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My name is Nancy Marguerite Anderson, and I am the author of the book, The Pathfinder: A. C. Anderson’s Journeys in the West [Victoria, BC: Heritage House Publ, 2011]

Anderson’s full name (and one he almost always used) was Alexander Caulfield Anderson. He was the Hudson’s Bay Company fur trader who, in the mid-1840’s, threaded his way through mountain passes and down rapid-filled rivers in search of a horse-friendly trail through the rugged country that separated the Kamloops fort, from Fort Langley, on the lower Fraser River.

Victoria’s first local historian Derek Pethick, noted that without Anderson’s explorations, British Columbia could hardly have come into being. “His discovery of an all-British artery for the fur trade was to have a profound effect on the history of not only British Columbia, but also of Canada itself.” (Source: Men of British Columbia, Hancock House Press, 1975).

Alexander Caulfield Anderson was my great-grandfather, and I wanted to know who he was. It took me ten years to research his story; I accessed archives in Australia, in Scotland, and across the North American continent.

As I wrote the book, I learned things that threatened to destroy the historic and heroic fur trade figure that lived inside my head.

There were occasions when I flinched — but those flinches transformed Anderson into a man, with quirks and flaws and character and kindness and a poetic courtesy — an extraordinary human being.

I loved the long journey of uncovering Alexander Caulfield Anderson, the man. I hope that you, too, will discover this complex, intelligent, and talented man for yourself — that you too will take pleasure in plumbing the depths of this man’s story, which is also British Columbia’s history.

Thank you.

 

Please follow my posts at my new WordPress website

When I first set up my WordPress website and blog, I used this name — Fur Trade Family History — for my blog.

However, the designer who put together my webpage and blog transferred all my posts to the new site, at http://nancymargueriteanderson.com/

If you are seriously interested in following what I have to say about Alexander Caulfield Anderson and his adventures in the fur trade west of the Rocky Mountains, then please switch over to that site and follow me there.

There will be no more posts on this site.

Thanks a lot, and hope to see you there.

Nancy

Anderson’s 1846 expedition from Kamloops to Fort Langley

A paragraph or two from The Pathfinder: A.C. Anderson’s Journeys in the West, will introduce you to the reason why Alexander Caulfield Anderson made his four expeditions between Kamloops and Fort Langley — two in 1846 and two in 1847. [The image is of the Thompson River west of the outlet of the Nicola River, and looking east.]

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Thompson River

“In 1846, the British and American governments began to negotiate the placement of the American border through traditional Hudson’s Bay Company lands west of the Rocky Mountains. Some Company men optimistically expected the new boundary to pass south of the Columbia River, leaving all the territory to the north in Company hands. Americans hoped the boundary might be placed as far north as the bottom of the Russian territories [the Alaska panhandle], which meant that much of New Caledonia would fall into American hands. Wherever the boundary ultimately ran, it was certain to interfere with the business of the fur trade. The nervous Company men planned to enlarge the new post at Fort Victoria, on the south end of Vancouver’s Island. Fort Langley was already serviced by the HBC ships, but no one knew how the rich furs of New Caledonia would reach the lower Fraser River. The impassable Fraser River Canyon and a rough, unexplored range of mountains lay between New Caledonia and Fort Langley.

“In 1845 Anderson wrote to Governor Simpson [of the HBC] to volunteer himself for the job of finding a new brigade route across the mountains from Kamloops to Fort Langley, on the lower Fraser. The letter reached Simpson at Norway House, and he discussed the issue with Peter Skene Ogden, who happened to be there at the time. In October 1845, Ogden wrote from Fort Colvile [Spokane area], giving Anderson instructions to confer with John Tod of Kamloops before exploring potential routes between Kamloops and Fort Langley. At the same time, Ogden wrote to Tod, suggesting that the most feasible route might be “starting from Thompson’s River, across land to the Nicoutimine Country, and from thence to Harrison’s River then with canoes nothing can intervene to prevent reaching Fort Langley.”

Anderson did follow Ogden’s suggested route, but the roughness of the Lillooet River made him decide against using this as a brigade trail. This was no country for horses, nor for boats!

But Anderson was not the only man to go on this expedition — he took five employees with him: Edouard Montigny, Jean Baptiste Vautrin, Abraham Charbonneau, Theodore Lacourse, and William Davis. So here I go with whatever information I have about these men:

Edouard Montigny: No one is sure where Edouard Montigny comes from, but he is Metis. He might have been the mixed-blood son of Ovid de Montigny, who is quite famous in the fur trade of Washington State as a long time employee of the ill-fated Pacific Fur Company, the North West Company, and finally the HBC. Ovid’s supposed son Edouard was one of Alexander Caulfield Anderson’s most trusted employees at Fort Alexandria, and he was Anderson’s interpreter — he translated the Natives’ languages so that Anderson could communicate with them.

Edouard first appears in the fur trade at Thompson’s River in 1833, when he was probably 17 years old. I think it was Edouard who led Anderson to Fort Alexandria in mid-winter 1842, over the new brigade trail north of Kamloops. He remained at Fort Alexandria the entire time Anderson was there, then returned to Kamloops. He had a brother who also worked at Fort Alexandria, but who deserted in 1844. Anderson wrote, “I suspect the scamp has let some of our horses stray off, and is afraid of his brother’s anger.”

Jean Baptiste Vautrin: I have written a lot about Jean Baptiste, and he has plenty of descendants in the area. He was French Canadian, born in Lower Canada in 1813, and he died at the Grand Ronde Reservation in Oregon in 1893. He spent most of his fur-trade career in the New Caledonia area, and was at Fort Alexandria when Anderson arrived there. He must have been sent off to man the new Thleuz-cuz post, because in November 1844, Anderson wrote: “Today to my very great surprise, Vautrin cast up from Thleuz-cuz, having a letter from Mr. Todd… notifying that the fall fishery failed, that he had killed a horse (Rapide) some time previously for food…”

Vautrin is regularly at the fort in 1846, On the 31st of October, “Vautrin (who has been sick during the greater part of the week) commenced yesterday the care of a coal furnace previously built & fired by Gendron.” On Monday 9th: “Yesterday evening the wife of J. Bte Vautrin (a daughter of Lolo’s) was taken ill, and shortly after gave birth to a still born child. She afterwards fell into a state of exhaustion, and I was applied to for assistance. I accordingly administered, with proper caution, some wine & water & a little laudanum, which had a salutary effect, and on my going to bed a little after midnight, the woman was much better & breathed with freedom. Towards morning, however, I was again summoned, and found her in a dying state. It appears that after sleeping tranquilly some time, she awoke and conversed a little, but ere long again relapsed. Internal flooding I suspect to have been the cause of the poor woman’s death; for little appeared externally..”

