Saturday, June 30, 2012

William Charles, HBC Chief Factor

In the Colonist newspaper of July 25, 1948, well-known writer and historian J.K. Nesbitt began his story about William Charles, younger brother of John and Thomas Charles, of whom I have already written.
Nesbitt's story begins this way:
"There's an old house on the north side of Fort Street, just west of Cook, and around it is wrapped more glamorous Hudson's Bay Company history than any other residence on the island.
"It is the old Charles home and it's been standing since the mid-seventies [mid 1870's, of course]. In it lived William Charles, one of the widely known HBC figures of the province in early days.
"He was the son of a Hudson's Bay man, too, and his wife was the daughter of James Birnie, one of the outstanding HBC officials in Oregon and whose works are now a definite part of that state's history books."
Well, this last sentence is an exaggeration; I think the writer never knew James Birnie well.
He continues: "The Charles' home once stood in a acre of ground, extending back to View Street.
"Fort wasn't so wide in those days, and in front of the house was a high fence and a hedge of acacia trees that hid it from the street. It had fine gardens. Mrs. Charles had a way with flowers and her friends said she could make roses grow in cement blocks if she felt so inclined.
"History of the northwest -- that was the chief topic of conversation in the Charles home, but little did Mr. and Mrs. Charles know then that they would become part of the history.
"Both had traveled widely and as they grew older reminisced of trips they had made by canoe on wilderness waters and of frontier days in the vast Interior of this Province."

William Charles, fur trader and HBC employee, was born March 5, 1831 in Edinburgh when his father was on furlough, and was the son of John Charles and Jane Auld, mixed blood daughter of William Auld -- hence both he and his brothers were Metis.
William was descended from prominent HBC families: his father and maternal grand-father were both Chief Factors.
Like his brothers, he was educated in Edinburgh at the Hill Street School and at the University of Edinburgh.
Nesbitt says: "As a youth he had heard his father talk of his days in faraway Rupert's Land, and it was but natural he should decide his life would be spent in the great wilds of America."
Of course William lived with his father in Rupertsland, and so that sentence was not entirely true -- his familiarity with the fur trade must have come from more than his father's stories.
But Nesbitt writes of some interesting background on the Charles family, that I did not know:
"In 1854 [a different date is given below] he joined the Hudson's Bay Company and was eagerly welcomed, for it was recalled his father was among the members of the Hudson's Bay Councils -- those fur trading parliaments -- and sat at Red River in 1835 and 1839 when Duncan Finlayson presided, and again at Norway House in 1840 when the powerful Sir George Simpson was presiding officer.
"The name of Charles was a magic one in the annals of the company -- it is no wonder William Charles was doubly welcome.
"His grandmother, Charles, was a daughter of one of the high officials of the company at Fort York or Churchill, and it is believed today she was there at the time of the French invasion of Fort York, and it is said she was taken prisoner to France, but later returned to her family."
Well, that's interesting -- if anyone can confirm that I would like to hear the story!

The Dictionary of Canadian Biography online [author: Richard Mackie] tells us that William Charles left Scotland for the HBC's Columbia district and worked first for a merchant in Portland, Oregon.
Then in 1853 he joined the HBC at Fort Vancouver, as an apprentice clerk.
That autumn he was posted to Fort Hall on the Snake River, and in January 1855 he took charge of Fort Boise -- also in the Snake River country.
William Charles was forced to abandon Fort Boise in the fall of that year because of hostilities between the United States Army and Fort Vancouver, and he was transferred to Fort Vancouver.
In 1858 he arrived at Fort Victoria; soon after his arrival he married Mary Ann, one of 13 children of James and Charlot Birnie.
Mary Ann's sister, Betsy Anderson -- wife of Alexander Caulfield Anderson -- had already arrived in Victoria and in 1858 lived on a large piece of property only a short walk from the place where Mary Ann's house would later stand.

By the way, Betsy was born in 1822 and Mary Ann in 1839 -- Mary Ann was almost twenty years younger than Betsy.

From the Dictionary of Canadian Biography again:
"After being charged with Fort Hope (Hope, BC) in 1860, he was made chief trader in 1863 and the next year he was moved to Fort Yale. He remained in command there until 1866, when he returned to Fort Victoria.
"From 1868 to 1870 he ran Thompson's River post [Kamloops], which, he wrote, was "about the dullest place" he had ever been in.

The article continues: "Charles' work at Hope, Yale and Thompson's River is of considerable interest. In the 1850's the HBC abandoned the Columbia River route to the interior in favour of the Fraser River system."
Of course we know why that happened, and that it actually happened in 1848 and 1849.
"This reorganization was hastened by the Fraser gold rush of 1858, which turned obscure HBC posts into thriving settlements.
"The company placed steamers on the lower Fraser and on Kamloops Lake and entered the retail trade, selling hardware and food at all its posts in the gold districts. Joseph William McKay and Ovid Allard worked with Charles on these projects. The gold-rush thus transformed the HBC in British Columbia from a fur-trading to a retailing company decades before a similar charge was instituted in Rupert's Land."

Dates again differ in the two articles I have on hand -- one says that Charles returned to Victoria in 1870; the other states the year was 1874.
1870 is probably the correct date, as Richard Mackie, in his Dictionary of Canadian Biography article, says that William Charles "returned to Victoria, where, from 1872 to 1874, he was second in command of the Western Department under his brother-in-law James Allan Grahame..." whose wife was also one of James Birnie's daughters.
"He was promoted factor in 1872 and chief factor two years later.
"In July 1872 he had been sent to the upper Skeena River when the Kitseguecla blocked non-Native traffic; his job was to ensure that the HBC's new Skeena route to the interior remained open.
"After some time the blockade was lifted."

This is what Bruce Watson has to say of William Charles, in his Lives Lived West of the Divide:
"William Charles, who was born into the fur trade, was sent by his father to be educated at Hill Street School in Edinburgh, and subsequently, Edinburgh University.
"In 1852, at the age of twenty two he came to the Pacific coast via Panama and for a short time was employed by Breck and Ogden of Portland, Oregon, before joining the HBC on June 14, 1853.
"A man known for his integrity, he spent the rest of his career in the Oregon/Western Department and British Columbia from 1858.
"Beginning in 1869, while he was in the North Thompson/Campbell Creek area, about ten miles east of Kamloops, Charles pre-empted several hundred acres of land which was eventually to become Harper's Ranch, named after the purchaser, Thaddeus Harper, who eventually took out the Crown Grant.
"William Charles was allowed furlough in 1870-71, was appointed inspecting Chief Factor around 1874 and spent many years touring HBC forts in B.C."

Bruce Watson also tells what places William Charles served and gives us more accurate dates:
Apprentice clerk, Fort Hall and Fort Boise, 1853-1856; Clerk, Fort Vancouver, 1855-1858; Clerk, Fort Victoria and Fort Langley, 1858-1860; Clerk, Fort Hope, 1860-1863; Chief Trader, Fort Yale, 1863-1864; Chief Trader, Fort Victoria and Fort Yale, 1865-1866; Chief Trader, New Caledonia, 1866-1867; Chief Trader, Fort Victoria, 1867-1868; Chief Trader, Fort Kamloops, 1868-1869; Chief Trader, Fort Victoria, 1869-1874; Chief Factor, Fort Victoria, 1874-1879; Inspecting Chief Factor, Fort Victoria, 1879-1885.

Nesbitt's article tells more of the Charles' family life in Victoria:
"It was a happy home as the sons and daughters grew up and often friends from the Interior were guests.
"Mrs. John Goodfellow, who was Florence Agassiz (the Agassiz and Charles families were close friends in Yale and Hope days), and her interesting memoirs, recalls visits she paid to the Charles' home on Fort Street.
"In 1876, Mrs. Goodfellow wrote, she was a guest at the Charles' home when the then Governor General, the Earl of Dufferin, and his Countess, came to town.
"Mr. and Mrs. Charles, as leading citizens, were invited to all the festivities, and the housee was in a turmoil of preparation for many gay events.
"Mrs. Goodfellow says: "The Earl and Countess held a drawing room. For months before all the ladies had been in a state of excitement about their dresses and court trains. Mrs. Charles, who was a beautiful woman, wore a beautiful black velvet with white lace...."

William Charles was a man of fine education and an artist of considerable ability.
He was an amateur naturalist and he loved to sit for hours in his garden watching the birds and studying their habits; he often drew them.
In 1865 he had noted the arrival at Yale of the first meadow larks and bluebirds -- do these birds still arrive in Yale?
He also had an interest in history and like his brother-in-law, A.C. Anderson, he helped American historian Hubert Howe Bancroft prepare his History of British Columbia in 1876.

When William Charles died at age 72 in May, 1903, the Colonist obituary said this of him:
"Another tie binding the present with a past generation has been broken, and it is with feelings of sadness we view the decimated ranks of that old band of pioneers in the fur trade to which in a large measure we owe our present political existence and organization as a province.
"Although the deceased did not participate prominently in public affairs and was comparatively unknown to many persons of more recent arrival, to those who knew him well in early days and had social and business intercourse with him, he appealed most strongly, and the warm ties of friendship were never broken and personal respect never abated.
"His name was synonymous for honour and personal integrity. He preferred a quiet, retired life -- a man whose allegiance was to his old friends, endeared to them as he was by sterling qualities of mind and character."

You will recognize many of the names of the men who acted as his pallbearers -- Hon. J. S. Helmcken; Hon. Mr. Justice Drake; Hon. Peter O'Reilly; Robert Edwin Jackson, K.C.; Mr. James A[llen] Grahame; Mr. Alexander Munro; Mr. C.W.R. Thomson; Captain Herbert G. Lewis; Hon. Edgar Dewdney; John A. Mara; James Lawson Sr.; E. Crow Baker; Arthur W. Jones; and Frank S.. Barnard.

Mary Ann Charles stayed on in her Fort Street home but sold it in 1912, and moved to Richardson Street. She died in 1921.

