Grand Portage:
A History of The Sites, People, and Fur Trade
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Chapter 1

1. In 1809, a leading official of the North West Company was able to write correctly that the fur trade was British America's most important commerce. This is in contrast to the United States where the fur trade was of much less importance in relation to other industries. "Some account of the trade carried on by the North West Company", photostat, 23 pages, 1808 or 1809, Public Archives, Ottawa. Much of this account is believed to have been written by William McGillivray, who hereafter will be identified as the author. This account has been published in Authur G. Doughty, Report of the Public Archives for the Year 1928 (Ottawa, 1928), pp. 56-73. See also Harold A. Innis, The Fur Trade in Canada, an Introduction to Canadian Economic History (Toronto, U. of Toronto Press, 1967) p. 12.

2. Europeans believed that the Pacific Ocean lay not very far beyond the Great Lakes. This misconception was the driving force behind much of the early exploration. Even after the breadth of North America was recognized, explorers maintained a fierce rivalry in trying to find routes of communication, by water if possible, across or around the continent. With regard to missionaries, Alexander Begg, History of the North-West (3 vols., Toronto, Hunter, Rose & Co., 1894 and 1895), 1, 63, says that Fathers Joques and Raymbault visited Lake Superior in 1641.

3. Solon J. Buck, "The Story of Grand Portage", Minnesota History Bulletin, 5 (1923-24), 15; Innis, Fur Trade, p. 25.

4. Innis, Fur Trade, pp. 32-33, 36-38, and 40-42; W. McGillivray.

5. Wayne E. Stevens, "The Organization of the British Fur Trade, 1760-1800", The Mississippi Valley Historical Review, 3, (1916), 177; W. McGillivray.

6. Spelled a variety of ways in the historical sources, and spelled by the North West Company most often as Kaministiquia, this river appears here in the official form recognized by the Government of Canada.

7. Innis, Fur Trade, p. 49; Buck, p. 15; Marcel Giraud, History of Canada (Paris, University Presses of Canada, 1946), trans. by Harold S. Boedeker, p. 26 of typescript at Minnesota Historical Society.

8. Lawrence J. Burpee, ed., Journals and Letters of Pierre Gaultier de Varennes de la Vérendrye and His Sons (Toronto, the Champlain Society, 1927), p. 6; Innis, Fur Trade, p. 50; Giraud, History of Canada, p. 26; Burpee, The Search for the Western Sea, the Story of the Explorations of North-Western America (2 volumes, Toronto, The Macmillan Company, 1935), 1, 243, does not give credit to de Noyon for traveling west of Lake of the Woods to Lake Winnipeg as have some historians.

9. Innis, Fur Trade, pp. 59-60, quoting a letter from M. Du Chesneau to M. de Seignelay, Nov. 13, 1681.

10. Burpee, La Vérendrye, p. 7; Innis, Fur Trade, p. 91; Marcel Giraud, The Canadian Half-Breed, His Role in the History of the Provinces of the West (Paris, Institute of Ethnology, 1945) Works and Memoirs of the Institute of Ethnology, 44, translated by Harold S. Boedeker, p. 182 of typescript at Minnesota Hist. Society.

11. Burpee, Search for the Western Sea, 1, 202.

12. Burpee, La Vérendrye, pp. 53-4 and 91. Burpee quotes from a letter from M. le Marquis de Beauharnois, Oct. 15, 1732, to Monseigneur Maurepas.

13. Ibid., pp. 436-7, The quotation concerning the mutiny is taken from a 1774 letter by La Vérendrye, thirteen years after the event. In this same letter he uses the name Grand Portage. His original letters of 1731-32 are lost. While he was explicit about only one volunteer, there must have been more. For he also said he "had enough [men?] to equip four medium sized canoes", and "had the portage made at once and gave them a good guide." Four men could not alone have managed four laden, medium-sized canoes. Beauharnois in 1732 (see note 12) said that three medium sized canoes were dispatched. See also Burpee, "Grand Portage", Minnesota History, 12 (1931), 363. A lieue was about 2-1/2 miles.

14. Burpee, La Vérendrye, pp. 9-32; Burpee, "Grand Portage, Minn. History, 12, 362-64; Innis, Fur Trade, pp. 92-94; Giraud, Canadian Half-Breed, pp. 192 and 195; Arthur E. Jones, S.J., ed., Rare or Unpublished Documents II, The Aubneau Collection, 1734-1745 (Montreal, Archives of St. Mary's College, 1893), pp. 3, 49, 67, 71, 87, and 93. Father Aubneau also described Fort St. Charles: "merely an enclosure made with four rows of posts, from twelve to fifteen feet in height, in the form of an oblong square, within which are a few rough cabins constructed of logs and clay and covered with bark." Burpee, Search for the Western Sea, 1, 243, gives Jean Baptiste de la Vérendrye credit as being the first European to travel from the Lake of the Woods to Lake Winnipeg and Red River.

