History and location
On October 18, 1838, Chief Trader James Douglas, in command of Fort Vancouver during Chief Factor McLoughlin's temporary absence on furlough, informed the London directors: "We have had our hands full of employment this summer, every person having been kept in constant activity. Besides the ordinary labours of the place, already enumerated, a large building of 153 x 33 feet, intended for a dwelling House, will be completed in the course of six weeks."  A fortnight earlier Douglas had told the Governor and Committee that it was his intention, when this structure was finished, to terminate Chief Trader John McLeod, Jr.'s, intermittent occupancy of one end of the house assigned to the Reverend and Mrs. Herbert Beaver.  In other words, McLeod was to be quartered in the new "large Building."
The dimensions--no other structure inside the pickets was as long--and the fact that an officer was to reside there make it certain that this dwelling, toward the completion of which Douglas had assigned "every disposable man," was the "Quarters for subordinate officers & their families" that appears as Building No. 9 on the Emmons ground plan of 1841 (Plate III, vol. I) and the "Dwelling Houses" structure shown on the Vavasour plan of late 1845 (Plates VI, VII, VIII, vol. I).  In actuality a series of small, one-story cottages joined under a single roof, this structure, known variously over the years as the "Bachelors' Quarters," "Bachelors' Hall," "the clerks' quarters," "Bachelor's Row," "the Bachelors' Range," etc., was located on the site called Building No. 20 on the present site plan of Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.
The building lay parallel to, and about fifty-five feet west of, the eastern palisade wall as it was located in 1845. In this position it marked the eastern boundary of the fort's courtyard. Its northwest corner was only a few yards from the southeast corner of the Big House. Thus its occupants had easy access to the mess hall. By the same token, of course, they were also subject to close surveillance by the sometimes stern eyes of Chief Factor McLoughlin.
Almost certainly the Bachelors' Quarters underwent a number of physical changes between their erection during the fall of 1838 and their final disappearance from the historical record in the early 1860s. For instance, if Emmons delineated the structure correctly in 1841 it then had only four doors along its lengthy western front, but the photograph of 1860 (Plate XXVII, vol. I) shows five. Also, the ca. 1847-48 painting by an unknown artist (Plate XVI, vol. I) seems to indicate that at that time there were five tall, narrow chimneys rising from the eave line at the rear of the Bachelors' Quarters, while the 1860 photograph depicts only four brick chimneys, all emerging at the ridge of the roof. When these changes occurred, if indeed they actually took place, is not apparent. 
At least one witness later stated that the Bachelors' Quarters building was still in good condition in 1860.  But the United States Army officers who appraised the fort structures on June 15 of that year described the old dwelling as a "long building, used as quarters for employees, so much out of repair as to be uninhabitable and useless for any military purpose."  It was still standing during the fall of 1860, but after that date all specific knowledge of it has been lost.  It had disappeared with the rest of the fort buildings by 1865 or 1866.
Role of the Bachelors' Quarters at Fort Vancouver. Of all the buildings at the Columbia depot, perhaps none except the Big House is mentioned more frequently in reminiscences of employees and accounts by visitors than the Bachelors' Quarters. As the principal residence of the subordinate officers and clerks and as the place where guests were most often housed, this long, low structure figured prominently in life at the post. Its importance can perhaps best be made clear by examining its several functions separately.
1. Housing for subordinate officers and clerks. Chief Factor John McLoughlin and his principal assistant, Chief Trader (promoted to Chief Factor in 1840) James Douglas, lived in the Big House. Other officers, as has been seen in the case of Chief Trader John McLeod, were occasionally lodged in the Priests' House or other buildings in the fort that sometimes served as dwellings; and rarely even clerks were granted such separate quarters. But most of the clerks and, when necessary, the subordinate officers were housed in the "common receptacle of the single officers, called 'Bachelor's Hall." 
Young Apprentice Clerk Thomas Lowe arrived from the Northwest Coast to take up his duties in the office at Fort Vancouver on June 14, 1843. "I have," he noted in his journal the next day, "been given for my exclusive use one of the rooms in the 'Bachelors Hall' building. There I am to sleep, taking my meals at the general Mess table in the Big House."  He was recording what undoubtedly was a typical experience for most of the clerks assigned to the depot.
As the name of the building implied, most of the inhabitants of the Bachelors' Quarters were unmarried, but not all. Emmons in 1841, it will be remembered, described it as a residence for "subordinate officers & their families." Clerks often remained clerks for many years in the Company's service, and it was to be expected that they would in time acquire wives and children. Josiah L. Parrish, long a member of the Methodist mission in Oregon and a frequent visitor to the depot, remembered that when missionary families were quartered in the Bachelors' Hall "the wives of the gentlemen, though they were native women and some half breeds they used to come out and occupy the parlor with our ladies." 
How conditions in the family quarters must have been on occasion was graphically described by the Reverend Herbert Beaver, the post chaplain, on March 19, 1838. His words seem to refer to the Bachelors' Hall that immediately preceded the one completed during the fall of 1838 and may even refer to another type of building entirely:
As a further domestic note, it might be mentioned that, generally speaking, all the officers and clerks at the Company's establishments, married and unmarried, ate in the mess hall.  But a visitor to Fort Vancouver in 1839 observed that the married clerks and chief traders only came "to the general table when it suits." 
At certain posts there was a "guardroom" servant who tended the fires and kept the rooms of the unmarried "gentlemen" clean. Indian women came in at intervals to wash the floors, and each bachelor made an annual contract with a native woman to do his laundry.  Because the clerks at Fort Vancouver often worked long hours, it is probable that they made similar arrangements, although the available records seem to be silent on this subject.
A rather rigid caste system was observed throughout the Company's service. Tradesmen, voyageurs, and laborers were not permitted to enter the quarters of the "gentlemen" (officers, clerks, and sometimes at any rate, postmasters) for social purposes, even upon invitation.  The chaplain at Moose Factory on Hudson Bay had this point driven home to him during 1843 when he requested permission for one of his parishioners, a "servant," and his wife to spend an hour or two in the chaplain's apartments before they embarked for England. "The only reply I can give to your favor," Chief Trader Robert Miles answered stiffly, "is that the Officer's residence cannot be made a place of rendezvous for the Company's servants and their families." 
