Metis 1816 - 1817


1816 - 1817

General Cuthbert Grant, a Scottish Cree or Assiniboine Metis, is elected Canadian Captain General of the Metis Nation.

His Mandate is to drive out the British Hudson Bay Company.

The war between the Hudson Bay Company and the
North West Company is unprecedented.

Before the British Hudson Bay Company and the
British North West Company entered the fur trade
business, differences were resolved by negotiations
in the North West.


Tree ring analysis supports the observations of this being the year without a summer.

Dominique Finley, Metis, (1816-1886) born Spokane, Washington son Jacques Raphael (Jacko) Finlay, Metis (1768-1828) and Indian woman or could be the child of James Finlay, Metis, b-1794 or Thornburn Finlay, Metis, b-1795 or Bonhomme Finlay, Metis, (1795-1821) or Augustin (Yoostah) Finlay (1800-1883).

Hugh (Laird) McGillis (1767-1848) was arrested when the Selkirk outlaw army invaded Minnesota, taking him prisoner and deporting him to York (Toronto) where he was acquitted.

Duncan Graham, d-1847, joined Selkirks War with the Northwest Fur Company and the Metis of Red River by helping secure the trade in northern Minnesota from the N.W.C. He employed traders James Grant, b-1795 Metis, William Morrison, and Eustace Roussain for the trading season. Duncan considered the Yankton Dakota Sioux as ferocious savages, brutes who originated from the devil; who he believed was the great grandfather of them all.

Wisconsin officially became part of the U.S.A. North West Territories in 1787, but the Canadian fur traders effectively controlled the region until this year.

Bazil Hudon Beaulieu, Metis (1817-1893) son Paul Hudson Beaulieu (1787-1848+) and Wauneaussequa.

Prairie du Chien, birth Marguerite Domitelle Brisbois, metis daughter Michel Brisbois (1759-1837) and Domitelle Gauthier de Verville born 1781 Prairie du Chein.

Nancy Campbell, Metis born about 1816-1820 Upper Mississippi District daughter Duncan Campbell born 1802 and Dakota woman; 1st married Alfred Hudson, 2nd marriage Louis Larocque.

Duncan Campbell Jr., Metis born about 1816/17 Upper Mississippi District son Duncan Campbell born 1802 and Dakota woman; married Margaret.

(I)-Thomas Douglas (1771-1820) son Dunbar Douglas and Helen Hamilton with his army of Swiss and German soldiers from the de Meuron Regiment had wintered in Montreal.

Josette Laframboise daughter of Joseph Laframboise visited Mackinac and met Benjamin K Pierce, commander of Fort Mackinac. They married later this year.

Raymond Mastat, in 1846 claimed to have purchased a spot on the North Bank of St. Mary's River (Sault Ste Marie) from Bell who lived on it from this year.

The Perrault family, in 1846, claimed to have occupied the same spot on the North Bank of St. Mary's River (Sault Ste Marie) from 1816 to 1846.

Joseph Vivina Metis b-1816 Red River and both his parents were born Red River, which would be about 1796.

He married Mary Metis b-1821 N.W.T., living Fort Edmonton 1901.

The Northwest Fur Company built Fort Nez Perce a.k.a. Fort Walla Walla at the confluence of the Walla Walla and Columbia Rivers.

Pierre Bottineau, a French-Chippewa Metis, is born Red River (1816/17-1895) (some suggest he was born Grand Forks, North Dakota) son Joseph Charles Bottineau a French Huguenot from Boston and Margaret Clear-Sky an Ojibwa (1816-1851). This sounds like confusion between father and son? (others suggest Genevieve Laurance (His mother was Ojibwa and her father was a captured Dakota)). He grew up in the Red River region, learning to speak French, Dakota, Ojibwa, Cree, Mandan, Winnebago and English. He covered most of the North West and worked St Paul, Minnisota. He will eventually settle, and died 1895 Red Lake Falls, Minnesota. Eight children are recorded Daniel, Jean, Pierre, Genevieve, Rosalie, Marguerite, Leon and Elsie. Some of the confusion is because Pierre Bottineau grew up among his mothers People the Ojibwa. See 1810.

