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THE CHILDREN of FORT LANGLEY


This suite of pages has now moved to http://www.fortlangley.ca/ and is still best viewed with Internet Exploder at a resolution of 800 X 600.  

All links on this page now point to the new site.  

Please update your Favorites/Bookmarks because this page is coming down by Christmas 2002.

Thank you.


Between 1827 and 1895, approximately 108 men worked for the Hudson's Bay Company at Fort Langley in British Columbia, Canada.  

The Children of Fort Langley are the descendants of these men and their wives, and we would like to dedicate this web site to our ancestors:

Please Note

The names that appear in italics are the men who were with the twenty-five man founding party who left Fort Vancouver on 27 June 1827.

The names of the Native wives are presented as they were recorded; their surnames reflect the name of the band or tribe from which they came.

A comprehensive site directory can be found further down this page.

 

Why "The Children of Fort Langley"?

Every so often a visitor to the Fort Langley National Historic Site of Canada will ask a staff member, "Do you have any information on my ancestor?" -- or -- "Is there an association or group related to the descendants of the men of Fort Langley?"

In the past, the most common answer was, "Unfortunately we don't" -- though in all fairness it should be noted that Fort Langley was burnt to the ground in 1840, and many of the fort's records have been lost.  However, on March 22, 2000, there was a new answer:

"Check with The Children of Fort Langley."

With the help and kind permission of the Hudson's Bay Company Archives, we are collecting and sharing genealogical information on Fort Langley's employees, much of which is courtesy of the Hudson's Bay Company Archives (we couldn't do this without you, guys. Much thanks!).  Copies of your ancestor's employment record -- and any other information they may have -- can be ordered from the HBCA, through their web site or via email at hbca@gov.mb.ca.  Provide as much info as you can and please bear in mind that any vital information on your ancestor's employee record is only as accurate as your ancestor gave it when he signed on.

Information that isn't held by the Hudson's Bay Company Archives, or other credited sources, is the property of the descendants of the employees.  Just as we make every effort to quote our sources, please quote yours -- and make a note of who complied any information that you find useful.  And if you have information we don't, please think about sharing and helping our circle grow.

As our research progresses, we are finding that more and more of the men become related to each other through the marriage of their Fort Langley-born children -- besides those who were related to each other before they arrived at Fort Langley.  If you are a descendent and we haven't heard from you yet, we'd like to hear your story.  It might lead to finding that crucial missing link in your genealogy research . . . and new cousins.

The Children of Fort Langley exists to honor the past by sharing genealogical information in hopes of adding flesh and blood to the bones and ligaments of the journals and documents left behind by the prominent men of Fort Langley.  Help us preserve the past.

What does Fort Langley's family tree look like? 

We know what the fort itself looked like in 1828 from a description written by Archibald McDonald.  We have a little info on the expeditions that led to the founding of Fort Langley.  And we know that Fort Langley was the birth place of British Columbia, but where are the descendants of those history makers?  We, as the descendants of those men -- and their women -- are a living part of that history.  Were it not for Fort Langley, we would not exist -- at least not as the people we are now.

Who were the men who worked at Fort Langley?

Between 1827 and 1895 approximately 108 men worked at Fort Langley.  Though it doesn't say on the list of the original twenty-five men, many of these men did the heavy grunt work necessary for creating a place to live and work in the wilderness.

"Wilderness" is a subjective term.

The area around Fort Langley -- from the local point of view --was not "wilderness".

For some, it was their summer home, for others it was their winter home, for yet others it was rich hunting and fishing territory, and used as such for many many generations.  The Fort Langley Journal lists the different Nations, some of whom were friends, some of whom were trading allies, and others who were enemies, and it was from among the friends and trading allies that the men of Fort Langley took their wives -- particularly the Kwantlen Nation, who moved up next to the fort for the protection it offered them from their more assertive neighbors.

According to the available information, no wives accompanied the first twenty-five men.  In the first couple years the men fraternized with the local women in a nonchalant -- and noncommittal -- fashion.  However, when Archibald MacDonald arrived to take charge in October of 1828, he changed this, insisting that the men make some sort of commitment to the women they associated with and sent a report back to HBC headquarters detailing the changes he made, including a list of the current employees and their families.

However, after the fashion of the era, the record keepers were more concerned with keeping track of the men.  The names of their wives were not as diligently recorded.  Some names were recorded in parish records, some were not.  Some were passed down through the generations, often as only a single name, while the identities of just as many more of these women were lost to Time.  However, without the women, there would be no descendants.

Who were the women?

Because the women were an integral part of of creating descendants, we are striving to identify all of the wives beyond that most common and cryptic notation "A Native Woman".  It isn't easy.  

