[This commentary is the result of the writer's attempt to assemble a more detailed account than is currently available concerning the life of Andrew McDermot of Red River, an influential merchant and one of the founders of the Red River Settlement in the early nineteenth century. Research in the Manitoba Historical Society, Manitoba Archives, Hudson Bay Company Archives, Manitoba Legislative Library, texts, and interviews with descendants of McDermot have allowed the writer to gain a sense of his character, through the material surrounding certain events in McDermot's life and patterns which recur and evolve over his lifetime. Although history has been the subject, theatre has been the writer's principal occupation, and it is the latter which he brings to bear on the former. Naturally, then, the commentary is essentially an interpretation of the material encountered by the writer. The Chronology is the record from which the assumptions are made and the interpretation constructed. It is included as a reference and can be viewed as a very large footnote.] Brian Richardson

I The many descendants of Andrew Myles McDermot can feel free to claim lineage from several noble Gaelic families. After all, he did; legitimately too. Of course, such lineage was of little advantage in an Ireland under the penalizing English rule of the eighteenth century. Particularly so if one's family was Catholic. Some of the old Gaelic families had converted to Protestantism to preserve their hold on land and rank. Those who did not, which was most of the population, had their Gaelic language outlawed, their religion proscribed, their right to own land removed, and no horse they owned could exceed five pounds sterling value. When Andrew was born in 1789 the island had been under the laws enacted by the Parliament in England during the reign of William of Orange - against the King's advice - to penalise the Irish for taking the side of King James (William's father-in-law) in the struggle for the British Crown in 1690. William's dilemma was that although he ruled jointly with his wife he did so by the grace of a Protestant Parliament. Over the following century the laws were not always applied universally and went through different phases of severity according to the tides of the times.

There is some question as to whether Andrew McDermot's branch of Clan McDermot was holding land at the time of his birth, depending on which biographical notes one encounters. Judging by the general application of the Penal Laws it was unlikely that this branch of the McDermots did hold much, if any, of their old property. Primarily the holdings had been reduced to the estate of Coolavin. Miles, Andrew's father, held the title, Prince of Coolavin,1 which was his right in his position in the McDermot Roe clan; and clanship still counted in Ireland on an underground level, just below the vision of the conquerors who were suppressing their culture. The title of Prince of Coolavin refers to a house and lands in a neighbouring county to Roscommon. Andrew, who was not the oldest son, was born in Bellengare House. In some instances the address of his birthplace appears to be in the county capital, as Bellengare House, Castlerea, Co. Roscommon; and in some accounts as Bellengare, County Roscommon. The latter seems more likely, as it was the home of Charles O'Connor, the father of Andrew's mother, Kitty O'Connor (Catherine), and apparently Miles and family resided with his father-in-law for a time.

The McDermots may have retained some position under English rule because of a former acceptance of title from Elizabeth I for the lands the clan held. However, the fact that Andrew was "hedge school" educated implies that the family did not have access to the schools the landed, Protestant, Anglo-Irish gentry attended and, by extension, were no longer landholders. The Hedge Schools were illegal gatherings to educate the population under the guidance of a teacher. Some were landlord tolerated, as not all of this class were uncaring about their tenants. The Christian Brothers and the Presentation Brothers were founded by Ignatius Wright during this period to train teachers for the task of conducting such schools and, of course, keeping "The Faith" alive in Ireland. Not only children, but adults, attended wherever these gatherings occurred. Sometimes concealed by hedges, sometimes in barns, anywhere out of sight of the authorities, people learned Greek, Latin, Mathematics, and other academic subjects. Towns as well as countryside fostered such underground instruction. The level of learning varied according to the abilities and knowledge of the teacher, but in general a large portion of the population, which had been deliberately reduced to poverty, had a reasonable degree of education. Andrew Myles McDermot appears to have been prepared to make his way with the skills learnt in this underground system. The trouble being that it was improbable that a Catholic in Ireland would be hired to fulfill such a position requiring these skills.

There had been an attempt, earlier in the century, to establish an independent Irish Parliament. It was comprised, naturally enough, of landholders and other members of the Protestant Ascendancy who wished to have some say in the governance of the land where they lived. To the peasantry there was a glimmer of hope while this Parliament was out of the grip of Westminster. There had been some evidence that this particular Dublin Parliament would lessen their oppression. London jealously subverted its move in that direction, preferring to keep Ireland tightly bound to the United Kingdom's heavy handed rule.

The discontent, which Grattan's Parliament (named after it's principal proponent) had begun to dispel, returned more keenly, and rapidly, once that body was clearly returned to oppressive tactics. It also rankled the more liberal Protestant supporters of the Irish Parliament who had begun a movement they called the United Irishmen, identifying themselves with the cause of a nation comprised of all classes and religions of Irish men and women. Several of the influential men of this group became officers in the army of France and actually persuaded the Revolutionary rulers of France to supply some ships and soldiers to support the popular rising. English Intelligence forewarned the authorities of the planned invasion. Deliberately heavy handed tactics were increased, in order to force the discontent to rise to such a degree it would erupt prematurely about the countryside. Before the French were properly organized, two popular risings were suppressed and the invasion occurred abortively, leading to the capture of the principal United Irishmen. Wolfe Tone, a Presbyterian serving in the French revolutionary army, was tried for treason and found guilty. Rather than have his cause, and self, dishonored by hanging he committed suicide in his cell. 2

The suppression of the two large risings was severe. Many families were destroyed if one of their number had been involved and villages were razed.. Waterford and Wexford were devastated, and in County Mayo severe reprisals were also imposed. The latter was the neighbouring county to Andrew McDermot's home and the boy of nine years would certainly have heard, if not seen, some of the punishment exacted from the population in the wake of the Rising of 1798. In spite of this severity, five years later there was another rising in 1803 in Dublin, which again was abortive. Andrew would have been aware of the very public hanging, drawing, and quartering of its principal proponent, Robert Emmet. Clearly, armed opposition to British authority was not a productive course.

II For a young, Catholic man in Ireland in the early part of the nineteenth century prospects were not promising. In casting about for some gainful employment, with a chance of promotion, Andrew would have to look beyond his native shores. The Hudson's Bay Company was offering positions in the "fur country" of North America. Andrew was recruited by Owen Keveney and signed on as a writer with the HBC and in 1812 set sail aboard the Robert Taylor from Sligo, the Irish port used by the company and one which also borders Roscommon. Another apprentice writer boarding at Sligo was John Bourke, whose family hailed from Mayo, and he and McDermot soon became friends, having a commonality of region, race, and religion in a heavily Scottish manned company.

The ship crossing was not particularly pleasant. The division between servants quarters and company officers was essentially a blanket. The rations the passengers were getting were poor, and the lower the rank the poorer the food. The Settlers sent by Lord Selkirk to farm the fur country were the lowest rank in the eyes of the company servants. Some of the settlers were becoming very discontented with their victuals. A petition was circulated, to which McDermot affixed his name, virtually demanding the ship's master improve the standard of the rations. A passenger mutiny was building.3 The Captain agreed to upgrade the food and the unrest shrank. It was unusual for a company employee of McDermot's position to sign with the lower ranks and it must have been reported when landfall was eventually made.

There appears to have been two distinct groups of settlers on board. The Irish group, primarily male, who were to construct the principal shelter for the first expedition, and the Scots, mostly from Kildonan parish, who were more mixed in age and gender. Each group spoke a divergent dialect of Gaelic; however, Andrew appears to have little trouble in picking up the Scots' "Gallic" from the settlers. There are some reports which claim he prevented a fight from breaking out between the Irish and the Scots company servants on board possibly because he could communicate with both groups. In the pecking order of the Empire in those days the Irish were at the bottom. Catholic (which to the Protestant mind was immediately suspect), suppressed, and oppressed, they fought back ferociously when pushed, and they were doubtlessly pushed by the better positioned Hebridean and Orcadian company servants.

The crossing in the cramped sailing ship lasted two months, so when they arrived at York Factory on August 26, 1816, many passengers may have felt that they never wanted to venture back across the Atlantic in such conditions. Of course, they were sailing into the prevailing winds and the waves would have been forceful upon the ship. How Andrew felt about the voyage we may never know, but, the fact is, he never did return to his fondly missed homeland.

Both McDermot and Bourke were assigned to Red River, the same destination as the settlers. Bourke, however, wintered at York Factory. Andrew was dispatched in a company yorkboat, arriving on Oct. 27, 1812 at Red River.4 One the other hand, the settlers faced a harsh and difficult journey without a lot of company support. [The officers of the HBC did not want the settlers there for the most part and only grudgingly gave them what assistance they were obliged to offer.] Although McDermot and Bourke had enough in common to be friends their characters were not similar, especially if one were to judge by Governor George Simpson's assessment of them some years later.5 It would seem that Andrew was socially adept and well liked. His ability with language would have been an asset too. Bourke seems to have been aggressive and inclined to be impetuous (or rash) in behaviour. That McDermot was assigned to Red River may have been influenced by the fact that he had managed to keep relative peace between factions on board the Robert Taylor, and won respect among the settlers by learning their dialect.

Business appears to have been Andrew's natural instinct. He only spent two years as a writer before moving up to trading. He claims to have been a handsome young man in those days, "with bright blue eyes and nice red hair".6 During his first year he would have witnessed the ineptitude of the colonists' governor, Miles McDonnell, and the horrific conditions his charges endured over their first prairie winter. They had to struggle through snow to Pembina with a shortage of food and a completely inappropriate quality of clothing to deal with a prairie winter. Much of this unpreparedness could be laid upon the governor. McDonnell betook himself south to a post at Pembina well in advance of the settlers and it was the Metis descendents of the rival NorthWest Company voyageurs, and some of the Native bands, who carried many of their children on horseback to Pembina, often raising fears among the settlers that these wild folk were stealing their bairns and that they would never see them again.

It was during this time that Jean Baptiste Lagimodiere 7was hired to hunt bison as food for the settlers. Although he had come out with the NorthWest company as a voyageur, his wife from Bas Canada had come with him, the first to do so. Marie-Anne Gaboury was the first white woman to live in the North West and she and Jean Baptiste were raising a family close to The Forks, where the Assiniboine River meets the Red River, when the Selkirk Settlers arrived. Evidently, Andrew met Lagimodiere at this juncture in the scope of his company position; future dealings between them would appear to be more business arrangements between acquaintances than friendship.