15. Buck, 16 and 16n.

16. Alexander Mackenzie, Voyages from Montreal on the River St. Lawrence (Ann Arbor, University Microfilm, 1966).

17. Burpee, "Grand Portage", Minn. History, 12, 364-65; Burpee, La Vérendrye, pp. 32-33 and 37. La Corne has acquired the distinction of being the first to plant wheat in present Saskatchewan, today one of the world's great wheat producing areas.

Chapter 2

1. W. S. Wallace, "The Pedlars from Quebec", The Canadian Historical Review, 13 (1932), 388.

2. Innis, Fur Trade, p. 168. Innis says that Henry arrived at Grand Portage in 1761. See also Buck, "Grand Portage", Minn. History, 5 (1923-24), 17.

3. "Thompson Maxwell's Narrative, 1760-1763", Minn. Historical Society, Collections, 11 (1888), 213n, 214n, and 215.

4. W. McGillivray.

5. Stevens, pp. 179-81; Innis, Fur Trade, p. 170.

6. Innis, Fur Trade, p. 168.

7. Wallace, "Pedlars", Can. Hist. Review, 13 (1932), 388-89 and 392; W. S. Wallace, The Peddlars from Quebec, and Other Papers on the Nor'Westers (Toronto, Ryerson Press, 1954), pp. 4-7. W. McGillivray did not agree that British traders were active on the Saskatchewan that early. He claimed that they could not travel safely on that river until 1771.

8. Strathcona Papers, Public Archives, Ottawa, Box 2, Correspondence, relating principally to Joseph Frobisher. Innis, Fur Trade, pp. 190-191, says that Benjamin and Joseph Frobisher made their first venture to the northwest in 1769.

9. Jonathan Carver, Travels Through the Interior Parts of North America in the Years 1766, 1767, and 1768 (London, 1781), pp. 70, 78, and 82; Burpee, "Grand Portage", Minn. History, 12 (1931), 365; Wallace, Peddlars, p. 3. Wallace names the others in Carver's party as James Stanley Goddard, James Tute, William Bruce, and two French Canadian interpreters.

10. Court of King's Bench, Montreal, 1803, "Dominique Rousseau and Joseph Bailly vs. Duncan McGillivray", photostats, Public Archives, Ottawa. The original document is in the Strathcona Papers, Edinburgh General Register House, Scotland. This important document is edited by Grace Lee Nute, "A British Legal Case and Old Grand Portage", Minn. History, 21, (1940), 117-48. Blondeau's testimony appears on p. 134. See also Joseph E. and Estelle L. Bayliss, in collaboration with Milo M. Quaife, River of Destiny, the Saint Marys (Detroit, Wayne University Press, 1955), p. 52.

11. Louise Phelps Kellogg, The British Regime in Wisconsin and the Northwest (Madison, State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1935), pp. 102-3; Innis, Fur Trade, pp. 190-93; Wallace, Peddlars, pp. 9-13; E. E. Rich, The History of the Hudson's Bay Company, 1670-1870 (2 vols., London, The Hudson's Bay Record Society, 1959), 2, 12. In 1770 there were still only 360 Englishmen in all Quebec.

12. Instructions de Mr. Mayrand, Montreal, May 14, 1772; Letter to Forrest Oakes, May 11, 1772; Letter to Oakes, May 3, 1774, all in Laurent Ermatinger Letter Book, 1770-78, Public Archives, Ottawa.

13. Ibid., Letter to Forrest Oakes, April 25, 1775.

14. W. McGillivray; Alexander Henry, Travels and Adventures, In Canada and the Indian Territories...1760-1776 ed. by James Bain (Boston, Little, Brown, and Co., 1901), p. 235.

15. W. S. Wallace, ed., Documents Relating to the North West Company (Toronto, The Champlain Society, 1934), pp. 4-5; Innis, Fur Trade, pp. 194-95; Kellogg, pp. 138-39; H. A. Innis, "The North West Company," The Canadian Historical Review, 8, (1927), 310. In his book on Peter Pond, Innis adds the names of the Ellices and Simon McTavish to this group, apparently referring to their financial backing. See H. A. Innis, Peter Pond, Fur Trader and Adventurer (Toronto, Irwin & Gordon, 1930), p. 91.

16. Wallace, Peddlars, p. 14; Henry, p. 236; Laurent Ermatinger to Forrest Oakes, April 25 and May 7, 1775, Ermatinger, Letter Book, Public Archives, Ottawa.

17. Innis, "North West Company", Can. Hist. Review, 8, (1927), 311.

18. Ermatinger, April 22, 1776, to Forrest Oakes, Ermatinger, Letter Book, Public Archives, Ottawa; E. E. Rich, Montreal and the Fur Trade (Montreal, McGill U. Press, 1966), p. 72.

