You may not understand why I have put on that heading, but from Carlton House some of these men travelled a different route, to a different place.
The York Factory express itself always continued down the Saskatchewan River to Norway House and York Factory.
And that has given me pause, as you will see at the end of this post.
York Factory Express Journal, 1827, by Edward Ermatinger:
Tuesday, 5th [June] Rain most part of the day. Dr. Richardson having quitted Carlton on the 21st ultimo, in order that Mr. [Finan] McDonald may get surgical aid as soon as possible, a boat manned by 5 men is dispatched with him to Cumberland [House] accompanied by Mr. McDougal, this afternoon. The other boats afterwards receive an addition to their cargoes from the returns of this place and 8 of them depart in the evening.
Wednesday, 6th. Fine weather, very warm. The other 5 boats start at 2am. See some Crees and freeman from whom we gather a few skins. Stop to supper a little below the South Branch. We hoisted sail once to day, but this rather caused delay than advance the wind dying away almost immediately. Run down part of Cole's Rapids by moonlight, it being 9 o'clock when we stopt to supper. Lash the boats together and drive; current very strong.
Thursday, 7th. Fine warm weather. We are alarmed in the night by 2 of our boats having run afoul of a large stone, but no other damage was received than the breaking of one rib in her upper works. See more Indians this morning from whom we get some skins. Overtake all the Boats afternoon. Stop to cook below Thorburn's Rapid. (Thorburn, a fur trader, had a house near here in David Thompson's time -- 1805 or so). Drift all night.
Friday, 8th. Fine warm weather. Wind N.W., strong ahead. Commence rowing at sunrise arrive at Cumberland [House] about 7pm with 9 boats, 4 others having taken a wrong channel do not come up with us. Mr. McDonald arrived this morning.
Saturday, 9th. Fine weather. Remain here all day reloading and waiting the other boats.
Sunday, 10th. Overcast, wind strong ahead. Leave Cumberland at 5 am. Continue pulling all day. Encamp at 8 pm.
Monday, 11th. Rain all last night. Ceases about 7 am. Start at5 o'clock. Breakfast at the Pas (an outpost in the Cumberland district). Find several freemen here. Receive (indecipherable) from them. Continue till 1/2 past 8 pm. and encamp at Muddy Lake. Find our other boats here. Leave one.
Tuesday, 12th. Hoist sail with a fair wind at 3 am., breeze freshens, reach the lower end of Cedar Lake by 1 o'clock by 1 o'clock, breakfast. Resume at 1/2 past 2. Proceed thro' narrows and across Cross Lake, then down the River to the Grand Rapids. Boats run down full cargoes. One breaks upon the rocks. Cargo wet. Find J. Spencer (an HBC chief trader), Esq., encamped at the lower end, with 2 boats. He has been detained here 9 days -- the ice in Lake Winnipeg not permitting him to proceed. Encamp. Set a net.
Wednesday, 13th. Fine weather. Wind Easterly. Mr. Spencer sets off with his two boats early this morning. People employed here unpacking and drying furs -- procure 25 sturgeon, part traded from Indians and part killed by our men.
Thursday, 14th. The weather became very boisterous during last night. We had thunder and lightening with very heavy rain which continues all this morning, latterly it turned to snow. Wind N.W. blowing very hard. Obtain from Indians 15 Sturgeon and 2 of our Iroquois killed 5. In the evening the wind have moderated, we push off at 9 pm. and row in the Lake (Lake Winnipeg) all night. Pass several times thro' loose floating ice.
Friday, 15th. Fine weather. Wind E.S.E., hoist sail -- put ashore 1 hour to breakfast. Pass the ... Islands. About 3 pm. begins to blow very hard. Obliged to make shore. Land with 4 boats a short distance on this side the steep banks, flat gravelly beach. Experience some difficulty in landing our cargoes dry, very few packs get wet. The other Boats keep out and hold their course to Mossy Point -- soon lose sight of them.
Saturday, 16th. Fine weather. Being calm this morning, begin to load our Boats before 3 o'clock am and start at 4. Fair wind springs up, hoist sail. At the steep banks find Mr. Spencer who had driven ashore yesterday in the gale. One of his boats was dashed so violently against the shore that it is broken useless -- abandon it. Load the other and put the cargo of the other amongst our Boats and proceed. Arrive at Norway House, old establishment, at noon. All the other Boats here safe. Breakfast. Resume at 1/2 past 2 pm with 3 boats, leaving the remainder here to dry some which have got wet. Reach the New Establishment at the foot of Jack River at 10 pm.
Sunday, 17th. Fine weather. Governor Simpson arrives at 5 am. The rest of the Saskatchewan Boats arrive shortly after.
Edward Ermatinger's outgoing York Factory Express Journal for 1827 ends here; we will pick his journal up at York Factory and follow him home again.
Express Journal, Spring 1828, by Edward Ermatinger:
29th, [May] Leave Carlton (all the boats having received additional lading) at 4 am. Encamp above the Rapids. Commences raining.
