Fort Vancouver is a very special place. Over 180 years ago, it was a trading post where furs were exchanged for blankets, beads, dishes, tools, and other supplies. It was also a farm, a factory, and a village. Many different types of people lived here, from homelands all over the world.
In these coloring pages, you will see pictures of children who lived here. You will see the houses they lived in, the games they played, the clothes they wore, and the types of jobs they learned. We hope you enjoy coloring these pages. On the way, you might just discover that the original kids at Fort Vancouver weren't all that different from you!
Looking for something simpler? Download our Fort Vancouver ABC's Coloring Book here! This coloring book uses artifacts, landscapes, and the history of Fort Vancouver to illustrate the ABCs.
You can also check out "Color the Trail: Animals of Lewis and Clark" produced by our friends at the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail!
Fort Vancouver (PDF, 338 KB)
In the middle of the frontier, Fort Vancouver was a farm, a store, and a village all rolled into one. Though it was built in 1825 to bring in furs, the British company that ran the fort made money in other ways too. Nearby were fields full of cows and sheep, orchards, dairies, and mills. You could buy dishes, fabric, jewelry, food, and everything else you might need from the fort's stores. It was a busy, noisy place full of many different types of people.
Cecilia Douglas (PDF, 147 KB)
I'm Cecilia Douglas and I just turned eleven years old. I live in the big white house inside the fort. My father is an important man, and helps to run the business of this company. He was born in Guyana, a very long way away, but I was born here at Vancouver. My mother is from far away too, in Canada. Her father was an Irishman working for a fur trading company, and her mother was Cree. I just finished sewing this dress for myself. I love wearing it! It's short so you can see my leggings. My mother will help me put beads on them soon.
Discussion Questions: What would it be like if you had to make your own clothes? Would it change how you took care of your clothes, or how many items of clothing you owned? What kinds of clothes would you make for yourself?
Douglas Girls' Bedroom (PDF, 1,492 KB)
This is the Douglas girls' bedroom. Three sisters share this space, and soon their little sister will move in. When they wake up in the morning, the girls fold their beds up to the wall so they have room to play. Cecilia and Alice have a tea set and china dolls. Agnes is younger and plays mostly with homemade wooden toys, but she is hoping for a doll on her next birthday.
Discussion Questions: Do the Douglas girls have toys like yours, or are your toys different?
Cecilia's Birthday (PDF, 896 KB)
For Cecilia Douglas' eleventh birthday, she and her friends celebrate with a card party and a special supper. Her father has another surprise for her. He has secretly planted flower seeds in the shape of her name. Next spring when they sprout in the garden, they will say CECILIA.
Discussion Questions: How are your birthday parties, or birthday parties you've been to, similar to or different from Cecilia's? Do you like big birthday parties, or smaller parties with just a few friends, like this one? What kinds of games do you like to play at birthday parties?
Etienne & Joseph (PDF, 733 KB)
I am Etienne and this is my little brother Joseph. We're on our way to work in the fields with the rest of the boys. I wish we could help our father in his shop instead. He's a cooper and makes barrels for the fort. Our mother is down by the river, helping to pack salmon for the ship to Owyhee (Hawai'i). Soon we'll be done with school, and then we can work for the company. I'm going to be a cooper too, but Joseph wants to be a clerk. I told him his handwriting is too poor and he's not good enough at numbers. He said I'm too weak to bend the wood for barrels. What does he know anyway?
Discussion Questions: Etienne and Joseph have picked out what kind of jobs they would like to do. What kind of job would you like to do when you grow up? What skills will you need to learn to do that job?
Village House (PDF, 189 KB)
This is a house in the village near Fort Vancouver. Like the buildings inside the fort, it is made of sturdy wood fitted together. Sometimes the wind sneaks through the cracks though, and blows up the dust from the dirt floor. All the houses in the village are quite small, and sometimes more than one family lives inside. There are only a few pieces of furniture, but colorful dishes, bright and warm blankets, and a fire can make it cozy. Some families, who live in the village only during the summer time, often sleep in tents.
Discussion Questions: What do you think of this house? Would you like to live there? Why or why not?
