Compiled by Stephenie Flora
John Jacob Astor
The first company to set up a trading post on the Pacific Northwest coast was the Pacific Fur Company. John Jacob Astor, a wealthy New York fur merchant, decided to organize the Pacific Fur Company to open up the unexplored territory west of the Rocky Mountains. Astor's fur enterprises were well established east of the Rockies. He hoped to gain control over the entire American fur trade.
In September, 1810, two parties, representing Astor's Pacific Fur Company, set out to establish the first trading post on the Columbia River. One party sailed from New York aboard the Tonquin, under the command of Captain Jonathan Thorn. The other party set out from St. Louis on an overland expedition to the mouth of the Columbia. That party was under the leadership of Wilson Price Hunt, one of the partners of the Pacific Fur Company. Both the overland and the overseas parties expected to arrive at the Pacific Coast about the same time.
In addition to the two parties, Astor dispatched one of his many ships, the Beaver, with a load of supplies and some additional workers for the company post. The overland party, the Tonquin, and the Beaver were the core of Astor's Pacific Coast venture.
AFSO: Adventures of the First Settlers On The Oregon by Alexander Ross
AAA : Adventures At Astoria 1810-1814 by Gabriel Franchere
AFSO: p.16. 06 Sep 1810, 22 hands and 33 passengers set sail from NY on the Tonquin.
AAA : p. XIII The maritime expedition was led by Duncan McDougall
AAA: p. 11 Passengers on the Tonquin: Owners, Alexander McKay, Duncan McDougall, David Stuart and Robert Stuart. Clerks, James Lewis, Russell Farnham, Alexander Ross, F.B. Pillet, Donald McGillis, Ovide Montigny, Donald McLennan, W.W. Matthews, W. Wallace, Thomas McKay and Gabriel Franchere. Voyageurs, Olivier Roy Lapensee, Ignace Lapensee, Basil Lapensee, Jacques Lafantaisie, Benjamin Roussel, Michel Laframboise, Giles Leclerc, Joseph Lapierre, Joseph Nadeau, Jean Baptiste Belleau, Louis Brule, Antoine Belleau, P.D. Jeremie. Johann Koasfer-ship carpenter-Russian; George Bell, cooper; August Roussil, blacksmith, Job Aikin (Aitken), rigger and calker; Guilleaume Perrault, a boy. Crew: Capt. J. Thorn; E.D. Fox, First Mate; John D. Mumford, Second Mate; John Anderson, Boatswain; Egbert Vanderhuff, Tailor; John Weeks, carpenter; Stephen Weeks, Armorer; John Coles, Sailmaker; John White, Sailor; Adam Ficher, sailor; Peter Vershel, sailor; Edward Aymes, sailor; Robert Hill, sailor; Joseph Johnson, sailor; Charles Robert, sailor; John Martin, sailor; a mulatto cook.
AFSO: p.20-21 Some angry words took place between the Captain and Mr. Fox, the first mate, on which the latter was suspended from duty and ordered below. After three days confinement Mr. Fox was reinstated.
AFSO: p.29 "Robert Stuart held brace of guns on Capt. Thorn to make him stop and pick up men in boat who had been left behind on Falkland Islands and were trying to catch ship.."
AFSO: p.32. "Joseph LaPierre, a Canadian lad fell overboard. He was rescued and saved."
AFSO: p.170 11 Feb 1811 while Tonquin was sailing on high seas, a man named Joe LaPierre fell from the main mast head overboard. A boat was lowered to rescue him and an assortment of items were thrown in the water to provide floats. He was finally picked up in the boat in an insensible condition but the Captain would not allow his rescuers to bring him on board until they had picked up all the items in the water first. Despite the delay and his tenuous clinging to life he managed to survive.
AFSO: p.33 "Mr. Fox, who had again fallen under the Captain's displeasure, and who had been, in consequence, off duty for a week past, was reinstated this morning."
AFSO: p.34 13 Feb 1811 "anchored in Sandwich Islands at Owyhee (Hawaii)"
AFSO: p.34-35 "Crew started to desert; Jack Tar slipped into the night to be seen no more; Roberts, a Yankee was caught and confined below deck; Emms (Aymes), a Welshman was caught, tied up and flogged; Johnston, an Englishman was caught and put in irons; Anderson, the boatswain disappeared."
AFSO: p.36 "The chief of the island resided at Tocaigh Bay. The partners and a few of the clerks went to meet with the governor of the island, John Young, a white man, a native of England. He had belonged to an American ship, the Eleanor, of which he was boatswain. He was left on island in 1790. He is about 60 years old, shrewd and healthy. He had taken on the customs of the natives."
AFSO: p.44 "Mr. Brown, an American settler, resided on the island."
AFSO: p.46-47 ".....but on the call for all hands to embark, three of the sailors were missing. The boats, without waiting a moment, pushed off but had reached the ship only fifteen minutes before two of the three men arrived in an Indian canoe. Notwithstanding the anxiety they manifested, and their assurance that the boat had not been off five minutes before they were on the beach, they were both tied up, flogged and put in irons. But this was not all. Emms (Aymes), the third man, not being able to procure a canoe, had unfortunately to pass the night on shore, but arrived the next morning by sunrise. On arriving alongside, the Captain, whow as pacing the deck at the time, did not wait till he got on board, but jumping into a boat which lay alongside, laid hold of some sugar canes with which the boat was loaded, and bundled the poor fellow sprawling and speechless, at this feet; then jumping on deck, kept pacing to and fro in no very pleasant mood; but on perceiving Emms (Aymes) still struggling to get up, he leaped into the boat a second time, and called one of the sailors to follow him. The poor fellow on seeing the Captain, called out for mercy; but in his wrath the Captain forgot mercy and claid him again senseless at his feet, then ordered him to be thrown overboard! Immediately on throwing the man into the sea, Mr. Fox made signs to some Indians, who dragged him into their canoe and paddled off to shore. In the evening, the Indians brought Emms (Aymes) again to the ship. Here the little fellow implored forgiveness, and begged to be taken on board; but the Captain was inexorable, and threatened him with instant death if he attempted to come alongside. Soon after he made his appearance again, but with no better effect. He then asked for his protection, a paper which the American sailors generally take with them to sea. The Captain returning no answer to this request, Mr. Fox contrived to throw his clothes and protection overboard unperceived, at the same time making signs to the Indians to convey them to Emms (Aymes). On receiving the little bundle, he remained for some time without uttering a word; at last, bursting into tears, he implored again and again to be admitted on board, but to no purpose. All hopes now vanishing, the heroic little fellow, standing up in the canoe, took off his cap, and waving it in the air with a sorrowful heart, bade adieu to his shipmates. The canoe then paddled to land, and we saw him no more."