In 1813 McDermot was assigned to the post at Pigeon River. This was the time when the HBC was making a considerable effort to counter the expansive trade network of posts of the NorthWest Company (NWC). The NorWesters were based in Montreal and were dominated by Highland Scots, although there were partners of English, Welsh, and New England Yankee backgrounds as well. The fact that the company operated as a partnership, as opposed to a shareholder owned and Committee run company like the Hudson's Bay Company, meant that the trading partners had a greater stake in the success of the company. The NWC's disadvantage was that all their furs had to be freighted by canoe back to Montreal before being shipped to the European, and particularly, the British market. The HBC, on the other hand could transport their furs to the Bay through the river system and thence directly by ship back to London. There was also considerable contention over the NWC's right to even be trading in the territory of Rupert's Land at all, as the HBC claimed monopoly over trade in the region by virtue of its charter granted by Charles the Second , King of England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, the cousin of Prince Rupert, first governor of the company. In many cases there existed a friendly rivalry between post employees from the two companies, and a certain amount of mutual support. McDermot, social being that he was, appeared to get along with his NWC counterparts at his postings. His superiors saw him as being strong enough to stand against their competitor.

At Pigeon River, Trader Thomas McNab was assigned to the post. A son of York Factory's former Chief Factor, Dr. John McNab, Thomas had had a varied career with the HBC. Being half Orkney Scot and part Cree he had the advantage of being a man of the country and a man of the company. Having accompanied his father, and his nephew, John Bunn, to Scotland, ostensibly to receive an education in Edinburgh, Thomas showed no desire to remain in the land of his father and forefathers and returned to his motherland very shortly afterwards; leaving John to a Scottish education. However, it would appear he had already started a family and likely desired to return to them. Obviously the country of his birth had more appeal for Thomas than his nephew. Although it appears he was not particularly suited to his position as a company officer, due to a certain profligate tendency with his expenses, Thomas did a reasonable amount of trade, which increased with McDermot at the post.

As he had an ear for language, Andrew began to grasp the languages of the people with whom he was trading, primarily Cree and Ojibwa. He may also have had some help in his learning those tongues from Thomas and his family, as McNab's wife was Saulteaux (an Ojibwa branch associated with Chief Peguis) from Red River. One of Thomas' daughters may have coached him too, as a year later he was to take Mary Sara McNab as his country wife {an agreement between the partners to live as spouses without clergy being present, there being none in the territory}. Family lore has it that Sara was twelve years old when she clove to Andrew Miles McDermot and her given date of birth bears this out.8

At any rate, McNab and McDermot were posted to Berens River in 1814, the year McDermot and Sara founded their "Country marriage". This time Andrew was posted as Assistant Trader and Writer (Clerk) and Thomas was listed as Translator. Clearly, in two years Andrew had risen in responsibility, so there was an awareness of his abilities in at least one of his senior officers. The following year sees Andrew listed as Clerk in Charge at Berens River, another rise in trust by the company; and this was to be followed by another upward step as Trader at Fort Dauphin in 1816.

III It was in his new rank that Andrew and Sara had their first child. Marie was born in 1816, which means that Sara would have been fourteen years of age when she first gave birth, perhaps not so unusual in Rupert's Land in times when attachment of one's mixed blood daughter to a rising young star in the company's firmament was desirable as a way of guaranteeing her some sort of future; one she would not otherwise have in the racial imperialism of the Victorian Age.

Once past the pain of Sara's labour the joys and demands of parenthood were being learned by the McDermots, while the belaboured settlers were enduring their most painful year yet on the plains. First, they had had to experience an hostile climate on an alien terrain, and learn it as they lived in it; and now they were encountering hostility from the NorWesters and the Metis, who had first appeared reasonably welcoming. A rising nationalism among the Bois Brules ("Burnt Sticks" was a self-made nickname among the mixed bloods, relating to the shade of the their skin) was being encouraged by the NorWesters; who had come to see the threat which farms posed to their business as one of supplying their rivals as well as encroaching on the range of the buffalo, which was the source of pemmican, the foodstuff which was so highly concentrated it allowed their canoes to travel without scavenging for supplies, and allowed their partners to winter over in the North West. If the farms asserted the Hudson's Bay Company claim to the land it would much more clearly put the NWC in the position of a trespasser.

To act against fellow citizens could seriously involve the NWC with possible grounds for prosecution in Montreal, where the company was headquartered. It was easier to have the "New Nation" act for them, a course that was less likely to prosecution and confiscation of assets. As it was, the conflict between the companies had reached a degree of hooliganism that was untenable. The Metis had been provoked in 1814 by Miles McDonell with a proclamation that all pemmican in the region must be sold to him. He further increased tensions by a raid on the NWC's Fort Gibraltar in order to confiscate the pemmican held there. As this was to ensure a food supply for the colonists, the settlers had become the target of the Metis.

MacDonnell acted precipitously and in so doing increased the untenability of the settlers' positon. He continued to behave in an imperious fashion, which outraged not only the Bois Brules but confirmed the worst suspicions of the NorWesters about the HBC's motives for bringing settlement to an enterprise which depended on trade of a commodity harvested from the wilderness. The NWC set about removing colonists by persuasion, or leaving the antagonism of the Metis to drive them out. After all, they could not be held responsible for the actions of peoples native to the North West. When McDonnell seized the pemmican at the NWC's Fort Gibraltar he had left himself open to charges of trespass and robbery and set in motion a rise in hostility toward his charges.

While McDermot was removed from the rising tension at The Forks around Fort Gibraltar and the HBC's Fort Douglas, John Bourke was not. During his posting to Red River Bourke had watched the escalation in hostility toward his fellow shipmates, the settlers, and he had been injured in a skirmish with the NorWesters in which a companion was killed. Being of a somewhat impetuous nature9 he was ready to take action against the NorWesters and the Metis when the opportunity arose.

Across the trade routes were many descendents of the traders and the voyageurs who had canoed all the way from Quebec across the Great Lakes, crossed the Great Portage, and continued down the rivers of the North West. Since all these white adventurers were male, and male sexuality being what it is, especially with sailors which essentially is what voyageurs were, it was inevitable that there were liaisons with the local peoples which produced offspring. Not that the English speakers were not prone to the same urgings; there were plenty of mixed blood with Scottish and English names and native mothers as well as many French names. There was an intermingling between the two language groups, particularly with the NorthWest Company. It took only a generation or two for the mixed bloods to develop both an affinity for the land and yet grow up with the trade in furs as their social and political context. Many participated in the Buffalo Hunt which supplied pemmican. Others continued in company service; generally English speakers in clerking and trading positions, French speakers as voyageurs spending from Spring to late Autumn transporting furs and supplies over the huge territory in which the trade was conducted: the northern watershed. Each was a distinctive culture with a common inheritance based in the aboriginal people of the land on which they lived. In their commonality was a rising sense of cultural identity, a perception of themselves as a nation.

This was the nationhood to which the NorWesters appealed in their efforts to remove the settlers. Now that the NWC perceived the settlers as a beachhead in an attack by the HBC on their trade network, the Bois Brules were encouraged to drive out the "invaders"; albeit without shedding blood, for that would likely engage the attention of British authorities. In 1815 the colony was burnt to the ground and the settlers removed to Jack River, while Govenor Miles MacDonnell was arrested and transported to Montreal for trial in destroying the NWC fort. June 25, 1815 saw an order issued by Cuthbert Grant, Bostonais Pangman, William Shaw, and Bonhomme Montour, which stated, " All settlers to retire immediately from the river and no appearance of a colony to remain."10 However, as the company would not take the settlers back to Scotland they had no choice but to return to Red River and once more try to wrest a living from agriculture. John Bourke remained with them.

It is not surprising that resentment toward the Metis simmered amongst the settlers. So, during a period when raids on posts of each company in order to seize pemmican continued, the suspicions of the colony were roused when a column of dust was spotted approaching from northwest of Fort Douglas and the colony. It obviously belonged to the Metis, and it was assumed that the colony was about to be raided once more. The current Governor, Robert Semple, an American man of action who had a canon trained on the river to discourage the NorWesters, called for volunteers, issued them with guns, and set out to intercept the Metis along the riverbank. Thinking he might need other support beyond twenty four armed men, Semple sent some volunteers back to Fort Douglas for the canon. One of them was John Bourke. By the time he was mounted and pulling the big gun the clash had ended and the Metis and Indian victors were riding for the fort, straight toward the canon party.

In the meantime, Jean Baptiste Lagimodiere had been secretly sent to Montreal to inform Lord Selkirk of the rising tensions at his settlement. In response, Lord Selkirk raised a group of mercenary soldiers from a recently disbanded Swiss regiment, De Meurons, and dispatched them to Red River to restore peace. As part of their payment they were promised land to settle on the east bank of the Red River near The Forks of the Red and Assiniboine. So secret had been Lagimodiere's departure he had not even informed his wife where he was going; although he did commit his family to the safety of Fort Douglas. Having made his was across a thousand miles of frozen countryside to Montreal he had to make his way back again. His wife and family had to take refuge with the Saultaux chief, Peguis, after the Seven Oaks incident, doubting she would ever see her husband again. He was captured by the NorWesters, who had learned what he had done, and did not return to the colony until a year later.

The news of the clash at Seven Oaks, or Grenouilliere (Frog Plain), was carried by the yorkboat tripmen across the fur trade posts: the death of Semple, Grant's attempt to stop the slaughter with twenty men dead in moments, the capture of Fort Douglas, the deportation of the settlers once again to Jack River. The other piece of the story, which no doubt McDermot heard, was the fact that John Bourke had not been seen since the "Massacre" at Seven Oaks. He could regret Bourke's disappearance and probable death but there was little he could do about it. Of course, there were other things to occupy Andrew at Berens River. With the birth of Marie, McDermot was now a family man, and by the end of the year he would be at another post with greater responsibilities.

IV It was while the McDermot family was at Fort Dauphin that Andrew's talents were given an opportunity to expand. He proved himself to be a good trader. His gift for languages must have stood him well. He likely did not betray how much he actually understood; which would certainly have been an advantage in trading situations. His superior, Wm. Brown, observed this: " A good trader. Can speak the language well and is very active and alert in finding out the Indians but he has deceived them so often that they put no faith in his word." 11

When Thomas was Andrew's translator, it is quite likely that as a team they were able to manipulate the native hunters and trappers in the course of their trading. There must have been strong ties between the men, and the daughter was clearly part of the tie. Although the families parted when the McDermots were sent to Fort Dauphin, Andrew continued to operate as he had while his father-in-law had been present. He may have had some help from Sara, although she did have other concerns besides. She gave birth again, this time to Ellen (Helen). The McDermot family was growing, with a young, healthy, countryborn woman as mother, and the son of the Prince of Coolavin as father. For three years the family resided at Fort Dauphin.

