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1 William Todd Family History

William Todd, was born in 1784 in Dublin, Ireland.  Early records show that he served in the British Royal Navy.  In his Navy Record  from "Steele's Navy List from 1782" he is listed as Assistant Surgeon in 1811 on the Royal Oak, a Man-O-War ship with 74 Guns/Cannons under the command of Captain Lord Beauclerc on the Basque Roads, France, fighting Napoleon Bonaparte. The Basque Roads is an anchorage near Rochefort, the main French naval base off the coast of La Rochelle, France.


The second entry is January 1814 and he listed as Assistant Surgeon on the Royal Navy Cutter, the Olympia #1340 with 10 Guns/Cannons under command of Lieutenant W. Windeyer at Downs Station, Kent, England.  This ship sailed the east coast of Kent, England - an area protected to seaward by the notorious Goodwin Sands and was the base for the Royal Navy ships patrolling the North Sea and the Dutch coast for pirates and smugglers.
 

At the end of the Napoleonic war in 1815, the Royal Navy was reduced from 145,000 to 19,000 troops. William Todd, 32, applied to work for the Hudson Bay Company as a Surgeon in 1816. His first voyage to York Factory, Hudson Bay, was in the summer of 1816 on the Hudson Bay Company ship, the Prince of Wales.


His first two years of service were at Cumberland House - the first 'inland' fort built in 1774 by HBCo., built as a result of the escalating competition from "the Canadians" who using fair trade practices with the Indigenous people they encountered.  This post was on the east bank of Sturgeon Lake, Saskatchewan and became a staging area for expeditions into the north where the finest furs were found in the Athabasca region.  Located 60 miles west of modern-day The Pas, Manitoba it is a strategic position where several river routes to Lake Winnipeg converge. It was about 450 miles from the York Factory on Hudson Bay or 40 paddling days.

From 1818-19, Dr. Todd was Surgeon in the Red River Colony (now Winnipeg).  1819-20 he worked in Fort Wedderburn in the Athabasca district.  In 1820 he was granted one year furlough home. While on his furlough home to England, in May 1821, William Todd accompanied Paul Reynberger from London to Rotterdam to meet the Swiss settlers bound for the Red River Colony and accompany them on the Lord Wellington back to Canada.  Among them were a family of Pierre and Catherine Truette/Treathley.  They had a daughter Marianne 17, Jonas, Pierre, and Adele.  In 1822 Dr. William Todd and Marianne Truette/Treathley had a daughter as noted in many historical documents. The four month old daughter died and was buried at RRS March 1823, St. John's Anglican. Marianne Truette later met and married John Clarke and had 8 children the first born 1826.  William Todd met and married Isabella Elizabeth Dennet.

Upon his return to Canada in 1821, he was appointed Clerk and Surgeon in Pembina in the Red River Settlement - 1821-23.  During 1823-27 he moved to York Factory on the Hudson Bay, where his first children were born. His next posting was to Fort Vancouver in the state of  Washington, called the Columbia District - from 1827-29.  1829-30 he was Surgeon-in-Charge at Brandon House, Manitoba and later in 1831 he was promoted to Chief Trader-in-Charge in the District of Brandon House where his daughter Anne was baptized in 1830 and Robert was born in 1832.

The next 11 years were spent at the HBC post in Fort Pelly in the Swan River District, Manitoba, - 1832-1843 - as Chief Trader-in-Charge. Children born there were John, Margaret, Donald, Mary, Alexander, Charles, Anne and Mary Elizabeth.  He took a furlough to Europe 1843-44 and on his return in 1844 he was appointed Chief-Trader-in-Charge at Fort Severn on the Hudson Bay.  However 1845-49 saw him returning to Fort Pelly, Manitoba.  He had one last furlough home to Europe during 1849-50 and when he returned he was posted again as Chief-Trade-In-Charge of Fort Pelly until 1851 when he received a furlough to the Red River Settlement where he retired to his homestead on the Assinaboine River in Upper Fort Garry and he died on December 23, 1851.

The Children:

A record in the Red River Settlement, Register of Marriages and Burials 1820-1841 shows a burial:  March 16th, 1823: An unbaptized Illegitimate Infant of Dr. Todd and Marianne Treathley 4 months, John West [Reverend]

The first 'wife' Marianne, so recorded in A.J. Ray's biography on William Todd, died between 1830 and 1835 at York Factory. C.D. Denney, genealogist, Edmonton, (Denney Papers, Glenbow Archives Calgary) provides supporting evidence of this union. A daughter named Marianne, sired by Dr. Todd, died 16 March 1823 at the age of four months at York Factory. (St. John's Registry). 

When William Todd Jr. applied for 'scrip' at St. Clements in 1876, he said his grandmother's last name was Ballentyne. Recent evidence by a Swiss colonist migration historian claims that Marianne Treathly was not a metis but a Swiss immigrant named Marianne Truette who had one child with Dr. William Todd in 1822, which did not survive, and she went on to marry John Clarke and have eight more children.  William Todd Jr. baptized Sept. 7, 1823, was not her child making his mother Isabella Elizabeth Dennett - as many family researchers have often submitted.

Dr. Todd married Isabella Elizabeth Dennet 'a la facon au pays/country wife' in 1824. She was born in 1804 at York Factory, daughter of William Dennet, a HB Company servant, and Sophia Ballentyne, Metis. In 1839 Dr. Todd and Elizabeth were remarried under Church of England canon rite at Red River, by the Reverend William Cochrane. Elizabeth was the mother of 11 of Dr. Todd's children between 1824 and 1845. Marriage records found at St. John's Cathedral, Anglican Diocese of Rupertsland show: “William Todd from Swan River, HBC Chief Trader, and Elizabeth Dennet of Swan River, August 20, 1839 at Grand Rapids, Witnesses were John Flett and John Tait.”   On baptismal records Elizabeth Dennet is named mother of children Mary, Margaret, Donald, Elizabeth, James.  And other certificates show Isabella Dennet named as mother of James, Robert, John. 

In his final years, Dr. William Todd accepted a Hudson Bay land allotment grant for retired employees at St. James, RRS.  According to land maps of the time, several of his children homesteaded nearby him in St. James. After his second wife Isabella Elizabeth died in 1845, he married Jane Johnston on Sept.17, 1849 at St. Andrew's Anglican, witnessed by Philip Kennedy and Mary Isbister. They built this final home on the Assiniboine River in the Red River Settlement. Some descriptions of this dwelling survive: a 200 acre wheat farm situated at Sturgeon Creek, Manitoba, Lot 19, Parish of St. James; within a mile of McDermot's Watermill; on the Assiniboine about 5 miles above the Upper Fort. [On a map of Winnipeg today this location is at cross roads of Mount Royal Crescent and Conway Streets in St. James see below]  During those years he also owned and operated a trading post/store at White Horse Plains near St. Francis Xavier.  Physically, William Todd was a large man, described by a local history book as standing 6' 3".  Most if not all of his family were baptized and buried at St. Johns Anglican or St. Andrews Anglican churches in the Red River Settlement, Winnipeg.  Five of his sons worked for the Hudson Bay Company as clerks, postmasters, ship builders, and joiners.