19. Innis, Fur Trade, pp. 180-81, 188 and 195. The 1777 licenses for Grand Portage were issued to: J. Bte. Adhemar, V. L. St. Germain, Charles Paterson, James E. Waden, C. Chaboillez, George McBeath, Alexander Ellice, Forrest Oakes (Ermatinger), and William Kay. None of the future giants of the North West Co. appears on this list.

20. John Askin, May 18, 1778, to M. Beausoleille, in "Fur Trade on the Upper Lakes, 1778-1815," Wisconsin Hist. Society, Collections, 19 (1910), 240; Major de Peyster, June 29, 1778, to Governor Sir Guy Carleton, and Jan. 20, 1779, to Governor Sir Frederick Haldiman, both in "Papers From the Canadian Archives, 1778-1783", Minnesota Historical Society, Collections, 11 (1888), 112, 112n, and 123. John Askin, as will be noted further on, is the person believed responsible for clearing the land on the shore of Grand Portage Bay, around the late 1760s.

21. Innis, "North West Company," Can. Hist. Review, 8, (1927), 312; Rich, Montreal, p. 73. This year too British names outnumbered French among the Grand Portage traders for the first time since Canada became an English colony.

22. Kellogg, p. 146; "Trade in the Lake Superior Country in 1778", Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society, Hist. Coll., 19, (1911), 337.32

23. Innis, Fur Trade, p. 312; Rich, Montreal, p. 74; Elaine Allan Mitchell, "The North West Company Agreement of 1785", The Can. Hist. Review, 36, (1955), 126. See also, Buck, p. 19; W. McGillivray; and Douglas Dunham, "The French Element in the American Fur Trade, 1760-1616", PhD Dissertation, U. of Michigan, 1950, pp. 179-180. Innis, Peter Pond, p. 91, recognized the possibility that McGill & Patterson, McBeath & Co., and McTavish & Co. had interests in the 1779 agreement.

24. Rich, Montreal, p. 75.

25. Innis, Fur Trade, pp. 197-98; Rich, Montreal, p. 76.

26. Alexander Henry, Oct. 18, 1781, to Joseph Banks, Montreal, Public Archives, Ottawa.

27. Rich, Montreal, pp. 76 and 78; Mitchell, p. 126; Innis, Fur Trade, pp. 198 and 252.

28. Alexander Begg, History of the North-West (3 vols., Toronto, Hunter, Ross & Co., vols 1, 2, 1894, vol. 3, 1895), 1, 95; Innis, Peter Pond, pp. 104-6; Paul Chrisler Phillips, The Fur Trade (2 vols., Norman, U. of Oklahoma Press, 1961), 2, 8.

29. Innis, Fur Trade, p. 252; W. S. Wallace, ed., Documents p. 503; E. E. Rich, The Fur Trade and the Northwest to 1857 (Toronto, McClelland & Stewart, 1967), p. 168. Umfreville served on the north branch of the Saskatchewan from 1784 to 1788, when he left the N.W. Co. He tried to return to the H. B. Co., but was refused. In 1790 he published The Present State of Hudson Bay. After that he disappeared from the historical record. He also wrote an account of his 1784 explorations, "Journal of a Passage in a Canoe from Pais Plat in Lake Superior to Portage de l'Isle in River Ouinipique", Ontario Provincial Archives, Toronto.

30. Innis, Fur Trade, p. 183; Wallace, Documents, p. 84; Douglas Brymner, Report on Canadian Archives, 1890 (Ottawa, 1891), Memorial, B. and Joseph Frobisher to Lt. Gov. Halimand, May 8, 1785.

31. Brymer, Report on Canadian Archives, 1890, Memorial from Benjamin and Joseph Frobisher to Gov. Frederick Haldimand, Oct. 4, 1784; Lt. Gov. Henry Hamilton to Lord Sydney, June 6, 1785; and Peter Pond to Lt. Gov. Hamilton, April 18, 1785.

Chapter 3

1. Gordon Charles Davidson, The North West Company (Berkeley, Univ. of Calif. Press, 1918), pp. 24-25. Of this total, the Frobishers (N.W. Co.) sent 25 canoes with 260 men, carrying 3,500 gal. rum, 340 gal. wine, 8,000 lbs. powder, 300 trade guns, and 12 cwt. shot, worth £ 20,000.

2. George Bryce, The Remarkable History of the Hudson's Bay Company (London, Sampson Low, Marston & Co., 1900), pp. 115-17; Innis, Fur Trade, pp. 199-253; L. R. Masson, Les Bourgeois de la Compagnie du Nord-Ouest (2 vols., Quebec, de l'Imprimerie Generale a Coté & Co., 1889), 1, 22-23; Burpee, "Grand Portage," Minn. History, 12 (1931), 367; Correspondence between Alexander Mackenzie and Roderic McKenzie, 1786-1816, and Memorandum by Roderic McKenzie, both in Public Archives, Ottawa. Roderic spelled his first name both with and without the final "k", but most often without.