At several places in earlier chapters of this report mention has been made of clerks and subordinate officers who lived elsewhere within the stockade than in the Bachelors' Quarters. In 1833, for example, Doctors Tolmie and Gairdner decided to move into the Dispensary to avoid being periodically "bumped" out of their rooms by visitors of higher rank. When Clerk George B. Roberts returned to the depot in 1844 with an English bride, the young couple were given a house of their own.  And on May 16, 1845, Clerk Thomas Lowe, for reasons unstated, moved out of Bachelors' Hall and took up lodgings in one of the rooms in the office. 
One of the disadvantages of living in the Bachelors' Quarters was the ever-present possibility of being evicted to make room for officers of higher rank or for visitors to whom the depot manager extended hospitality. Such "bumping" was more or less expected when the boat brigades arrived during the summer, but when Dr. McLoughlin turned the clerks out of their rooms in order to accommodate "strangers," such as missionaries and their families, there was a good deal of grumbling.  And, as Thomas Lowe discovered, even moving to the office was no proof against displacement. On August 26, 1845, Chief Factor Peter Skene Ogden reached the post after a journey from Canada. The next night he took over Lowe s room in the office, and the clerk had to double up with one of his fellows in the Bachelors' Quarters. 
2. Social hall for subordinate officers, clerks, and visitors. In Chapter IX, volume I, on the Big House, evidence was marshaled pointing to the probability that the common social hall for "gentlemen," known as the "Bachelors' Hall," was situated in the Bachelors' Hall building, or Bachelors' Quarters.  There is no need to repeat that discussion here, but a bit of additional testimony might be added with profit.
In 1878 Josiah L. Parrish commented upon the remarks of another American pioneer in Oregon, John Minto, who said of the Hudson's Bay men at Fort Vancouver: "They always had that bachelor's hall as they called it. The single men Clerks and others made use of it as a common room for gossip and talk. When any stranger was there he was sent in there. I do not know but there were more rooms in that part of the building but it was occupied by the employees."
Parrish attempted to clarify these words by saying: "There was a general room like a bar-room, and then there must have been 8 or 10 Rooms besides. I know at one time we had as many as half a dozen [missionary] families there and each family had a room by themselves. They came out into the parlor and the wives of the gentlemen . . . used to come out and occupy the parlor with our ladies "
It is difficult to read any meaning into these words other than that the common social or smoking room known as "Bachelors' Hall" was in the Bachelors' Quarters structure. Such will be considered the case here for planning purposes, though it should be realized that the matter is not entirely closed. A single bit of new evidence could conceivably weight the scales in favor of placing Bachelors' Hall proper in the Big House.
The important role played by the Bachelors' Hall in the social life at Fort Vancouver has been amply documented. William H. Gray, who reached the depot in 1836 with the Whitman party, recalled in later years that the Company's gentlemen, at the end of the midday "dinner" in the Big House, usually "passed a compliment in a glass of wine, or brandy, if preferred; all then retired to the social hall, a room in the clerk's quarters, where they indulged in a stiff pipe of tobacco, sometimes filling the room as full as it could hold with smoke. At 1 P. M. the bell rang again, when all went to business." 
It was not until after the evening "tea," or supper, however, that Bachelors' Hall really came to life. Eugene Duflot de Mofras, who arrived at Fort Vancouver in October 1841, has left a lively picture of the depot's gentlemen at their ease. "In the evening," he wrote, "the young clerks come together to smoke in a room called Bachelor's Hall; each tells of his travels, his adventures, his fights with the Indians; one has been forced to eat his moccasins, another is so sure of his rifle that he takes aim at bears only in the mouth, so as not to damage the skin; and then sometimes as the Scotch melodies mingle with the Canadian songs, one sees the hardy Highlanders enlivened by the gaiety of the French." 
John Dunn, who as a postmaster--the lowest rank of "gentleman"--may have enjoyed the hospitality of the Bachelors' Quarters before sailing home to England in 1838 but who probably obtained his information from Clerk George B. Roberts, wrote that after "dinner"--meaning supper in this instance--
Available accounts of social life in the Bachelors' Halls at other establishments--describing "musical soirees" distinguished more for noise than melody, tossings of tipsy companions in blankets, mock military drills, and boastings of l'amour--prove that the restraint was not too repressive. But the quotations already given undoubtedly portray the general tone of evenings in Bachelors' Hall at Fort Vancouver .
One other phase of Bachelors' Hall life is not recorded specifically at the Columbia depot, though almost surely the clerks there must have enjoyed it also. This was the custom of the Bachelors Quarters inmates having "little private suppers" of their own from time to time. When the fare at the mess table palled, the clerks would pool the products of their guns and fishing rods, "eked out with importations of canned luxuries."  Dr. John Sebastian Helmcken, surgeon at Fort Victoria in 1850, later fondly recalled the succulent native oysters roasted on the "mean and delapidated" old square stove in the "Bachelor's Hall" at that post. 
The Bachelor's Hall was also the scene of a share of the dances and parties given at Fort Vancouver. A few extracts from Clerk Thomas Lowe's journal will suffice to illustrate the diversity of these gatherings:
3. Accommodations for visitors. Life at a Hudson's Bay Company post tended to become monotonous for its inhabitants, even at such head quarters and depots as York Factory and Fort Vancouver. All were more or less isolated from the outside world, and news arrived at infrequent intervals. Thus the arrival of a traveler, be he Company employee or "outsider," was an event of note.
What such breaks in the routine meant to the officers and clerks is well expressed by the words of H. M. Robinson:
This same type of hospitality was freely offered at Fort Vancouver, particularly during the first decade or so of its existence. All who came with letters of introduction or with some claim to official position or gentility were made welcome. Of course distinctions were made. Persons obviously of the laboring class, ordinary free trappers, and run-of-the-mill emigrants never saw the inside of the mess hall, though they might be offered housing outside the stockade. 
