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Full text of "The Sinclair Party—An Emigration Overland along the Old Hudson Bay Company Route from Manitoba to the Spokane Country in 1854"

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Vol. VII.. No. 3 July, 1916 






THE SINCLAIR PARTY— AN EMIGRATION OVERLAND ALONG 

THE OLD HUDSON BAY COMPANY ROUTE FROM MANITOBA 

TO THE SPOKANE COUNTRY IN 1854i 

Agreeably to your wishes to hear about our trip from Manitoba, 
I will try and give you as good an account as I can. 

In the first place we started on the 5th day of May, 1854, from 
where Winnipeg now stands. Mr. James Sinclair^ was the leader of 
the party and we were all intending to go to California, as we were 
told that mines were still good and plenty of gold was to be had, if 
we would dig for it, but not one of the party ever got there except 
a young man by the name of Wm. Gibson, and he did not remain there 
but came back to Oregon and settled there. 

We were a long time on that trip. We had no wagons, but just 
two-wheeled carts, and as we did not have many horses to work and 
draw the carts, we employed oxen; one ox to each cart, and we could 
not load them very heavily as they were not built to stand hard usage 
on stony ground. 

I do not suppose that we had any more than two thousand pounds 
as the heaviest load, and we kept on the Hudson's Bay Company's 
cart road from one trading post to another* — quite a round about way 
— and we had to do so to avoid hostile Indians. The first trading 
post reached was Fort Ellis on a stream called Beaver River. We 



iThls article was collated and prepared by Mr. William S. Lewis, 
from a series of letters written to him by Mr. John V. Campbell of 
Lilloett, British Columbia. 

zjames Sinclair was a son of William Sinclair, a chief factor for the 
H. B. Co. stationed at Edmonton for many years, and who married a 
daughter of McKay, the Astor party lost with the Tonquln. James 
Sinclair first came west of the Rocky Mountains in 1841 In charge of the 
company of settlers sent out to occupy the Cowlitz farms for the H. B. 
Co. Two of his daughters are yet living, one in Portland, and the other 
In Rosebury. (T. C. Elliott.) 

3The route of the Sinclair party was substantially the same as 
that traveled by Governor Simpson of the H. B. Co. in 1841. See Vol. 1, 
Narrative of a Journey Around the World, Sir George Simpson. 

(187) 



188 John. V. Campbell 

traveled very slowly, perhaps twenty miles a day at most and more 
frequently less. 

Our next stop was on a stream called Qupelle River, the post 
was named Qu Pelle; the banks on either side of the stream were 
very steep and stony; big round boulders. I remember that very 
well, for I hurt my back very bad; there was no way to fasten a 
brake on those carts, so we just had to tie a rope around the oxen's 
horns and hold him back to keep him from running down the hill. I 
recollect it had been raining, and the boulders were wet and slippery. 
I was walking along the side of a young steer I had on the cart, and 
was holding him back, when I slipped and fell and away went the 
steer down the rest of the way and the cart ran across my back and 
I had to crawl out of the road for there was another cart coming down 
and it just grazed my toes. 

After everybody else had got to camp, some parties came back 
and carried me down. After this I was obliged to lie in a cart for a 
week or ten days before I could do anything. There was a good cart 
road all the way to the next trading post. Fort Carlton, on the bank 
of the South Branch of the Sascatchewan River. The fort was stock- 
aded; all around there we saw half-breed buflFalo herding with do- 
mestic cattle. I think we were about two weeks reaching Fort Carl- 
ton from the previous post. 

From here we had to cross the river, and make rafts with the 
carts and to row them and tow as well with boats which were loaned 
us by the trader at the post. It took us about three days to get an- 
other start for the next stream, another branch of the Sascatchewan 
River that was a long stretch away. We were about three weeks or 
longer in making that stream, and there we had to cross back to the 
north bank of the river and to keep out of the way of hostile Indians. 
We were also obliged to stand guard nights from there on. This last 
stream was a hard stream to cross, the water was very high with a 
stiff current. We came very near losing our rafts of carts. Our 
canoes were very light and we could not tow the rafts across fast 
enough and were carried a long ways down the river. We happened 
to land on a long point on the river, and by snubbing the rafts to some 
trees on the bank, we managed to save the carts, but it was a close 
shave. 