On Tuesday, December 8th, 1846, Anderson reported that “I have to record that today I was under the disagreeable necessity of chastising one of the servants under my command — the more disagreeable to me, I may add, since it is the first occasion of my having to do so for some years past; and the only one since my sojourn in New Caledonia. Having occasion to reprimand J. Bte Vautrin for disrespectful language, which I did quietly in my sitting room, the man replied in so improper a manner that I was compelled to strike him a couple of blows, in order to maintain that authority without the possession of which one’s efficiency in this country is more than doubtful.” The last mention of Vautrin comes when he leaves Fort Alexandria, in march 1847. “today Pere Nobili set out for Kamloops, accompanied by his man & Baptiste Lolo, together with Vautrin. The last, whose time was expired & who was on his way out, had my sanction to make an arrangement to accompany Mr. Nobili till the spring, when he will be disposable for the summer Brigade. He has therefor renewed his agreement with HBC for another year…”

Abraham Charbonneau: Charbonneau was French-Canadian, born about 1815 in Quebec. For a few years he was in the Snake district, and came to New Caledonia via Fort Colvile. At the end of his contract he returned to Fort Colvile and hoped to go out with the York Factory express. He did not, because of illness. He eventually rejoined the trade at Fort Vancouver because of shortage of men, but deserted the place for the California gold fields, where he disappeared. He was first mentioned in the Fort Alexandria journals in spring, 1846, “They will be forwarded at Kamloops by Charbonneau, Lacourse & Touin, whom I left there in passant.” In January 1847 Anderson wrote, “Vautrin returned from Fort George, having left two men [Charbonneau & Desautels] on the way — the former being sick & unable to travel. Three days after these men cast up, they have their feet frozen and altogether are in dismal plight.” Because of his many illnesses, I think that Charbonneau had an unidentified chronic disease that, on occasion, sickened him.

Theodore Lacourse: Lacourse or LaCroix was French Canadian, born about 1823. By 1840 he was in New Caledonia and accompanied Anderson on both his expeditions across the mountains. In April 1846 Anderson wrote: “Linneard, Vautrin & Lacourse having prepared the ploughs, made a beginning to plough this evening in the home field.” His brother Pierre was also in New Caledonia, and Anderson “received a note from Mr. [Donald] Manson stating the desertion of two men, Pierre & Theodore Lacourse. I have commissioned the Indians to search for these men & if they discover them to give me notice. I have also sent down word to the same effect to the Rapid, with directions to the Indians to steal their horses & bring them back to me with prompt intelligence.” The Lacourse brothers were returned to Fort Alexandria and Theodore finished out his contract and left the country in Thomas Lowe’s 1848 York Factory Express.

William Davis: Davis was born in Lower Canada [Quebec] about 1827 and joined the fur trade on a three year contract. He was another who deserted Donald Manson’s brigade but was taken back with the threat of capital punishment were he to do it again. He resigned his contract in 1848 and returned to Canada, in the same York Factory express as Theodore Lacourse.

There are the five or so men who accompanied Anderson across the mountains in summer, 1846. They traveled via Fraser River to Seton and Anderson Lake and crossed the height of land to the Lillooet River, which they then followed down to Fort Langley. On their return journey they walked up the Coquihalla River and then crossed the massive Coquihalla plateau — on foot. These men were tough, but they were also young. I have to remember that A.C. Anderson himself was only thirty years old — a difficult feat when the photographs show him as a seventy year old.

A. C. Anderson’s cousins: famous and infamous

Good morning everyone — though it might not be morning when you open up this blogpost.

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Anyway, I have told you about Alexander Caulfield Anderson’s uncles and aunts, some of them quite notable. Now I will tell you about his cousins. Some were famous, many heroic, and some downright failures as human beings. You will be surprised who I include in the latter section.

I do not think I will cover all of them in this post — there are too many heroes!

Here is the first, both heroic and famous. His name was Alexander Seton and he was the eldest son of Alexander Anderson-Seton (later Seton) of Mounie — A. C. Anderson’s eldest uncle and head of the family. Though he was never in the colony of British Columbia nor even in the fur trade, his name is written large in British Columbia history. [This is Anderson Lake, British Columbia, looking west towards the coast].

Anderson Lake

Alexander Seton was born at Tottenham, Middlesex, on October 4, 1818, and he was the eldest surviving son of Alexander Seton. In November 1832 Alexander Seton purchased a commission as Second-Lieutenant in the Royal North British Fusiliers, and served in the British Army in Tasmania and India with his regiment.

In 1847 Seton was made Captain and was transferred to the 74th Highlanders, stationed in England and Ireland.  In 1852, as Lieutenant-Colonel, Alexander Seton took command of the drafts of raw recruits destined for the Cape of Good Hope, where his own regiment was already involved in the Kaffir War. Seton was 38-years-old when the paddle-wheeled iron troopship Birkenhead sailed from Ireland on January 7, 1852.

At two o’clock in the morning of February 26, the Birkenhead struck a rock in False Bay, 20 miles southeast of Cape Town, and foundered. In spite of the urgency of the situation, Seton issued his orders with perfect calm — “Women and Children First!” The crew prepared the ship’s boats and loaded the soldiers’ families into them, while the solders themselves stood at attention on the Birkenhead‘s sloping decks. The soldiers knew they were doomed, that there were not enough boats to carry them ashore and the distance was too far to swim. What was worse: there were sharks. Seton made his way to the stern of the sinking ship where he admitted to another officer he could not swim. One of Seton’s two horses made it to shore. A survivor reported that Seton had been killed by the fall of the Birkenhead‘s mast. [This is Seton Lake, looking eastward toward the Fraser River].

Seton Lake

Why is this story important to British Columbia? In 1846 Anderson explored the lakes later named Anderson and Seton Lake. In 1858 he was asked to name the two lakes. Anderson Lake he named for his own family, and Seton Lake for his cousin, Alexander Seton. The portage between the two lakes he named Birkenhead Portage — today it carries the name of Seton Portage.