The American, General McComb, visited Sault Ste Marie and obtained a canoe from (I)-John Johnson (1762?-1828 or 1742-1830?) to go into Lake Superior. Upon reaching Point Aux Pins, the Ojibwa took great offence in McCombe's canoe flying the American flag. A shot is fired, just missing the General, and Leclair attempted to prevent further attacks upon the General. General McComb immediately ordered a retreat. It is noteworthy that the Ojibwa had served notice that they were a Sovereign Nation and had not been conquered.

The American's, as a result, develop a different tactic in dealing with the Ojibwa Nation.

This year started out poorly for the Hudson Bay Company as John Clarke in Athabasca, recklessly short of provisions and faced with the hostility of the dominant Canadians, lost sixteen men through starvation. John Clarke was also one of those men who practiced serial marriages, changing wives when he moved.

This year began, what some historians refer to as the Selkirk War, but is more properly an English War. Where tragedy and death were seen on a scale unprecedented in the fur trade. Where before, even the sternest competition and most violent intimidation had stopped short of killings, on any scale. General Cuthbert Grant (1793-1854), a Scottish Cree or Assiniboine Metis of the North West Company and the elected Canadian Captain General of the Metis Nation, had a mandate to drive out the foreign British Hudson Bay Company. On May 8, 1816, at Grande Rapids, the Hudson Bay man, Colin Robertson, and his five boat loads of men became prisoners of war. Robertson was considered a man of imagination- acid, partisan, full of silly boasting and egotism. General Cuthbert Grant (1793-1854) escorts the Robertson contingent to prison at Fort William, Lake Superior. The Saskatchewan River blockade stopped and searched every British craft, taking all foreign officers to Fort William. British commerce completely stopped on the Saskatchewan River.

Never was the Hudson Bay Company danger so great. William Shaw is collecting all the Half-breeds and has ordered them to prepare the field. God only knows the result.

The 1835 census lists Louis Godreau born 1816 Red River Lands with wife and no children. This 1835 census also lists Louis Goudreau born 1816 Native (Red River Land) who is married, no children, and living with the Parenteau family.

The American Fur Company assumed most of the South West Fur Companies business south and west of the Great Lakes, the upper Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. They established a facility at Sault Ste Marie called the St. Mary's Outfit.

Frontenac, the first steamship on Lake Ontario, went into service. The American Government passed a law that only licensed American traders are to trade south of Lake Superior. The aggressive American Fur Company, by the end of the year, forced the Canadian traders from all of their old trading posts in Minnesota. Those Canadian Traders in Michigan and Minnesota who wished to remain in business, became American citizens and joined the American Fur Company, or went to Pembina on the Red River or other points west. On June 7, the Columbia District of Canada is divided into two parts. James Keith, (1784-1851), a North West Company partner, is in charge of Fort George and the Coastal District. Donald McKenzie (1783-1851) is in charge of the Inland District. He returned to the Columbia River and formed the Snake River Hunting Brigade that included a number of Iroquois, Abanakees and Hawaiians.

The schooner 'Invincible' is lost on Whitepoint, Lake Superior.

Donald McIntosh (1773-?), son of John McIntosh, Donald, a partner of the North West Company, took charge of Fort Michipicoten. (I)-Thomas Douglas (1771-1820) of Red River had him arrested this year. (II)-Miles Macdonell (1767-1828) of the H.B.C. complained that the North West Company was most severe upon him whilst he was their prisoner, but in McIntosh's opinion, not more so than he richly deserves.

Selkirk's Swiss mercenaries, named the de Meuron regiment, are disbanded after the Selkirk war, and 353 officers and men stayed behind in Canada. Most were unused to the hardships of pioneer life and returned to Europe or left for the United States.

Fort Crawford is built on the Fox Indian mound at Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin.

March: The H.B.C. appeared to have two leaders at this time, Colin Robertson who in 1815 brought the refugees back to point Douglas, and Robert Semple who accompanied the most recent immigrants, neither man being very conciliatory. Robertson was holding Cameron as a prisoner, promising to take him to London to face charges. Semple dismantled Fort Gibraltar and floated the logs down river to reinforce Fort Douglas. Both actions were considered inflammatory by the Half-breeds and Metis.