As missionaries, Government exploring parties, and settlers began to enter the Columbia region in ever-increasing numbers during the period 1834 to 1846, however, these visitors became somewhat of a nuisance at Fort Vancouver, to say nothing of a threat to the fur trade. Governor Simpson and the directors in London began to have reservations about Dr. McLoughlin's open-handedness toward outsiders.
During January 1837 the Governor and Committee informed the Columbia District manager that "although it is our wish, that the rites of Hospitality should be shown at our Establishments to Strangers, when properly introduced, or to such as through necessity, or distress be compelled to solicit it, we are averse to keeping open house, for the Entertainment and accomodation of people who have no such claim upon us, but who make a convenience of our Hospitality to acquire a knowledge of our affairs. . . ." 
McLoughlin pointed out in reply that to refuse assistance to missionaries and to persons in distress would "expose us to reflections," in other words, would be bad public relations, and he assured the directors that his hospitality involved "no extravagance." Thus the warm-hearted district manager continued to welcome qualified "strangers" at the depot as long as he remained in charge, and his successors did likewise until the development of nearby settlements with accommodations for travelers made it unnecessary to provide visitors with food and lodging.
Unfortunately not many of the persons who enjoyed the hospitality of Fort Vancouver have left records indicating the exact locations of their lodgings. But enough information is available to indicate that the Bachelors' Quarters building was undoubtedly the principal site of such accommodations.
Perhaps the first guest to be housed in the new Bachelors' Quarters, which were completed during the fall of 1838, was John Augustus Sutter, the Swiss adventurer who during the next year established a settlement which was to develop into the present city of Sacramento, California. According to his recollections, Sutter arrived at Fort Vancouver after an overland journey in early October 1838 and was invited by "the Governor"--James Douglas at the time--to spend the winter. His residence in the Bachelors' Quarters may perhaps be inferred from his remark about his companions during that period.: "If they just hadn't smoked so much tobacco I could hardly get my breath in their smoking room." 
During 1841 several parties from the United States Exploring Expedition spent time at Fort Vancouver. The officers found comfortable lodgings within the stockade, but as far as this writer has determined, only one named the structures in which he roomed. On July 27, 1841, Lt. George Foster Emmons, U.S.N., remarked in his diary:
"Dr McL--thinking to make me more comfortable insisted upon my vacating a small room in No. 9 ["Quarters for subordinate officers and their families"] & taking No. 3 ["Chaplain or Governor's temporary residence"] where he frequently called to see if his servants had attended to all my wants agreeable to his instructions."  In other words, Emmons had first been lodged in the Bachelors' Quarters but was later shifted to the Priests' House.
Beginning with the arrival of Jason Lee in 1834 and the Whitman party in 1836, Dr. McLoughlin went far beyond the requirements of ordinary hospitality to assist missionaries in the Oregon Country, both Protestant and Catholic. For example, when the ship Lausanne anchored opposite Fort Vancouver on June 1, 1840, bearing the "Great Reinforcement" for the Methodist Mission, the kindly manager provided "comfortable accommodations" for each of the fifty-two persons in the party. A private sitting room was set aside for their use, and they ate at a separate table.  Surely the larger number of these guests must have been lodged in the Bachelors' Quarters, the only structure within the stockade having a number of rooms suitable for the purpose.
Asa L. Lovejoy, an American overland emigrant of 1842, visited Fort Vancouver many times, but in later years, when he dictated his reminiscences, he could not be sure where the missionaries had been lodged at the depot. Certain apartments, he said, were called the "missionary rooms."
"A good many persons would take their families in those rooms," he added. "Some persons would come to the table there--I was employed by him [Dr. McLoughlin]--but not everybody. They [the H.B.C. officers] were very stringent and aristocratic. It may be that these rooms were the same as the Bachelors' Hall, but I think the missionary rooms were another place. I think there were three or four rooms besides Bachelors' Hall, and one called the missionary room. They were very generous and very kind." 
The words of Josiah L. Parrish, already quoted, to the effect that as many as half a dozen missionary families at a time were housed in the same building as that in which the "bachelor's hall" was located, would appear to demonstrate that Lovejoy's "missionary rooms" were in fact in the Bachelors' Quarters building.  This view is reinforced, if not actually proved, by the testimony of the Reverend George H. Atkinson, an American missionary who arrived with his wife from Honolulu on June 19, 1848.
"I went on shore and presented a letter of introduction to Mr. Ogden," he wrote in his diary. "He rec'd me very politely and cordially invited us to take up our lodgings at the Fort until we wished to go on. He showed me to rooms in Bachelor's Range. . . . Our table was set separately near our room, and well provided with food." 
The question of where certain other visitors were housed is not so easily solved. For example, the two British army officers, Lieutenants Henry J. Warre and M. Vavasour, reached Fort Vancouver toward the end of August 1845 and remained through the winter. Warre kept a journal, but frustratingly he says of his lodgings only that "We had a private sitting room and a bedroom each within the palisade."  These quarters could well have been in "Bachelor's Range," but they also might have been in the Priests' House or another structure.
Similarly uninformative is a notation in Clerk Thomas Lowe's diary on October 11, 1845, that the prominent American settler, M. M. McCarver, and his family, accompanied by "several more Americans," arrived at the fort "and got quarters here for the night."  One can only speculate that they were housed in the most usual accommodation for guests--the Bachelors' Quarters.
It has been seen that a number of the visitors who enjoyed the hospitality at Fort Vancouver later acknowledged the kindness with which they had been treated. But there is little evidence that many of them made any tangible expression of their appreciation for the food and lodging so freely afforded. One notable exception was Nathaniel Wyeth, who, recorded Clerk George T. Allan, upon his return home to New England sent out a keg of choice smoking tobacco with "a handsome letter to the gentlemen of Bachelors Hall, as we called our smoking room." 