So there is one Anderson-Seton hero whose name is carved into British Columbia’s history. Here is another:  his name is General Sir James Outram, the ‘Bayard of India.’ Like his Seton cousin, Outram’s name used to grace a lake in British Columbia — but Outram Lake was buried under the massive Hope Slide in 1965. Did A.C. Anderson name this lake? Yes he did. Was the lake buried by the Hope Slide the same lake that Anderson called Outram Lake? No, it wasn’t.

James Outram, son of Benjamin Outram and eccentric Margaret Anderson mentioned in a previous post, was born in 1803 and was much older than his many Anderson cousins. With the huge difference in age, A.C. Anderson could hardly have known his cousin personally, but he knew who he was. In 1845, when Anderson mentioned his cousin’s exploits in a letter to Governor Simpson of the HBC, Outram was already famous in London and India.

His childhood was probably unhappy. It was most likely toxic: his mother accused both her Outram brother-in-law and her own brother, Alexander Seton, of not supporting her family after her husband’s early death. The accusations appear false, as both supported her through the many difficult years, and Seton paid for the two boys’ education in good schools. Francis, the eldest boy, recognized his uncles’ support and thanked them: James believed his mother and cut himself off from the Anderson family entirely.

In 1819 James joined the East India Company’s Bengal Army as ensign in the 4th Native Infantry, and sailed for India on the ship York. He joined his regiment at Poona but was quickly transferred to the 12th Native Infantry and accompanied his regiment to Baroda. In December he fell sick; in Feb. 1822 he rejoined his regiment but had a narrow escape when a native boat in which he was traveling was blown up by the fireworks that Outram carried with him.

Outram performed many heroic deeds: he served in Kittur and seized the hill forts of Meywar and Joshpur.  Outram’s measures in war were always violent, but the reproofs he received were softened by compliments on his military genius, energy and sound judgment.  In other words, he was not a nice man, but he got away with it because he was always successful.

In 1836 he married his first cousin Margaret Anderson, sister of James Anderson B, HBC, but immediately rushed away to another war in India. He was made brevet major after a dangerous tour through Afghanistan when he rode through Afghanistan (never the safest place) in disguise, accompanied by only a servant and his guide, to deliver a dispatch to the Governor of Bombay. He was made Resident at Baroda, near Bombay — Residents were an important and powerful part of the political system  forced on India by the Honorable East India Company.

In 1857 Outram was back in England where the King knighted him. Shortly after he reached India again, the Indian Mutiny broke out. The mutineers massacred the British residents at the Residency of Cawnpore and besieged the Residency of Lucknow. With General Havelock, General Sir James Outram fought his way into the Lucknow Residency to relieve it from its siege, only to be besieged himself. The conditions that existed inside the Residency were horrific, with dysentery and many other diseases killing the men and women trapped there, and snipers outside the walls picking off anyone who ventured outdoors.

The second relief of Lucknow came in October 1857, and Outram finally led everyone to the safety of nearby Fort Alumbagh.

Outram was not a nice man. He disrespected his wife as much as he disrespected his Anderson cousins, and traveled India with another woman. When his cousins, half native children of Captain William Anderson (now deceased), came to him for help, he turned them away so cruelly that one committed suicide.  Though Outram said he was not in command of the expedition to Lucknow he fought every decision that General Havelock made. He was, perhaps, a bully — a natural consequence of his insecure and toxic childhood, perhaps.

To finish Outram’s story, and that of British Columbia’s Outram Lake, we again introduce fur trader and explorer, Alexander Caulfield Anderson, into the story. In Anderson’s second exploration of 1846, he paddled up the Fraser River east of Fort Langley, and followed the Coquihalla River east. [This is the Coquihalla River, immediately behind Hope, B.C.]

coquihalla river 6

Anderson and his men lunched on the banks of a river where the Coquihalla turned sharply northward, and another river — the Nicolum — flowed in from the east. They followed the Nicolum up its narrow valley, and Anderson saw that the river banks offered a soft surface for the brigade horses’ hooves. At that day’s end, he expressed his optimism that this trail might become the new route into the interior that he was looking for.

The explorers continued to follow the stream the following day, climbing over a height of land to arrive on the shore of a little lake nestled in a mountain valley. Here the country was fine and clear, with groves of large cedars and soft, mossy ground. The lakes were unnamed in Anderson’s journal of that time, nor do they appear on his 1858 map. But by the time he drew his 1867 map, Anderson had heard of his cousin’s death in France, and he named the little lake on the Sumallo River system for General Sir James Outram.

I have a lovely picture of this lake, but can’t find it. I will add it when I do. But the Outram name that Anderson gave the lake in 1867, was later transferred to the first lake that Anderson found on the Nicolum River [also called Beaver Lake]. The mountain that loomed over that lake and its valley was called Outram Mountain.  Mount Outram proved as treacherous as its namesake, General Sir James Outram. In the early morning of Saturday, January 9th, 1965, a small earthquake in the valley jiggled seismographs  throughout the Pacific Northwest. At 7 o’clock am. a second tremor hit, and a slab of rock tumbled off the northside Jackson Peak and rumbled its way into the valley below, bringing 100 million tons of debris and snow with it. It slashed across the highway burying four vehicles with passengers, and pushed hundreds of feet up the side of Mount Coulter on the valley’s south side. A gigantic wave of broken trees, mud and rocks fell down Mount Coulter into the valley, and fanning out again, buried another vehicle. When the main slide came down a Greyhound driver backed his bus madly down the valley road, saving the lives of all his passengers. 

And so two of Alexander Caulfield Anderson’s cousins made waves in British Columbia, though they were never here. The first road into the goldfields above the canyons of the Fraser River passed through Anderson and Seton Lakes, following the route that Anderson explored in 1846; a second but modern highway and its namesake lake was buried by Mount Outram and Outram Creek that tumbled down the side of the mountain. Both of these were named, indirectly, for the second Anderson cousin. There are more cousins, and some of them are very interesting. But none are so well known in British Columbia as these two. Still, I will tell you about them, in stages, as I find room for these interesting and heroic men of the Anderson-Seton family.

The Anderson-Seton family, part one

Fur trader Alexander Caulfield Anderson was a member of the Anderson-Seton family — that is, a descendant of tenant farmer Dr.  James Anderson, LLD (1739-1808), and his noble wife, Margaret Seton. It was a close relationship: Dr. James Anderson and his wife, Margaret Seton, were Alexander Caulfield Anderson’s paternal grandparents.

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Dr. James Anderson began his life as a child of tenant farmers near Edinburgh, and took over his parents’ two farms at their death. This was a time when Scottish farmers studied agricultural science at local universities, and James attended Professor Cullen’s lectures on chemistry. Eventually Anderson sold his parents’ farms and took over uncultivated lands in Aberdeenshire, quickly making them profitable.