Our canoes were made by a frame of willows tied with ropes and 
oil cloth stretched over the frames. These could carry four or five 
persons. It took us all of a week to get a start from there. We had 



To Spokane in 1854 189 

a great deal of trouble to get our carts out from that high point. We 
had to make two rafts of our carts as we had quite a lot of them. 

After getting started again we kept on the north side of the 
river all the way to the next trading post, called Fort Pitt. Here we 
were in the heart of the buffalo country. The company kept a great 
many train dogs; there must have been three hundred fifty or four 
hundred dogs there at that time; they had plenty to feed them, being 
in the big game country. 

There was one of our party that was bringing three head of 
sheep along with his cattle, the dogs cleaned them out the first night 
there, so that Sutherland's flock was no more. At this place we were 
obliged to stop very near three weeks, as there was a child born to 
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Brown, a son who is now living in the Colville 
Valley. I saw him in the spring of '55 as I had gone up to Colville 
to visit Mr. Thomas Brown before starting down to the Walla Walla 
country with Wm. Moar. 

After leaving Fort Pitt we still kept on the same side of the 
river until we came to Fort Edmonton, this was the middle of July. 
Here one of our party remained, Thomas Hudson, and hired to the 
Hudson's Bay Company. After leaving Edmonton we traveled upon 
the north bank of Red River, and kept on for several days, when we 
forded the stream, which happened to be quite shallow, with a fine 
gravelly bottom. From here we could see the first sight of the Rocky 
Mountains. I had forgotten to say that we came on to a band of the 
Cree Indians; this party of the Crees traveled along with us until we 
came to Fort Edmonton. We hired the chief of this band of Crees, 
whose name was Mackipictoon, or broken arm, to act as guide. These 
Cree Indians were very friendly to our party. They used to ac- 
company some of our party when they went out hunting the buffalo, 
and kept all the party supplied with fresh meat. 

The most of our party were half-breeds, and we could all speak 
their language fluently. There must have been very near one hun- 
dred of these Crees, and they acted as an escort to our party, stood 
guard at night, and kept with us until we came to a camp of Stony 
Indians on the little Bow River. We traveled along this stream then 
until it came out on the open prairie, out of the mountains onto a low 
bottom and bench land up back of our camp, very open. 

I came very near forgetting to tell about the buffalo being very 
plentiful in the country between Forts Pitt and Edmonton. We fre- 
quently went out hunting them and charged them on our fastest horses. 
Sometimes our horses were too fast and we would outrun the buffalo. 



190 John V. Campbell 

It was very dangerous to get ahead of them, as one could not see the 
many badger holes on account of the clouds of dust. Your horse was 
apt to step in one of those holes and fall down and get trampled on 
by the band of buffalo. One had to take big chances, but as it hap- 
pened we were very fortunate and nobody ever got thrown down. 

The last day that we saw the buffalo was on a Sunday. We were 
traveling along as usual and we could see a black mass moving towards 
us. These were the buffalo traveling towards the north and we had 
to stop and let them by. When they came; up to us they separated, 
some going ahead of our carts and the others behind. We had to 
stop and let them by, and surround our loose cattle and our horses, as 
they wanted to follow the band of buffalo. We were obliged to stop 
and remain at that place over two hours to let them get by us. Just 
as far as the eye could see, it was nothing but a black mass of them 
and they were going on a small lope. One cannot think how they 
came to be gathered as it were into one band and started traveling 
north. The young men of our party were very eager to take a shot 
at them, but the old people would not allow that, as it would have 
been very dangerous to have shot them. They would have i^tampeded 
our whole outfit and killed all the women and' children. 

There was something that I missed telling of ; when we were en- 
camped at the Little Bow River we had three head of horses stolen 
by a hostile band of Blood Indians; they also shot some arrows into 
some of our cattle. The cattle came running to camp with the arrows 
still sticking in them; that was how we happened to find out about 
their being around. Some of our party started right out on some 
horses that were kept staked out in case something like this happened, 
but the renegades got away with the three horses. I suppose they 
could not catch any of the others, so that they only got those three. 

