1. For examples see John Warren Dease, Memorandum Book, 1829, MS, entry for October 9, 1829, in The Public Archives of Canada, Ottawa (hereafter cited as PAC); Lowe, Private Journal, MS, 17, 40, 48. The term "Big House" was quite generally used to name the manager's or chief factor's residence at posts throughout the H.B.C. territories.
3. Herbert Beaver, Reports and Letters of Herbert Beaver, 1836-1838, Chaplain to the Hudson's Bay Company and Missionary to the Indians at Fort Vancouver, edited by Thomas E. Jessett (Portland, Oregon, 19 59, 2, 120.
4. Testimony of J. L. Meek, in Br. & Am. Joint Comm., Papers, [VII], 86; William Fraser Tolmie, "Journal of William Fraser Tolmie 1833," in Washington Historical Quarterly, III (July, 1912), 234; Emmons, Journal, MS, entry for July 25, 1841.
12. This fact is clearly demonstrated by the words of Clerk Francis Ermatinger, who in 1838 announced to his brother Edward, who had been stationed at Fort Vancouver prior to the building of the new fort, the completion of a new residence for Dr. McLoughlin. "The old House you know," he wrote, "and could appreciate the accommodation it afforded you, and you may suppose that it could not be much bettered by removal from the Hill to where it at present stands." Francis Ermatinger to Edward [Ermatinger], Colvile, March 19, 1838, in Ermatinger, Letters, MS, . Actually the first Big House had been dismantled by March 19, 1838, but Ermatinger, at distant Colvile, was not aware of the fact.
18. John Kirk Townsend, Narrative of a Journey Across the Rocky Mountains, to the Columbia River . . . . (Reuben Gold Thwaites ed., Early Western Travels, vol. XXI, Cleveland, Ohio, 1905), 297-298; J. K. T.[ownsend] to [?], Washington, January 26, 1843, in OHQ, IV (December, 1903), 399-402; J. K. Townsend, "Private Journal," in Archer Butler Hulbert, ed., The Call of the Columbia: Iron Men and Saints Take the Oregon Trail (Overland to the Pacific, IV, [Denver], 1934), 226.
23. Gray, A History of Oregon, 149; Narcissa Whitman to Samuel Parker, Vancouver, October 25, 1836, in Archer Butler Hulbert and Dorothy Printup Hulbert, eds., Marcus Whitman, Crusader, Part One 1802 to 1839 (Overland to the Pacific, vol. VI, [Denver], 1936), 240-242.
26. For mentions of such hospitality, see Hulbert, The Call of the Columbia, 186; Samuel Parker, Journal of an Exploring Tour Beyond the Rocky Mountains . . . in the years 1835, '36, and '37 . . . (2nd ed., Ithaca, N . Y., 1840), 145.
34. Caywood, Final Report, 7, 15-16; J. J. Hoffman, Memorandums to Chief, Archeological Investigations, Western Service Center, NPS, Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, July 1, October 1, December 30, 1971, Ms.
55. For references to David McLoughlin's visits to the fort and his occupation during 1845, see Lowe, Private Journal, MS, 9, 21, 24, 30-31. David left Vancouver early in December, 1845, to escort his widowed sister, Mrs. William G. Rae, back from California.
56. Burt Brown Barker, The McLoughlin Empire and Its Rulers, Doctor John McLoughlin, Doctor David McLoughlin, Marie Louise (Sister St. Henry) . . . . (Northwest Historical Series, V, Glendale, California: The Arthur H. Clark Company, 1959), 132-140. David was born on February 11, 1821.
57. For mentions of visits by Mrs. Ermatinger, wife of Chief Trader Francis Ermatinger, see Lowe, Private Journal, MS, 11, 13, 17, 18, 30. The Ermatinger daughter was born on June 3, 1843. She was called Fanny by her family. Mrs. Ermatinger lived with the McLoughlins before her marriage in 1842, and it can be presumed that she continued to do so during subsequent visits. For information on Fanny Ermatinger, see Ermatinger, Letters MS, 161 , 175 -176 71867; and Harriet D. Munnick, "The Ermatinger Brothers, Edward and Francis," in LeRoy R. Hafen, ed., The Mountain Men and the Fur Trade of the Far West, VIII (Glendale, California: The Arthur H. Clark Company, 1971), 166-167.
