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1802 voyageur contract

A letter-press printed form contract. This fill-in-the-blank contract is for employment as a voyageur with McTavish, Frobisher & Co. This contract is signed by A[?]ais Gregoire.

1802 voyageur contract

A letter-press printed form contract. This fill-in-the-blank contract is for employment as a voyageur with McTavish, Frobisher & Co. This contract is signed by Jacques Roy, with Mr. Frederick Singer signing for the company.

1802 voyageur contract

This fill-in-the-blank contract was originally for employment with Parker Gerrard & Ogilvy, but this name is crossed out and replaced with Alexr. Mackenzie. It is signed by Michel Dantigny, who signed in Montreal.

1803 voyageur contract

This item is a fill-in-the-blank contract offering employment with McTavish, Frobisher & Co. It is signed by Francois Piquette. There are numerous alterations to the contract made in the margins.

The Jurisdiction Act of 1803

Titled: "An Act for extending the Jurisdiction of the courts of Justice in the Provinces of Lower and Upper Canada, to the Trial and Punishment of Persons guilty of Crimes and Offences within certain Parts of North American adjoining to the said Provinces." Removed from a bound volume, pages numbered 1433-1435. Printed in London, Great Britain by Eyre and Strahan.

From notes provided by the donor: "Known as 'The Jurisdiction Act of 1803,' this piece of legislation was enacted as a direct result of the offences and crimes committed within the 'Indian Territories' by the XY Company and the North West Company, in their struggle to dominate the fur trade out of Montreal. As seen later, during the 'Pemmican War' lawsuits, the legality of the act was thrown into question, and was later deemed to be inadequately worded to enforce the rule of law in the regions outside of Upper and Lower Canada."

1806 voyageur contract

This fill-in-the-blank contract is for employment with McTavish, Frobisher & Co. and John Ogilvy and Thomas Thain. It is signed by Ignace Roberts, who signed in Montreal.

1806 voyageur contract

This is a fill-in-the-blank contract for employment with McTavish, Frobisher & Co. and John Ogilvy and Thomas Thain. It is signed by Charles Laneuville. It was signed in Montreal. There are numerous revisions to the standard contract written in ink.

1806 voyageur contract

This fill-in-the-blank contract is for employment with Forsyth Richardson & Co. but the clerk who filled in the form began writing "Richardson" first before crossing it out. This contract is signed by Jacques Commercie (father), who signed in Montreal.

1807 voyageur contract

This fill-in-the-blank contract is for employment with Parker Gerrard Ogilvy & Co. It is signed by Charles Monnette de Boismis, who signed in Montreal.

1811 voyageur contract

This fill-in-the-blank form is an employment contract with McTavish, McGillivrays & Co. and John Ogilvy and Thomas Thain. It is signed by Louis Mallette, who signed in Montreal.
This form was printed by Imprimerie de Brown.

1811 voyageur contract

This fill-in-the-blank contract is for employment with McTavish, McGillivrays & Co. and John Ogilvy and Thomas Thain. It is signed by Pierre Mailloux, who signed in Montreal.
The form was printed by Imprimerie de Brown.

1811 voyageur contract

This fill-in-the-blank contract is for employment with McTavish, McGillivrays & Co. and John Ogilvy and Thomas Thain. It is signed by Andre Langevin, who signed in Montreal.
The form was printed by Imprimerie de Brown.

Hiring contract, 27 July 1812

An engagement contract for John Nouray, which renews his previous contract with "the Governor and the Company of Adventurers of England, Trading into Hudson's Bay" (the Hudson's Bay Company). The contract binds Nouray to the Company for three years of service.

1810—1819

This series contains all items in the collection created between 1810 and 1819.

Proclamation, 15 July 1817

A call for obedience and restitution from agents of the North West Company at the forks of the Red River in light of recent land disputes with the Hudson's Bay Company. The Earl of Selkirk, acting under the charter of the Hudson's Bay Company, is positioned as the principal proprietor and land owner of the region in question.

The proclamation is signed by James Bird, governor N.D. [Northern Department?], and [Governor] Miles MacDonell of Assiniboia and addressed to Simon McGillivray per De Rocheblave.

1818 Pierre Pambrun Indictment, Pemmican War

Indictment for Robbery, signed in Montreal, 1818.

Docket reads: "No. 19. King's Bench, Montreal. March Term, 1818. Dominus Rex vs. Pierre C. Pambrun, Jean Bte. Girard, Antoine Robillard, Jean Bte. Lagarde, Frans. Boucher & Benonie Marie. Indictment for Robbery. A True Bill. [signed] Fs. Rolland, foreman. Witnesses: Jean Gab. Lalonde, dt. La Prielle, Jean Bte. Chauvin. Process. fyled 5 March. [signed] N.F. Uniacke, Atty Genl."

From notes provided by the donor: "This original document outlines the charge of robbery against Pierre Chrysologue Pambrun (1792-1841) and his associates (all employees of the Hudson's Bay Company), which took place on the 10th of November 1816. The indictment was officially filed with the Court of King's Bench in Montreal on 2nd of March 1818.

The charge is stated (in essence) as:

'With force and arms at a place called 'Lapuise' the accused men (employees of the HBC) assaulted and endangered the life of Joseph Belcour (trader with the NWC [North West Company]) on the 'highway' aforesaid (Lac des Cedres Rouges), and stole 9 beaver skins, 25 musk rat skins, 2 otter skins, 1 bear skin, 1 keg of gun powder, one sack of lead balls (28 pounds weight), 1 roll of tobacco (65 pounds weight), 9 pairs of woollen blankets, 3.5 yards of scarlet cloth, 14 yards of blue cloth, 21 yards of blue cloth, 6 frocks (commonly called capots made of woollen cloth or molton), 3 figured flannel robes, 1 pound and ten ounces weight of beads, 200 gun flints, 1 piece and one-half piece of broad tape, 1 Indian knife, 3 clasp knives, three-quarters of a pound of vermilion, 1 gimblet, 23 shoemaker's awls, 12 gun worms, and 4 dozen metal rings powder (each listed with values), the goods and chattel of 'certain persons' (i.e., Joseph Belcour, on behalf of the NWC).'