In 1768 James met and married the heiress of the Setons of Mounies in Aberdeenshire, who lived nearby. Margaret Seton was the daughter of George Seton of Mounie and grand-daughter of the intellectual lawyer of Sir Alexander Seton, Lord Pitmedden; she was descended from generations of noble Seton men who fought and died for their kings. She could have chosen any nobleman in the country as her husband, but she foolishly chose James Anderson.

To marry into the Seton family, Anderson had to take on the Seton name, which he did briefly and unwillingly. Margaret gave birth to the first of their many children at Monkshill, while Anderson wrote his many knowledgeable articles on farming and agriculture — so many that the University of Aberdeen granted him the degree of Doctor of Law. He was a brilliant agriculturalist, but an indifferent husband and father. Margaret inherited the estates of Mounie and the family resided in the turreted house for a short time. But in 1783, James moved his family into a rundown farmhouse at Leith, Edinburgh’s port city, to be closer to his intellectual friends. Margaret sickened and died, and their children grew up in their father’s indifferent care.

James Anderson’s unloving and neglectful care affected all the children in different ways. The children knew themselves to be gentlemen and gentlewomen descended from the fine Seton family, but all were somehow cursed by their poverty-stricken upbringing and their father’s emotional detachment.

A note here: The Anderson-Setons might have inherited a tendency to manic-depressiveness — something that appears to be a manic-depressive disorder pops up in various generations that follow, and Margaret appears to have inherited her father’s property at Mounie because her older brother was institutionalized. But we don’t know…

To continue: The eldest son, Alexander, inherited Mounie, and as he was required to take on the Seton name to inherit, he changed his name by deed poll to avoid the confusion of his having two names. He was an honorable and hardworking man who supported all the younger members of his family financially until his personal fortune was almost depleted. But, as a partner in the Wedderburn/Colvile firm in London, who traded sugar and rum from their plantations in the West Indies, he was also involved in defending the slavery upon which their personal fortunes were dependent. These are, by the way, the same Wedderburn/Colviles who were directors in the fur trade of the HBC, and Governor George Simpson (another member of that firm) knew Alexander Seton well.

The third Anderson-Seton son, John Anderson, apprenticed as an engraver under the artist Thomas Bewick. Although John learned the trade quickly and showed great promise as an artist and illustrator, he refused to do his work well, if at all, and was fired from his apprenticeship. John then set up shop in London. His work received much acclaim, but his business fell into disarray and he escaped his debts by sailing to Australia. He abandoned his vessel in South America, and died in Africa in 1807.

The fifth son, James, was a grain-merchant who owned a good sized house and sometimes consulted a craniologist, not unusual in those days. After his brother Alexander he was the most successful businessman in the family and retired well off. Despite his apparent success, James, too, sometimes borrowed money from Alexander Seton and never repaid it.

An Anderson daughter, Margaret, married civil engineer Benjamin Outram who gave her five children but died suddenly without leaving her any money to raise them. Margaret, an eccentric in her own right, accepted the legal help and money that Alexander Seton gave her. Although Seton supported her family for years and put her children through school, Margaret complained to her sons that Seton had entirely neglected her.

Henry Anderson joined the army of the East India Company and, as a Captain, led his men through a series of grueling military campaigns, including the disastrous Monson’s Retreat of 1804. In this battle the East Indian Company’s army attacked a Maratha leader they considered a robber-chief, and were forced into a two-month retreat to the safety of the city of Agra, all the while fighting off their well-armed enemy. Only a few hundred of Monson’s original force of 10,000 soldiers survived the long march, and it is probable that the appalling conditions of that running battle caused Henry’s early death. Henry was buried on his brother Robert’s indigo plantation, and a son of Henry’s came to England with Robert Anderson’s family.

The man who became Alexander Caulfield Anderson’s father was Robert, born in 1781 at his father’s farm in Monkshill. In 1799 Robert sailed for India to join the East India Company’s army, but jumped ship in Calcutta. A year later he was acting-midshipman on a Calcutta-based trading ship that sailed between India, China and Australia — a ship captained by his elder brother William. The sea did not suit Robert, and on his arrival in Australia in 1800, Captain William Anderson paid for Robert’s commission as ensign in the New South Wales Corps of the British Army.

Robert Anderson served at Port Jackson on Norfolk Island, at that time a place of confinement for the worst criminals the British Government exported to Australia. In 1804, he was reassigned to Port Dalrymple in northern van Diemen’s Land [Tasmania], where his commander sent him on a short exploration up the Anderson River — a creek which still bears his name. A short time later Anderson defended the impertinent behavior of a female convict he called his woman. In doing so, he contradicted his superior officer, who immediately sent him to Port Jackson in disgrace. Ensign Anderson promptly sold his commission and, abandoning the convict woman, sailed for India with his seafaring brother William.

By 1809, Robert had married Eliza Charlotte Simpson, daughter of a high-ranking East Indian Company civil servant who managed the Salsette mint near Bombay. By 1810 Robert owned part of an indigo plantation near Ruttanpoor, north of Calcutta. He and his business partner, Alexander Caulfield, had already produced a great deal of indigo. The demand for Bengal indigo varied, but after 1810 most indigo dye imported into England came from India rather than the West Indies. Anderson and Caulfield made their fortunes and, in 1817, Robert brought his wife and three sons home to London. Alexander Caulfield Anderson was then three years old.

We know little about Captain William Anderson who sailed an East India ship between India, China and Australia. It was probable he was smuggling opium into China (something the East India Company did] and this could have caused him some problems had he been caught. Perhaps he was caught… he died aboard his ship of liver disease while still a young man. He left behind two or more mixed-blood children in India, who carry the name Seton-Tait.  If you are a Seton-Tait in India, you are also an Anderson-Seton: talk to me.

Robert Anderson is not an uncommon name, and there were two ensigns named Robert Anderson in Australia at this time. Historians sometimes mix them up. There were also two John Andersons who were engravers in Scotland at the same time, but letters in the Mounie archives confirm the information I have about these two Anderson-Seton family members. Anderson is a very common name, which sometimes makes it difficult to research and confirm information received.

