Map

Map Legend

BLACK PIN: Harmon journal entry 1800-1816
BLUE SQUARE: Heritage River, Park, or Natural Heritage Site
DIAMOND: Fur trade cultural heritage sites (red=NWC, gray=HBC, green=XY Company)
YELLOW STAR: Lynn Noel performances 1988-2005

Timeline

Sunday, March 22, 2015

In Daniel's Words: John Stuart

Wednesday, July 19. A few days since, Mr. John Stuart and company, came here, from New Caledonia, for goods; and to day, they set out on their return home. During the few days which that gentleman passed here, I derived much satisfaction from his society. We rambled about the plains, conversing as we went, and now and then stopping, to eat a few berries, which are every where to be found. He has evidently read and reflected much. How happy should I be to have such a companion, during the whole summer. But such is our mode of life in this country, that we meet but seldom; and the time that we remain together, is short. We only begin to find the ties of friendship, binding us closely together, when we are compelled to separate, not to meet again perhaps for years to come. Baptiste La Fleur, my interpreter, will accompany Mr. Stuart and his men, as far as St. John's, in hopes of obtaining some information respecting his brother, who, it is supposed, was killed by an Indian, the last spring, while on his way from the Rocky Mountain Portage to St. John's.

Tuesday, 22. Messrs. J. Stuart, and H. Faries and company, passed this place in four canoes, with the returns of New Caledonia and Rocky Mountain Portage; and, .like many others, they are on their way to the Rainy Lake.

Saturday, October 6. Mr. John Stuart and company, in four canoes, have arrived from Fort Chippewyan, having on board, goods for the establishment at the Rocky Mountain Portage and New Caledonia. This gentleman delivered me a packet of letters from home, and also a number of others from gentlemen in this country, one of which is a joint letter, signed by three of the partners, requesting me to go and superintend the affairs of New Caledonia; or, if I prefer it, to accompany Mr. Stuart, as second in command to him, until the next spring, at which time it is presumed, that I shall have learned sufficient of the state of things in that country, to assume the whole management myself. As Mr. Stuart has passed several years in that part of the country, the information which his experience will enable him to afford me, will be of great service. I prefer, therefore, accompanying him, to going alone, especially in view of the late unfavourable reports from that country, in regard to the means of subsistence.

Wednesday, October 10. St. John's. On the 7th Mr. Stuart and myself, with our company, left Dunvegan; and this evening, we arrived here. The current in the river begins to be much stronger than we found it below Dunvegan. On both sides of the river, are hills of a considerable height, which are almost destitute of timber of any kind. At different places, we saw buffaloes, red deer, and bears. During our passage to this place, the weather has been bad. The snow and rain have been very unpleasant, unprotected against them, as we are, in our open canoes. Thursday, 11. In the early part of the day, our people were busily employed in preparing Portage. Having a little business still to transact, I shall pass the night here.

Monday, 15. Rocky Mountain Portage Fort. We here find nearly eight inches of snow. Mr. Stuart and company reached here yesterday; and I arrived this morning. Be tween this place and St. John's, the river is very rapid, its banks are high, and the country, on both sides of it, is generally clothed with small timber. Ever since our arrival, we have been employed in delivering goods for this place, and dividing the remainder among our people, to be taken on their backs, to the other end of the portage, which is twelve miles over, through a rough and hilly country. We leave our canoes and take others, at the other end of the carrying place.

Wednesday, 14. The lake, opposite to the fort, froze over the last night. To day Mr. Stuart and company, arrived from McLeod's Lake. Saturday, 17. We have now about eight inches of snow on the ground. Sunday, 18. Mr. Stuart and company, have gone to Frazer's Lake. I accompanied them to the other side of this lake, where I saw all the Indians belonging to the village in this vicinity. They amount to about one hundred souls, are very poorly clothed, and, to us, appear to be in wretched circumstances; but they are, notwithstanding, contented and cheerful.