4. Sitting room for visitors, the "strangers' room." In several of the quotations from pioneer reminiscences and diaries already reproduced in this chapter, mentions were made of the "parlor, or "private sitting room," or the place where a separate table was set "near our room." All of these terms undoubtedly refer to what was known as the "strangers' room," an apartment set aside, apparently as early as 1840, as a social hall and dining room for visitors. It very probably was identical with Lovejoy's "missionary room."
This apartment was not exclusively for overnight guests, because many settlers and travelers who visited the fort for a few hours to purchase goods at the trade shop or attend to other business also were afforded hospitality. It was customary to feed customers who happened to be inside the stockade when the dinner bell rang.
How this room served its purpose for day visitors was well pictured by John Minto, an American emigrant who, with two companions, came to Fort Vancouver late in 1844 seeking a boat in order to assist other members of their company who had been left at The Dalles. McLoughlin agreed to help, and then he said,
In another version of this same account Minto said that after ordering the writing materials sent to "the strangers' room," McLoughlin pointed "to an open door across the northeast angle of the area from his residence," and said, "Go in there, young men." Thanking him, continued Minto, "we entered bachelors' hall." He also remembered that t McLoughlin said, "But be in that room soon after the bell rings" and that they were served "an excellent English dinner of roast beef and vegetables." 
These words quite definitely place the strangers room in the Bachelors' Quarters building at, or near, its north end. While it is not stated beyond question that the dinner was served in that same room, such certainly is the implication.
Another question concerning the strangers room is not so easily answered. It will be recalled that at still another time Minto said, "They [the H.B.C.] always had that bachelor's hall as they called it. . . . When any stranger was there [at the fort] he was sent in there."  Here Minto seems to be implying that the Bachelors' Hall room and the strangers room were one and the same, but the situation is confused because the term "Bachelors' Hall" was applied both to a specific room and to the entire Bachelors' Quarters building.
It seems probable that the private "smoking room" of the clerks and subordinate officers would not have been used as a common parlor and dining hall for the missionaries and their families. Evidently visitors entered the club room or "guard room" known as Bachelors' Hall only by invitation, and it seems to have been a male domain. Unless further proof is brought forward, the Bachelors' Hall and the strangers' room will be considered as separate and distinct for the purposes of re construction planning.
5. Place of confinement for officers and clerks. It was not often that one of the Company's "gentlemen" had to be arrested or forcibly detained. But Chief Factor McLoughlin on occasion could display a violent temper. As Governor Simpson recognized, to disagree with him sometimes was tantamount to a declaration of war. On such occasions even the post chaplain was liable to physical attack.
Ordinary servants who violated regulations or otherwise incurred the displeasure of the district manager might be whipped, or manacled, or confined in the fort jail. But such punishments were scarcely suitable for "gentlemen." On one occasion of record, during January 1838, McLoughlin seized the captain of a Company vessel at the tea table and "dragged him into a dark room, whence he was transferred after tea, to the common receptacle of the single officers, called 'Bachelor's Hall,' where he was kept a week in confinement," all because the mariner refused to give up his plans to marry a part-Indian girl.  Whether the Bachelors' Quarters were ever again used for such a purpose has not been determined.
6. Library. Both official and personal records provide abundant evidence of the important role played by books in the lives of the Company's "gentlemen." At the more isolated posts, particularly, reading material was a virtual necessity. "Having fortunately a supply of books with me and other means of amusement, I found the winter glide away without suffering much from ennui," wrote John McLean at Great Slave Lake during the winter of 1844-45.  Of course there were some officers and clerks who "only Looked at the pictures," but the German botanist Karl Geyer, who had traveled extensively in the West, found the constantly circulating books among the Hudson's Bay posts in the Columbia District to be evidence of "another type of life here from that in the American Fur fort!" 
Although not as far separated from society as their fellows in the interior and on the Northwest Coast, the officers and clerks at Fort Vancouver shared the general interest in reading. Several of the "gentlemen" who were stationed there at various times are known to have possessed fairly extensive personal libraries. That of Dr. McLoughlin has already been mentioned. Dr. W. F. Tolmie's journals contain numerous notations of books read and volumes ordered from London. And in 1841 James Douglas sent John A. Sutter "a few German Books" that, he hoped, "may amuse you, more than they have contributed to my entertainment."  But as H. M. Robinson pointed out, books, "as the property of private individuals," were less numerous among the Company's employees than might have been expected, due to the difficulty of transporting them when transferred. 
This deficiency in private literary resources was compensated for at Fort Vancouver by the existence of two libraries--one owned by the Company and the other belonging to subscribing employees. Whether these libraries were kept separate in location as well as in ownership is not known.
The Company library appears to have had its origin in the collection of books owned by the North West Company at Fort George, which in turn may have been derived from the books brought to the Columbia by the Astorians. When inventoried in the spring of 1821 the Fort George library contained forty-five titles in fifty-four volumes. Upon the union of the North West and Hudson's Bay companies in 1821, these books were taken over by the latter firm along with all other Nor'Wester property, and they were moved to Fort Vancouver in 1825. By 1837 this collection had been reduced to twenty-one titles. 
As will be seen by the inventories presented later in this chapter, the depot library never did grow much larger than about twenty-six titles. The books were entirely in the practical vein--dictionaries; handbooks on mathematics, medicine, gunnery, agriculture, and law; a geography; several accounts of voyages; and not much else. They were all necessary aids to district administration and operation.
There certainly was no chance of light reading matter getting into this official Fort Vancouver library. In 1836 the Company's secretary questioned McLoughlin about requests for magazines and papers that appeared in the annual indent or requisition from the Columbia Department. "I am sorry to see that you have fallen into a mistake in regard to the mag[az]ines and reviews sent," replied McLoughlin "it is true they were included in the outfit, but they were on account of individuals the subscribers of the Columbia Library and consequently the Department has none." 
As these words clearly indicate, the second library at Fort Vancouver was a distinct entity. Dr. William F. Tolmie later declared that the idea of establishing a circulating library for the gentlemen of the Columbia District originated upon his arrival to take up his duties as surgeon and clerk at Fort McLoughlin on Millbank Sound on December 23, 1833. During the next few days he had ample time for discussion with Clerk Donald Manson and Clerk Alexander Caulfield Anderson. All three had a taste for literature, and the plan to organize a library was a natural result.