3. Roderic McKenzie, "Memoirs of McKenzie," Public Archives, Ottawa. McKenzie was extremely conscious of history. In his late years he literally demanded reminiscences from traders in the North West Company. He gathered a large body of valuable manuscripts, which, unfortunately, fell into evil times and unskilled hands after his death. The first culprit was L. R. Masson, a relative by marriage (note 2). As a result there are today two slightly different sets of his reminiscences. Both are in the Public Archives, Ottawa.

4. Masson, 1, 11-12.

5. The above was compiled from both the Roderic McKenzie accounts (see note 3). In the Correspondence between Alexander Mackenzie and Roderic McKenzie (note 2) there is still another version of his memoirs. In this last he described having trouble with an Indian, who was later killed during a drinking match. Describing the drunken orgy, McKenzie wrote that "the Gates of the Fort were of course secured." He said too that the Indians had their own "Great Lodge" erected at Grand Portage for the purpose of a feast.

6. Joseph Frobisher, Letter Book, 1787-88, Public Archives, Ottawa. This appears to be a hand-written copy of the original at McGill University, Montreal—also consulted.

7. Ibid; R. Harvey Fleming, "McTavish, Frobisher and Company of Montreal," The Canadian Historical Review, 10 (1929), 136-7; Drafts of the agreement between McTavish and Frobisher are to be found in the "Quebec Papers," volume 75 of the William Drummer Powell Papers, Toronto Public Library, Ontario.

8. Innis, Fur Trade, p. 199.

9. Rich, Hudson's Bay Company, 2, 122.

10. Innis, Fur Trade, p. 231.

11. Davidson, p. 23n; Buck, p. 22.

12. Innis, Peter Pond, p. 115; Innis, Fur Trade, pp. 200-01; Charles M. Gates, ed., Five Fur Traders of the Northwest (U. of Minnesota Press, 1953), pp. 11-15. Gate describes Pond as a clear-visioned blazer of western trails, whose eloquence was as remarkable as his spelling was quaint. Despite his association with the North West Company, Pond presented to the U. S. Congress of the Confederation a map of northwest Canada and, even before that, explained the geography of the Great Lakes to Benjamin Franklin. Franklin used this knowledge in the boundary negotiations of 1782-83. Pond left the North West Company in 1790 and died a poor man in 1807 in the United States.

13. Alexander Mackenzie to Roderic ("Dear Rory") McKenzie, Grand Portage, July 16, 1790, Public Archives, Ottawa.

14. The shares were divided as follows: McTavish, Frobisher & Co. (including one Mr. Coy), 6 shares; Nicholas Montour, Robert Grant, Patrick Small, John Gregory, Peter Pangman, and Alexander Mackenzie, 2 shares each; William McGillivray (a nephew of Simon McTavish) and Daniel Sutherland, 1 share each. "Accord et convention entre Alex. MacKenzie et McTavish Frobisher & Co., 24 juillet, 1790," Séminaire de Quebec, Quebec. Mackenzie agreed to pay Pangman £ 6,000, Halifax currency, in 1794, and an additional £ 4,000 in 1796. Photostat, Peter Pangman, Sale of His Shares in N. W. Co., Public Archives, Ottawa.

15. Innis, "North West Company," Can. Hist. Review, 8 (1927), 315.

16. "Accord et convention...24 juillet 1790."

17. John Macdonald, "Autobiographical Notes of John Macdonald of Garth," Public Archives, Ottawa. Macdonald did not write this account until he was 89 years old. Thus they should be treated with care even though his mind appears to have been most active.

18. Andreani's account is found in François Alexandre Frédéric La Rochefoucault-Liancourt, "Tour Through Upper Canada," in Thirteenth Report of the Bureau of Archives for the Province of Ontario, 1916 (Toronto, 1917), pp. 15-119. It is assumed that Count Andreani actually visited Grand Portage rather than relying on accounts of others. See also Theodore C. Blegen, Minnesota, A History of the State (Minneapolis, U. of Minn. Press, 1963), p. 113.

19. Joseph Frobisher, Montreal, Dec. 8, 1791, to Simon McTavish, London, Strathcona Papers, Box 2, Public Archives, Ottawa.

