am. the next morning, May 29th, 1847, they set out down the Fraser bound for Fort Langley. The canoes passed "Kequehalla" River at, the Lillooet Fork, which was the name then given to the Harrison River, at 2.25 pm., and they landed at Fort Langley at 7.00 pm. No time was lost in the turn-around; at 7.50 am. June 1st, Anderson and his men began their return voyage. In two days they were back to what later became known as Yale. In his 1858 "Handbook to the Gold Regions," Anderson wrote that there was then no practical way of reaching Yale from Fort Langley except by water, and that the country was "thickly wooded, mountainous, and impassable."

"June 4th 1847 was taken up in the upwards traverse of the rapids of the Lower Canyon. It was raining. Before breakfast, Anderson and his men first crossed over to the eastern shore of the Fraser opposite the Indian village of the Tachino; then they portaged or carried their canoes along the right bank ascending in the vicinity of Lady Franklin Island, which is in plain view today at the upstream entrance of the first highway tunnel north of Yale. The Journal continued:-

"A series of eddies conducts to a second portage on the same side (right ascending). It is 700 paces in length and very favourable in its nature. Carried our canoe here, or rather dragged it, for the overhanging branches prevented our carrying... Cross and breakfasted at the foot of the rapids formed by (the rocky treed island below which they had camped overnight on the downstream passage). Took the lightened canoe up by line through the smaller channel. Then dragged over 2 rocky points with an interval of smooth water between. Neither of these points would offer a serious obstacle to our boats, light or at half cargo."

Anderson continued in his 1847 Journal:- "The Indians, who had undertaken to navigate our canoe up the rapids, now proposed to cross (back to the right bank ascending) in order to ascend with the line on the opposite side... All went very well, when after almost every obstacle, except the last rapid, had been surmounted, an untoward accident occurred. The line, which was composed of several lengths of half worn cod line (none other being procurable at Fort Langley) notwithstanding that we had doubled it as a precaution, suddenly broke, owing to the canoe taking a sheer out while the steersman was disembarked. An Indian, the bowman, was alone in the canoe. It was swept downwards with rapidity, in spite of the lad's exertions to propel it to shore. fortunately, after running some of the worst of the rpaids, he succeeded in getting in an eddy, the canoe half full of water.

"This untimely mishap greatly disheartened the Indians, and at first some of the near relations became a good deal excited, taking their arms apparently disposed for evil... By prudent management, we contrived shortly to dissipate the momentary chagrin, and after some parley and a smoke the Indians consented to assist us as before. But they were no longer willing to trust to the rotten line, so we transported the canoe, by land, the greater part of the distance to the head of the Falls..."

"Anderson and his men then made their way up-river to Spuzzum, thence across the Fraser to the opposite shore, thence up the east bank through the woods to the Indian village of Kequeloose. At 1.40pm. on June 5th 1847, the party set off up the mountainside, putting the finishing touches to a horse road for future use as they went. Camped at the summit of the hill at 6.00 pm., Anderson wrote in his Journal:- "An old (Indian), with his followers, to whom I lent an axe for the purpose on my way down, has, during our absence, rendered good service in tracing and clearing the road from Kequeloose up to this spot."

"June 6th, 7th, and 8th were taken up in the clearing and marking out of the road through the Anderson River Valley and up and over the ridges lying to the north-east in the direction of Lac de Nicholas. On June 9th, the horses from Kamloops arrived, and Anderson rode off to Fort Kamloops and then home to Fort Alexandria. Before departing, he left orders for his men to ride in the charge of Montrose McGillivray to the Columbia River by way of the Similkameen River and the Okanagan, to meet and to assist the upward bound Brigade from Fort Vancouver to New Caledonia. Although they did not know it then, they rode to bring in to New Caledonia the last Brigade from Oregon. Indian unrest on the American side, coupled with U.S. imposition of customs duties, forced the Hudson's Bay Company to use the Tqua-youm Portage in 1848 and 1849. It was a second best route, chosen at the insistence of Chief Factor Douglas in preference to Anderson's first choice, which was essentially the route explored by him the previous year, 1846, via Hope to the Similkameen. In 1850-2, the Brigades came over a variation of the more southerly route; and Chief Trader Anderson was there then commanding his Brigades from Fort Colvile.

"Anderson's efforts in 1847 won him the approval of his superiors. On September 20th, 1847, Chief Factors Ogden and Douglas wrote from Fort Vancouver to the Governor and Committee of the Hudson's Bay Company, in the following terms:- "Mr. Chief Trader Anderson and party accomplished the survey of two other routes from the Interior via Fraser's River to Fort Langley, one of these represented as free from any extraordinary difficulties beyond what exist in a chain of rapids about three miles in length commonly known as the Falls of the Fraser River.... We refrain from giving a decided opinion on this route until the rapids have been further examined by good water-men, and reported practicable... In this arduous and fatiguing journey, Mr. Anderson has accomplished everything that we could expect, with a degree of zeal and intelligence that has elicited our warmest approbation...."

"In the Spring of 1848, the Brigades of the Hudson's Bay Company from Fort Alexandria and Fort Colvile, 400 horses laden with furs led by 50 men under the command of Chief Trader Donald Manson, the senior officer present, united at Fort Kamloops, and travelled over the Tqua-youm Portage to Fort Langley. A. C. Anderson was second-in-command. In some of its aspects, the passage of the Brigade in 1848 approached that of a fiasco. The men and horses were stretched out over an extensive area, and control became almost impossible with the limited supervisory personnel available. It was too much of a temptation for some of the Indians to resist stealing from the pack-horses; and this resulted in considerable loss to the Company. The confusion and strain result in the loss of 70 horses and the apparent suicide of one of the men.

"The memory of the event was painful to Anderson, and, undoubtedly, to all the officers of the Company. It is therefore perhaps not surprising that so little has been written about this episode in 1848. Anderson told George Gibbs of New York a little about it: he closed off his treatment of the geography of the area by correcting his own mistake with reference which Indian village was which: Kequeloose or Spuzzum. In making the correction, he wrote: "If you will refer to my map, you will find that Kequeloose is some 5 or 6 miles higher up... Writing from memory -- withal there are many very painful recollections connected with both -- especially (Spuzzum)." In 1878, however, he told the historian Bancroft all about the events of 1848.

"The trouble began in November of 1847 when Chief Factor Douglas travelled up from Fort Victoria to the Lower Canyon. He was appalled by what he saw. He wrote to the Governor and Committee as follows:- "we are of the opinion that (the rapids) will be found exceedingly dangerous at every season and absolutely impassable in the summer freshets.... It is impossible to conceive anything more formidable or imposing than is to be found in that dangerous defile, which cannot for one moment be thought of as a practicable water communication for transport of valuable property. We propose to avoid that part of the river entirely by extending the horse road," from Spuzzum to Fort Yale, which was then being established.

"Douglas' decision immediately raised the necessity of swimming the horses from Kamloops across the Fraser at Spuzzum, and the problem of feeding the horses at Fort Yale during the period when the Brigade would be travelling to Fort Langley to deliver their furs and to bring back the trading goods for trade the next season. This proved to be no small problem. In hindsight, Anderson must have dearly wished that he had recommended against the Tqua-youm portage and to have plumped for his first choice, the 1846 route to the east of Hope to the headwaters of the Skagit River, and thence north to Lac de Nicholas and Kamloops. But this was not to be until 1850. His recommendation of Tqua-youm Portage was accepted and it was too late to change. The great misfortune was that the Brigade's passage was put in the charge of that irritable man chief Trader Manson, with whom no one got along. One gets the impression that there was almost no communication between Manson and Anderson.