Pierre Pambrun was a long-time employee and servant of the HBC, and was intimately involved in the 'Pemmican War' disputes between the HBC and the North West Company, primarily during the years 1814 to 1816. Pambrun, as witness, provided the courts with his observations and experiences of various skirmishes between the two companies. His evidence was included in published accounts of the trials.

Not much is known about Joseph Belcour, aside from the fact that we know that he was employed by the NWC in 1811 at Athabasca River. Although not stated on the document, we can safely conclude that he was still associated with the NWC during the time of this incident, as the document is written in the style and format of similar indictments brought against the HBC by the NWC. We can also safely concluded that this legal action taken was paid for by the NWC coalition, as part of a larger retaliatory action against the HBC, in the fight for unrestricted access to furs and supplies (i.e., pemmican) in western Canada.

Norman Fitzgerald Uniacke, son of Nova Scotia's Attorney General Richard John Uniacke, was Attorney General of Lower Canada at the time of the 'Pemmican War' hearings. He was a controversial figure, and was criticised for his very superficial acquaintance with criminal law and inadequate knowledge of civil law.

This official document was brought before the courts in Montreal, but did not proceed to completion owing to the fact that the 'Jurisdiction Act' of 1803 did not clearly state the jurisdiction of the courts of Lower Canada. Thus, the 'Indian Countries' fell outside of their area of responsibility. In addition, it was argued that the trials would not escape sympathetic influence of Montreal residents (including lawyers) connected in some way to the NWC. Thus, the trials were moved to York (Toronto), and the legal actions continued in the fall of 1818."

1820 voyageur contract

This fill-in-the-blank contract is for employment with McTavish, McGillivrays & Co. & Pierre de Rocheblave. It is signed by Louis Chouinard, who signed in Montreal. It appears that A. N. Macleod signed for the company, although the last few letters of the signature are difficult to make out.

1821 Act for regulating the Fur Trade

Titled: "An Act for regulating the Fur Trade, and establishing a Criminal and Civil Jurisdiction within certain Parts of North America. (2d July 1821.)" Removed from a bound volume printed in London, Great Britain by Eyre and Strahan in 1821. Pages are numbered 569-575.

From notes provided by the donor: "This act, released shortly after the amalgamation of the Hudson's Bay Company and the North West Company, granted exclusive trading rights to the 'new' H.B.C. for a period of 21 years. The act also extended the legality of the 'Jurisdiction Act of 1803' to include all territory specified by the H.B.C.'s lease."

23 NWC Voyageur Contracts

Twenty-three (23) pre-printed contracts with hand-written particulars added.

  • Company; Boss; Employee; Date
  • McTavish, Frobisher & Co.; Jean-Marie Boucher; Antoine Moreau (son); January 5, 1801
  • McTavish, Frobisher & Co.; Joseph Olivier; Joseph Jubinville; December 28, 1802
  • McTavish, Frobisher & Co.; Jean-Marie Boucher; Jeremie Bruno, son of Jean Baptiste Bruno; December 22, 1803
  • McTavish, Frobisher & Co.; Jean-Marie Boucher; Hiacynthe Thibeau with the consent of his father Jean Baptiste Thibeau; November 24, 1803
  • McTavish, Frobisher & Co. & John Ogilvy & Thomas Thain; John Gregory; Joseph Ladouceur; March 22, 1806
  • McTavish, Frobisher & Co. & John Ogilvy & Thomas Thain; John Gregory; Joachim Ladouceur with the consent of his father Joseph Ladouceur; March 31, 1806
  • McTavish, Frobisher & Co. & John Ogilvy & Thomas Thain; John Gregory; Etienne Parisien; July 11, 1806
  • McTavish, McGillivrays & Co. & John Ogilvy & Thomas Thain; A. McLeod; Jean Baptiste Chatelle; October 30, 1811
  • McTavish, McGillivrays & Co. & John Ogilvy & Thomas Thain; A. McLeod; Augustin Gagdon de Sorel; October 30, 1811
  • McTavish, McGillivrays & Co. & John Ogilvy & Thomas Thain; A. McLeod; Fran Beauparlant; October 30, 1811
  • McTavish, McGillivrays & Co. & Kenneth McKenzie; A. McLeod; Jean Baptiste Lassoureux; February 19, 1816
  • McTavish, McGillivrays & Co. & Pierre de Rocheblave; A. McLeod; Louis Bergeou; January 9, 1821
  • Alexandre McKinzie & Co.; Pierre St. Vailier Mailloux; Jacques Bertiaume; January 30, 1802
  • Alexander MacKenzie & Co.; Joseph (?)Janiant; Joseph Martin; October 27, 1803
  • Alexander MacKenzie & Co.; Joseph (?)Janiant; Gervais Rivard; October 29, 1803
  • Parker Gerrard Ogilvy & Co.; (?); Joseph Boullard; March 14, 1807
  • Forsyth Richardson & Co.; (?); Jean Baptiste Avost dit Blondin; April 17, 1806
  • Forsyth Richardson & Co.; (?); Joseph Troye; September 16, 1806
  • William Smith (?) of Detroit; (?); Augustin Roy; August 21, 1800

The final four contracts should be examined in person for interpretation. They are from 1805 and 1807.

Letter of account, 31 January 1822

Correspondence from W. Forbes [Hunts?] in Edinburgh, [Scotland] to William Boudge at York Factory.

On one side of the letter is the sender's request for Boudge to confirm his account balance. On the reverse side is William Boudge's account balance as of 31 December 1821.

Report, 27 September 1822

Report of furs seized from Registi La Rinti by John Clarke, chief trader of the Hudson's Bay Company. La Rinti was caught trading furs on Hudson's Bay Company territory at the lower Red River without a license, 27 September 1822.

1822 - Expediency of Occupying the Columbia River

From the title page: "Report Of the Select Committee, appointed on the 10th ultimo, to inquire into the expediency of occupying the Columbia river, and to regulate the intercourse with the Indian tribes; accompanied with a bill to authorize the occupation of the Columbia River. January 18, 1822. Read, and, with the bill, committed to a committee of the whole House to-morrow."

Pages 9 and 10 refer to the rich profits being made in the Canadian Fur Trade, with particular mention of Alexander Mackenzie’s explorations to the west coast and the profits made by the North West Company.