68. In later years W. H. Gray, after describing the enlargement of the stockade enclosure which he said was under way in 1836, wrote: "All the houses were covered with boards in a similar manner in the new quarters." Gray, A History of Oregon, 150.
72. Report of a board of officers, Port Vancouver, January 23, 1854, in Br. & Am. Joint Comm., Papers, [IX], 104-106; proceedings of a board of officers, Fort Vancouver, June 15, 1860, in ibid., 75-77. The names of the several chief factors and members of the Board of Management who lived at Fort Vancouver after 1846 are not of immediate concern for this study. For details see Hussey History of Fort Vancouver, 93-96.
76. Silas Holmes, Journal kept by Assistant Surgeon Silas Holmes during a Cruise in the U. S. Ship Peacock and Brigs Porpoise and Oregon, 1838. . . 1842 Exploring Expedition, MS, II, 306, in Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.
79. For a discussion of the origin and date of this picture see above in the chapter on the stockade. Since the water color apparently shows the veranda across the front of the Big House as complete, the date of the drawing perhaps can be narrowed to between about September 2, 1846, and May 3, 1847. To be strictly accurate, the water color in the Hudson's Bay Company Archives is not Goode's original painting but a copy of it made in or about 1928. Mrs. Joan Craig (Archivist, H.B.C.) to J. A. Hussey, London, March 22, 1972. However, in order to distinguish this water color copy from other photographic and printed copies, it is for convenience referred to as the "original" water color in this report. The true original water color evidently still is in the possession of the Goode family. A photograph of this true original sketch is reproduced as plate XI of the present report, through the kindness of Mrs. Joan Craig, Archivist, and with the permission of the Hudson's Bay Company. The writer is also indebted to Mrs. Craig for the information on the histories of the copies of the sketch and for biographical data on Lieutenant (later Vice-Admiral) T. P. Goode.
84. The Fort Vancouver inventory was printed in Br. & Am. Joint Comm., Papers, [II], 118-119; and in T. C. Elliott, "British Values in Oregon, 1847," in Oregon Historical Quarterly, XXXII (March, 1931), 34-35.
87. Louis R. Caywood, Excavations at Fort Vancouver, 1948 Season (mimeographed, [San Francisco]: United States, Department of the Interior, National Park Service, ), 6-7, and map, sheet 1. No traces of these interior wooden features remained when archeologists reexcavated the site in 1971.
89. J. J. Hoffman, Memorandum to Chief of Archeological Investigations, San Francisco Field Office, Denver Service Center, NPS, Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, December 30, 1971, MS, in files, Denver Service Center.
90. J. J. Hoffman, Memorandum to Chief of Archeological Investigations, Western Service Center, NPS, Fort Vancouver NHS, September 1, 1971, MS, in files, WSC. Evidently significant remains of these sills were found only along the west wall of the house; another, shorter, section of apparent sill was found along the south wall site. Interview, J. A. Hussey with J. J. Hoffman and L. Ross, Fort Vancouver NHS, February 23, 1972.
93. J. J. Hoffman, Memorandum to Chief of Archeological In vestigations, Western Service Center, NPS, Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, July 1, 1971, MS, in files, Western Service Center; interview, J. A. Hussey with J. J. Hoffman and L. Ross, Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, February 23, 1972.
94. J. J. Hoffman, Memorandum to Chief of Archeological Investigations, San Francisco Field Office, Denver Service Center, NPS, Fort Vancouver NHS, December 30, 1971, MS, in files, Denver Service Center; interview, J. A. Hussey with J. J. Hoffman and L. Ross, Fort Vancouver NHS, February 23, 1972.