30th. Rain all last night. Start at daylight. Our Boat broken against a rock, delay more than 2 hours repairing her. Evening, thunder and lightening with rain. See Indians: made several pactons Rats [muskrat]. Put ashore to supper. Afterwards drift all night.
31st. Fine weather. Sail most part of the day. Arrive at Cumberland at 10 pm. Lake too shoal, unable to enter.
June. 2nd. Fine weather. The Lake being too low, we retraced our way up the little River until we regain the grand river [Saskatchewan]. Left Cumberland at 8 am. having left a few bags of pemican &c., and a new boat for Mr. Leith. Only put ashore to sup and afterwards set off to drift for the night.
3rd. Fine weather. Arrive at the Pas between 8 and 9 am. Find freemen from whom we get eggs and a little fish. Encamp a little above Lac Vaseur.
Wednesday, 4th. Fine weather. Start as usual. In making the grand traverse we used the sail a little, but the greater part of the way we had to pull against a strong contrary wind. Encamp at the Point.
5th. A strong head wind impedes our progress all this day and we only reach the Grand Rapids late afternoon. Water being very low find it necessary to take out half cargoes. People begin to carry. Rain.
6th. Rain all last night and continues till afternoon. Men run down 7 Boats and return with them light for the remaining cargoes, then run down the other eight boats and afterwards employed carrying the remainder of the cargoes across the Portage.
7th. Fine weather but cold. The 7 Boats being found to be few to embark the half cargoes of 15 boats from this end of the Portage to the end of the Rapid, people fetch up another and afterwards the rest of the pieces are all got down safe. Sturgeon plentiful among the freemen here, trade nearly 100.
8th. Fine weather. Leave the Grand Rapid early this morning and pull, the weather being perfectly calm, to the point opposite the Pine Island. Breakfast, then hoist sail across to the Islands, thence to the little Stoney Island and encamp.
9th. Remain wind bound till afternoon and then pull to and along the mainland till 9 pm. Encamp on a gravelly beach.
10th. Reload our Boats (we were obliged to unload last night there being an appearance of wind from sea) and start at 5 am., pull for sometime and then hoist sail with a light breeze which forwards us to the head of the little Jack River, where we encamp.
11th. Start before 3 am. and reach the Fort (New Norway House) about 6 o'clock. Find here J. G. Mctavish, Esq., from YF and Mr. Rae from Montreal.
Diary of a Journey from Fort Vancouver in 1835, by James Douglas:
Sun. 10th [May]. Remained at Carlton.
[As you see, he will not continue down the Saskatchewan River to Norway House, but rides across the prairies to Red River].
Mon. 11th. Left Carlton at 8 o'clock this morning with 6 men, 3 Indians and 7 officers, forming in all a party of 16, with 2 boys on their way to Red River school. Our course from Carlton was about east by North during the whole of this day's journey. The country is of a diversified character being in some places open & level, in others covered with aspen trees and the whole is intersected by numerous small Lakes; 18 miles from the Fort we crossed the South branch of the Sascatchewean commonly called Bow River. It takes its rise in the Rocky Mountains, runs parallel with the Main river. We encamped 10 miles beyond bow river in sight of Montana Hill.
Tues. 12. Our march today was continued at the same rate as yesterdays. Encamped on the banks of a small brackish lake; 28 miles. Dry weather. Alternate plain, wood & lake.
Wednesday, May 13. Raining all day. Encamped at a small Lake -- Coteaux, in part covered with wood, and in others clear.
Thurs. 14. Encamped at a small pond of water in the midst of an extensive prairie. Country same as yesterday. Crossed numerous buffalo paths.
Friday, 15. Passed a large lake of brackish water. Encamped at a small river. Low, level country.
Suny. 17. Rained heavily during the latter part of the day. Encamped on a bare hill overlooking a small lake. In the morning extensive prairies; the afternoon continued woods -- swamps and ponds of water.
Mony. 18. Arrived at Fort Pelly in the afternoon. Our route lay through a most delightful country during the greater portion of the day. Leaving Carlton the country is level; generally open, and here & there covered with poplar and willow copses and small Lakes of brackish water; and this description may apply almost to the whole of the country through which we have already passed.
Thursy. 21. Left Fort Pelly after a stay of two days to refresh the horses. Encamped at 2nd muddy creek.
Friy. 22. Encamped 4 hours march from Shell River. Our progress is very slow owing to the reduced state of the horses. Raining both today and yesterday. Country partially wooded with poplar mixed with a few oak & maple trees.
Saty. 23. Raining. Reached Shell River at 10 o'clock. From the swollen state of the river obliged to construct a raft by means of which we crossed over. Encamped 12 miles beyond. Beautiful country today; hills gracefully sloping into extensive valleys, groves of wood and streams of water with a thousand other indescribable beauties all tending to embellish the scene.
Sun. 24. Fine weather. Passed 20 miles inward of Beaver Creek where there is a trading post. Passed the Eagle Foil River in the afternoon. Encamped at a small Lake. Fine country.