School at Fort Vancouver (PDF, 1,187 KB)
One thing at Fort Vancouver makes it a wonderful place for children: the school! Chief Factor John McLoughlin is proud of the school he has started, the first in this part of the country. All the children of the fort and village attend. Children from other trading post move here so they can go to school too. The students learn about God and the church, mathematics, and how to read and write. They do lessons on slateboards. Sometimes they even get to practice drawing or music.
Discussion Questions: What subjects do you learn in school? Do you learn any of the same subjects that were taught at Fort Vancouver's school?
Working at Fort Vancouver (PDF, 1,459 KB)
After they spend the morning in school, boys go with their teacher to work in the garden, orchard, or fields. It's hard work, but the farm provides food for everyone in the fort and village. Many fruits, vegetables, and grains like wheat and barley are grown. Unusual fruits like melons and lemons are grown in special little houses made of glass! Families don't have to pay to send their children to school here. Instead, the boys help with the outdoors work of the fort.
Discussion Questions: At Fort Vancouver, food had to be grown in the garden, orchard, and fields. How would life be different if there were no grocery stores, and you had to grow your food yourself? What would you grow?
Blacksmith Shop (PDF, 1,093 KB)
By the time a boy is about twelve years old, he is considered to be a man able to do a man's work. He will sign a contract with the company, and start working six days a week. If he wants to work in the Blacksmith Shop, he becomes an apprentice. Only after studying for several years with a blacksmith will he become a blacksmith himself.
Handwork at Fort Vancouver (PDF, 1,559 KB)
In the afternoons, girls practice sewing, beading, and other needlework skills. An American woman who is visiting the fort is teaching them to knit. By the time Cecilia Douglas was ten years old, she had embroidered a sampler showing all the different stitches she had learned.
Free Time (PDF, 943 KB)
After church on Sundays, when they are free from school and work, children can play outside. Their mothers help them pack baskets with cold venison, apples, bread, and cheese. Off they go to the meadows near the fort for a picnic. As they relax on a blanket, the children joke with each other in Chinook Jargon, the only language all of them can easily understand. They cut reeds growing near the pond, and weave them into little animals. And they try to keep their dogs away from their good food!
Discussion Questions: What do you do with your family and friends in your free time? What would you take with you on a picnic?
Simon Gill (PDF, 205 KB)
Klahowya! My name is Simon Gill. Look what I just caught in my trap! My father will be so pleased that we can have rabbit for supper. He and I are living in the village for a few months this summer. We spend the rest of the year in the forest trapping animals for the fort. I enjoy being here and seeing my friends again, but I miss the rivers and the mountains. When I grow up I want to be a trapper like my father. He is Simon too. My mother was called Marie Chehalis, since she was of that tribe, but she died when I was just a baby. Meet my new dog too! I am trying to think of a good name for him. What do you think his name should be?
Discussion Questions: What would you name Simon's dog?
Fur Brigade (PDF, 157 KB)
These men are part of a brigade. That means they go out as a team, into the forests to trap animals. They use the rivers as their roads, paddling the canoes for miles during the fall, winter, and spring. This brigade has almost a hundred men, plus women and children, who travel together. As summer comes, they head for Fort Vancouver with their furs. Just upriver from the fort, they stop and change into their fanciest clothes. Then they speed down to the fort, singing Canadian songs at the top of their lungs, ready for a celebration!
Click here to listen to a song sung by the fur brigades at Fort Vancouver.
Family (PDF, 1,138 KB)
While out trapping animals, a family carries everything they need: the tent, blankets, tools, and cooking pots, as well as the furs. Women and children clean and tan the animal skins so they don't rot. They also cook meals and repair worn clothing and moccasins. The family moves every few days, covering more than a thousand miles during the year. Later, they will bring the furs back to Fort Vancouver and buy the supplies they need for the next year.
Discussion Questions: What would you buy if you had to buy a year's worth of supplies at once? How would you make-do if you ran out of supplies?
Dances and Parties (PDF, 1,039 KB)
A dance! During the long, dark winter nights at Fort Vancouver, a dance is the perfect way to celebrate a holiday. Everyone is invited: all the peple who live inside the fort, the families from the village, and anybody else who lives near enough to come by horse or boat. The music goes on until the morning as people teach each other dances they remember from their homes far away.
Discussion Questions: See the fiddle player sitting near the window? He is providing music for this dance. What is your favorite song to dance to?
Last updated: May 27, 2020