Nesbitt's article ends with a lovely personal story about the Charles' Fort Street home:
"Though parts of it have been demolished, the Charles' home today is much the way it was when the family lived there.
"The long drawing room has two marble mantled fireplaces, with a wide bay window between, and there is another deep bay -- almost a conservatory -- on Fort Street.
"In the old days there was a conservatory at the back, and a big dining room which after dinner each night, was turned into a family living-room, for the drawing room was much too formal except when there were parties and distinguished visitors from out of town and for the ladies of Mrs. Charles' "at home" days.
"The master of the house in those days didn't often sit in his drawing-room; it was reserved for church teas and "morning room" calls and for the daughters to entertain their beaus.
"At the bend of the staircase is an oval shaped window, of multi-coloured glass -- and through it small boys and girls in the long-age watched for Grandmama Charles coming along Fort Street, and then there were shrieks of laughter -- for one minute Grandma was red and then she suddenly turned purple and then amber and then green. It was all very wonderful, the way Grandma changed colors, and that window to those bright, eager eyes was the most fascinating in all Victoria."

Today the old Charles' home is an antique store, and the woman who owns it told me there were eleven staircases in the house.
It is hard to know which part of the house is original and which not.
But the house still stands; few people who pass it realize its colorful past.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Thomas Lowe

Well, now I get to talk about my fur trade secret -- my secret witness who recorded some of the more important incidents that occurred in the Fort Vancouver and the Columbia district in the 1840's and 1850's.
He is also in my family tree, as he married one of the Birnie girls.
So here is his story, and I think you will enjoy it, as he lived through interesting times:

Thomas Lowe was the sixth son of Dr. John Lowe of Coupar-Angus, Perthshire, and was born on November 30th, 1824.
On January 13th, 1841, he was appointed apprentice clerk in the service of the Hudson's Bay Company for a term of five years, and was instructed to proceed to Moose Factory by the HBC ship for that season.
He didn't catch that ship -- instead secretary William Smith ;ut him on the Company's ship, Vancouver, which was due to sail from Gravesend for the Columbia River at the end of August, 1841.
At Honolulu Thomas transferred to the Cowlitz, which was bound for Sitka with HBC Governor, Sir George Simpson, on board.
The Governor used poor Thomas as his temporary secretary on the voyage north to Sitka -- an extraordinary introduction to the fur trade.

The ship arrived at Sitka in April 1842; Governor Simpson continued his round the world trip across Russia, while Thomas was sent on to Fort Durham -- more familiarly known as Fort Taku, on the Northwest coast.

Bruce Watson has this to say of Fort Taku in his Lives Lived West of the Divide:
"Fort Taku was built under the same set of conditions as Fort Stikine, under the 1839 agreement between the HBC and the Russian American Fur Company. Thought to be convenient at the time for trade with the Indians of Taku, Chilcat and Cross Sound, as well as access to the interior, the site, at the head of Taku Harbour several miles distance from the mouth of the Taku River was a poor choice for several reasons. The area had been overtraded during the maritime fur trade which had left hostilities, and there was little trading done from the interior via the Taku River. As well, the area had extensive tidal flats and so boats could access the area only at high tides. Further, the natives rigorously guarded their traditional trading rights, their access to wealth and slaves.
"The post was constructed in 1840 by James Douglas with pickets and bastions up and finished by August. Also called Fort Durham, after the Earl of Durham, Governor General of Canada (that is, Upper and Lower Canada), the post was more commonly referred to by its river name. It was a modest affair having stockades of about 150 square feet with a stream running conveniently through it, and was operated by approximately eighteen personnel.
"Memories from the maritime fur trade ran deep and consequently the local Taku tried to exact revenge for killings that had taken place previously from an American vessel. Shortly after construction shots were fired, faces bloodied but all patched up with an agreed payment of furs when the Taku discovered that they were not from the same group that had created the trouble.
"In the fall of 1841, George Simpson, who stated that the local natives were delighted to have a source for which they could act as intermediaries, presented an idyllic picture when he visited.
""The fort, though it was only a year old, was yet very complete with wood houses, lofty pickets, and strong bastions. The establishment was maintained chiefly on the flesh of the chevreuil (deer), which is very fat, and has an excellent flavour. Some of these deer weigh as much as a hundred and fifty pounds each; and they are so numerous, that Taku has this year sent to market twelve hundred of their skins."
"Conflicts due to misunderstanding did disturb this idyllic scene. When one native struck Dr. John F. Kennedy over a disagreement, the native was pursued by Kennedy's assistant outside the fort and was immediately taken prisoner. When Kennedy went out to rescue his assistant, he also was taken prisoner. When warning shots were fired, the "prisoners" were ransomed for four blankets.
"In the summer of 1841, Roderick Finlayson gave an account of the local chief killing ten slaves, requiring the HBC men to look after their dead bodies.
"Fort Taku, along with Fort McLoughlin, was abandoned in 1843 as it was unprofitable and could just as well be serviced by the steamer Beaver. The site is now on privately held land."

Thomas Lowe wrote of his time at Taku: "The natives at that time were a numerous and rather dangerous set; and it was found after a few years' trial that it did not pay to keep up such a strong force of men as was necessary to safeguard the fort. Dr. John Kennedy was in command, and while I was there we were besieged by these rascals for a period of six weeks, and only released by the opportune arrival of a ... steamer from Sitka."

His biography, which is found in McLoughlin's Fort Vancouver Letters, First Series, 1825-38 [Publication of Hudson's Bay Record Society] does not mention that on leaving Fort Taku, Thomas Lowe also helped to construct Fort Victoria.
But in his article in the Beachcomber newspaper [Saanich] of February 4, 1998, Brad Morrison writes this of Thomas Lowe and his time at Fort Victoria:
"Under the superintendence of James Douglas the men and supplies [from Fort Taku] were taken to the Southern tip of Vancouver Island, where on June 3, 1843, construction was begun at Camosun harbor, of Fort Victoria.
"A report in The Colonist stated: "The Canadian axemen were at once set to work in the surrounding forest to fall trees for a stockade and to square timber for the erection of bastions and dwelling-houses."
"Having by this time acquired some familiarity with the Indian language (Chinook jargon) Mr. Lowe was given the supervision of several squads of natives, to bring the logs and dressed timber to the site previously selected.
"After a week's stay, and when the building of the Fort was well advanced, Mr. Douglas, accompanied by Mr. Lowe, returned to Fort Vancouver ... leaving 40 men to complete the work."
And so Thomas Lowe was at Fort Victoria for only a week or so.
No wonder it has been so hard to confirm that he was at Fort Victoria!
However, his family member (descendant of his brother John) tells me that Thomas Lowe was always proud of the part he played in the construction of Fort Victoria.
Of course he later lived in the city of Victoria.

But if you are interested in the very beginnings of Fort Victoria, take a look at the batch of people who would have been here at this time -- even if for only a week or so!
No wonder this place got built so quickly!
This is what Derek Pethick has to say about this busy week or so of building the fort, in his book, "Victoria, The Fort":
He quotes from James Douglas journal, which is in the BC Archives somewhere.
At the point where it breaks of, Pethick writes, "it is thought likely that Douglas, satisfied that the work had been satisfactorily begun, left to pick up the men from the two more northerly posts (Fort Durham on Taku Inlet and Fort McLoughlin on Millbank Sound) which were to be closed down......
"On the first of June, with the personnel of these two posts, Douglas returned. He now had under his authority about fifty armed white men, but realizing that in the event of trouble with the Indians this would be but a weak force, he set to work immediately to construct a defensible compound.
"The weather was exceptionally favorable, and with the help of Indian labour the work went ahead rapidly."
Thomas Lowe was there!
These other men would also have been there, too -- Donald Manson, in charge at Fort McLoughlin, and his clerk, whoever he was; Dr. John Kennedy of Fort Taku, and his clerk [who might have been Roderick Finlayson].
We know that Charles Ross was there, and Roderick Finlayson, too -- they are the two who took over the running of the new Fort Victoria, which was first called Fort Albert, apparently.

Thomas Lowe then came to Fort Vancouver where he kept his private journals -- which is what makes him such an important resource over the difficult years I am now researching.
On June 15, 1843, Thomas Lowe's journal begins with the words:
"Thursday. I arrived at Fort Vancouver this morning at 9 o'clock in company with Chief Factor Douglas from the N.W. Coast (having come across the Nisqually portage) after having been with Dr. Kennedy at Fort Durham since the 24th April, 1842.
"We found the interior brigade here which had reached this on the 4th Inst in charge of Chief Factors [Archibald] McDonald and [Peter Skene] Ogden.
"16. Friday. Dr. McLoughlin put me to day in the office to assist Mr. [Dugald] McTavish.
"I have been given for my exclusive use one of the rooms in the Bachelor's Hall building. There I am to sleep, taking my meals at the general Mess table in the Big House."
As you can see from the details in his journal, you can get a good picture of a clerk's life at Fort Vancouver.
In fact you learn that year that, on the 31st July, "Joseph Monique with one boat returned from conducting the Brigade (in charge of Chief Factor P.S. Ogden) up the river. One of the crew was drowned by the swamping of a boat at the Dalles, another fell overboard and was also drowned a little above that place."
I knew two men had died coming upriver that year, and now I have the details!
Very useful.

This first bit of journal appears to end in October, but it picks up again.
In the summer off 1844, Thomas reports on the presence of the Royal Navy ships at the fort, and the dysentery that is attacking the people at Fort Vancouver:
"15th [July]. Monday. In the afternoon H.M. Sloop of War "Modeste" anchored opposite the Fort, and fired a salute of 7 guns, which the Fort had not the means of returning. The Captain came on shore and brought despatches from the British Government. Saw several of the officers in the evening."
Of course at this time the Brits and fur traders worried about where the boundary line was to be established!
"3rd [August]. Saturday. ...All the officers of the Modeste were invited to day to a public dinner here which passed off well. toasts and healths were drunk and we all enjoyed ourselves. The Barque Cowlitz left this afternoon for the N.W. Coast."
"6th. Tuesday. Dysentery is very prevalent at this place at present, and several Indians have already become its victims, many of our men are also in a critical state. Weather cloudy."
On September 10th, 1844: "Baron and a party of men employed at the New Store adjoining the Sale Shop which was commenced last spring. Mrs. [George?] Roberts [Rose Birnie, James Birnie's sister?] has consented to open a School for the children of the Fort, and has got 10 pupils, which is all that we can muster here at present. The fee will be about 5 pounds a head p. annum, and until the children increase, the school is to be kept in her own house."