20. Northwest Company Agreement, 1792, McGill University Library, Montreal. The shares were as follows:

McTavish, Frobisher & Co.12
Patrick Small2
Robert Grant4
William McGillivray2
John Gregory4
Daniel Sutherland2
Peter Pangman4
Angus Shaw2
Alexander Mackenzie4
Cuthbert Grant1
Nicholas Montour2
Roderic McKenzie1

plus the four newcomers mentioned above. Other items of interest in the 1792 agreement: McTavish, Frobisher & Co. were to handle all the business in Montreal. That firm now consisted of Simon McTavish, Joseph Frobisher, James Hallowell, and John Gregory. Gregory and Sutherland were to continue as the firm's agents at the Grand Portage rendezvous. Peter Pangman, although listed as a winterer, finally did retire in 1793. From now on winterers could go to Montreal two at a time, providing they paid a clerk to act in their place. Cuthbert Grant and Roderic McKenzie, being the youngest, went to the end of the vacation list; however both were to receive an annual salary of £ 200 because they had only one share each.

21. Macdonald, "Autobiographical Notes."

22. John Macdonell, "Lake Athabasca et les Chipweans." This unsigned manuscript is at McGill University Library, Montreal. This manuscript bears evidence of editorial work by either Roderic McKenzie or L. R. Masson. It has also been edited and published by Charles M. Gates, Five Fur Traders of the Northwest, University of Minnesota Press, 1933, pp. 92-97. Concerning money, Gates said that Grand Portage was reckoned by units called G. P. C., 12 of these units equalling one pound sterling. The term "bon" appears in the testimony of Joseph Lecuyer, 1803, in Grace Lee Nute, "A British Legal Case and Old Grand Portage," Minnesota History, 21, (1940), 147.

Chapter 4

1. Macdonell; Joseph Frobisher, Feb. 14, 1793, to Simon McTavish, Strathcona Papers, Box 2, Public Archives, Ottawa; Rich, Hudson's Bay Company, p. 193; William Grant, Jan. 5, 1793, to Simon McTavish, Hudson's Bay Company Records, N. W. Company Correspondence, 1791-99, microfilm, Public Archives, Ottawa.

2. Angus Shaw, July 25, 1794, to Simon McTavish, Strathcona Papers, Box 2, Public Archives, Ottawa.

3. James Hallowell, Montreal, June 19, 1794, to Simon McTavish, Strathcona Papers, Box 1, Public Archives, Ottawa.

4. James Hallowell, June 26, 1794, to Simon McTavish, Strathcona Papers, Box 2, Public Archives, Ottawa; Mitchell, "Agreement of 1795," Can. Hist. Review, 36 (1955), 131-2; Fleming, "McTavish, Frobisher, and Company," Can. Hist. Review, 10 (1929), 141; Joseph Frobisher, Aug. 30, 1794, to Simon McTavish, Hudson's Bay Records, N.W. Co. Corresp., 1791-99, Public Archives, Ottawa.

5. Macdonald, "Autobiographical Notes." He recalled either the wrong date or the wrong man, since McTavish was in England that summer. Nevertheless, his recollections give some general idea of both Fort Charlotte and the opposition establishment at this end of the portage.

6. Duncan McGillivray, Journal, photostats, Public Archives, Ottawa. Original is in the Colonial Institute, England. The journal has been edited by A. S. Morton, The Journal of Duncan McGillivray of the North West Company of Fort George on the Saskatchewan, 1794-1795 (Toronto, 1929).

7. "An Account of the Athabasca Indians," photostats, Ontario Provincial Archives, Toronto.

8. "Scheme for the N. W. Outfit, 1794," N. W. Company, Correspondence 1791-99, in Hudson's Bay Records, Public Archives, Ottawa.

9. Northwest Company Partnership Documents, 1795, Masson Collection, McGill University Library, Montreal.

10. Joseph Frobisher, Nov. 8, 1796, to Simon McTavish, Strathcona Papers, Box 2, Public Archives, Ottawa. Elaine Allan Mitchell, "New Evidence on the Mackenzie—McTavish Break", Can. Hist. Review, 41 (1960), 43, thinks that Mackenzie, either then or later, made a bid to have McTavish removed from the Company, but failed.

11. Burpee, "Some Letters of David Thompson," Can. Hist. Review, 4 (1923), 105-07. Thompson failed to find a publisher for his great map. It hangs today in the Ontario Provincial Archives, Toronto. See also Burpee, "Grand Portage", Minn. History, 12 (1931), 372.

12. David Thompson's Journals, Vol. 3, Book 5, "1797 Journey to Grand Portage," and "Journey from the Grand Portage Banks of Lake Superior to Swan River, 1797," Ontario Provincial Archives, Toronto. The three Western trail-blazers—Mackenzie, Thompson, and Fraser—were all at the 1797 meeting.

13. Ibid., vol. 4.

14. Joseph Frobisher, June 30, 1788, to John Brickwood, J. Frobisher Letter Book, 1787-1788, Public Archives, Ottawa.

15. Memoirs of Roderic McKenzie, Public Archives, Ottawa. McKenzie quoted from a letter written by Simon McTavish, Montreal, June 22, 1799.