"The outcoming Brigade of 1849 to the Coast was the last to use Tqua-youm Portage. Going back to the Interior in from Fort Langley in 1849, the Brigades, using the newly established Fort Hope as a basee, built a horse road to the east into the headquarters of the Similkameen as they went, which was used by the Brigades in subsequent years -- but I am getting ahead of the story.

"In 1848, the Brigades came through together -- 400 horses and 50 men. On the way down, some of the horses carrying the furs lost their footing and plunged down mountainsides; others fell into the river and were drowned; and others were swept away in the river during the swim across the Fraser at Spuzzum. In all of this, one must remember the kinetic movement that characterized the march of a Hudson's Bay Company brigade. A brigade movement was no stroll through the woods: speed of movement was the watchword. This was partly the whim of Governor Simpson; it was also dictated by the physical features of the march (some rivers, such as the Upper Columbia, could only be traversed at certain stages of the level of the water) and the exigencies of the Company's business... the men were needed elsewhere. The Brigade at Spuzzum could not wait until the River seemed to be flowing a little less strongly!

"No small difficulty attended the gathering together of the Brigade at Fort Langley for the return journey. Some of the men were appalled at the thought of returning, but return they did, laden with the trading goods [for] the next season in the Interior. Anderson left no Journal this time; but fortunately a junior officer of the Company, Henry Peers, did. The upward bound Brigade laboured up the river from Fort Langley to Fort Yale, then unloading the boats, the men loaded the starving horses which were "parked" there, and set off for Spuzzum. But the freighting was going so slowly that Anderson was allowed to augment the movement of the freight by moving men up and along the steep and rugged western banks of the Lower Canyon. The men, assisted by the Indians, made several passages from Yale to Spuzzum in nine days. One can imagine these men, Anderson in the line with them, clinging to sides of the cliffs, with loads on their backs, inching along narrow causeways of boards lashed together with cedar bark rope, and wondering how on earth they ever got to be where they were. In his 1853 Handbook to the Gold Regions, Anderson referred to the "painful inequalities" (of the ground) along this route.

"The Journal of Henry Peers goes on to tell of the crossing of the River at Spuzzum and the passage of the Tqua-yowm Portage. The references, in the quotations from the Journal following, to "bateaux" are to the type of boat that had been in use for many years on the Columbia River. These boats looked like huge flat-bottomed dories. They were about 24 feet long, and were capable of carrying three tons of goods and men. They were, of course, propelled by oars whenever it was possible to do so. On other occasions, and this would have been so during the upward journey from Fort Langley in 1848, these bateaux were warped upstream by men pulling along the shore with ropes secured aft of the bows, with a steersman in the stern with an oar rudder to keep the boat in the stream and off the shore. Whenever the force of the current made it impossible to continue making headway, or whenever the shoreline changed so that men could not clamber upstream along the banks, the towing rope, or "line," was taken across to the opposite bank of the river by way of Indian canoe, usually: the only other solution to the inability of the boat to make further headway was to unload the 3 tons of freight and portage it and the boat by land farther upstream. In his 1858 Handbook to the Gold Regions, Anderson referred to the fact that "by this tedious process," the 1848 brigade took 8 days in the passage up-river from Fort Langley to Fort Yale.

Henry Peers wrote in his Journal: - "Started from Fort Langley on 17th July with 5 bateaux and two river boats manned by Indians, all deeply laden (4 bateau loads having been taken up before in charge of Mr. Anderson); the water was low for the season, but still we had much trouble in warping up along steep and bushy banks, precluding the possibility of poling, and the current too swift to use the oar.... We reached Fort Yale on the 24th. We remained there until 2nd August (9 days) during which time half the goods were being carried over (up the Lower Canyon of the Fraser River) by 80 Indians under the superintendence of Messrs Anderson and [George] Simpson, and the remainder sent across Douglas Portage (to Spuzzum) on horseback in 4 trips of some 35 horses -- these horses were fed upon green grass supplied by the Indians; and were, having eaten down the grass from the length of time they had been at the place, reduced to a very feeble state. I and Mr. Manson left Fort Yale on the 2nd August with the last trip of 30 horses to rejoin Mr. Anderson at the other end... remained at (Spuzzum) encampment three days crossing Baggage & horses, etc. Found all the goods correct and started on the 6th at 3pm. with some 500 and upwards pieces of goods in 15 brigades, each brigade having 18 & some a greater number of horses to 2 men.

"We encamped at the foot of Big Hill where the road leaves the Fraser River, many of the brigades only arriving when pitch dark & consequently great confusion from horses straying with their loads and so forth; several fell down a steep hill on nearing the encampment (the only bad one on the road), from weakness, threw the loads and a bale was swept off in the river before it could be seized & one animal killed....
7th August -- rainy weather.... the day 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 & created some little alarm... Nothing I may say here for the horses to feed on.
8th. Started about 12 o'clock and encamped at camp [?]... Some of the rear brigades got on very badly & 88 pieces were found deficient.
9th.... very little for the horses to eat.
10th August.... The Brigade being again ready we set off at 2.00 pm following the bed of Anderson's River a few hundred yards and thence ascended a steep hill which brought us to a sort of prairie where most of the horses (had) passed the summer, here again followed another stiff hill & we pursued our route in a gradual ascent.... Two or three of the rear brigades arrived when quite dark and many horses necessarily strayed away before they could be freed of their loads, passing the night with the rest in the woods under a heavy thunderstorm with little or nothing to eat....
11th August. The horses were collected... for an early start tomorrow morning; the poor animals, of course, much reduced from this constant want of food and the hard labour they have already undergone in the ups and downs of such a rugged and mountainous tract of country. the pieces (loads), all but 2 or 3, were recovered after much searching and order was again restored....
12th August. Fine morning; started at mid-day and continued our journey along the source of Anderson's River; the road winding along the side of steep rugged hills and thick woods, the horses' feet suffering very much from the former. It was our intention to have reached the height of land today, but from the jaded state of our animals and the general confusion among the rear Brigades, we were obliged to camp in the woods about 5 miles from the above-mentioned point; here again was a sad account of the good many pieces left on the road and 3 parties obliged to halt, separated from one another, night having overtaken them before they could reach the camp.
13th August. There being no fodder such horses as were here and strong enough were loaded and proceeded in charge of Mr. Anderson and Mr. Simpson to the height of land. Mr. Manson and myself remained here for the day to await the brigades and pieces (that) had been left behind...
14th August. Mr. Manson and myself made a start with the remaining brigades, having been recruited with a band of fresh horses (many of the other having given out) which by previous arrangement we were to meet....
15th August. The early part of today was devoted to catching and loading young horses, about which some time was wasted and we started at midday: pursued our route over stony barren hills....
16th August. Good feeding. Fine weather. Here we may consider ourselves out of difficulty the country being more open....

"A. C. Anderson, his brigade duties done, then proceeded to take up his new posting, the charge of Fort Colvile on the Columbia River, just south of the 49th Parallel. But he first rode to Kamloops to pick up his wife and children, who had come down with him to Kamloops from Fort Alexandria in the Spring. The way to Fort Colvile was by horse; and the route was likely a sentimental return along the Kettle Valley-Lake Okanagan Trail taken by the Andersons on the occasion of their journey in the Fall of 1842 to take up their posting at Fort Alexandria.

"The memories of the Brigade rankling, Anderson wrote to Chief Factor Douglas, "as regards the route we have stumbled through this year with its concomitant circumstances, I believe you will agree with me in condemning it as quite unsuited.... to the Concern." But it was too late to build a new trail at any other place. Anderson was forced to bring out the Brigade from Fort Colvile to Fort Langley in the Spring of 1849, over the Tqua-yowm Portage. The new brigade trail from Hope to the Similkameen was built on the way back; but the passage of the Brigades over the new trail in the years following is another story."