At this camp on the little Bow River our party of Crees left us, 
but we kept the chief to act as guide through the mountains. We 
also hired two of the Stony Indians as guides over the mountains, as 
the route had not been traveled over and the trail was full of fallen 
timber. At this camp we remained another two weeks, as another 
youngster was born there to Mr. and Mrs. Robert Fleet, but the 
little one did not live but a few days. We also had to go to work to 
break up our carts and use the timbers to make pack saddles to pack 
our baggage on the horses and oxen. As we did not have horses enough 
to carry all the traps. We were fortunate in getting nails and other 
necessities at Fort Edmonton to put the saddles together with. We 



To Spokane in 1854 191 

had to make everything very strong as some of our young steers were 
very frisky. It was quite a sight to see the young steers with the 
first saddles on their backs. In using carts, we had collars and 
breeching and we used these to fasten the packs on to the steers. 
They were tied fore and aft and around the middle and would still 
sometimes break them off. It was a grand sight to see their capers 
and there was not but one or two in the whole outfit that knew any- 
thing about packing. We had to stay in camp longer so as to get the 
young stock broke in to their job, but we had the time of our lives 
when we started traveling through the timber. In the narrow trail 
a steer would bump his pack onto a tree and then he would do some 
bucking to get that pack off; then we would have a time catching him 
to put the pack onto him again. We had to go very slow to get the 
stock used to their work. 

Some of the women had to ride on the back of the old oxen, as 
there were not horses enough for them, but these had to be led, as 
they did not guide very well with just the halter lines. Some days 
we did not make more than seven or eight miles, as some of the stock 
were getting footsore. We were the whole of September in getting 
through the mountains to where we came out on Canal Flats, between 
the Kootenay River and the head of the South Fork of the Columbia 
Lakes. About half of our route over across the mountains, one of my 
horses, the fastest of our buffalo horses, got tired out and we left him 
for a day, but as one of our guides threatened to go back and take the 
horse with him, I was requested to go back and shoot the horse, or 
we would lose our best guide. I had to go back and shoot the horse, 
but that was something that was hard to do, to kill my old friend. 
At length our party came out onto the Canal Flats. 

The Canal Flats are bounded by the lake on the north side, on 
the south side by the Kootenay River, on the east by the Rocky Moun- 
tains, and on the west by the Selkirk Mountains. It is perhaps two- 
miles across the flats from the base of the Rockies to the base of the 
Selkirks; from the lake to the Kootenay River the distance is three 
and a half to four miles. The flats have very open timber on them, 
and plenty of fine bunch grass. We stayed there two days and then 
»ur guides, the Cree chief and the two Stony Indians, left us to go 
back across the Rocky Mountains to their own country on the east 
side. There were some Kootenay Indians at Canal Flats and we 
hired a guide from these to continue on our route from there. 

Turning south, we forded the Kootenay River and followed the 



192 John V. Campbell 

base of the Rockies all the way down to Elk River.* Fording that 
stream we kept on south to the Tobacco Plains, a rolling country. 
There we crossed over to the American side of the international bound- 
ary line, which had not been surveyed at that time. (The boundary line 
was not surveyed until 1858.) We laid over there for another three 
days, and found a Hudson's Bay trader for the Kootenais by the 
name of John Linklater, a Scotchman, who had come up on his yearly 
trip from Fort Colville in the Colville Valley along the Columbia 
River. 

Mr. Linklater's trading post was on the west side of the Koote- 
nay River, and we were traveling down the east side. Mr. Linklater 
was the first white person we saw after leaving Fort Edmonton on the 
Sascatchewan River. 

He was very happy to see some white people there. At that time 
he was all alone in that coimtry; there was not another white person 
nearer than three or four hundred miles to his station. He came 
across to our camp from the other side of the river by fording it. We 
had not all got done unpacking our animals when he came over. He 
was so glad to hear that there were some white people on the other 
side of the river that he did not take time to saddle his horse, but 
jumped on it and rode over bareback to see us. While he was in our 
camp and all were eager to see him there was very near an accident. 
Mr. Sinclair's mount took fright at something and started to run 
around among the other animals; the saddle got loose and under his 
body. There was a Colt's revolver in the holster, tied on the saddle, 
that somehow started to shoot, and it was fortunate that none was 
hit. All the party had not reached camp. We traveled very slowly 
as our animals were very tender footed and it took some of the party 
a long time to get into camp. There were a lot of Kootenay Indians 
standing around also and wondering what kind of a gun that was 
that could shoot so often, -they having never seen one of these six 
shooters before that time. It was a sight to see them standing around 
open mouthed when they saw the pistol and Mr. Linkhalter showed 
them how it was handled. 