Friday, November 6. We have now about six inches of snow on the ground.—On the 27th ult. I set out for McLeod's Lake, where I arrived on the 29th. I there found Mr. John Stuart, who, with his company, arrived the day before, from Fort Chipewyan. His men are on their way to the Columbia River, down which they will proceed under Mr. J. G. McTavish. The coming winter, they will pass near the source of that river. At the Pacific Ocean, it is expected that they will meet Donald McTavish, Esq., and company, who were to sail from England, last October, and proceed round Cape Horn to the mouth of Columbia River. This afternoon Mr. Stuart and myself, with our company, arrived at this place, (Stuart's Lake) where both of us, God willing, shall pass the ensuing winter. With us, are twenty-one labouring men, one interpreter, and five women, besides children.

Saturday, January 23, 1813. On the 29th ult. Mr. Stuart and myself, with the most of our people, went to purchase furs and salmon, at Frazer's Lake and Stillas. The last fall, but few salmon came up this river. At the two places, above mentioned, we were so successful as to be able to procure a sufficient quantity. While at Frazer's Lake Mr. Stuart, our interpreter and myself, came near being massacred by the Indians of that place, on account of the interpreter's wife, who is a native of that village. Eighty or ninety of the Indians armed themselves, some with guns, some with bows and arrows, and others with axes and clubs, for the purpose of attacking us. By mild measures, however, which I have generally found to be the best, in the management of the Indians, we succeeded in appeasing their anger, so that we suffered no injury; and we finally separated, to appearance, as good friends, as if nothing unpleasant had occurred. Those who are acquainted with the disposition of the Indians and who are a little respected by them, may, by humouring their feelings, generally, control them, almost as they please.

Saturday, 25. An Indian has arrived, from a considerable distance down this river, who has delivered to me three letters from Mr. J. Stuart. The last of them is dated at O-kena-gun Lake, which is situated at a short distance from the Columbia River. Mr. Stuart writes, that he met with every kindness and assistance from the Natives, on his way to that place; that, after descending this river, during eight days, he was under the necessity of leaving his canoes, and of taking his property on horses, more than one hundred and fifty miles, to the above mentioned Lake. From that place, he states, that they can go all the way by water, to the Ocean, by making a few portages; and he hopes to reach the Pacific Ocean, in twelve or fifteen days, at farthest. They will be delayed, for a time, where they are, by the necessary construction of canoes.

Sunday, November 7. This afternoon, Mr. Joseph La Roque and company arrived from the Columbia River. This gentleman went, the last summer, with Mr. J. G. McTavish and his party, to the Pacific Ocean. On their return, they met Mr. Stuart and his company. Mr. La Roque, accompanied by two of Mr. Stuart's men, set off thence, to come to this place, by the circuitous way of Red Deer River, Lesser Slave Lake, and Dun vegan, from which last place, they were accompanied by my people, who have been, this summer, to the Rainy Lake. By them I have received a number of letters from people in this country, and from my friends in the United States.

Friday, February 4. This evening, Mr. Donald McLeunen and company, arrived here from the Columbia Department, with a packet of letters. One of these is from Mr. John Stuart, informing me that the last autumn, the North West Company purchased of the Pacific Fur Company, all the furs which they had bought of the Natives, and all the goods which they had on hand. The people who were engaged in the service of that company, are to have a passage, the next summer, to Montreal, in the canoes of the North West Company, unless they choose to enter into our service.

Saturday, 29. My people have returned from the Rainy Lake, and delivered me letters from my relatives below. They afford me renewed proof of the uncertainty of earthly objects and enjoyments, in the intelligence, that a brother's wife has been cut down by death, in the midst of her days, leaving a disconsolate husband, and two that the rest of my numerous relatives, are blessed with health, and a reasonable portion of earthly comforts. I have also received a letter from Mr. John Stuart, who has arrived at McLeod's Lake, desiring me to go and superintend the affairs at Frazer's Lake, and to send Mr. La Roque, with several of the people who are there, to this place, that they may return to the Columbia department, where it is presumed they will be more wanted, than in this quarter. Tomorrow, therefore, I shall depart for Frazer's Lake.