AAA : p. 35 28 Feb 1811 Sandwich Islands: "As we got under way, Mr. McKay remaked to the captain that we still had an empty water cask and proposed sending it to the watering place and having it filled..." ...."The Captain agreed to this arrangement, and I (Franchere) set off for the watering place...."..."After I had filled the cask the islanders sought to detain me...The ship was under way and I feared being left behind but it turned landward to pick me up."
AFSO: p.57 "On the first of March, 1811, we took our departure from the Sandwich Islands, steering direct for Columbia River. The first step taken after leaving the land was to liberate those who had been put in irons."
AFSO: p.59 "On the 22 of March we came in sight of land, which on nearer approach
proved to be Cape Disappointment, a promontory forming the north side of the
great Oregon or Columbia River. The sight filled every heart with gladness,
but the cloudy and stormy state of the weather prevented us seeing clearly the
mouth of the river, being then about ten miles from land. The aspect of
the coast was wild and dangerous, and for some time the ship lay to, until the
Captain could satisfy himself that it was the entrance of the river; which he
had no sooner done than Mr. Fox, the first mate was ordered to go and examine
the channel on the bar. At half past one o'clock in the afternoon Mr.
Fox left the ship, having with him one sailor, a very old Frenchman, and three
Canadian lads, unacquainted with sea service--two of them being carters from
La Chine, and the other a Montreal barber. Mr. Fox objected to such hands,
but the Captain refused to change them, adding that he had none else to spare.
Mr. Fox then represented the impossibility of performing the business
in such weather and on such a rough sea, even with the best seamen, adding that
the waves were too high for any boat to live in. The Captain, turning sharply
round, said: "Mr. Fox, if you are afraid of water you should have remained
in Boston." On this Mr. (Ebenezer D.) Fox immediately ordered the boat to be lowered
and the men to embark. If the crew was bad, the boat was still worse,
being scarcely seaworthy, and very small.......the partners, who were all partial
to Mr. Fox, began to sympathize with him, and to intercede with the Captain
to defer examining the bar till a favorable change took place in the weather.
But he was deaf to entreaties, stamped, and swore that a combination was
formed to frustrate his designs.....Mr. Fox was peremptorily ordered to proceed.
He, seeing that the Captain was immovable, turned to the partners with
tears in his eyes and said: `My uncle was drowned here not many years ago, and
now I am going to lay my bones with his'. He then shook hands with all
around him, and bade them adieu. Stepping into the boat, `Farewell, my
friends!" said he, `we will perhaps meet again in the next world'. And
the words were prophetic.
The moment the boat pushed off, all hands crowded in silence to take a last farewell of her. The weather was so boisterous and the sea rough, so that we often lost sight of the boat before she got 100 yards from the ship; nor had she gone that far before she became utterly unmanageable, sometimes broaching broadside to the foaming surges and at other times almost whirling round like a top, then, tossing on the crest of a huge wave, would sink again for a time and disappear altogether. At last she hoisted the flag; the meaning could not be mistaken; we knew it was a signal of distress. At this instant all the people crowded round the Captain and implored him to try and save the boat, but in an angry tone he ordered about ship, and we saw the ill-fated boat no more.
Mr. Fox was not only an able officer but an experienced seaman, and a great favorite among all classes on board; and this circumstance, I fear, proved his ruin, for his uniform kindness and affability to the passengers had from the commencement of the voyage drawn down upon his head the ill-will of his Captain; and his being sent off on the present perilous and prolonged undertaking with such awkward and inexperienced hands, whose language he did not understand, is a proof of that ill-will."
AAA : p.38 22 Mar 1811 "The wind was blowing in great blasts and the sea ran very high. In spite of that, the captain had a boat lowered and taking some provisions and firearms, Mr. Fox (first mate), Basile Lapensee, Ignace Lapensee, Joseph Nadeau and John Martin got into her, with orders to sound the channel. The boat was not even supplied with a good sail, but one of our gentlemen offered a bed sheet to serve instead. Messrs. McKay and McDougall could not help remonstrating with the captain on the fool hardiness of sending the boat ashore in such weather, but they could not move obstinacy. The boat pulled away from the ship. We were never to see it again, and we already had forbodings about it....All countenances were extremely sad, not excepting that of the captain who appeared to me as much afflicted as the rest, and who had reason to be so."
AAA : p.38 24 Mar 1811 Mr. Mumford (the second mate) was sent to take a sounding of the channel, but he found the breakers too heavy and he returned on board midday.
AFSO: p.63-66 "After the Captain ordered about ship, as already stated, some angry words passed between himself and Mr. (John) Mumford, the second officer, which ended in the latter being ordered below. After passing an anxious night, the return of day only increased the anxiety, and every mind was filled with gloomy apprehensions. In the course of this day Mr. Mumford resumed his duties and the ship kept beating off and on till noon, when she cast anchor in fourteen fathoms, about a mile from the breakers; and the weather becoming calm, Mr. (Alexander) McKay, Mr. David Stuart, myself (Alexander Ross) and several others embarking in the long boat, which was well manned and armed, stood in for the shore, in hopes of being able to effect a landing. On approaching the bar, the terrific chain of breakers, which keep rolling one after another in awful succession, completely overpowered us with dread; and the fearful suction or current became so irresistibly great that before we were aware of it the boat was drawn into them and became unmanageable. At this instant Mr. (John) Mumford, who was at the helm, called out `Let us turn back, and pull for your lives. Pull hard or you are all dead men!' In turning round, the boat broached broadside to the surf and was for some time in imminent danger of being engulfed or dashed to pieces; and although every effort was made, we were for twelve minutes struggling in this perilous situation, between hope and despair, before we got clear, or the boat obeyed the oars; and yet we were still two miles from the shore, and had it not been for the prompt and determined step taken by Mr. Mumford the boat and every soul on board of it must have inevitably perished." Several more attempts were also unsuccessful so all returned to the shop. Mr. Mumford tried several different directions to find the channel but the Captain was dissatisfied with all he found."