And there you have Elton Alexander Anderson's story of his grandfather's passage over the Squa-zowm Portage in 1848 and 1849 -- written before he had easy access to the records of the Hudson's Bay Company Archives, and the research of many modern-day historians and writers.
I was most amused to find that Elton did not like Donald Manson; I was quite fond of the man myself, and understood some the pressures that he worked under for so long.
But each man to his opinion....
Elton worked with the material he had available to him at the time he researched this journey -- and though I disagree with some of his findings, I know I have had advantages that he did not have in access to information written by others.
Please continue to encourage writers to write their stories and to add to our stories -- if we continue to do this, we will soon know all that needs to be known about our local and British Columbia history.

Montrose McGillivray

This is a quick post, to give a little information to descendants of Montrose McGillivray I have already spoken to, and whose current email I cannot easily locate -- descendants of George Simpson, Junior, whose letter is below, will also be interested in this information:
Reel 3M91, D.5/28, Letters to Governor Simpson, HBCA
"Fort Colvile, April 18th 1850
"Sir George Simpson
"My dear father: The express being about to start for the east side affords me the opportunity of [sending] you a short letter and to acknowledge the receipt of your favor by Mr. [Eden] Colvile. The news from these parts are of so varied a description, that I will not attempt a detail, as you will doubtless have all from those who have been at the scenes.
"I am happy to inform you that Mr. Peers' new route to Langley has been tried last summer, and found to answer very well, the fact of the Colvile and Thompsons River men having made two trips without any mishap, is I should think a sufficient proof that the road is practicable.
"There has been a disease raging in the interior the past winter, which has swept off numbers of the inhabitants, with some of the companys servants and amongst the number Montrose McGillivray -- most of the best hunters of New Caledonia are no more, it has received a shock which it will never recover. The trade in that quarter has been very indifferent, Thompsons River as good as preceding years.
"I received a most welcome letter from my mother last fall, I understnad she is in poor circumstances, and it is my duty as a dutiful son to relieve her, she shall not want as long as I have the means....
"Your affectionate son, Geo. Simpson."

Sunday, May 13, 2012

John Ballenden, Chief Factor in the Columbia district

There were two men named John Ballenden in the service of the HBCo., and I have just discovered that one was the father of the other -- and I am not even sure that the Hudson's Bay Company archives is aware of this fact.
The first John Ballenden came from Stromness, Orkney, and entered the service in 1770. According to his records he was probably born about 1757, and first served as Andrew Graham's servant at Fort Severn and Fort Prince of Wales.
In 1782 he was writer at the Prince of Wales fort when it was captured by the French.
In 1784 Ballenden was at York Factory; in 1787 back at Fort Severn; and at the turn of the century he was in charge of York Factory.
In 1801 his Stromness wife, Elizabeth Gray, requested that her husband return home; the request was denied but in the following year he left York Factory for the Orkneys and never returned.

This first John Ballenden's boy, also named John Ballenden and born ca. 1812, married Sarah McLeod, mixed-blood daughter of Alexander Roderick McLeod.
And so this John Ballenden must be the son of the first John Ballenden, although HBCA does not seem to make the connection between them.
The record for the second John Ballenden is brief -- the HBC Archives Biographical sheet says only this:

"John Ballenden was born about 1810 and came from Stromness in the Orkneys. He entered the service of the Hudson's Bay Company as an apprentice clerk in 1829, being first employed at York Factory and in the Lower Red River district, and later in the counting house at York Factory.
"In 1836 he went to Fort Garry as accountant, and in 1840 he was given the joint management of the Sault Ste. Marie and the Lake Huron districts. He was promoted to the rank of Chief Trader in 1844, and in 1848 he was made a Chief Factor.
"In 1850-51 he was allowed leave of absence on account of ill-health. On his return from England he was appointed to Fort Vancouver, where he remained as a member of the Board of Management until 1853. He was on furlough during the season 1853-54, and in the succeeding outfit he was appointed in charge of Red River Settlement at Fort Garry.
"Ill-health prevented him carrying out all his duties during the season, and he was once again allowed furlough in 1855-56. He retired as from June 1, 1856, and died on December 7th of the same year.
"He married Sarah, a daughter of Chief Factor Alexander Roderick Mcleod [sic], at Red River on December 10, 1836. Three sons and three daughters were beneficiaries under his will, particulars of which are in A.44/3, HBCA.

Bruce Watson, in his "Lives Lived West of the Divide," does make the connection between the two Ballenden fur traders.
Here is what he says about our John Ballenden -- the one who served at Fort Vancouver:

Ballenden, John, 1810-1856 (British: Orcadian Scot)
Birth: probably Stromness, Orkney, 1810. Born to John Ballendine and Elizabeth Gray.
Death: Red River Settlement, December 1856
"John Ballenden, whose father-in-law was Chief Factor Alexander Roderick McLeod, had a fleeting interest in the Columbia, finding himself in that district more from circumstances of sickness than by design. John appears to have lost his father in early childhood. He entered the service of the HBC on June 8, 1829, as an apprentice clerk, sailed to the Hudson Bay on the Prince Rupert IV, and served in a variety of posts east of the Rockies, becoming Chief Trader in 1844 and Chief Factor in 1848.
"In 1848 he suffered what may have been a stroke. While attached to the Columbia, and after furloughing 1850-51 in England because of ill health, he found himself on his way to Fort Vancouver where he stayed on for two years, participating on the Board of Management until he went on furlough again. During his stay at Vancouver, he suffered what appeared to be another stroke, as he temporarily lost the use of his right arm. In 1854-1855 he was appointed in charge of the Red River Settlement at Fort Garry. He retired on June 1, 1856, and died at the end of that year.
"On December 10, 1836, at Red River, John Ballenden married Sarah, a daughter of Chief Factor Alexander Roderick McLeod. Together they had three sons and three daughters."
[I know that Duncan, one of his sons, died shortly before Ballenden reached Fort Vancouver.]

Well, I have a lot more information on John Ballenden and his Metisse wife, Sarah, and I will give it below.

This information on Sarah Ballenden comes from Sylvia van Kirk's book, "Many Tender ties, Women in Fur-Trade Society, 1670-1870." There are many more details in the book itself.
John and Sarah Ballenden returned to Red River district in 1848, when Ballenden took charge of the district.
The English women who had come into Red River took offense at Sarah Ballenden's high ranking in the local social heap.
Some were offended that they were forced to give precedence to a mixed blood woman, who they could not possbily consider to be their social equal -- because she carried Indian blood.
But, as wife of the district's chief Factor in charge, Sarah was determined to take part in the local society, and organized dinner parties and balls and presided at the officers' mess at Upper Fort Garry.
The highlight of the 1849 social season was the christening of her infant daughter -- called a "splendid entertainment with [an] abundance of champagne," by Letitia Hargrave, wife of York Factory's Chief Factor James Hargrave.
From her first days in Red River, Sarah became an object of gossip and speculation -- every act, word or deed was noted and commented on by a group of white women who set themselves up as watchdogs of Red River society.
Her popularity with the young single men was suspect: and one man became particularly suspect.
This was Captain Christopher Foss, an officer who had come out with the Chelsea Pensioners in 1848 and who now dined at the mess table at the Upper Fort, that Sarah Ballenden presided over.
Some women cattily remarked that Sarah was the type of woman who must have a sweetheart as well as a husband.
The bullying gossip was circulated and re-circulated, and magnified until, in summer 1849, it was rumoured that the Captain's attention to Sarah were such that John Ballenden should be able to demand a divorce!

