History of the Hudson's Bay Company
English corporation formed in 1670, the Hudson's Bay Company's chief interests for its first two centuries were the fur trade, exploration and settlement. it is the oldest charted trading company in the world. The earliest H.B.C record in the archives is a minute books dating from 1671, all the minute books from that date to the present correspondence and accounts of more than five hundred H.B.C. trading (1688-1949), company ship logs original maps and plans, various journals of travel and head office in London in 1994 the Company donated the records to the Province of Manitoba. The appraised value of the records was nearly $60 million. In 1975 the records were open to the public. It’s archives were owned by the government of Manitoba and is administered as a division of the Provincial Archives of Manitoba in Winnipeg. You can view original records, access to some records is restricted for conservation reasons but are available on microfilm.
Since 1670 the Company controlled fully one-third of present-day Canadian territory. That area, designated Rupert’s Land, encompassed most of Northern Ontario and Northern Quebec, all of Manitoba, most of Saskatchewan, the southern half of Alberta and large portion of the Northwest Territories.
Control over this enormous domain was granted by Royal Charter, following the successful trade for beaver pelts with the Cree near James Bay. The company also had the power to establish laws and impose penalties for the infraction of the laws, to erect forts, to maintain ships of war and to make peace or war wit hthe natives.
The powerful rival of the H.B.C. was the North West Company, lead by Alexander Mackenzie and principally Scottish-Canadian traders from Montreal. In 1821, the two companies merged. After the union the company moved into land scales and retailing.
After the union of 1821, the work force had about 2,000 employees, which consisted of Officers clerks, and servants. The names of each individual were recorded in alphabetical order with information of what post they worked at during their employment. Some records include the name of their parent’s, wife and children and where and when they retired. Contracts were made for two, three, and five years.
- 1st year $250 per year
- 2nd year $300 per year
- 3rd year $350 per year
- 4th year $400 per year
- 5th year $500 per year
Positions that they held were, Junior Chief Traders, Chief Traders, Factors of Chief, Factors and Servants. Native people were hired as interpreters, guides, postmasters, and clerks. Postmasters were usually of Aboriginal ancestry and racial prejudice meant that they were not expected to rise any higher. Pensions were paid to employees as they retired.
Fraser Lake Post
The Fraser Lake Post was built in 1806 and closed in 1914. It was moved from Beaumont Park to Nadleh and the post burnt down once over the years. It opened and closed on several occasions, once it close because of the decline in the beaver population, in this case it was closed for six years.
The Fraser Lake Post Journals, Account Books, and Reports were some of the information that we read through.
Cecile Ketlo read through the Fraser Lake Post of Journals for the years 1822-1914. Some of the information written down was: Indian Name, Death dates and marriage dates of our people.
Some of the notes are:
- Feb 27,1889- John Sutherland’s wife, Annie died
- An Indian from Lac La Francois (Francois Lake) traded a cow and a calf with Ketlo for 70 Skins.
- April 1895- Ketlo died April 24,1895.
- Old Noskye died May 4, 1895.
- June 1894- Lower portion of village nearly submerged.
- August 13,1895- Isaac’s wife died.
- August 21,1896- Thomas’s child died.