16. Innis, Fur Trade, p. 255; Rich, Montreal, p. 92.

17. William McGillivray and Alexander Mackenzie, June 28, 1798, to Ogilvie, Parker, Gerrard & Co., North West Company Letter Book, 1798-1802, Public Archives, Ottawa.

18. Arthur G. Doughty, ed., (Duncan McGillivray, writer?), "Some Account of the Trade Carried on By the North West Company," Report of the Public Archives for the Year 1928 (Ottawa), p. 69; Innis, Fur Trade, p. 237. Of the total employees, 50 were clerks, 70 interpreters and clerks, 35 guides, and 1,102 were canoe men. Of the total, 5 clerks, 18 guides, and 350 canoemen traveled between Montreal and the Grand Portage-Rainy Lake area. The rest, of course, were northwesterners. A North West Company Letter Book lists the names of 114 clerks, interpreters, and partners for this period.

19. Ledger, Outfits, Séminaire de Québec, Quebec. The activities and inventories of the North West Co. at this time would be much more complex.

20. Angus Shaw, May 2, 1798, to John Cameron, Selkirk Papers, vol. 28, Public Archives, Ottawa.

21. Alexander Mackenzie, June 4, 1799, to McTavish, Frobisher & Co., and June 16, 1799, to the Proprietors of the North West Company, both in North West Company Letter Book, 1798-1802, Public Archives, Ottawa. The loss of nine cattle was confirmed in a letter by John Munro, July 15, 1799, Strathcona Papers, Box 2, Public Archives, Ottawa.

22. Memoirs of Roderic McKenzie; Joseph Frobisher, an incomplete letter, Jan. 18, 1800, apparently to Simon McTavish, Strathcona Papers, Box 2, both at Public Archives, Ottawa. In December, 1799, after Mackenzie's departure from the Company, the firm of McTavish, Frobisher & Co. underwent a reorganization. Ten equal shares were divided as follows: Simon McTavish—4, John Gregory—2, William McGillivray—2, Duncan McGillivray—1, and William Hallowell—1. See North West Partners' Trust-Deeds & Agreements, 1799-1820, Hudson's Bay Records, Public Archives, Ottawa. Duncan McGillivray, a brother of William, replaced Alexander Mackenzie as agent to Grand Portage.

23. Phillips, 2, 110; Innis, "NorthWest Company," Can. Hist. Review, 8 (1927), 313 and 315; R. Harvey Fleming, "The Origins of 'Sir Alexander Mackenzie and Company,'" Can. Hist. Review, 9 (1928), 141-3; McGillivray, "Some account of the Trade," Public Archives, Ottawa. It is not possible to give a precise date of Alexander Mackenzie's departure from the North West Company. His letters of June 1799 indicate that he was still loyal to the Company, even though mentally he may already have decided to quit. He left Montreal for England in October, and it may be said this was his official departure. It is also difficult to say when he actually became a member of the opposition. This report assumes that his opposition became effective when he returned to Canada in 1800.

24. Angus Mackintosh, Papers, 1798-1800, 2 vols., bound photo-stats, Burton Coll., Detroit Public Library, letters, July 13, 1799, to McGillivray and Mackenzie; July 17, 1799, to McIntosh and Frobisher; also see Angus McIntosh, Correspondence (Letter Book), 1798-1803, Public Archives, Ottawa.

25. Alexander Mackenzie, letter, 1799, in North West Company Letter Book, 1798-1802, Public Archives, Ottawa.

26. Priscilla Wakefield, Excursions in North American, Described in Letters From a Gentleman and His Young Companion (London, Darton and Harvey, 1806), p. 345.

27. Isaac Weld, Jr., Travels Through the States of North America and the Provinces of Upper and Lower Canada...1795, 1796, and 1797 (London, John Stockdale, 1800), pp. 229 and 234.

Chapter 5

1. William McGillivray, Jan 10, 1800, to Henry Munro, North West Company Letter Book, 1798-1802, Public Archives, Ottawa. In the 1962 excavations at Grand Portage, archeologists discovered a 60-foot line of post butts some 400 feet east of the N. W. stockade. At present there is no evidence to support the idea that this was one of the fences McGillivray referred to. See Alan R. Woolworth, "Archeological Excavations at Grand Portage National Monument, 1962 Field Season," MS, Dec. 1968, pp. 38-39 and maps.