Even the Governor of Assiniboia heard the rumours, though he hestitated to take action because of John Ballenden's popularity in the district.
But when Ballenden left Red River to take his furlough, leaving his wife behind, the Governor forbade his family to associate with Sarah, and a concerted effort was made by Red River society to exclude Sarah Ballenden from local events.
Even some of Sarah's mixed race friends were convinced that they should exclude Sarah from their society.

But Sarah fought back against the bullying English community.
She was not without her supporters, and in her husband's absence, she took refuge with a the family of her husband's friends.
She obtained sworn statements from people who knew there had been no affair between Captain Foss and herself, and on John Ballenden's return to Red River, her friends convinced him there had been no truth in the rumours.
Foss himself brought a lawsuit against some of the gentlemen and English women who had so slandered Sarah, and the three-day trial began in July, 1850.
Numerous witnesses were called but the evidence proved to be vague and circumstantial and most witnesses were forced to admit that they had only heard and repeated rumours concerning Foss and Mrs. Ballenden.
After several hours of deliberation, the jury declared that Mrs. Ballenden had been unjustly slandered, and the defendants were required to pay heavy damages.
But Sarah Ballenden continued to be shunned by the Englishmen and women, and many of the other mixed blood women of the Red River community.
When John Ballenden was posted to the Columbia district, where he worked with Alexander Caulfield Anderson, he left his wife behind again.
She spent a lonely winter alone before moving to Norway House to stay with her husband's good friend, Chief Factor George Barnston.
When Ballenden's own poor health finally forced him to leave the Columbia district, husband and wife had a tender meeting -- in Scotland one resource says -- only a few months before poor Sarah Ballenden died of consumption.

It is a sad story and should not have happened, but it did.
But I have said I will tell you about John Ballenden and his argument with Chief Factor James Douglas of Fort Victoria.
Chief Factor John Ballenden arrived at Fort Colvile with the incoming express in late October or early November, and he found Alexander Caulfield Anderson and his entire family sick, but slowly recovering, from the influenza that had raged through the district that year, killing many Natives and sickening many of the fur traders.
He loaded the Anderson family onto the boats and carried them downriver to Fort Vancouver with him.
The Fort Vancouver correspondence books held by the Hudson's Bay Company archives are filled with letters written from Fort Vancouver at that time, and one can easily follow what was happening in the Columbia district over the next few years, when John Ballenden took over Peter Skene Ogden's position.

James Lowe (brother of Thomas Lowe, retired fur trader and store-keeper in Oregon City and San Francisco) wrote from San Francisco, in September 1853, that: "Chief Factor [Peter Skene] Ogden who now leaves Fort Vancouver at his own wish, is rather an old man..."
John Ballenden had come into the district to take his place for a year, while Ogden went on furlough.
From Fort Vancouver, Ballenden wrote to Archibald Barclay that "Mr. Ogden in his letter of 17th & 20th November mentioned my arrival on the latter date at Fort Vancouver. I left Red River Settlement on the 21st August and having crossed the plains on horseback reached Edmonton on the 20th September. The Saskatchewan and Columbia Brigades not having then arrived there I was obliged to remain at that Post until the afternoon of the 30th September when I started with the Columbia party.
"Although unusually late our voyage was pleasant and we reached Jaspers House on 22nd October. I there separated the party into two Brigades -- sent off Mr. [Donald?] Manson with one of New Caledonia, via Tete Jaunes Cache, and started myself with the other for the Columbia River. We reached Fort Colvile on the 5th November and there found Mr. Chief Trader Anderson seriously indisposed and almost all his family suffering from the prevailing epidemic -- the influenza. I had no officer with me appointed to relieve him but considering the circumstances of his case I felt obliged to place Mr. William Sinclair ... in charge of that post "pro tempore" and to take Mr. Anderson and family with me to Vancouver."

From Fort Vancouver, John Ballenden wrote to George Simpson in early January 1852, hinting of trouble to come. "In this I shall enclose copy and extract from private letters to Mr. Douglas," he wrote.
"They are intended for your perusal only, but I should like to know what you think of them. Do you think I have acted right?"
The enclosed copy of Ballenden's letter to James Douglas said this: "My dear sir; there can be no cooperation where there is no confidence. Have you not been rather deficient in the latter lately? ... You were aware that both I and Mr. Work [the 3rd member of the Board of Management] were here... and yet instead of leaving these dispatches open for our perusal and guidance, they are sealed, and you mention not a word respecting their contents....
"What will be the natural inference in the minds of Sir George Simpson & the Governor & Committee, that there is no confidence and consequently no cooperation between the three officers to whom they have entrusted the management of the business in this district?
"You said, in your last letter, that Mr. Ogden was rather 'untractable' lately -- might not this have arisen from circumstances similar to those to which I now allude -- a want of mutual confidence respecting the Company's affairs. I assure you, and I feel happy in being able to say so, that there is not, in my opinion, a gentleman in the Company's service, that would have brought the Company so scathless through the troubles and confusion of the last three years, as Mr. Ogden has, and yet leave the Territory respected & regretted by all."
This was John Ballenden's "warning shot over the bow," but James Douglas ignored it.

In one of John Ballenden's reports, written in early December 1851 to George Simpson, we get a clue of what has been happening in the correspondence that passed between Forts Vancouver and Victoria over the last few years.
John Ballenden reported that "I have visited Portland and Oregon cities and been introduced by Mr. [Peter Skene] Ogden to all the great men of the Territory. I intend to accompany him as far as Astoria on the 7th to open the trails and see him as far on his homeward journey. I shall then return to Vancouver and remain there quite for the winter.
"I sent Mr. Anderson (or rather Mr. Ogden sent him) to Astoria the other day, and I wrote Mr. Douglas privately. I then alluded to the sharp letters which had been written both by him and Mr. Ogden [and] trust that such would be unnecessary between us, and expressed my earnest desire to do-operate with him and Mr. Work. This is, I think, the best way I could have begun. Of this you may rest assured, that it will not be my fault if we do not get on agreeably..."

It seems that relations between Chief Factor James Douglas and Chief Factor John Ballenden did not continue smoothly, and Douglas found Ballenden a tough customer to deal with.
In a letter dated 21st February 1852, Ballenden recommended that: "the supply of Fort Colvile in future or at least so long as our Establishment there is within the American lines, should be sent from this Depot, but to this Mr. Douglas although he does not object yet hesitates so much to adopt the plan that I feel reluctant to make any change although convinced it would tend to the Coy's interest. I have however thought it necessary to repeat my recommendation to the Board of Management..."
And in a March letter to Eden Colvile Ballenden suggested: "Allow me to suggest the propriety of establishing a fort in the vicinity of the Columbia Lakes. Some such arrangement will be necessary as soon as the Company's ... rights are transferred to the American Government. If connected with Thompson's River by a post at L'Ance de Sable on the Great Okinagan Lake, it would keep up the Company communication with all the Indians along the British frontier, and be the only route for parties and expresses to and from the East side of the Mountains. It would also obviate the necessity of paying, as we now do, custom duties on all goods imported at Colvile for trade. I have had several conversations with Mr. Anderson on this subject, and he approves of my suggestion..."
The forts north of the boundary line would not be built for many years, but Ballenden and Anderson got their way on having Fort Vancouver supply Fort Colvile that year.
And I think they got their way by simply ignoring all the objections that James Douglas made to their plan.
I have no letters that indicate that John Work had any objection to John Ballenden's plans -- it appeared to be James Douglas who desired to run the show in the Columbia district.

On the 15th of March, James Douglas wrote that "in reference to [the Fort Colvile] Brigade arrangements you are at liberty to regulate the movements of your own party in the journey to and from Fort Langley..." and warned Anderson to bring enough men to the Fort, as "there is no probability of any spare men being at Fort Langley."
In April, John Ballenden reported to James Douglas and John Work that "I also now enclose a letter received from Mr. Anderson respecting the supplies to Fort Colvile, outfit 1852. Agreeing with him in every respect on this subject, I have directed that the returns be brought down here [to Fort Vancouver], and that the Outfit be supplied here and forwarded by the same route. I should not have taken such a step without its receiving your approbation, had I not here a large quantity of trading goods on hand, which cannot be so advantageously disposed of elsewhere, and upon which the Custom House duties have been already paid."