At that time the only kind of guns that they used or ever saw 
were those flint lock guns. 

After starting away from the Tobacco Plains we followed the 
Kootenay River on the east side; the river was running more towards 



4The route of the Sinclair party down the .Kootenai River and to 
the Spokane Country followed the general course of the canoe route trav- 
eled by David Thompson on his trips to the Columbia River country, 1809- 
Thls became the regfular route between the fur trading posts at Spokane 
and Fort Colville and those on the Kootenai. 



To Spokane in 1854 19S 

the west. We traveled south for a week until we came to the big bend 
of the Kootenay River, where it turned about due west towards Flat 
Bow Lake. When we struck the bend of the Kootenay, we crossed 
over the Kootenay again and traveled down on the west side to the 
Flat Bow country, about four days more. Then we crossed the Koote- 
nay again and left it to go south to the Pend O'Reille Lake. We fol- 
lowed the north bank of the lake west to the Sandpoint, and down 
along the Pend O'Reille River about forty miles. There we crossed 
the river in canoes, swimming our horses and stock. We were for- 
tunate in finding some Indians here to help us over. 

We were obliged to leave camp on the south bank of the Pend 
O'Reille in a hurry, as there was not much feed there for our stock. 
From this camp we traveled south towards the Spokane country, 
which we made in four days. 

Our cattle and horses were getting very tired and footsore 
by this time, and had to crawl along very slowly. It took us all of 
October and very near all of November to make out to the Spokane 
country. All of our party were getting tired also of the trip and 
were happy to find some white people there, Messrs Owens and Gib- 
son, stockmen. After visiting a few days most all of the party con- 
tinued on down towards Walla Walla. One family, Mr. Thomas 
Brown," and his brother, Henry Brown, went up to Colville Valley 
and took what cattle and horses they wished with them to that coun- 
try. Mr. John Moar and his family, with myself, remained at the 
Spokane. The rest of the party kept on the way down to Walla 
Walla. Mr. Wm. Moar and I stayed to winter the cattle in that 
country. There was one wagon brought by one of the party and a 
couple of truck wagons made. The wheels were made by sawing them 
off of a large pine tree, the wheels were about 7 or 8 inches thick. 
The axels were of fir and holes were bored and gouged out in the 
wheels. There was no iron about them at all except the few nails 
used in making the bed for the wagon. Just two horses were used 
to draw them and all the dunnage was piled on the wagons and a 
start made. 

I was told that they arrived at Walula the day before Christmas 
(1854). Mr. Sinclair and his family remained there, so did Mr. 
Whitford and family; the rest of the party kept on down to Oregon 
and scattered around the country. There was a gentleman by the 



oThomas Brown became one of the first white settlers In Stevens 
County. By an abortive act of the Territorial Legislature, passed January 
18th, 1869, he was named as the first Sheriff of the newly created Spokane 
County, then embracing all the country north of the Snake River and 
east of the Columbia and Okanogan. 



194 John V. CampbeU 

name of Dominqu Pambrumm who had charge of the trading post at 
Walula at the time, but he resigned and Mr. James Sinclair was em- 
ployed in his stead. 

We did not go towards Colrille at all, as that was a long way 
down on the Columbia and a long way west of our route; we were now 
about one hundred miles or more from Fort Colville, south. Mr. 
Angus McDonald was the trader at Fort Colville at that time. 

We wintered about eight or nine miles up the Coeur d'Alene River 
from Antone Le Plant's place. There were also wintering there the 
same winter of 1854-1855 two Americans that were in the stock busi- 
ness, one was named Frank Owens* and the other was called Gibson, 
but I cannot recall his Christian name; this man had a white woman 
with him. They also had three other white men with them as hired 
help, one Arnold King, another James Hole, and the other James 
Barrit, and an Indian from Oregon named Louis. That winter Owens 
and Gibson must have had 400 to 500 head of cattle, with some 500 
head of horses as well. 