During the 1800s and into well into the 1900s, there was social stigma attached to anyone with Native ancestry.  A prime example of the sentiment of the time is contained in a letter found at the BC Archives (MS 0182 - Yale or Reel # A01658). It's referenced as 'no 11,' a letter to James Murray Yale from a friend, Mary Julia Mechtler.  On page 2, she writes:  (GRIT YOUR TEETH BEFORE READING!  And as you grit those teeth, please be aware that The Children of Fort Langley do not in any way shape or form agree with Ms Mechtler.)

"Continue to keep your good resolutions of not taking an Indian wife, on account of yourself as well as of the dreadful fate that generally awaits the Bois Brule offspring of such a connection.  Reflect what every man owes himself.  What apology can a white man make to his children for mixing and polluting his pure blood with that of a savage.  How dare such a person pretend to principle and feeling!  Fie upon him for a selfish monster!  I hope, my dear James, you will never have such a reproach to make to your conscience."

We know that Yale did NOT heed her advice, though he was a troubled man.  Perhaps her words ringing in his ears made him so.  Little did Mary Julia Mechtler know that her heavily written and passionate words would help us understand why some of our parents' and grandparents' generations tried so hard to keep their native heritage a secret.

So, what do you do if you find that one -- or more -- of your ancestors was a woman from one of the many First Nations bands in the Fort Langley area?

Two words: Alice Marwood

Alice is a consultant for the Sto:lo Nation, and she says:

The Sto:lo Nation Family Tree contains well over 17,700 names and is continually growing.  If you want a family tree you don't have to start from scratch, it is probable that many of your family are all ready entered.  The tree has been documented from family knowledge collected over many years, from church records, census records, band lists, obituaries, published sources, etc.

There is no charge for Sto:lo Nation members, non members are charged $25.00 per hour.

Most family searches take less than two hours.

Alice Marwood
604-824-1570
email
amarwood@imag.net

 

Many of the Fort Langley descendents are included in their family tree database, so the missing piece to your family puzzle could be in the Sto:olo family tree database.

Now, it should be noted that not all of the wives were from the Fort Langley area -- a few were from around the Fort Vancouver/mouth of the Columbia River in what is now southern Washington state and northern Oregon, a few from other forts scattered throughout the Hudson's Bay Company's network of fur posts -- but enough were from the area adjacent to Fort Langley that Alice's services could prove to be invaluable to some of us.  (Thank you, Alice.)


For those of you who haven't introduced yourselves yet, drop us a line and let us know who you are.  Let's see just how many of us we can get together this year.  The dates in August 2002 are Saturday the the 3rd, Sunday the 4th, and Monday the 5th.

If you'd like to see if any of your British Columbian ancestors worked at Fort Langley, please check out the Employees' page by >clicking here<, as well as the list of the First 25 by >clicking here<.

The only cost involved for the Descendant's Reunion during Brigade Days will be daily admission.  The cost is nominal, only $4 for adults, $3 for seniors over 65, $2 for youth aged 6-16, and free for children 5 and under, for each day you attend. (We'll try to keep the admission info up-to-date, but just to be sure, check the fort's web site.)

Fort Langley Brigade is held every year during the first weekend in August.  To see how the 2001 descendants' reunion went, >click here<.

For where Fort Langley is exactly, please see A Cyber Tour of Fort Langley for a map of the general area around Fort Langley.


It is complete!

The Children of Fort Langley proudly present for your reading and researching pleasure:

The Langley Story Illustrated

by Donald E. Waite

Please note: Though out-of-print, The Langley Story Illustrated is a copyrighted work and is presented here by special permission from the author in the hopes of correcting inaccuracies present in the 1977 edition.  Contact info for Mr. Waite can be found on the front page of this html version of The Langley Story Illustrated.


The Comprehensive Site Directory

Contact Information:  If we have information on any of the Hudson's Bay Company men and/or their wives, there will be a link on his name.  Just click on his name and you will be taken to his individual page.  This is where we have the contact information; if there is no contact person, we probably don't have one -- yet -- but you never know.  Don't be afraid to ask questions.

PLEASE NOTE:  Information presented on any of these pages is the property of the person who sent it in unless otherwise specified; any instance of copyright infringement is unintentional.  In the case of copyright infringement, please notify the webmistress.  Thank you.

If you do not see underlined text in the below directory, simply click on the first word in each paragraph to go to the described page.

Archibald McDonald's Report 25 February 1830:  a list of the current employees and their families another exerpt from Archibald McDonald's 25 February 1830 Report, with the names and marital status of each man who was employed at Fort Langley as of 25 February 1830. HomeComing 2001:  You've read about it, now see it.  The first reunion of The Children of Fort Langley, held on the 4, 5 and 6 of August 2001, was -- according to those who attended -- a whole lot of fun.

A graphic-heavy page.