Next week I will tell you about the sons of these Anderson-Seton brothers and sisters, and you will see for yourself what astonishingly famous (or infamous) men many of them became. In this family, some of our heroes are truly heroes, and some are scoundrels. Their history takes us to India, of course, to Australia, to South Africa — and to Canada. There are a surprising number of Anderson-Seton family members in both Australia and Canada. If you are one, contact me — we share our information and stories.

Sources for much of the above information comes from:

Mary Frances Outram, Margaret Outram, 1778-1863, Mother of the Bayard of India (London, John Murray, undated)

“Sketch of the Life of Dr. James Anderson,” Gentlemen’s Magazine, December 1808, p. 1051-2

With much thanks to our English cousin (descendant of James Anderson of Bridgend, Brechin) who researched and shared much of the above information. I did not do this alone.

Creation of the Brigade Trails, 1848-1849 and beyond, part four

I am sorry, I am a little late in posting this section of the “Creation of the Brigade Trails.” But here it is now.

I left you at the severe winter of 1848-1849, when deep snow buried the fut trade posts in New Caledonia and the Columbia, killing thousands of horses and cattle.

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“Alexander Caulfield Anderson had left Fort Alexandria in summer 1848, and was now in charge at Fort Colvile, on the Columbia River just north of present day Spokane. He rode north from Fort Colvile with his men — not as I said in the book by the Similkameen River valley, but by the old brigade trail west of Okanagan Lake and through Monte Lake. As he waited for the brigades to load at Kamloops, he sat on the hilltop above the fort and sketched the unfinished watercolour and pencil drawing of Kamloops contained in my book.

Kamloops watercolour

“From Kamloops,the combined brigades came out, once again, by the Anderson River trail, and it took them ten days to reach Fort Langley. At the fort, Anderson quickly loaded his trade goods into the boats and pushed his men upriver to Fort Hope, to begin work on the new trail over the Coquihalla Mountain.

“On their way downriver, Donald Manson of Fort St. James had asked Anderson to remain behind at Fort Hope to open the trail, but Anderson had refused to do so. Now, when the packhorses that had been sent over the mountain from Kamloops finally arrived at Fort Hope, Anderson told Manson of his decision to leave Fort Hope with his men and horses, without doing any more work to improve the trail. The two gentlemen exchanged “high words.”

“The Fort Colvile men found the passage over the mountain easy even though the trail was unfinished; they continued their journey to Fort Colvile via the Similkameen Valley, Osoyoos Lake, Anarchist Mountain and the Kettle Valley. They followed the Kettle River south to reach the Columbia River a few miles from Fort Colvile. This image is of the Kettle River Valley.

Kettle River 3

“I believe Anderson had already considered the possibility that he could cross the mountains a second time that summer, and that is why he left Fort Hope as soon as he could. From Fort Colvile, Anderson sent his men back for the remainder of his goods, left behind because of the shortage of horses. Because Fort St. James was so far north, Donald Manson did not have that option, and could not make a second journey to Hope. He left much of his supplies behind, and the shortage of trade goods plagued him the entire year afterwards.

“A few weeks after Anderson left Fort Hope, reports of his argument with Manson reached the ears of Peter Skene Ogden at Fort Vancouver, who arranged that the Fort Colvile brigades, and those from New Caledonia, arrived at Fort Hope separately. Every year, James Douglas travelled to Fort Langley to supervise the brigades’ arrivals and departures, because, as Peter Skene Ogden wrote, “without a conductor the gentlemen are not competent to conduct their own affairs, trifling as they are, and a separation is absolutely necessary as Pugilistic affairs between the two leaders is not exactly the proper mode of conduct in Brigades in the presence of the Company’s servants.”

Neither Manson nor Anderson would have called their affairs ‘trifling.’ Their return journeys over the mountains were at all times difficult. Stress levels were high, the work was hard and there were sometimes heavy losses, and the pay was low. They worried about having enough men to do the work the fur trade demanded — fewer good men were joining the fur trade and the quality and quantity of men that reached the Columbia district and New Caledonia was in constant decline. Moreover, at Fort Langley, many voyageurs attempted to desert the fur trade and make their way south to the California gold fields now in full swing!

“I found a very good description of the trail over the Coquihalla, written that year by the acting-Governor for the HBC, Eden Colvile, who rode over it a few months after the brigade had crossed it. From the place the fur traders called Campement des Femmes, at the north side of the Coquihalla [Tulameen/Coalmont area] — “we commenced the ascent of the first range of Mountains & encamped on the top of the hill about 5 pm. As we were going nearly the whole time this mountain must be very high. The following morning we again descended to a branch of the Similkameen [Tulameen River] & followed the valley for some miles; we, on leaving this, again climbed a hill of considerable elevation to the Campement de Chevreuil. From this place to Fort Hope, a distance of nearly thirty miles there is no grass to be found for the horses & I started at 6 am hoping to reach the Fort. Soon after leaving the Campement de Chevreuil the road descends into the Sa, anqua [sic] River, & at the bottom of this hill the chief difficulty of this route first presents itself, viz. the “boue biers” or to use the american phrase “Mud holes,” which are very numerous, of great depth, & exceedingly fatiguing to loaded horses. These swamps are found at intervals, between the hill just mentioned & the top of another & the last considerable elevation which we reached about 2 pm. From this the road descends to Peer’s River, which is crossed five times, & at which the tired state of our horses compelled us to encamp. The next morning we crossed & recrossed the Quaquialla River & arrived at the Fort at 10 am….”

“When the brigades came out in the summer of 1850 they found the trails much improved. From Campement des Femmes at the base of the mountain on its north side, the Fort Colvile brigades followed Blackeye’s Trail twelve miles up to Lodestone Lake. Another twelve miles or so brought them to Horseguards Camp on the Tulameen River at Podunk Creek — where Anderson’s exploration of 1846 crossed the brigade trail that resulted from that exploration.

Brigade Trail 2

“The next day they camped at Deer Camp or Campement de Chevreuil, and nineteen miles further on reached Manson’s Camp, at the head of Peers’ Creek. Fifteen more miles brought them down Peers Creek and the Coquihalla River into Fort Hope, where they loaded their furs into boats and drifted downriver to Fort Langley.

“In August of that year, James Douglas reported: “I have been to Fort Langley, where the Brigades from the interior arrived safely with the furs between the 15th and 19th July. They crossed the Frasers River ridge without difficulty, the snow being compact enough to support the loaded horses, and Mr. Manson is of the opinion that the passage may be made ten days earlier in the season with perfect safety… The Colvile people reached Fort Langley in seventeen days moderate travelling, and the other Brigades took ten days from Kamloops. The woods have been partially cleared by fire, and grass seed sown at Fort Hope and other points on this road, which will in a short time furnish a sufficiency of food for the horses.”

