Thursday, March 5, 2009

Riviere d'Aigle trading post

The following is a transcribed excerpt from the journal of R. Cameron found in the NW Co. archives with minor notes and no corrections of spelling or grammar:

Fond du Lac District February 1800
Riviere d'aigle

Thursday 19th, Ink frozen, sunny buy quite windy when we returned to our Post on the Riviere d'Aigle. A Number of Natives milled about awaiting our arrival, having been absent on other Company business elsewhere. Nothing in trade but a few pitiful bits of food.

Friday 20th, -3 degrees, Wind calm Sunny but high Cloudy overcast. Henri arrived and I could at last Deliver his Mail from dit Murier. Cabin quite Cold, ink still frozen by the fire. Cabin 22 degrees at 8 oclock in the Morning The Men are active in their camp, Women cooking and Natives begin arriving after 9 of the clock. Again not much for the trade this morning. 42 degrees in the cabin at noon. A Few Natives arrived to inspect our goods, more I suspect from boredom than much else. They do not seem to Aspire to any Industry but once their more Base Needs are met then to Sloth. Much the same can be said for the Men who seem, Like LaFrenniere to enjoy more Passing time with the Natives than thending their Business or that of the Company.
Two Women arrived from L’Orielle with a pot of food, mainly a small bird like a pigeon or quail. With the afternnon Time was taken being an Inventory for our remaining goods. Much care taken.

Saturday 21st, 12 degrees at 730 in the morning, Cloudy, snow. Natives about their business early Many arrived throughout the day. Not much in trade again. I suspect they were Desiring to find Shelter from the Cold, so I drove them off. The morning was spent Watching our Goods to prevent Thievry.
I sent Wetootwaag dit Jeremie to LaFrenierre with our final bag of Coffee to prepare in exchange for our final half pound of flour. L’s Coffee makes up in thickness what it may lack in quanitity but was Welcome all the same. Jeremie and L carried in wood for our fire They may eventually make good leaders through they must be constantly watched for the Indolence so common amongst their Kind.
Afternnon I was forced to Carry Wood for heat else M. Oakes and I would freeze. More Natives arrive and These to Trade! At Last!! A Dakota woman, living here with the Surgeon, in the Company of M. Cheney delivered 120# of pemmican and a fawnskin of Oats [editor’s note: “Wild Rice”] of about 7 pounds. After much argument we Settled on 34 plus worth of credit for the lot Jeremie our interpreter giving away much in gift though little of value. Gifted: knife, string of beads, tobacco, a trump {editor’s note: “Jaw Harp”}. The Woman took a trade gun at 10 plus she will still need to purchase powder and ball, Beads at 5 plus and a rat spear leaving 14 plus Credit. A very good arrangement for the Company and to our advantage as she left a happy customer. She tried to say her knife was ‘mal’, but she was sent away at the Threat that our Ojibwas hunter was to arrive shortly, their Enmity being Great.
In the evening, we joined the other Traders and camps for a regale, gifts were exchanged. Later, a great number returned to our Post cabin, a number of engage, traders, two or three members of the 55th British infantry, former French marines, some women, the Ojibwas hunter and his wife, an Ojibwas metis, the Dakota woman and more. With the liberal use of HW, food, and much singing the Company passed the Cold winter well into the Night. By midnight 58 degrees in the cabin.

Sunday 22nd, 7 degrees at 730 in the morning. Jeremie was awake late with L, Henri and others singing and drinking late into the Night’s darkness. He exhibited the Most Slothful demeanor the Behavior this morning. The morning is cloudy with strong wind and light Snow. Quite Cold but the sun breaks through at times.

A number of Natives began arriving early, mostly to get out of the Cold. The Surgeon and his Dakota woman came to the Post. Coffe from beans prepared by our Ojibwas humber was prepared and the soothing hot drink made a Pleasant diversion to the day.
dit Jeremie having awoken by Noon made animated conversation with various Natives and produced a number of trades, Convincing others to begin or remain in trade with the Company. There being aught else to do but to freeze in the afternoon, more and more the engage and others came to the Post seeking a dram of HW, tobacco for their pipes. Tobacco was given, this having been a successful season and our Stocks of trade Goods being much depleted..
Having a Cold in my head and a voice which wa no where to be found, I was reduced to copying records or writing Correspondance required by M. Oakes. Standing at my station at the Window the Sund makes me long for the Warm days of Spring when we will once again leave for G. Portage The winter seems longer each year though I welcome its arrival each Season. Yet Winter like an unwelcome guest seems oft to over stay its Welcome.
The dog sled arrive with the driver speaking with M. Oakes before leaving again. Much News about next Fall’s activities already, though no one including me is Privy to what News this might be.
Again, dit Jeremie remains at the trading Counter in myh Place and that of M. Oakes as the one in charge of the Trade for the day.
Snow on and off all day, Not much in depth. I observe the Dakota woman pass the Post pulling a traineau with but a few ---

The Journal entries for the season end here or are missing, possibly damaged in shipment to Grand Portage or Montreal.


  1. Am I to assume that the 'L' that mr. Cameron mentions is LaFrenierre?

    This is very interesting and gives mind to one of my own adventures two years past when we went up north and stayed in the extreme cold for a time.

    Keep up the good work!

  2. Indeed he is, the Rascal. Each year at the Post brings a new Vexation.

    Thank you for your comment.