His last Will and Testament mentions his sister Anne Ballantyne and niece Isobella Ballantyne "living in Upper Canada".  No more is known about them.  Dr. William died December 22, 1851 and is buried in St. Johns Anglican Cathedral cemetery where the wooden grave marker was lost when the church and graveyard markers were burned in a fire.  A large oil painting of HBC Officers including William Todd, hangs in the dining room at the Hudson Bay Store in Winnipeg. 

 


Todd, William  (Hudson Bay Record Society Vol I,  page 471)


William Todd, an Irishman, appears to have been born about 1784.  He entered the H.B.C. service as a surgeon in 1816, proceeding to York Factory in the Company's ship Prince of Wales.  He was first employed at Cumberland House until 1818, when he was appointed surgeon at the Red River Colony.  In 1819-20 he was employed at Fort Wedderburn, Athabaska, returning to Europe by the ship Eddystone from York Factory in the latter year.  On his return to North America in 1821 he was appointed clerk and surgeon at Lower Red river until 1822, when his services were transferred to York Factory, where he remained until 1827. He was subsequently employed as a surgeon in the Columbia district for two years until 1829, when he was placed in charge of the Upper Red River district with headquarters at Brandon House.  During 1831-32 he remained in charge of the same district, residing at Fort Ellice.  In 1833 he was appointed in temporary charge at Red River owing to the ill-health of Chief Factor Donald McKenzie, and was then given charge of the Swan River district with headquarters at Fort Pelly, where he remained from 1834 until 1843.  During 1843-44 Todd was granted furlough and went to Europe. In 1844, he was appointed in charge of Severn in the York district, and in 1845 he resumed his former charge at Fort Pelly, where he remained until 1851, with the exception that he was granted furlough during 1849-50.  In 1851 he was again granted furlough and he died on 22 December of that year.  He was promoted Chief Trader in 1831.

 


 

  Source:  WORK RECORD FROM HUDSON BAY ARCHIVES:

 

NAME: TODD, William    PARISH: IRELAND   ENTERED SERVICE: 1816   DATES: b.ca. 1784  d. 22 December 1851
Appointments and Service:

 

Outfit Year*:Position:Post: District:HBCA Reference:       ( *An Outfit year ran from 1 June to 31 May)

1816              Traveled to York Factory on Prince of Wales  C.1/249
1816-1818      Surgeon - Cumberland House - Cumberland - A.16/12 p. 134; A.16/36 p. 134
1818-1819      Surgeon - Red River Colony - A.16/36 p. 134
1819-1820      Surgeon - Fort Wedderburn - Athabasca - A.16/39 p. 427
1820               Home per Eddystone        A.16/38p. 427; C.1/267
1821               Out per Lord Wellington        A.16/39p.427
1821-1823      Clerk & Surgeon - Pembina - Lower Red River - B.235/d/3; B.235/d/10
1823-1827      Surgeon - York Factory - York - B.239/k/1 p. 58, 92, 127, 176
1827-1829      Surgeon - Columbia - B.239/k/1 pp. 215, 250
1829-1830      Surgeon in charge - Brandon House - Upper & Lower Red River - B.239/k/1 p. 266
1830-1831      Chief Trader i/c district - Brandon House - Upper Red River - A.6/22 p. 154; A.31/3; B.239/k/1 p. 286
1831-1832      Chief Trader i/c district - Fort Ellice - Upper Red River - B.239/k/1 p. 310 (appointment, probably remained at Brandon)
1832-1843      Chief Trader i/c district - Fort Pelly - Swan River - B.239/k/2 pp. 9, 35, 66, 90, 131, 158, 179, 200, 223, 252
1843-1844      On furlough in Europe, returned on Prince Rupert - B.239/k/2 p. 269; D.5/12
1844-1845      Chief Trader i/c district - Severn - York - B.239/k/2 p. 329
1845-1849      Chief Trader i/c district - Fort Pelly - Swan River - B.239/k/2 pp. 386, 405, 428
1849-1850      On furlough - B.239/k/2 p. 451
1850-1851      Chief Trader i/c district - Fort Pelly - Swan River - B.239/k/2 p. 481
1851              Allowed furlough - B.239/k/3 p. 1
1851, 22 Dec. Died at Red River - A.44/3
Wife (1):
"A half caste woman" [Marianne] (d. between 1830 and 1835) (E.4/1a)
Children:
William (baptized 7 Sept. 1823) (E.4/1a fo. 45, 46d); Anne (baptized 8 June 1830, buried 1843) (E.4/1a fo. 77d; E.4/2 fo 133d)
Wife(2):
Elizabeth [Isabella] Dennett (b. ca. 1804; baptized 5 September 1823 and 4 July 1839; m. 20 August 1839; buried 4 March 1845) (E.4/1a fo. 147, 161; E.4/1b fo. 262; E.4/2 fo. 140)
Children:
James (baptized 21 August 1825) (E.4/1 fo. 57); Samuel  (baptized 4 September 1827, buried 9 October 1827) (E.4/1 fo. 65d, E.4/2 fo. 18); Robert (baptized 30 May 1832) (E.4/1 fo. 90); John (baptized 22 July 1834) (E.4/1 fo. 110); Margaret (bapt. 5 July 1839) (E.4/1 fo. 161); Donald (bapt. 4 July 1839) (E.4/1 fo. 161d); Mary (bapt. 6 Aug. 1839) (E.4/1 fo. 162d); Elizabeth (bapt. 15 Aug. 1844) (E.4/1 fo. 292)

*Ray, Arthur J. “William Todd: Doctor and Trade for the Hudson’s Bay Company, 1816-51.” Prairie Forum Vol. 9, No. 1 (1981): 15.
Journals kept by him: B.22/a/24; B.39/a/14; B.159/a/16; B.239/a/131-132
See biographical sketches in Dictionary of Canadian Biography Volume VIII, Hudson's Bay Record Society Vol. I, Search File "Todd, William"
Filename: Todd, William (ca. 1784-1851) (fl. 1816-1851); JHB 99/08

 

Source:  Dictionary of Canadian Biography Volume VIII (Library and Archives Canada)

 

TODD, WILLIAM, fur trader and surgeon; b. between 1784 and 1787 in Ireland; m. first, according to the custom of the country, Marianne (d. between 1830 and 1835); m. secondly 20 Aug. 1839 Elizabeth Dennett in the Red River settlement (Man.); d. there 22 Dec. 1851.

