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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.
188 John. V. Campbell
traveled very slowly, perhaps twenty miles a day at most and more
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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 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'.