96. Popular histories sometimes speak of the two large fireplaces which, together with a Highland piper, graced the Fort Vancouver dining hall. For an example see Mae Reed Porter and Odessa Davenport, Scotsman in Buckskin: Sir William Drummond Stewart and the Rocky Mountain Fur Trade (New York: Hastings House, Publishers, 1963), 91-92. The present writer has been unable to find any authentic basis for such flights of fancy.
102. H.B.C., Account Books, Fort Vancouver, 1844-1845 [Abstract, Cost and Charges of Goods Received], H.B.C.A., B.223/d/158, MS, 120. Of course, not all the shingles mentioned above were used at Fort Vancouver; some were exported.
103. W. H. Gray, A History of Oregon, 150. Apparently the standard width of a plank or deal in England and Canada was nine inches. Whether this practice was followed at Fort Vancouver is not known. It is unlikely that Gray actually measured the roof planks in 1836. For a discussion of Canadian lumber dimensions see Barker, Letters of Dr. John McLoughlin, 351.
104. Personal observation of surviving H.B.C. structures at Fort Langley, Fort St. James, Lower Fort Garry, and other posts, supplemented by Douglas Leechman, Notes and Comments on Hudson's Bay Company Trading Posts in the Mid-nineteenth Century, Extracted from the Literature (typescript, 1958), section on doors, p. , citing H.B.C.A., B.226/b/16, fol. 46.
105. See plates LXI and LXII. Another chief factor's house door, that at Fort Edmonton, is shown in Thompson, Grand Portage National Monument, Great Hall, illustration 24. It should be noted, however, that all of these photographs were taken in relatively late years and that the doors shown may not have been installed at the times the buildings were erected.
107. The photograph of the original Coode water color drawing of 1846-1847 and the water color copy of that drawing now in the Hudson's Bay Company Archives both show what appears to be the front door of the Big House at the extreme right of the pictures (see plate XI). Unfortunately, in the reproductions of the water color copy appearing as plate XII in this report and printed in The Beaver, Outfit 301 (Autumn, 1970) the right edge has been trimmed so that this feature cannot be seen. However, if this feature is in fact a door, then the Coode sketch shows only two front windows to the left of the door, and it does not show the half window of 1860 at all. The present writer is unable to account for these apparent discrepancies between the Coode drawing and the 1860 photographs.
108. Shutter latches and other hardware found during archeological excavations at Fort Vancouver will provide patterns for use in reconstruction. Shutter hardware seemingly identical to that used at Fort Vancouver may be seen on the old Catholic church at St. Paul, Oregon. Information from Mr. Lester Ross.
109. Isaac Cowie, The Company of Adventurers: A Narrative of Seven Years in the Service of the Hudson's Bay Company during 1867-1874 on the Great Buffalo Plains . . . (Toronto, 1913), 211. For Outfit 1838 the Columbia Department requisition called for 3 hundredweight of black paint, 1 of green, 3 of white, 2 of yellow, and 1 of blue. Evidently this was liquid paint, since only 75 gallons of linseed oil were ordered. York Factory Indent Books, 1823-1838 H.B.C.A.B239/n/71, MS, fol. 160.
114. Emmons, Journal, MS, entry for July 25, 1841. In a letter of March 19, 1838, Clerk Francis Ermatinger mentioned the completion of the house for "their honors," meaning for the commissioned officers. Ermatinger, Letters, MS, .
115. Beaver, Reports Reports and Letters, Letters 120-121. As has been seen, the Rev. Mr. Beaver's remark that interruptions of his sermons by families entering living quarters from the dining room were reduced in the new Big House but still liable to occur, leaves little room for any interpretation but that the quarters in the new building still opened from the mess room.