The year 1819 saw the McDermot family removed to Big Point. Thomas had been working as an Assistant Trader at other company posts since 1817. However, Peter Fidler, who was then at Fort Dauphin, noted that Thomas and his family summered at Big Point House in 1820. Andrew found the role of host a comfortable one and, as the years were to show, it was one which he assumed easily with many who came his way. However, this particular summer there was good reason for the family gathering; Thomas was to retire the following year to Montreal. It was probable that he would never see Sara and her family again. As a counter to this parental farewell, this was the same year John Bourke arrived back in the colony at The Forks, which must have caused relief among his friends.

Considering what Bourke had endured at the hands of the NorWesters it was amazing he had made it back from Montreal at all. From the moment he had encountered the Metis party on the road to Seven Oaks he had been pursued. One man with him had been killed and Bourke had been wounded but escaped on horseback. He spent two days in hiding in 92 degrees Fahrenheit heat. He was found by an Indian who treated his wounds, but the NorWesters discovered him and imprisoned him. He was sent to Ft. Alexander, an NWC post on the Winnipeg River on the eastern shore of Lake Winnipeg. From there he was dispatched by canoe to Fort William on Lake Superior. Refused medical assistance, he was transported in the canoe in the open, on top of a box, and robbed at Fort William of his trunk, watch, and clothing. For twenty one days he was locked in a water closet with a minimal amount of food to sustain him. From there he was canoed to Montreal and held in gaol for three days. No charge was proved against him and he was released. Having made his way back to Sault Ste. Marie he then walked for twenty three days over mountain and through bush until he arrived at Fort William. There he was again arrested and sent back to Canada. The Court of King's Bench acquitted him. Without means he was set free. It took him three years to work his way back to Red River.

It was during this time that George Simpson was sent to Rupert's Land to examine that state of the Hudson's Bay Company's activities. As newly appointed Governor in Chief he set out to examine as many aspects of the business as was possible. He was a short, energetic Scot with a clear insight into the task he was facing. At Fort William he met with the NWC partners to inform them that Lord Bathurst, Secretary of State for War and The Colonies in the British Government, was calling for an end to the violence between the two companies. He also began instituting a change of tactics in HBC ranks, stopping bullying responses to the NWC and concentrating on economy and discipline. If experienced officers had suggestions he felt were viable they were appropriated and applied.

In this of upheaval in the fur trade companies, with both beginning to flounder under the weight of their costs, it was likely that Simpson had need of good "company men" and would assess whatever employees he encountered on the rapid canoe journeys he took to gain a sense of the extent of the company's interests. He took notes. The notes appeared in his character book. Simpson would always take notes. If he trusted his secretary enough he might have him take them at the times his eyes would weaken. In March 1821 the companies merged, and emerged as the Hudson's Bay Company with the older company's claim of monopoly in force. Redundancy had to be reduced as, in many instances, where two rival posts had existed one would now be sufficient. Here too the abilities of post personnel and their likelihood of carrying through the policies of the company's executive officer; which essentially is what Simpson had become; would be of prime concern.

As a Trader in Charge, McDermot was transferred to Thieving River in 1821, accompanied by his family; the year that the NWC and HBC merger took place. That same year Marquerite McDermot was born. Sara was now nineteen and had already borne three children.

V At Norway House on August 12, Reverend D.T. Jones, the company's Church of England chaplain, baptised Helen, Biddy, and Mary (Marie). McDermot still professed to be Catholic at this time, so the fact that his daughters were christened by an Anglican minister must have been the result of a certain amount of rationalisation on his part. On the basis of the three baptisms and the recorded births it may be assumed that Marguerite was known as Biddy - a particularly Irish nickname, often applied to someone named Bridget - as that is the name mentioned in the Anglican records.

Simpson's character description of McDermot was entered for 1822, the year the latter was posted to Netley Creek, in which vicinity were primarily Saultaux (Ojibwa) people. " Sober, steady and honest. Deficient in education but a good trader. Has intimated his intention of retiring next season to Red River."12

Netley was reasonably close to the newly named Fort Garry (the former NWC Fort Gibraltar). Close to the marsh, through which the Red River enters Lake Winnipeg, the store would have been visited by the Governor on a tour of inspection. Simpson had a swift canoe, crewed by voyageurs who prided themselves on their speed and distance, and he enjoyed arriving unexpectedly at company posts in order to find the officers and men at their routine, unadjusted by news that the man to whom they were responsible was due to visit.

It is a curious note that Simpson takes in describing McDermot as "sober" in his character book of 1821-22, for apparently Governor Simpson was not. Perhaps because McDermot carried a tradition of family pride in hospitality, a characteristic of honour among the old Irish clan chieftans, that this first laid the foundation of their friendship, and rivalry, which was to mark their relations for years to come.

No doubt Simpson enjoyed the hospitality of the Trader In Charge, although his attitude toward Sara probably showed little but a utilitarian appreciation of her usefulness to McDermot as a connection to the trappers and the sexual companionship she gave him. (Simpson was known to have referred to his own country wives as "bits of copper" and similar epithets.) Doubtlessly, the Governor also enjoyed drinking with the trader after dinner and the conversations when the Governor was in his cups may have given his more sober host information he would not normally hear. Since McDermot had intimated to Simpson his intention of leaving the following year, and because Andrew reportedly stated that he saw little opportunity for promotion within the HBC, he clearly saw other possibilities in independence. As he later claimed, in spite of Simpson making him an offer with some sort of promotion if he would renew his contract, he had determined to retire from company service and find his own way.13

Several options were open to Mac. He could return to Ireland, where through the leadership of Daniel O'Connell, who was related by marriage, Catholics had been emancipated as far as restoring their right to vote; although that right was minimized by property restrictions. Quite a number of former employees, Scots and Irish, did return home, having settled their now abandoned country wives and families in some sort of comfort. This clearly was not an option McDermot chose to execute.

Another course was to settle at Red River where many of the retired officers went in the wake of the merger. This was Andrew's choice, but not before venturing on the buffalo hunt with the Metis and Countryborn. As the last year of his contract was spent at Pembina, by the U.S. border, where the Buffalo Hunt was centered, it may well have been an easy decision. McDermot was acknowledged a fine horseman and appears to have had a good companion on the hunt in Jock Wilkie. In fact, his experience with the hunt and his eye for horseflesh stood him in good stead. If one is to ride on the buffalo hunt one needs to know how to ride. Mac must have learned to ride on the Plains of Roscommon, one of the few places in Ireland where the open flatness of the prairies might be suggested by the landscape. No doubt there were horses at Bellengare House, and no doubt Andrew learned to ride them. His Grandfather O'Connor was a respected historian and a member of a family descended from the last High King of Ireland, a position which fell with the arrival of the Normans and their armored conquest.

"Mac did not hesitate to spend on an outfit of horses, carts, and employees, to try his fortune on the plains. He went on his first jaunt to learn buffalo hunting actively and commercially, in the year of his arrival at Red River. Having secured his interest among the hunters, he branched into other lines. Not only was he doubling his money on every buffalo hunting trip, but he set up a shop in Red River and became an extensive importer from England and the United States." 14 So wrote the chronicler of the settlements early years, Alexander Ross.

VI The McDermots had come to live at Red River. The newly constructed Fort Garry on the west side of the Assiniboine close to The Forks was a walk through dense wood, through which the buffalo came down from the plains just beyond to drink from the Red River, as Sara was later to describe.15 Here Andrew set up a store and began to construct the home which was to be known as Emerald Grove. That same year daughter Jane was born.

Although McDermot was an independent merchant, because of the HBC monopoly he would not be permitted to deal in furs. He was already dealing in pemmican and was on good terms with the settlers. If the company had some way of dealing with the needs of the settlers without tying up their own traders, whose primary occupation was the fur trade, it would be advantageous to have somebody outside the company carry on that trade. As there already existed a friendship between George Simpson and McDermot, it was only natural that McDermot would be granted a license to trade in furs, as the company would receive the furs he obtained. In return, the HBC would import the trade goods McDermot needed in the annual supply ship from London to York Factory. There was another factor involved besides. While the company itself could not legally trade in U.S. territory an independent trader could, and with McDermot's proven ability it would be worthwhile having him oppose the American traders moving into the Pembina area. With his contacts there from his final company posting he was the ideal person to license, especially as the HBC would pay for whatever he traded there. Andrew was in business in furs.

To judge by the comments of his friend and neighbour, Alexander Ross, McDermot did not take long to become a successful businesman in the growing colony: "By his address and accommodating qualities, aided a little by no lack of Irish wit, he soon drew public attention to his business. He was everybody's man, and formed the centre of attraction: for he could lend a horse, change an ox, or barter a dog, as circumstances required. If a stranger, of whatever rank, chanced to visit the place, although he kept neither inn nor hotel, yet accommodations for both man and beast were always ready. A house to let, a room to hire, and every want supplied. If a contract was contemplated, or an enterprise proposed, or if money was wanted, who but McDermot was the man to do the good turn? Such being his character and services, ten years had not elapsed before he overstepped all his competitors in the settlement, as he had done in the plains. Uniting the resources of the plains with his affairs in the settlement, he stands at the head of both, in point of popularity and enterprise. It is a common saying here "that the bush he passes must be bare and barren indeed, if he does not pluck a leaf off it. His discriminating knowledge of men is proverbial; nor is it confined to men alone; as a judge of horses, he stands unrivaled."16

Clearly McDermot was an opportunist who found profit in a broad range of pursuits. This might make him appear as a ruthless and parsimonious individual, but there is another side to the man which contradicts this image. It is Ross again who draws attention to this altruistic quality in the man he called "Mac". [There is a delicious irony that two Scotsmen would call their Irish friend by that most Scottish appellation. An irony probably not lost on either of them.]

Following a Fall season in which mice devoured the Autumn harvest, the winter of 1825-26 was a severe one. In late December a sudden snowstorm of several days duration drove the buffalo beyond reach and killed many horses. Families and individuals disappeared in the blizzard. Some were never found. A woman and her child were found dead on the road only a quarter of a mile from Pembina. All told, thirty three lives were lost and several people were driven mad either by grief or by the ferocious onslaught of the storm. Snows were three feet deep and the cold continued at minus forty five degrees Fahrenheit, the ice on the river was estimated at five feet seven inches thick as a result. Yet, shortly after that Ross encountered Mac at Pembina administering to the wants of the starving hunters and having provisions and clothing sent to those affected. Mac made sure to notify Governor McKenzie of the necessity of helping those made destitute by this calamity. HBC officers assisted as they could. Many individuals also contributed to the relief efforts.17

Although a member of a strongly knit clan himself, Mac believed in Noblesse Oblige and railed against the clannishness of those who took no responsibility for those less fortunate than their own immediate group. Mac had no difficulty reconciling the contradiction of sharp business practice with generous philanthropy. Such was his nature. It almost appears as if his business acumen was somewhat of a game to him, one in which he reveled, and yet his generous nature frequently surfaced.