Monday 25th. May. Fine weather and very warm. Passed the N.E. end of Shoal Lake at 3 o'clock pm. Encamped at a small lake. Open country -- tufts of willows -- undulating.
Tuesy. 26. A little rain. Country as yesterday. At 10 o'clock crossed the Sascatchewanees or Rapid River. Encamped at a small river.
Wedy. 27. Raining. Encamped at the White Mud River -- Hill & Valley.
Thursy. 28. Passed the White Mud River twice before breakfast. The banks of this river covered with oak, maple, ash & poplar. Our afternoon's journey through an open country, and so perfectly level that on the border of the horizon the sky and the verdant plain seemed to blend and united with one. Encamped at river Champignon.
Fri. 29. Open level country. Encamped at Wn. Beliour (?).
Sat. 30. Encamped at Fort Garry.
Wedy 10th June. Today at 4 o'clock in the afternoon left the Stone Fort [Fort Garry, Red River] after a stay of 10 days in the [Red River] colony. There appears to be a natural division of this settlement into five districts, namely -- following the order we observe in ascending the rivers -- The Lower District, composed of Native Indians, the second of Orkney men; the third Scotchmen, the fourth above the Forks Canadians; and the fifth at the White Horse Plain half breeds.
Wedy. 17. June Reached Norway House in the afternoon.
A Voyage from Fort Vancouver, Columbia, to York Factory, Hudson's Bay, 1841, by George Traill Allan:
Wednesday 26th [May]. Having disposed of all our superfluous baggage and provisions Dr. Toolmie and myself, an Indian Guide and three men, including a young Halfbreed, son of Chief Factor Pruden, mounted our Horses and commenced our journey over the plains to Red River. Our route for the first three days lay through a very pretty country -- a mixture of plains, woods and lakes, the latter abounding with wild fowl, a number of which we killed, and the plain with Antelopes; but our time pressed too much to admit of our hunting them.
Saturday 29th. Very sultry weather and no water to be had except from stagnant pools and to increase our comforts the guide lost his way and kept us wandering backwards and forwards for upwards of three hours; at last he fell upon the track; during the day we perceived three Buffalo, but at a great distance -- and the Guide going a little a-head saw two Moose Deer at which he snapped his gun three times; lucky for him they were not Blackfeet! The rest of the party coming up fired two shots without effect.
Sunday 30th. To day we came in sight of a very extensive Salt Lake the borders of which are much frequented by Buffalo at certain seasons; at present we only saw three Bulls and our time was too precious to go in pursuit of them. Our horses were also very much jaded as we had ridden very hard all day in order to get to the end of the Lake, no fresh water being found along its borders, we were so fortunate as to achieve our object and enjoyed with great relish a glass of good cold water than which when a man is really thirsty nothing can be more acceptable.
Monday 31st. This morning we commenced our journey as usual very early and had travelled about twenty miles when our guide once more got bewildered to my great chagrin, as the despatches I carried for Governor Simpson were already late; having arrived upon the summit of a hill, the poor Indian, worn out with vexation and fatigue, asked my permission to smoke a pipe and recollect himself; which being granted, and the pipe finished, he again led the way, but in a totally different direction to that which he, for the last few hours, pursued. We of course followed though doubting whether he was right or wrong. Towards evening we encamped with our horses much fatigued and uncertain with regard to the route; while at supper I dispatched the guide to make a tour of discovery; he had not proceeded far when he fell upon a Lake which put him again to rights and he rejoined us with a smiling countenance.
Thursday 1st June. At half past 3 am. we raised camp, the guide & I being a-head, and upon ascending a rising ground we discovered a herd of about fifty Buffalo Cows with their Calves; calling a halt I immediately dispatched the Halfbreed & Guide to endeavour to intercept them, while the rest of us remained concealed with our guns ready for action, as it was most probable they would pass our way, but most unfortunately as they approached them the wind suddenly changed and the Buffalo scampered away at a great rate leaving us to digest our perhaps over sanguine anticipation of Beef stakes and Roast Ribs as we best might. This evening we reached Fort Pelly a post in charge of Mr. Chief Trader Todd who had left a few days before for Red River. I found, however, his representative Peter Sinclair, an old Halfbreed, in charge of the Fort, who waited to receive us at the gate with his pipe in his cheek, arms folded, and hat upon one side of his head, evidently impressed, and no doubt wishing to impress us, with a high idea of his importance. I did not however at the moment feel in a humour to be awe-struck with our friend Peter's dignified demeanor (being vexed at the state of our horses) and therefore desired him sans ceremoni to provide us the means without loss of time to prosecute our journey. I here found a note addressed to me by Chief Factor Rowan [John Rowand?] who had passed only four days before, informing me that he had left two fresh horses for our use and hoping we might overtake him before he reached Red River, where the Columbia Despatches, of which I was the bearer, at all times looked for with anxiety, were doubly so this year as Governor Simpson was about to visit that quarter of the Hon. Companys territories. We certainly stood in great need of fresh horses for those we had been travelling with were wretched in the extreme; in fact, could we have only mounted Mr. Peter Sinclair as Don Quixotte and procured an equally good representative of his man Sanche nothing else would have been wanting upon our arrival at Red River where windmills abound to have completed a most perfect likeness of that celebrated hero as any one of our steeds might have very well passed for a Roseanante (?). I had myself ridden for half a day an old Buffalo runner out of one shoulder, who was so extremely well bred that when he felt inclined to lay down (which occurred rather too frequently) he would endeavour to get to one side the road and lay down gently upon the grass, his sense of politeness however carried him no farther for did you not immediately dismount he would roll over you without more ado.