AAA : p. 39 Mr. Aitken then embarked in the pinnace, accompanied by John Coles, Stephen Weeks and two Sandwich Islanders, and we followed under light sail. We followed him and advanced between the breakers with a favorable wind, and passed the boat on our starboard, within pistol shot. We signaled her to return but she could not manage to do so. The rapid current carried her with such great speed that in a few minutes we had lost sight of her.
AFSO: p.64 "The Captain now called on Mr. Aikens, the third mate, and ordered him to go and sound in a more northerly direction. .......Mr. Aikens, together with the sailmaker, (Stephen Weeks) armorer, and two Sandwich Islanders, embarked in the pinnace and proceeded to the bar.....the ship weighed anchor and stood in for the channel....As the ship and boat drew near to each other, the latter steered a little aside to be out of the ship's way, then lay upon her oars in smooth water, waiting to be taken on board........As soon as the ship had passed, and no motion made to take the boat on board, everyone appeared thunderstruck, and Mr. (Alexander) McKay was the first that spoke. `Who', said he, ` is going to throw a rope to the boat?' Everyone now called out, `The boat! the boat!' The partners, in astonishment, entreated the Captain to take the boat on board, but he cooly replied, `I can give them no assistance.'"
AFSO: p.68-72 (26 Mar 1811) "In the morning of the twenty-sixth, Captain Thorn, Mr. McKay, myself and a few men left the ship to take a view of the coast from the top of Cape Disappointment, to try if we could learn any tidings of the boats. We had not proceeded fifty yards when we saw Stephen Weeks, the armorer, standing under the shelter of a rock, shivering and half dead with cold....`After the ship passed us we pulled hard to follow her, thinking every moment you would take us on board; but when we saw her enter the breakers we considered ourselves lost.....We tried to pull back again, but in vain, for we were drawn into the breakers in spite of all we could do.......In an instant a heavy sea swamped her; poor Mr. Aikens and John Coles (a sailmaker) were never seen after......I saw the two Sandwich Islanders struggling through the surf to get hold of the boat, and being expert swimmers they succeeded. After long struggles they got her turned upon her keel, bailed out some of the water, and recovered one of the oars...The poor fellows tried to haul me into the boat, but their strength failed them. At last, taking hold of my clothes in their teeth, they fortunately succeeded.We then stood out to sea as night set in, and a darker one I never saw. The Owhyhees, overcome with wet and cold, began to lose hope....During the night one of the Indians died in despair and the other seemed to court death.......at daylight I was within a quarter of a mile of the breakers and about double that distance short of the Cape....turning the boat for shore, I determined to reach the land or die in the attempt....the sun had scarcely risen when the boat was thrown up high and dry on the beach.....seeing the poor Islander still alive, but insensible, I hauled him out of the boat and with much ado carried him to the border of the wood, when, covering him with leaves, I left him to die.....Such was Weeks' melancholy story; himself and the Indian being the only survivors of the last boat, it follows that eight men in all lost their lives in entering this fatal river."
AAA : p.40 The captain and our gentlemen debarked and set themselves to search for our missing people in the woods along the seashore. Soon we saw the captain returning with Stephen Weeks, one of those on the last boat sent out. His account: "...one wave struck midship and capsized us. I lost sight of Mr. Aitken and John Coles, but the two islanders were close by me. I saw them stripping off their clothes. I did the same, and seeing the pinnace within my reach, keel upward, I seized it. The two natives came to my assistance, we righted her.....About midnight one of my companions died. After daylight I was able to reach shore. I helped the islander who still showed some signs of life, out of the boat, and I made my way with him to the woods. But as he was not able to follow me, I left him to his bad fortune. I found myself near the ship. The gentlemen went ashore in three parties to search but did not find him.
AAA: p.42-43 "We especially regretted the loss of the two Lapensee and Joseph Nadeau. At their departure from Montreal, these young men had been entrusted by their parents to the particular care of Mr. McKay, and by their good conduct they had acquired the esteem of the captain, the crew, and all the passengers. The brothers Lapensee were second to none of their companions in action, in courage, and in their good will. Messrs. Ebenerzer D. Fox and Job Aitken were both highly regarded by all. Mr. Fox, who had already made a journey to the Northwest, could have rendered important services to the company....The following day the islander was found half-dead with cold and fatigue, his legs swollen and his feet bleeding. After much care he was restored to life.
AFSO: p.74 "Captain Thorn was an able and expert seaman; but, unfortunately, his treatment of the people under his command was strongly tinctured with cruelty and despotism. He delighted in ruling with a rod of iron. His officers were treated with harshness, his sailors with cruelty, and everyone else was regarded by him with contempt. With a jealous and peevish temper, he was easily excited...."
AAA : p. 44 30 Mar 1811 "The Captain, Messrs. McKay and David Stuart and a few clerks boarded a long boat to go upriver in search of a suitable spot for a trading post......Messrs. Alexander Ross and Benjamin Pillet left to survey the coast southward trying to find survivors of the boat accidents."
AFSO: p.76 "On the twelfth of April (1811), therefore, the whole party, consisting of thirty-three persons, all British subjects excepting three (eleven Sandwich Islanders being included in that number) left the ship and encamped on shore."
AFSO: p.77 "The person who now assumed the command was the deputy agent, Duncan McDougall Esq., an old Northwestern, who in the absence of Mr. Hunt held the first place in Mr. Astor's confidence. He was a man of but ordinary capacity, with an irritable, peevish temper, the most unfit man in the world to head an expedition or command men."
AFSO: p.80 In the first two months 3 men were killed by Indians, 2 wounded by the felling of trees, one had his hand blown off by gun powder.
AFSO: p.82 Four men deserted and were captured and held by the Indians for ransom.....another party of six men, headed by one of the Americans, deserted but were brought back the third day by the friendly chief, Concomly.
AFSO: p.85 02 May 1811 Thomas McKay and Robert Stuart, in a small canoe with four men visited tribes up river to spread good will. They went 180 miles and were gone for 12 days.
AAA : p.47 02 May 1811 Messrs. Alexander McKay, Robert Stuart, Ovide Montigny and Gabriel Franchere left to find the North West Company post the Indians had told them about. They went as far as the dalles and turned back.