 

William Todd joined the Hudson's Bay Company in 1816 and served during his first two years as clerk and surgeon at Cumberland House (Sask.).  In the summer of 1819 he volunteered for service with Colin Robertson in the Athabasca campaign against the North West Company and spent the winter at Fort Wedderburn (Alta.).  Robertson regretted the fact that Todd did not have much experience as a fur trader, but he concluded at the end of the season that Todd had been the only man under his direction who appeared fit for duty in the Athabasca and who had conducted himself with firmness.  In particular, Robertson commented on the influence Todd had exerted over the Chipewyans in his capacity as surgeon; his successful treatment of an outbreak of whooping cough gained a certain advantage for the HBC over the NWC in its relations with the natives.  After a year's furlough, Todd spent 1821-22 in the Lower Red River district, 1822-27 at York Factory (Man.), and 1827-29 at Fort Vancouver (Vancouver, Wash.) in the Columbia District.  He returned in 1829 to the Red River, where he was stationed as clerk at Brandon House (Man.).

 

During these years, Todd acquired a reputation as a clever, attentive doctor who was extremely scrupulous on points of honour and etiquette.  He was not, however considered particularly useful as a trader.  In 1830 HBC governor George Simpson abruptly changed his appraisal of Todd's abilities and, underlining his service in the Athabasca campaign, recommended that Todd be promoted chief trader.  The next year he was placed in charge of the Upper Red River district, as chief trader at Fort Ellice.  In 1833 he took over the responsibility for Red River from Chief Factor Donald MacKenzie.  The following year he was given charge of the Swan River district, with his headquarters at Fort Pelly (Sask.) where, except for one year at Fort Severn (Ont.) and two years furlough, he remained until his retirement.

 

Todd had a relatively uneventfully career as a trader.  As a doctor, however, he was probably the most famous surgeon in the west before 1850.  In the early 1830s he served the needs of both Governor Simpson and his wife, Frances Ramsay Simpson, who took up residence in Red River in the summer of 1830.  In December Frances began a difficult pregnancy and, although there were two doctors in the settlement, Richard Julian Hamlyn and John Bunn, Simpson had no confidence in either of these men and sent for Todd at Brandon House.  Todd arrived by 1 Jan. 1831 and kept a close vigil over Frances until he delivered her son in September.  He also attended to Governor Simpson who, agitated by the condition of his wife, suffered from depression, anxiety, and fears of recurring attacks of apoplexy.  Simpson was accustomed to being bled whenever he feared one of these attacks and asked Todd to administer this treatment.  Todd refused; he believed that bleeding had already been done too often prior to his arrival and that, if continued, it would seriously weaken Simpson's health.  Eventually, when the stress associated with his wife's illness had passed, the governor recovered and Todd believed his advice had probably saved Simpson's life.

 

In the summer of 1836 Simpson temporarily posted Todd to York Factory to deal with a mysterious disease that had broken out there.  Since 1834 this affliction, know as the "York Factory complaint" had appeared each spring, affecting in particular the officers at the fort.  Beginning with colic, vomiting, and restlessness, the symptoms progressed to convulsions, depression, loss of reason, and, in most severe cases, death.  By the summer of 1836 the men at the fort were in a state of alarm because of the recurrence and severity of the disease, and the sick officers, including the post surgeon, Elzeard H. Whiffen, were evacuated.  The men who remained had great faith in Todd as a physician and applauded the governor's decision to send him to York.  Unhappily for all concerned, Todd himself succumbed to the dreaded 'complaint' within a week of his arrival at the post, and had four violent attacks in September which left him so weakened that everyone feared for his life.  It was decided that he too would have to leave.  Before he did so, however, he apparently took the precautions he judged necessary to bring the reign of terror to an end.  Unfortunately it is not known what he considered to be the cause of the illness, or what measures he took to combat it.  He claimed to have been the last person to suffer from the malady.  Although he did recover, his health was never fully restored and he was a sickly man for the rest of his life.

 

In the summer of 1837 Todd was back at Fort Pelly, in charge of the Swan River district, when he heard rumors of a malignant disease having broken out amongst the Indians who visited Fort Union (on the border between North Dakota and Montana) on the Missouri River.  Although parts of these stories were conflicting Todd concluded that, if there was any disease at all, it was probably smallpox; without waiting for confirmation of his suspicion, he launched an extensive program of inoculation with cowpox vaccine.  This was the first time that the Jennerian type of vaccine was used in the west.  Beside administering the vaccine himself, he taught chiefs and medicine men the procedure, supplied them with vaccine and told them to inoculate anyone they met who had not been treated  He also dispatched vaccine to other HBC posts to the north. Todd's quick action saved the lives of countless numbers of Indians inhabiting the Swan River district and the woodland north of the Saskatchewan River and greatly enhanced his already considerable reputation among the Indians as a man who possessed powerful medicine.

 

Todd stayed on as chief trader in charge of the Swan River district until the spring of 1851 when he asked to be retired with either three years furlough or promotion to chief factor.  The HBC Council of the Northern Department granted his retirement with a one year leave, but did not accord him the rank of chief factor.  In poor health and according to HBC governor Eden Colvile, addicted to opium, he settled at Red River where he died in December 1851, leaving his second wife Elizabeth, three children from his first marriage and seven from his second.  During his long career Todd had gained considerable renown as a physician, among both the employees of the company and the native people of the regions where he served.  Although his critics accused him of having a high opinion of himself as a doctor, the record clearly indicates that his self-esteem in this regard was justified.

 


Source:  Medicine in Canada

 

Smallpox and its Control in Canada

by John W.R. McIntyre, MB, BS and C. Stuart Houston, MD

 

Dr. McIntyre (deceased) was Professor Emeritus of Anaesthesia, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alta. Dr. Houston is Professor Emeritus of Medical Imaging, University of Saskatchewan

The second great smallpox epidemic again originated on the MissouriRiver. This time it began with the arrival of the American FurCompany's steamboat at Fort Union on June 24, 1837.26 On Sept.20, Dr. William Todd, hired as a surgeon by the Hudson's BayCompany in 1816 but now chief factor at the Swan River District,received news of "some bad disease." He guessed correctly thatit might be smallpox, and the next day vaccinated 60 Indiansin the vicinity of Fort Pelly, using new cowpox vaccine fromEngland, and taught them the technique.18,27 Todd sent freshvaccine to William Small at Carlton House, R. Mackenzie Simonat Île-à-la-Crosse, John Rowand at Edmonton Houseand Alexander McLeod at Fort Chipewyan.18 John Richards McKayat Fort Ellice vaccinated "all the Indians belonging to thepost."27 From Cumberland House, Chief Factor John Lee Lewesextended vaccination to The Pas, Moose Lake and La Ronge. OnFeb. 20, 1838, 2 natives whom Lewes had vaccinated 3 days earlierleft the post, taking with them on their arms "the means ofgiving the same to all attached to Moose Lake."28 At OxfordHouse on Apr. 15, 1838, John Todd described explicitly how arm-to-armvaccination was performed: "The subjects were vaccinated withfresh serum taken from the previously vaccinated eight daysbefore."29 The northward spread of smallpox was stemmed successfully,despite occasional lack of cooperation and earlier failuresfrom ineffective vaccine.18,22