Wednesday 2nd. Bidding adieu to Mr. Peter Sinclair and his importance we soon fell upon a narrow muddy River in endeavouring to cross which some of our horses nearly stuck fast & what would have been a still greater misfortune the Cassette containing the papers narrowly escaped getting wet.
Thursday 3d. Starting this morning as early as usual we arrived upon a River -- both deep and rapid which gave us some trouble to cross, we soon however fell upon the plan of rafting the Provisions &c by means of the bed-oil cloths, which we converted into a Raft, drove in the Horses and swam after them.
4th, 5th, & 6th. Our route during those three days lay through a low swampy country studded with woods and small lakes.
Monday 7th. We arrived this morning upon another very rapid river -- over which we swum the Horses and crossed ourselves & luggage in a sort of wooden canoe lined with two of the oil-cloths. We had no sooner landed and had just begun upon the opposite bank when one of us happening to look ahead discovered upon a rising ground descending towards us a band of eight Indians, tall, fierce looking fellows who we soon perceived to be armed from the glancing of the guns in the sun as they descended the hill. As our guns were all scattered about we immediately each secured his own & remained waiting the approach of the Indians who we imagined might be Assiniboines, but fortunately they turned out to be Santeux, or it is not unlikely the recourse to our guns had not been in vain. I was not, I need not say, displeased to find they were Santeux as I felt very anxious respecting the fate of the despatches, besides we did not feel particularly anxious to fight they being more numerous than our part -- and, as Buttler has it, "He that fights and runs away, lives to fight another day."
So much for the Santeux and our encounter with them -- who having received their pittance of Tobacco "took their road and so did we." Towards evening we fell in with a Hut of Indians and procured a large supply of Eggs viz: Goose, Duck and Water Hen or Coot, which enabled us to make a comfortable supper.
Wednesday 9th. This morning having got underway very early we pushed the Horses to a trot, determined if possible to reach the settlement next day; we had now trotted on to about 9 o'clock am. where we began to think of breakfasting at a small River now at no great distance when we suddenly perceived a band of Horses and Cattle, and upon a nearer approach discovered people and a great number of Carts and other paraphernalia evidently the accompaniment of a party about to start upon a very long journey -- who we immediately supposed to be some of the Red River settlers bound upon a pilgrimage to that land of promise -- the Columbia -- and upon our coming up our conjectures proved to be correct. Having rec'd the news of Red River -- we in our turn dealt out those of the Columbia to willing ears. The Doctor and myself were upon the point of setting down to breakfast when an invitation arrived from one of the principal settlers for us to partake with him of that meal and certainly nothing could have happened more appropos as though our waiting-man had possessed in perfection all the attributes of the never to be forgotten Caleb Balderstone he could not have garnished our table with more than Pemican of which we had now become thoroughly tired. On proceeding to the Tent of Mr. Alex McKay, for to him we stood indebted for the invitation to dejeuner we found that his wife, a nice tidy little woman, had laid out the table in great style consisting of Bread and Butter, Buffalo Tongues and Roast Veal flanked by a fine Pork Ham of stately dimensions. I need scarcely remark that we did ample justice to Mr. McKay's hospitable board, which seemed like a table spread in the wilderness for us. Breakfast being dispatched we bade adieu to our kind entertainers wishing them a pleasant trip to the Columbia, and continued our route over beautiful and extensive plains.