The Spring following the disastrous winter storm and the continuing cold warmed quickly and created further disaster. A warm south wind brought about a rapid thaw which caused a tremendous run-off through the creeks and into the rivers; so much so that the ice on the tributary Red Lake River, Lake Travers, and the Ottertail River, and the Red River itself to break up and overflow their banks behind the crumbling ice. With Lake Winnipeg still frozen and blocking the outflow, the spread of the water was increased. Because the plains are so flat and extensive much of the countryside was soon inundated. The crest of the flow reached the settlement at The Forks during the night of May 1st, and by May 2nd the water had risen nine feet in twenty four hours. On May 4th the banks of the Red and Assiniboine rivers overflowed and the colony dwellings and barns were soon reached by the icy waters. By May 5th the settlers had to seek high ground and their cattle were driven several miles east to the pine hills. Grain had to be rescued from the barns, but in order to do so the roofs had to be broken open. Governor Donald McKenzie, from the upper storey of his residence, dispatched a boat to assist. The ice being carried in the current was destroying all in its path. One night, witnesses watched a house drift northwards half immersed, while the upper half was engulfed in flames. On May 21st the crest peaked and the next day the water was clearly beginning to recede. By June 15th Alexander Ross observed that the water was low enough to approach the former homes of the colony. Travelling in a boat he came upon a patch of dry land along the Assiniboine (possibly Silver Heights above the north bank) and found the De Meuron selling beef to the settlers for threepence per pound;18 beef which they had apparently salvaged from the settlers' drowned cattle. As the former soldiers were already viewed as a disturbance in the colony, being better at drinking than farming, this did not endear them to the struggling settlers whatever. Most of them left to go to the United States that year. The flood stands as the worst recorded, although claims from the previous century did suggest a greater deluge. Even the "Flood Of The Century" in 1997 did not reach the same levels, and that one created much damage and required the military to be brought in to help cope with the rising waters.

VII As the years passed and Mac's business interests increased in scope he brought freighting into his business interests. A fleet of yorkboats were operated under his supervision and there are several references to him traveling in them up to Norway House and other destinations.19 It would appear that in spite of the months of rough passage over to Hudson's Bay on the Robert Taylor, Mac was enough of a sailor to weather the dangers of Lake Winnipeg and the exertions of the portages. That he did it at all displays the personal quality of how he conducted his business; that he traveled in the yorkboats also meant that he enjoyed the adventure of the journey as well.

He has been described in those times as " a most energetic man, always busy, always on the move, constantly to be seen going about the numerous buildings which he gradually erected about his home, always singing snatches of Irish songs. He was very fair, wearing his light hair rather long."20 Horse racing was a popular sport among the population of the Red River settlement and Mac prided himself on his horsemanship. He won a lot of races with his horse, the acknowledged champion, Tommy. This, along with his recognized good eye for horses, did no harm to his trade in horses nor his livery business.

In the census of the Red River Settlement of 1827, page 1, Mac was listed: ANDREW MAC DERMOT #12. Lot 25 - 3 / 4, Andrew McDermot, age 35, Roman Catholic, Ireland, 1 married man, 1 woman, 3 sons (-16), 3 daughter (-15), 1 house, 1 barn, 1 stable, 6 horses, 1 mare, 8 carts, 1 boat, 2 canoes, 16 acres.

Through these years Sara continued to give birth to a succession of children. Not all of them lived long lives. Biddy died in 1828 and a son, John, born in 1823, appears to have died the same year. Whether the same cause carried off both children is not apparent, although the possibility of some infection affecting both is worth considering. Yet even the loss of these two did not stop the growth of the family. After Jane ( 1824) came Thomas (1825), and in 1827 Catherine (Kathleen) was born, followed by Sarah (Mary Sally) in 1829 and Annie in 1830.

Alexander Ross arrived in the settlement in 1826 with his country wife, Sally, daughter of a chief of the Okanagan nation. He set up at Colony Gardens, next to the McDermots and soon became an integral part of the settlement. It did not take long for the neighbors to become friends.

During this period Governor Simpson had been spending time in the colony. With Fort Garry as the plains headquarters of the trade he had based himself in the region. Although he had a disparaging view of native and mixed-blood women, he had not withheld himself from the pleasures of liaisons with them. He even had some children from these convenient couplings, but for a man with ambitions rooted in the Victorian respectability of the Great Britain of the nineteenth century such "going native" was not sufficient. So, Simpson determined to find himself a respectable "white" wife back in the home country. The one whom he chose was his eighteen year old cousin, Frances, daughter of Geddes McKenzie Simpson, the uncle who had given him his start in business and introduced him to Andrew Wedderburn, brother of Lady Jean Selkirk. They married in 1829 and arrangements were made to sail back to Montreal. Of course, George had no desire to confront Frances with his dalliances at Red River, so he settled them and their children with various company members, made sure they were provided for, and ensured that no country wives of any officers or friends were admitted into his British wife's company. He also decided to move his headquarters downriver, north of the St. Andrew's rapids. The new location was to be called Lower Fort Garry and constructed of stone. Work commenced on it in 1831 with stonemason Duncan McCrea, some of whose descendents still live in the area.

After their canoe journey from Montreal, the Simpsons were established at Red River. Residing with the family was George's cousin, Thomas Simpson, who was employed as his confidential secretary. However, there may have been a certain amount of mistrust between the cousins, as Thomas was not given access to George's private papers; not much confidentiality there. Perhaps because George was an illegitimate member of the family Thomas may have carried certain attitudes which, even if he took care not to be obvious, may have been evident to one as aware of his position as the Governor was. This minor imperium of Simpson might evidence itself in his transportation. The carriage made by Le Blanc, who was working on the stone fort, and outfitted for the Governor with a coat of arms emblazoned on the side, certainly betrays some ostentation. The governor would ride in tandem with his wife in the narrow conveyance, often at very fast pace.21

In spite of the friendship between Mac and himself, Simpson did not invite Sara McDermot into the social circle he created about Frances. While Frances may have agreed in principle with the purely white nature of her company, she apparently found most of them boring, particularly the wife of William Cockran, the opinionated, energetic Anglican missionary. She preferred the company of Mary Jones, wife of the Revered D.T. Jones. The Joneses gave grand parties rival only to those given by the Governor.22 And, according to Thomas Simpson, Jones got very fat. one, made the Governor feel in his prime. In early 1831 Frances was being attended by Dr. Todd as she was ill with her first pregnancy. 23 It appears to have been a pregnancy which required much rest and medical attention. She delivered George Junior on September 2 1831.The birth of a son, particularly a legitimate one was cause for celebration.

Simpson had bought two or three horses, one in particular purchased by a fellow named McMillan at Pembina, in which he took pride. [This was likely Chief Factor McMillan, who unsuccessfully ran an experimental farm instituted by Simpson in 1827.] Only twelve days after the birth (Sept. 14) he raced his Pembina horse against Tommy, McDermot's champion, and, on this occasion, won.24 It is not difficult to picture his boasting rights being employed to the maximum after the victory. It may have been a spur to Mac too. The license to trade in furs granted to Mac by Simpson appears to have been well in place at this time and some of the rivalry may have been exacerbated by the fact that the McDermots were doing rather well. Unfortunately, the swagger was reduced the following April 24 when, returning from Easter Sacrament at Middle Church, Frances' firstborn died almost at the moment of Frances' arrival home.25

Although Frances did recover from the emotional devastation it is doubtful if the male society in which she was living ever fully realized the effect the loss had upon her. By December she appeared to be in better spirits, for now the Simpsons were established at Lower Fort Garry and were enjoying musical evenings with Frances at the centre of the activity playing her legendary piano - the one brought by voyageurs in a canoe from Montreal.26 But Frances was not happy in the "wilderness", the refinements and comforts of home were sorely missed. In 1833 the Simpsons returned to London, where Frances was to remain for the next five years.

A few weeks after the Simpsons had lost George Junior, Mary Sara (Sally) McDermot was baptized on May 6 1831.27 Twelve days after that her brother Henry was born on May 18. As the family grew, so did the home. Emerald House was added to at various times and has been described as a rambling building with a remarkable wine cellar, which was quite surprising for a man with as abstemious reputation as Mac had. In those days the chimneys were made of mud, a not uncommon material of construction in the settlement at the time. However, it was comfortable, and, as there was no hotel in the colony, visitors often enjoyed the hospitality of the McDermots and their ever expanding family in their ever expanding house.

In 1832 Sara herself was baptized by Jones, the Welsh reverend.

VIII The year Charles McDermot was born, 1834, was the year Dr. John Bunn began vaccination in the colony. This still relatively new defense against smallpox employed by Sara's cousin was to prove a fortuitous foresight.

Events on the other side of the Atlantic were changing conditions within the British Empire. In 1833, Daniel O'Connell's followers were agitating in Ireland for further reforms. In England there was a riot over a proposed Reform Bill affecting the country, and the threat of war hung over Europe. Clearly Thomas Simpson had little empathy for the plight of the Irish for he remarked in a letter, " The state of unhappy Ireland is awful. O'Connell and hundreds more of the agitators should have been put down long ago, when the disease was in its infancy; emancipation but inflamed its violence, it is now grown desperate and desperate must be the remedy."28An attitude such as this would not have advanced any likely friendship between Mac and Thomas Simpson. It is interesting to note that the man to whom Thomas wrote many of his letters had previously also been the Governor's private secretary. The gulf between the cousins may have been already developing. While George knew how to handle his juniors with a certain diplomacy, Thomas apparently felt no need to conceal his prejudices, believing in the natural superiority of his race, religion, and politics. Such attitudes would have been noticed not only by Mac, who had been raised under some of the harshest conditions of British Imperialism, but also by the Metis with whom Thomas would have had dealings. In fact, Thomas, in his role as accountant at Fort Garry in 1835, had become disturbed with the demands for payment by a somewhat inebriated Metis, Laroque, and whacked him with a poker to chase him out of his office. At a time when tensions were running high because of an overproduction of pemmican, and Metis demands to be paid for it, this only increased Metis animosity toward Thomas. In fact, they demanded Thomas be handed over to them or they would take Fort Garry. It took a lot of late night talking around a fire outside the fort and a few concessions on the part of Alexander Christie,, C. F. Cameron, Robert Logan, and Alexander Ross to conclude the matter with the infuriated Metis.29

IX Unbekownst to many of the colonists Lord Selkirk's estate sold the settlement to the Hudson's Bay Company in 1835. With the retired officers and families gravitating to Red River and the construction of a new and larger Fort Garry the settlement grew. Among the claims of the first settlers Mac managed to acquire more land. It became clear that some sort of civic administration was necessary and so the HBC, at the instigation of Governor Simpson, created the Council of Assiniboia for that purpose. Mac's position in the community obviously is one of prominence as he was invited to join the council along with the Bishop of Juliopolis, Chief Trader Donald Ross, Sheriff Alexander Ross (Mac's neighbour and friend), and Dr. John Bunn. Of course, Simpson's trust played a factor in his invitation too. On February 12, 1835 the council met and Andrew McDermot was appointed to Committee for Management of Public Works with Robert Logan and Alexander Ross.

