John Macdonell’s journal: part 4

John Macdonell’s journal: part 4

John Macdonell has been traveling for a month with his first-ever canoe brigade, in 1793. This is the fourth of 5 parts. June 24 ~ Left the Prairie des Vases and crossed a large bay of Lake Nipissing. I have been informed it is so shallow that they spear fish in...
John Macdonell’s journal: part 4

John Macdonell’s journal: part 3

John Macdonnell’s brigade is working their way upstream since May 25, 1793. It takes them about 3 weeks to reach the Mattawa River, a tributary off the Ottawa River, which they call the Grand River. Eventually they reach the height-of-land, and, with a big...
John Macdonell’s journal: part 4

John Macdonell’s journal: part 2

John Macdonell was born in Scotland in 1768. His family migrated to New York in 1773 and then to Canada. He was 25 years old when he began this first trading venture, in 1793. His diary describes his impressions of voyageur life. In this section, he has been traveling...
John Macdonell’s journal: part 4

John Macdonell’s journal: part 1

What was a canoe brigade like? Did people who went ever write about it? If voyageurs couldn’t even write their names, how did they keep journals? In 1793 John Macdonell left Lachine to begin serving as a North West Company clerk—and he kept a journal! This post...
Where in the world did trade goods come from?

Where in the world did trade goods come from?

Imagine the array of specialty goods from 1800 — lace handkerchiefs, fragrant tea, violin strings, glass beads, printed calico, nutmegs, lacquered boxes, powdered vermilion, shiny knives and kettles — and feast your senses. Their uniqueness, their usefulness draws...

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