Monday, 27. The weather is serene and cold; and thus far, this has been much the coldest winter that I have experienced in this part of the country.—The winters are, generally milder here, than in most parts of - the North West. Mr. Stuart has just left me, on his return home. The few days which he has spent here, were passed much to our mutual satisfaction; and I hope that we shall reap some benefit from this visit. Religion was the principal topic, on which we conversed, because, to both of us, it was more interesting than any other. Indeed, what ought to interest us so much, as that which concerns our eternal welfare? I, at times, almost envy the satisfaction of those, who live among christian people, with whom they can converse, at pleasure, on the great things of religion, as it must be a source of much satisfaction, and of great advantage, to a pious mind.

Monday, July 24. , Fruits, of various kinds, now begin to ripen. Of this delicious food, the present prospect is, that we shall soon have an abundance; and for this favour, it becomes us to be grateful to the Bestower. The person who is surrounded with the comforts of civilized life,- knows not how we prize these delicacies of the wilderness. Our circumstances, also, teach us to enjoy and to value the intercourse of friendship. To be connected, and to have intercourse, with a warm and disinterested friend, who is able, and will be faithful, to point out our faults, and to direct us by his good counsel, is surely a great blessing. Such a friend, I have, in my nearest neighbour, Mr. Stuart. For some time past, he has frequently written to me long, entertaining and instructive letters, which are a cordial to my spirits, too often dejected, by the loneliness of my situation, and more frequently, by reflections on my past life of folly and of sin. Mr. James McDougall, also, another gentleman in this department, is equally dear to me. His distance from me, renders intercourse less practicable; but endeavour to make up in conversation, for our long separation.

Monday, April 15. My desire to return to my native country has never been so intense, since I took up my abode in the wilderness, as it is now, in consequence of the peculiar situation of my friends; yet, I cannot think of doing it this season, as it is absolutely necessary that I should pass the ensuing summer at this place. I shall write to my friends below, a few days hence; and as we live in a world of disappointment and death, I am resolved to forward to them by Mr. John Stuart, a copy of my Journal, in order that they may know something of the manner in which I have been employed, both as it respects my temporal and spiritual concerns, while in the wilderness, if I should never enjoy the inexpressible pleasure of a personal intercourse with them.

See Wikipedia entry for John Stuart (explorer)

In Daniel's Words: William Henry

Thursday, 29. On the 22nd instant, Mr. McLeod, with ten of his people, arrived on horseback; and on the day following, I accompanied them to the lowef fort, where I met Mr. William Henry, a clerk. Mr. McLeod has also brought another clerk into this country, by the name of Frederick Goedike. This evening, Messrs. McLeod, Henry and myself returned, but left the people behind, whose horses are loaded with goods, for this place and Alexandria.

Sunday, 23. It has snowed all day; and about six inches have fallen. I am waiting the arrival of Mr. Henry to take charge of this post, when I shall proceed to Alexandria.

Sunday, 4. Mr. William Henry and company arrived from the Bird Mountain, and inform us, that they are destitute of provision there. They will, therefore, come and pass the remainder of the summer with us; for we now have provisions in plenty.

Thursday, January 27, 1803. I have just returned from Alexandria, where I passed six days, much to my satisfaction, in the company of Messrs. H. McGillies, W. Henry and F. Goedike. While there, I wrote to Messrs. McLeod, A. Henry and J. Clarke, all of Athabasca, which letters will be taken to them, by our winter express.

Tuesday, December 27. Messrs. Henry and Goedike, my companions and friends, are both absent, on excursions into two different parts of the country. I sensibly feel the loss of their society, and pass, occasionally, a solitary hour, which would glide away imperceptibly, in their company. When they are absent I spend the greater part of my time in reading and writing.

Tuesday, 6. North side of the Great Devil's Lake, or as the Natives call it, Much e-man-e-to Sa-ky-e-gun. As I had nothing of importance to attend to, while our people would be absent in their trip to and from the fort, and was desirous of seeing my friend Henry, who, I understood, was about half a day's march from where I was the last night, I therefore, set off this morning, accompanied by an Indian lad who serves as a guide, with the intention of visiting this place.

Wednesday, 7. Canadian's Camp. This place is so called from the fact, that a number of our people have passed the greater part of the winter here. As there is a good foot path, from the place where I slept last night to this place, I left my young guide and came here alone. Frequently on the way, I met Indians, who are going to join those at the Devil's Lake. I came here in the pleasing expectation of seeing my friend Henry; but I am disappointed. Yesterday morning, he set out for Alexandria. I hope to have the satisfaction, however, of soon meeting him at the fort.