Thursday 10th. I have hitherto refrained from stating the annoyance which we daily received from those mischievous dabblers in human blood the Moschetto & the Bull Dog or Gad-Fly, as it is a plague to which travellers in this country are always more or less subject; to day however we felt rather indebted to than annoyed by that respectable insect the Gad-Fly, as when our Horses began to flag he invariably attacked them and spurred them on or I question much whether or not we would have reached the Fort in the time we had anticipated. Soon after breakfast we reached the first house in the Settlement belonging to Mr. Belcour, a Catholic priest, who received us with great kindness to whom I stated the miserably fatigued state of our horses and as we were still about thirty miles from the Fort solicited his assistance in providing us fresh ones and we did not solicit in vain -- his reverence very soon procured us what we required and it was high time as upon coming out of the house we found our own poor Horse lying down saddles and all, just as we had dismounted. We again resumed our journey with many thanks to the Revd Mr. Bellcour and in about an hour and a half reached the hospitable manshion [sic] of Mr. Cuthbert Grant, who would not let us depart without dinner -- at which we had an opportunity of proving the quality of the Red River beef in the shape of an excellent steak. Having dined we proposed starting for the Fort when Mr. Grant kindly tendered me the load of his Gig by way of change and his fine American horse to drive to the Fort; of course this was too agreeable a proffer to be rejected -- we having by this time (our sixteenth day upon horseback) had quantum sufficit of that sort of exercise; and having, as we though, during the time proved our equestrianism beyond a doubt, had no wish whatever to show off before the good lieges of Red River. The Doctor and I had no sooner taken our places in the Gig and I had taken possession of the reins & whip, and which I am sure no John in the Strand could have done more knowingly, we set out and having got safely round the angle of a fence (against which by the bye, in spite of my dexterity in managing the reins, we had nearly run foul) we found ourselves in the high road to Fort Garry. Mr. Grant's American is of first rate metal, a single shake of the reins being sufficient to put him to a hard trot, at which rate we continued until we reached our destination. During the drive we passed through beautiful green plains, alive with herds of Cattle, Horses, and Sheep, and, upon each side of the road, neat whitewashed cottages, with gardens and fences, laid out with great taste. Upon our arrival at Fort Garry we were kindly received by Chief Factor [Duncan] Finlayson (the same gentleman whom I accompanied formerly to the Columbia) and the rest of the gentlemen. By Mr. Finlayson we were introduced to Sir George Simpson, Governor in Chief, who had arrived from England on that morning & Sir George introduced us to Lords Mullgrave and Caledon and a Russian gentleman who had accompanied his Excellency to Red River -- their Lordships in order to enjoy a Buffalo Hunt and the Russian to accompany Sir George to the Columbia, and from thence toi Russia. Having delivered the despatches to the Governor we retired to have a view of the Fort which we found to be extremely neat in all its arrangements -- the House and Stores laid out with great regularity, the whole surrounded by a well built Stone wall ten or twelve feet in height & a Bastion of stone at each angle; in fact from whatever side the approach is made the effect is striking and leads one to believe that there will be comfort within the walls -- which a days trial at Mr. Finlayson's table will not fail to realize even to a more fastidious appetite than mine. On Sunday I accompanied the other gentlemen to church where we had a good sermon from the Revd. Mr. Cockrane whose congregation looked very respectable.
June 24th. In company with Mr. Chief Trader Gladman & Dr. Tolmie I started in a bark canoe for York Factory, a voyage of ten days during which, when not wind bound in Lake Winnipeg, we travelled at the rate of seventeen hours per day -- and on one occasion we started at 1/2 past 7 pm. the following evening. I mention this to give some idea of light Canoe travelling which of all kinds, is by far the most severe upon the men. On the 30th we reached Norway House, the place where I had passed my first winter in the Indian Country; and here I found Mrs. Ross, who looks upon me as one of the family. On the same evening Mr. Ross arrived from Red River accompanied by the Rev. Mr. Evans and his daughter. I soon discovered that an absence of ten years had made great changes at my old quarters: -- instead of living all the year round upon white fish, as in days of old, Mr. Ross produced a dinner, a better than which I have seldome seen beyond the Rocky Mountains.
The Revd. Mr. Evans, who is chief superintendant of the Methodist Mission, resides with his family at Norway House, and has established a School there for the purpose of educating the Indians; but it has not yet been long enough established to enable one to predict respecting its success.
Journal of a trip from Vancouver to York Factory, Spring 1847, by Thomas Lowe:
Wednesday 2nd [June] Started from Carlton this morning at daylight and were enabled to make a long days march as the river has risen from the recent rains.
Thursday 3rd. Came to Cole's Rapids before breakfast, but having broken two boats, put ashore to breakfast, and get them repaired. In course of the day 5 more boats were broken, one of them having gone to pieces, the crew saving themselves by springing into a boat which was passing. Most of the cargo was picked up and distributed amongst the Brigade, although the packs were very much injured with wet. Encamped half way down the Rapids.
Friday 4th June. Ran several of the Rapids before breakfast, but two more boats having been broken the remainder were run down to the bottom of the Rapids by the experienced steersmen only, who had thus to make two trips and it was 2 o'clock in the afternoon before we were able to start from the termination of Cole's Rapids, in which 8 more boats were broken more or less severely, and 1 entirely lost. A short distance below these rapids, the Southern Branch falls into the Saskatchewan, and as there happened to be a good flush of water in it, we made a good distance before camping. Raining at intervals during the day.
Saturday 5th. Raining hard. Made a long day's march.
Sunday 6th. Rainy, and a thunder storm in the afternoon. Pulled all day and drifted at night.
Monday 7th. Fine warm weather. Arrived at Cumberland this morning at 8 o'clock. Here two boats & the bateau were left, their ladings to be taken to Norway House by the Athabasca brigade. Mr. Hector E. McKenzie, who is in charge, takes a boat down with his returns, and accompanies the Saskatchewan Brigade to York Factory. Started from Cumberland at 4pm. and pulled until sunset.