Anderson had received orders to report to Fort Vancouver and departed on January 2, 1834. On reaching the Columbia depot he "ventilated" the matter of the library, and it was "readily taken up" by Chief Factor McLoughlin and the other gentlemen at the headquarters. It probably took six months or a year to canvas the officers and clerks throughout the district, but in due time a subscription library was formed. 
Exactly how the Columbia Library, as it was termed, was organized is not known. But subscription libraries were not uncommon throughout the territories of the Hudson's Bay Company, and presumably the officers at Fort Vancouver followed a precedent in another district. At York Factory during the 1870s, for instance, commissioned officers subscribed one pound each per year, clerks ten shillings, and such mechanics and laborers as wished to join, five shillings. An apprentice clerk served as librarian, escaping the fee as a reward for his service. The books were selected from catalogues at an annual meeting and ordered from London. High priority was given to bound volumes of standard periodicals and reviews, and "no trash was allowed." The library at York Factory was open only on Saturday evenings. The sole illumination in winter was a single candle, and no stove was provided. Thus, making a week's selection was a speedy affair. 
When the Columbia Library actually began to function is unknown. Dr. Tolmie recalled in later years that "a circulating library of papers, magazines, and some books" was in "full blast" by 1836.  This date would seem to be about correct, because a credit for the "Fort Vancouver Library" apparently was first shown on the Company's books for Outfit 1836.  It has been claimed that this Columbia Library was "the first circulating library on the Pacific Slope," but in view of the earlier libraries of the Astorians and the Nor'Westers this assertion requires more careful examination. 
According to Tolmie, "everybody"--presumably all the "gentlemen--in the district subscribed to the library, which was kept at Fort Vancouver. The annual meetings of the subscribers were held there also, one being recorded by Thomas Lowe on March 30, 1846, a week before the departure of the "after express" for York Factory. Perhaps the order for books selected by the subscribers was forwarded on its way to London with these native couriers, although evidently the annual "indent" for books and periodicals to be charged to the account of the "Columbia Library" was ordinarily sent in the vessel that sailed for England each fall.  The orders were directed to the Company's secretary, who executed them with London firms such as Burrup & Blight and Smith Elder & Co. and then shipped the books on the annual supply vessels. 
At Fort Vancouver the depot surgeon seems to have served as librarian. At least such definitely was the case in 1843 and 1844 when Dr. Barclay, "Librarian," made out the purchase requests.  W. F. Tolmie said that the subscribers from the outlying posts the length and breadth of the district sent to Fort Vancouver for such books as they wanted, returning them when read. 
It was Tolmie's belief that the Columbia Library remained in existence only until about 1843, but records prove that it had a some what longer life, Accounts of merchandise exported from England show that shipments were made to the "Columbia Library" at least as late as December 1848, but none seems to be recorded thereafter.  On the other hand, a debit balance of £5.l.4 for the "Library Vancouver" on the Company's books in 1849 had grown to £27.12.1 in 1854, indicating some activity for a time between those years. Then, during Outfit 1855, the library was credited with £27.12.1 "to clear up deficit."  Evidently the library had ceased to exist and probably had been delinquent for several years.
Tolmie said that the books were finally "divided among such of the subscribers as cared about having them."  One of these volumes, marked "Columbia Library," is now in the collections of McLoughlin House National Historic Site in Oregon City.
No information seems to be available concerning the physical locations of either of the Fort Vancouver libraries. It is known, however, that at certain Company posts, such as Norway House, the subscription library was housed in the "Clerk's House."  Perhaps this was the case at Fort Vancouver. The depot library may have been kept there also for convenience, or it may have been lodged in the office. For purposes of planning the reconstruction, a library will be included in the Bachelors' Quarters.
Employees living in Bachelors' Quarters, 1845-46. Because of the scant information available and because both employees and guests moved into and out of the Bachelors' Quarters with bewildering frequency, it is impossible to state exactly who was living in the building at any given time. To make matters worse, conditions were particularly confusing during Outfit 1845 (June 1, 1845, to May 31, 1846), the very period of most interest for the reconstruction project. During much of that time Fort Vancouver provided lodging for visiting officers of Her Majesty's Navy and for the two British army officers, Henry J. Warre and Mervin Vavasour. Clerk Thomas Lowe's journal shows a great coming and going of Company personnel in connection with the official and personal excursions of these and other visitors as well as in connection with the firm's own business. Thus any attempt to be specific about who lived in the Bachelors' Range during the year is largely fruitless. But probably a few facts, at least, can be pinned down.
When one looks at the personnel lists for the Columbia District for Outfit 1845 in order to find out which subordinate officers and clerks were stationed at Fort Vancouver and therefore to ascertain who might have been living in the Bachelors' Quarters, one meets with more confusion. There are at least five extant lists giving either actual or proposed assignments for the period and not one of them agrees exactly with any of the others as far as those men stationed at the depot or carried under the heading "general charges" are concerned. Most of those persons carried under the latter heading were stationed at Fort Vancouver, but not all.
Consolidating these lists, one comes up with the following employees who conceivably were eligible to live in the Bachelors' Quarters during the year 1845-46:
The following is a brief summary of what this writer has been able to uncover concerning the places of residence of each of the above-listed persons during Outfit 1845, with a statement about the family status of each one who is known to have lived in the Bachelors' Quarters for any significant period during the year:
Dr. Forbes Barclay. As has been seen, Dr. Barclay's place of residence at Fort Vancouver is not known with certainty. For planning purposes it has been assumed that he lived in the Indian Trade Shop building throughout the year, but it is entirely possible that he had quarters in Bachelors' Hall. He was married and had an infant son who lived from December 13, 1845, to December 31, 1847. For further details see Chapter II.
