Dog sleds—voyageurs’ winter mode of travel

Dog sleds—voyageurs’ winter mode of travel

The John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon just ended. The Iditarod is coming soon. And  I’m hooked. Those pictures of dogsleds careening around sharp snowy turns get me itching to try it. But jaw-dropping scared as well. How in the world do they handle those dogs?...
Help wanted: Voyageurs!

Help wanted: Voyageurs!

What’s a “voyageur”? Is it like a “voyager”? Voyageurs needed! Hardy men to paddle birch bark canoes from sunrise to sunset and haul heavy packs of trade goods or fur pelts over miserable portages. Even so, French-Canadian voyageurs were known for their...
Voyageurs had pensions?!

Voyageurs had pensions?!

Voyageurs had pensions?!  Who’d a thunk it? A while back I wrote a blog post about perusing a website listing info from 35,000 voyageur contracts. Near the bottom of some contracts I found this intriguing line: “s’oblige de contribuer d’ un par cent sur ses...
What happens when voyageurs met Quakers?

What happens when voyageurs met Quakers?

Did voyageurs ever intersect with Quakers? In “Voyageurs: A Novel,” Margaret Elphinstone used that concept to tell the story of the fur trade, sharpening the differences between the two very dissimilar groups. The tale follows a young English Quaker who’s received a...

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