AFSO: p.86 Robert Stuart, Alexander Ross and five men went on an expedition to the north.
AFSO: p.87 One man killed by Indians. On another occasion a Mr. McKenzie and his whole party were cut to pieces by them.
AFSO: p.88 01 Jun 1811 the Tonquin left Astoria with most of her cargo still on board, intending to unload upon return. Mr. McKay, Mr. Lewis and two Canadians were on board. Mr. Mumford, the second officer was dismissed and set on shore. At that time McKay left his son to the care of Alexander Ross.
AAA : p.52 01 Jun 1811 The Tonquin dropped down to Baker's Bay waiting for a favorable wind to get out of the river. Mr. McKay joined the expedition along the coast northward. James Lewis and Ovide Montigny were chosen to accompany him, but the latter insisted that he got seasick and was left behind. Mr. McKay took instead a young man by the name of Louis Brusle to serve him as domestic. Mr. Mumford, second mate was also left behind due to his incompatability with the captain.
AAA : p.53 15 Jun 1811 Two Indians arrived from upriver bringing a letter addressed to John Stuart of New Caledonia. Mr. Pillet talked to them and learned that it had been sent by Mr. Finan McDonald, a clerk of the North West Company, who had a post on the Spokane river. Hearing about whites at the river's mouth, they believed they would find John Stuart there.
AFSO: p.93 15 Jul 1811 David Thompson of the North West Company arrived at Astoria in a canoe via the Columbia with 8 Iroquois and an interpreter. They were there to discourage Astor's men. In 1811 the North West Company had two or three small posts on the Columbia already.
AAA : p.54 15 Jul 1811 David Thompson, with 9 boatmen, arrived at Fort Astoria. Thompson said that he had crossed the continent the preceding season, the desertion of some of his men had forced him to winter at the base of the Rocky Mountains.
AFSO: **p.95 "All the Indian tribes inhabiting the country about the mouth of the Columbia, and for a hundred miles round may be classed in the following manner: 1) Chinooks; 2) Clatsops; 3) Cathlamux; 4) Wakicums; 5) Wacalamus; 6) Cattleputles; 7) Clatscanias; 8) Killimux; 9) Moltnomas and 10 Chickelis (continued)
AFSO: p.111 22 Jul 1811 David Stuart, Alexander Ross, Messrs Pillet and McLennan, 3 Canadian voyageurs and 2 Sandwich Islanders left to accompany Mr. Thompson's party as far as the interior where the North West Company proceeded on to their post and the Pacific Fur Company proceeded to set up a separate post.
AAA : p.55 23 Jul 1811 David Stuart, Benjamin Pillet, Alexander Ross, Donald McLennan, Ovide Montigny, four Canadian voyageurs and 2 Indian women in company with Thompson and his crew left on expedition to the interior.
AFSO: p.114 Mount Coffin at the mouth of the Cowlitz River was covered with canoes containing relics of the dead.
AFSO: p.122 "The Indians stole our canoe axe and a whole suit of clothes, excepting the hat, belonging to Mr. McLennan, which we were unable to recover. We had no sooner embarked, however, than Mr. McLennan, in his usual good humor, standing up in the canoe and throwing the hat amongst then, said, `Gentlemen, there's the hat; you have got the rest; the suit is now complete,' and we pushed off and left them."
AFSO: p.123 "On Thompson's departure Mr. Stuart gave him one of our Sandwich Islanders, a bold and trustworthy fellow named Cox for one of his men named Boulard. He had been long in the Indian country and knew some of the language."
AFSO: p.158 Fort Okanogan--Messrs. Pillet and McLennan, with two men were dispatched to Astoria. Mr. Stuart with Montigny and the two remaining men went north to the headwaters of the Oakinacken. Ross remained alone at the post (Fort Okanogan) with a little Spanish dog named Weasel.
AAA : p.58 05 Oct 1811 Mr. Pillet and McLennan arrived in a canoe sent from Mr. David Stuart and paddled by two of his men. As passengers they brought an Iroquois family and Mr. Regis Bruguier, who Gabriel Franchere had known in Canada. p.59 Mr. Bruguier came to hunt beaver and was supplied with traps and other necessary equipment.
AAA : p.59 12 Oct 1811 Mr. (David) Stuart, Mr. (Alexander) Ross, Mr. (Ovide) Montigny and two other men had decided to build a post on the Okanogan river. In the meantime, Robert Stuart and Mr. Mumford left to obtain provisions for the winter, cutting oak staves for the cooper and to trade with the Indians. Five days later Mr. Mumford returned in an Indian canoe. He was sent back when he attempted to give orders and assume command from Robert Stuart.
AAA : p.59-60 10 Nov 1811 It was discovered that Paul D. Jeremie and the two Belleaux had deserted. Mr. Matthews and Gabriel Franchere were ordered to go as far as the falls in search of them. The next day they overtook Robert Stuart. Mr. Farnham and one other man joined the search. They went as far and the falls and turned back on the 16th.
AAA : p.61 19 Nov 1811 The party went out to search again and found the deserters held captive in an Indian village. 22 Nov 1811 after a great deal of bartering they were finally able to obtain the release of the captives.
AAA : p.63 05 Dec 1811 Robert Stuart, Benj. Pillet, Donald McGillis, and a few men went to go up the Willamette with the idea of establishing a trading post. Regis Bruguier went as hunter.
AFSO: p.163 David Stuart returned to Okinogan 22 Mar 1812, 188 days after leaving on the exploring trip.
AFSO: p.178 Stephen Weeks, the armorer, was last alive when the Tonquin was attacked by Indians.
AFSO: p.179 6 men had been sent to shore where they were captured and tortured.
The overland party had left St. Louis only a couple of weeks after the Tonquin had sailed from New York. It consisted of 59 persons, including 4 partners of the Pacific Fur Company. One of the partners, Wilson Price Hunt, led the party. It has remained a mystery why he was chosen over Donald McKenzie, another of the partners, who was a man that was experienced in crossing unknown territory and in dealing with the Indians.
Sickness, starvation, drownings, hostile Indians, fatigue and desertion took their toll. By the time the expedition reached Astoria, 17 months after leaving St. Louis, only 35 of the original 59 remained. All the provisions had either been lost or consumed.
AFSO: p.183 Wilson Price Hunt, head of party with Donald McKenzie, Partner and a small party of voyeurs left La Chine, Montreal 05 Jul 1811 intending to pick up more members along the way.