“I will try to give you a picture of the brigades arriving at Fort Hope, and packing up to leave again. About 1860, a very young Susan Allison saw the horses and described them as “splendid animals, hardy and enduring, with lots of good horse sense.” Her description of the brigades’ arrival follows: “Sometimes there would be a grand stampede and the pack trains would disrupt. Horses and men could be seen through a misty cloud of dust, madly dashing all over the Hope flat, lassos flying, dogs barking, hens flying for safety anywhere. Suddenly the tempest would subside as fast as it had arisen, the pack boys would emerge from the clouds of dust leading the ring leaders in the stampede….”

“So by 1850, the new brigade trail was established and successful, though there were still hiccups. In 1851, a “party of ten men, under the direction of Mr. Peter Ogden, were employed upon the new road for nearly two months… and made many substantial improvements. They cleared the points of wood on the whole route between [Fort] Alexandria and Fort Hope, and from the Similkameen River they increased the general breadth of road, shortened the bends, leveled or relined the steep ascents by inclined planes, and bridged about 300 yards of boggy ground.”

More changes were made to the road later, but all this happened after Alexander Caulfield Anderson was no longer riding over the trail. By 1854, Anderson was retired from the fur trade. He would pop up again in 1858, when he came to Fort Victoria and opened the first highway into the interior over the route of his first exploration via the Lillooet River and Anderson and Seton Lakes [which he then named]. By this trail, thousands of eager gold miners accessed the Fraser River gold fields north of the same canyons that had confounded the fur traders in 1848.

“In 1860, the soldiers and engineers of the Columbia Detachment of Royal Engineers substantially widened the Harrison trail and turned it into a good wagon road. Then the Royal Engineers carved a good road out of the cliff faces between Yale and Boston Bar, above the rapids that had so troubled the brigades in 1848 and 1849. By autumn 1862 their road reached Lytton, and in 1863 the first Alexandra bridge crossed the Fraser River north of Spuzzum, its eastern end resting near the place where Anderson’s men had buried Jacob Ballenden in 1848.

“T British Columbians, the brigade trail faded from view. However — to British Columbians — it was the most important road. The brigade trails were the roads that brought the fur traders out to the coast and Fort Langley. What if they had failed to find a road over these mountains and were never to reach Fort Langley? What impact would that have had on the importance of Fort Victoria and Fort Langley. How would that have impacted British Columbia’s history?

“Historians agree with me. In 1975, our first local historian, Derek Pethic, wrote the Anderson’s ‘discovery of a practical, all-British artery for the fur trade was to have a profound effect on the history of not only British Columbia, but also of Canada itself.”

When I spoke in front of the Victoria Historical Society in November, 2011, one of the questions I was asked at the end was — were these trails now open? Could people hike these trails? I was able to tell them about the Hope Mountain Centre and the work the people who were listening to my talk were doing in opening these trails. It gave me great pleasure to tell them about these volunteers uncovering some of the 150 year old hash marks the original fur traders had used to mark the trail.

I then thanked the group I was speaking to — the Hope Mountain Centre — for the work they had done in preserving our important history. The American writer William Faulkner wrote, “The Past is never dead; it is not even past…” I think that phrase is especially suitable when we are speaking of the Coquihalla and Anderson River brigade trails. These trail created the town of Hope, and now they are part of Hope’s future. As a descendant of one of the men who rode over this trail, I want to thank Hope Mountain Centre for their important work.

Thank you.

The 1849 Brigade to Fort Langley, Part 4 of Creation of Brigade Trails

At my last blog posting, we paused in mid winter, 1848, when deep snow covered the entire territory west of the Rocky mountains. This snow prevented Henry Newsham Peers from constructing a new brigade trail between Fort Hope, on the lower Fraser River, and Kamloops.

“Though the snow fall was good news for the fur trade, it killed so many horses in the interior that the fur traders now worried about having enough animals to carry out their furs in the spring. Still, the furs must go out — but because the fur traders had no idea how much snow might lie on the top of the Coquihalla, they decided to go out, once more, by the Anderson River trail they had used in summer 1848.

“Alexander Caulfield Anderson was now in charge at Fort Colvile, and he rode north to Kamloops by the old brigade trail up the west side of Okanagan Lake and through Monte Lake. As he waited for the brigades to load at Kamloops, he sat on the hilltop above the fort, and sketched the unfinished watercolor and pencil drawing of the new Thompson River post contained in my book.

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“From Kamloops, the combined brigades came out, once again, by the Anderson River trail, and it took them ten days to reach Fort Langley. At the fort, Anderson quickly loaded his goods into the boats and pushed his men upriver to Fort Hope, to begin work on the new trail.

“As they came downriver Manson asked Anderson to remain behind at Fort Hope to open the trail, but Anderson refused to do so. Now, when the packhorses that had been sent over the mountain from Kamloops arrived at Fort Hope, Anderson told Manson of his decision to leave Fort Hope with his men and horses, without doing any more work to improve the trail. The two gentlemen exchanged “high words.”

“The Fort Colvile men found the passage over the mountain easy even though the trail was unfinished; they continued their journey on to Fort Colvile via the Similkameen Valley, Osoyoos Lake, Anarchist Mountain and the Kettle River, which they followed south to reach the Columbia River a few miles from Fort Colvile. I strongly suspect that their guide over this new route (base of the Coquihalla at Tulameen, to the Similkameen Valley and over the hump of land to Osoyoos Lake) was a young Native man we only know as “Blackeye’s Son.”

“I believe that Anderson had already considered the possibility that he could cross the mountain a second time that summer, and that is why he left Fort Hope as soon as he could. From Fort Colvile, Anderson sent his men back for the remainder of his goods, left behind because of the shortage of horses. Because Fort St. James was so far north, Donald Manson did not have that option, and could not make a second journey to Hope. He left much of his supplies behind, and the shortage of trade goods plagued him the entire year that followed.

“A few weeks after Anderson left Hope for Fort Colvile, reports of his argument with Manson reached the ears of Peter Skene Ogden at Fort Vancouver. Ogden arranged that the Fort Colvile brigades, and those from New Caledonia, arrived at Fort Hope separately. Every year afterward, Fort Victoria’s James Douglas travelled to Fort Langley to supervise the brigades’ arrivals, because, as Peter Skene Ogden wrote, “without a conductor the gentlemen are not competent to conduct their own affairs, trifling as they are, and a separation is absolutely necessary as Pugilistic affairs between the two leaders is not exactly the proper mode of conduct in Brigades in the presence of the Company’s servants.”