2. Duncan McGillivray, Jan 31, 1800, to John Bennet, North West Company Letter Book, 1798-1802, Public Archives, Ottawa.

3. Ibid., William McGillivray, May 27, 1800, to McTavish, Frobisher, and Co.

4. The above extracts were taken from Daniel Harmon, "Journal of Travels...1800 to 1819," Public Archives, Ottawa. These photostats were made from a handwritten copy of his journal now in the Iowa State University Library. This copy of his journal was in the possession of his daughter when she died in 1904. Despite analysis by several scholars, it is still not known if this is the original journal or a copy. If it is a copy, internal evidence suggests to me that the copyist was very accurate. In all respects it discloses an innocent clerk uncovering the wonders of the fur trade. The journal was first edited and published by Rev. Daniel Haskel, A Journal of Voyages and Travels in the Interior of North America (Andover, 1820). Haskel, alas, was more concerned with his own ideas of man and religion than with the accuracy history demands. In recent years the Archivist of the Public Archives, W. Kaye Lamb, acquired the photostat, and republished the journal under the title Sixteen Years in the Indian Country, The Journal of Daniel Williams Harmon. 1800-1816 (Toronto, The Macmillan Co., 1957). This version reflects scholarship.

5. Alexander Henry, "Mr. Henry's Journal across the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific, 1799 to 1816," 2 vols., Public Archives, Ottawa.

6. William McGillivray, Aug. 17, 1800, to P. Grant, North West Co. Letter Book, 1798-1802, Pub. Archives, Ottawa. A "bon" was a form of money or credit employed by the N. W. Co. at Grand Portage and in the northwest. Further reference will be made to it.

7. Ibid., McGillivray, Aug. 26, 1800, to Kenneth McKenzie, and to Captain Maxwell. This Kenneth McKenzie is not the same man who built Fort Union on the Upper Missouri in 1829.

8. Fleming, "Sir Alexander Mackenzie and Company," Can. Hist. Review, 9 (1928), 143-45; Rich, Hudson's Bay Company, 2, 215-16.

9. Angus Mackintosh, Jan. 30, 1801, to Simon McTavish, Mackintosh Letterbook, 1801-2, Burton Collection, Detroit Public Library.

10. Minutes of the Meetings of the North West Company, 1801-04, Baby Collection, University of Montreal.

11. XY Company Register, Inventories, Baby Coll., U. of Montreal.

12. Alexander Mackenzie, Voyages from Montreal on the River St. Lawrence (Ann Arbor, University Microfilms, Inc., 1966) xl-xlvi.

13. Agreement of 1802, in Documents from the Estate Trust Files of James Keith, of Aberdeen, microfilm, Public Archives, Ottawa; Rich, Hudson's Bay Company, 2, 217.

14. Roderic McKenzie, June 5, 1802, to Duncan Cameron, N. W. Co. Letter Book, 1798-1802, Public Archives, Ottawa.

15. Richard Barton and Grace Lee Nute, eds., "A Winter in the St. Croix Valley, 1802-13," Minnesota History, 28 (1947), 142-3, 143n. (The diary of George Nelson, N. W. Co.)

16. Daniel Sutherland, Jan. 27, 1802, to John Butler Grant; July 12 and Aug. 20, 1802, to Phyn, Inglish & Co.; Aug. 31, 1802, to Capt. Mills; Nov. 1, 1802, to Lewis Faraguharson & Co., Schenectady; and Nov. 27, 1802, to J. J. Astor, all in Sir Alexander Mackenzie & Co., Letter Book of Daniel Sutherland, 1802-09, Séminaire de Québec, Quebec.

17. Nute, "British Legal Case," Minnesota History, 21 (1940), 117-48. I am in great debt to Miss Nute's translations of the French portions of the document and for her notes.

18. Burpee, "Grand Portage," Minn. Hist. 12 (1931), 375-76; Alexander Mackenzie & Co., Statement of Outfits, 1799-1805, Séminaire de Québec; Daniel Sutherland, July 21, 1803, to Phyn, Inglis & Co., in Sir Alexander Mackenzie, Letter Book, 1802-09, Séminaire de Québec.

19. American troops would burn the Perseverance during the War of 1812. See Milo M. Quaife, ed., War on the Detroit, the Chronicles of Thomas Vercheres de Boucherville and the Capitulation by an Ohio Volunteer (Chicago, 1940), pp. 3, 6, and 6n.

20. Ibid., p. 10. Only Boucherville mentions 4 bastions, a structural detail not supported by archeological findings. It should be noted that he wrote this description more than 40 years after his visits there.

21. Michel Curot, "A Wisconsin Fur Trader's Journal, 1803-04," ed. Reuben Gold Thwaites, Collections of the Historical Society of Wisconsin, 20 (1911), 396, 413, and 417.

22. François Victor Mahiot, "A Wisconsin Fur Trader's Journal, 1804-05," ed. by Reuben G. Thwaites, Collections of the Historical Society of Wisconsin, 19 (1910), 169.

23. An account of Simon McTavish by Jno. Horn, in Strathcona Papers, Box 1, "Northwest Co., 1791-1816," Public Archives, Ottawa.

24. Daniel Sutherland, Oct. 22, 1804, to Phyn, Inglis & Co., in Sir Alexander Mackenzie, Letter Book, 1802-05, Pub. Arch., Ottawa.