AAA : p. XIII The overland expedition was led by Wilson Price Hunt, a New Jersey man who expedted to follow the trail of the Lewis and Clark Expedition
AFSO: p.188 Mr. (Ramsay) Crooks, formerly a trader on the Missouri, joined the expedition as a partner at Mackinac. The party arrived 03 Sep 1811 at St. Louis, MO
AFSO: p.191 Mr. Miller, a trader up the Missouri joined as a partner. The party started up the Missouri 21 Oct 1811
AFSO: p.192 16 Nov 1811 set up to winter ten miles
Northwest of the current city of St. Joseph, MO.
"Here it was that Mr. McClellan, another partner joined the expedition. This man was one of the finest shots in America; nothing could escape his keen eye and steady hand; hardy, enterprising and brave as a lion." (This was Robert McClellan, one of the famous characters of the northwestern frontier. He was remarkably agile, and famed for his swiftness of foot. He served as one of General Wayne's chief scouts in the Indian War of 1792-04.)
AAA : p.64 Robert McClellan in the overland party, was one of the earliest of the American Fur Traders. It was probably due to the instigation of Ramsay Crooks, with whom he had engaged in a trade.... Wilson P. Hunt and McKenzie were joined at St. Louis by Robert McClellan, Ramsay Crooks and Joseph Miller, traders from the south who had business relations with Astor. The party journeyed up the Missouri as far as the Rees Indian village. The beginning of August they bought 130 horses from the Indians and started over the mountains for the Columbia. The party included themselves and about 60 men. The group followed a southerly route to 40 deg latitude then turned Northwest. They came upon an old post built by an American, Andrew Henry. Some of the hunters were left near the old fort with Joseph Miller, who was dissatisfied and considering a return to the east.
AFSO: p.195 The best steersman, Clappine, drowned. A party of twelve persons were outfitted as trappers and left to work in area. Mr. Miller, to the astonishment of all, turned his back on the expedition and became a trapper also.
AFSO: p.197 Lost and destitute the men split up into 4 parties headed by the partners. Clappine, steersman, drowned; Prevost had become deranged through starvation and drowned himself; Carrier lingered behind and perished. These three men belonged to Hunt and Crooks parties. McKenzie faired better. They followed the river and pressed forward and after many privations arrived at Astoria 10 Jan 1812. Mr. Hunt's party arrived 15 Feb 1812.
AAA : p. 66 The overland party, lost and destitute, divided into 4 groups under (Donald) McKenzie, (Wilson) Hunt, (Robert) McClellan and (Ramsay) Crooks. McKenzie and McClellan took the right side of the river and faired better than Hunt and Crooks who had taken the left side. The rocks were so precipitous that they could could not get down to the water to quench their thirst. Several men, in order not to die from thirst, drank their own urine. All of them to appease the hunger that tormented them, ate beaver skins roasted over their fires. They came, finally, to the extremity of eating even their shoes. (It is interesting to note that Ramsay Crooks was only twenty four or twenty five at this time but had already made a name for himself in the Indian trade. He was to take over Astor's American Fur Company in 1834 and became its president.)
AAA : p. 67 McKenzie and McClellan attempted to cross over to the left side of the river to join the Hunt party using a small canoe provided by Mr. Hunt. The river was so violent that the canoe capsized, drowning one man. At that point, all hope of joining forces was lost.
AAA : p. 67 The McKenzie and McClellan parties came to a river of considerable size and following its bank met some Indians who sold them some horses. They also met a young American who was deranged, but who had some lucid moments and was able to tell them he was Archibald Pelton from CT. He had come up the Missouri with Alexander Henry and that those at the post build by Mr. Henry were all killed in a massacre excepting himself. He alone had escaped and had wandered for three years among the Indians. They took the young man with them.
AFSO: p.194 Horses were released and the party embarked in 15 frail canoes to descend the boiling head waters of the south branch of the Columbia.
AAA : p. 64 18 Jan 1812 Mr. McDougall confined to his room because of illness. A canoe with white men arrived and upon further inspection they were found to be some of the overland party. Gabriel Franchere greeted Donald McKenzie, Mr. McClellan, owner and Mr. Reed, a clerk along with eight boatmen.
AAA : p. 68 15 Feb 1812 The Hunt and Crooks party arrived with 30 men, 1 woman (Madame Dorion and her children) and 2 children. They had spent 8-10 days with friendly Indians to revive themselves and to search for one of their men (John Day) lost in the woods. Failing to find him they had resumed their journey.
AFSO: p.199 22 Mar 1812 three parties, consisting of 17 men were set out on foot for the interior; one, consisting of three men, under Mr. Reed, started for NY overland; another under Mr. Farnham, left to find the goods that had been cached the winter before by Mr. Hunt and the third, led by Robert Stuart left with supplies for the post at Okinogan. Initially the three parties left under the direction of Robert Stuart. McClellan abruptly resigned and joined the party for NY. "This gentleman possessed many excellent qualities, but they were all obscured and thrown into the shade by a fickle and unsteady mind." (Alexander Ross)
AAA : p.68 Letters were prepared for New York and entrusted to John Reed, who left in the company of Mr. McClellan and Robert Stuart, the latter conveying goods to his uncle at Okanogan. Farnham and McGillis set out at the same time with a guide to search for the equipment Mr. Hunt had put in a cache at old Fort Henry. Two days later McKenzie and Matthews set out with 5 or 6 ment to explore up the Willamette river with the intent of establishing a post there.
AFSO: p.200 At the long narrows the party was attacked by Indians. "Mr. Reed, bearer of the express for NY was knocked down in the scuffle and severely wounded; and had not McClellan, with a bravery and presence of mind peculiar to himself, leaped dexterously over a canoe, he would have been felled to the ground; but his agility saved him, and in all probablity save the whole party, for he instantly shot the man who aimed the blow, then drawing a pistol from his belt, shot him who had assailed Reed dead at his feet; then clapping his hand to his mouth, in the true Indian style, he gave a war whoop, fired his rifle, and the Indians fled." At this point it being considered unwise to separate, the party continued together to Okinogan, where they arrived safely 24 Apr 1812.
AFSO: p.201 David Stuart and two men accompanied the party back to Astoria leaving Alexander Ross, Donald McGillis and one other man (Boullard) at Okinogan.