Tuesday 8th. Very warm. Had a fine breeze all day, and reached the Pas in the evening, where we remained all night. A sufficient number of Indians were engaged at this place to make up the boats crews to 3 men each, a few had 4, besides the steersman. Almost 10 pieces of Pemican were likewise taken out of each boats.
Wednesday 9th June. Started from the Pas early this morning, and after a hard day's pulling got as far as the commencement of the Muddy Lake. Very warm, and a few peals of thunder.
Thursday 10th. Beautiful warm day. Got into Cedar Lake by breakfast time, and sailed all forenoon, but the wind then headed us, and had to pull the remainder of the day. Encamped on an Island near the end of the Lake.
Friday 11th. Fine weather. Pull through the remainder of Cedar Lake, and breakfasted at the other end of Cross Lake. In the forenoon 3 boats were broken in the Red Stone Rapid, and as a good deal of time was lost in repairing them, we only got as far as the head of the Grand Rapid. Laplante's Boat struck on the rocks, and blocked up the channel, when the Columbia boat, which was close behind, ran foul of it, and cut it down to the keel. The crew immediately jumped into the Columbia boat and left it in the middle of the Rapid. Before a boat could be unloaded and sent to haul it off, the cargo was completely soaked. Another one was likewise slightly broken, and we were obliged to encamp at the lower end of the Portage, having only come about a mile since starting this morning. Last night's rain rose the water a good deal.
Saturday 13th June. Fine weather. Ran the remainder of the Grand Rapid today, the boats having taken out 30 pieces each, as the water was too low to run with full cargoes, and one half of them had therefore to make a second trip. Encamped at the bottom of the Rapids to mend the boats and dry the packs. In the afternoon the Portage la Loche Brigade passed us, in charge of L'Esperance the Guide, consisting of six boats, with goods for McKenzie's River.
Monday 14th. Fine warm weather. Remained all day in the same encampment, drying the furs.
Tuesday 15th. Beautiful day. Started in the afternoon and pulled down to the entrance of Lake Winnipeg. Encamped in the Horse [?] shore.
Wednesday 16th. Started this morning under sail, and came about 10 miles, but as it began to blow a strong head wind, had to put ashore on an island in the Lake. A heavy thunder storm in the afternoon.
Thursday 17th. Remained on the same island all day, and as it blew a strong gale, the boats were discharged, and hauled up on the beach.
Friday 18th. Raining and blowing strong. Remained in the same place all day, but as the wind lulled towards sunset, the boats were reloaded, and we pulled towards an Island about 5 miles distant, where we remained encamped until daylight.
Saturday 19th. Started early this morning, and had a fine side wind the whole day, which carried us through Lake Winnipeg, although we had much difficulty in rounding Mossy Point. Fine clear weather throughout the day, but a thunder storm at night. Mr. [John] Rowand who was in the foremost of our Brigade, after passing Mossy Point, fell in with Sir George Simpson, who was in a boat on his way from Red River to Norway House. The Governor was accompanied by C.F. Harriott & Mr. Clouston. Mr. Rowand's boat and the Governor's pushed on ahead, in order to reach Norway House tonight, but we remained behind with the Brigade, and encamped on an Island at the commencement of Play Green Lake.
Sunday 20th. fine warm day. Arrived at Norway House at 3 o'clock in the afternoon. Sir George Simpson, Mr. Roward &c arrived here about 10 o'clock last night. Found C. F. Nicol Finlayson & Mr. Hopkins here.
Journal from Vancouver to York Factory with express, Spring 1848, by Thomas Lowe:
Monday 5th [June] Cold disagreeable weather. Waited most of the day expecting that the Blackfeet would arrive, as Mr. Harriott is unwilling to leave the Fort as long as they are about. As there was no appearance of their coming however we started from Carlton at 5 o'clock in the afternoon, and encamped about 20 miles below.
Tuesday 6th. Rained a little in course of the day. Encamped at the head of Coles Rapids.
Wednesday 7th. Very cloudy, and a few passing showers. Had to wait this morning until the sun was about 2 hours high to allow the fog to clear off before running the rapids. As the water is this year in a good state, there was only one boat broken, but 23 packs got wet. Two more boats broke in course of the day but nothing wet. Drifted all night.
Thursday 8th. In course of the night one of the boats got broken, and we then separated into 2 brigades, 11 boats remaining behind with Peter Calder the guide. Came a good distance although we put ashore for about 3 hours to dry the packs which were wet. Rained very heavy in the evening.. Did not drift tonight.
Friday 9th. Beautiful weather. Mr. Harriott's boat & ours left the brigade to go ahead to Cumberland. Passed Holburne's Rapid before breakfast & got to the Cumberland Portage about two hours after sunset.
Saturday 10th. Walked across to the Fort this morning. About breakfast time the principal part of the Brigade had arrived, but some of the boats did not arrive until near evening and we consequently could not get far. Encamped opposite the entrance of Cumberland Lake. Each boat left 5 pieces of Pemican at the Portage. Two boats from Cumberland in charge of C.T. Deschambeault joined us there.