In early May, Douglas complained to Ballenden that, "I do not approve of the directions you have issued for transporting the returns of Colvile to Fort Vancouver apart from its being disrespectful to the Board of Management... It is directly at variance with our instructions and with the express wishes of the Company who are anxious that the business of the whole interior should be carried on through Langley.
"Besides I feel assured that the transport of the Colvile returns from Fort Vancouver to this place will involve a greater expense than you appear to anticipate. I have no wish, however, to cavil at small things or to give you pain in any manner, and I am therefore glad that you have adduced so weighty a reason for your proceedings in that case, as that of leasing a large quantity on hand which cannot be so advantageously disposed of elsewhere and upon which the custom House duties have been already paid...."

But Eden Colvile had visited both Fort Victoria and Fort Vancouver that spring, and on his arrival at Red River he reported to the Governor and Committee at Norway House, that "from Mr. Anderson's letter it would appear that he intends proceeding to the Dalles and Fort Vancouver for his outfit in accordance with an arrangement made by Mr. C.F. Ballenden, though the other Members of the Board of Management appear so decidedly opposed to the scheme, that I have some doubt whether it will be eventually carried out."
So perhaps John Work actually had something to say about Ballenden's decision....
Anderson's letter, written from Fort Colvile in April, stated that "for reasons which Mr. Ballenden will have explained, I am directed to convey the returns by horse and bateau to Fort Vancouver: when the District will in future be outfitted, instead of through Fort Langley as for several years past..."

On the 3rd of April, John Ballenden reported on his decision to the members of the Board of Management, when he said that Anderson "has started for Fort Colvile with the express, will see that off, and then make a plan of our Possessory rights there, at Okanagan and Fort Nez Perces for the Surveyor general.... I also now enclose a letter received by me from Mr. Anderson respecting the supplies to Fort Colvile Outfit 1852. Agreeing with him in every respect on this subject, I have directed that the returns be brought down here, and that the Outfit be supplied here and forwarded by the same route."

And Ballenden later reported to Governor Simpson that "The returns of that [Fort Colvile] district were delivered here by Messrs. Anderson & McDonald, early in June, and the latter was enabled to return to his [home?] ground with his outfit, earlier than he could possibly have done when supplied from Fort Langley."
It appears that travel by the Similkameen brigade trail took less time, snow on the Coquihalla delayed the journey out and in and the Columbia River brigade, though it took a few days longer, allowed the Fort Colvile men to return home weeks earlier in the season -- an advantage to the Fort Colvile fur trade.

Ballenden also reported that "Mr. C.T. Anderson accompanied by Mr. [Angus] McDonald arrived here on the 30th May with the Fort Colvile brigade. They brought with them the Returns of that District for the past Outfit. I am happy to inform you the Furs are nearly equal in value to those of the last year, and Mr. Anderson reports favorably of the business of the place as conducted by Mr. McDonald and [William] Sinclair. Such being the case, the Board of Management have approved not only of the manner by which the furs were brought out, and the Outfit send in this season, but have also agreed to follow the same route ensuing year...."

Word reached Governor Simpson that James Douglas was opposing John Ballenden's attempts to change how Fort Vancouver ran its own district, and he wrote to James Douglas.

In July 1852, Douglas responded to one of Governor Simpson's letters, with the explanation that: "The official letter to which you refer... has not come to hand, and I cannot imagine to what particular action of the Board of Management you allude in your private letter, unless it be to some of Ballenden's first arrangements after his arrival at Fort Vancouver when he did act on several occasions upon his own individual responsibility.
"One of those instances was the removal of Anderson from Colvile on the plea of ill-health, and a second instance was allowing the route of the Colvile brigade to Fort Vancouver, from whence that District has this year received its outfit.... Differences of opinion must necessarily occur on many points between the members of the Board which must be decided by the majority; but I believe there is the best disposition, on all parts to co-operate heartily and cordially in promoting the general interest."
I thought I had Governor Simpson's letter, but I cannot find it, and we can only guess what he said to James Douglas.

As he departed Fort Vancouver, John Ballenden penned a courteous letter to the other two members of the Board of Management, James Douglas and John Work -- "I shall leave here for the East side of the Mountains on the morning of the 24th current [March], and it is more than probable that our official connection will terminate forever. If during  the very short period it has lasted, any remark which I have made may have been considered either personal or offensive, I shall be very sorry, but believe me they were not intended as such."

I actually got quite fond of John Ballenden as I read his letters in the Fort Vancouver Correspondence and in Governor Simpson's incoming correspondence.
It is certain that he and Alexander Caulfield Anderson got along very well, and they liked and respected each other.
They must have spent many long evenings discussing the worries of the business at Fort Vancouver and in the Columbia district under the Americans, and it is clear from various correspondence -- both before Anderson came to Fort Vancouver, and after -- that Ballenden listened to Anderson and promoted many of Anderson's ideas to Governor Simpson.
However, it didn't really make a difference, and nothing much changed in the Columbia district after Ballenden's departure from the place.
But Anderson didn't care. Within a year or so he left the fur trade behind him.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

John Lee Lewes, HBC -- The "fop" of the Columbia District

This is a perfect time to tell you what I know about John Lee Lewes, the fur trader who was in charge of Fort Colvile when Alexander Caulfield Anderson arrived there in 1848.
No one seems to know a lot about the man, and almost no one has written anything about him.
However, in researching Anderson, I stumbled across a few things of interest to Lewes descendants, and I will dig them out and post them here.

First of all, here is the information that the Hudson's Bay Archives includes in his biographical sheet:
Lewes was born on the 31st August 1792, at St. George's, Southwark, England.
From Bruce McIntyre Watson's book, Lives Lived West of the Divide, we learn his father was Charles Lee Lewes, a well-known actor-singer of the day.
Lewes' theatre connections might partially account for Anderson's description of him:
"Mr. Lewes was a man of fine personal appearance with many good qualities, and among all the officers of the service was conspicuous for his dashing style of dress."
The Oregon historian, Bancroft, labelled John Lee Lewes "the fop of the Columbia District."
Stories like this are what make research interesting!

John Lee Lewes entered the HBC service in 1807 when he was 15 years old, and served first as a "writer" at Fort Churchill (Manitoba, B.42/a/130-149, HBCA) for two years.
After that he served at Nelson House (Manitoba, B.141/a/1-11, HBCA) and later at Deer's Lake -- probably Deer Lake, a large lake east of Churchill and in the English River district.
By 1812 he was on the Saskatchewan River at Cumberland House (Saskatchewan, B.49/a/28-43, HBCA).
Two years later he is found at Ile-a-la-Crosse (Saskatchewan, B.89/a/1-3, HBCA), and in 1815 at Slave Lake (Lesser Slave Lake, in northern Alberta).
In 1821 he made Chief Trader and was found at Spokane House, where he was supposedly working at the same post where my great-great-grandfather, James Birnie, would only a year later keep the post journal.