April: The bishop of Quebec has been considering sending two priests to visit Lake Superior and Lake La Plue (Rainy Lake) this season to attend to the needs of the returning North West Company men. He was advised that the majority of Red River, at this time, are not in the service of the North West Company, nor in any other company, and they also require servicing.

June: This month saw snow in many places in Eastern America. Some locations, during the blizzard, received twenty inches of snow, and the killing frost destroyed crops. Mount Tambora in Java had erupted on April 15, 1815, covering the earth with ash and causing a world wide drop in temperature. People recalled this year as the year without a summer.

June 1: Cuthbert Grant led 49 Half-breeds, including Pierre Falcon, across the river, attacking and taking Brandon House. They raised their flag, a horizontal figure eight (8) on a blue field. The demanded that Fidler open the stores. When he refused, they broke the door and plundered the warehouse, confiscating the horses.

June: James Grant, b-1795 sends Morrison and Eustace Roussain; at the head of assembled Ojibwa warriors and Metis, to Rainy Lake and the Red River against the Selkirk supporters, as was ordered by the N.W.C.'s McLeod, Henry and McLoughlin.

June 30: Mackinac Notary Book 1806-1818 recorded that P. Rocheblave sent Joseph Daneau & Francois Surprenant for three years into the North West.

July 1: Mackinac Notary Book 1806-1818 recorded that P. Rocheblave sent Oliver Desjerdains for three years into the North West.

July 18: Mackinac Notary Book 1806-1818 recorded that Joseph & John sent John B. Yoph to the Prairie.

July 31: Mackinac Notary Book 1806-1818 recorded that Joseph St. Jean sent Jacques Laurant to the Prairie.

July 31: Mackinac Notary Book 1806-1818 recorded that D. Graham sent Baptiste Yoph to Red River.

July 31: Mackinac Notary Book 1806-1818 recorded that Louis Marneau (possible Garneau???) posted Alexis Lavalle to Mackinac.

June 19: At Frog Plains, Red River the battle of seven oaks occurred when a contingent of twenty five (or 27) British invaders from the Fort foolishly attacked (some say challenged) Metis General Cuthbert Grant's Canadian Mounted Cavalry. This Canadian contingent included: Michael Bourassa, Antoine Houle, four Natives, six retired French Canadians and fifty two Metis. The battle lasted a matter of minutes. The encounter resulted in the death of one Metis and twenty British men, including British Governor Robert Simple. Six of the British contingent survived to fight another day. The Metis Nation again cleared all British squatters and settled into a siege mentality. A number of captured Canadian regulars were later taken to Fort York, charged with murdering Simple, and were then acquitted. On

June 21, the majority of the British H.B.C Red River settlement had abandoned the colony, being given an escort by General Cuthbert for a safe departure. Some had moved south to the St. Paul region to avoid the conflict. Fort Douglas was turned over to Archibald McLellan as commander. Pierre Falcon rode with General Grant and recorded this account of the incident: The Bois Brules arrived Frog Plain taking three prisoners from Orkney who came to rob our country. The English are coming to attack us. We surrounded the band of grenadiers.

They are immoble! They are horseless! We have acted honourably. We sent an ambassador. Governor, could you spare us a moment? We want to talk to you. The Governor, enraged, tells his soldiers to fire! The English fired the first shot. The Governor behaving like an Emperor, Acts cruelly. Having seen the Bois-Brules go by, He tries to frighten us. He made a mistake; he got himself and many of his grenadiers killed. We killed nearly all his men. Only 4-5 escaped. From mound to mound the English were falling, the Bois Brules were shouting for joy. Let us sing to the glory of all the Bois Brules (Metis)! Many H.B.C. settlers long remembered the deadly skill of the Metis gunmanship vs. the English's pitiful showing.

July 19: Mackinac Notary Book 1806-1818 recorded that Peter Grignon & R. Grignon engaged a party to Green Bay

July 30: Mackinac Notary Book 1806-1818 recorded that David Graham engaged John Yoph to winter Red River.

September 9: Selkirk's army captured James Grant (b-1795), his clerks Morrison and Roussain and Metis at the Sandy Lake Post. Grant Roussain and Morrison are taken as prisoners to Fort William, which Selkirks army had previously taken.

October: James Grant (b-1795) escapes captivity at Sault Ste Marie and goes to Washington to complain to the U.S. Government of the Selkirk rebels being on American soil.