Sunday 11th. Clear weather. Pulled against a head wind until after midday, when we had to put ashore and were windbound there for a period of 4 hours. Started again in the evening and encamped within 5 miles of the Pas.
Monday 12th. Fine weather. Arrived at the Pas early this morning In the forenoon 2 light canoes arrived with Sir John Richardson & Dr. Rae to overtake the Expedition in search of Sir John Franklin's party, which started from Cumberland on the 1st inst. in charge of Chief Trader Bell, and the canoe will probably overtake them at Fort Chippewyan. The one remained at the Pas about 10 minutes. As one of the Boats was a long distance behind, we could not start from the Pas until about 4 o'clock in the afternoon. The Rev. Mr. Hunter & Miss Jessie Campbell embarked here to take a passage to Norway House. There was a small boat left at the Pas for the use of Mr. Hunter and its cargo divided amongst the others, but to make up for that about 100 pieces were taken out and left in store, principally provisions for the Mission, and Pemican intended for the use of the Brigade going up in the Fall. Encamped about 20 miles below the Pas.
Tuesday 13th. Very changeable weather, rain and sunshine. Sailed most part of the day. When we reached Cedar Lake 7 Indians were put ashore to take a boat up to Cumberland which was left there last Fall by Mr. Clare who was taken by ice on his way up to Edmonton with the green hands. In the evening the wind died away, but we pulled until 10 o'clock at night, when we put ashore on a small Island to supper, but started again immediately afterwards and got as far as Rabbit Point before daylight, when the wind came ahead, with a very heavy thunderstorm.
Wednesday 14th. Started early this morning from Rabbit Point, and went about 5 miles when we were obliged to put ashore and remained windbound the rest of the day. Thunder, and heavy rain all day.
Thursday 15th. Still raining and blowing strong. In the same place all day.
Friday 16th. Got off from our encampment in the afternoon, and with the assistance of a little sail wind got out of Cedar Lake and encamped a short distance below it.
Saturday 17th. Fine weather. As the water is in a good state we run the Grand Rapid with full cargoes, and only one boat was broken. Met L'Esperance at the Grand Rapid with 7 boats on his way to Portage La Loche. Started from the mouth of the River in the afternoon, and with the assistance of a little wind got to an Island about 15 miles off, where we encamped.
Sunday 18th. Started early this morning with a fair aft wind, which carried us to the Pine Islands, after which it came more ahead, and was nearly as close as we could sail to until getting round Mossy Point, where we arrived at 3 pm. The waves were rather high, and we shipped a little water. Had a sail wind up to Norway House, where we arrived at 9 o'clock at night, although the principal part of the Brigade remains behind. Here we found that Sir G[eorge] Simpson had arrived on the 11th inst. and Messrs. [John] Rowand, Nicol Finlayson, Sinclair & McTavish were also there, also a Mr. [Eden] Colvile from Canada.
Monday 19th. Fine weather. The remainder of the Saskatchewan Brigade arrived this morning, also 7 boats from Swan River, Lac la Pluie [Rainy Lake], and Red River, those from La la Pluie in charge of Mr. McKenzie and Mr. Roussain.
Journal of the Columbia Express Party, 1849, by John Charles:
5th, Tuesday [June] Left Carlton House after breakfast with 26 boats, one having been added to the 25 brought down from Fort Pitt. We camped at a point where formerly stood a North West fort.
6th, Wednesday. Blowing a pretty gale this morning. Towards night the wind abated. Put ashore at sunset and had supper; then embarked in the boats which being lashed together by threes we were able to drift all night. An Indian deserted from the Brigade this side of Bow River.
7th, Thursday. Men toiled all day against a strong head wind. At midnight when drifting down stream as usual one of the boats got a plank stove in by a tree lying in the river. We immediately put ashore and had the pieces taken out and spread in the other boats.
8th, Friday. Six of the boats arrived at Cumberland House late in the evening, the others will make their appearance tomorrow. Mr. Deschambeault informs us that Cumberland Lake broke up on the 5th June and it is much feared that we will be detained by ice further down our route.
9th, Saturday. Two of the Saskatchewan boats with their cargoes of grease and Pemican for the use of the North Brigades were left at Cumberland House, the others left about 2 pm. Mr. Deschambeault would leave, late in the evening.
10th, Sunday. All the boats reached the Pas before 3 o'clock in the evening. Alexie Nault has at last arrived with the Lesser Slave Lake Returns. We took tea with Mr. and Mrs. Hunter who live in a fine and elegantly furnished house. Had a heavy shower of rain accompanied with thunder for about two hours this evening.
11th, Monday. Very cold morning. We took leave of Mr. Hunter at 9 pm. and went as far as the "Feast Point" at the head of Muddy Lake which we reached about 6 pm. Blowing a strong head wind all night. It was also very cold, a circumstance that makes us fear there is still ice in the Lakes.
12th, Tuesday. Owing to a heavy sea blowing ahead of us we were not able to leave our camp before 3 pm. We put ashore for the night at the end of Lac Vaseur. Had a slight shower of rain towards evening.