116. In 1971 archeological excavations revealed an extra footing in the center of the central ten-foot section of the rear wall foundation. The assumption is that this footing supported an upright post which formed one jamb of the rear door. Such undoubtedly was the case, but probably the jamb would have extended down into the sill whether the door was at ground or main floor level. A door at ground level probably would not have been high enough for convenient use in view of the frequent passage by servants between the kitchen and the mess hall. The archeologists found no evidence near the rear door of the foundations of a stairway which would have been required had the entry been at ground level. Also, the Emmons plan does not show the known cellar door in the west wall, leading to the belief that his diagram showed conditions on the main floor.
117. The most positive statement to this effect from an eyewitness at the time seems to be in Dunn, History of The Oregon Territory, 144. Dunn, a postmaster in the Company's service, left the Columbia Department for England about November 1, 1838, so he could have seen the new Big House, but most of his service at the post was prior to the erection of that structure. H.A.B.S., B.239/l/9, MS, 48.
120. Thomas Jefferson Farnham, Travels in the Great Western Prairies, the Anahuac and Rocky Mountains, and in the Oregon Territory (Poughkeepsie, N. Y., 1841), 195; Roberts, "The Round Hand of George B. Roberts," in OHQ, LXIII (June-September, 1962), 183.
121. Room Layouts in "Big Houses"at Hudson's Bay Company Posts (typescript, [n.p., n.d.]), 5. The largest room, however, was not always the dining room. There is a great bulk of information available concerning the arrangement of rooms in managers' residences at various Company posts, but the above-cited report, with its appendices, covers the subject so adequately that there is no need to treat the matter further here.
Of particular pertinence, however, is the room arrangement of the Great Hall at Fort William, the North West Company's great depot on Lake Superior. Dr. McLoughlin had served at that post, and undoubtedly it helped to form his notions of what a fur-trading post should be. In the Fort William Great Hall the dining room occupied the central position from front to rear, and it was connected by a passageway to a kitchen at the back. Thompson, Grand Portage National Monument Great Hall, plates 17 and 18. For a description of the Great Hall at Fort William see Gabriel Franchere, Adventurers at Astoria, 1810-1814. translated and edited by Hoyt C. Franchere (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1967), 161-163.
124. J. A. Hussey, interview with Historian Robert Clark, Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, February 21, 1972. Mr. Clark states, however, that he has not been able to authenticate this rumor or trace it to any reliable source.
125. Gray, A History of Oregon, 148-151; Narcissa Whitman to Samuel Parker, Vancouver, October 25, 1836, in Archer Butler Hulbert and Dorothy Printup Hulbert, eds., Marcus Whitman, Crusader, Part One, 1802 to 1839 (Overland to the Pacific, vol. VI, [Denver,] 1936), 240-242. The pertinent passages in both of these sources concern an extra dining table which Dr. McLoughlin had erected for the female guests. Gray said this table was placed in the office; Mrs. Whitman said it was in the Doctor's sitting room.
128. The Reverend Herbert Beaver early in 1838 reported that a clerk's wife and three children were living in one room, 15 by 30 feet in size, when another clerk, his wife, and five children were quartered with them, making 11 persons in the same room. Beaver, Reports and Letters, 81-82.
It is also possible that Douglas, as well as McLoughlin, had a separate office in the Big House. See mention of Douglas's "office" in H. S. Lyman, "Reminiscences of F. X. Matthieu," in OHQ, I (March, 1900), 102. However, Matthieu did not make clear in which building the two offices were located.
130. For an example of such a definite statement see D. Geneva Lent, West of the Mountains: James Sinclair and the Hudson's Bay Company (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1963), 154. No source for this statement is cited.
131. John Dunn, The Oregon Territory, and the British North American Fur Trade. With An Account of the Habits and Customs of the Principal Native Tribes on the Northern Continent, Philadelphia: G. B. Zieber & Co., 1845), 102.
134. John Minto, "Reminiscences of Experiences on the Oregon Trail in 1844 II," in OHQ, II (September, 1901), 234-235. For additional evidence on this point, see Hussey, History of Fort Vancouver, 166-167.
135. Although closets as such were not common in early 19th century residences, it is recorded that the manager's house at York Factory in 1840 had "a very large closet" off the dining room. MacLeod, Letters of Letitia Hargrave, 62.