Charles Forrest. An "active, bustling" native of Montreal, Forrest had been in the Company's service from 1825 to 1835. He then retired to Red River and married Nancy Sutherland, by whom he had a child, Julia, in 1837. He rejoined the Company in 1836 as a postmaster and was sent to the Columbia District in 1838. It is not reported that his wife and child accompanied him, but it is known that he formed an alliance with a Lower Chinook woman and had a daughter, Ann, by her. He also fathered a son by a Cowlitz woman. The dates of these attachments seem not to be recorded.
Forrest, a postmaster, was in charge of the Cowlitz Farm during the first half of Outfit 1845, but on January 6, 1846, he arrived at Fort Vancouver in poor health. He remained in Dr. Barclay's care until February l8 when he left to resume charge at Cowlitz. On July 2, 1846, however, he was once more back at Vancouver, "unwell." There is no evidence that he was accompanied by any family he may have had at the time of his brief sojourn at the depot. 
James Allan Grahame. The career of this young Scottish apprentice clerk has already been outlined in Chapter XI, volume I. He was in charge of the Sale Shop and was at the fort almost continuously throughout the year. He is known to have had a room to himself, except when crowded conditions forced him to share it with fellow clerks. Very probably this room was in the Bachelors' Quarters. Grahame did not marry until September 5, 1847. 
Daniel Harvey. As farmer and miller, Daniel Harvey did not live within the pickets. He had a house a few miles up the Columbia River near the Company's sawmill. 
John Lambert. The Company employed Lambert in England to replace the engineer of the steamer Beaver, who had announced his intention of returning home. Sailing from Gravesend in the barque Vancouver on September 8, 1844, he reached Fort Victoria in that vessel after a passage of five months and ten days. Probably because he was in ill health, Lambert did not wait in the Puget Sound area to join the Beaver but traveled overland via Nisqually to Fort Vancouver, where he arrived on March 8, 1845. He was a welcome guest because he brought the annual "packet" of dispatches and letters from Britain.
His physical difficulty, which was described by Thomas Lowe as "Rheumatism," seems not to have improved under Dr. Barclay's care, and by October he was "much debilitated." Nevertheless, it was decided that he would take passage on the Company's schooner Cadboro for Victoria and report for duty on the Beaver. As luck would have it, the Cadboro came and went while Lambert was off on a short excursion to the Willamette Falls, so he was forced to start off on November 5, 1845, by way of the Cowlitz Farm and Nisqually. Thomas Lowe speculated that Lambert probably would not be able to endure the journey, but he did, because he was listed as engineer on the Beaver during Outfit 1846.
It is not known positively that Lambert lodged in the Bachelors' Quarters during his eight-month stay at Fort Vancouver, but such was most likely the case. As an engineer he ranked as a clerk, and his salary, £150 per year, far exceeded that of most of his companions in Bachelors' Hall. 
Richard Lane. This "very recherche and good natured" Englishman was born about 1816 and had served the Company as a clerk for about eight years, mostly at Red River, when on June 11, 1845, he was informed by Governor George Simpson that he was being transferred to the Columbia District and was to start two days later. Lane agreed to go, but he obtained Sir George's promise that he could return in the spring to marry his fiancee, Miss Mary McDermott, and then bring her back to Fort Vancouver, where he was to serve as accountant. He traveled west ward with Peter Skene Ogden and Lieutenants Warre and Vavasour, reaching Vancouver on August 26, 1845.
Thomas Lowe's diary reveals that, except for a short excursion or two, Lane remained at the Columbia depot for the next seven months. During January 1846 he had a spell of illness that confined him to bed for a period, but otherwise he seems to have been actively engaged in the office. He evidently was something of a surveyor, because he marked out the land claims of Company employees near the fort. He also frequently assisted in Church of England services in the dining hall. On March 25, 1846, he departed with the York Factory express to claim his bride at Red River. There is no record of exactly where he lodged in the fort, but the Bachelors' Quarters is the most probable place. 
Kenneth Logan. Another "son of the country," Logan was born in Red River Settlement and baptized in 1826. He was employed by the Company as an apprentice postmaster in 1841, and his entire service was passed in the Columbia District. By the beginning of Outfit 1845 he was a postmaster stationed at Fort Vancouver. Seemingly he remained at the depot throughout the year, working at a variety of assignments, including assisting in the office, helping in the Sale Shop, and supervising the laborers when the clerk regularly assigned to that duty was ill or absent. On January 30, 1846, he was placed in charge of the men upon the transfer of Clerk William McBean to Walla Walla.
Evidently unmarried at that time, he seems to have been a personable companion in Bachelors' Hall. It was reported that he was several times a guest with some of the clerks at dinners given by the officers of H.M.S. Modeste. Probably he lived in the Bachelors' Quarters. 
Robert Logan. Presumably the elder brother of Kenneth Logan, Robert Logan was still considered a "Raw Lad who never had any experience commanding men" when Governor Simpson proposed sending him to Stikine as assistant to John McLoughlin, Jr., in 1841. Chief Factor McLoughlin failed to provide transportation, and thus young Logan escaped being witness to a brutal murder. During Outfit 1845 he was a postmaster, stationed at Cowlitz Farm, although he spent some time at Fort Vancouver during the spring of 1846 boating supplies and wheat between the depot and Willamette Falls Returning from one of these trips on April 20 he brought to Fort Vancouver the first issue of the Oregon Spectator. He can scarcely be considered a permanent resident during Outfit 1845, though he may have lodged in the Bachelors' Quarters for a number of weeks. His family status at that time is not known. 
Thomas Lowe. The life of this industrious young apprentice clerk will be treated in more detail in the chapter on the Old Office. Suffice it to say here that although he resided in the fort all during Outfit 1845, he definitely was not housed in the Bachelors' Quarters. He moved out of that structure on May 16, 1845, and took up lodgings in one of the rooms in the office. And there he remained, except when he had to give up his apartment to visiting officers, through the end of the outfit. 
