John Macdonell’s journal: part 2

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...
Lobsticks — guides for voyageurs, then and now

Lobsticks — guides for voyageurs, then and now

Me: Lobsticks?? Um, what are “lobsticks”? A: Tall spruce or pine trees with lower branches sheared, trees that were “lopped off.” Me: Okay, I get the word. But why did they do that? A: A lobstick helped a fictional voyageur brigade find the right channel to a lake....
Digging into the Voyageurs’ World

Digging into the Voyageurs’ World

When I needed info on pensions for infirm canoemen, where could I find it? Luckily, a book by Carolyn Podruchny had just enough online to answer my question — and more. Her “Making the Voyageur World: Travelers and Traders in the North American Fur Trade” had much to...
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...

Pin It on Pinterest