Prevost's Letter

This book is a compilation of documents prepared for the American House of Representatives by President James Monroe. The title page reads: "Message from the President of the United States, communicating the Letter of Mr. Prevost, and other Documents, relating to an establishment made at the mouth of Columbia River." Dated January 27, 1823. Printed by Gales & Seaton. Documents included concern Mr. Prevost, the North West Company, and John Jacob Astor.

Correspondence, 21 April 1823

Personal correspondence from David MacBeath in Edinburgh, [Scotland] to MacBeath's brother-in-law, John Robison, in London, [England].

David MacBeath discusses family affairs, including his marriage to John Robison's sister, Emelia Robison, his financial situation, and MacBeath's interest in a position with the Hudson's Bay Company.

Cocket card, 7 June 1827

An official document issued in recognition of permission granted to pass goods through a port. The card is marked with the ship's name, Westminster, the name of the Ship Master, [Forbes Nichi], and the name of the port, Hudson's Bay. The card is signed by an official at the Searcher's Office in London, [England] and the Collector.

PE001356 – Nicholas Garry Letter

Letter by Nicholas Garry who gave his name to Fort Garry, now Winnipeg. Removed from album with a few marks on the last (blank) page. Sent from conduit St. (London), 18th March 1828.
“Sir, I request you will permit Sam Gale to visit the Travellers Club….” Garry (1782 - 1856) was a deputy governor of the HBC. In 1821 he was in Canada to facilitate the merger of the HBC and the North West Company. Samuel Gale was active in Quebec and testified three times in 1828 before the committee of the House of Commons inquiring into the Government of Canada.

Nicholas Garry

1820—1829

This series contains all items in the collection created between 1820 and 1829.

Correspondence, 10 December 1828

A handwritten copy of a letter sent by Chief Trader Francis Heron at Brandon House to Chief Factors and Chief Traders of the Northern Department.

The letter describes trade relations with Americans and the sender's difficulties re-establishing trade with Indigenous peoples after a prairie fire drove them away. The "Stone Indians" [Nakhóta?] and Cree [Nēhiyaw] are the two groups named in relation to trade in Canada. A conflict between the Americans and the Pawnee is also described.

Correspondence, 13 December 1830

Copy of correspondence from John Stuart at Bas de la Rivière to the Governor Chief Factors and Chief Traders of the Northern Factory.

The letter reports on provisions received, the whereabouts of other people known to the recipient, and the status of the settlement, including notes about the success of the fishery.

1830 Assignment of stock, McGillivray to Ellice

This is Edward Ellice's copy of an indenture between John Richardson, George Gregory and Samuel Gerrard of the First Part, Simon McGillivray of the Second Part, and Edward Ellice of the Third Part.

Docket reads: "Dated 29 Sept 1830, The trustees of Simon McGillivray Esq & the said Simon McGillivray to Edwd Ellice Esq, Copy Assignment of Hudsons Bay Stock and other Trust Effects in consideration of £110,000 [line] 1700. Norman Bethune Tutor Pltf vs. The Right Honourable Edward Ellice Defdt., Defendants Exhibit No.4 Filed Feb. 20th 1839 [signature illegible]."

From notes provided by the donor: "This indenture between John Richardson and George Gregory (formerly of the XY Company and North West Company), Simon McGillivray (formerly of the North West Company), and Edward Ellice (formerly of Phyn, Ellices and Inglis of Schenectady and the North West Company, and later of the Hudson's Bay Company) details the arrangements made regarding the financial interests of those holding title in the consolidated fur trade concern (formerly that of the North West Company and the Hudson's Bay Company).

Throughout the document, many details are given with respect to share and stock allocations to individual traders and trading groups. The docket states that this document was used as "Defendant's Exhibit No. 4" in a litigation filed 20 Feb. 1839, naming Norman Bethune as plaintiff and Edward Ellice as defendant. Edward Ellice stands out as one of the main players in bringing about the union between the North West Company and the Hudson's Bay Company. Upon the failure of McTavish, McGillivrays and Company in 1825, he became the only one who stood between the Hudson's Bay Company and the claims of discontented members of the North West Company. As a result, Ellice became involved in the series of litigations which lasted for 25 years. Norman Bethune was among the many people seeking financial compensation through Ellice."

Correspondence, 7 June 1830

Personal correspondence from Gordon Norquay and Magnus Mowat in Flotta, [Scotland] to William Norquay at York Fort [sic]. Each sender writes his portion separately on a single sheet of paper. The letter is marked with the word "deceased."

Gordon Norquay, William Norquay's father, writes to inform William of his poor health and the poor health of William's mother, to send well wishes from other members of the family, and to ask William to repay money owed to a person named Jennet. Gordon Norquay also mentions money owed to him by John Norquay.

Magnus Mowat, William Norquay's friend, writes to tell William news about marriages, fishing, deaths, and other personal matters.

Correspondence, 15 February 1831

Correspondence from Robert Harding at Churchill to Alexander Christie at York Factory.

Robert Harding notes that he and those in his company have been stuck in Churchill due to bad weather and an injury suffered by a man in his company. He also tells the recipient that he has sent half-dried meat by dogsled to York Factory.

Correspondence, 25 May 1831

Correspondence from Geo Keith at Michipicoton [sic] to Alexander Christie at York Factory.

The letter describes items advanced to servants attached to the Ungava Expedition in 1831. Items listed include tobacco, rum, shoes, and maple sugar.

Report, 28 November 1831

A report from Fort Simpson to the Chief Factors and Chief Traders of the Hudson's Bay Company Northern Departments.

The report describes trade at Mackenzie River since the sender's last communication with the recipients. The report includes details about the movement of goods and the employment of Indigenous people.

Correspondence, 14 May 1831

Correspondence from Donald McIntosh at Fort William to George Simpson, governor in chief of Rupert's Land, at Red River.

The letter confirms that the order sent by Chief Factor McTavish has been received at Fort William and "agreeable to instructions are now sent on" to Norway House and York Factory.

Correspondence, 19 June 1831

Correspondence from Donald Ross at Norway House to Alexander Christie at York Factory.