25. Fleming, "Sir Alexander Mackenzie and Company," Can. Hist. Review, 9 (1928), 147, says that it was in 1804 that Sir Alexander brought into being the title "Sir Alexander Mackenzie and Company." However, this writer has found this title in use as early as 1801. A copy of the Agreement of 1804 is in the Ontario Provincial Archives, Toronto. This Agreement lists the membership of the unified company as follows:

John Gregory
William McGillivray
Duncan McGillivray
William Hallowell
Roderic McKenzie
These are the partners comprising the House of McTavish, Frobisher and Company.

The following group appears to be the wintering partners of the old North West Company:

Angus Shaw
Daniel MacKenzie
William McKay
John MacDonald
Donald McTavish
John McDonell
Archibald Norman McLeod
Alexander MacDougall
Charles Chaboiller
John Sayis
Peter Grant
Alexander Fraser
Eneas Cameron
John Finlay
Duncan Cameron
James Hughes
Alexander MacKay
Hugh MacGillis
Alexander Henry
John McGillivray
James MacKenzie
Simon Fraser
John Duncan Campbell
David Thompson
John Thompson

Members who traded in Montreal under the firm of Forsyth, Richardson and Company:

Sir Alexander Mackenzie
Thomas Forsyth
John Richardson
John Forsyth

London merchants under the firm of Phyn, Inglis & Company:

John Inglis
James Forsyth
John Muse of Quebec

The following group appears to have been the wintering partners of the old XY Company (Sir Alexander Mackenzie and Co.)

Pierre Rocheblave
Alexander MacKenzie (not the "Sir")
John McDonald
James Leith
John Will
John Haldane

Also, the estate of the late firm of Leith, Jamison and Company, and Thomas Thaine of Montreal.

Chapter 6

1. George Heriot, Travels Through the Canadas (London 1807), pp. 203-04.

2. Agreement of 1802, Hudson's Bay Company Records, Public Archives, Ottawa; Buck, "Grand Portage," Minn. History, 5 (1922-24), 24 and notes.

3. Nute, "British Legal Case," Minn. History, 21 (1940), 120.

4. Lewis Cass, June 20, 1815, to Actg. Sect, of War A. J. Dallas, in "The Fur-Trade in Wisconsin, 1815-1817," Wisconsin Historical Society Collections, 19 (1910), 378.

5. John J. Bigsby, The Shoe and Canoe or Pictures of Travel in the Cascades (London, Chapman & Hall, 2 vols., 1850), 2, 234-2. For extensive details on the border dispute in this area the reader may wish to turn to House Executive Documents, 25th Cong., 2d Sess., No. 451. For tracings of many historic maps involving Grand Portage, see House Documents, 25th Cong., 2d Sess., No. 450.

6. Joseph Delafield, The Unfortified Boundary, A Diary of the first survey of the Canadian Boundary Line from St. Regis to the Lake of the Woods, ed. by Robert McElroy and Thomas Riggs (New York, privately printed, 1943), pp. 70 and 404-06.

7. Grace Lee Nute, Lake Superior (New York, Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1944), p. 308; William H. Keating, Narrative of an Expedition to the Source of St. Peter's River, Lake Winnipeek, Lake of the Woods, etc...1823...under the Command of Stephen H. Long (London, Geo. B. Whittaker, 2 vols., 1825), 2, 233. Great Britain and the United States signed a treaty in 1842, by which the Pigeon River became the international boundary. The Grand Portage was to be "free and open to the use of the citizens and subjects of both countries." Senate Documents, 27th Cong., 3d Sess., No. 1, p. 29.

8. Senate Documents, 22d Cong., 1st Sess., No. 90 (Henry R. Schoolcraft), 43; Buck, "Grand Portage," Minn. History, 5 (1923-24), 24-25 and 25n. Schoolcraft gave the American trader's name as Mr. Johnston. Buck thought it was Bela Chapman.

9. Senate Documents, 22d Cong., 1st Sess., No. 90, p. 46.

10. Nute, Lake Superior, pp. 174-80; Buck, "Grand Portage," Minn. History, 5 (1923-24), 25.

11. Nute, Lake Superior, pp. 309-10; Buck, "Grand Portage," Minn. History, 5 (1923-24), 26.

12. Nute, Lake Superior, p. 300.

13. S. J. Dawson, Report on the Exploration of the Country between Lake Superior and the Red River Settlement (Toronto, John Lovell, 1859), pp. 3, 7 and 8.

14. Nute, Lake Superior, p. 123; Buck, "Grand Portage," Minn. History, 5 (1923-24), 27; Bryce, Remarkable History, p. 95; Nancy L. Woolworth, "The Grand Portage Mission, 1731-1965", Minn. History, 39 (1965), 310.

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Last Updated: 15-Jul-2009