From This Blessed Wilderness: Archibald McDonald's Letters from the Columbia, 1822-44, edited by Jean Murray Cole, we see his arrival at -- not Spokane House -- but Fort George (Astoria)!
"Archibald McDonald arrived at the mouth of the Columbia River with Chief Factor John Dugald Cameron, a former Nor'wester, and Chief Trader John Lee Lewes, a fellow HBC man, on 8 November 1821. Two other experienced former NWC officers, Chief Factor John Haldane and Chief Trader James McMillan, were also appointed to the district. Within days of their appearance McDonald and Lewes began the inventory of the headquarters establishment at Fort George (Astoria). By 6 April 1822 McDonald had completed his report to the council covering all four posts in the Columbia District -- Fort George (Astoria), Spokane House, Fort Walla Walla (Nez Perces), and Thompson River (Forts Okanagan and Kamloops)."

John Lee Lewes did in fact serve at Spokane House but was not yet there in April 1822, when Finan McDonald reported that "Five boats manned by forty men accompanied by two clerks vis Messrs [William] Kittson & [James] Birnie, left this for Fort George..."
All is not lost, however, for on Tuesday 16th of July, McDonald reported that: "Messrs Lews & Birnie arrived here at 8 o'clock am. and some time after Mr Kittsons with the people and goods from Fort George having left the boats at the Forks of this river."
On Friday 26th -- "We sent all the wild horses off to the plains for to feed except one Mr. Lews has kept for to ride upon if he can break him in for the purpose."
This probably refers to Lewes: "Tuesday 30th -- About 6 o'clock am. a party of Ear ring Indians arrived loaded with roots of which we traded 30 kegs. The men have not as yet been at work since their arrival but have received their axes for to ... in order as Mr. Lu.. intends enlarging the Fort & renuing the houses as it is absolutely required."
In August: "Friday 2nd -- Mr. Lews not thinking it proper to send a party to the Flat Heads for the purpose of trading until he ascertain the truth of which the courier said yesterday. and for that purpose he sent Rivet to the Ear Ring Indians in order to speak personally with the courier from the Flat Heads & if possible to bring him to the fort."
"Tuesday 6th -- ... Souteawa St. Germain has been for some time living in the Indian camp alongside of the Fort but only today he made his appearance in the Fort, he having contracted a debt of 76 skins since last year & in no way exerted himself for to pay the same. Mr. Lews gives him a few necessary to enable him to pay the old debts he is going off to the Flat Heads.."
"Wednesday 7th -- The Indian that left this with Messrs. McDo & Ka arrived here with a note for Mr. Lews requesting him to send the horses across the Ear ring portage by 13th inst."
"Wednesday 28th -- This morning as Mr. Lewes, & Mr. McDonald went down to see our barrier, there happened to be some of the Indians there spearing the salmon coming up the river. Mr. McD spoke to them but they being in a canoe put all his threats at defiance. He lost no time in springing into the water & broke the canoe. The Chief of the place was much displeased and went and brock [sic] down nine of the palisades of the garden. His brother being more attached to the whites went and drove him away from the garden. He then wished to come to the fort for to dispute with us. He was prevented by the Indians. We not knowing all their intentions got our cannon loaded but one of the [sic] informed us, it was only him who was displeased with what we had done. We killed 80 salmon in our barrier. There was a guard kept up all night in case some of the Indians were badly disposed. The weather fine all day." [Hence the Spokane House men finally discovered why they were catching so few salmon in their barriere!]
In September: "Tuesday 3rd -- Mr. McDonald and his family with Mr. Lewes & his, left this place accompanied by Mr. Kittson for the Kettle falls where they will meet the boat from the forks & there embark for the Rocky Mountain portage. Messrs. Lewes & Kittson to return with two men from the Kettle falls.... We kept up a guard all night as it was Mr. Lewes orders when he left this but there is little danger as the Indians are all well disposed."
"Saturday 7th -- The men at work as usual.... About 3 oclock pm. Messrs Lewes & Kittson arrived from the Kettle falls after they saw Mr. McDonald start from the above place."
"Tuesday 10th -- Traded a horse and a few pieces dried salmon. the Indians are leaving us fast and it is not to be regretted as they are poor and have nothing to trade. Mr. Lewes give the Chief a small present for to behave himself well for the future. The weather still warm."
"Thursday 12th -- The Indians about the place have reported that this Indians from the east side of the Rocky Mountains have come within two days march of the fort. Mr. Lewes not thinking it proper for to risk our horses where they were give orders for the remove them. The weather still the same."
"Thursday 19th -- We have been employed all day giving the freemen a little advances as they have determined to go and make a hunt towards the heads of the Chipoune river & return late in the fall to the post at the Flat Heads. We had from the barrier today 34 salmon. the bastion was removed to its proper place but not finished as Mr. Lewes is to make an addition to it."
October: "Wednesday 2nd -- The men at work at the palisades they have finished the back part of the fort...Mr. Lewes give Pierre de jules Fill a pound of ... 1 foot ... and a damaged ... Cap for his good behaviour. He is to take horses in charge this winter."
"Monday 7th -- At an early hour this morning Messrs Lewes & [James] McMillan left this place for the forks of this river for the purpose of meeting with the gentlemen that may come across the mountains this fall. All hands employed at the chimney of the log house they are to raise it with... so that there will be no danger for the fire for the future."
"Wednesday 9th -- this morning Payette left this. I have sent by him what Mr. Lewes had ordered by him and likewise a pack horse I traded yesterday."
"Thursday 10th -- About two o'clock pm. Mr. Lewes and servant arrived form the forks but brought us no news of the express that we look for days."
"Wednesday 16th -- this morning we were agreeably surprised by the arrival of the men from the forks with letters from the Gentlemen that have come across the mountains. The gentlemen that arrived at the forks (fork of Spokane River with the Columbia, I expect) are as follows: Mr. Kennedy, Chief Factor; Messr. McLeod & Dease, chief Traders; Messrs. McDonald, Ross & Annance, clerks returned from the mountains. After an early breakfast Messrs Lewes & McMillan left this to go and joint [sic] those Gentlemen at the forks of this river."
"Friday 18th -- This morning Alexander Kennedy .... came to take charge of this place, he was accompanied by Mr. Lewes & Mr. Kittson. The former gentlemen after he delivers over the charge to A.K. is to go down with the express to Fort George."
"Monday 21st -- Mr. Lewes left this for Fort George, he has taken two of our men with him as we can spare them."
"Thursday 24th -- the men have been at work of yesterday. About noon two men arrived with the returned horses that Mr. Lewes had taken to the forks. They brought the remaining property hither that was left at the forks."
This has all come from Fort Spokane District Journal, 1822-1823, B.208/a/1, Reel 1M144, HBCA. The journal entries end the next spring as the brigades leave for Fort George with the furs -- John Lee Lewes does not return before that time to Spokane House.

Have you noticed how the Spokane House men spelled Lewes name in the early postings, and how the spelling changed?
I don't know how modern day descendants pronounce their name, but I suspect that John Lee pronounced his name "Lews."

In 1823, John Lee Lewes returned to the east side of the mountains and served at Moose Lake, near Cumberland House -- and at Cumberland House itself (Saskatchewan, B.49/a/28-43, HBCA).
In 1826-1827 he took a leave of absence and return to Europe; he came back to the country as a Chief Trader in charge of Moose Factory (Ontario, on James Bay, B.135/a/130-144, HBCA).
In 1829 he returned to Cumberland House on the Saskatchewan where he was Chief Factor; in 1831, Archibald McDonald wrote the following in a letter to Edward Ermatinger:
"I understand our friend [Duncan] Finlayson is in nomination for a Factorship. This looks well. [John Lee] Lewes has gained a feather also, but I believe he will be the only one of the original 12." (From: This Blessed Wilderness, ed. by Jean Murray Cole).

Lewes is again granted furlough, to Europe, in 1835-36.
Immediately on his return he was made Chief Factor in charge of the Ungava District at Fort Chimo (N.Quebec, B.38/a/1-11, HBCA), where he would have been more interested in the valuable seal and "porpoise" (beluga whale) harvesting than in the fur trade itself.
Surprisingly, this was an important aspect of the fur trade, and as two of my Anderson-Seton family worked there I will have to speak of it eventually.