The letter confirms receipt of cargo. Ross notes that the Indigenous people who brought the cargo to York Factory were sent back with no cargo to return. A person by the name of [W.] Cameron is noted to be waiting for the Saskatchewan and Swan River Brigades.

Correspondence, 3 July 1831

Correspondence from Andrew Wilson at "Split Lake" to Alexander Christie at York Factory.

The letter describes the Indigenous people inhabiting the Split Lake region, including their suffering which has resulted from a shortage of rabbits. Wilson also describes his employment of Indigenous people to hunt, fish, and courier goods. These employees are said to be paid in skins.

Correspondence, 10 July 1831

Correspondence from Robert Harding at Churchill to Alexander Christie at York Factory.

The letter describes fur shipments and the movement of other goods, and hunting at Churchill, including instructions given to Indigenous hunters working for the Hudson's Bay Company about which animals may be hunted. The two groups named are Chepoweyans [sic] [Denesuliné] and Cree [Nēhiyaw].

Correspondence, 29 August 1831

Correspondence from Donald Ross at Norway House to Alexander Christie at York Factory.

The letter confirms receipt of cargo delivered by John Ballandine, the Oxford House guide, and explains the status of Norway House's pemmican.

Joseph Touron's report, 28 September 1831

A handwritten copy of a report that describes the experiences of Joseph Touron. Also included is a document that provides historical background information.

The report describes the actions of and names of Hudson's Bay Company traders who abandoned the Company to trade with the Americans. A man named Berger is singled out as the man responsible for persuading a group of traders, including Peigan [Piikáni] hunters and James Bird, to desert the Hudson's Bay Company. Touron describes receiving threats from the deserters when he refuses to join them, and Touron states that he formed connections with Blood [Kainai] people when the Peigan [Piikáni] hunters could not be persuaded to return to trade with the Hudson's Bay Company.

Correspondence, 16 June 1831

Correspondence from Adam Snody at Stromness, [Scotland] to Patrick Cunningham at York Factory. A small, black and white print is also included.

The letter describes goods ordered with money sent to Snody from Cunningham. Snody confirms that the goods purchased with the money, including tartan shawls, have been sent to Cunningham.

The print depicts a ship sailing past an iceberg. On the reserve side is a partial image of people in winter clothing.

Correspondence, 26 June 1831

Correspondence from Donald Ross at Norway House to Alexander Christie at York Factory.

The letter informs Christie that he can expect to receive business documents sent by Ross via canoe. The letter also describes exchanges of provisions between Hudson's Bay Company posts, goods distribute to various brigades, and Ross's need for a carpenter. A man named [W.] Cameron is also mentioned.

Correspondence, 6 August 1831

Correspondence from Andrew Wilson at "Split Lake" to Alexander Christie at York Factory.

Wilson confirms receipt of documents carried to him by Indigenous couriers, receipt of twine, the failure of the fishery, and distribution of goods to Indigenous people. The letter also describes the Indigenous people of the Split Lake region's suffering and starvation that came as a result of an animal shortage and instructions from the Hudson's Bay Company to not hunt beaver.

Correspondence, 15 December 1831

Correspondence from James McMillan at Fort Garry to Alexander Christie at York Factory.

McMillan states that he has been requested by George Simpson to create a list of "iron works" and that Christie should expect the information to arrive by first boat.

Standing rules and regulations

A print report outlining the Hudson's Bay Company's rules and regulations pertaining to tariffs and inventory prices.

The document outlines distinct rules for tariffs and prices as they relate to specific goods and the activities of "Commissioned Gentlemen," "Clerks and Servants," "Freemen," and "Half-breed and Iroquois Trappers" [Métis and Haudenosaunee trappers]. The cost of moving private orders between Hudson's Bay Company posts is also described.

Report, 1835

Print report outlining the Hudson's Bay Company's rules and regulations pertaining to wages.

The report includes rules and regulations pertaining to freight costs and wages, including those for wage according to position held and region occupied, accepting gratuity, and transferring money. Some consequences for failing to follow these prescribed rules are also included.

Regulations for promoting moral and religious improvement

A print report outlining the Hudson's Bay Company's rules and regulations pertaining to the "religious improvement" of servants and "effectual civilization" of Company employees' families and Indigenous peoples associated with the Company. Portions of other reports are also included.

The report outlines conduct and moralizing activities prescribed to servants, women, children, and Indigenous people in general. It is suggested that all groups listed attend religious services, that wives and children speak the language of their husband or father, that women and children should occupy their time with activities that promote "virtuous habits," and that fathers should spend part of their leisure time educating their children.

The portions of other reports included in this document prescribe rules and regulation related to Indigenous hunting and trapping, providing for wives and children, tariffs, wages, trade, inventories and property, and payment to and treatment of Indigenous people, including a statement calling for gradual decreases in liquor sales to Indigenous peoples. Partial rules and regulations aimed at preserving beaver populations are also included.

Correspondence, 10 March 1837

Correspondence from John Spence at Berens River to William Sinclair at York Factory. A full, typed transcript, a handwritten excerpt of the transcript, and a small black and white print are also included.

Spence wishes Sinclair well, expresses condolences to Sinclair for losing all of his old sweethearts, and asks Sinclair to relay his well-wishes to a man named Thomas Brown, who Spence believes has fathered illegitimate children with English wives. Spence also notes his desire to return to Red River and that the settlement at Red River has recently suffered from poor crops.

On one side, the print depicts people building an igloo. On the reverse side is a partial image and a caption that states the image is from "A Peep at the Esquimaux" [Inuit?].

Correspondence, 2 June 1837

Personal correspondence from Ann Delday at St. Andrews, [Scotland] to her brother John Delday at York Factory. The transcribed excerpt draws attention to portions of the letter that address poverty in Scotland.

In the letter, Ann describes her health, the health of their parents, conditions in Scotland, and other personal matters. The letter includes a short poem.

Correspondence, 12 August 1837

Private correspondence from Alexander Christie at "Lakes Red River Settlement" to John Stuart at Hudson's Bay House, London, [England].

In the letter, Christie expresses gratitude and well-wishes to Stuart, he notes the recent recovery from the previous year's failed crops at the Red River Settlement, and he expresses details about Mary Taylor's departure from Red River to London, [England] in the company of Edward Mowate, which is likely a misspelling of Mowat.