Besides the boundary line issue, there are other worries -- for example the American immigrants:
"23rd [September]. Monday. In the afternoon Mr. A. McDonald arrived with the Returns of the Snake Country in one boat. He brings intelligence that a large party of Emigrants from the United States are on their way to this place, and may be expected about the same time as last year."
And on the 24th: "The Easterly Gale still continues with unabated force, and the dust is flying in all directions, a fire broke out at the end of the plain, and all the men had to be mustered to extinguish it."
"25th [Sept.] Wednesday. The fire which broke out last night gave more trouble again to day, and a much larger one has been lighted, a few miles above the Saw Mill, which will be very difficult to extinguish. Strong E. Wind."
Fire was always a danger in these fur trade forts!
"26th. Thursday. Easterly gales all day. In the evening rode out with Mr. Douglas and Mr. Roberts to observe the fire which had originated in the Camass Plain, and which has now spread as far in this direction as the Little River on this side of the 1st plain.. A party of men set to watch the Barn behind, and another the Barn on the lower plain. Carting water all night. A watch set at the Fort. I had the morning Watch."
"27th. Friday. Early this morning a report was brought that fire had broke out in the lower plain and that the Barn there was in imminent danger. Mr. McDonald and Mr. David accompanied Mr. Douglas to the place, and succeeded with a party of men and Indians in smothering it. All the men were turned out about 1 o'clock in the morning, and distributed into different parties to guard against an outbreak of fire from the woods, which are now in a blaze all round. Most of the men were employed all morning about the Fort Hill, setting the grass on fire, ploughing the ground, and taking other precautions to prevent the fire running when it emerged from the woods. While most of the men were so engaged, a spark from the woods behind set the Barn in a blaze, when there was only an Indian present, and in an instant the whole was in flames. The few who were in the Fort immediately got wet Blankets ready, and put themselves in positions where the sparks could be most easily extinguished. Meantime Mr. Douglas, Mr [Adolphus Lee?] Lewis, and Mr. K Logan accompanied by all hands from the Old Fort Hill made all haste to the Barn and did all they possibly could in extinguishing the fire, which by this time had run to the camp and set the garden fences of Baron's and Mrs. Latty's house on fire, as well as the Orchard adjoining the Fort garden. Dr. Barclay, Mr. Roberts and I were in the fort when the fire broke out. The Dr. went to the orchard, Mr. R. was employed in putting out the burning grass that surrounded the school rooms, and I mustered a party to protect the clover field next the Fort, which had caught in several places, and after leaving some men to perform the duty, I took charge of the Party at the Barn, and remaining there till the afternoon, when little danger was to be apprehended from it...."
I think you can see how useful his journal would be, to someone who wanted to know what was happening in Fort Vancouver at this time.

In March of 1847, Thomas Lowe led the York Factory express across the continent and back.
Again, in March 1848, he led the York Factory express across the country and returned.
He would not make this journey again -- he married James Birnie's daughter La Rose [or Rose], and only made short journeys away from Fort Vancouver.

From his journals we hear what Lowe has to say about John Charles' death in the Athabasca Pass in October 1849:
"18th, Sunday [November]. Started from Oregon City on my return to Vancouver at 11 am. in a drenching shower of rain. My horse being much fatigued on account of the heavy state of the roads, I did not arrive at Switzler's until 4pm.
"Crossed the Columbia in a canoe, and on my arrival at the Fort found that the Express from York Factory had got there at breakfast time.
"There were two boats with no loads but the passengers baggage, no other packs having been brought across.
"The Passengers were, Sir Edward Poore and Mr. Franklin, his travelling companion, Mr. Young a master ship-wright, John Fraser an Apprentice post-master, and Frederick Lewes who has come in to see his brother Adolphus.
"Mr. Charles who went across in charge of the Express was unfortunately shot by accident at the Campement d'Original in the Rocky Mountain Portage by Mr. Young.
"In coming down the Columbia (above Okanagan) both the Express boats were much broken, the people's lives endangered, and some of the pieces lost, owing to the low state of the water.
"One of the Walla Walla men likewise got his arm shot off when saluting them on their arrival at that post. "Only 8 new hands were brought down this way, the remainder of the party (17 men) having gone into New Caledonia by way of Tete Jaune's Cache under the command of Mr. Griffin and Robert Logan.
"Very heavy rain in the evening with thunder and lightning."

So while we know what other adventures these voyageurs endured on this journey, we know no more about John Charles' death than we knew before.

Anyway, Thomas Lowe was well liked at Fort Vancouver, and on his first express journey across the country to York Factory, James Douglas wrote to York Factory's Mr. Hargrave that, "Mr. Lowe our young accountant, who (has) taken out the Express, is a fine steady young man, pray be kind to him."

As I have told you, Thomas Lowe married James Birnie's daughter La Rose.
The marriage was short -- La Rose died only a few months later (or a year and a half later, depending who is reporting the story) of "lung disease," and was buried in the Pioneer Cemetery at Cathlamet.
Not long after his wife's death, Thomas Lowe left the HBC and went into partnership with two retired chief traders -- Archibald McKinlay, and George Traill Allen who formed the firm of Allan, McKinlay and Co., at Oregon City, and supplied settlers with general goods.

Thomas Lowe owned property next door to his father-in-law's house in Cathlamet, but when his business expanded into San Francisco in 1853, he lost interest in the property and sold it to his brother-in-law, Alexander Caulfield Anderson.
Between 1853 and 1860 Thomas and his brother, James, alternated their time between the businesses in San Francisco and Oregon.
Thomas was particularly interested in the possibility of developing trade between San Francisco and Vancouver Island, and in many ways he became the eyes and ears of the company men at Fort Victoria, who sold much of their product in the Sandwich Islands and in San Francisco.
Because of his fur trade connections, the San Francisco business flourished, though the Oregon City stores showed big losses; in 1860 Thomas decided to close them down.
By that time, Alexander Caulfield Anderson was a resident in Victoria, and his shares in the Oregon City stores were transferred to shares in two Victoria steamers -- the Governor Douglas and Colonel Moody.
James went to Victoria to establish a new business as Commission Merchants and Thomas joined him 2 years later, in 1862, after he had finally managed to wind up their interests in Oregon.
His business correspondence is dry; but his letters to his relatives James and Charlot Birnie, Alexander Caulfield Anderson, and others, are warm and caring.
One of his English family members states he sounds like a "dry old stick," but Thomas Lowe is definitely not that!

By 1862 his business, called "Lowe Brothers, Commission Merchants," stood at the corner of Yates Street and Langley, in Victoria.
The business did well, and the two brothers opened up a store which sold a variety of stock -- groceries French wines, and cigars!
In 1866 Thomas Lowe purchased the Saint George Hotel and leased it out; this hotel would eventually become the Driard House -- Victoria's leading hotel for many years!
Thomas and his brother, James, remained in partnership in Victoria until 1870, and Thomas decided to retire and return to Scotland in 1872.
He died in May 1912, at age 88, at Coupar Angus in Scotland.

Thomas Lowe is a likeable, interesting, and important Victoria pioneer whose diaries and journals are almost entirely ignored by American historians, which is a shame.
By ignoring Thomas Lowe, they are missing much of their own story.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Book Review!

My book, The Pathfinder, has been reviewed in our local Times Colonist newspaper, by Dave Obee, newspaperman and author of the prizewinning book, The Library Book: A History of Service to British Columbia.
He got it!
It is a perfect time to be reviewed -- just as the busy summer reading season is beginning.
And this is a very nice review.
Thank you, Dave.

Here is the review:

"Pioneer's explorations vital to province's early days.

"One of British Columbia's true pioneers, Alexander Caulfield Anderson, is buried at St. Stephen's Anglican Church in Saanichton. This book, by one of his descendants, ensures that he will not be forgotten.

"Anderson signed up as an employee of the Hudson's Bay Company in 1831, when he was just 17 years old. Through his career with the fur-trading company, he proved to be a superb explorer, mapping the Interior and finding ways for traders and settlers to get from one valley to another, or to and from the forts on the coast.

"By the time he was done, Anderson had mapped four viable routes between the company's forts in Kamloops and Fort Langley. His maps are vital documents in the study of B.C. history.

"After he left the company, his work continued to make a difference. In 1858, for example, his Hand-book and Map to the Gold Regions of Frazer's and Thompson's River was published in San Francisco, helping eager prospectors from California find their way to the gold rush that helped create our province.

"Anderson moved to Victoria in the same year, taking a job as customs collector. In 1862, after losing money in a steamship business, he sold his house in Victoria and moved to a farm on the Saanich Peninsula.

"He also served as an Indian Reserve Commissioner, which meant he worked on early land claims, and inspector of fisheries. This work certainly helped him financially -- the farm not being a huge success -- and added to an already impressive list of accomplishments.

"His list of contacts was a veritable who's who of early British Columbia. He knew just about everyone who mattered, from Peter Skene Ogden to James Douglas to Lady Jane Franklin, who visited Victoria after her husband went missing while searching for the Northwest Passage.

"Anderson was a key source for Hubert Howe Bancroft of San Francisco, who wrote comprehensive histories of the northwest coast and B.C. in the 1880's. Bancroft later gave credit to Anderson, noting that they had spent nearly two weeks together, with Anderson providing "much valuable material" to his project.

"Anderson was key, then, in creating the Bancroft legacy: An unsurpassed collection of material on the northwest that formed the basis of what became the Bancroft Library at the University of California in Berkeley.

"Nancy Marguerite Anderson spent two decades researching the life of her ancestor, pulling information from several libraries and archives. She used old letters, Anderson's maps, Anderson's official reports, and other sources to tell his story in great detail.

"Her book, The Pathfinder, is well illustrated with  maps, appropriate given A.C. Anderson's role in mapping the province. It includes portions of colour maps found in the B.C. Archives as well as new maps that show the routes Anderson found.

"Anderson seemed out of step for much of his life, reluctant to adapt to changes in the fur trade, changes in farming and the evolution of the province away from a culture and an economy based on the fur trade.