AFSO: p.202-208 On the way back to Astoria the party was hailed at the Umatilla River by Ramsay Crooks and John Day who had been wandering lost in the wilderness. Both were so changed and emaciated they were unrecognizable. Crooks and Day had stayed with Snake Indians for a time. When the Indians moved on they suffered from lack of food and shelter. They were eventually rescued by two Indians passing by who provided them with food and assistance until they had regained their strength. Heading out again they had wandered in the wilderness until they happened onto the Indians at the Umatilla River. Once again they were taken in and as soon as possible started to follow the Columbia to the mouth. Along the way they were attacked by Indians all all their possessions were stolen including their clothes. They returned to the Indians on the Umatilla where they recovered and were preparing to start out again when they sighted the Astorians on the river. They joined them and reached Astoria 12 May 1811. The ship, Beaver, under Capt. Sowles, had arrived three days earlier with a supply of goods and a reinforcement of men.
AAA : p.69 10 May 1812 The Beaver arrived with Capt. Cornelius Sowles in command. Coming ashore were John Clarke, a partner, Alfred Seton and George Ehninger, clerks (the latter was a nephew of Mr. Astor) and two other men.
AAA : p.69 11 May 1812 Residents of the fort were surprised on the 11th at the return of David Stuart, Robert Stuart, (Robert) McClellan, (Ramsay) Crooks, (John) Reed and (Russell) Farnham. The Robert Stuart party had been attacked by Indians. After escaping they had gone to David Stuart's post at Okanogan and then they all set out for Astoria. Coming down river they had met Ramsay Crooks and John Day, one of the men lost earlier.
AAA : p.71 12 May 1812 The remaining passengers from the ship Beaver came ashore. They included B. Clapp, J.C. Halsey, C.A. Nichols and Ross Cox, clerks; 5 Canadians, 7 Americans all tradesmen and 12 Sandwich Islanders.
AFSO: p.209 29 Jun 1812 several parties, numbering 62 persons left Astoria for the interior led by Clarke. David Stuart was going to Okinogan post, McKenzie to winter in Snake country and recover goods left in the cache by Hunt; Clarke to winter at Spokane between Stuart on the north and McKenzie in the south to keep the North West Company that was established there in check; Robert Stuart was to proceed to St. Louis; Hunt was to accompany the ship Beaver to the Russian settlements to explore trade opportunities.
AAA : p. 72 30 Jun 1812 Robert Stuart, (Robert) McClellan and (Ramsay) Crooks left for the east. Mr. Clarke, Benjamin Pillet, McLennan, Farnham and Cox left to form a new post. McKenzie and Seton went to explore the Lewis River. David Stuart, Matthews and McGillis went to explore to the north.
AFSO: p.211 the party was held up at the Long Narrows by a large band of Indians. After several days they armed themselves and pressed through.
AFSO: p.212-14 29 Jul 1812 the party reached Walla Walla. After 2 days the Robert Stuart party left for St. Louis. The party included Robert Stuart, Benjamin Jones, Andre Vallar, Francis LeClerc, Ramsay Crooks, Mr. McClellan. The latter 2 gentlemen relinquished all connection with the concern. David Stuart left for Okinogan, arriving 12 August 1812.
AFSO: p.226 Clarke's party consisted of Clarke, 4 clerks, 21 Canadians and 6 Sandwich Islanders. (Clarke, proprietor; Pillet, clerk; Farnham, clerk; McLennan, clerk; Cox, clerk). Cox, the little Irishman, dropped off into the mountains on the way to Spokane to winter. He was found 13 days later in destitute condition.
AFSO: p.229 Mr. Montour was at Spokane with the North West Co in 1812. Mr. Farnham, clerk with the Pacific Fur Company, was a bustling, active and enterprising fellow.
AAA : p. 72 04 Aug 1812 Mr. Hunt left on the Beaver with Capt. Sowles to explore up to the Russian settlement.
AFSO: p.230 "McLennan was stationed at the Pointed Hearts, or Sketch-hugh Lake (modern Coeur d'Alene Lake). In going to his destination, he was rather unlucky, for his canoe upset in crossing the lake and swamped his goods; but he swam like a fish, got two men he had with him into the canoe again, then kept diving like a seal, although the weather was cold and the water deep, till he recovered most of his property...... McLennan was hardy as steel and bold as a lion; he made a very good and a very cheap trade, and was altogether a favorite among the Indians." With Spring drawing near, Mr. Clarke left Spokane 25 May 1812. A confidential man, named Pion, a newly promoted clerk, with three men, was left in charge of the post.
AAA : p. 72 01 Oct 1812 Franchere and Clapp left Astoria to obtain provisions for the winter.
AAA : p. 73 23 Oct 1812 Halsey and Wallace went with 14 men to establish a winter trading post on the Willamette. As Mr. McDougall was still confined to his room with sickness, Franchere and Clapp were left in charge of the fort. "Mr. Clapp, was a man of amiable character, of lively disposition and agreeable conversation." In the intervals between duties we enjoyed music and reading, having some instruments and a good library (all part of the merchandise delivered on the Tonquin).
AFSO: p.234 McKenzie, after reaching the location for the post at the mouth of the Boise River sent Reed off with a small party to retrieve caches left by Hunt. On his way he picked up 7 of the Canadians belonging to the trapping parties left the year before: Dubreuil, Carson, the gunsmith; Delaunay, St. Michel, Turcotte, Landrie, and LaChapelle, the blacksmith. They had lost their horses to the Black Feet and despairing of reaching the Columbia they had rifled several of the caches to survive. They were robbed again and were then worse off than before.
AFSO: p.236 John George McTavish, a partner of the North West Company, arrived at their Spokane post with a strong reinforcement of men and goods from the east side of the mountains, bringing an account of the war between Great Britain and the US. McKenzie put his goods in cache and set off with all his men for Astoria, arriving 15 Jan 1813. There he relayed the news to the men at the various forts.
AAA : p. 74 15 Jan 1813 Mr. McKenzie arrived at the fort to relay the news of the war between Great Britain and the United States.
AAA : p. 75 Wallace and Halsey had built a post in a great prairie about 150 miles from the mouth of the Willamette (the confluence of the Willamette and the Columbia).