Sunday, 29. Yesterday, the greater part of our people set out for Swan River; and to day, Mr. McGillies, and the most of those who were left, have departed for the New Fort, which is distant about forty-five miles, to the north west from the former general rendezvous, the Grand Portage, which the Americans have obliged us to abandon. It is thought necessary that I should pass another summer at this place; but I am happy in having with me my friends Henry and Goedike. There are here also one interpreter and several labouring men, besides women and children.

Monday, August 1. Lake Winnipick. This morning, we arrived at the fort on this lake, where we remained until noon. While there, I wrote to my old friend Mr. William Henry, who is at the Lower Red River. I also received a letter from him, in which he informs me, that his fort was attacked this summer, by a considerable party of Sieux. Two shots, from cannon in the block houses, however, caused them to retire, in doing which, they threatened that they would before long, return and make another attempt to take the fort.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

In Daniel's Words: Frederick Goedike

Thursday, 29. On the 22nd instant, Mr. McLeod, with ten of his people, arrived on horseback; and on the day following, I accompanied them to the lower fort, where I met Mr. William Henry, a clerk. Mr. McLeod has also brought another clerk into this country, by the name of Frederick Goedike. This evening, Messrs. McLeod, Henry and myself returned, but left the people behind, whose horses are loaded with goods, for this place and Alexandria.

Monday, 31. Alexandria. ... Mr. Goedike is to pass the summer with me, also two interpreters, and three labouring men, besides several women and children, who together, form a snug family.

Thursday, January 27, 1803. I have just returned from Alexandria, where I passed six days, much to my satisfaction, in the company of Messrs. H. McGillies, W. Henry and F. Goedike. While there, I wrote to Messrs. McLeod, A. Henry and J. Clarke, all of Athabasca, which letters will be taken to them, by our winter express.

Wednesday, May 4. Alexandria. Here, if Providence permit, I shall pass another summer, and have with me Mr. F. Goedike, one interpreter and several labouring men, besides women and children. As Mr. Goedike will be absent from the fort, during the greater part of the summer, I shall be, in a great measure, alone; for ignorant Canadians furnish little society. Happily for me, I have lifeless friends, my books, that will never abandon me, until I first neglect them.

Tuesday, 21. This afternoon, we had an uncommonly heavy shower of hail and rain. Yesterday, I sent Mr. F. Goedike, accompanied by several of our people, with a small assortment of goods, to remain at some distance from this, for several weeks. In the absence of my friend, this is to me, a solitary place. At such times as this, my thoughts visit the land of my nativity; and I almost regret having left my friends and relatives, among whom I might now have been pleasantly situated, but for a roving disposition. But Providence, which is concerned in all the affairs of men, has, though unseen, directed my way into this wilderness; and it becomes me to bear up under my circumstances, with resignation, perseverance and fortitude. I am not forbidden to hope, that I shall one day enjoy, with increased satisfaction, the society of those friends, from whom I have for a season banished myself.

Tuesday, December 27. Messrs. Henry and Goedike, my companions and friends, are both absent, on excursions into two different parts of the country. I sensibly feel the loss of their society, and pass, occasionally, a solitary hour, which would glide away imperceptibly, in their company.

Saturday, 24. Yesterday, Mr. F. Goedike arrived from Alexandria, and delivered me a letter from Mr. McGillies, requesting me to abandon Lac la Peche, and proceed, with all my people, to Alexandria. In the fore part of the day, we all left the former place.

Sunday, 29. Yesterday, the greater part of our people set out for Swan River; and to day, Mr. McGillies, and the most of those who were left, have departed for the New Fort, which is distant about forty-five miles, to the north west from the former general rendezvous, the Grand Portage, which the Americans have obliged us to abandon. It is thought necessary that I should pass another summer at this place; but I am happy in having with me my friends Henry and Goedike. There are here also one interpreter and several labouring men, besides women and children. We are preparing a piece of ground for a garden, the cultivation of which, will be an amusement; and the produce of it, we hope, will add to our comforts. Mr. Goedike plays the violin, and will occasionally cheer our spirits, with an air. But the most of our leisure time, which is at least five sixths of the whole, will be spent in reading, and in meditating and conversing upon what we read. How valuable is the art, which multiplies books, with great facility, and at a moderate expense. Without them the wheels of time would drag heavily, in this wilderness.