"Still, as the author notes, Anderson knew that his work was important. He worked, she says, to improve the future of the people he lived among.

""No matter how out of place Anderson may have felt, he knew he was the right man, in the right place," she writes.

"He has a rightful place in our history books for all of the work he did for the company, the colony, and the province. His knowledge of B.C. geography was probably unsurpassed in his day, and he worked hard to share that information with others.

"Nancy Marguerite Anderson's The Pathfinder helps us to remember all that he accomplished on our behalf."

Saturday, June 16, 2012

John Charles, HBC

"I, John Charles, in company with Mr. [Thomas] Lowe, in charge of the express as far as Fort Colvile, started from Fort Vancouver with two boats laden with the Fort Nez Perce Outfit and provisions, etc., per party, amounting in all to about 45 pieces and manned by five Iroquois, nine Indians, one Kanaka and 1 Canadian... Encamped at the Saw Mill. Wet weather."
So began the journal of John Charles, who set out from Fort Vancouver on Tuesday, March 20th, 1849, and who, tragically, would not return.
The party set out from the Saw Mill early the next morning, and camped a little below the Cascades after sailing all day up the Columbia River. On the 22nd, Tuesday, "Embarked in the boats at peep of day and put ashore at the lower end of the Cascade portage where we discharged the boat and breakfasted."
I think I like this young man; I certainly enjoy the way he keeps his journal and the words he uses -- ie. "Peep of day."
That day they found the weather wet and unpleasant and the river unusually low, and snow knee deep on the portage. But they camped that night to the Upper end of Cascade portage, though they left a few boats behind them.
On Saturday 24th they had beautiful weather and left the Cascades at 9am., sailing eastward all day to sset up camp five miles below the Mission at "Wascopar," or the Dalles.
On Sunday 25th they embarked a half an hour before sunrise and breakfasted on a rock immediately below the Grand Dalles, where Thomas Lowe, passenger Mr. Mentrez, and John Charles obtained horses and rode to the Chutes.
There they found upward of one hundred Natives with their horses waiting for the arrival of the boats.
They waited there to help the fur traders bring their boats and loads over the portage to the Upper end of the Chutes, as they did every year.
The journey up the Columbia River proceeded quickly after that, with John Charles noting their early departure every morning and their breakfast spot or camping place -- Riviere Finale; Riviere Quinal; and Grand Rapide just below Walla Walla.
On the evening of Wednesday 28th they reached Walla Walla, and next day sent Grand Joe back to Fort Vancouver in a single boat, carrying the Fort Nez Perces returns.
Interestingly enough, they also carried out the property belonging to Rev. Mr. Spalding, who must have abandoned it at Fort Nez Perce or elsewhere after the massacre at Waiilatpu in November 1847 -- but that is another story.
Which I will get to shortly, I think.

At Fort Nez Perce, Mr. William McBean had traded for twelve horses for them -- five were used as packhorses and seven ridden by the gentlemen and clerks who were heading to Fort Colvile.
They set up camp twenty miles away from Walla Walla at 7pm; on Saturday the 31st of the month they camped on the beach of the Nez Perces River, but regretted doing so because the wind whipped up and blew the sand around in such clouds that all the men crawled into their beds to avoid being blinded by it.
It's a strange country -- camping on beaches one night and the next day riding through a shower of hail towards evening.
But it is early April, after all, and two days later John Charles reported that "the horses being very poor and in a weakly condition we were under the necessity of camping early. Met with a great deal of snow on our route. Passed a good many small lakes and springs. Wild fowl, very numerous. Passed the night under a large red pine tree."
The next day they "left our encampment about two hours after sunrise, but were obliged to return to it almost immediately as the horses were utterly unable to proceed in the great depth of snow, which lay around us."
As they were unable to go further on horseback, four men travelled ahead of the rest of the party toward the Spokane River, on foot -- these were John Charles, Thomas Lowe, Michel and an unnamed Native man.
They walked all night and a greater part of the following day, and finally rested on a hill in sight of the Spokane River -- sending their guide ahead to the Spokane lodges to obtain snow shoes.
That evening, the Spokane men came to their camp and gave them snow shoes so they could travel to Fort Colvile.
Some Spokanes travelled back to help the other expressmen left behind to come through the snow to Fort Colvile; others guided Charles and Lowe toward Fort Colvile.
They reached Fort Colvile on foot after three or four days' walk, on Monday 9th April; after which they spent three or four days closing the accounts of the place and waiting for their expressmen, and those from New Caledonia, to ride in.
On Sunday April 15th, John Charles wrote in his journal: "Dull day. Divine service held by C.T. Anderson. No arrivals from New Caledonia or elsewhere."
And so, this is when Thomas Lowe and John Charles met Alexander Caulfield Anderson, who was then in charge of the post of Fort Colvile.

Those of you who have read my book know that this had been a terrible winter, and cattle and horses died in large numbers at both Kamloops and Fort Colvile because of the deep snow that fell early in the year and remained all winter.
Interestingly, at Fort Colvile the men were commencing ploughing, and so the snow must already be retreating -- in fact, John Charles notes that the snow is disappearing from the hills that surrounded the fort.
He probably anticipated better weather north of Fort Colvile, but it was not to be so.

On Thursday 19th of April, Joachim Lafleur, from the Okanagan post, and "Marineau with five other men from New Caledonia arrived with the accounts."
The following day the horses arrived, brought in by the Spokane Indians who had helped the expressmen north to Fort Colvile.

In a letter to the Governor and Council, April 23, 1849, Anderson reported on their planned departure:
"The Columbia Accounts of Outfit 1849 being now closed, Mr. John Charles, appointed by the Board to conduct the Express to Edmonton, takes his departure. Nine men, with an adequate number of Indians to complete the crews of two boats, accompany him to the Mountain. Six of the former, including four retiring servants, cross to the East side; and as every precaution has been taken to secure an expeditious passage, I trust that Mr. Charles will reach Edmonton about the usual period."
It appears that Thomas Lowe travelled no further east than Fort Colvile this year; too bad, because he kept excellent journals of all his travels across the mountains.

The expressmen under John Charles departed Fort Colvile and headed upriver toward the Boat Encampment, beginning their journey on the same day that Anderson wrote his letter.
They made it through the Arrow Lakes with little trouble but some rain; but as they pushed their way through the "Little Dalles" north of the northernmost lake they found themselves travelling past great quantities of snow and ice along the shoreline.
On May 1st they pushed their way through the "Mauvais Rapide," normally called Dalles des Morts or, today, Death Rapids.
They arrived at Boat Encampment on 8am., and had one of the boats carried "up the bank above the high water mark," for their return journey -- the other returned to Fort Colvile as was usual.

On Wednesday the 9th of May the express reached Jasper's House; the Athabasca River was so low that Colin Fraser, who was in charge of Jasper's House, worried that they might meet ice going downriver.
On the 11th of the month John Charles found the water in the Athabasca River so low that his boat kept bumping the bottom of the river.
One day later his passage was blocked by ice floes and he pulled ashore until it floated downriver past them, leaving the river clear.
They pulled out of the river to wait for ice several times, and it was not until Saturday, May 19th, that they reached Fort Assiniboine, in a heavy rainfall.
Rain delayed them on the portage to Edmonton House, too, and they reached the place at 5pm. on Friday 25th May.
On Monday 28th they departed Edmonton House and floated downriver to Fort Pitt, reaching that place the next day; they were at Carlton House in early June; Lac Vaseur on the 12th; the Grand Rapide near the mouth of the Saskatchewan river on the 14th of June; on the 21st of June they reached Norway House.

On Thursday 28th of June, John Charles reported that: "Messrs. Rowand, Harriott, Christine and Simpson started at 2 o'clock this morning for [blank in mss., probably York Factory]. Messrs Lewes and Deschambeult left at 8am., immediately after breakfast, and Mr. Sinclair, Mr. Lockhart and myself embarked in a light canoe at 11 AM. We overtook and passed Mr. Lewis [Lewes] & Co., about sunset. We camped at the Damn." -- Of course, this the express that carried John Lee Lewes and his family away from Fort Colvile!
John Charles' group travelled fast and passed everyone on their way to York Factory, which they reached on Tuesday July 3rd, at 2pm.
They left the place on the 17th, and young Frederick Lewes was listed as a passenger in the outgoing Columbia express.
On August 1st they were at Oxford House; on Tuesday 7th they reached Norway House.
As they left Norway House John Charles listed the passengers as: "Messrs. Rowand and Harriott, Mr. and Mrs. Christie and Messrs Spencer, and Simpson for the Saskatchewan, Messrs. Young, Griffin, Gladman, Logan, young Fraser, Frederick Lewes and myself for Columbia and New Caledonia.
Thomas Lowe is not here, and so we do not have a good record of what happened at Moose Encampment.

They sailed across the top end of treacherous Lake Winnipeg and reached the Grand Rapide at half past twelve on Sunday, July 12th.
On the 21st of the month they passed the Cumberland Portage; on September the 1st they were at Carlton House, where "Messrs. Rowand, Young and James Simpson started on horseback for Edmonton a few minutes before our arrival." -- John Rowand had received notice of his wife's death at Edmonton, and was not waiting for the rest of the crew to join him, as was normal.
The last part of his journal is brief and to the point, and it ends abruptly.

"12th, Wednesday. Mr. Harriott, Mr. Griffin, Lewes, Logan and myself went ahead of the brigade after breakfast and arrived at Fort Pitt about 3pm., the boats about an hour afterwards.
"13th, Thursday. the Brigade consisting of nine boats left Fort Pitt this morning about half past eleven. Messrs. Harriott, Young, Griffin and Frederick Lewes are to proceed on horseback across land to Edmonton House.
"14th, Friday. After breakfast all the boats hoisted sail and the wind being light aft we were enabled to come a great distance to day.
"15th, Saturday. Tracking commenced this morning. Beautiful weather.
"16th, Sunday. Fine clear weather.
"17th, 18th, 19th, 20th. We had beautiful dry weather during these four days. Men tracking from morning until night. Passed two camps of Freemen who were camped near the River side. No animals of any sort to be seen."