 

Early Doctors of Red River and Manitoba

by Dr. Ross Mitchell

 

Manitoba Historical Society
http://www.mhs.mb.ca/docs/transactions/3/earlydoctors.shtml

 

...After the union of the two companies in 1821, and under the guidance of George Simpson, the little settlement on the Red River seems never to have been without a medical man. Doctors Todd, Hamlyn, Saunders, Fisher and Hendry are mentioned in old records. William Todd, an Irishman and a former naval surgeon, attended Mrs. George Simpson in her first confinement. In 1831, after having been in charge of Brandon House, he was transferred to the new post at Fort Ellice, and later was chief trader in charge of Swan River district until 1843.

 


 
Source book available:  Glenbow Museum

 

William Todd M.D. 1784-1851 Chief Trader Hudson's Bay Company

by Gordon Costello

 

At York Factory in 1824, Dr. Todd took Elizabeth Dennet, half-breed daughter of William Dennet, to wife by the 'custom of the country'. Together for seventeen years, until her death in 1845, they raised a family of twelve, nine of whom survived to adulthood. In 1849 Dr. Todd married Jane Johnstone, and at the ripe old age of sixty-five and at sixty-six, fathered two more children.

 

Dr. Todd had made an honorable commitment to his wife and family and maintained that commitment. E.E. Rich tells us in his edition of Simpsons Athabaska Journal:


...Dr. Todd took his children out of Reverend MaCallum's school because he was too harsh...(42) Despite this episode, he continued his children's education at other Anglican Church Schools at Red River. (44) In later years, five of his sons served as Company post masters and clerks.

 

The practice of maternal deprivation among mixed-blooded children going to school, was not without consequence for the Protestant church at Red River. How broad the ramifications of deprival may have been, we don't know. However, there must have been many others, who felt as did Dr. Todd's second son James when he married Josephine Deslauriers in 1852. Their wedding service took place in a Catholic church in St.Boniface, and while he retained his father's faith, he allowed his children to be brought up in the Catholic faith. His seven sons grew up in a bi-lingual household, with French the language of choice.

 

Note: My mother, Marie Costello, daughter of Peter and Mary Jane Todd, recalls that in 1909 when she was twelve years old, her mother decided English was to be the language of the household as it was the language of the future for Manitobans. However, many of the Todd family are bilingual today.

 

Under these growing pressures on his wife and children, with probable apprehension of their legal right to inherit, or of interference by others in that right, Dr. Todd consented to an Anglican wedding service. He and his second wife, Elizabeth, were united in holy matrimony on the 20th of August, 1839. (43)

 

Five sons, all trained in his district, followed in the Doctor's footsteps into Company service. His letter of 8 August 1842 to Governor Simpson demonstrates he took pride in his children. His oldest son. William. had been posted to the Columbia District:   ...he is no longer a boy, but a full grown man was among the strongest and without exception the most active man in the District last year he is a good Trader understands the business of 2 district. (D7/182/2) A letter from his second son James at Fort Chipewyan, dated 1 July 1845, shows his love was returned. That letter reads:

 

My dear Father,
...I do not know how long I may be in Athabaska, but I long already to see you and mother and brothers and sisters, I cannot complain that I am badly off here, far from it, I only mention it to show that I do not forget you although distant from you,

 

My dear Father
Yr. ever effect 'n Son - James Todd.. (B159/c/1)

 

Dr. Todd's will, drafted with Donald Ross's help, provides documentary evidence of his care and concern for the uncertain future of his last wife and the children of all three families in Red River society.

 

He requested three years leave of absence before retirement. Colville and Northern Council agreed this should be granted. Be went on indefinite sick leave, pending a decision on his last request, from London. (48)

 

Although his request for this long a period of retirement leave sounds unreasonable, in actual fact it was not. Apparently entitlement for leave was one year in six. In Dr. Todd's 35 year service he should have been entitled to six years of leave. For whatever reason he took leave in 1821, 1843 and 1849 only. The Company owed him three years.

 

Dr. Todd's last letter to Governor Simpson at Lachine, dated 11 August 1851, faithfully reported conditions not to his liking at Red River. He was scathingly critical of Major Caldwell and "their Honors", presumably the Governor and Committee in London. He would be well aware the Major was Governor Simpson's appointee. He wrote:

 

The settlement has been quiet the last year, and am in hopes will continue so, altho Governor Caldwell is held in the most sovereign contempt by all classes certainly if ignorance, stupidity and consummate vanity are the parts that constitute a governor their Honors have been fortunate in their Selection.

 

 His last words were in the form of a postscript:
...You could probably send me some kind of Spectacles that would enable me to read my own writing, a thing I cannot do at present... (05/31)
To the last, he was concerned of his ability to let people know, spades were still spades.

 

In conclusion, it seems Dr. Todd's trading career hinged on a random chain of circumstances, alternating between medicine and trading, set in motion in the first case by himself, the others by Governor Simpson, which in themselves were good for the Company, but not altogether so for the Doctor.

 

Dr. Todd's first problem, if we may call it that, was of his own making. Strictly speaking, it would have been Elizabeth's, had he not chosen to stand by her and their three sons. The necessity of providing for a family forced him to become a trader and at the same time limited the scope of his trading career. The Company placed the highest value on bold, unencumbered traders to man their expanding trading frontiers. Dr. Todd's choice of family life obviated this possibility.

 

We have ample evidence that Company treatment of contract physicians drove many to seek greener fields. Unfortunately for Dr. Todd, this created a shortage at Red River at the time he was establishing himself as a trader, which led to his emergency medical trips to Red River in 1833, and York Factory in 1836. There is no doubt he was badly used in both of these instances. Despite injury in the first case, near death in the second, he had no choice but to carry on to his destination. He was then obliged to pass up a furlough in 1837 (his last furlough had been in 1820) and resume the charge of Swan River. These two medical incidents, plus that of 1831 with the Governor and his wife, set the course of Dr. Todd's trading career and the tone of his thinking for the rest of his life.

 

As we have seen, Governor Simpson’s highest ethic was the good of the Company.' In pursuing this ethic he used a broad sword. After 1821 and amalgamation, being in a monopoly position in the fur-trade, he slashed servant numbers, that is, canoe men, tradesmen and laborers, and their wages by 50%. In 1834 he slashed the number of Chief Factors to sixteen and replaced them with Chief Traders at one half the cost to the Company. We can safely assume continuance of this policy, particularly at district command level, where the savings would be greatest. This assumption is born out by the fact Dr. Todd was placed in charge of Upper Red River in 1831, Swan River in 1833 as a Chief Trader and on retirement in 1851 was replaced by a Chief Trader.