Thursday, 31. In the morning, Mr. Goedike, Collin, my interpreter, a young lad and myself, set off for the purpose of paying a visit to our X. Y. neighbours. On leaving the fort, we had the river to cross, which, in consequence of the late rains, is about sixty rods broad. Our only means of crossing it was a canoe, made of the skins of buffaloes, which, on account of the length of time that it had been in the water, began to be rotten. Before we reached the other side of the river, the canoe was nearly half Hilled with water. We drew it on shore, mounted our horses, visited our neighbours, and returned to the place where we had left our canoe, at about three o'clock P. M. Having repaired it a little, we embarked, for the purpose of returning to the fort. We soon perceived that the water came into the canoe very fast; and we continued paddling, in hope of reaching the opposite shore, before it would fill. We were, however, sadly disappointed; for it became full, when we had gone about one third of the distance; but it did not immediately overset. The water, in that place, was about five feet deep; but the current was strong, and it soon carried us to a place where we could not reach the bottom, and the canoe overset. We all clung to it and, thus drifted a considerable distance, until the canoe was, at length, stopped by a few willows, whose tops rose above the water. Here I had a moment, in which I could reflect on our truly deplorable condition, and directed my thoughts to the means of relief. My first object was, if possible, to gain the shore, in order to free myself from my clothes, which I could not do where I then was. But my great coat, a heavy poniard, boots, &c. rendered it very difficult for me to swim; and I had become so torpid, in consequence of having been so long in the cold water, that before I had proceeded one third of the way to the shore, I sunk, but soon arose again, to the surface of the water. I then exerted myself to the utmost; but, notwithstanding, soon sunk a second time. I now considered that I must inevitably drown; the objects of the world retire from my view, and my mind was intent only upon approaching death; yet I was not afraid to meet my dissolution.* I however made a few struggles more, which happily took me to a small tree that stood on what is usually the bank of the river, but which is now some rods distant from dry land. I remained there for some time, to recover strength, and at length proceeded to the shore; and as soon as I had gained it, my mind rose in ardent gratitude to my gracious Preserver and deliverer, who had snatched me from the very jaws of death! / was now safe on shore; but the condition of my unfortunate companions, was far different. They had still hold of the canoe in the middle of the river, and by struggling were just able to keep themselves from sinking. We had no other craft, with which to go upon the water, nor could any of our people swim, who were standing on the shore, the melancholy spectators of this scene of distress. I therefore took off my clothes, and threw myself, a second time, into the water, in order, if possible, to afford some aid to my companions. When I had reached the place where they were, I directed the boy, to take hold of the hair of my head, and I took him to a staddle, at no great distance, and directed him to lay fast hold of it, by which means he would be able to keep the greater part of his body above water. I then returned to the canoe, and took Collin to-a similar place. Mr. Goedike had alone proceeded to a small staddle, and would have reached the shore, had not the cramp seized him in one of his legs. I next tried to take the canoe ashore, but could not alone effect it. I therefore, swam to the opposite shore, caught a horse and mounted him, and made him swim to the canoe, at one end of which I tied a cord, and taking the other end in my teeth and hands, after drifting a considerable distance, I reached the land. After repairing the canoe a little, I proceeded to my three wretched fellow creatures, who had, by this time, become nearly lifeless, having been in the water at least two hours. By the aid of a kind Providence, however, they at last safely reached the shore; and so deeply were they affected with their unexpected escape, that they prostrated themselves to the earth, in an act of thanksgiving, to their great and merciful Deliverer.

*For at that time, I was Ignorant of my lost condition by nature, and of the necessity of being clothed in a better righteousness than my own, to prepare me to appear with safety before a holy God, in judgment.