They must have reached Edmonton House shortly after John Charles made his last entry in the journal.
The expressmen would then have travelled over the portage to Fort Assiniboine, and taken to boats upriver to Jasper's House, which they would have reached in a few weeks.
Obviously, eager to reach home and not interested in keeping up his journal, John Charles continued his journey towards the Columbia River and Fort Vancouver.
But at Moose Encampment, in Athabasca Pass, he was killed -- supposedly by the accidental firing of a gun.
The story continues in various official and personal reports, below:

The opening shot in this part of the story comes from Anderson's son, James, when many years after the event he refers to a letter written by John Lee Lewes to Anderson in July 1850:
"The reference Mr. Lewis [sic] makes to the tragic death of young Charles happened in this way. John Charles, a brother of the late William Charles, was in 1849 coming over with a party to join the Company at Fort Vancouver, and one evening in camp on the Rocky Mountains a certain Mr. Young, an American, who had obtained permission to accompany the party, whilst displaying his gun, of which he was rather proud and it is said which he handled in quite an inexperienced manner, accidentally discharged it, the full charge entering John Charles' body killing him instantly."
Young James was at Fort Colvile with his father, and he would have been one of the first persons to have heard the story of Charles' death.

John Lee Lewes' son, Frederick, travelled as a passenger in the returning 1849 brigade [but not working for the fur trade] and so was in Moose Encampment when Young shot Charles.
The adult Lewes had travelled with John Charles in the outgoing express to York Factory, and wrote to Anderson after hearing the news of Charles' death: "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...." (Mss. 559, vol. 1, folder 6, BCA).

In March 1850 Peter Skene Ogden wrote to Governor Simpson on the accident: "It is with much regret I have to communicate to you the melancholy end of Mr. John Charles when in charge of the Express at Moose Encampment in the Rocky Mountain Portage. Every particular connected with his tragical end is now forwarded (see no. 2). Permit me however to remark that the expression made use of by the unfortunate Mr. Charles after receiving the shot has not been satisfactorily explained to me and leaves an unpleasant impression on my mind nor did Mr. Young in my presence evince any feeling of regret. In the death of Mr. John Charles the fur trade has lost a most promising young man -- this sad catastrophe occasioned some delay and it was not until the 19th November that the express reached this."

Whatever really happened in that Rocky Mountain camp is written down in that enclosure to Peter Skene Ogden's letter, now separated from the letter itself.
What did young John Charles say as he lay dying?
Why did the American, Mr. Young, express no regret at this so-called "accidental" shooting?
Ogden knew something we do not -- I wonder what it was.
Whatever we do or do not uncover about this story, it does leave behind the suspicion that there was more to the "accident" than we know.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Thomas Charles, HBC

I finished my last posting with a promise of three interesting stories about three brothers, all carrying the last name Charles.
The first of these brothers -- or supposed brothers -- is Thomas, who took over the running of the Thleuz-cuz post from young William Todd in December 1844.
Some of you will be wondering where the Thleuz-cuz post stood -- it was constructed north west of Fort Alexandria and stood at the lake that is today called Kluskoil Lake, on the Blackwater River.
According to the Gazetteer of Canada: British Columbia (Canadian Board on Geographical Names), Kluskoil Lake is an expansion of the West Road River -- also called the Blackwater River -- and lies southwest of Titetown Lake in the Cariboo district, under the hill called Kluskoil Knoll.
(You will see below that Bruce McIntyre Watson disagrees with me on the identification of the actual lake -- he may be right. But Alexander Mackenzie visited a lake which had a looming hill to one side; and so this was the lake on which the post was built, I think.)

You may wonder why I say supposed brothers: In his Notes and Comments on Early Days and Events in British Columbia, Washington and Oregon, James Robert Anderson (son of Alexander Caulfield Anderson) noted that Thomas Charles "was a brother of William Charles, both of whom died in Victoria, the former in 1885. John Charles, another brother ... was accidentally killed in the Rocky Mountains in 1849."
Below is what Bruce McIntyre Watson has to say about the three (supposed) brothers in his Lives Lived West of the Divide:

Charles, John Jr., d. 1849, mixed descent
Birth: possibly Athabasca, Alberta. Born to John Charles and Jane Auld
Death: Moose Encampment in the Rocky Mountain Portage, October 1849
Being the son of an HBC officer, John Charles joined the HBC in 1846 on a five year apprenticeship contract. He started at Norway House and made his way overland to Fort Vancouver where he worked for two outfits before being accidentally shot on October 21, 1849, at Moose Encampment while in charge of the express.

Charles, Thomas, c.1825-1885, mixed descent
Birth, Split Lake, Ruperts Land, c. 1825
Death: Victoria, April 1885
"Careful and thrifty" apprentice clerk Thomas Charles, who joined the HBC in 1843, arrived at Fort Alexandria from England, where he likely received an education, was in charge of the Brigade on November 12, 1844. He replaced William Todd at Fort Fluzkuz (Thleuz-cuz is spelled many different ways in the fur trade records -- who knows which way is correct). He spent his career in New Caledonia and became Chief Trader in outfit 1859-1860. After he retired around 1872, he moved to the James Bay area of Victoria where he lived with his two daughters. He died at around sixty years of age and was buried in the Ross Bay cemetery.

Charles, William, 1831-1903, probably mixed descent
Birth: Ruperts Land, March 1831, to John Charles and Jane Auld
Death: Victoria, May 1903
William Charles, who was born into the fur trade, was sent by his father to be educated at Hill Street School in Edinburgh and, subsequently, Edinburgh University. In 1852, at the age of twenty two he came to the Pacific coast via Panama and for a short time was employed by Breck and Ogden of Portland, Oregon, before joining the HBC on June 14, 1853, as an apprentice clerk. A man known for his integrity, he spent the rest of his career in the Oregon/Western Department and British Columbia from 1858...... I am horrified to discover that Bruce Watson (who knows everything) does not know who William Charles married! His wife was one of the Birnie daughters (sisters to my great-great-grand-mother) and so he is in my family tree. I will have more information on William Charles at a later date.

But in this posting, I am going to be telling you a little about Thomas Charles, who came to replace William Todd at the Thleuz-cuz post.
(I have a little extra information re: William Todd, too, which I did not discover last week -- also a surprise tidbit re: Montrose McGillivray, at the end of the posting).

I don't have a lot of specific information about Thomas Charles, but I can tell you how he appeared to Anderson, using information taken from the Fort Alexandria journals.
With Thomas' probable education in Edinburgh and possible attendance at Edinburgh University (if he was actually a brother of the above boys), he would have been a well educated young man; Anderson would have enjoyed a few discussions with him, I think.

On Saturday November 9th, the York Factory express arrived at Fort Alexandria in the charge of Thomas Charles, "a young man recently from England." On Tuesday Anderson wrote that "Mr. Charles, wt Marineau, Atla (as guide) and the man Delonais to Thleuz-cuz; at which place Mr. C. will relieve Mr. Todd..."
Delonais returned to the fort on Friday 15th, and Anderson writes: "Delonais, the man who accompanied Mr. Charles, cast up. He states that he lost himself 3 days ago, but having succeeded in finding the encampment in the night, he slept there, and next morning was unable to find his horses, which he had hobbled closely."
Winter set in only a few days after Delonais returned to the fort, and the river froze up; storm blew in just after Christmas and no one in the territory moved around at all.
Storm or no, this was not a winter where the fur traders experienced extreme cold, and so I believe that Charles would have found life at Thluez-cus quite comfortable.
It cleared up after the New Year, and on Sunday 5th January, 1845, Vautrin arrived from Thleuz cuz with the accounts of the post.

There is no mention of the Thleuz-cuz post and Thomas Charles until, in March 1845, Anderson engages "Olivier Laferte for 2 years, Thleuz-cuz wages at 19 pounds with 3 pounds as fisherman, the same terms as his last engagement. He has a special understanding that he shall winter at Alexr. or Theluz-cuz; and I have promised him his liberty at the end of his contract..."
So this is one of the men who would have joined Thomas Charles at Thleuz-cuz, and I think he had already been there when Charles arrived -- this tells us, too, that those employed at the Thleuz-cuz post received extra wages for accepting that isolated posting.
On March 24th, 1845, Michel Ogden with Laframboise (Indian labourer)... "set out for Thleuz-cuz to transport hither the furs that may be on hand there."
In April there are some pages missing in the journal, but immediately after the gap the record continues with: "... with Mr. Charles arrangements, who seems throughout to have acted with prudence and discretion, but he was, of course, being a stranger in the District, ignorant of the limited resources which the country, at best, affords. Considering everything the returns (being procured from some 8 or 10 Inds. only) are good. the martens especially are remarkably fine, excelling much those of Alexandria; and all the furs are extremely well stretched and dressed."
Thomas Charles had come to Fort Alexandria with his furs, and left again on Monday, April 7th: "Mr. Charles, accompanied by his Inds., set out on his return to Thleuz-cuz. He has passed a few days here to recruit from the fatigue & privation which they suffered on the way. Nothing new occurs. A couple of geese killed."
In June 1845, "Today Liard arrived from Thleuz-cuz. The accounts thence are satisfactory. 125 martens with other furs have been procured there since last month..."
On Thursday, June 3rd: ""Michel Ogden... will then diverge & with Laframboise proceed to Thleuz-cuz with a supply (10 lbs.) of tobacco for the trade there, of which they appear to be much [in] need."