138. Testimony of Lloyd Brooke in ibid., [VIII], 128; Farnham, Travels in the Great Western Prairies, 195. By pine Farnham of course meant fir, since no pine trees grew along the lower Columbia River.
140. Br. and Am. Joint Comm., Papers, [II], 33. The use of vertical tongued and grooved boards for finishing the interior walls of Hudson's Bay Company structures was widespread. In such cases one edge of the boards was usually beaded. A splendid example may still be seen at the old warehouse at Fort St. James, B. C.
141. Wilkes in 1841 found that the houses at Fort Vancouver were "unpretending" inside. "They are," he wrote, "simply finished with pine board panels, without any paint." Unfortunately, it is not certain that the Big House fell within the class of buildings he was describing. Wilkes, Narrative, IV, 331.
145. In 1834 Dr. William F. Tolmie described the houses at Fort Simpson on the Northwest Coast as "wainscoted within." Dee, The Journal of John Work, 28n. Since the term "wainscoting" generally meant simply wooden lining or panelling, however, it cannot be taken as evidence that the lower portion of the walls received a different treatment from the upper. But in the Big House at Lower Fort Garry, completed in 1832, there were chair rails in the principal rooms. This post and Fort William were considered models to be emulated at other stations in the Indian country. See G. P. de T. Glazebrook, The Hargrave Correspondence, 1821-1843 (The Publications of the Champlain Society, vol. XXIV, Toronto, 1938), 99.
151. Emmons, Journal, MS, entry for July 25, 1841 (see plate III); Nellie Bowden Pipes, ed., "Translation of Extract from Exploration of Oregon Territory . . . by Eugene Duflot de Mofras," in OHQ, XXVI (June, 1925), 153; Wilkes, Narrative, IV, 327.
152. M. Vavasour to Col. N. W. Holloway, Fort Vancouver, March 1, 1846, in Papers Relative to the Expedition of Lieutenant Warre and Vavasour to the Oregon Territory, MS, fol. 42d, microfilm in The Public Archives of Canada. It should be noted, however, that an equally qualified witness seven years earlier, in 1839, had said the two large cannons in front of the steps were "long twenty-four pounders ship guns." Belcher, Narrative, I, 294.
156. J. J. Hoffman, Memorandum to Chief of Archeological Investigations, San Francisco Field Office, Denver Service Center, Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, December 30, 1971, MS, in Denver Service Center files.
162. According to the Company's "Standing Rules and Regulations" for 1836, junior clerks and postmasters were allowed a free baggage allowance of 3 pieces (packages weighing 90 to 100 pounds), "first class" clerks were allowed 5 pieces, while "Commissioned Gentlemen" could take 10 pieces. Freight above these allowances had to be paid for. "The Minutes of the Council of the Northern Department of Ruper's Land, 1830 to 1843," in Collections of the State Historical Society of North Dakota, IV (1910-1912), 843-844.
169. Paul Kane, Wanderings of an Artist among the Indians of North America from Canada to Vancouver's Island and Oregon through the Hudson's Bay Company's Territory and Back Again (Toronto, 1925), 262.
174. During the mid-1840's the Company-owned articles of furniture which might have been in the Big House may have been lumped in with other items in the inventories under the heading "Articles in Use -- Bachelors' Hall & No. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5." In 1844 the articles listed in this category were 11 "washhand" basins, 14 beds, 37 chairs, 10 earthenware jugs, 4 wooden sofas, 18 wooden tables, and 7 tablecloths. There was no separate listing for the manager s residence. H.B.C.A. B.223/d/155, MS, p. 156.