Reportedly, Simpson said to McDermot, " You were made for the fur trade, Mac. You can walk snowdrifts like a wolverine, you can run like antelope, and you can stand the cold like a husky dog. Stay with us, and we will put you on the committee and keep you on it, and do well for you in the matter of pay."30

Perhaps Mac and Sara celebrated the appointment in their own manner. At any rate, in November, the junior Andrew McDermot was born.

The weather in 1836 was erratic, with a heavy snowfall on June 7, and ice a penny thick the next day. The settlers felt fortunate that most of the crops survived. >From June through August the settlement was plagued by mosquitoes; in July horseflies called Bulldogs added to the annoyance, and swarms of houseflies arrived in August. On August 19 a blast of frost destroyed the crops. After one downpour of rain small fish were found on the plains, which many claimed were dropped in large numbers by the rain.31 This could have been the residual result of a tornado over one of the large lakes which had not been observed, or not been reported. To add to the woes of both Company and Settlement the annual supply ship had been driven off its moorings at York Factory by a storm and the captain had sailed back to England with the supplies still aboard.32 It must have been a winter of tightening belts for those in the North West. But tight belts or not, this was the winter in which Thomas Simpson set out on an expedition to explore the land east of the McKenzie River delta.

In many ways a man of his time and society, Thomas had the desire to prove himself a "manly" specimen of British fortitude. This was the beginning of Queen Victoria's reign and enthusiasm to prove their nation as the "ruler of the waves" infused much of the Empire minded population. It could also be hypothesized that Thomas desired to show the company he was as fit a man as his cousin to run the company. He apparently envisioned himself as successor to George as Governor. Since the company's monopoly was under review, and exploration was part of its mandate - something which had been neglected of late in favour of the profitable fur trade - he undertook to explore a stretch of northern coastline not yet examined or mapped in any detail. So it was that he set out on foot in winter to Athabasca, a distance of 1,200 miles. With Chief Factor Dease (a superior officer) in charge of the expedition Thomas descended the McKenzie River in the Spring. Close to Point Barrow ice blocked the way. With a small party he set off westward in a small oiled canoe. Encountering a group of Inuit ("Eskimo" in the old terminology) they borrowed an umiak (a broad open boat) from them. He reached Great Bear Lake for the winter. Setting out on foot in 1838 he traveled overland to the Coppermine River only to be blocked by ice again. The next year he reached Back's River, finishing the journey on foot.

Back at the McKenzie he wrote a narrative of his travels. Then, with a dog team he set out from Ft. Simpson back to Fort Garry, a journey of 1,910 miles. Feeling he had left his exploration unfinished he made an offer to the company to finish Back's River. The letter which contained the company's acceptance was intercepted by George Simpson; it also contained news of a gold medal awarded Thomas by the Royal Geographical Society and a government reward of One Hundred Pounds. As Thomas did not know of this he became dispirited which, added to the strain his travels had placed on his health, affected him considerably. " Time passes with me very heavily; I never remember being thoroughly in the blues in my life before - a melancholy reward certainly for all I have done and suffered of late. I find my health has suffered more than I suspected during the last four years of toil and anxiety."33 It may be that he was somewhat more than blue for according to Alexander Ross his behaviour had been very distracted indeed. "He looked wild, and spoke but little; would stand among his people, contrary to his usual habit, without saying a word; and would often rise in the night, and walk about stark naked."34

Deciding to return to England to find out the response to his exploratory work Thomas set off on June 6, 1840, for St. Peter's on the Mississippi, on the first stage of his journey home. He never got there. Instead he took a very erratic course, leading several of his company first in advance, and then to the rear, of the main party. Stopping that evening he accused Antoine Legros and his young son of plotting to kill him, then he shot them both with his shotgun. James Bruce and John Bird managed to escape. When they returned the next morning with some of the company they approached carefully, calling Simpson's name. They spotted him sitting up and soon a shot was fired from that spot. One of the party fired at the cart and another hit Bird's dog. The rest fired into the air. There was no response. Cautiously they approached and found Thomas lying stretched out full length, his face on the ground, the body warm, the butt end of the gun between his knees, the muzzle in line with his head where the shot took effect, one barrel empty, and his right hand with the glove off, along the guard: his night-cap blown some yards off, in a line with the position of the gun.35

The investigation of the incident raised many questions. Although the party was within two days ride of Pembina none of them brought word of the shooting until the October following. It had been noted at Fort Garry that Bird's dog came limping into the fort some days after it had left the fort with its master in Thomas' party, but nobody knew what had happened to it. As Ross was one of the investigators of the incident Mac must have heard a great deal about the incident from his friend the Sheriff. Thomas' brother felt he had been murdered for his attack on Laroque. Ironically, George Simpson was knighted for his assistance to Thomas and Peter Warren Dease in their Arctic exploration and on March 3, 1841 Sir George left London on an around the world trip.

X William Cockran had been sent by the missionary society of the Church of England to assist the Reverend David Thomas Jones, the HBC chaplain and missionary to the settlement. Both were Low Church ministers. Each had a very different way of dealing with the primarily Presbyterian Scots population's form of worship. Reverend Jones had made some accommodations to the Presbyterians, but Cockran disagreed with this approach. Cockran had alienated most of the settlers with his refusal to adapt to their Presbyterian rites and disciplines with his statement, "I will preach to them the truths of the gospel, and they must listen to me; they have nothing to do with our forms. I will not allow them an inch of their own will." Eventually the minister had to meet the Presbyterians halfway as they could be unyielding as he. However, they continued to petition the Governor for a minister of their own faith.

Cockran's self righteousness certainly appears to have had a similar effect on McDermot as that on the settlers, but for the sake of his wife Mac did wed her in Cockran's Anglican dominion at St. John's church. In spite of their being married in the manner of the country, which obviously had held firm for twenty two years, the persistent cleric had convinced the couple to have their marriage consecrated in the "eyes of the Church". As Mac was still a professed Catholic and Cockran was vehemently anti-Catholic, the fact that it was Cockran who married the couple was presumably due to more to the strength of Sara's loyalty to her mother's church than to Andrew's waning concern about his Catholicism. Whereas, in Ireland it was as much family politics to be Catholic, it mattered less at Red River where Mac's influence among his clan and countrymen was not a factor.

In 1836, Ellen (Helena) McDermot was married to Thomas Bird (son of Councillor James Bird) on April 21 by Reverend Jones. Thomas and Ellen came to live in a house at Emerald Grove where Thomas could manage the grist mill there. (Mill Street, behind the recently constructed Can West baseball stadium, was named for the fact that the mill was located there.) Later the same year, on December 10, at St. John's church, another marriage was conducted by Rev. Cockran which was to later have repercussions in the colony. At the time, however, the wedding of an Orkneyman, John Ballenden, accountant at Fort Garry, to the vivacious Sara McLeod, countryborn daughter of a company officer, was a celebration of the conjoining of two popular Red River residents. A few years later the Ballendens removed to Sault Ste. Marie as promotion came John's way. Himself the son of an HBC officer it would not be long before John Ballenden was a Chief Trader (1844 ).

Two years later, in 1838, Miles McDermot was born.

XI "I sell everything but second hand coffins and might even supply one of those if required." This phrase has been attributed to McDermot by several people, each in somewhat different form. However, there is little doubt that this was how Mac operated his business. His was truly a general store. Legend even has it that he ran a distillery on his property. He certainly stocked just about anything that came his way, and would then keep his ears alert to any opportunity to find a buyer for it. His dealings, of which we have a correspondence record, with the former head of the experimental farm, George Marcus Cary, clearly indicate how mercantile he was.36Obviously the former soldier came to trust his countryman over the years after he first arrived at Red River in 1838. It appears that this warrior Captain had seen much action in the early years of the century, when Napoleon was stirring things up across Europe. While he may have been a friend of George Simpson he seemed an unlikely candidate for the position of managing the Company's second experimental farm. He also appeared unprepared for the degree of cultivation at the settlement. Indeed, Alexander Ross must have told his neighbour, Mac, that upon the Captain's arrival he noticed a tilled field and remarked, "What! The people of Red River know how to plough?" "Yes," replied Ross, "we do a little in that way, and sow too."37

Whatever sort of knowledge of farming Cary was actually able to apply, particularly at the start, gave the local farmers further proof that officers, company or military, may be able to manage but not to farm.38 That would have been something he had in common with McDermot; for while Mac was a man of business his cattle raising skills were noted as being rather poor.39 He seemed to expect them to be sturdier than the arctic height of winter, and to forage for food on the snow drowned White Horse Plains in much the way he did for profit. He certainly saw how many of the farmers' cattle survived the five months where temperatures were frequently below zero, Fahrenheit or Celcius; but he did not understand how they were able to do so. Many of the farmers cut hay close to the "Pine Hills" (which now includes a number of quarries, golf courses, homes, and Bird's Hill Provincial Park) about ten miles or so to the east of Red River. The cattle would be driven to the hills with the onset of winter and the trees would provide shelter from the scourging cold of the wind. The hay would provide the food they would need for those four to five months. Some probably used a similar method to that of Jacob Truthwaite, into whose family Mac's daughter Catherine married in 1845. Jacob would drive his cattle to a bluff of oak trees for wintering near Mirey Creek at Hawthorn. First he would pack all the hay into the trees, filling as much as possible into the natural shelter of the oak. Then the cattle would be loosed in those woods to shelter in, and eat, the hay over the season of snow and frigidity. 40

There were not that many Irishmen in close proximity to Mac. His old comrade, John Bourke, lived in St. James and was himself raising a family. There may also have been a social bearing each man carried from the homeland, but certainly Cary and McDermot seemed to have got along quite chummily. At any rate, when Cary returned to Montreal in somewhat of a huff ten years later; after the farm proved to have served little to advance the cause of agriculture in the colony; it was Mac he asked to set his affairs in order and recover whatever he could from the sale of his goods. McDermot managed to send him 35 Pounds as the proceeds of the auction of Cary's chattels. Some goods he could not readily sell, but he promised to look for an opportunity whenever one arose. All told he appears to have raised 43 Pounds for Cary.