Correspondence, 6 April 1837

Private correspondence from Alexander Roderick McLeod at Fort Resolution to John Stuart, HBC fur trader. Mailed c/o James Hargrave at Fort Garry, reaching John Stuart at Finchurch Street, Hudson's Bay House, London.

McLeod, Alexander Roderick

Total returns Saskatchewan District outfit, 1836

Report on the total returns of the Saskatchewan District outfit in the year 1836. The small transcribed excerpt lists a few furs included in the list.

The report lists quantities of furs, leather products, clothing, and food products produced by the district that were brought to Norway House. The report also includes items brought from New Caledonia and Cumberland. The letter is signed "E. E." at York Factory.

1838 (Aug) from William Buckley to Smithurst

Place: Middleton [Derbyshire, England]

From: Frs Buckley

To: J. Smithurst, Church Missionary Institution, Islington [London]

Delivery: Great Britain mail

Details: 3 pp + integral address face

Notes: Reverend William Buckley is deeply disappointed to hear that John Smithurst had to cancel his planned visit to Middleton. Rev. Buckley goes on to relate news of recent marriages and clergy appointments.

Buckley, William

1839 (May) from John Smith to Smithurst

Place: Hudsons Bay House, London [England]

From: John Smith

To: The Revd John Smithurst, Church Missionary House, Salisbury Square [London, England]

Details: 1pp

Notes: This letter confirms a previous conversation between John Smith of Hudson's Bay House in London and Reverend John Smithurst. Rev. Smithurst is awarded the position of chaplain to the Hudson's Bay Company at Red River in Rupert's Land. He is granted passage from London to Fort Garry [modern-day Winnipeg].

1839 (Nov) Copy of Verdict in Murder Trial

Place: Upper Fort Garry

From: unknown

To: Rev. J. Smithurst

Details: 2pp with integral address

Notes: Copy of not guilty verdict returned by the Jury on the trial of Henry Beardie for the murder of William Washington Bird. While the jury admits that Beardie did point his bow and arrow at Bird, the fact that Beardie is only 12 years old leads the jury to acquit him of murder. The jury warns parents to abolish archery in the community to prevent future deaths.

Correspondence, 14 September 1839

Private correspondence from Andrew Linklater at Nelson River to Thomas Spence at York Factory.

Linklater sends his well-wishes and shares details about his circumstances.

1839 (Nov) from William Cockran to Smithurst

Place: Grand Rapids

From: Wm Cockran

To: Rev. J. Smithurst, Indian Settlement

Details: 2pp

Notes: Rev. Cockran sends supplies with "Beary and William Thomas" and he spoke with Ferdinand regarding fat and dried meat for the children. He hopes that Rev. Smithurst is over his cold. Rev. Cockran will not be able to visit him because he has to be at the Middle Church this week.

Cockran, William

1830—1839

This series contains all items in the collection created between 1830 and 1839.

Thirteen envelopes and two prayer cards

Thirteen (13) envelopes and paper enclosures, & two (2) prayer cards, similar in size to playing cards.

Eleven (11) of the envelopes and paper enclosures are addressed to Reverend John Smithurst at Indian Settlement, Red River. Most are undated.

Of these eleven, one (1) features a black wax seal, a hexagon border surrounding two (2) initials, possibly “K” and “R.”
Two (2) envelopes are embossed, one with an oblong border around the initials “CMS” and the other embossed with “Etches & Wilson, Manufacturers, 32 Hatton Garden, London."

One (1) paper enclosure is sealed with five (5) wax drops in different colours.

Seven (7) have red wax seals:

  • Design obscured
  • bearded man’s profile in a rounded rectangle,
  • tiny rounded border surrounding script “Theo” (?)
  • the initials “S” and “C” in a circular border,
  • the initials “J” and “H” in gothic script inside a rounded rectangular border,
  • an oblong shape filled with a hatched design,
  • a large red wax seal with most of the design obscured except for the tiny letters “Pro P Elle” along the border.

Two (2) envelopes are addressed to Reverend Smithurst via Church Mission House, Salisbury Square, Fleet Street, London, England. Bear postal markings for Wirksworth in England for the years 1848 and 1849. Both are sealed with red wax, imprinted with a left-facing lion rampant design.

Two (2) prayer cards. Both are printed. The first one is printed in black and red with a prayer beginning “Create in me a Clean Heart." Text in the border reads, "Teach me thy way o lord and lead me in a plain path.” Handwriting in ink on the blank back reads “Master Henry W. Erwin.” The second one is printed in black with purple and green colour with an image of Eve with the serpent. "The entrance of thy word giveth light. Ps 119.130.” Handwriting in ink on the blank back reads “Henry Walter Erwin.”

1840 (Jul) from Henry Budd to Smithurst

Place: Wapashayaw

From: H. Budd

To: Revd J. Smithurst, Indian Settlement

Details: 3pp and integral address

Notes: Henry Budd writes to Rev. Smithurst with news of his trek to the Saskatchewan River from the Red River Settlement. After 17 days, Budd arrived at an area he calls “Wapaskayaw” and mentions a Mr. Turner who is farming barley and potatoes in the area. Budd has decided the area is favourable and plans to stay and begin building the school and mission.

Budd, Henry

Memorial of Charles Bulfinch

From the title page: "Doc. No. 43, 26th Congress, 1st Session, House of Representatives. Memorial of Charles Bulfinch, et al., praying that their title to certain lands in the Territory of Oregon may be confirmed. January 13, 1840. Referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs." Printed by Blair & Rives.

This document is a request that the United States government recognize the ownership of parcels of northwest pacific land bought by Captain Kendrick in 1791 from island natives during his exploration of modern day Vancouver Island and the Queen Charlotte Islands. Captain Kendrick died in 1794. In 1840, several parties together petitioned Congress to enforce their rights to these lands: Charles Bulfinch, Sampson V. S. Wilder, Samuel B. Barrell, Henry Hatch, William Vernon, Joseph Kendrick, and Alfred Kendrick.