October 30: A Commission of Inquiry is appointed to mediate between the North West Company, the Hudson Bay Company and Selkirk. William Coltman and Jogn Fletcher are appointed Commissioners.

December 16: Morrison and Roussain arrive back at Fond du Lac where Morrison takes charge of the Fond du Lac Department..


The Scots brought violence into the fur trade business. The Scots reveled in injustice and corrupt practices. The Scot run North West Company is rooted in violence and intimidation during this period. So reports William Coltman in 1817.

The North West Company, some time prior to this date, established a trading post at Batchawana Bay on the north shore of Lake Superior, about 25 miles north of Sault Ste Marie. Some reasoned it was because their post at Sault Ste Marie had been put to the torch in the war of 1812.

Guillaume Deau is a guide for the North West Company on Lake Huron.

Bonaparte Finley, Metis, (1817-1860) born Spokane, Washington son Jacques Raphael (Jacko) Finlay, Metis (1768-1828) and Indian woman or could be the child of James Finlay, Metis, b-1794 or Thornburn Finlay, Metis, b-1795 or Bonhomme Finlay, Metis, (1795-1821) or Augustin (Yoostah) Finlay (1800-1883).

Joseph Mercredi, Metis, is born at an unknown location but spent most of his life in the Athabasca Region.

Polygamy is on the decline among the Hudson Bay Company employees and Thomas Vincent's first wife objects to his second marriage.

The rebel, (I)-Thomas Douglas (1771-1820), commanding his Swiss and German army, took Fort William, releasing the Canadian/British prisoners of war, Jean Baptist Lagimodiere, Colin Robertson, and company. The army then marched on taking Fort Douglas on January 10, 1817. The Scots, who previously retreated to Norway house, return to the Metis Red River Territory. This rebel European army camped on the east side of the Red River, near the mouth of the Assiniboine River. Eventually, slow moving Canadian Law would catch up to the Scottish criminal, (I)-Thomas Douglas of Selkirk (1771-1820).

Madame Laframboise dit Marcotte, a successful Metis fur trader of Makinac, departed for Montreal with her Indian crew to bring her furs to market. She always wore traditional Indian clothing.

Joseph Larocque of the Northwest Company led 40 men mostly Iroquois into the Northwest to trade.

(I)-Thomas Douglas of Selkirk (1771-1820) addressing his Hudson Bay Camp north of the Metis Red River Colony of the North. It was half way between the mouth of the Red River and the Red River Metis Town and was known as Selkirk's Town.

Chief Peguis of the Ojibwa is rebuked by Bostonnais Pangman, spokesperson for the Metis, for ignoring the fact, in treaty signing, that the Metis had as much claim to the land as the Cree and Ojibwa, and impling the Metis might eradicate the Ojibwa from the region. This would be a very weak threat, as the Metis were deeply intertwined through marriage with the Ojibwa over the past two hundred years.

Regardless of the shortcomings of the treaty, the real beginning of the Red River Colony should be marked from this date, and the prior colony should be referred to as the H.B.C. colony of the Red River.

The treaty promised ammunition, tobacco and provisions. The alleged treaty remains unconsummated due to lack of payment. The pretext is that the Natives had a hand in the recent murder of a Sioux at Fort Garry. There can be no doubt that neither the British, by first right of possession, nor money-master (I)-Thomas Douglas (1771-1820), by treaty, legally acquired the Metis Nation. (I)-Thomas Douglas (1771-1820) and the British issued land claims to Scottish squatters which were marked out in river front lots, three to ten chains in width, consistent with the French system of the past forty years in the region. The English would later challenge the Metis river lot system with no regard to the Scottish, French or British-Hudson Bay Company common law president. The English are notorious for changing the rules of the game, during play, to their advantage.

Red River Metis Settlement

This is a drawing of a small section of the Red River Metis settlement. It is noteworthy that when there is a reference to Red River, it covered the whole region from Pembina to Lake Winnipeg.

Due to the warring factions, the people are late in sowing grain in the Red River Territory. The little grain which was sown was damaged by early frost. Many Scots joined the buffalo hunt to avoid consuming what little seed they had for next year. Selkirk, after being badgered by the squatters, set aside two pieces of land for a church and school, but had no intentions of following through on his promise in Sutherlandshire to provide a Presbyterian Clergyman who would speak Gaelic.