There was just one other party who lived on the Spokane 
with Antone Le Plant, a French Canadian by the name of Camile. I 
cannot recall his surname. He was married to a sister of Antone Le 
Plant's wife. There were no other whites or half-breeds resident in 
that country at that time that I know of. 

Antone Le Plant told me of a missionary having been in that 
country previous to our arrival there, who was stationed at a place 
called Walker's prairie. I am not certain now, but I think that there 
were two of the missionaries. Walker and Eells. Walker's prairie is 
north of the present city of Spokane. 

LePlant could not tell me what denomination those missionaries 
were, they were not Catholics, but I think I heard elsewhere in Ore- 
gon that they were Methodists. 

I was not ever near the mouth of the Spokane River but once, 
and I cannot say that I saw any trace of any old buildings having 
been built there. Antone LePlant once told me that there was an 
old Hudson Bay trading post at one time near there, but that was 
after I had been there. Had I known before I went, I might have 
looked for some traces of the old post, and as near as I can recall the 
time, I did not suppose that there ever had been a trading post there, 
for the place was covered with an undergrowth of small bushes, quite 



sFranclB B. Owen. He had been driven out of the St. Maries Valley 
in Montana by the Blackfeet Indians, and was now engaged in cattle rais- 
ing and trading with the Indians in the Spokane Valley, where he was 
met by Gov. Stevens' party the previous year (1S53), Vol. 1, Pac. Ry. Re- 
ports, p. 267. 



To Spokane in 1854 195 

thick, and did not appear to me as if there ever had been anything 
like a house there. 

But then again I heard that there had been an old trading post 
some distance up the Little Spokane, on a prairie north of Antone 
LePlant, where there was another oldtimer by the name of Baptiste 
Pion; there again I did not see any signs of any old buildings having 
been built there; this I was told by one Thomas Stanger, who used 
to live about northwest of where Chewelah now is situated. 

Mr. Moar and I went to work cutting logs to build our house to 
winter in. Mr. Owens and Mr. Gibson let us have their hired men 
and some work cattle to draw the logs and also helped us to roll the 
logs up. We were in the house inside of two weeks. We were obliged 
to work pretty steady to get sheltered, as the weather was getting 
cold in the last of November. After getting our winter quarters all 
snug we had to look around for provisions, so we employed two Spo- 
kane Indians to accompany Mr. Antone LePlant to Fort Colville, as 
he was going up there to get some supplies himself, we could not get 
anything nearer than that place in the line of flour, sugar, tea and 
other articles we needed. 

Mr. LePlant bought what we ordered by him and his own, and 
brought our two Indians back with him. 

We were about 8 miles up along the Coeur d'Alene (Spokane) 
Biver, where we wintered. There was quite a camp of the Coeur 
d'Alene Indians near to us that wintered there, also the Spokane In- 
dians were down about 10 miles, about 3 miles below Anton LePlant's 
place at the upper falls (Post Falls) of the same river.' About all 
the tribe were wintering there. I believe there were two chiefs there 
in that camp ; Spokane Gary and Big Star. Spokane Gary I was told 
was taken to Manitoba by the H. B. Company when a young man 
and kept at school there for several years and was brought back by 
the H. B. Company again. I saw him a number of times and talked 
with him ; he spoke very good English. The chief at the Coeur d'Alene 
camp was called Saltese. The rest of that tribe were at the Coeur 
d'Alene Mission, some 25 or 80 miles further up the country. The 
Indians were all very quiet and peaceful, we had no trouble with any 
of them. 

The main trails were those used by the H. B. Company in going 
from one trading post to another; one to the Walla Walla and Col- 



TThls campingr ground, near Saltese Lake, was the scene of the slaugrh- 
ter of 800 or 900 Indian horses by Col. Wright in Sept., 1853, and was 
afterwards known as "Horse Slaughter Camp." 



196 John V. Campbell 

ville posts; another to the posts among the Pend O'Reilles and Flat- 
head Indians in Montana; also to the Kootneai tribe in B. C. 