William McBean. Partly Indian in blood, William McBean-- pronounced "McBane"--was a different type of person than most of his fellow clerks at Fort Vancouver. For one thing, he was considerably older, being about thirty-eight in 1845. For another, he was married and had several children. His union with his wife, Jane Boucher, who was approximately twenty-four years old in 1845, had been formalized by a Catholic priest at Fort Vancouver in 1844 but had existed in fur trade fashion for many years. Their children during Outfit 1845 were John, born in 1837; Nancy, born in 1839; and Mary, born early in 1844. A child, Sophie "McBain," baptized "under condition" at Fort Vancouver on January 26, 1845, may have been an offspring of McBean, but the record provides no further information.
Described as a man of "very common education," McBean was neither liked nor respected by his peers at the depot. Lowe's journal does not mention him dining with the officers of the Modeste or otherwise partaking in social activities. Seemingly, fellow clerk George B. Roberts was reflecting a general view when he said that the fort's "gentlemen" considered McBean "altogether below the salts."
Yet McBean seems to have functioned well enough as a Company employee. In 1841 he had been placed in charge of the post at Fraser Lake, New Caledonia. By 1844 he was at Fort Vancouver, working in the office, assisting in the Fur Store, supervising the farm for short periods, and visiting subordinate posts to help with the accounts. On April 17, 1845, he was placed in charge of the laborers about the fort and on the farm, a post he continued to fill until January 30, 1846, when he was appointed manager of Fort Walla Walla. He and his family left for their new station on February 2, 1846.
There is no record of where the McBeans lived at Fort Vancouver during the first half of Outfit 1845. They could well have occupied an apartment in the Bachelors' Quarters. 
Angus McDonald. Known as Angus McDonald (a) because there were at least two Angus McDonalds in the Company's service--both for a number of years in the Columbia District--this young Scot entered the Company's employ in 1837 and was soon transferred west of the Rockies. He was stationed at a number of posts, and the opening of Outfit 1845 found him in charge of the firm's granary and trading shop at Champoeg in the Willamette Valley Because that establishment was a subordinate post of Fort Vancouver, McDonald's name appears on some lists of depot employees, but Lowe's journal shows he actually resided at the district headquarters for only relatively short periods during the year. His family status in 1845-46 is not known. It is extremely unlikely that he maintained permanent lodgings in the Fort Vancouver Bachelors' Range. 
David McLoughlin. The question of whether twenty-four-year-old Clerk David McLoughlin, son of the formidable Chief Factor McLoughlin, lived in the Big House or the Bachelors' Quarters during his occasional sojourns at Fort Vancouver during Outfit 1845 has been discussed on pages 99-100 in volume I of this report. He had removed all his "things" from the depot about December 1844 to January 1845 when he had been transferred to Willamette Falls, but Lowe's journal shows that during the summer and fall of 1845 he spent a considerable amount of time at the fort and performed official duties there. At any rate, he departed on December 15, 1845, to bring his widowed sister and her children back from California, and he did not return until July 13, 1846.
Thus, at best, David McLoughlin's residence at Fort Vancouver during Outfit 1845 did not extend more than from June 14, 1845, when his arrival from Willamette Falls is recorded, to December 15 of the same year. This residence perhaps was not continuous. Where he lodged when at the depot is not known. He was unmarried at that time. 
Dugald Mactavish. This able and well-connected Scot, a nephew of Chief Trader John George McTavish, was almost twenty-eight years old when Outfit 1845 opened, and he had been on the staff at Fort Vancouver as a clerk and accountant since 1839. Although still carried on the district books under the heading "General Charges," he was in residence at the depot for only a few weeks during the year. When the outfit opened on June 1, 1845, he was east of the mountains with the York Factory express. He returned to Fort Vancouver on November 9, 1845, but left on December 15 for California and did not see the depot again until July 11, 1846. Thus he scarcely qualifies as a resident of Bachelors' Hall during the period of our interest.
However, Mactavish may have had a family, and if so they very probably were lodged in the fort during his long absences. In their diaries for April 14, 1844, Elkanah and Mary Walker, American missionaries at Tshimakain (not too far from the present Spokane), noted the arrival of "Mr. Mactavish & family" bringing news from the Willamette Valley. This traveler could only have been Dugald Mactavish, who was in charge of the York Factory express in that year also. It is further recorded that in 1842 "Demoiselle" Grace McTavish, domiciled at Fort Vancouver and minor daughter of Chief Factor John George McTavish and "Dame Nancy McKensie," was married at the depot to Clerk Charles Dodd, with Dugald Mactavish as one of the witnesses. But Chief Factor McTavish had discarded his half-breed fur trade wife, Nancy McKenzie, in 1829 and early the next year had married a Scottish woman. It is likely, therefore, that his country daughter, "Demoiselle" Grace, had been sent to the Columbia to be reared by nephew Dugald Mactavish, and this probably would not have been the case had not Dugald had a wife. Undoubtedly additional research could solve this problem, but it was not possible to undertake it within the limits of this study. 
Henry N. Peers. The district statement of general charges for Outfit 1845 listed Peers as an apprentice clerk engaged in the "Fort Vancouver Indian Trade" and stationed at the "Umpaqua" post. However, on March 20, 1845, Chief Factor McLoughlin had announced his intention of placing Peers in charge of the men at the depot for Outfit 1845. A year later he told Governor Simpson that Peers was at Fort Vancouver assigned to the "Office & River Communication." Lowe's journal demonstrates that there was some basis of fact for all of these assertions, but the plain truth seems to be that Peers was a sort of trouble-shooter, sent to fill in wherever a qualified "gentleman" was required.
Apparently he had been transferred from the management of Fort Umpqua by the end of the first month of Outfit 1845, for in July he was sent to Fort George to take charge when the manager there should retire. He was back at Fort Vancouver in November but was soon sent off on various errands that kept him away a good deal of the time until December 15. He then took charge of Cowlitz Farm during the illness of Charles Forrest, not returning until February 16, 1846. From then until July 1 he seems to have been at the depot most of the time, although several river journeys and other trips interrupted his residence. One spell of illness during March kept him in bed for at least ten days.