“Neither Manson nor Anderson would have called their affairs “trifling.” Their return journey over the mountains were at all times difficult. Stress levels were high, the work was hard and there were sometimes heavy losses of essential trade goods. They worried about having enough men to do the work the fur trade demanded — fewer good men were joining the trade and the quality and quantity of men that reached the Columbia district and New Caledonia was in constant decline. Moreover, at Fort Langley, many voyageurs attempted to desert the fur trade and make their way south to the California gold fields, now in full swing.

“I found a good description of the trail over the Coquihalla Mountain behind Hope, written that year by the acting-Governor for the HBC, Eden Colvile, who rode over it a few months after the brigade had crossed. Among other things he suggested, “It will be necessary to send a party of men from each end of the road to cut all the fallen timber, as it is very fatiguing to the loaded horses to be continually stepping over these fallen trees, & thirdly, ditches should be cut through the swamps, & where requisite, logs & brush laid over them, so as to afford firm footing for the horses.”

“The work was done. When the brigades came out in the summer of 1850, they found the trails much improved. From Campement des Femmes at the foot of the mountains on its north side, the Fort Colvile brigades followed the brigade trail twelve miles up to Lodestone Lake. Another twelve miles or so brought them to Horseguards Camp on the Tulameen River at Podunk Creek — where Alexander Caulfield Anderson’s exploration of 1846 crossed the brigade trail that resulted from that exploration.

“The next day they stopped at Campement du Chevreuil or Deer Camp, and nineteen miles further on reached Manson’s Camp, at the head of Peers’ Creek. Fifteen more miles brought them down Peers Creek and the Coquihalla River into Fort Hope, where they loaded their goods into boats and drifted downriver to Fort Langley.

“In August of that year, James Douglas reported to Governor Simpson: ‘I have been to Fort Langley, where the Brigades from the interior arrived safely with the furs between the 15th and 19th July. They crossed the Frasers’ River ridge [Coquihalla] without difficulty, the snow being compact enough to support the loaded horses, and Mr. Manson is of the opinion that the passage may be made ten days earlier in the season in perfect safety… the Fort Colvile people reached Fort Langley in seventeen days moderate travelling, and the other Brigades took ten days from Kamloops. The woods have been partially cleared by fire, and grass seed sown at Fort Hope and other points on this road, which will in a short time furnish a sufficiency of food for the horses.'”

Next week I will give you descriptions of the brigades arrivals at Fort Hope, written by people who lived outside the fur trade. Further work was done on the trail, as well, and I can tell you the story of the men who worked on the trail. And for those of you who are interested in hiking these trails, know this: For the most part, these trails — both Anderson’s River trail and the brigade trail over the Coquihalla — are in good condition and can be hiked at any time. Parts of the Anderson River trail have been logged and the trail bed lost, but Native trails take their place. For more information, go to http://www.hopemountain.org

Creation of the Brigade Trails, 1848, part three

I ended the last chapter, or blog post, with the introduction of many of the new characters in this fur trade adventure — and one of them was the interesting young clerk named Henry Newsham Peers. Sometime after I finished this book I learned that Peers did not only go in with the return brigade — he came out from Fort Colvile and Kamloops, with the outcoming brigade! He appears first in Thomas Lowe’s “Journal of a Trip from Vancouver to York Factory, March 24-Oct 19, 1848,” in which Lowe delivers him and seven or eight other Fort Vancouver men to Fort Colvile, to help those men bring their furs across the new Anderson’s River trail to Fort Langley.

Peers may have kept a journal of the outward journey, but if he did it was lost — probably in the crossing of Fraser River at Spuzzum. It does not matter: his outgoing journal did survive, and is found in the British Columbia archives. I inherited my copy from my uncle, Elton Anderson, one of the two people to whom I dedicated my book. Before he died, Elton did a tremendous amount of research on his grandfather, A. C. Anderson, which I inherited … and I guess that is what started me off on this project.

We will rejoin the brigade as it begins from Fort Langley on its inward journey to Kamloops. “They started off from Fort Langley, and Anderson traveled in the first cluster of four boats, with five more to come under Donald Manson’s command. Anderson later described the upriver journey to the new fort at Yale: ‘Hitherto, bateaux of about three ton burthern have been employed by the Hudson’s Bay Company, for transport below the Falls [at Yale] — a slow method when the water is high, as the ascent can then be effected only by warping along shore, with the aid of Indian canoes to pass the lines. By this tedious process, an ascent was made during the freshet of 1848, to the foot of the Falls, in eight days; under ordinary circumstances it would occupy five.’

“From Peers’ journal, on passing over the Douglas portage north of Fort Yale: ‘I and Mr. [Donald] Manson left Ft. Yale on the 2nd August with the last trip 30 horses to rejoin Mr. Anderson at the other end. We got on very well on the portage with the exception of a couple of horses falling in the ascent of the Big Hill & some little confusion in a swampy part of the road rendered worse than its original state by the frequent passing & repassing of horses. There is a pretty gradual ascent (one stiff hill intervening) as far as Douglas’ River [probably Sawmill Creek], where there is a steep descent of about 700 feet to a bridge & a somewhat steeper though shorter ascent on the opposite side of this ravine, thence a level road till within a mile of Spuzzum River or Simon’s House where the road descends pretty gradually to that place — we were about three hours coming across & encamped on the south side of the Fraser River.’

“Peers tells us that they remained about three days at Simon’s House, crossing horses and loads to the east bank of the Fraser. Then they started north, ‘with some 500 & upwards pieces goods in 15 brigades, each brigade having 18 & some a greater number of horses to 2 men.” A normal brigade has seven to nine horses to two men.

“They traveled about six miles up the banks of the Fraser River, as Peers says, ‘encamped at the foot of Big Hill where the road leaves Fraser River, many of brigades only arriving when pitch dark and consequently great confusion from horses straying with their loads and so forth: several fell down a steep hill on nearing the encampment… from weakness, threw their loads & a bale was swept off in the river before it could be seized & one animal killed.’ This was at Kequeloose, at the bottom of the big hill that led them over Lake Mountain.