1840 (Dec) from the Bishop of Montreal to Rev. John Smithurst

Place: Red River Settlement

From: The Bishop of Montreal

To: Reverend John Smithurst

Details: 3pp

Notes: The letter would have been likely carried to Toronto, Barrie, Penetanguishine and then along Lake Huron's and Superior's coastlines by the Winter Express which included dog team, snow shoe, and then overland to Winnipeg River, Lake Winnipeg, up to Red River to the Indian Settlement.

Bishop of Montreal

1841 (Feb) from Anne Alsop and Catherine Wasse to Smithurst

Place: Sycamore Cottage [Derbyshire, England]

From: Anne Alsop & Catherine Wasse

To: The Reverend John Smithurst, Church Missionary. To be forwarded and properly directed from Islington

Delivery: Forwarded by the Church Missionary Society to Red River Settlement via Hudson's Bay Company supply ship and canoe brigade, and then by courier to the Indian Settlement at Netley Creek

Details: 4 pp (partly cross-written) + integral address face

Notes: Composite letter from friends Anne Alsop and her niece Catherine Wasse. Anne Alsop mentions Rev. Smithurst's brother George and family matters. Catherine Wasse writes about her impression of London, the renovations to Dethick Chapel, the success of her brother who is leasing Wakebridge Mine from Mr. Nightingale (the father of Florence Nightingale), Mr. Nightingale's annual visit, and the record-setting winter weather.

Alsop, Anne

1841 (Feb) from Mary Hugill to Smithurst

Place: Whitby [North Yorkshire, England]

From: Mary Hugill

To: Rev’d John Smithurst

Delivery: Forwarded by the Church Missionary Society to Red River Settlement via Hudson's Bay Company supply ship and canoe brigade, and thence by courier to the Indian Settlement at Netley Creek

Details: 3 pp + integral address face

Notes: Letter from a cousin, with family news (illnesses, etc.). She asks if she can send him a gift of pickles, preserves or cakes, and to do so.

1841 (May) from Enoch Reddall to Smithurst

Place: Church Missionary Institution [Islington, London, England]

From: Enoch Reddall

To: The Rev’d J. Smithurst

Delivery: Forwarded by the Church Missionary Society to Red River Settlement via Hudson's Bay Company supply ship and canoe brigade, and then by courier to the Indian Settlement at Netley Creek

Details: 4 pp + separate address cover

Notes: Reddall discusses various missionary works including great success in New Zealand and a new missionary to the Teloogoo people in central India. Clergymen posted to Ceylon, Abyssinia, and Sierra Leone are also mentioned. Reddall notes that this letter is forwarded by Abraham Cowley on his way to Rupert’s Land.

In fact, Abraham Cowley and his wife Arabella crossed the Atlantic Ocean three times in nine months attempting to reach his missionary posting at Lake Manitoba. On 5 January 1841, less than a fortnight after their marriage, the young couple set out for Montreal on their way to the Red River Settlement in Rupert’s Land. This unusual route was taken in the belief that the Cowleys would be able to travel with Bishop George Jehoshaphat Mountain of Montreal who was planning a visitation of Rupert’s Land. The couple arrived in Montreal on 28 February, and Cowley was ordained a Deacon on 7 March. Bishop Mountain’s visit to the northwest was postponed, however, and the Cowleys, seeing no hope of reaching the Red River Settlement from Montreal, returned to England and took ship almost immediately for Hudson’s Bay. They arrived in Red River on 28 September 1841.

This letter was apparently delivered by Cowley to Smithurst upon his arrival in Red River.

1841 (Aug) invoice from [Hudson’s Bay Company] to Smithurst

Place: Lower Fort Garry

From: [Hudson’s Bay Company]

To: The Rev’d John Smithurst, Indian Settlement

Delivery: Local courier (probably HBC courier)

Details: 2 pp (additional accounting in hand of Smithurst) + integral address face

Notes: Invoice for purchases made at Lower Fort Garry, listing goods such as tea, sugar, soap, buttons, plates, saltpetre, kettles, knives, shot, etc. In red, items are assigned as purchased by Henry Budd, or “C.M.S.” (Church Missionary Society). The second page is an additional accounting of items purchased by Smithurst in September, showing amount paid and amount charged to C.M.S.

Hudson's Bay Company

1841 (Apr) from William Cockran to Smithurst

Place: Grand Rapids [Red River Settlement]

From: William Cockran

To: Rev. J. Smithurst, Indian Settlement

Delivery: Carried by courier “James,” possibly on account of Church Missionary Society (?)

Details: 1 pp + integral address face

Notes: Cockran sends Smithurst hatchet bar and rod iron (as supplies for his smithy), and endeavors to get additional iron for him from the Fort (most likely Lower Fort Garry). He also sends barley and wheat.

Cockran, William

1841 (Sept) from Ina Cowie to Smithurst

Place: York Factory

From: Ina Cowie

To: Revd John Smithurst, Red River

Details: 2pp with integral address

Notes: A letter of effusive thanks for Rev. Smithurst’s kindness in recommending Ina Cowie to the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) for employment. It seems Rev. Smithurst spoke with his friend Captain Herd on Cowie’s behalf. Cowie also mentions that he wishes to write to the Church Missionary Society to let them know of Rev. Smithurst’s thoughtfulness.

1842 (Mar) from William Cockran to Smithurst

Place: [Grand Rapids?]

From: Wm Cockran

To: Rev. J. Smithurst, Indian Settlement

Details: 3pp with integral address

Notes: Reverend William Cockran writes to Rev. Smithurst regarding Rev. Cowley and his wife Mrs. Cowley, who have lodged with Rev. Cockran since they arrived in Rupert’s Land the previous autumn. Rev. Cockran describes the Cowleys as being ungracious guests who do not understand the expense of living in the Red River Settlement. Rev. Cockran also writes that he has severed ties to the Hudson’s Bay Company and the Church Missionary Society but will continue as if he will “continue here for life.” He finishes the letter by discussing the flour he is sending to Henry Budd at the Cumberland House Mission. He mentions that James Sandison and Henry Bird are assisting him.