Born in Hampshire in 1821, Henry Newsham Peers was the son of a British Army officer. A rather brief term at the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich had given him some knowledge of surveying and mapping- skills he put to good use during 1845 and 1846 when he marked out land claims in the names of Company employees. He entered the firm's service in 1841 and was sent to the Columbia District two years later. One of his fellow employees remembered him as being "of quite a gay temperament, handsome and debonair." He must have added considerably to the festivities in Bachelors' Hall during his intervals of duty at Fort Vancouver. He did not marry until 1849. 
George B. Roberts. Clerk George Barber Roberts was in charge of the stores or warehouses at the depot throughout Outfit 1845, but he, his British wife, and infant son born during the last couple of days of July or the first week of August 1845, lived in a separate house within the pickets. Thus he cannot be counted among the residents of the Bachelors' Quarters. 
John Simpson. Although still carried on the books of the Columbia District for Outfit 1845 under the heading "General Charges," Sir George Simpson's son by his part-Indian wife, Margaret Taylor, a la facon du pays, had returned east of the mountains in 1844. Thomas Lowe's journal contains no indication that Simpson was at Fort Vancouver during 1845-46. 
William Sinclair, Jr. This interesting young man, not quite eighteen years old at the start of Outfit 1845, has the distinction of being the only employee definitely recorded as living in the Bachelors' Range during 1845-46. On June 15 of the latter year Thomas Lowe noted in his journal that this apprentice postmaster "removed his quarters from Batchelor's Hall to the Office in order to make room for Dr. Jenkins and Mr. Grant of the Fisgard." In short, he was "bumped" in favor of two visiting British naval officers.
How he had managed to keep his room that long in view of the constant comings and goings of travelers during the year is somewhat of a mystery. Perhaps he had doubled up with one of the clerks on occasions not recorded by Lowe. But it is worth noting that he was the son of a chief factor, the grandson of Chief Factor McLoughlin's wife, and the brother of Catherine Ermatinger, wife of Chief Trader Francis Ermatinger, then in charge of the Company's store at Willamette Falls and a frequent visitor to the depot.
William reached Fort Vancouver sometime prior to May 1843, when he was sent to San Francisco as an apprentice to William Glen Rae, manager of the Company's California establishment. After Rae's death by suicide, William returned to Fort Vancouver, where he arrived on June 18, 1845. During the next few months he made several long trips to the Willamette Valley, probably spending the time with his sister, but on September 18, 1845, he returned to Fort Vancouver and seems to have remained there quite constantly during the balance of the outfit. 
Summary of possible employee residents. From the information given above it can be determined that those "gentlemen" who probably, or almost certainly, lived in the Bachelors' Quarters for a significant portion of Outfit 1845 were:
Charles Forrest, January 6-February 18, 1846, probably no family with him.
Those who possibly resided in the Bachelors' Quarters were:
Family of Dugald Mactavish, possibly entire year, number not determined.
Transient visitors housed in Bachelors' Quarters, 1845-46. Thomas Lowe's journal reveals that during Outfit 1845 there was a constant stream of "comers and goers" who were accommodated at Fort Vancouver for periods varying from one night to several months. A good many of these visitors were Company officers, clerks, and other employees stationed at other posts or on the firm's vessels who came to the depot on various business errands. The "gentlemen" among them undoubtedly found lodging within the pickets, and in the Bachelors' Quarters when room was available.
There seems little point to mentioning all of these individuals, but a few might be listed to give an idea of the variety:
Another class of visitors consisted of British army and navy officers who were in the Oregon Country on duties related to the disputed boundary question with the United States. The visit of Lieutenants Warre and Vavasour from August 26, 1845, to March 25, 1846, has already been mentioned. They may have been quartered in the Bachelors' Quarters. Because their mission was secret, they pre tended to be on furlough, and thus there almost certainly would have been no articles of military dress or equipment in their rooms. 
H.M.S. Modeste anchored off Fort Vancouver on November 30, 1845, and was there during the balance of Outfit 1845 and considerably longer. Her captain was given quarters in the New Office within the pickets during his long stay, but if any of the other officers were lodged in the fort the evidence has not yet come to light. The case was different with officers from others of Her Majesty's vessels, however. On September 8, 1845, Lieutenant William Peel, son of Sir Robert Peel, and Captain John Parke, both from H.M.S. America, arrived overland via Nisqually. They left two days later to inspect the settlements in the Willamette Valley but were back at Fort Vancouver briefly for a gala dinner on the sixteenth, after which they departed to return to their ship. On May 31, 1846, five officers of H.M.S. Fisgard arrived at the depot and all were quartered "in the fort." They left on an excursion to the Willamette Valley on June 9, but on their return on the seventeenth at least two of them, Assistant Surgeon Jenkins and Passed Midshipman Grant, were lodged in the "Batchelor's Hall."
Still another class of transient lodgers in the fort during Outfit 1845 was made up of missionaries and settlers who visited the post on a variety of social and business errands. The Catholic missionaries will not be discussed here, because they had their separate residence within the palisade. Thomas Lowe's journal scarcely mentions the American Protestant missionaries during this period, but it is not likely that an entire year passed without overnight visits from some of them. It is known that the Reverend George Gary of the Methodist mission and his wife stopped at the fort for about three hours to buy trade goods on April 10, 1846, but Lowe did not record their presence. 
Settlers and emigrants likewise received little notice from Lowe during Outfit 1845, with one notable exception. Adophus Lee Lewis, a clerk who had retired from the Company's service during the spring of 1845 to take up a land claim farther down the Columbia, was recorded as a frequent visitor throughout the year. It has al ready been remarked that on October 11, 1845, "General" I. I. McCarver, his family, and several more Americans, mostly newly arrived emigrants reached the fort and "got quarters for the night." Un doubtedly there were others who were afforded the same hospitality, but the fact that Lowe did not mention more of them may be an indication that by Outfit 1845 the officers at Fort Vancouver had at least begun to heed the admonitions of the London directors to not be so generous in their treatment of strangers. Also, by that time the growth of American settlements elsewhere in the Oregon Country had made travelers much less dependent upon the Company for shelter. 
Last Updated: 10-Apr-2003