 

Given a continuance of this staffing policy, an abundance of Chief Factors still in command of Districts in 1834, is it likely the Governor would make any new Chief Factors for at least ten years ? Unfortunately for Dr. Todd, the waiting period turned out to be too long.

 

We cannot plead that Governor Simpson's personal animosity toward Dr. Todd in 1831 had any bearings on the final outcome of his career. The Governor did promote him to Chief Trader in that same year. Whatever else the Governor may have been, he was a businessman. Be promoted useful people to the best advantage of the Company. William Sinclair is a case in point.

 

Therefore, we must look for other factors that could have had a bearing on Northern Council's negative vote on Dr. Todd's recommendation for promotion in 1845. We must remember in 1845 Dr. Todd was sixty-one or sixty-two years of age and had a history of intermittent illness since 1833. Be had been ill during his furlough in England in 1843-44, and had returned to York Factory before full recovery, because of two deaths in his family. He had asked permission to recuperate at Red River that winter, and against his will had been posted to Fort Severn. As they are both on Hudson Bay, the unhealthy winter conditions that prevailed at York would also prevail at Severn. Edmond Smith's letter describes the condition of some of the people at York in the spring as being “more like ghosts than men”. (D4/126) Had Dr. Todd been ill again that winter?

 

Taking these factors into account, it would seem age and uncertain health are the only reasonable explanations for Northern Councils negative vote. The men on Council, and particularly the Governor, were looking to the best interests of the Company. The fact that Dr. Todd was an educated man and an experienced trader, or that his uncertain health could be attributed to hard service, would not be taken into account. Company service in itself was hard and there is little room for sentimentality in any profit oriented organization.

 

At his death, Dr. Todd had eleven living children. His three oldest children, one son born of Marianne, two sons by Elizabeth, were grown men working for the Company so no longer needed his protection. The remaining eight, three sons between the ages of eighteen and ten, three daughters between sixteen and eight, all by Elizabeth, two sons four and two by Jane were living on his property near Sturgeon Creek under Jane's care. A son ten years old may have been physically defective, although he lived to age thirty-four, he did not participate in his father's estate.

 

His chief cause for concern when he drafted his will would have to be how to protect his dependent family. Without his protective presence, bereft of the acceptance Hudson's Bay Company society might have provided, denied acceptance in Red River society because of mixed blood, they would be at risk, unless protected by law.

 

The normal procedure of willing a landed estate to his oldest son, or dividing his estate among his sons would not serve his purpose. He had too many sons, the older sons who had been brought up as trappers and traders were not familiar with farming. Who would be responsible for Jane during her lifetime, or for the younger children till each reached the age of majority ? The youngest child was two years old.

 

Accordingly, Dr. Todd drew up a will entailing his properties plus income to his wife for her lifetime. Only at her death could the properties be sold. Thereby he provided a secure home environment in which his children could grow to adulthood in safety. (Please see Appendix II for full detail and analysis of Dr. Todd's will.)

 

In the spring of 1851, Dr. Todd made his final trip from Fort Pelly to Red River. His eyesight was failing, he was too ill to continue. His third son, nineteen year old Robert, proceeded to York Factory in command of his father's brigade of boats. On the 2nd of June Dr. Todd wrote to Donald Ross at Norway House:


...my health has suffered so much last Winter ana spring, that I think it more prudent to submit to injustice than continue longer in the service.... (M967 ABC, App. I)
Later that summer, at a meeting with Eden Colville, Governor of the Northern Department and Deputy to Governor Simpson, he again pressed his claims for promotion and compensation, again without success.

 

PART IV
FAMILY RECORDS

 

This last section deals with Dr. Todd's three marriages, the archival record of his children and those of his sons who served the Hudson's Bay Company, record of 'scrip' claims made by some of his children and grandchildren the last supplied by Lorraine Woods from Public Archives Canada.

 

The first 'wife' Marianne, so recorded in A.J. Ray's biography on William Todd, died between 1830 and 1835 at York Factory. C.D. Denney, genealogist, Edmonton, (Denney Papers, Glenbow Archives Calgary) provides supporting evidence of this union. A daughter named Marianne, sired by Dr. Todd, died 16 March 1823 at the age of four months at York Factory. (St. John's Registry). Marianne was almost certainly the mother of Dr. Todd's first son William. When William II's son William applied for 'scrip' at St. Clements in 1876, (east of Selkirk, Man.) he said his grandmother's last name was Ballentyne. This should make the lady Marianne Ballentyne.

 

Dr. Todd married his second wife, Elizabeth Dennet 'a la facon au pays' in 1824. She was born in 1804 at York Factory, daughter of William Dennet, a Company servant, and Sophia Ballentyne. In 1839 Dr. Todd and Elizabeth were remarried under Church of England canon rite at Red River, by the Reverend William Cochrane. Elizabeth was the mother of ten of Dr. Todd's children between 1824 and 1845. In all probability, Marianne and Elizabeth were the daughters of Sophia Ballentyne, Elizabeth being the daughter of William Dennet.

 

Dr. Todd married his third wife Jane Johnstone at Red River in 1849. She bore his last two children.  Of the fifteen children Dr. Todd sired, eleven survived.

 

APPENDIX II

 

The text of Dr. Todd's Will, which follows, was transcribed from a photo-copy held by Hudson's Bay Company Archives, of the hand written original held by the Chancery Court at Canterbury England. In some part the writing was illegible, hence the blanks.

 

At the outset, the Will presents us with a mystery, and an oddity. Firstly, the bequests "to my sister Anne Ballentyne" and "my niece Isabel Ballentyne,  presumably Anne's daughter. Surely, if she was his sister and had been living with him, or at Red River, (according to the Will she was visiting in Upper Canada), he would have mentioned her in his correspondence. Furthermore, we know Elizabeth Dennet's mother's name was Sophia Ballentyne, and when William Todd III applied for 'scrip' he said his grandmother's name was Ballentyne, probably Marianne Ballentyne. Secondly, Dr. Todd terms his three oldest offspring, all sons, his "children" and his four younger sons he terms "the oldest of my four sons. There doesn't seem to be any reasonable explanation for either of these anomalies.

 

What would or could happen to the family; in a Red River society that had already rejected people of mixed blood, without Dr. Todd's unifying presence. Without something to hold it together it would probably disintegrate into family components, to the detriment of Jane and the dependent children. Who should be held responsible for safekeeping and educating the minor children. Dr. Todd wisely left this responsibility to Jane, under the protection of a legal instrument, administered by two non-family executors.

 

Let us deal briefly with the essence of the Will, in order of importance to the survivors...