Cockran, William

1842 (Dec) from Henry Budd to Smithurst

Place: Revier du Pas

From: Hy Budd

To: The Revd John Smithurst, Red River

Details: 3pp and integral address

Notes: Henry Budd writes to Rev. Smithurst with news. Mr. H. McKenzie arrived by boat and let Budd know that Rev. Smithurst arrived back in Red River safely, as well as bringing goods sent by Rev. Smithurst, including books, cloth, and tea. Budd discusses leather clothes for the Native children. Budd also mentions that he is "at a loss what to do with these children when they turn ill, having nothing of any kind to give them, but Salts." His brother-in-law, who was originally from Norway House, recently died after injuring himself with an axe and being unable to reach help.

Budd, Henry

1842 (Feb) from Anne Alsop to Smithurst

Place: Sycamore Cottage [Derbyshire, England]

From: A. Alsop

To: The Rev'd John Smithurst, Church Missy House, Salisbury Square, Fleet Street, London [England]

Details: 4pp with integral address

Notes: Anne Alsop sends much news from England, with unrest over the corn laws having led to a crowd in Derby burning an effigy of Sir Robert Peel. Since the last letter, Catherine Wasse was pregnant but lost the baby boy. Anne Alsop has not seen Rev. Smithurst's brother George for some time, but she believes one of his daughters got married. Mr. Nightingale (the father of Florence Nightingale, the famous nurse) is in the area collecting rents. The economy is doing quite poorly, and the Tories want to change the poor laws. Alsop herself is a Wigg, but her nephews are Tories. While in London, she saw great crowds gather during the election. She also attended twice daily sermons to hear Dr. Crow at St. Stevens Walbrook, by whom she is greatly impressed. (It is possible she is referring to Dr. Croly who was a rector at St. Stephens Walbrook in London during this period. He was a famous orator and novelist.)

Alsop, Anne

1842 (Apr) from William Cockran to Smithurst

Place: Grand Rapids [Red River Settlement]

From: William Cockran

To: Rev. J. Smithurst [Indian Settlement]

Delivery: Carried by courier

Details: 2pp + integral address face

Notes: Rev. Cockran writes to Rev. Smithurst to let him know that Rev. Abraham Cowley will be visiting him to discuss the details of opening a mission at Manitoba [Lake]. Rev. Cockran is anxious to establish a mission there, and mentions that Mr. Roberts is content to stay in Red River as a catechist.

Cockran, William

1843 (Feb) from Mary Hodgson to Rev. John Smithurst

Place: Red River Settlement

From: Mary Hodgson

To: Reverend John Smithurst

Details: 1pp

Notes: Mary Hodgson writes from Whitby to tell him of her recent marriage. The embossed letterhead was likely a wedding present.

The small-sized letter with a lack of seal indicates it was enclosed within a larger letter forwarded to the Church Missionary Society in London. The mail was carried by Hudson Bay Company's spring supply ship to York factory and from there the letter would travel by boat up the Nelson River, across Lake Winnipeg and then up the Red River to the Indian Settlement.

Hodgson, Mary

1843 (Apr) Invoice for seeds

Place: London [England]

From: Bot. of T&C Lockhart

To: Revd J. Smithurst

Details: 1pp

Notes: An invoice for numerous plants and seeds ordered by Rev. Smithurst including Early York cabbage, Tripoli onion, Long white radish, Yellow Dutch turnip, James keeping onion, Brown Dutch lettuce, other varieties.

1843 (May) from [Lord] Chichester to Smithurst

Place: London [England]

From: [Lord] Chichester

To: The Rev’d J. Smithurst

Delivery: Forwarded by the Church Missionary Society to Red River Settlement via Hudson’s Bay Company supply ship and canoe brigade, and thence by courier to the Indian Settlement at Netley Creek

Details: 3pp + integral address face

Notes: Lord Chichester writes a few hurried lines and mentions his preparation of a gift parcel that includes a few books, an educational book, and knives for Smithurst’s use in his missionary work. Lord Chichester further apologizes for the hurried packages and comments on the many things he would have liked to have included, had he the time.

1843 (Feb) from Anne Alsop and Catherine Wasse to Smithurst

Place: Sycamore Cottage [Derbyshire, England]

From: Anne Alsop and Catherine Wasse

To: The Rev’ J. Smithurst / Church Missionary House, Fleet Street, London

Delivery: Forwarded by the Church Missionary Society to Red River Settlement via Hudson’s Bay Company supply ship and canoe brigade, and thence by courier to the Indian Settlement at Netley Creek

Details: 4pp (partly cross-written) + integral address face

Notes: Composite letter from friend and her aunt on family matters. Mentions annual visit of Mr. Nightingale (father of Florence Nightingale – John Smithurst’s first cousin) with details on their losses owing to a bank failure.

Alsop, Anne

1843 (Jul) from John & Annie Corbett to Townley

Place: Priory Place, New Ross [Ireland]

From: John and Annie Corbett

To: Adam Townley

Details: 8 pp.

Notes: The first sheet of paper is a letter to Adam Townley from his brother-in-law, John Corbett. His letter continues onto the second sheet of paper, on the third and fourth pages. John is the husband of Townley's sister Annie, whose letter makes up the first and second pages on the second sheet of paper.

John Corbett relates how Annie is in fact just recovering from a five-week-long illness after a carriage accident. He comments on the rivalry between the Church Missionary Society and the newer Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. John is very concerned at the unrest in Ireland and within the Anglican church. He also mentions the alarming rise of "the principles called 'Puseyism'."

Annie addresses her brother as "Dearest Addie." She gives news about family members and many acquaintances.

1843 (Mar) from James Keith to Smithurst

Place: Lachine near Montreal

From: James Keith

To: Reverend Smithurst, Red River Settlement

Details: 1pp and integral address

Notes: Discusses Rev. Smithurst's subscription to Church Weekly Paper, and his cancelled subscription to the Montreal Herald.

Keith, James

1844 (May) from Daniel Aillud to Smithurst

Place: St. Paul's Cray Kent

From: Daniel Aillud

To: The Revd John Smithurst, Indian Settlement, Red River, Hudsons Bay, Nth America

Details: 2pp

Notes: Daniel Aillud writes to Rev. Smithurst requesting a character reference so that he can leave his work as a sailor on the “Prince Rupert” for the Hudson’s Bay Company. He also discusses the death of his father, who died while he was at sea.