The McDermot family continued to expand, although there were the occasional setbacks. The birth of Therese is recorded for 1841 but no further mention of her is evident and presumably she perished soon after being born. Harriet was born in 1842 and lived into the Nineteen Twenties. Maurice was born in 1845 and died the following year. Sara was reaching the end of her child bearing years, although she was still in her forties, but she had given birth at least sixteen times over thirty years, even though three had been lost early. Did she call a halt or did nature do it for her? Either way, after Maurice there were no more offspring.

The neighbourhood in which Emerald Grove was situated seems to have been conducive to raising a family. Alexander Ross and his family was close by at Colony Gardens. James Sinclair's family was next to the Rosses. The Logans were just a bit further along to the north on the bank of the Red River. The families grew up together and the children knew each other well, visiting back and forth.41 Harriet Sinclair remembers visiting the McDermot household with a maid servant one evening in the Eighteen Forties to see a magician. The price of admission was one buffalo sinew, a commodity which could be peeled for use as a strong thread. Having duly paid the fee Harriet saw the buffalo hunter, Desjarlais, put a watch under a hat and then lift the hat to show the watch had become a potato. He pulled reams of ribbons from the hat and did all sorts of awesome illusions. It may well have been the first vaudeville performance at Red River and it took place in the McDermots' kitchen. Mac had the touch of an impresario as well as a merchant.42

James Sinclair had himself become a freighter, and a free trader, and entered into a partnership with Mac starting in the Eighteen Thirties. Each had their own interests besides, and their partnership occurred at various times over the years. In 1836 McDermot was contracted to freight goods for the company in his yorkboats. This agreement continued for close to ten years and no doubt aided Mac in his importing goods on company ships and exporting tallow via the same vessels. There had been a brief partnership formed between Ross and Mac in earlier years, but the latter had explained when they dissolved the arrangement, "Where one man can do the work, there is no need for two."43 The friendship between the men endured even if the business partnership did not.

These were men of position and substance in the colony. Sheriff Ross acted as a peacekeeper. McDermot had a sense of obligation to the community which supported him. One was concerned with the workings of the public, the other with public works. One was a teacher, the other a merchant. One was a Scot, the other an Irishman. One a Presbyterian and the other a Catholic. Yet their behavior in such matters would lead one to believe that religion was secondary to belief with these neighbors, in spite of the fact Ross worked unceasingly to get a Presbyterian minister for the Kildonan Scots. Both had worked for the company, both were avid jockeys, both had been on the buffalo hunt. There were many common interests between these neighbours. The range of their discussions surfaces in pieces of reported conversation,44 or in published writings.45 There were doubtlessly animated discussions on many subjects between the friends. Both had been raised in a British Empire which had proved to be determined to retain control of their home countries, and had come to accept the inevitability of that rule. It does seem that they agreed that the colony needed to expand and a new country be formed outside the rule of the HBC. Ross himself had formerly been to the West Coast for the company and his wife was Okanagan, so he had an awareness of the vast width of the northern continent.

XII The landing of the American Fur Company's steamboat at Fort Union, Missouri on June 24, 1837 is seen as the origin of the outbreak of smallpox which swept across the prairies. Word of the disease moved faster than the spread of the disease and on September 11th, Doctor Todd, who was now Chief Factor at Swan River, vaccinated 60 Indians at Fort Pelly. No doubt his own personnel had been vaccinated previously. He obtained a supply of fresh cowpox vaccine from England and sent it to all the posts across the northern region. By April 15, 1838 he was at Oxford House giving explicit instructions on arm to arm inoculation. The action of Dr. Bunn at Red River in 1834 seems to have protected the Red River colony, but the contagion swept across the territory to the south. Following the smallpox epidemic Mac emptied his warehouses to feed the destitute population, paying the freight costs himself. This humanitarianism even included the Gros Ventres, who had previously destroyed the Woods End, N.D. home of Jock Wilkie, Mac's buffalo hunting companion.46 This effort by McDermot is yet another proof of his sense of public duty.

While business at The Forks proceeded apace things were changing in the life of the company's Governor. He continued to travel a great deal, his rapid canoe journeys through the continental interior kept the business running efficiently, and the Council of Assiniboia on track. Amongst his voyageurs was a pride in being the fastest canoe; although one legendary story has it that he sometimes drove his voyageurs so hard that one of them, a large fellow who had had enough, picked him up and held him over the side of the canoe in the water and refused to lift him until he slackened his pace. The truth of the matter is lost, but the story does serve to illustrate what Simpson demanded of those who worked for him. He would reside for part of the year at Red River but would return to his new residence, and headquarters, in Lachine, Quebec, for the winter months. In 1838 Frances came back from England to join him. The following year Simpson's de facto overall governorship of the company was confirmed as a proper position instead of carrying both titles separately.

In the year Andrew McDermot was appointed as a Councillor of Assiniboia, 1839, another new element was introduced to the governance of the colony. To show that it was acting in a manner conducive to the maintenance of law and order the company appointed Adam Thom as Recorder of Rupert's Land, essentially giving him the power to act as a judge. However, since his annual salary of seven hundred pounds was paid from company coffers, it was felt by many that his bias would be in favour of the HBC and its interests. As far as Sheriff Ross was concerned, Thom replaced common sense and simple honesty with the "quibbles and technicalities of law". Indeed, Recorder Thom managed to alienate most of the colony at different times during his years at the settlement. His presence, and habits, also introduced an incredible amount of litigation to the conduct of the colony.

Over the next few years Mac's business continued to be successful. His freighting in yorkboats to York Factory proceeded. Slowly a Red River Cart trail developed through the efforts of men like James Sinclair and Peter Garrioch which allowed for export and import beyond the HBC jurisdiction. Connecting to St. Paul on the Mississippi the independent traders grew financially and influentially. This did not go unnoticed by the inhabitants of the settlement and with the arrival of American traders at Pembina the independent (or underground) trade increased, particularly in furs. The company noticed this activity and began to seek ways to suppress this challenge to its monopoly.

Even though James Sinclair was contracted by the HBC to freight goods in 1842, it was only a few years later that he and McDermot were being viewed by Chief Factor Alexander Christie as ringleaders of the movement toward free trade. Christie was also Governor of the Colony and had been so previous to his absence from Fort Garry for several years. He now decided to try and stop the insidious (as he saw it) whittling of the company's monopoly. In his letters to Simpson47 he refers to free trade as an "evil" and similar depraved behaviour. In a proclamation on Dec. 7, 1844, Chief Factor Christie states that company ships would not receive, at any port, goods addressed to anyone unless that person lodged at the company's office at Upper Fort Garry a declaration to the effect he had neither directly or indirectly trafficked in furs. In essence he had managed to withdraw permission for Mac to send and receive goods via the annual company ship. In fact, Chief Factor Duncan Finlayson (who was married to the sister of Frances Simpson) cancelled the shipping contracts of McDermot and Sinclair in 1845. Letters between the two traders and Christie reveal a growing disgruntlement, while still remaining civil. In fact, Christie protests in a letter, in response to an accusation by Mac, that he bears Mac no personal animosity and regards them still to be friends. At the same time Christie's communication with Simpson villainises the two men. There was plenty of bluster in these mails and one can imagine some of the personal interaction, particularly as Christie would write a letter to McDermot after a meeting in the street. It is from the correspondence48 that one can sense how Mac would walk a fine line between what his license permitted and what he did. This was a particularly Irish characteristic of those (and later) times when English law did not sit well with the population. Rationalisation over skirting the law had become a fine art with the Irish, its best known proponent was a sixteenth century courtier at Queen Elizabeth's court, Lord Blarney, who could make a profound speech at the end of which nobody really know what he had said; leading Good Queen Bess to comment at one point on the circumlocution of a courtier to the effect of "Enough Blarney, my Lord!"

The traders, including Mac and James Sinclair, had agreed to the conditions mentioned above, but Christie was determined to leave them no loopholes. On December 20, as all mail was carried by the company, Christie demanded that all letters be sent unsealed to Fort Garry prior to their being carried in the company's packet. Christie added further conditions which demanded the traders give up all goods brought from the United States, 300-400 lbs. of tobacco, and the posting of a bond of 1,000 Pounds. To these conditions McDermot and Sinclair refused to sign. They preferred to await the arrival of Simpson in the Spring and discuss the situation with him. They must have had little support from the Governor, who most likely diplomatically implied that his hands were tied as Christie had convinced the Committee in London to allow him take the actions he had and the Governor could hardly counteract without compromising his position in the company.

Now that the company ships were closed to them Mac and Sinclair would not have the same access to trade goods as they had enjoyed. It was evident to Sinclair that the company's desire for control over trade was a form of suppression, which had political as well as financial repercussions. He made the point to Christie in a letter of August 25, 1845: "So many obstacles of late have been thrown in the way not only of my advancement, but the Settlers in general that I do not see how I can in any manner support myself and family, except by entering into such business as may interfere with the interests and privileges of the Hudson's Bay Company. I hereby offer you for sale my property and effects, (presuming that you have full power and authority to enter into such an arrangement), making even a sacrifice sooner than be the cause of any broils or even perhaps bloodshed in the settlement, which may result from any attempt made on your part to carry matters to extremes."49

Christie's reply of August 26 refused the sale and he further went on, "whatever may have been the nature of the sanction, which it is said you once had to trade in furs, you have long been well aware that the company have not only not sanctioned, but have positively forbidden that traffic..."

Certainly the Chief Factor was reflecting the fact that American traders like Norman Kittson were encroaching on the company's range and there was a suspicion that Sinclair and McDermot were trading furs to the Americans around Pembina. So, naturally, he was not going to change his determination toward stopping this perceived loss to the HBC. All this served to do was prompt Sinclair to raise a petition in protest in a series of points claiming that the inhabitants rights as citizens were being ignored by the company. Christie countered by stating that they had the same rights as citizens in Great Britain and Scotland and so to look for nothing extra in the settlement.