“Peers’ journal continues the next day. ‘Rainy weather — this morning Jacob Ballenden was found dead near the encampment with his gun discharged by his side, shot through the heart. It is supposed he committed suicide. the day was spent in collecting strayed horses with their loads and all found but 6 pieces and another horse killed. A war party of the Chute Indians against those of Anderson’s River passed the camp and created some little alarm… Nothing I may say here for the horses to feed on.’

Jacob Ballenden’s grave still exists in this historic graveyard near Alexandra Lodge, at the east end of Alexandra Bridge!

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“The brigades climbed Lake Mountain and descended the cliffs on the other side to Anderson’s river, and Peers records: ‘Some of the rear brigades got on very badly and 80 pieces were found deficient… Remained here today till the lost pieces should be brought in all of which were rendered but 2 bales.’

Below we have an image of the Fraser River and its east bank, taken across the river from the town of Boston Bar. Anderson River flows down that dip in the middle of the picture — the the right is Lake Mountain (the mountain the brigades clambered over to avoid Hell’s Gate Canyon, which of course is just around the corner of the river). The the left is the hill behind Boston Bar, where the fur traders clambered up Utzlius Creek to the top of the hills and crossed the plateau behind. As I have said before, this is not horse-friendly country as you can see!

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“They began the climb from Anderson’s River to the top of the hills via Utzlius Creek, eventually reaching ‘a small patch of thinly wooded ground in which had been constructed a miserable horse-park. Two or three of the rear brigades arrived when quite dark and many horses necessarily strayed away before they could be freed from their loads, passing the night with the rest in the woods under a heavy thunder storm with little or nothing to eat.’

“Peers also makes mention of the work the Natives did, in helping the fur traders bring in their supplies. ‘The pieces all but two or three were recovered after much searching and order was again restored. The Indians who had been employed for the last four days in searching for and bringing lost goods to the camp were paid off and seemed satisfied although there is some doubt as to their honesty.’

“The next day the fur traders camped five miles from the top of the hill, and men in the latter brigades went without supper [the provisioning brigades were at the head of the brigade]. On the following day Anderson rode ahead, while Manson sent Natives out to search for more packs. At the end of the day the fur traders found they were still missing: ‘six bags salt, two bags of ball and two rolls of Tobacco.’ Each of these bags and rolls weighed ninety pounds.

“From the top of the hill, Anderson sent fresh horses back to Manson and Peers, and Peers reported that ‘the early part of today was devoted to catching and loading young horses, about which some time was wasted.’ The next afternoon Manson and Peers rode across the wide plateau, and finally caught up to Anderson’s brigades in the Coldwater River valley. They reached Kamloops on August 22nd, and the gentlemen held a meeting to discuss the trail.” The image below is of the Coldwater River valley … a beautiful spot! Anderson and the men of the brigade rode over the plateau beyond the valley, and then down the steep hills to the Fraser River in the far distance.

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“Hot-tempered Donald Manson reported: ‘We have tested [the trail’s] advantages and disadvantages thoroughly, and I have no hesitation in declaring it utterly impracticable for a large brigade such as ours. The rugged, rocky mountainous and thickly wooded country which lies between Fraser River and the plains, … is, in my opinion, sufficient in itself to condemn this route. [I mentioned at this point that there was a Donald Manson descendant in the room, who was clearly enjoying my description of his bad-tempered ancestor].

“This route was far too difficult, and the gentlemen all agreed that the snow covered trail over the Coquihalla must be tried. They sent Henry Peers with Edouard Montigny, one of Anderson’s men, to Blackeye’s camp, to ask that he show them his trail to the top of the Coquihalla.

“Historians have puzzled over how Henry Newsham Peers chose the trail across the plateau, especially as it in no way followed Anderson’s 1846 exploration. Anderson himself expected that Blackeye’s trail would end up on the south side of the mountain, at Rhododendron Flats. But it did not.

Peers’ actual guide was Blackeye’s son, who took them up his father’s trail to the top of the plateau, and then guided them due west, across the mountaintop, to a stream he called Soaqua. He pointed out his trail down the west side of the mountain, by streams that immediately came to be called Peers’ Creek and the Coquihalla River. Peers and Montigny followed the stream to the Fraser River, where they borrowed canoes from the Natives and made their way to Fort Langley.” Below, is the Coquihalla River at Hope, BC.

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“In October, 1848, James Douglas wrote to John Tod of Kamloops: ‘In consequence of the very unfavourable report we have received from Messrs. Manson and Anderson of their last Summer’s route, we have come to the determination of opening a New Road recommended by Mr. Peers after a very careful survey. Leaving Fraser’s River, it follows successively the valleys of the Quequealla, Peers and the Soaqua Rivers, from thence crossing the dividing ridge into the Similkameen valley, where it falls upon Mr. Anderson’s track of 1846 and follows it to Thompson’s River.

“‘Mr. Peers will be despatched with ten men in a few days hence to commence operations at the mouth of the Quequealla, where we intend to establish a small Post for the convenience of parties passing to and from Thompson’s River [Kamloops] and at the same time he will proceed in opening the road with the assistance of all the Indians that can be mustered, and we hope to have it made as far as the snowy region before the Winter sets in …. He is particularly desirous that Blackeye’s son, the Indian who accompanied him a part of the way on his late journey to this place and left him at the head of the Soaqua, should be sent to meet him at that point, as without such assistance he will not be able to find his way into the Similkameen Valley… With that Indian you will please despatch Montigny and as many whites and Indians as you can muster to open the road from the plains of the Similkameen to the Soaqua Valley, following the line of road Mr. Peers pointed out to Montigny as being the best adapted for horse-transport, as early in the spring as the snow will admit….’

“Peers was placed in charge of building Fort Hope, and the fort did get built. But no work was done on the trail over the winter of 1848-49, though that was not Peers’ fault. Snow began to fall early in the season and it kept falling and the trail up the Coquihalla River was buried under deep drifts of snow and remained that way all winter. The heavy snow fell on the forts in the interior, too — at Kamloops and Fort Colvile at least. Though the snowfall was good news for the fur trade, it killed so many horses in the interior that the fur traders now worried about having enough animals to carry out their furs in the spring. Still, the furs must go out — but because the fur traders had no idea how much snow might lie on the top of the Coquihalla, they decided to go out, once more, by the Anderson River trail they had used in summer, 1848.”

This is a good place to pause — next week we can talk about the fistfights and desertions that occurred at Fort Langley in 1849, and the stressful return over the mountains. Anderson would now be called Fort Colvile home, as in spring 1848 he had ridden away from Fort Alexandria for the last time.