Tuesday, 17. On the 8th instant, some Indians ran away with three of our horses; and on the following morning, Mr. Goedike and myself mounted two others, to pursue the thieves. We followed them for two days, and then, ascertaining that they were so far in advance of us, and travelled so fast, that it would be impossible to overtake them, before they would reach their camp, which is six or seven days' march from this, we ceased following them. We directed our course another way, for the purpose of finding buffaloe, but without success. We, however, killed as many fowls, in the small lakes, as we needed for daily consumption; and this evening returned to the fort, having had on the whole a pleasant ride.

Friday, 26. Agreeably to the instructions of Mr. Chaboillez, in company with Mr. La Rocque, and an Indian, who served as guide, I set out on the 6th instant, for Montague a la Basse. Our course was nearly south, over a plain country; and on the 9th, we reached Riviere qui Apelle, where the North West and X. Y. companies have each a fort, where we tarried all night, with Monsieur Poitras, who has charge of that post. The next morning, we continued our march, which was always in beautiful plains, until the 11th, when we arrived at the place of our destination. There I found Mr. Chaboillez, C. McKenzie, &c. The fort is well built, and beautifully situated, on a very high bank of the Red River, and overlooks the country round to a great extent, which is a perfect plain. There can be seen, at almost all seasons of the year, from the fort gate, as I am informed, buffaloes grazing, or antelopes bounding over the extensive plains, which cannot fail to render the situation highly pleasant. I spent my time there very pleasantly, during eight days, in company with the gentlemen above mentioned. At times, we would mount our horses, and ride out into the plains, and frequently try the speed of our beasts. On the 19th, I left that enchanting abode, in company with Messrs. Chaboillez, McKenzie, &c., and the day following, arrived at Riviere qui Apelle, where we found the people, waiting our arrival. They came here by water; but at this season, canoes go up no further, on account of the shallowness of the river. The goods intended for Alexandria, therefore, must be taken from this on horse back. Accordingly, we delivered out to the people such articles as we thought necessary, and sent them 'off; and the day following, Mr. Chaboillez returned to Montagne a la Basse, and Mr. McKenzie and myself proceeded to Alexandria, where we arrived this afternoon, after having made a pleasant jaunt of twenty one days. Here I shall pass the winter, having with me Mr. Goedike, two interpreters, twenty labouring men, fourteen women and sixteen children.

Tuesday, January 21, 1805. For nearly a month, we have subsisted on little besides potatoes; but thanks to a kind Providence, the last night, two of my men returned from the plains, with their sledges loaded with the flesh of the buffaloe. They bring us the pleasing intelligence, that there is a plenty of these animals within a day's march of us. This supply of provisions could not have come more opportunely, for our potatoes are almost gone. About a month since, I sent Mr. Goedike, accompanied by ten men, out into the plains, in hopes that they might fall in with the Natives, who would be able to furnish us with food; but we have heard nothing from them, and I cannot conjecture what should have detained them so long, as I did not expect that they would be absent, for more than ten days, from the fort.

Wednesday, 8. Riviere qui Apelle. On the 6th Mr. Goedike and several other persons with myself, left our boats, and proceeded on horse-back. As the fire has passed over the plains, this spring, it was with difficulty that we could find grass, sufficient for the subsistence of our horses.

Friday, 12. The Plain Portage. In the former part of the day, we met, A. N. McLeod, Esq. who is now from the New Fort, on his way back to Athabasca. We went on shore, and took breakfast with him. He has taken with him my friend Mr. F. Goedike, a young man possessed of a good understanding, and a humane and generous heart, who has been with me for four years past, and from whom I could not separate, without regret.

Friday, 14. This morning, my old friend Mr. F. Goedike, whom I have been happy to meet at this place, left us, with his company, for St. Johns, which is about one hundred and twenty miles up this river, where he is to pass the ensuing winter.

Thursday, 11. We, yesterday, sent off eleven canoes, loaded with the returns of this place and of St. John's; and, early this morning, Messrs. D. McTavish, J. G. McTavish, 1 F. Goedike and J. McGillivray, embarked on board of two light canoes, bound for the Rainy Lake and Fort William. But I am to pass the ensuing summer, at this place.—The last winter was, to me, the most agreeable one that I have yet spent in this country. The greatest harmony prevailed among us, the days glided on smoothly, and the winter passed, almost imperceptibly, away.