As Christie grew more adamant about stamping out this "illegal" trade he pointed out to Simpson that even the local magistrates were unwilling to prosecute "illicit" traders for fear of disturbing the equilibrium of the settlement.50 He had stated before that it would be better to have an independent force to help police the trade. "It might be necessary to introduce into the Settlement a body of disciplined troops for the purpose of giving still greater effect to our authority."51 He even recommended that it would be worthwhile to set up " a chain of well manned posts, encircling the settlement on all sides from Lac La Pluie (Rainy Lake) to Fort Ellice (near the Qu'Appelle valley), making the American frontier the line of defense in the direction along which it runs."52 So, when Christie learned in a letter from Simpson that the 6th Regiment of Foot was to be dispatched to the colony in the summer of 184653 he was delighted, particularly as he appeared to think there was rebellion brewing.

" conversation with you yesterday I did not only seem to say, but actually did say in the plainest language, that it was highly reprehensible of you, whether considered as a private citizen or as a councillor of Assiniboia, to be holding unlawful meetings at your house."54 To this accusation by Christie there was an immediate answer from McDermot, dated the same day, saying if he had thought the gathering unlawful he "would never allow them to assemble at my place."55 Mac went so far to state that " I do declare that I always thought the Council of Assiniboia more injurious to the prosperity of this colony than the meeting held by Mr. Belcourt. Therefore, as I have acted unlawfully, I beg to give you notice that is never again my wish or desire to sit in that Council and I earnestly wish that someone will take the stand that will do it more justice than ever I was able to do."56 In a letter dated the same day, Christie tells him that Mac's resignation will be laid before the Council's earliest meeting.57

The "unlawful" meeting to which Christie is referring was a meeting which the priest, Abbe Georges Belcourt, had brought forward the notion of a petition to Parliament in London requesting an examination of the HBC's right to govern and suggesting that as citizens the inhabitants of Rupert's Land might enjoy the same rights as other citizens. Throughout Belcourt's and Mac's correspondence with Christie each held to the validity of his position. Belcourt claimed that citizens of a democracy are allowed to petition government concerning their rights. MacDermot claims that at no point did the petitioners say they wished to usurp the government, while Christie argues that because the HBC was given control over the territory by Royal Charter any meeting which opposed company rule would therefore be treason against British government.

The petition collected a large number of signatures (977) and was to be presented to the Parliament of Great Britain. James Sinclair took the petition to London and there met with a Red River educator working in England, Alexander Kennedy Isbister, who would help get the petition to the Minister responsible. Isbister was himself mixed-blood man of the NorthWest, educated at the Universities of Aberdeen and Edinburgh, a well respected educator in London, who lobbied for the rights of all half-breeds. He was himself living proof of the intelligence and sophistication of the people from whom he sprang and was tireless in promoting their welfare. Governor Christie did not seem to be aware that the petition had made it to London. However, this idea that the Metis may be inching toward rebellion added fuel to the fire which was beginning to catch in the Ministry responsible for the colonies, particularly as the United States appeared to be noticing the territory as worthy of that country's expanding attention and a crisis was building up in the Oregon territory over the establishment of a boundary.

XIII It would seem 1846 was a year of activity about the McDermot household. In May, Mac and James McDermott (who appears to be no relation) were charged with the illegal sale of liquor for which they were fined; Mac, Eight Pounds; James, twelve Pounds. The artist Paul Kane was in the colony and stayed at Emerald House. His painting of the house is still extant. At the time Harriet McDermot was four years old and must have been caught up in the excitement of the marriage of her oldest sister Marie to Richard Lane. The Englishman had come out to work for the HBC and had been an accountant at Fort Garry from 1838 to 1845. That latter year he traveled to Fort Vancouver on the Columbia River to bring word of the conclusion of the Oregon boundary dispute. He returned to Red River to marry Marie on June 13, 1846.58 The wedding ceremony at St. John's (the Upper Church) was performed by John Macallum, and the celebration would have been a lively affair as the bride's mother was quite a dancer (a fact commented upon later by Harriet's husband Alexander Lillie). Dance was very much a part of Red River weddings and celebrations were prone to carry on for several days.

To get a sense of the interior of the house which Paul Kane painted we have Harriet's memory of the place. "It was a very large two-story house, built of logs, with weatherboard on top. It was plastered inside. A large hallway ran down the middle, with two large rooms on each side of it at the front. There were fireplaces of mud, which were afterwards of brick, in each of those rooms. The bedrooms upstairs were heated by Carron box-stoves. There was good walnut furniture in the living room - some heavy chairs and other things that are still in use, some of them in Miss Truthwaite's house and in Mrs. Willie Bannatyne's house at Sturgeon Creek. The grandfather's clock in Miss Truthwaite's house was one of my father's pieces of furniture which I remember as a child." 59 A silver spoon with a coin of George IV welded in the bottom of it which Andrew had brought with him from Ireland, and a china cup his father had used were also at Mrs. Bannatyne's.60

On September 10, 1846 Major John ffolliet Crofton arrived with his troops. Three hundred and seven were soldiers of all ranks of the 6th Regiment of Foot, with twenty eight officers and men of the Royal Artillery, and a sergeant with eleven Sappers and Miners. They were accompanied by fifteen women and children. The men were billeted at Upper and Lower Fort Garry and as winter set in found much discomforting about where they were stationed. For troops who had seen action in the hot climates of South Africa and the Gulf of Aden the harsh, almost Arctic, winter would have been confining. Major Crofton demanded a strict regimen to keep the men active and in order. To create a diversion the officers attempted to get up some races, but did not succeed. A junior officer, Ensign Mosse, on a wager of Five Pounds, walked from Upper to Lower Ft. Garry in three hours and thirty nine minutes, in doubtlessly crisp weather.61 The officers complained about the slowness of the delivery of letters; more of an inconvenience to them than the men under their command. Governor Simpson set about making a more regular schedule for delivery of the packet via Sault Ste. Marie. As there was little for the troops to do in the way of entertainment, especially as the HBC basically supplied goods and related items to the fur trade, there was little to interest the soldiers in the company's stores. Major Crofton, no doubt having done so himself, suggested that the troops visit Andrew McDermot's premises. They did, and brought him considerable patronage over their period in the colony. No doubt Mac was able to supply their need for liquor along with other choice items. In spite of having the presence of the troops keep the Settlers from interfering in the trade,62 Christie was appalled that Mac was profiting from the very soldiers who he envisioned as having been brought out to suppress his business.

Major Crofton was from a prominent Anglo-Irish family in Dublin and a member of the Ascendancy, Andrew McDermot was of an old and influential Gaelic Clan now in reduced circumstances - the Descendancy in essence - but there may well have been a commonality between these two Irishmen which caused the Major to recommend McDermot's business to those under his command. At any rate, that year McDermot sent Two Thousand Pounds to the friend who scrupulously handled his investments, George Simpson. 63

The point was not lost on Simpson. The Governor had hoped that the newly promoted Lt. Colonel Crofton, who was viewed as a good administrator and one impartial to HBC influence, could be appointed as Governor of the colony. However, Crofton did not enjoy his assignment and on June 16, 1847 he handed over command to Major Thomas Griffiths and set out for Montreal and England. Simpson did not see Griffiths as suitable for the task of the governorship. Besides, the boundary dispute in the Oregon territory which had been a persuasive factor in convincing the Colonial Secretary to send the troops to Red River, had now been settled. It was clear the seasoned soldiers could better be used in other parts of the Empire and would soon be withdrawn. Despite the fact that the "illicit trade" seems to have been reduced with the presence of the military; on the other hand, the economy of the colony had expanded with the troops. In fact, Alexander Ross estimated that "during their short stay, the circulation of money was increased by no less than Fifteen Thousand Pounds Sterling; no wonder they left the colony deeply regretted."64

Ross saw the presence of the troops was a way of advancing the cause of expanding the territory into a new country. "The presence of the redcoats here has made us all draw in our horns like so many snails. The laws are respected - no mob meetings, no plots, no threats, no illicit smuggling nor fur trading. Public feeling is reformed so that I hope, ere long, the general feeling throughout Rupert's Land will be, "Let us go to Red River!" 'Come, my friends,' I would say, 'you are all welcome.' "65

Mac may have agreed with his friend's politics, but he also enjoyed the profits brought by the soldiers. He was clearly sorry to learn that they would be leaving, as he mentions to Marcus Cary in a letter that barley and oats were selling at four shillings a bushel, wheat at six shillings, and cut wood for six shillings a cord, " but those golden days will soon be over. The troops are all called home. It is going to start from here the end of July. I am resolved to make the most of them before they leave."66 Mac may have made his money from the soldiers, but he also did get some recompense for his losses during the dispute on his license to trade. An understanding was entered into which he not only received some payment, but he was once more allowed to use company ships to import and export. He was also persuaded to rejoin the Council of Assiniboia and was duly sworn in on January 15, 1847.

Influenza had struck the colony in 1846. It may even have been brought by the soldiers. The Grey nuns, who had arrived in 1844 from Montreal, nursed many, but on average it was reckoned that one person per household died. Bishop Provencher, who had been one of the first priests to Red River in 1818, was himself active in working with the sick. By Spring things were not in a good state. Christie mentions in a letter to Donald Ross that "...the majority of the settlement are much distressed for the means of subsistence. We have already been under the necessity of selling off all the dried meat and pemmican except for the usual supply for Ft. Alexander; and as for seed, many will not have a single grain to put in the ground."

The summer must have relieved the pressure for, as Mac noted, that a grand turn out was arranged for the officers of the garrison on the Sixteenth of December in 1847. It appeared Recorder Thom was one of the principal organizers of the event which raised the forty or fifty pounds cost through the gentlemen of the Settlement. "The old courthouse was turned upside down for the preparations." 67

XIV Recorder Thom may have been organizing many other things besides. He was certainly active behind the scenes. He had created a report for the London Committee concerning the condition of the trade. He had urged McDermot to continue as he was doing, and to keep his secrets. Mac had commented to Christie that if he had kept his secrets Christie would not know what he was doing. His point being that he was not doing anything illicit, and perhaps there was the implication that Thom was viewing him as a future candidate for prosecution. Certainly Thom saw the need for prosecution as a deterrent but, as Christie had already remarked, the magistrates were not keen on prosecuting. Thom bided his time as Christie was to leave the next year.68

Although Christie had refused James Sinclair's offer to sell his property, and McDermot's similar offer of August 4, 184569, Sinclair did not wait to see what would transpire. Now a widower, he sold his property to Donald McKenzie and set off to London. He returned in 184770 and remarked to Mac that he realised hereafter that Red River will never come to anything.71 While at Red River he takes a new wife, Mary Campbell, daughter of Colin Campbell Chief Factor at Ft. Dunvegan, and heads for the U.S. with her and one of his daughters.72 {Note: It seems that he took two of his daughters, as he was taking them to school.}73 Judging by his biography James Sinclair was a man who enjoyed traveling and being on the move. He must have been a man of tremendous energy who seemed never to settle for long, although he did base himself in Red River for many years and often returned to it from his travels. Perhaps he lived such a peripatetic life because he had been on the move since childhood. He had been educated in Scotland, far from his mother's homeland, and spent much of his years after returning as somewhat of a rover. Mac, on the other hand, had settled in Red River and, apart from his correspondence with Christie in which he mentioned transferring to the U.S., was content to make a family home in the settlement. The house in which the Sinclairs lived at this time was sited where the Customs & Excise Warehouse sits on McDermot Avenue and Rorie Street.