13th, Wednesday. Started this morning at 2 am. Sailed to the first point in Lac Bourbon where we breakfasted. Pulled and sailed across Lac Traverse, at the end of which we camped. Chilly weather.
14th, Thursday. By 10 am. all the boats were safely taken down to the end of Grand Rapid, here we found an Indian with his canoe, which with two men Mr. [John] Rowand dispatched to Lake Winnipeg to see if the passage was clear. The canoe returned after an hour's absence with the unfortunate news that the Lake appeared "like winter." Fearing that we might be detained here sometime 4 nets were set in the river, which before night provided us with 12 sturgeon and upwards of 30 jackfish. One of the Indians succeeded in killing a moose deer. Fine weather.
15th, Friday. Peter Calder the guide with a crew of men in one boat visited the lake, which he reports to be so full of compact ice as to preclude the possibility of our leaving the Grand Rapid for some time. A good many fish were taken out of the nets this evening.
16th, Saturday. Doctor Dodd from Swan River arrived this morning in a small canoe. Ten sturgeon were taken out of the nets this evening. A great many jackfish were also caught. A pretty smart shower of rain fell last night. Cloudy weather towards evening.
17th, Sunday. Heavy fog this morning. The sky overcast all day.
18th, Monday. Blowing very hard.
19th, Tuesday. Doctor Dodd left us a little after dinner. Wind not very strong.
20th, Wednesday. Left Grand Rapid about 1 am. but were obliged to put ashore about 7 o'clock in consequence of the ice being in such large masses in the lake and it not only being useless but dangerous for us to proceed. Lesperance with 7 boats in his charge arrived at our encampment being on his way to Portage la Loche. He has been five days coming from Norway House.
21st, Thursday. Started this morning at 2 o'clock am. with a light breeze in our favour. the first boats arrived at the old Fort (Norway House) about midnight, the others arrived an hour or two afterwards. We had sail wind all day, and at one time a real gale, which lasted for some time.
22nd, Friday. Arrived at Norway House about 1 o'clock pm. where we found the Governor and other gentlemen from the interior. Warm weather.
23rd, Saturday. Six light canoes arrived before dinner. Passengers Mr. Paul Fraser, C.F., and son, Mr. Tierney, Mr. Lockhart and Mr. Young, the latter an American gentlemen from Canada who intends going to the Columbia with the Fall Express. The Commissioned gentlemen attended Council this evening.
24th, Sunday. Divine service held by Rev. Mr. Mason at the Fort.
25th, Monday. Cloudy weather. The gentlemen again attending Council. The Oxford House and Lac la Pluie boats left for York Factory this morning.
Well, this was a long posting! Isn't it interesting when we put the corresponding sections of these journals together and let ourselves compare them with each other, directly.
It taught me something, I think.
I have learned that if the annual Committee meetings were held at Red River, then the gentlemen travelled across country on horse, to the Red River settlement.
But if the meetings were held at Norway House, as they often were, then the commissioned gentlemen stayed with the boats.
In 1842, Anderson took out the express and attended the Council meetings.
I have some information about his 1842 York Factory express, from the Norway House post journal, 1st June 1842 to 31st May 1843, B.154/a/39, HBCA:
"Monday 20th [June] Ther: 60/48. Saskatchewan Brigade of 21 boats arrived in the morning, passengers Messrs. Harriott, Pelly & McPherson with Messrs. Anderson & Jas. Sinclair from Columbia.
"Tuesday 21st -- Fresh Westerly breeze with clear weather. Ther: 53/42. 9 pm. Chief Factor McKinzie arrived with three boats from English River.
"Wednesday 22nd -- Clear pleasant weather, evening sultry. Fresh SW breezes during the day. The Saskatchewan brigade reduced to 10 boats, departed at an early hour for York Factory, Messrs. McPherson & Pelly passengers.
"Thurs. 23rd -- Weather sultry, light SW wind, nearly calm.
"Friday 24th -- Dull weather, and rain in the evening. Light easterly wind. A light canoe arrived from Canada.
"Saturday 25th -- First part of the day cloudy, sultry evening. Wind from NE. At an early hour Mr. McTavish departed for York Factory, accompanied by Mr. Jas. Sinclair.
"Sunday 26th -- Very sultry. Atmosphere filled with a haze. Strong S.W. wind. Late in the evening a boat arrived from Red River, passengers Mr. and Mrs. [Duncan] Finlayson and Masters Robert Ross and James Simpson.
"Monday 27th -- Boisterous weather, rain in the morning and all day overcast. Strong, N. Ely winds.
"Tuesday 28th -- Light southerly winds and cloudy. Rain at night. The four district boats dispatched for York Factory.
"Wednesday, 29th -- Rainy morning, but afternoon cleared up. Strong N.E. winds.
July 1842 -- "Friday 1st -- Weather again overcast, seemed inclined to clear up in the evening. Light Easterly wind. In the evening a light canoe was dispatched for York Factory, Messrs. Harriott & Anderson taking their passage in her."