It is not clear to which buildings or rooms the words "Bachelors Hall & No. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5," refer. If "Bachelors Hall" was intended as the name of a single room (the common sitting room), the numbers 1 to 5 could refer to individual rooms in the Bachelors' Quarters. On the other hand, if "Bachelors Hall" was intended as another name for the entire Bachelors' Quarters, then the numbers could designate separate buildings, though which ones is not clear. On the Emmons plan of 1841 (see plate III), building no. 1 is the Big House, no. 2 is the Big House kitchen, no. 3 is the priests' house, no. 4 is the school or Owyhee church, and no. 5 is the old office. All of these structures seem to have had living quarters in them, but it is not known that Emmons's numbers represented Company usage.
176. Interpretive sign at Lower Fort Garry National Historic Park, Manitoba, Canada, September 20, 1967. The firm, by the way, is still in existence. Patterns for the stoves may still be in the company's files, although it is understood that during modernization of the works in recent years a number of old records were destroyed.
185. Robert Michael Ballantyne, Hudson Bay; or, Everyday Life in the Wilds of North America, During Six Years' Residence in the Territories of the Hon. Hudson Bay Company (London: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1908), 193.
192. Leechman, Notes and Comments, MS, section on furniture; Oregonian (Portland), March 14, 20, 1959; Enterprise-Courier (Oregon City, March 19, 20, 1959. The newspaper accounts state that there were already 12 Fort Vancouver chairs at the McLoughlin House when the newly found four were presented, making a total of 16 chairs saved. Dr. Barker's statement noted above presumably is correct. From the information cited by Dr. Leechman, it would appear that Dr. Tolmie acquired the mess hall chairs from both Fort Vancouver and Fort Victoria as well as the dining hall table from the latter!
202. Burt Brown Barker, The McLoughlin Empire and Its Rulers, Doctor John McLoughlin, Doctor David McLoughlin, Marie Louise (Sister St. Henry) . . . (Glendale, California: The Arthur H. Clark Company, 1959), 320.
226. Gay, Life and Letters of Mrs. Jason Lee, 152-153. It is possible, of course, that this long table was not in the Big House at all but in another structure used for the accommodation of the missionaries.
227. Greve, "Dr. McLoughlin's House," in The Beaver, Outfit 272 (September, 1941), 34. A picture labeled "Dr. John McLoughlin's safe and strong box" is to be found on the first page of a pamphlet entitled Souvenir Book, Historical Story of the Hudson's Bay Company and Old Fort Vancouver [Vancouver, Washington, 1925]; a copy is in the Provincial Archives of British Columbia.
230. In 1841, for example, Wilkes found a print depicting the capture of the Guerriere by the Constitution in the bedroom of a rough cabin at Champoeg belonging to William Johnson, a British subject. Wilkes, Narrative, IV, 347.
232. For information on the history of the Catholic ladder, see Drury, First White Women, I, 218-225; and Notices & Voyages, 44-45, 230. Opposite p. 44 in the latter work is a reproduction of an original Catholic ladder, painted on cloth, which is now in the Bancroft Library, University of California. Other original copies are in the Oregon Historical Society, the Yale University Library, and the Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery. The Huntington copy was made by Father Blanchet in 1841-1843 and is drawn on paper pasted on cloth. The Washington State Historical Society and Fort Columbia State Park, Washington, have reproductions of interesting Catholic ladders.
243. For an example of such statements see Notices & Voyages of the Famed Quebec Mission to the Pacific Northwest, Being the Correspondence, Notices, etc. of Fathers Blanchet and Demers, Together with Those of Fathers Bolduc and Langlois . . . 1838 to 1847, translated by Carl Landerholm (Portland, Oregon, 1956), 146. It must be noted, however, that the Fort Vancouver Depot inventory for 1844 listed "4 spinning Wheels Complete." These may have been ordered for sale to the European wives of employees and to the families of American settlers. H.B.C.A., B.223/d/155, MS, 119.
244. Clifford Merrill Drury, ed., First White Women over the Rockies: Diaries, Letters, and Biographical Sketches of the Six Women of the Oregon Mission Who Made the Overland Journey in 1836 and 1838 (3 vols., Glendale, California, 1963-1966), I, 102-103.
Last Updated: 10-Apr-2003