1844 (Jun) from John Hargrave to Rev. John Smithurst

Place: Red River Settlement

From: John Hargrave (Hudson's Bay Company clerk factor)

To: Reverend John Smithurst

Details: 2pp

Notes: Hargrave, writing from York Factory, writes to Rev. Smithurst to let him that the articles Smithurst requested were delivered to the depot by Mr. Mowat. Hargrave also mentions that he would happily comply with Smithurst's request to supply all of the Church Missionary Society with whatever "gentleman and Mrs. Hunter" may need to be comfortable in the autumn months.

Hargrave, John

1844 (Feb) from Anne Alsop to Rev. John Smithurst

Place: Red River Settlement

From: Mary Hodgson, Sycamore Cottage in Lea

To: Reverend John Smithurst

Details: 3pp

Notes: The writer Anne Alsop discusses family matters in great length and asks Smithurst to take an "Indian bride". Smithurst was a roommate to be involved with his cousin Florence Nightingale but the relationship was stopped by family members.

The letter would have been forwarded to the Church Missionary Society in London. The mail was carried up by Hudson's Bay Company Spring Supply Ship to York Factory and from there the letter would travel by boat up the Nelson River, through Lake Winnipeg and. up the Red River to Indian Settlement.

Anne Alsop

1844 (Sept) from James Hargrave to Smithurst

Place: York Factory

From: James Hargrave

To: Revd John Smithurst, &c. &c. &c., Red River Settlement

Details: 1pp and integral address face

Notes: James Hargrave, an HBC employee, responds to a letter from Rev. Smithurst delivered by Mr. Morvat. The letter dealt with receiving and sending articles by the ship “Prince Rupert.” Hargrave goes on to say that Rev. Hunter and his wife arrived from London, and have continued on to the Saskatchewan District [Cumberland - Devon mission] in a boat along with part of their baggage. The rest of their baggage will be sent to them in the Spring.

1844 (Jun) from Henry Budd to Smithurst

Place: Cumberland Station, River du Pas (sic)

From: Henry Budd

To: The Rev’d J. Smithurst, Indian Settlement

Delivery: Carried by courier

Details: 3.5pp + integral address face

Notes: A letter briefly outlining six enclosures originally included with the letter (but now lost), with instructions on processing certain accounts. Other issues include Charles Cook resigning, and John Turnor Junior taking his place (at a wage of ten (10) skins a month) to fish, cut, and haul firewood, square timber, and do other labour. Mr. Budd and his family are happy to hear that a minister has been assigned to their outpost, and while they anticipate meeting Reverend James Hunter, they are distressed that Smithurst himself cannot come to the settlement to baptize the Natives. The chief had also hoped to see Smithurst, and has now gone to Norway House in the [Hudson’s Bay] Company boats, probably to York Factory.

Budd, Henry

1845 (Sept) from James Hunter to Smithurst

Place: Cumberland Station, Rivière du Pas

From: James Hunter

To: The Revd J. Smithurst, Indian Settlement, Red River

Details: 3pp with integral address face

Notes: Reverend James Hunter writes to Rev. Smithurst. James Settee recently arrived at Cumberland Station [The Pas, MB] with his wife, family, and coincidentally with the carpenter hired by Rev. Hunter. He mentions Mr. Ross at Norway House. Rev. Hunter decided to keep the mission in its current location rather than move it to Cumberland Lake. He feels threatened by a Catholic missionary's activity in the area, referring to the man as "the Priest." This priest persuaded Wetus to convert to Roman Catholicism, but Rev. Hunter dismisses Wetus as “simply a Medicine man of which there are several here all equally as much claim to be considered Chiefs.” It is too late in the season for Settee to continue on to Rapid River [Lac la Ronge mission], so he will stay until the spring and assist Henry Budd and the carpenter in building Rev. Hunter a house. Rev. Hunter says he will “endeavour to manage Mrs. Settee as well as possible.”

Hunter, James

1845 (Apr) from William Cockran to Smithurst

Place: Grand Rapids [Red River Settlement]

From: Wm Cockran

To: Rev. J. Smithurst, I[ndian] Settlement

Delivery: Carried by courier, possibly on account of Church Missionary Society

Details: 3.5pp + integral address face

Notes: Reverend William Cockran writes that the thaw has made the Red River very dangerous, interrupting travel. Cockran contacted Mr. McAllum [Reverend John Macallum, headmaster of the Red River Academy] and informed him that Smithurst was unlikely to make the trip to Grand Rapids as scheduled. He also relates that importers from the United States are refusing to pay an import fee. Cockran recounts how Mr. McAllum confronted one importer, Henry Cook, whom Smithurst has also had business with, and insisted on paying the import on a purchase of bonnets or Mr. Cook could take his contraband elsewhere.

Cockran, William

1845 (Oct) from Nicol Finlayson to Smithurst

Place: Fort Frances

From: Nicol Finlayson

To: Revd Mr John Smithurst, Missy Ch. M. Society, Red River Settlement

Details: 1pp with integral address face

Notes: Nicol Finlayson writes to Rev. Smithurst that he sent along the requested maps, and he sends his best wishes to Mr. and Mrs. Cockran.

Finlayson, Nicol

1845 (Jan) from Henry Budd to Smithurst

Place: Cumberland Station

From: Hy Budd

To: Revd J. Smithurst, Indian Settlement

Details: 3pp and integral address face

Notes: In his letter, Henry Budd apologizes profusely for his sins, while never quite explaining what sins he has committed. He refers to being the victim of baseless allegations from several girls who have been paid to accuse him. Budd tells Rev. Smithurst that he plans to leave the mission at Cumberland Station at the end of the year.

Budd, Henry

1845 (Feb) from William Buckley to Smithurst

Place: Middleton [Derbyshire, England]

From: William Buckley

To: Rev’d J. Smithurst, Church Mission House / Salisbury Square, Fleet Street, London

Delivery: Forwarded by the Church Missionary Society (CMS) to Red River Settlement via Hudson’s Bay Company supply ship and canoe brigade, and then by courier to the Indian Settlement at Netley Creek

Details: 3pp + integral address face with postal marks

Notes: Letter from a friend with news from home.

Buckley, William

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