There are many gaps in the Fort Alexandria journal, and after the next gap (which covers most of the summer months) we learn that Thomas Charles is at Fort Alexandria.
The new journal starts in the middle of a sentence, in September 1845: "..rapid. Mr. Charles horses are not yet assembled but he will start tomorrow morning taking with him a couple of light loads of salmon & some trifles for the trade &c &c."
On Wednesday October 8th: "Laferte, Ignace, Wentrel & Baptiste LaPierre & Laframbois (Indn) are preparing to set out with the Thleuz-cuz outfit tomorrow."
(To save some confusion, there were two men named Laframboise at Fort Alexandria -- one a French Canadian, the other a Native.)
These men appear to have remained at Thleuz-cuz, as on November 1st: "Ignace arrived, bringing letters from Mr. Charles, by which every thing is going on satisfactory at Thleuz-cuz. To my surprise (for at first I took it for granted that Ignace had left the other people close at hand) I find that he left them early this morning -- and they have not yet cast up. I am highly displeased at this irregularity -- and the more so since Wentrel is by no means a trustworthy character."
In fact, when the men turned up they were short two packs of furs, and everyone was sent out to look for them. "It was found lying in the road -- the horse having broken his girths and followed the party light without their perceiving the loss, till they arrived at the encampment. A More shamefully negligent thing to all concerned I have never met with."
The fur trade was having great difficulty attracting good men at this time, and of course any man who appeared to be a reasonable worker was snatched up by the posts in the east -- York Factory and Norway House.
New Caledonia received the worst of the new engages, and those with the worst attitudes. In later years they sometimes received no new men at all!

There is hardly a peep out of Thomas Charles or the Thleuz-cuz post the following winter.
However, the next mention of him also gives us a little more information about William Todd, mentioned in the previous posting.
On Monday March 16th, 1846, Anderson wrote: "Chilly. Wind variable NW & N, wt occasional sleet falling. Yesterday afternoon the retiring servants (5 in number) cast up; bringing the intelligence that the packet box for the East side, with all the ac/s & letters, had been lost by Mr. William Todd in the Ile. de Pierre Rapids (above Fort George), he through some unfortunate accident having suffered train [?] and everything on it to fall into the water. It appears that Mr. Todd returned forthwith to S. Lake to give intimation of this disaster, while the servants came on. Under these circumstances I find myself awkwardly situated, without a letter from above -- All I can do is to wait till I hear some further tidings from S. Lake, for of course, Mr. Manson will take prompt measures to send down a duplicate of at least the most important documents. This strange & unlooked for disaster must occasion great inconvenience & delays on all hands."

"Wed. 18th -- This afternoon Mr. William Todd arrived with duplicates of the principal accounts and letters. The party will set out early in the morning, the horses being ready hobbled &c &c. Shortly after, Mr. Charles arrived from Thleuz-cuz. He set out with horses to bring the returns hither; but finding too much snow in the mountains, he has left Vautrin & wife with the packs, and is come for assistance to convey the [latter].
"Thursday 19th -- same weather. Express party off about 8am to encamp at the guard when they will get fresh horses..... Mr. Charles has frozen his foot pretty sharply, and I do not think it prudent to send him back for the furs with the people now sent -- Michel Ogden according sets out in lieu, with 3 lads...."

William Todd: "Friday 27th [March 1846]. Fallardeau & Linneard having come down on Thursday evening, Mr. William Todd, with the former, and the other men (6 in number) set out this morning for Stuarts Lake."
All this is happening as the new fort is being constructed on the top of the hill on the east side of the Fraser River -- on Saturday March 28th, Anderson "took possession of my house on top of the hill; the furs & trading goods are likewise removed to a temporary store there.."
On Tuesday 31st: "Mr. Charles frozen foot being healed he set out on his return today, accompanied by the Indn. who came with him."

Although it had been suggested by Peter Skene Ogden that Thomas Charles take over the charge of Fort Alexandria for the summer, while Anderson was away on his first cross country expedition, it was Michel Ogden who actually looked after the fort.
Charles remained (I presume) at the Thleuz-cuz post for the majority of the summer, or at least until the Natives cease trading their furs.
He is not mentioned at all until Monday, November 2nd, when it appears he has been at Fort Alexandria for the latter part of the summer, at least.
This is what the journal says for that day: "Mr. Charles & Tout Laid set out for the horse-guard, to kill some game & take provisions as they came."
On Thursday 5th: "Mr. Charles returned from his trip below -- unsuccessful, the game being all departed...."
It appears that he is treated as an employee of Fort Alexandria, at least for this period of time, for on Saturday 7th: "Mr. Charles with 4 men off to Stonia to raft down the wood."
It might be that there is little use to work the fur trade at Thleuz-cuz post in the late summer and early fall, as the new furs have not be trapped yet, and the fisheries are finished.

However, though there is no mention of his departure for Thleuz-cuz in the journals, he must have returned.
On Friday May 7th 1847, Alexander Caulfield Anderson wrote in his post journal:
"The brigade set out yesterday; I follow today, having been appointed to conduct an expedition to Fort Langley during the summer. Mr. Thomas Charles will meanwhile remain in charge here; Bapts. Lapierre being sent to conduct the trades at Thleuz-cuz, accompanied by William Davis. Mr. Charles has full instructions in regard to the summer operations."

Anderson returned to Fort Alexandria in September 1847, and Thomas Charles again disappears from the journals, with no mention of where he has gone.
You can see how difficult it is to follow people around this fur trade; you have to read between the lines.
But Anderson tended to write about the men he worried about, so Charles' apparent invisibility indicates the confidence that Anderson had in him.
Thomas Charles is not mentioned again in Anderson's post journals.

So where did he go?
To find his records we must now return to Bruce McIntyre Watson's Lives Lived, which at least tells us where Thomas Charles was supposed to be, according to the fur trade records.
Apprentice Clerk, Fort Alexandria, 1844
Apprentice Clerk at Fort Thleuz-Kuz, 1844-1848
Clerk, Fort Babine [Fort Kilmaurs, on Babine Lake], 1848-1849
Clerk, somewhere in New Caledonia, 1849-1850
Clerk, Fort Alexandria, 1850
Clerk, Fort George [Prince George], 1850-1855
Clerk, somewhere in New Caledonia, 1855-1858
Chief Trader, location unknown in New Caledonia, 1859-1860
Chief Trader, Fort George, 1860-1866
Chief Trader, New Caledonia somewhere, 1866-1872.

Bruce Watson's books also give us a history of the various posts that existed west of the Rocky Mountains.
This is what he has to say of the Thleuz-cuz post -- which he calls Tluz-Cuz Post, noting that it is also called Fluz kuz, Tluzkuss, Tluz-Kuz, Sluz cuz, and Klooskurs.
"Tluz-Cuz on Lake Tluzcuz, seventy miles north of Chilcotin, was a small post that was set up in 1844 to replace the Chilcotin post to intercept beaver that were going to the coast from the Nas-Cotin villages attached to Fort George and Alexandria. It was a uniquely placed high activity centre since the Lake was: "the nucleus where all the surrounding roads unite, being directly on the track followed by Sir Alex. MacKenzie on his way to the extremity of Milbankd Sound...." (HBCA, D.5/8, fo.40-40d)
"Furs were no longer taken to the coast with the closure of Fort McLoughlin in 1843 although tobacco and other goods traded from the Americans on the coast meant that furs were still being traded there. A year after it was established, Forts George and Fraser determined that it was drawing trade away. The Tluz-Cuz post functioned until 1849.
Managers of Tluz-Cuz Post, 1843-1849:
Donald McLean, clerk, 1843-1845 (Donald McLean was in charge of the Chilcotin post and would have sent trading parties north to the lake, where no post was yet built -- NA)
William Todd, 1844-1845
Thomas Charles, 1845-1848
Montrose McGillivray, post master, 1848-1849.

Nest week I will talk about Thomas' supposed brother who died in the Rocky Mountains -- a tragic story and one that is still open to interpretation.
By accident, and only because I was reading the Fort Vancouver letters that were written at the time the Charles boy's death occurred, I can tell you the story behind the story.
And strangely enough, this story will lead us back to John Lee Lewes and his son, Frederick (about whom I know almost nothing), and Alexander Caulfield Anderson at Fort Colvile.
And Thomas Lowe, too -- another member of my enormous fur trade family tree.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Doctor William Todd of the HBC

Oddly enough, I believe my next few posts are going to wander around persons we have already talked about recently, and make further connections between them.
When I talked about John Ballenden, I found another connection between him and Alexander Caulfield Anderson, that I had not known of.
Well, actually, the connection was to one of the clerks who worked under Alexander Caulfield Anderson at Fort Alexandria -- and so I will now launch into the story.

In my posting dated Sunday, May 13, 2012, I talked about John Ballenden, who for a year or so was Chief Factor in the Columbia District, replacing Peter Skene Ogden while Ogden took his furlough.
Ballenden was in Red River when his wife, Sarah, was bullied by some British women who were offended that a woman with Native ancestry took precedence over them -- Sarah Ballenden was the mixed-blood wife of the Chief Factor while their husbands were less important in the fur trade society.
I left out part of the story, and so I will now continue it, from Sylvia van Kirk's book, Many Tender Ties; Women in fur-Trade Society, 1670-1870:
Associate Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company, Eden Colvile, arrived in the Fall of 1850 and "did attempt to heal the breach. Since Ballenden himself was convinced of his wife's innocence, the Governor deemed it only fair that she should be reinstated in society and delighted Ballenden by admitting Sarah to the company of his wife. The wives of the lesser Church of England clergy also re-established relations with Mrs. Ballenden. Gradually peace seemed to be returning to the settlement, although it rankled with some that Captain Foss, who was very popular with the English mixed-bloods, had not had the good grace to leave Red River.
"During the months immediately following the trial, the Ballendens lived quietly at Lower Fort Garry where they had removed. Governor Colvile found Mrs. Ballenden's behaviour so discreet and proper that he began to think that the poor woman 'had been more sinned against than sinning.' The parsons and their women ere 'very strait-laced', he declared, and the colony 'a dreadful place for scandal.' When Ballenden decided  that he must go to Britain for medical treatment in the fall of 1850, Colvile favoured his wife by allowing her to remain at the fort; there was no lively mess table at the Lower Fort, but Mrs. Ballenden was to take her meals with the clerk W.D. Lane. The winter arrangements began auspiciously enough, but during December the scandal suddenly blew up again, when an unsigned letter, reputedly from Sarah Ballenden to Captain Foss inviting him to visit her at the fort, was intercepted. Although there was never enough evidence to actually prove it, Foss allegedly managed a discreet two day visit during Colvile's absence. The chagrined Governor, informed of this fact by [Adam] Thom, now felt obliged to cease all association with Mrs. Ballenden. A short time later, the unfortunate woman inextricably incriminated herself by paying a short afternoon visit to the house of retired officer Donald McKenzie, where Foss was living...."

