John Macdonell’s journal: part 1

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...
What’s that you said??

What’s that you said??

The writings that have survived from fur traders are full of inventive spellings — like Lac Ouinipique or Ouisconstan. Can you guess where they are? There weren’t many literate people in the fur trade. Most voyageurs signed their contracts with an X. The clerks’...

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