On my first trip up to the Colville Valley from the Spokane 
Country I started from our winter camp about 8 miles above the little 
falls (Post Falls) and traveled over the Hudson Bay Company's 
trail. It took me about three days to reach the first settlers in the 
valley. These were some of the Finlays; there were three brothers, 
close neighbors, Patrick, Koostah and Nicholas Finlay. All of them 
had big families, and some of their descendants with their families 
were settled in their near neighborhood with the exception of James 
Finlay and his family who were settled further on up the valley. I 
think that there were thirteen in that family. The original Finlay, 
Jacques Finlay, was in charge of the old Spokane post in the early 
days; I never saw him, as he died before I came to that country. 
What other settlers there were in the Colville Valley, besides the 
Finlays, were some Scotchmen, Orkneymen and a few French Ca- 
nadians that had been employes of the Hudson Bay Company. These 
were married to some of the descendants of Jacques Finlay and some 
to the native women of the country. 

I think that there were just two settlers in the entire valley that 
had not been employees of the Hudson Bay Company; one Francois 
Morrigeaux who was a trapper from the East side of the Rocky Moun- 
tains and one Canadian by the name of La Bien. I do not think that 
there were more than twenty-five or thirty settlers in the entire Col- 
ville Valley when I first came to that country in the spring of 1855. 
When I arrived at the Fort Colville there was quite a stir as the 
trader, Mr. Angus McDonald, was starting a pack train of 50 or 
60 horses down to Fort Hope on the Fraser River for an outfit of goods 
to supply the Company's store at Colville. The goods brought were 
mostly dry goods and some groceries and some ammunition, — ^that is 
gunpowder and lead for the kind of guns >that they used at that time. 
These guns were mostly old flint lock, muzzle loaders. There was 
never any flour brought to Colville as the Company had a flour mill 
at what is called Meyers Falls now. The settlers used to take their 
wheat to the mill in carts that were made in the valley; there were no 
wagons in that country at that time. The wheat was ground at the 
mill for the farmers, but I do not know how much the toll was. 

There was quite a trade in furs at that trading post. I did not 
see much money in the coimtry. A farmer coming to the Fort for 
his groceries generally paid for them in wheat or flour or other pro- 
duce. There was not any fruit raised in the country at that time. 



To Spokane in 1854 197 

On this first trip to Colville I did not make a long stay, but went 
back down to the Spokane Valley and started with Mr. Moar for 
the Walla Walla country. 

After leaving our winter quarters in the spring of 1855, Mr. Moar 
with his family and I, with all of our stock traveled Southwest until 
we struck the old Hudson Bay route, and followed that down to the 
Snake River. There we crossed the river in canoes, and swam the 
stock over. We were fortunate in finding Indians there who ferried us 
over. These were the Palouse Indians. We were fortunate in never 
having had any trouble with the Indians at any places on the whole 
route. 

After leaving the Snake River, we had to look out for the lev- 
elest country to travel in. The country was very hilly and steep and 
it was hard for our poor stock to pull up those hills with the truck 
carts. It took us about four days to make the Walla Walla valley. 
This was a fine place for our poor cattle to have reached it at the 
end of their journey. 

I append a list giving the names of the members of the party; 
there were none of them old people with the exception of one that 
was over 60 years of age; the rest of the men were from 20 to 50; 
most of them in their prime. The women were also mostly young 
and healthy dames and lasses. 