AFSO: p.237 02 Feb 1813 McKenzie with eighteen men and two canoes turned back toward the interior. Upon arrival he found his cache had been robbed by the Indians. With Mr. Seaton in charge of the men, McKenzie and Reed went into the Indian village and confronted the inhabitants until they got the goods back. In retaliation the Indians refused to sell them horses.
AAA : p. 79 04 Aug 1813 Mr. Hunt returned on board the ship Albatross, commanded by Capt. Smith. Capt. Sowles had left him at the Sandwish Islands rather than return to Astoria so Hunt had to wait until a suitable ship could be procured to return to Fort Astoria. Capt. Smith had established a post in 1810 upstream of Fort Astoria at Oak Point; but it had flooded out in July of that year she he had left the venture.
AFSO: p.245 31 Jul 1813 Robert Stuart left for MO.
He traveled via the Walla Walla, Blue Mountains and Snake River.....
20 Aug 1813 met by chance Mr. Miller and three of the beaver trappers outfitted by Hunt; Hoback, Resner and Robinson. They were in a destitute condition and joined Stuart with a vow to stay with him until they reached MO. The wanderers had twice been robbed by Indians. However, only eight days later the three decided to remain and try their luck at the wilderness again. Stuart outfitted them. Miller stayed with Stuart.
AFSO: p.246 07 Sep 1813 the Stuart party entered the great Snake River region. In the mountains Indians ran off their horses leaving them on foot. With winter coming on they were forced to set up camp in the mountains. They had to move once due to harrassment by a party of Indians.
AFSO: p.251 20 Mar 1814 they broke up winter camp and continued on their journey. They wandered in the wilderness until they happened on a river that turned out to be the Platte. From there they were able to continue on to St. Louis.
AFSO: p.255 While McKenzie was visiting at the mouth of the Willamette at a hunting ground near the Umpqua River, a white man named Jervais had a slight quarrel with an Indian at the Wacomeapp village. Jervais had beaten one of the Indians, which gave great offense to the tribe and they had been muttering threats. McDougal sent McKenzie to a note to beware on his way back up river and McKenzie was able to outwit the Indians and escape the trap they had set.
AFSO: p.257 06 Aug 1813 Capt. Sowle crossed the bar at the helm of the Beaver, vowing to not return. After going to the Russian colony he headed for the Sandwich Islands under protest of Mr. Hunt. He dropped Mr. Hunt at the Islands where he had to wait for a ship willing to take him back to Astoria. He finally procured the Albatross under Capt. Smith.
AFSO: p.271 07 Oct 1813 The North Westers arrived at Astoria with a party of 75 men in a squadron of 10 canoes headed by Messrs. McTavish and (Alexander) Stuart. They camped outside the Fort waiting for the gun ship to arrive and negotiated for a peaceful turnover of the fort.
AFSO: p.273 The Pacific Fur Company called all it's men together, 72 in number, and threatened to open fire on the North West Company if they did not sign the previously made agreement.
AFSO: p.274 12 Nov 1813 the Astorians turned over the fort to the North West Co
AFSO: p.275 Franchere joined the North West Company
AFSO: p.276 Laframboise, the interpreter, was called in, decked out and painted in the full Chinook costume, and dispatched to Cape Disappointment to report whether a vessel was to be seen, and, if so, whether British or American. The vessel was the British sloop of war, the Racoon, with 26 guns, Captain Black, commander. On board of the Racoon was Mr. McDonald, one of the senior partners of the North West Co generally known by the name of Brascroche. (John McDonald, a Scotsman, who came out of Canada as a youth in 1791 where he remained in the fur trade in the northwest until 1816 when he retired to Upper Canada. He died in 1860). His nickname of Bras Croche or "Crooked Arm" was given him because of an accident he had suffered.
AFSO: p.279 Capt. Black was a gentleman of courteous and affable manners. He was never once heard to utter an oath or indecorous expression all the time he was in the river.
AFSO: p.283 The men of the various posts of the Pacific Fur Company gathered at Fort Okinogan after turning over their posts to the North West Co. On the way down the Columbia to Fort George the party was attacked by prowling Indians and a man names "Plessis" was wounded in the ear.
AFSO: p.284-287 08 Jan 1814 Two North West Company canoes and 20 men under direction of Messrs. Keith and Alexander Stuart, two partners of the North West Company were attacked by Indians on their way to the interior. Mr. Stuart was shot with three arrows. A half-breed named Finlay, shot his assailant. Stuart was gatherered into the canoe and Mr. Keith pushed off. Haste was made for Ft. George. One man who was left behind showed up at the Fort nine days later in a destitute condition. Mr. Stuart was very low. The barbs of the arrows were of iron and one of them had struck a stone pipe which he carried in his waistcoat pocket, which perhaps saved his life. One of the barbs it was impossible to extract and he suffered great pain and was confined to bed for upwards of two months. He then gradually began to recover.
AFSO: p.294 McDougal had joined the North West Company as a partner, throwing suspicion on his conduct in negotiations for the sale of the fort. "McDougall always bore the character of integrity; he was a man of principle, faithful to his word and punctual in his engagements; but at times he was overbearing, peevish, haughty, and obstinate, and this unfortunate temper had well nigh proved fatal to the undertaking in the commencement of his career at Astoria. With these slight exceptions however, McDougall's conduct was fair and umimpeachable. (Numerous later historians held differing opinions on the subject).
AFSO: p.296 Mr. Hunt gave a farewell address to the company and as a testimony of this regard for two of the clerks that had joined with the hopes of promotion he placed $500 in their account. Those men were Alexander Ross and Mr. Seaton.
AFSO: p.297 03 Apr 1814 Mr. Hunt left on the ship Pedlar accompanied by Mr. Halsey, Mr. Seaton, Mr. Clapp and Mr. Farnham. Mr. McLennan, Ross Cox and Alexander Ross joined the North West Company. On the fourth of April the North West brigade left Fort George for the interior, and along with it Messrs. McKenzie, Stuart and Clarke, with all those of the late concern intending to leave the country, set out on their journey across land for Montreal, Mr. Franchere among the number.