Another resident in Red River, Doctor William Todd, wrote to his friend Donald Ross, (interestingly enough from his residence with was called Foss Cottage, his temporary home -- had Foss finally left Fort Garry?) on June 2nd, 1851: "I left the settlement last summer in a ferment; found it on my return in mainly the same state and from the same cause viz. Mrs. B[allenden] & Captain Foss, there is I fear no doubt of their guilt. I feel for poor B[allenden]. He was devotedly attached to her. This blow will be too much for him to bear, I suspect, [and?] will send him to his way home, as he would get the news before the canoes must leave or perhaps before he left England. I hope he will take some other appointment. He cannot now and ought not come here which I much regret. I have not seen either her [Sarah Ballenden] or the Captain [Foss], he I understanding is concocting all the mischief he can assisted, t'is said, by that old fool the .... with whom he had taken up his quarters for the winter."
Note: I have added punctuation for legibility in this letter.
Another question -- was Donald McKenzie the old fool that he referred to in this letter? I guess he was...

Anyway, I am not talking about Donald McKenzie, but I am interested in Doctor William Todd, who has a connection with the Columbia District, and whose son worked under Alexander Caulfield Anderson at Fort Alexandria for a short time.

The Hudson's Bay Record Society has a very cut and dried biography of Dr. William Todd:
"William Todd, an Irishman, appears to have been born about 1784. He entered the HBC service as a surgeon in 1816, proceeding to York Factory in the Company's ship Prince of Wales. He was first employed at Cumberland House until 1818, when he was appointed surgeon at the Red River Colony. In 1819-20 he was employed at Fort Wedderburn, Athabaska, returning to Europe by the ship Eddystone from York Factory in the latter year. On his return to North America in 1821 he was appointed clerk and surgeon at Lower Red River until 1822, when his services were transferred to York Factory, where he remained until 1827. He was subsequently employed as a surgeon in the Columbia district for two years until 1829, when he was placed in charge of the Upper Red River district with headquarters at Brandon House. During 1831-32 he remained in charge of the same district, residing at Fort Ellice. In 1833 he was appointed in temporary charge at Red River owing to the ill-health of Chief Factor Donald McKenzie, and was then given charge of the Swan River district with headquarters at Fort Pelly, where he remained from 1835 to 1843. During 1843-44 Todd was granted furlough and went to Europe. In 1844, he was appointed in charge of Severn in the York district, and in 1845 he resumed his former charge at Fort Pelly, where he remained until 1851, with the exception that he was granted furlough during 1849-50. In 1851 he was again granted furlough and he died on 22 December of that year. He was promoted to Chief Trader in 1831.

Dr. William Todd was a man to take note of, and in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography is described as having a "reputation as a clever, attentive doctor who was extremely scrupulous on points of honor and etiquette. He was not, however considered particularly useful as a trader..... As a doctor, however, he was probably the most famous surgeon in the west before 1850." Todd dealt with a mysterious illness at York Factory -- an illness that had appeared every year at the place, affecting in particular the officers at the fort. Unhappily for all concerned he contracted the illness himself, and left the fort so weakened that the sickness affected his health the rest of his life. However, his treatment of the illness stopped its annual recurrance, though his records do not indicate what the sickness might have been nor what his treatment actually was. Too bad -- historians would like to know what this sickness might have been.

This is what Bruce McIntyre Watson has to say about Dr. William Todd in his book, Lives Lived West of the Divide -- and to my surprise he did not connect the Doctor with William Todd Jr., who worked under Alexander Caulfield Anderson:
Todd, William; Irish
Birth, Ireland, c.1784
Death: Red River Settlement, December 22, 1851
HBC, surgeon and clerk, Coastal Trade, 1827-28; Surgeon and clerk, Fort Vancouver, 1828-29
Irish born William Todd joined the HBC as a surgeon in 1816. Between 1816 and 1827 he was employed at a variety of posts east of the Rockies and came over with the returning Express in September 1827. After a brief stint in the Columbia District, he returned to the Red River district becoming Chief Trader in 1831. In that year, Simpson thought that because of his lack of French and business knowledge, as well as his drinking habits, he would not go far, but Todd worked with the HBC until his death twenty years later.
William Todd had two wives and six children. He married Marianne between 1830-1835 and had two children. On August 20, 1839, he married Eliz Dennet (d. 1844) and together they had four children. He worked steadily at a variety of posts until he was granted furlough in 1851, dying on December 22 of that year. Four of their children were Albert, Samuel, Elizabeth, and Mary.

With his first wife, Marianne, he had two children as stated above. Marianne died between 1830-1835 at York Factory according to the Denney Paper at Glenbow Archives, Calgary. A daughter, also named Marianne, died in March 1823 at four month; and son William Todd lived to grow up and work in the fur trade west of the mountains. William Todd was described as a large man, standing at 6'3" in height. He built his final home on the Assiniboine River in the Red River settlement -- a 200 acre wheat farm situated at Sturgeon Creek, Manitoba, parish of St. James -- five miles above Upper Fort Garry.

This is an aside, of a sort: I have a copy of a letter that Dr. William Todd wrote after he left the Columbia district -- and for those descendants of the Ermatingers, the Works and the Birnies that I regularly talk to, I will put a little bit of this letter in this posting -- of course you all know that James Birnie mentioned in this letter is my great-great-grandfather!
"York Factory, 15th July 1829
"Dear Edward [Ermatinger];
"You will I believe not be much surprised at my replying to your esteemed favours from this place where I arrived the 5th July after the usual agreeable journey across the mountains. As you will naturally be anxious to hear the news from your old quarter (Fort Vancouver) I shall without further ceremony commence altho aware these will be more fully detailed by Frank [Ermatinger] and our old friend [John] Work both of whom I left in good health, the latter particularly sore at the late promoting and Frank talking as loud as ever, by the by he appears a favourite with the great man [Dr. McLoughlin].
"You had hardly left Vancouver when we were put on the alert by Indian reports (of the capture of Fort Langley and massacre of W. McMillan and party) it is needless to say without there being any foundation for them, nevertheless the Doctor took it much to heart and so far credited it that Mr. [James] Birnie was prepared to follow your express with the dismal news when it was contradicted. Nothing again of moment occurred till the arrival of the Brigade from the Interior casualties on their way down, three were drrowned at the lower part of the Priests Rapids a key of Castorium and some dressed skins lost, Bostonves [Bostonais] was in the boat and had a narrow escape...."[MS2716, BCA]

A number of Dr. Todd's sons joined the fur trade, and one of them was his eldest boy, also called William. Here is his work record from the Hudson's Bay Company, with new information on his mother, at least -- I have added information from other sources too:
Todd, William Jr.
Parents: Dr. William Todd and Marianne Treathly/Ballentyne
Born at York Factory in 1823, baptised Sept. 7, 1823 at St. John's Cathedral (where?)
Entered HBC's Service, 1841
1841-1842, Apprentice postmaster, Swan River
1842-1843, Apprentice Postmaster, General Charges, Columbia
1843-1844, appointed Apprentice Postmaster, Nez Perces, Columbia
1844-1845, Apprentice Postmaster, Thompson River, Columbia
1845-1847, In charge, Fraser's Lake, New Caledonia, Columbia
1847-1848, Postmaster, disposable, Columbia
1848-1864, Clerk in charge, Connolly's Lake, New Caledonia, Columbia
1865, Freeman, Red River Settlement
Wife: Sarah Jane Johnstone, marriage in 1849 while he was at Connolly's Lake?
2nd wife: Fanny Anne Hourie, married 1868

Now, let us go to the Fort Alexandria journals, and find out what Alexander Caulfield Anderson had to say about his employee, William Todd.
As you already know, Anderson arrived at Fort Alexandria in November, 1842, when Donald McLean was in charge of the Chilcotin post, and Thleuz-cuz Lake was served only by the occasional derouine party.
In April 1844, William Todd arrives at Fort Alexandria:

"Tues. 30th -- Occasional showers. Finished planting our potatoes, say about 60 bus. in all -- at farm and in the vicinity of the fort & little river. The [outgoing] brigade only got to the Terre Blanche today. They have been detaining owing to two missing horses. In the evening Mr. Wm. Todd arrived from Kamloops with a letter from Mr. [John] Tod sent. It appears that in consequence of a rumour among the natives that the natives about Lac Vert [Green Lake] meditated molesting us, he had thought it expedient to send a reinforcement consisting of Mr. T & 4 men, to assist the brigade. [So William Todd was working at Kamloops post at this time].....
"Wed. 1st May -- Fine with occasional showers, but very little rain falls and we are a good deal in want of rain. Young Mr. Todd went off to rejoin the brigade. Ground a few bushels grain for immediate use. The mill is now to undergo repair. Lenniard occupied at garden. Others variously."
So that's it for a little while...

On Monday May 27th, Anderson's clerk recorded that: "Morning cloudy. Mr. Anderson accompanied by Lapierre, M[ichel] Ogden & an Indian started for Thluz-kuz...."
Anderson returned a week or so later, as recorded in the Fort Alexandria journal -- "Thursday 6th [June] -- Weather as yesterday. Employments the same. About 16 hrs. PM Mr. Anderson & party arrived from Thleuz-cuz via Chilcotins and at 5pm. Mr. Porteus arrived from Fort George."
Anderson writes later that same day that: "I returned on 6th inst. from a visit to Thleuz-cuz. My journey to that place occupied 5 days and my return (by way of Chilcotins) 4 1/2. The object of my visit, besides trading the furs on hand there, was to examine the place, preparatory to the adoption of steps for forming a permanent establishment there, in accordance with Mr. C. F. Ogdens letter of instruction to me. I had an interview with a large party of Nichaotins, who, in common with other inhabitants of the vicinity were assembled at Thleu-cuz celebrating a feast. The results, as far as words go, was very encouraging, and it remains to be proved in how far the future will realize the present promise...."