Total 
James Sinclair, age 50, with wife and 7 children 9 

John Moar, aged 50, with wife and 4 children 6 

Roderich Sutherland, age 40, with wife and 1 child 8 

William Rowland, age 50, with wife and daughter 3 

James Gibson, age about 65 1 

William Gibson, age about 25 1 

Miles Burston, age about 55, and wife 2 

John Lyons, age about 50 wife and 2 children 4 

Philip Bird, age about 50, with wife and 8 children 5 

Arthur Bird, age about 40 years 1 

Thomas Bird, age about 50 years 1 

Charles Bird, age about 20 years 1 

George Taylor, age about 35 or 40 years 1 

Samuel Norn, age about 50 years 1 

Thomas Brown, age about 50 years, with wife, three daughters and 

infant son born en route 6 

Harry Brown, age about 24 1 

John V. Campbell, age 22 years 1 



198 John V. Campbell 

Robert Flint, age about 35 years, and -wife 2 

James Whiteford, age about 55 years, with wife and 2 girls 4 

Peter Whiteford, age about 30, with wife and 1 child 8 

Frank Whitford, age about 25 1 

Andrew Whitford, age about 18 1 

Donald Whitford, age about 15 1 

John Childe, age about 15 1 

Thomas Hudson, age about 55 years 1 

Old Daniel, age about 60 years 1 

Margaret Campbell, a single woman, age about 25 1 

Margaret Rowland, a maiden lady, age about 40 1 

Total 65 

After our arrival in the Walla Walla country, I remained with 
Mr. Sinclair working at the Hudson's Bay Company's post and look- 
ing after the cattle. Mr. Moar stayed some time in the valley before 
going down to Oregon. He did not go further down than the Dalles, 
Oregon. I stayed on tending the stock along with another of our 
party that came with us from Manitoba, George Taylor. 

We stayed there until the Indians commenced to get troublesome 
in 1856 and 1857, when everybody had to leave for the lower country. 

The white people all had to go to Oregon. There was one day 
that Taylor and I were driving a lot of cattle into the corral to 
brand them. We met a party of young bloods who got to shooting 
some of our cattle. We thought it was about time to quit, so we went 
and reported to Mr. Sinclair, who told us we had better leave the stock 
go. Taylor left in a few days for the Nez Perce Country, as those 
Indians were still friendly. 

A few days later I gathered up what horses Mr. Sinclair had 
and what I owned and started for the Colville Valley with them — 
in all about twenty head. On my way up the country on the Nez 
Perce trail I came across some Indians; one of these sold me a mare 
that was not his own. This was at a creek called Tuccunon. Con- 
tinuing on I came to the Red Wolf* crossing on the Snake River. 
Here I came on another Indian who claimed the horse I had bought 
at the last camp on the Tuccunon. There was a pretty hostile camp 
of Palouses here. They claimed that I had stolen the animal, but 
it so happened that I had some half breeds with me that were also 
on their way to Colville, and who told the chief of this camp that I 



8So called from the Nez Perce Chief, Red Wolf, whose camping ground 
was In the vicinity. 



To Spokane in 1854 199 

was a brother-in-law to Mr, Sinclair, the trader at Walla Walla. 
The chief then let me keep the horse and gave me a guide to take 
me as far as Spokane, so I was safe once more. 

There had been a fight before this in the Yakima country and 
the Indian Agent, Bolon," had been killed. There was one Indian in 
this camp who had a brother killed at that fight, and there was a 
pretty hostile lot of Indians in this camp of Palouses. 

Arriving at the Colville Valley, I remained there until the fall 
of 1858, when I was hired by Mr. Angus McDonald to go up to the 
Tobacco Plains to be assistant trader to Mr, John Linklater. The 
following March (1859) I went back to Colville, thence down to 
Walla Walla, and from there to Oregon. A nephew of Mr, Sinclair, 
one William Sinclair, took the horses that I brought up and sold them 
after Mr, James Sinclair was killed at the Cascades at the time of 
the war," 

The Hudson Bay Company had quite a number of employees at 
Fort Colville; there were two clerks, William Sinclair, previously 
mentioned, and one Henry Shuttleworth, with Mr. Angus McDonald, 
the Chief Trader. There must have been about twenty men employed 
about the post in addition to the two clerks. 

I was with the Kootenais, just north across the International 
Boundary line. We had some twenty-five or thirty pack animals 
loaded with blankets and some dry goods and a few guns and am- 
munition. There had to be some flints taken up for the guns, as they 
were all flint locks. There were no percussion locks in the country 
in those days. When a man used up his flint on his gun when out 
hunting, he could take a piece of white quartz and break it to fit his 
gun and go on shooting, provided his hammer and steel were so he 
could raise fire enough to ignite the powder. Those flint lock guns 
cost the Indians ten full grown beaver skins taken in their prime; 
that would be those caught in the late fall or winter and early spring, 
A skin was rated at about two and a half dollars, so that the guns 
cost the Indians about twenty-five or thirty dollars. Everything went 
by skins, A full grown beaver was a skin, or a large dark marten or 
a large fisher was two skins. Blankets that had three points or bars 
were three skins. Thirty charges of powder, thirty bullets and a 