 

Executors: William Gregory Smith, Secy. of the Company in London, and Eden Colville, Deputy Governor of the Company in Rupert's Land. The former to take care of legal details in England, the latter based at Red River, to take care of local administration. Both powerful Company men - the estate is in good hands.

 

Spouse: protected by entailment of home and properties at Sturgeon Creek, with income for her lifetime. Her task, to provide a central home for all three families, and to see to the care and education of the minor children.

 

Minor children: protected to maturity in the spousal home. Income provided for each, from the sale of "goods moveable and immovable" to pay for keep and education. The females cowered from this source. The males to share in the eventual sale of the spousal property.

 

Major Children: All male and independent of the spousal home, not expected to be involved in the care of the younger children. Immediate income provided, with a future share in the 400 pounds left to provide Jane with an income, on her death.

 

This rather complicated and long term legal document, with its unequal distribution of proceeds, on analysis provides equitably for each participant according to age and need of long or short term protection. Not forgetting Charles, who did not participate. As to how long it took to discharge the final provisions, we do not know.

 

Dr. Todd's will was proved in Surrogate Court in Canterbury, England. The executors appointed were, William Gregory Smith, Secretary to the Hudson's Bay Company in London and Eden Colville, Governor of Rupertsland.

 

"I William Todd, now working at Red River Settlement Rupertsland, North America, do make this my last Will and testament thereby revoking and annulling all other Wills by me at any time heretofore made and do bequeath all my property as follows. Firstly I give and bequeath to my sister Anne Ballantyne, now visiting in _______ district, Upper Canada, the sum of two hundred pounds sterling. Secondly I give and bequeath to my wife Jane Johnstone the annual interest of four hundred pounds sterling during her lifetime, and at her death my will and desire is that the said sum of four hundred pounds sterling be divided among my then surviving children in equal portions, share and share alike. Thirdly I also desire that my said wife Jane Johnstone shall have permission to occupy my houses and land at Sturgeon Creek, Red River Settlement. Should she remain unmarried or until the oldest of my four sons, John, Donald, Albert and Samuel shall my said houses and lands are to be valued and divided between my said four sons, share and share alike. Fourthly I give and bequeath to my children that is to say, William, James, Robert, the sum of one hundred pounds sterling. Fifthly to Margaret, John, Donald Mary, Elizabeth, Albert and Samuel the rest of my property movable and immovable now remaining in the hands of the Hudson's Bay Co., and with the firm of Albert Pelly and Co. Finally I give and bequeath to my niece Isobel Ballantyne, the sum of fifty pounds sterling. Sixthly after all the above legacies and annuities are deducted and in the event of the death of one or more of my children above mentioned before the age of twenty-one years and not having children of their own, I desire that their portion or portions to be equally divided among the survivors. And I do hereby nominate and appoint William Gregory Smith Esquire of the Hudson's Bay House London and Eden Colville, Esquire, Governor of Rupertsland, the Executors of this my last Will and testament and it is my further desire and request the before mentioned legacies and annuities be paid as early after my death as the arrangement of my affairs will permit. In witness whereof I have hereto set my hand and seal at Red River Settlement this twenty-fourth day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty-one.


"William Todd"

Signed and sealed, Published and delivered in presence of W. McDermot and A.G.B. Bannatyne. 
  
 

 

 

Letter written to friend Donald Ross

 

From: Archives of British Columbia, CANADA
AER73T56 Donald Ross Collection
M967

 

Foss Cottage
2nd June 1851

 

Dear Ross

 

You will I dare say not be surprised to find me again located at the settlement my present residence is only temporary till my house is finished which I expect it will be in two or three months (McDermot?) undertook the business last year and for some time has several men employed at it, my health has suffered so much last winter and spring, that I think it more prudent to submit to injustice than continue longer ~ ~ in the service, I left Fort Pelly unwell but as I have in general rallied on the voyage I did not give my case much attention, I got much worse so much so that for ten days I was assisted in and out of the boat, I however improved toward the end of the voyage but cannot boast like anything of good health, my eyes have been fading for some years, but became violently inflamed on my way down and altho I have been here for near two weeks this is my first effort with the pen I was very anxious respecting your health since you wrote me Mr Colville however tells me you are much improved since then and that you have a notion of going home which I thoroughly recommend, I would at the same time advise you to prepare yourself for retiring from the service altogether, the fault we in general commit is remaining too long and in the end retire with constitution problems, the mind deprived of that buoyancy which makes us pass the rest of our days miserable and unhappy, look at poor old Roderick he is now I learn in bad health stone blind, with a whole batch of grandchildren about him living at heavy expense as his provisions have to be taken from the Settlement great effort hauled in the winter no trifling item but resolutely refuses to come here.

 

I have made the following proposals to Gov. Colville which he promises to lay before the Council vis three years leave of absence at the expiration of which time to retire on the usual terms of commissioned gentleman, he intends holding the Council at Y (York Factory) how he will form one there I am yet to learn unless he takes your votes individually, ... ...Hargrave (Chief Factor James Hargrave York Factory) will be off, Rowand (Chief Factor John Rowand Edmonton House) is reported to be on his way here, you will of course remain at N.H., this is rather unfavorable for me three of my principal supporters absent, (Lewis?) talked last year of Van Diemans Land Barnston may be sent to Athabaska, friend Nicol & Harriot are the only two that I can depend on, I wish however it was settled one way or other as my winter health has greatly suffered the last two years, Colville has been candid and I think has taken a favorable view of my case.

 

I left the settlement last summer in a ferment found it on my return in mainly the same state and from the same cause viz Mrs B & Captain Foss, there is I fear no doubt of their guilt I feel for poor B he was devotedly attached to her this blow will be too much for him to bear, I suspect,....will send him to his way home, as he would get the news before the canoes must leave or perhaps before he left England I hope he will take some other appointment he cannot now and ought not come here which I much regret, I have not seen either her or the Captain, he I understand is concocting all the mischief he can assisted tis said by that old fool the ..... with whom he had taken up his quarters for the winter.

 

I have taken 200 acres within a mile of McDermotts water mill at Sturgeon Creek so that I can get my wheat ground without much trouble, T. Sinclair & (Tate?) have erected a mill on Monkmans Creek and have cleaned out the lower part of the Settlement as Mac is doing the upper part.

 

I brought down five new boats from Fort Pelly and think they are likely to remain here there being no means of sending them out.

 

The school at the (Bishops?) is I understand fast going to ..... in fact very little attention is paid the boys besides they are badly fed and seen in different parts of the settlement at all hours as dirty as pigs, this I give as a report part of which I know myself to be correct, as your boys are I presume still there I thought it proper to mention what I heard.

 

We are looking out anxiously for the Montreal canoe which ought soon to make its appearance, I enclose a copy of my statement to their Honors of July 1491 (1849?) which you will be kind enough to hand for perusal to Messrs. Harriott & Barnston for perusal or any one else you  think proper.