In a letter to Governor Simpson, Anderson reported that: "The post of Thleuz-cuz was established in September; and I am happy to inform you is doing extremely well...." At the same time, the Fort Alexandria journals of September 1844 tell us that, on the 26th of the month: "I sent off Laframboise & Baptiste Lolo to Thuz-cus (see letter this date). They are taking back the horses & apres that remained there owing to the fatigue of the former. I have written Mr. Todd upon various points as per letter. That gent is young and inexperienced and I am therefore (perhaps uselessly) uneasy in a high degree about the enterprise entrusted to him. I am anxious for the arrival of the Gentle[men] expected by express, in the hope that one of greater experience may then be at my disposal."
So sometime over the rain-filled summer of 1844 when water smeared many pages of the Fort Alexandria journals, making them unreadable, young William Todd arrived at Fort Alexandria to take over the running of the Thleuz-cuz post, established in September on Thleuz-cuz Lake on the Blackwater River.
If he was born in 1823, young William Todd is only 21 years old in 1844, and he is placed in charge of a tiny post on an isolated lake in the middle of nowhere -- a daunting situation indeed, for someone so young!

On November 12th, Anderson wrote in the Fort Alexandria post journals that: "The YK express arrived on Sat'y in charge of Mr. Thos. Charles, a young man recently from England. Three servants (new hands) with Marineau & Tout-laid. Yesterday forenoon they were sent off as per letter at end viz. Cadotte, with 2 pork-eaters, by the river for S[tuart's] Lake, with the letters, Mr. Charles with Marineau, Atla (as guide) and the man Delonais to Thleuz-cuz; at which place Mr. C[harles] with relieve Mr. Todd, who will thence proceed, accomapnied by Delonais to S[tuart's] Lake, as per letter. They take on 6 bags flour for the post, which coupled with the fishery they will doubtless have made (since we have no intimation to the contrary), will enable them, I trust, to pass a comfortable winter."

But on Monday, November 18th [1844], Anderson received a letter from Mr. Todd, which he noted in the post journal: "Today [a] very great surprise!" he wrote. "Vautrin cast up from Thleuz-cuz, having a letter from Mr. Todd dated 17th inst. notifying that the [fall] fishery [failed and] that he had killed a horse (Rapide) some time previously for food, and now trusts entirely upon what I am [sending] by Marineau. I cannot conceal my chagrin at this extraordinary instance of improvidence. In my instructions [of] September I had notified that about the 10th November I should send a party with some [further] necessaries for the Post (meaning a supply of flour &c) -- but nothing whatever was said to me that I should furnish any provisions, as I was in hope that their fisheries would suffice. But in the face of this understanding Mr. Todd delays notifying to me the failure of his fisheries until this late season, when I am unprovided with the means of conveying assistance to him (and at the best, his letter is dated 2 days after the proposed departure of Marineau.) Had he sent to me (which he could have done with equal, if not greater facility) 3 weeks ago, I could then have sent a good supply of provisions  by Marineau."

There is of course a page ripped out here, and the next entry is in December 1844. On the 3rd of that month, Anderson reports that: "This evening the party from Thleuz-cuz arrived, their 9th day thence. Mr. Todd is with them, having been [intended] to proceed direct to Stuart's Lake, owing to Delainais' absence -- the cause of detention was their having waiting at Thleuz-cuz till Vautrin arrived there. They have brought the furs that were on hand, consisting of about 30 beavers, 75 martins, & other furs..... Upon the whole, while I am well satisfied with the trade and prospects of the post, I must confess that I do not approve of the arrangements which have led to this confusion and inconvenience, which by a little forethought on Mr. Todd's part, and some additional care, might have been altogether avoided. Without wishing to be captious, I am constrained to say this much."

And on Tuesday the 10th of December, Anderson wrote: "Mr. Todd (whom I had delayed a few days to permit the ice to consolidate a little) set out today with Delonais for Fort George [Prince George, BC]. I have given them Hunna [a Native guide] at the expense of a capot [blanket-coat] to guide them to Fort George as being both ignorant of the country & the dangers of the river, I considered it unsafe to let them go unattended....." And so, young William Todd left Fort Alexandria and will probably not appear in Anderson's journals again.

So. Thomas Charles took over the running of the Thleuz-cuz post, and he remained there for a number of years and did a really good job. And so I come to a very interesting family with three brothers, all with stories of their own and all connected with Alexander Caulfield Anderson!
Stories of people like this making history interesting.
These are the stories I enjoy telling.

The Indian trail around the mountain North of Yale

On May 13, 2012, I wrote about Elton Alexander Anderson's view of his grandfather's journey up the Fraser River with the incoming 1848 brigade.
I will now include Alexander Caulfield Anderson's own description of his downriver passage around that bluff in 1847, directly from his journals found in the British Columbia Archives.
We will begin before he reaches that last canyon bridge, and follow him though the journey as he climbs the cliffs from the Anderson River to the top of Lake Mountain:

We "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 little to the right Fraser's River is again seen winding below.
"Mr. [Montrose] McGillivray being taken unwell, [we] abandoned the intention of proceeding down to the river, and we are encamped on the brow of the mountain. Around us are a few patches of snow."

At this place they are at the top of the mountain above the winding Black Canyon, and Hell's Gate canyon is just north of their position. If you visit Hell's Gate, take a good look at the mountain directly east of the place! That's the mountain that the 1848 brigade passed over -- twice!

"I struck off the road to take a birds-eye view of a rapid which obstructs the navigation near this spot and which is said not to be practicable at this season. Judging from the agitated appearance of the stream as seen from our elevated position, this rapid is a succession of dangerous whirlpools, apparetnly unnavigable, and I am informed unavoidable by portage. It resembles some of the Columbia rapids in the dale-like formation of the banks, and there seemed to me to be little facility for putting out the line. But the Indians say that it loses its dangerous character at a lower stage of the water."

In this last paragraph, I believe that dale-like must be "dalle-like" -- Dalle being a French word used in the fur trade for canyons such as this. Though the Natives do not indicate to Anderson that there is a trail made of boards through this canyon, there must apparently be one -- this is the canyon where Simon Fraser actually came downriver on the Natives' deerskin and rope trails. Hence there is an error in my book which will be corrected in the next edition -- but I am happy to tell you that these trails also existed at the bluff just south of Yale, and their presence is recorded in Alexander Caulfield Anderson's journal. Read on!

"May 27. Set out at 3 1/4 am and descended the hill in a slanting direction to the village of Kequeloose upon Fraser's River which spot we reach after two hours of slow travelling."
As you know, the village of Kequeloose stood about where Alexandra Lodge now stands, just north of the east end of the Alexandra Bridge that crosses the Fraser at Spuzzum.

"The track may be easily improved and by making an occasional circuit a good horse road may be constructed. From Kequeloose it took us 2 1/2 hours to reach Spuzzum [village], the ferry proposed by [the Sto:lo chief] Pahallak, a distance of about 6 miles.
"The country is very rough and much labor with many painful circuits would be necessary to complete a road anywise practicable for horses. There is a village upon the right bank of the river at the mouth of a stream issuing from the direction of Lillooet mountains [to the West].
"Procured a canoe and after some delay succeeded in crossing [the Fraser River, at the Spuzzum Native village]. At this season both the nature of the banks and the strength of the water preclude the practicability of a horse ferry upon a large scale, nor is there a spot near suitable for this purpose.
"Seeing thus that the plan proposed, of which the ferry in question was an essential condition, was rendered void, I determined on ascertaining whether the navigation in the direction of the falls was so bad as I was led to believe, for the information I had recently received from the Indians induced me to hope that a means of overcoming the obstacle, by portage and otherwise, might possibly be devised.
"Accordingly I despatched Mr. McGillivray to pass the party by the land track marked on Pahallak's sketch, while with [Edouard] Montigny and some Indians I proceeded in a course by the river. In 35 minutes we reached the head of the Falls, running a small rapid by the way.
"Several hours after the party arrived, Mr. McGillivray reporting very unfavourably of the road. We are now encamped upon a rocky eminence about 2/3 of the distance down the rapids. I subjoin the conclusion at which I am arrived after as careful an examination of the navigation down to this point, as it has been in my power to afford.
"The rapids extend at the present stage of the water, with intervals of navigable space, for a distance of about 3 miles, confined in some parts between lofty walls of rock. This is the case at the first stage where the width of the stream is contacted to 100 yds. or less. In other parts the shores are shelving with broken rocks or smooth rocky surfaces.
"On both sides wherever the nature of the shores will by possibility admit of their erection, are numerous scaffolds upon which the natives suspend their salmon to dry, at the proper season.
"The first stage of the rapid above alluded to might be run waded, being at present free of material danger. Its ascent would be less feasible from the difficulty of putting out a line. But in either direction there is every facility on the right hand side for carrying both boats and cargo by the portage, 630 paces in length, used by the Natives for the purpose.
"It is unexceptionable in all respects, passing through a small valley behind the confining rampart of rock. A couple of hundred yards lower down is the second stage, and to effect this there is likewise great facility. The third stage is formed by a rocky island in the middle of the river, where a portage over a rocky point upon the right shore is again quite practicable. Below this we are encamped.

"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 is necessary at the present stage of water. This portage passes over a point and is apparently favourable in all respects. This is the lowest rapid of the series save one which is unworthy of notice, and having now examined the whole, I have no hesitation in pronouncing my opinion that they are far from presenting any insurmountable obstacle to our progress even at the present high stage of the water. At the worst their difficulties when united do not exceed those of the Dalles and Chutes of the Columbia combined.

"After passing the rapids the pathway led along a dangerous causeway of cedar boards connecting the several projecting points of the precipice. Shortly afterwards we crossed a stream close by which is the first village of the Schince, or Lest, tribe."

This journal is a copy of his original journal which has not been found, by me at least. At this point in the copy, Alexander Caulfield Anderson added a note, which said: "This is where Fort Yale now stands." And so, he leaves little doubt that the Native trail above Fort Yale is made of the same materials that Simon Fraser found in Hell's Gate and Black Canyons to the north.

I had a wonderful description of this trail which I used in the book, written by the gold-miners in 1858. I am looking for it, and when I locate this description, I will add it in here so that you will have more information. You might have to wait for it as it is proving hard to find, but I am reorganizing all the papers I have here for the next book, and it will eventually be uncovered!

Thanks for your patience.