9A. J. Bolon, special agent for the Yaktmas. He left the Dalle's and 
went to the Yakima camp to Investigate the Indian murders of the summer 
of 18BB, and returning was shot by the Indians from behind, dragged fiom 
his horse, scalped and his body partly burned. See Bancroft's History of 
Washington, Idaho and Montana, p. 109, p. 119. 

lOIn the attack on the Dalles by the Yakima or Klickitat Indians on 
March 26th, 1868, the settlers took refuge in Bradford's store; a chance 
shot through the open door killed James Sinclair, who was then at the 
Dalles. See Bancroft's History of Washington, Idaho and Montana, p. 140. 



200 John V. Campbell 

flint were one skin. All the lead came in the shape of bullets; it took 
25 to make a pound. Three pounds of sugar was counted a skin. 

After leaving Oregon, I again went to Colville and hired to the 
Hudson Bay Company and remained there for several years. 

I was born at Fort Dumorgan, in the Peace River Country. ' My 
father was a Scotchman from Perth, Scotland; my mother a half 
breed, half French and half Indian, her maiden name was Elizabeth 
McGilvrary of Peace River, Canada. I was raised on the Peace 
River about two miles below Upper Fort Garry of the Hudson Bay 
company, Manitoba, Canada, and lived there until I started for the 
West in 1854. 

In 1856 when I went to Colville, a family by the name of White- 
ford accompanied me; when I passed by the old Whitman station 
everything was in ashes, a party of hostiles having looted and burned 
the place. During the summer of 1857 I worked for some of the 
settlers in the Colville Valley. When I went back to the Dalles, 
in 1857, I carried down some mail for Mr. John Owens, who was 
then Indian Agent for the Flatheads Agency in Montana, and who 
had come to Colville and who could not get down to Oregon, as the 
Indians were still hostile in the Walla Walla valley. He hired a 
half breed by the name of George Martins, who accompanied me down 
to the Dalles. 

In 1859 when I left Colville I continued down to Oregon City 
and visited my sister there, Mrs. James Sinclair. In the fall of 1859 
when I returned to Colville I went to work on the Boundary line 
survey in the Kootenay Country; we worked summers and wintered 
at Colville. In the spring of 1860 I bought a small place and 
went to farming. I took a half breed woman for a wife named Louisa 
Burland. I remained on this farm for two years, when I was again 
hired by the Hudson Bay Company to go among the Kootenai In- 
dians in the Tobacco Plains. I had two boys by my wife, but they 
are both dead. 

I accompanied Major Logenbeet's (?) command from Walla 
Walla when the U. S. Government started to build the Fort at Col- 
ville. I think that there were two companies of soldiers that went 
up there at that time. The Indians did not like to see them coming 
into the Colville Valley, but they cooled down when the Major told 
them that he meant to stay and that he meant to see that they kept 
straight. At that time the town was started building on the opposite 
side of the creek from where the garrison were building the fort; I 
think that the little town was named Pinckney City. There were 



To Spokane in 1854 201 

three stores and one hotel, there was also a brewery owned by two 
partners, one named Shaw and the other named Hostitor, and several 
saloons. There was a saw mill further up the valley built and owned 
by one Douglas. The mill had been built the year previous to the 
erection of the post and the town, and lumber for both were pro- 
cured there. Mr. Douglas about that time built a flour mill near his 
saw mill and this mill was the second grist mill in the country; the 
Hudson Bay Company had built the first mill at what is now called 
Meyer's Falls, South of their trading post, about 5 or 6 miles. 

I did not attend the Catholic Church myself, but the English 
or Episcopal Church; but there was not any other church but the 
Catholic Church in that country at that time. 

I never saw but one of the Herons, George Heron, a descend- 
ant of one of the old pioneer fur traders. I did not ever remain long 
in one place. I was pretty much like a rolling stone, and was 
very fond of hunting and fishing and trapping. 

It is a hard matter to recall all the happenings and I have no 
doubt I will recall some other things after this reaches you. My sight 
is getting very dim now and I cannot keep to the lines. Getting 
old, you know. I am 88 years of age now and do not use glasses. 

John V. CampbbiO'.