A Cyber-tour of the Fort Langley National Historic Site of Canada: In June of 2000, our webmistress and her brother went to Fort Langley and through their pictures, we present this pictorial tour of the Fort.  Soon to be updated to show the new Events Building, where the C of FL held their 2001 reunion. The Local Folks (First Nations and Native American):  the different Nations shows a portion of McDonald's Report To The Governor and Council, 25 February 1830, in which Archibald describes the local folks who interacted with Fort Langley and the names that were used then to designate.  We hope to one day present their sides of the Fort Langley story here.
The Employees:  108 men takes you to the list of employees who worked at Fort Langley between 1827 and 1895, as was compiled by BC historian Bruce Watson.  Information includes place of origin (if known), position, and years of employment.  Surnames are presented as they came from the Hudson's Bay Company archives. Period Clothing 101 Ever wonder how those reenactors and historically dressed interpretive guides know how to dress?  Want to put together a period correct wardrobe?  Interested in getting into period reenactment?  Period Clothing 101 gets you pointed in the right direction.  Links to resource sites.
The First Twenty-five:  the twenty-five man founding party, and the list of the original twenty-five men both take you to the page that shows a listing of the twenty-five founding party, as it appears in Morag MacLachlan's Fort Langley: 1827-30 Queries:  There have been queries left in our Journal that, while not being connected with anyone at Fort Langley, are connected to the Fur Trade.  Check out our Queries page to find out who they are.
The Fort:  little info  Takes you to a page that talks about the events leading up to the founding of Fort Langley: the 42 man party who set out from Fort Vancouver in November of 1824 to explore the Puget Sound and Fraser River, and how that expedition led to the founding of Fort Langley. Recommended Reading, References, and Links:  When you click on added here, you'll find book titles and reference material that many of us have used in our genealogical research, along with links to some other forts in Canada and the US.  Additions to this list are heartily welcome and encouraged.
Fur Trade Fort Links:  Fort Vancouver was the first, followed by Fort Langley, and many other fur trade forts along the Pacific Slope.  This contains links to the other fur forts in what was once called The Columbia District, Oregon Territory, and/or Washington Territory.  Some of these forts have their own brigade days celebrations, the details of which can be found on their web sites.

Come learn about the pre-history of the Pacific Slope; find out what isn't commonly known about our history.

If you know of a fur trade fort web site that isn't on this page, drop us a line and let us know.

St George's Anglican Cemetery and the Old Pioneer Cemetery:  St George's Anglican Church  Bob and Sheila Puls are writing a book to commemorate the 100th birthday of St George's Anglican Church in Fort Langley, British Columbia, Canada, in October of 2001.  

One chapter of this book will be devoted to the those Fort Langley folks who are buried in the old Pioneer Cemetery which in on the grounds of St George's.  Though the cemetery records and fort journals from the pertinent time period that say just who all is there have gone missing, Bob and Sheila are seeking help in determining who is really there.  If you can help let us know.


If you have any suggestions, drop us some email or sign our journal (below) -- or do both.

If you see anything that disagrees with information you have, tell us about it.

If you have information on any of these men and/or their wives and/or families, that you believe will enhance this web site, please at least think about sharing.  There exists great potential here; it's possible and even probable that through our combined efforts we can paint the Fort Langley Family Tree with the bright bold colours in which it was lived.  At the very least we hope to present a balanced history.  Regretfully, we do not as of yet have enough information about our female ancestors to give them their own individual pages and the recognition they deserve but hope we would very much like to some day.  Now matter how you slice it, you can not have descendants without women.

Most of the early women were either First Nations or Native American.  The majority of their living descendants are of mixed-blood, many of whom know little to nothing about their foremothers.  Sometimes a name has been passed down, occasionally a rare photograph or two, and rarer yet, who these women were before being given Christian names and European clothing.

If you chose to share your family's story here, your information will remain your information, and the only person given credit for your work will be you.  If you have information that we don't, please consider sharing your information.  Because official records from this time period are so thin, we rely on descendants to help make this site grow and make these pages as accurate as is possible.

Thank you.

New information will be posted as it comes in.

Sign Our Journal Get your own FREE Guestbook from htmlGEAR Read Our Journal

Thank you for being one of them.

If you enjoyed this website get this gear!

IN THE WORKS

Our web mistress has gotten a copy of the Tanguay -- a book written by Father Cyprien Tanguay in the early 1800s, showing births, marriages and deaths of Québec families from the early 1600s through the late 1700s/early/1800s -- and is finding families that could be the forbearers of some of the men.  Not only is there a lot of information to go through, it is well known by established genealogists that the Tanguay contains some errors.  However, when she is done, the findings will be presented here.


The Children of Fort Langley site was nominated for the 2000 British Columbia History Web Site Prize, sponsored by the British Columbia History Internet/Web Site and the British Columbia HIstorical Federation.

The British Columbia History Internet/Web site -- found at http://victoria.tc.ca/Resources/bchistory.html -- has many wonderful resourses for those interested in BC history.

Check'em out.

The 
Canadian History Ring
This site is owned by:
Lisa Peppan
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This page updated: 26 November 2002

This website is another Shadowcat's Toybox creation.

Thank you, Mike Cleven.