 

ever sincerely yours
Wm Todd

 

 

Small Pox - The Epidemic of 1837-38
The Beaver  Autumn 1975
by Arthur J. Ray

Author of ‘Indian in the Early Fur Trade’
Arthur Ray is Associate Profession of Geography at York University
He gratefully acknowledges the assistance of C.A. Godfrey, M.D. in the preparation of this article.
Quotations from the H.B.C. Archives are made with permission of the Company

 


Early in the Summer of 1837 the American Fur Company dispatched the steamboat St. Peter from St. Louis to its post of Fort Union with the annual outfit of trade goods.  By the time the steamboat reached the Blacksnake Hills, only sixty miles upstream from the city of Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, a deckhand had become ill with smallpox.  This was the first ominous sign of the virulent epidemic that was to sweep the northern plains that summer and the following winter.

 

As the St. Peter proceeded upstream, Jacob Halsey who was to take command at Fort Union contract the disease.  Apparently he was the only passenger still suffering from it when the steamboat reached its destination.

 

In an effort to protect the company men and Indians who were at the post, an inoculation program was begun immediately.  Smallpox virus was taken from Halsey and administered to all who were willing to receive it.

 

Until the early nineteenth century, inoculation was the accepted preventative measure against this dread disease.  As a medical procedure it was effective in that it served to reduce substantially the mortality rate in the inoculated population.  However, because a live virus was used, the side effects could not be controlled and the recipients ran considerable risk of developing a moderately severe case of smallpox.  More important from the perspective of disease control, those who were inoculated became carriers of the disease.  Thus, one of the great drawbacks of any inoculation program was that it could serve to spread the contagion.

 

Unfortunately, the inoculation campaign at Fort Union had this effect and the epidemic spread rapidly.  Nearly everyone at the post contracted the disease, including the well-known American trader Edwin T. Denig.

 

To check further spread of the contagion, the Americans tried to quarantine the area by closing the gates of the post and sending men out to warn incoming Indian trading parties to stay away.  These precautions failed.  The Indians, intent to trade, ignored the warnings and a party of over 1,000 men, women and children proceeded to Fort Union.  Nearly all of them became sick and only 150 survived.

 

By the end of June, the epidemic was out of control in the Fort Union area.

 

Meanwhile, a longboat loaded with supplied had been sent from Fort Union to Fort McKenzie on the Marias River in the upper Missouri River region.  During the voyage smallpox erupted among the boat crew.  Alexander Harvey, in charge of the longboat, sent word to Alexander Culbertson, commander of Fort McKenzie, cautioning him of the disease.  Harvey attempted to quarantine the boat and its crew near the Judith River.  Once again a quarantine could not be maintained.  Some 500 lodges of Blackfoot and Piegan (perhaps as many as 5,500 people) were camped near Fort McKenzie and were eager to trade.  In spite of Culbertson’s warnings, the Indians insisted that Harvey continue his journey.  Trade began as soon as the boat arrived, and shortly thereafter the Blood and Piegan began to fall victim to the epidemic.

 

In this way smallpox quickly spread throughout the Missouri River valley in the summer of 1837.  It was carried northward into Hudson’s Bay Company territory by Assiniboine, Cree, Blood, Blackfoot and Piegan who fled north in the misguided belief that they could run away from the contagion.  Their flight served only to hasten the spread of the dread disease.

 

William Todd who was chief factor of the Swan River district appears too have been one of the first of the Hudson’s Bay Company traders to learn of the epidemic and to take measure to protect the health of his men and the local Indians.

 

Todd was an experienced physician in his early fifties.  He began his service with the Company in 1816 when he was engaged as a surgeon and posted to Cumberland House.  He served in that capacity in the York Factory, Columbia, Athabasca and Upper Red River Districts and at the Red River Colony, before being assigned to the Swan River district in 1834.  By that time he had acquired a considerable reputation as a surgeon among the Indians, especially the Chipewyan.

 

Todd obtained his first fragmentary account of the smallpox outbreak from a band of Qu’Appelle River Cree who visited his headquarters at Fort Pelly on the 20th September.  The Cree were unable to identify the disorder positively, but informed Todd that ‘bad disease had got into the American Fort in Consequence of which their gates are kept constantly Shut and no Indian Allowed to enter’.

 

Subsequent reports from Indian sources were conflicting.  A month later, on the 18th of October, Todd wrote: ‘an Indian arrived from the plains for Tobacco for a Band of Crees and Assiniboins that are coming in with provisions he contradicts the report of any bad disease being at the American Fort but that they shut their gates against the Assiniboins in consequence of having a Band Blackfeet in the Fort at the time’.  Nine days later, an Assiniboine arrived at the fort and said that a disease similar to smallpox had killed eighteen people in his camp.  Todd noted in his journal that ‘this news is truly Alarming and tends to confirm the hitherto contradictory reports....of that fatal Malady.’  On 6 November William McKay sent word to Todd from Beaver Creek, informing him that the disease spreading among the Assiniboine was not smallpox.

 

Page 10

 

Fortunately for the Indians of Rupert’s Land, the Hudson’s Bay Company directors had previously sent cowpox vaccine to the posts in Canada and ordered the factors to use it in the interests of humanity and business.  To the distress of all concerned, few of the traders had followed these orders by the time the epidemic broke out.  But in the case of Fort Pelly, the action of the directors meant that vaccine was on hand enabling Todd to launch that appears to have been the first extensive vaccine program among the Indians of western Canada.   Throughout the autumn and winter Todd vaccinated all of the Indians who visited the post, with the exception of a very few Cree and Assiniboine who refused treatment.

 

Besides attempting to protecting the Indians who visited Fort Pelly, Todd made very effort to reach those in his district who did not come to the fort that autumn.  On the 28th of October he sent vaccine and instructions as to how it should be administered to William McKay who was stationed at Beaver Creek.  Todd ordered McKay to use it immediately even though the cause of sickness among the Indians was still unknown.  McKay complied with the order and had vaccinated all of the Indians in the vicinity of his post by the end of November.  Similar vaccination programs were carried on at other outposts.

 

In addition to having Company employees administer the vaccine, Todd also taught the procedure to the Indians.  He began his instructions with the first group of Indians who were vaccinated o the 21st of September when this band was preparing to leave Fort Pelly on the 25th of September, Todd recorded that he fitted out the Indians and sent them off to the Strong Wood with particular instructions for them in case the reported Sickness should turn out to be the Small Pox.  I likewise gave them a lassuch (lancet) and too great pains in instructing them how to use it in vaccinating others...