AFSO: p.298-304 Mr. Keith was to take a small party and go to the Snake Country in search of Mr. Reed and his party. A guide was engaged at the mouth of the Umatilla. The guide wished to continue with the brigade as far as Walla Walla and from there to the Snake Country. On the eve of starting a few Indians arrived and with them the wife of Pierre Dorion, the interpreter. The timely arrival of this poor, unfortunate woman put an end to the Snake expedition, and we shall relate her melancholy story in her own words:
"About the middle
of August we reached the Great Snake River and soon afterwards, following up
a branch to the right hand where there were plenty of beaver, we encamped, and
there Mr. Reed built a house to winter in. After the house was built,
the people spent their time in trapping beaver. About the latter end of
September, Hoback, Robinson and Resner came to us, but they were very poor,
the Indians having robbed them of everything they had about fifteen days before.
Mr. Reed gave them some clothing and traps, and they went to hunt with
my husband. Landrie got a fall from his horse, lingered awhile, and died
of it. Delaunay was killed when trapping: my husband told me that he saw
his scalp with the Indians, and knew it from the color of the hair. The
Indians about the place were very friendly to us, but when strange tribes visited
us they were troublesome, and always asked Mr. Reed for guns and ammunition.
On one occasion they drove an arrow into one of our horses, and took a
capote from La Chapelle. Mr. Reed, not liking the place where we first
built, we left it and built farther up the river, on the other side. After
the second house was built, the people went to trap as usual, sometimes coming
home every night, sometimes sleeping out for several days together at a time.
Mr. Reed and one man generally stayed at the house.
Late one evening, about the tenth of January, a friendly Indian came running to our house in a great fright and told Mr. Reed that a band of the bad Snakes, called the Dogrib tribe, had burnt the first house that we had built and that they were coming on whooping and singing the war song. After communicating this intelligence the Indian went off immediately, and I took up my two children, got upon a horse, and set off to where my husband was trapping, but the night was dark, the road bad, and I lost my way. The next day being cold and stormy, I did not stir. On the second day, however, I set out again, but seeing a large smoke in the direction I had to go and thinking it might proceed from Indians, I got into the bushes again and hid myself. On the third day, late in the evening, I got in sight of the hut where my husband and the other men were hunting, but just as I was approaching the place I observed a man coming from the opposite side and staggering as if unwell. I stopped where I was till he came to me. Le Clerc, wounded and faint from loss of blood, was the man. He told me that LaChapelle, Resner, and my husband had been robbed and murdered that morning. I did not go into the hut, but putting Le Clerc and one of my children on the horse I had with me, I turned round immediately, took to the woods, and I retraced my steps again to Mr. Reed's. LeClerc, however, could not bear the jolting of the horse and he fell once or twice, so that we had to remain for nearly a day in one place; but in the night he died, and I covered him over with brushwood and snow, put my children on the horse, I myself walking and leading the animal by the halter. The second day I got back again to the house. But sad was the sight! Mr. Reed and the men were all murdered, scalped, and cut to pieces. Desolation and horror stared me in the face. I returned from the shocking sight in agony and despair, took to the woods with my children and horse, and passed the cold and lonely night without food or fire I was now at a loss what to do: the snow was deep, the weather cold, and we had nothing to eat. To undertake such a long journey under such circumstances was inevitable death. Had I been alone I would have run all risks and proceeded, but the thought of my children perishing with hunger distracted me. At this moment a sad alternative crossed my mine: should I venture to the house among the dead to seek food for the living? I knew there might be a good stock of fish there, but it might have been destroyed or carried off by the murderers; and, besides, they might still be lurking about and see me: yet I though of my children. Next morning, after a sleepless might, I wrapped my children in my robe, tied my horse in a thicket, and then went to a rising ground that overlooked the house, to see if I could observe anything stirring about the place. I saw nothing, and, hard as the task was, I resolved to venture after dark. So I returned back to my children, and found them nearly frozen, and I was afraid to make a fire in the daytime lest the smoke might be seen. Yet I had no other alternative; I must make a fire or let my children perish. I made a fire and warmed them. I then rolled them up again in the robe, extinguished the fire, and set off after dark to the house, went into the store and ransacked every hole and corned, and at last found plenty of fish scattered about. I gathered, hit, and slung upon my back as much as I could carry and returned again before dawn of day to my children. They were nearly frozen and weak with hunger. I made a fire and warmed them, and then we shared the first food we had tasted for the last three days. Next night I went back again and carried of another load; but when there efforts were over I sank under the sense of my afflictions, and was for three days unable to move, and without hope. On recovering a little, however, I packed all up, loaded my horse, and putting my children on the top of the load, set out again on foot, leading the horse by the halter as before. In this sad and hopeless condition I traveled through deep snow among the woods, rocks, and rugged paths for nine days, till I and the horse could travel no more. Here I selected a lonely spot at the foot of a rocky precipice in the Blue Mountains, intending there to pass the remainder of the winter. I killed my horse and hung up the flesh on a tree for my winter food. I built a small hut with pine branches, long grass, and moss, and packed it all round with snow to keep us warm, and this was a difficult task for I had no axe, but only a knife to cut wood. In this solitary dwelling I passed fifty-three lonely days! I then left my hut and set out with my children to cross the mountains. But I became snowblind the second day and had to remain for three days without advancing a step; and this was unfortunate, as our provisions were almost exhausted. Having recovered my sight a little, I set out again and got clear of the mountains, and down to the plains on the fifteenth day after leaving my winter encampment; but for six days we had scarcely anything to eat, and for the last two days not a mouthful. Soon after we had reached the plains I perceived a smoke at a distance, but being unable to carry my children farther, I wrapped them up in my robe, left them concealed, and set out alone in hopes of reaching the Indian camp, where I had seen the smoke; but I was so weeak that I could hardly crawl, and had to sleep on the way. Next day at noon I got to camp. It proved to belong to the Walla Wallas, and I was kindly treated by them. Immediately on my arrival the Indians set off in search of my children and brought them to camp the same night Here we stayed for two days and them moved on to the river, expecting to hear something of the white people on their way either up or down."
This ended the woman's story of hardship and woe. That it was the Snakes who killed the party there is not the least doubt. The Dog-rib tribe have always passed for bad Indians...In recapitulating the number of casualties or disasters which befell the Pacific Fur Company during its short existence we cannot help lamenting so great a sacrifice of human life in so limited a period. The tragic lists stands thus: Lost on the bar-8, Land expedition-5, Tonquin-27, Astoria-3, Lark-8, Snake country-9, Final departure-1= Total 61 lost
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