This position did not last long and in 1837 he was back in charge of Cumberland House (B.49/a/43-54)
By 1844 he was posted northward to Fort Simpson on the Mackenzie River (NWT, B.200/a/10-30, HBCA) where he accidentally shot off his hand.
This was relatively easy to do with the flintlock guns the fur traders used and he was not the only man to injure himself through a moment's carelessness (David Thompson's clerk, James McMillan, shot off two of his own fingers by accident in 1810 or so; this is the same James McMillan who worked with Lewes at Spokane House).
For more information on these guns, see my blog posting on Flintlock Guns, dated Sunday February 7, 2010: "Flintlock Guns and Percussion Guns."

Bruce Watson ("Lives Lived") says that after his accident he took a furlough to England, travelling with his son, John Jr.
Apparently Lewes was already considering retirement to Canada, because Archibald McDonald wrote: "Lewes is looking to the St. Lawrence, tho' he still speaks of Australia!" (Cole, "This Blessed Wilderness.")
In 1845 Lewes was made Chief Factor in charge of New Caledonia, where he was supposed to replace Peter Skene Ogden at Stuart's Lake.
According to Bruce Watson ("Lives Lived") Lewes was supposed to relieve Donald Manson, but "ill health forced him so far to remain at Colville [sic] (Source: Rev. Morice's history of New Caledonia published under various names).

Here is what I wrote about that, in my book: The Pathfinder: A.C. Anderson's Journeys in the West:
"In late August [1845], Peter Skene Ogden and Donald Manson arrived at the fort, riding at the head of the incoming New Caledonia brigade. Manson, who had been in charge of Fort McLoughlin when Anderson served there, had come north from Fort Vancouver with the brigade to take charge of New Caledonia. Peter Skene Ogden has planned to leave New Caledonia with the outgoing express in the fall, and he would not return.
"For the most part, the gentlemen who worked the New Caledonia fur trade remained in the territory for a number of years, but change occasionally occurred. Peter Skene Ogden hoped to leave New Caledonia in 1844, but abandoned his plans when John Lee Lewes, who was to replace him, lost his hand in a shooting accident...."
So, am I right? I think so.

The HBC records don't exactly record where Lewes was, but he was at Fort Colvile in 1848 when Alexander Caulfield Anderson arrived there in the fall of that year, and he had apparently been there for a couple of years; there are no HBCA records.
He was at the post in December 1847 when many of the missionaries flocked to Fort Colvile after the massacre at Waiilatpu mission.

From: Incoming Correspondence to George Simpson, D.5/22, HBCA, John Lee Lewes letter from Fort Colvile, written 17th April 1848, indicates he had been granted two years' leave of absence by George Simpson, and said: "the board of management [in Fort Vancouver] has so arranged that I am to cross the Mountains next Autumn, my charge agreeably to your appointment will be delivered over to Mr. C. T. Anderson, who is to conduct the Colvile Outfit to this place from Fort Langley during summer."
Another HBCA letter confirms he left in the fall -- written from Fort Vancouver on March 16th 1848 to Governor Simpson (B.223/b/37, Reel 1M232):
"Mr. Chief Factor Lewes does not consider himself capable of undertaking the journey across the mountains this spring, and will therefore remain at Colvile until the month of October next, when he intends to proceed to Jasper's House with the Fall Party. This arrangement is favorable to our plans as it will leave Mr. Chief Trader Anderson disposable for the summer trip to Fort Langley with the brigade."

In his "History of the North West Coast," Anderson described Lewes this way:
"Entered the service of the HBC some years before the Coalition and was stationed at various points in the Northern part of Hudson's Bay. Afterwards in the interior at the posts on English River and Athabasca. While in charge of the District McKenzies River he was accidentally mutilated by the discharge of a gun and lost his sight in consequence. subsequently he was appointed to the Columbia Department, and remained for some years in charge of the Colvile district in which appointment Mr. Anderson succeeded him in 1848. Mr. Lewes after retiring form the service proceeded to Australia with his family with the intention of settling there, but he finally decided on returning to Manitoba and Red River where when Mr. Anderson last heard from him he was still living. Mr. Lewes was a man of fine personal appearance with many good qualities, and among all the officers of the service was conspicuous for his dashing style of dress."

Remember though that even though my great grandfather said the above about this man, it might not be entirely true -- I don't know that Lewes actually went to Australia and returned, and I doubt he did.
Also notice that Anderson said he has lost his eyesight as the result of the gun-accident -- it might be that Lewes was losing his sight in 1848. This statement confused me many times over, and every other historian records that Lewes lost his hand as the result of the accident, and so, that must have happened. This was one of the many tiny facts I had in the book that I had to check and doublecheck -- do you now see how so-called "errors" happen?

Following is what James Robert Anderson, A.C.'s son, had to say about Lewes in his Memoirs, "Notes and Comments on early days and events in British Columbia..." in BC Archives.
"In 1848 after the return of my father to Kamloops (after taking out the brigade to Fort Langley) we left that place and proceeded to Fort Colvile where as mentioned before, Mr. Lewis [sic] 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. The accompanying copy of the letter, although marked "private" from Mr. Lewis to my Father, is of interest. With certain eliminations concerning the descendants of some people still living, it is as follows:

"July 17, 1850, Cumberland House..... My dear sir; Your highly esteemed and interesting favour under date the 9th of last April came safe to hand. Accept my thanks for the same and the great fund of information which it contained. I am glad to learn that your Colvile affairs have turned out so much to your satisfaction. I wish it may continue so with you but such is hardly to be expected now-a-days. Men's minds seem to be all in a ferment on your side of the mountains, when and how this grand illusion will end, time alone can develop, and as it may it will not do so to the interest of the Fur Trade, its funeral knell has long been tolling in the west and ere many years have passed by, the Fur Trade will only be a thing that was and is no more. What a change during the last three years has come over the Columbia. I had Mr. [Eden] Colvile's company over three days in the spring; he gave me during that time a budget of Columbia, etc. news. You may be sure indeed the sayings and doings of the far west was the principal theme of our conversation; nothwithstanding the heterogeneous manner of our Columbia business in the present day. It is pleasing to see the result of the closing years outfit, such splendid doings in the gold way I certainly never anticipated. to look at the overplus above the Columbia expenditure we might expect to see in due time some amendments to our dividends. Alas for that of 1849, I for one do not look forward to much or if any amelioration on latter years. The returns of all the Northern Departments east of the mountains for last year are most miserable, the worst I really think since 1821 and this falling off will I fancy more than counterbalance the Columbia increase. The present outfit or that for 1850 there is no doubt will be still in a more deplorable state. The loss of the York F hired ship "Graham" last fall has so startled the big wigs in Fenchurch Street that they will this season pour into the country via three ships to York Factory, canoes from Montreal and by oxen and carts from St. Peters, goods to the amount of 16000 pounds sterling; if this is not making the pot boil over with a vengeance I know not what is. the goods coming by the ships are all very well but those from Montreal and St. Peters we could very well have dispensed with. They were not asked for by us neither are they wanted. with what we have on hand until the ships come, all the posts would have got on very well without this enormous and ruinous expense. I have recently returned from Norway House and after tomorrow I am again off for York Factory to meet the ships and get the residue of my current outfit. The council business of the present season went off very smoothly. some changes have taken place in the general appointments -- Chief Trader [James] Anderson from the South (your brother I believe [yes]) to Athabasca to replace [Edward] Ermatinger who goes to Canada and in the Devil's own humour too XXX I have not seen Frank [Ermatinger] since I crossed the mountains.... Nicol Finlayson replacing old Roderick who came out bag and baggage sickly and as weak and helpless as an infant XXX He retires to Basdic [sic] le Riviere, there I fancy to end his days which to all appearances seem to be drawing to a rapid close. chief Trader Reay [sic] off on another two years government searching expedition. Bell at the head of Mackenzie River affairs during Reay's absence. Dr. Todd back to Swan River, Chief Factor Ballenden home via Canada on the sick list. Black takes his place at Red River, where Gov. Colvile is also to winter. Wm. McTavish up from the Sault goes to York Factory for the present and although I never have heard so, preparatory, in my opinion, to jump into Hargreaves' place as head man at York Factory -- Dehambault off to Canada on furlough. Others not herein mentioned remain the same as last year. Columbia appointments I shall not touch upon; all these you will see by minutes of council.