 

The Indians apparently learned the technique well and played an important role in bringing the epidemic in check.  On the 8th of December, Todd reported that “Chocah Chief of the Qu’Appelle Crees arrived to get vaccinated...he had already undergone the operation but without the desired effect’.  Two days later Todd continued:

 

Chocah and the few that accompanied him took their departure, this is a very sensible Strong Indian whom I have long know.  I have given him every instructions how to proceed with the rest of the Indians to which he paid the most marked attention.  When vaccinating him he pointed out the error of the person vaccinating himself.  I have subsequently learned he was most industrious and successful with the other Indians...

 

By mid-winter the disease was rampant in the grasslands and had reached as far to the northwest as Fort Edmonton.  The death toll among the unvaccinated Indians was staggering.  Those traders who lacked Todd’s medical training and vaccine felt helpless and feared for their own safety.  On 28 December 1837, John Rowand, the son of a physician, wrote to Governor George Simpson from Edmonton House telling him that:

 

our principal Chiefs....informed me that more than half of all the slave tribes are no more.  When I mention the slave tribes


page 11 missing


page 12

 

Since it was clear that Todd’s vaccine was effective, unlike the supplies at Carlton House which were apparently dormant, he was called upon to supply other threatened districts.  On the 8th of January Todd sent fresh vaccine to Rowand at Edmonton House and to Roderick MacKenzie, Sr. at Ile a la Crosse.  Vaccine matter was also forwarded to Small at Carlton House so that he could re-vaccinate his people and the local Indians.  To make sure that Small’s program would be effective this time, Todd sent along one of his men to teach Small the proper vaccine procedure.

 

Thanks to the efforts of Todd and other Hudson’s Bay Company traders, the further spread of the disease was checked by late winter and the Woodland Indians were spared from its ravages.  In the plains area, the Indians suffered terrible losses and up to three quarters of the population of some groups perished.

 

In the spring survivors began to drift into Fort Pelly for their spring trade.  Nearly all of these Indians had been vaccinated by Todd or his men.  Concerning these encounters he wrote:

 

it is however gratifying to learn that none of them caught the disease.  I have of course had many complementary speeches delivered on the Occasion, to which I have no doubt I am fully entitled from the great pains I took with them last fall...

 

Although his success brought him a great deal of well-earned satisfaction, it also proved to be the source of some embarrassment.  In his efforts to persuade the Indians to submit to vaccination in the preceding Autumn, he had told them that all who refused would perish before spring.  His prognosis proved to be correct, and as Todd, a man of science wrote in his journal:

 

having then predicted what...was likely to take place, the Indians now think I can dive into futurity and have in consequence put questions rather difficult to solve not being an astrologer.

 

Letter written by Dr. William from the BC Archives (handwritten in his script)


BIO/ADMIN HIST: Edward Ermatinger was a fur trader and businessman with the Hudson's Bay Company.
SCOPE/CONTENT: The fonds consists of letters received from friends and associates.  Fonds includes Ermatinger's correspondence inward from Archibald McDonald, William Todd and John Work.
TITLE SOURCE: Title based on the contents of the fonds.
RECORD NUMBERS: MS 2716 ; A/B/40/M142 ; A/B/40/T56 ; A/B/40/W89
REPOSITORY: British Columbia Archives
PROVENANCE: Ermatinger, Edward, 1797-1876
SUBJECTS: Ermatinger, Edward, 1797-1876
                   McDonald, Archibald
                   Todd, William
                   Work, John, 1792-1861
Hudson's Bay Company
 


York Factory
15 July 1829

 

Dear Edward,

 

You will I believe not be much surprised at my replying to your esteemed favours from this place where I arrived the 5th July after the usual agreeable journey across the mountains.  As you will naturally be anxious to hear the news from your old quarter (Vancouver) I shall without further ceremony commence altho aware these will be more fully detailed by Frank and our old friend Work both of whom I left in good health, the latter particularly sore at the late promoting and Frank talking as loud as ever, by the by he appears a favourite with the great man.

 

You had hardly left Vancouver when we were put on the alert by Indian reports (of the capture of Fort Langley and massacre of W. McMillan and party) it is needless to say without there being any foundation for them, nevertheless the Doctor took it much to heart and so far credited it that Mr. Birnie was prepared to follow your express with the dismal news when it was contradicted.  Nothing again of moment occurred till the arrival of the Brigade from the Interior casualties on their way down, three were drowned at the lower part of the Priests Rapids a key of Castorium and some dressed skins lost, Bostonves was in the boat and had a narrow escape.  An expedition against the Clallums, as Frank told me had sent you his journal which I have no doubt is a masterpiece of the kind and to which I refer you for particulars, it was a failure of effects of which has been since severely felt.  Frank was talking high on the business with out respect to persons, you know his way.

 

On the 10th August, W. Smith an American and three men made their appearance being the remainder of a part of twenty men.  I saw him in California which place he left in January with 315 horses and mules, arrived at the Umpoue on the 10th July.  Four days after his party was attacked and sixteen murdered by the Indians.  He was himself absent with two men examining the country for passing horses, his sensation on his return could not have been very pleasant, he was fired on when he returned but gained the woods without injury.  One only of the  party attacked made his escape after receiving several slight wounds.  Another expedition must now be fitted out to recover this gentlemen’s property, etc. and this is not a very popular measure with men or gentlemen as it is thought we would have difficulty enough to hold our own, being already at war to the north, but the Dr. would have his own way, and Mr. McLeod was again fitted out with a party to proceed there and after using his efforts to continue his journey to the Bonaventura in California, taking of course all the beaver he could fall in with.  He succeeded in recovering most of the furs, but making considerable sacrifices and losing so much time that the winter set in before he had the business settled and was obliged to take up his quarters in his old hunting ground.  He paid Vancouver a visit about Christmas much to the astonishment of the Doctor, who, sanguine as usual, imagined him near San Francisco.

 

Your old friend Ouvrie, had a narrow escape of losing his scalp on one of his      His Brother-in-law having killed an Indian who was accompanying him over to Chrikilis and obliged him to return.  The friends of the Indian, who belong to the Fort George, took to their arms and would have soon made a finish had not the Princess (probably King Courconily’s daughter) sent him out of the way till the hurry was over.

 

The American Brig Ouwyhu paid us a visit in February, and a schooner, her consort, in March.  Both were still there when we left, fine pickings for the mercenary Chinooks, a beaver being now equal to five in days of yore.  The most melancholy part of my narrative relates to the Com’ys Brig, Wm.___ she crossed the Bar on the 10th of March, but from some fatality (I can call it nothing else) struck on the Spit at the mouth of the River.  Capt. Swan and the crew, in all 26 persons, embarked in the boats and landed at Cladsap Point where they were butchered by the natives, not a soul left to tell the melancholy tale.  This, no doubt, will cause another war excursion.  It is to be hoped they will acquit themselves better than the last.  Having now given you the principal heads I shall conclude with my sincere wishes for future welfare and happiness, and am dear Ed,

 

Yours very truly,
(signed)
Wm. Todd

 

Miles says he will write you by the ship.