The settlers, however, built a church next year. The Ojibwa, due to pressure, gave up all their lands in Ohio this year. Most of this proud Nation was now on lands west and north of the Mississippi. They still held north west Ontario, Lake Superior and Lake Michigan but were slowly losing lake Huron.

The village of Birsay (Orkney Town), Red River contained mostly the Orknay Freeman of the H.B.C. Peter Fidler suggested they were servants who had been dismissed from service for various misdemeanors and acts of insubordination. As examples, John Lyons was set free in August of 1816 for refusing to accompany James Inkster on a trip to the Indian Elbow on the upper Assiniboine; Humphrey Favel was set free on account of his bad behaviour to John McLeod at Red River in 1815; Tom Favel was released because of his refusal to go with Fidler to Jack River at the northern end of Lake Winnipeg; Magnus Spence, in service since 1783, became free in 1815. Jack Spence, son of Magnus Spence, was sent to explore Red River for possible sites for an Orkney Colony. He selected the Birsay site, three miles above the White Horse Plain, or twenty-two miles above the forks.

The fifth President of the United States, Monroe, takes office and stays until 1825. One of his decedents claimed to have married a Richard Garneau. President Monroe, however, had no known male decedents and if this claim is valid, then it was outside marriage.

The North West Company dragged a schooner over St. Mary's rapids into Lake Superior. John Clarke returned to the scene of his infamous ordeal of the winter of 1815-1815 in the Athabasca. He is arrested three times, but manages to retain his foothold in Athabasca until reinforcements arrive next year.

Alexis Bailly, a trader, brought 60 voyageurs from Montreal to the mouth of St. Peters, later called the Minnesota River, to create Mendotta, Minnesota.

A French ship at Nootka Sound, Vancouver Island received a report that 4 Americans are living at Tchinouk (Chinook) behind Cape Flattery and three are named Clark, Kean and Lewis. Some suggest this is a confused report of the Louis and Clark expedition.

Andre Lachadelle and Louis Pighette du Dupre are two of 18 trappers who arrived in Astoria (Fort George) Oregon, Territory, 7 died on the way.

February 10: Fort Fraser, New Caledonia birth Sally Harmon Metis died May 24, 1843 Shelburne, Vermont, daughter Daniel Williams Harmon born February 19, 1778 Bennington, Vermont died April 1843 Sault au Recollets, Quebec and Lizzette Laval (Duval) Metis born 1790 Rocky Mountain House died February 12, 1861 Sault au Recollet, Quebec.

July : Ross Cox retired from the fur trade in Oregon Territory and met Tom McKay from Red River on his way to Oregon.

July 12: John Ridout (1799-1817) died as a result of a duel with Samuel Petrus Jarvis in Toronto.

Francois Lacrois (Lacroix), the son of a slave, is recorded at Mackinac. Mrs. John Dousman is also recorded at Mackinac.

July 18: (I)-Thomas Douglas (1771-1820), or the money-master as the Natives called him, backed by his rebel army, signed a Red River treaty with the Cree and Ojibwa for good conduct and for use (loan) of Indian lands.

Those who signed at the Metis Red River, what the English consider as lands on the Red River and Assiniboine Rivers, were: Selkirk, Thomas Thomas, James Bird, F Matthey, P.D. Orsonnios, Miles McDonnell, Jean Baptiste Chs DeLorimer, Louis Nolin (interpretor) Matchie Whewab Le Sonnant, Mechkadettinnah La Robe Noire, Kataguskebinoa L'Homme Noir, Pegwiss, Ouckidoat and Premier. The British say the inclusion of the Ojibwa in the treaty infuriated the Cree. The British contend that the Ojibwa are latecomers to the region, brought here by the Canadian North West Company some thirty years ago. This was an intentional British tactic to turn the Native brothers against the Metis and Nor'wester. There doesn't appear to be any basis for this comment other than trouble making. It is noteworthy that the Cree are also late comers to this region and that the former peoples were the Blackfoot. The Snake People (English) had extensively documented the displacement of the Cree by the Ojibwa in northern Ontario. They knew very well that both people had arrived at Red River about the same time, and that the English intent was to cause trouble between the related clans.