"Not a word transpired this season about the Yankees buying us out with their million of dollars. They never I think had any serious idea of doing so -- all humbug on their part. Jonathan looks well to his dollars before parting with them. 1863 will soon come round when he expects to get all for nothing.
[This para refers to the Americans purchasing HBC property in Oregon Territory].

"I am very glad to hear that Frederick after the sad and melancholy fate of young Charles, so conducted himself as to meet with your approval. Pity it was that that stupid fellow, Young, had not got the shot in his own head. The jackass has destroyed a fine young man worth a shipload of unfeeling and careless Yankees. Frederick, I understand, has got a good situation, a money-making one at least and I sincerely hope he will have good sense enough to profit by it.
[This paragraph refers to a young American travelling with the express showing off his gun and accidentally shooting and killing a son of Mr. Charles, Chief Factor in charge of Red River; Frederick Lewes must have been there.]

"All the Columbia gentlemen seem to be on the move. It is time I should do so too, and do it I certainly shall before long. My arrangements are taken. Adolphus from the fountain head [?] is ordered out next spring. On his return in the fall he will conduct his mother and the three youngsters to Vancouver Island, have carte blanche for sending them there. I go to Canada myself for the purpose of removing my eldest daughter and as I strongly suspect her fatherless children from that country. With them and my son John I shall without delay bend my steps by ship from New York or Boston. This is a sudden resolve is it not? Canada since I received my spring letter has lost all charms for me. I will go to the Columbia. If that does not please me after a very short trial trip, for Van Dieman's Land via the Sandwich Islands. XXX Yours most truly, John Lee Lewis [sic]."

I am not sure that Adolphus delivered his mother and three siblings to Fort Victoria, nor do I think Lewes ever came to the Columbia district.
He also did not take his wife east with him, as he would not have thought she would fit in there.
This is why -- from Sylvia van Kirk's Many Tender Ties: Women in Fur Trade Society, 1670-1870:
"In many ways, mixed-blood girls brought up among their mothers' people became virtually indistinguishable from the Indians -- as their names Neskisho, Ke-che-cow-e-coot and Wash-e-soo E'squaw' testify. A detailed description of the mixed-blood wife of John Lee Lewes, a prominent nineteenth-century officer, reveals that she was much more influenced by her Plains Cree mother than her Orkney father John Ballenden, who had been a Hudson's Bay Company servant:
"She is the daughter of an Indian woman, and much more the squaw than the civilized woman herself, delights in nothing so much as roaming around with her children making the most cunning snares for Partridges, rabbits and so on... she is moreover very good-natured and has given me two pairs of worked moccasins.. she also gives me lessons in Cree."
By the way, Mrs. Lewes's father is the John Ballenden who met Anderson at Fort Colvile in the early 1850's, and who took Peter Skene Ogden's place at Fort Vancouver for a year or so.

Lewes spent some time with Anderson at Fort Colvile, and gifted Anderson his copy of Joseph Howse's Cree Dictionary -- today a book worth thousands of dollars!
I have seen that book, with Anderson's signature in it; it has been restored and is in the possession of a book collector who lives in Vancouver, I believe.

According to the HBCA biographical sheet, John Lee Lewes retired on the 1st June 1852.
He died twenty years later at "Lewes Villa," St. Andrews, Manitoba, and was buried two days later.

On their biographical sheet, the HBCA lists a few more resources that I have not accessed (or at least not looking at Lewes' records), and they are:
E.E. Rich, ed., Journal of Occurrences in the Athabasca Department by George Simpson, 1820 and 1821, London: HBRS, 1938, Vol. 1, Big. pp. 446-447 (I wonder if Big listed here is supposed to be Biography?)
M.A. MacLeod, ed., The Letters of Letitia Hargrave, Toronto: The Champlain Society.
You can find these volumes in any good library in Canada, and you can photocopy them too.

You can also read some of the journals that he kept, probably on microfilm at HBCA (or borrowed from them) -- these are:
Lesser Slave Lake (Alberta) Post Journals: 1817-1819, B.115/a/1-3, Reel 1M70; 1820-1821, B.115/a/4, on Reel 1M71. Both Volumes 2 and 4 contain correspondence which is often worth reading for additional information.
Fort Churchill (Manitoba) Post Journals: 1834, B.42/a/164- (to cover the few months he spent at Churchill that year), Microfilm reel 1M36.
Cumberland House (Saskatchewan) Post Journals: 1837-1840, B.49/a/43-54, Reel 1M41.
Fort Simpson (Northwest Territories): 1840-1841, B.200/a/10-30, Reel 1M140. (Doublecheck my reel numbers in case I erred on HBCA website).

From Bruce Watson's Lives Lived, I have Adolphus' fur trade records:
Birth: probably Spokane House, 1821. Born to John Lee Lewes and Jean Ballenden
Death: Fort Vancouver, September 1856
Passenger, Prince of Wales (ship), 1826; Passenger, Forager (ship), 1840; Apprentice clerk, Fort Vancouver, 1840-1841; Clerk and Surveyor, Fort Vancouver, 1842-1845; Clerk, Fort Vancouver, 1848-1849; Clerk, Willamette Falls (a few miles south of Fort Vancouver), 1849-1850; Clerk, Fort Vancouver Indian Trade, 1850-1853
As a young  boy, Adolphus was taken by his father in 1826 to England where he was educated. He subsequently joined the HBC as a surveyor and clerk on December 18, 1839, and sailed from London on January 1840. He spent his entire career working out of the Fort Vancouver (Vancouver, WA) area and, as a surveyor, drew up the plans for Fort Victoria. On his retirement in 1845 he was offered passage to California, where he said he wished to retire, or England, but instead chose to stay and farm at Cathlapootle (320 acres), some distance below Vancouver (Clark County). Faced with the prospect of having to become an American citizen, he asked for re-admission to the HBC and rejoined on March 1, 1848. In 1850 he was noted as living alone and he may not have had a family. That same year he was reluctant to leave the territory and go north and survey Vancouver Island and declared his intention to become a US citizen in Clackamas Co., Oregon Territory (probably in what is now Washington state). He retired once again in 1853 and died at Fort Vancouver in 1856.
The Lewis River, formerly the Cathlapootl and flowing into the Columbia below Vancouver, is named after Adolphus Lee Lewes and Frederick Lewes who settled in the area.

If anyone who reads this has more information re: John Lee Lewes, post it below. This is actually going to be read by a John Lee Lewes descendant from Australia, who cannot easily research his ancestor.
Isn't it interesting that Lewes, who talked many times of going to Australia, actually now has modern day descendants in the place?

I have a fair bit of information on John Ballenden, too; he had a rough time of it both at Red River and at Fort Vancouver, and all of this was left out of my book (well, it wasn't relevant). But I think I will write about John Ballenden's experience in the fur trade next week -- he butted heads with Fort Victoria's James Douglas and won the argument.
You don't mess with John Lee Lewes' father-in-law, John Ballenden!