In late 1848 John and Sara Ballenden and their children returned to Red River. He was a popular man,74 and although he had suffered from his heart on the canoe trip from Sault Ste. Marie he took on the job of Chief Factor with a will. Of course, he inherited the problems Christie had left, including the Recorder, Adam Thom, and his advice. To further complicate matters the detachment of troops brought by Crofton had departed the Settlement, following a Grand Ball in March which was still being talked about over half a century later by the women who had attended as "young ladies". Even Dr. Bunn wrote of the occasion in a letter to his friend, Donald Ross, who appears to have corresponded with many in the settlement over his years as Chief Factor at York Factory. One of the incidents which has several accounts is that of Caroline Pruden's dancing the polka, which was then the most recent dance craze. The acknowledged "beauty" of the settlement had been forbidden by her father, John P. Pruden the councillor, to engage in such a scandalous terpsichorean exercise. However, Caroline could not resist and, after her stepmother gave her leave, she was discovered by her father, whirling about the floor in two four time. He waited, scowling for the dance to end and then summoned her with his finger and the command, "Miss Disobedience, come here!" Then he made her put on her wraps, and his wife too, marched them out of the ball and drove home with them.75

The troops were replaced by a detachment of Chelsea Pensioners and their families, grizzled veterans with no home but the army, under the command of Major Caldwell, who was designated as Colony Governor. Rather than keeping the peace many of the old soldiers proved that they did not fade away, but drank and harassed many of the women of Red River. In addition, the subaltern, Captain Christopher Vaughan Foss, was a dashing young rogue, the black sheep of an Anglo-Irish family who charmed Sara Ballenden to such a degree that the gossip mills were grinding to excess.

Two of the McDermots' sons were sent to Belfast to go to school.76 It appears that Mac, like the company officers, thought it worthwhile to send his boys back to his homeland for an education. Instead of Scotland, like most of the officers' children, his boys went to Ireland. Nor did his boys have to go to hedge schools as he did; things had changed in Ireland since Daniel O'Connell and those who followed. Education was on the mind of James Sinclair too, for on his way to St. Louis he took his daughters, Maria and Harriet, to Knox College in Galesboro, Illinois. They left in Spring of 1848 after his wedding to Mary Campbell. Having left the girls to their education he headed to California.

In the meantime Recorder Thom was still pursuing the company's interest in suppressing free trade. John Ballenden was brought into the affray and he arrested Guillaume Sayer and three other Metis as they were about to set out on a trading mission to Lake Manitoba from Grantown (the present day St. Francois Xavier) on White Horse Plains. The trial was set for May 17, Ascension Thursday, with the idea that the Metis would be at mass while the trial was conducted. Clearly the Protestant mind did not grasp the concept of early mass. Thom was already unpopular with the Metis and so the Metis, having listened to Louis Riel, miller of the Seine, crossed the river from St. Boniface and marched with guns on the courthouse. One of the group of nearly four hundred wanted to break into the Court House and shoot Judge Thom. He was restrained. Instead, a delegation entered, with James Sinclair and Peter Garrioch among them. Sinclair had recently returned from California with One Thousand Three Hundred Pounds which he had found in gold. After some wrangling, Thom quoted from the company's charter, and as a response Sinclair presented from the Times of London which cited some opposition to the charter from members of Parliament. Eventually Thom allowed Peter Garrioch on the jury and let Sinclair represent Sayer. Apart from Thom on the bench, Major Caldwell, Cuthbert Grant, John Bunn, and Sheriff Ross were also present .

The trial proceeded and witnesses were brought forth on both sides. John Ballenden himself took the stand to contradict a witness presented by Sinclair. The foreman of the jury was Donald Gunn, teacher, and a correspondent of the Smithsonian Institute in Washingtom D.C., whose learning and erudition was well established in the colony. So when the jury did finally bring in a verdict of guilty under the law as it stood, it also recommended that no sentence should be given as Sayer had acted in innocence of the law and in accordance with the "custom of the country". Ballenden declared himself satisfied that the Company's principle had been upheld and that the furs were of little value and concern to him. To Riel and the Metis this was a clear signal that the company had not the power to enforce its monopoly and the cry, "Le commerce est libre!" went out. Judging by the fact that the Pensioners were at the Fort and did nothing in this situation the trade evidently was free, and proved to be so from this point.

There were likely a number of reasons why McDermot was not present at this trial at which his friend and neighbour acted for the defence. After all, this was an indirect attack upon their position. Perhaps he preferred to be behind the scenes, as he was a Councillor and Magistrate, and also had come to an agreement with the company. Certainly there were those who suspected the latter as his motive.

This was the same year of a sad occurance for the McDermots. Their son Thomas, who was only twenty four, died on November 28 (as far as can be ascertained). The funeral was performed by William Cochrane.

Of course, there was lots more for Thom to meddle in, and although in retrospect his general dispensation of justice was reasonably even77, his meddlesome ways did not endear him to many in the colony. After the Sayer Trial he had lost any support among the Metis he may have had. He managed to create dissention among the English speakers, particularly the officer class, with his conduct in a slander trial in 1850. On that occasion Mac was on the bench along with John Bunn, Alexander Ross, James Bird, Cuthbert Grant and, of course, Major Caldwell and Judge Thom. What emerged in the trial was an undercurrent of prejudice toward the half breed wives of company officers on the part of the "old country" women and men arriving in the service of the company. It may well have been an innocent infatuation on Sara Ballenen's part, but her conduct with Captain Foss was given the innuendo of something adulterous by the incomers and their supporters, such as Mrs. Cochrane and some of the mixed-blood wives seeking the high moral ground of "respectability". There appears to be no question that Sara had a flirtatious quality, but she had also proven to be dedicated to her husband in the family she had carried and raised for him, and the way she had nursed him on the way from Sault Ste. Marie when his heart had invalided him. The McLeods were an affectionate family; in fact her father, Roderick, got in trouble with the company because he had not properly waterproofed a cache of furs which he had left stashed in a cave in order to return to his family for the winter months.78 Sara seems to have had certain freedoms as a child at Fort Vancouver that were not compatible with Victorian aspirations. The charm and wit of Capt. Foss may well have been a welcome relief from the corseted refinement of the officers' mess, over which Mrs. Ballenden presided. Perhaps there were even echoes of her father, from whom she had been separated since the affair of the left furs, which attracted her. Foss supplied a camaraderie she obviously lacked in her rather dry role as wife of the Chief Factor. Ballenden himself enjoyed the company of Foss and, as his duties and health did not favour the socializing of the officers' mess, he was content to let the captain entertain his wife at the mess functions.

The trial brought forth its fair share of acrimony. Thom acted as both attorney for the Plaintiff as well as judge, and had Mrs. Ballenden lodging at his home during the trial. Indeed it was he who had advised the captain to prosecute for defamatory conspiracy. The Defendents included a nephew of one of the London Committee, Augustus Edward Pelly, and his new and prissy wife, as well as the Davidsons, a couple who were mess servants.

Many of the jury had known Sara as a schoolgirl at Red River and knew her nature. McDermot would recognise a quality in her that was not uncommon in his countrywomen. Most of the men on the bench were married to "countryborn" women and would have been aware of the undercurrent of prejudice toward the "impure" bloodlines of their spouses which surfaced in many of the witnesses. Cuthbert Grant, himself country -born, had once been a dominant figure in the rising sense of nationhood among the Metis, and one who had given discipline to the Metis buffalo hunt. So it is hardly surprising that Pelly's objection that, " as Mr. Thom was allowed to sit as a judge in a case in which he had acted as attorney to the Plaintiff." was over-ruled. Few of the jurors would have had much sympathy for the viewpoint of the Defendants and their supporters, either. The final outcome of the trial found the defendants guilty and awarded damages of Three Hundred Pounds against the Pellys, and One Hundred Pounds against the Davidsons. Thom's bias in favour of Mrs. Ballenden was evident and left a lingering resentment among the defendants and their supporters. In spite of their victory in court Mrs. Ballenden was afterwards essentially ostracized by the members of the Mess and the "society" of Red River.

The rest of Sara Ballenden's decline is too long to enter at this juncture. However, during the trial her husband was away, and now she made the mistake of seeing Foss secretly, which did not remain secret for long in such a close community as the settlement. Even the support of Thom and John Bunn, as well as that of the Governor, Eden Colvile (Andrew Wedderburn's son - the family had changed their name), was withdrawn after a note came their way which began, "My Darling Christopher..." It was her husband's nephew Andrew Graham Ballenden Bannatyne, an HBC clerk, who then looked to her welfare. A.G.B. found her a house in which to reside and aided her as best he could. It is this connection which brings her into McDermot's sphere again, for young Bannatyne was courting Mac's daughter Annie at the time and Mac liked the young man enough to offer him a partnership in his business.

In 1851 A.G.B. applied to Governor Colvile that his contract was due to expire on June 1 and he would like to be released to accept McDermot's offer to run his store and mill at Sturgeon Creek. On the basis that Bannatyne had not given one year's notice Colvile refused to release him. He also felt that as A.G.B. was to marry Annie he might be posted to Norway House (most likely to keep him away from the independent trader).79 Nonetheless, A.G.B. did marry Annie and after his release became McDermot's trusted partner and friend.

McDermot had seen another son-in-law move away with his oldest daughter Marie and their infant daughter to Oregon in 1850. Richard Lane had decided to try his hand being an independent merchant in the distant territory, having seen likely prospects when there in 1845.

XV The grist mill McDermot erected at Sturgeon Creek was the second attempt on that stream. Cuthbert Grant had attempted to operate a mill back in the Eighteen Twenties, even importing grindstones from Scotland for the purpose. A series of floods had finally forced him to give up the enterprise. The mill was abandoned. The stones eventually surfaced seventy years later when found by Mrs. Gavin Flett, one of which she used as a garden table in an old St. James home, Hillcrest, which had been the home of Mac's grandson, Andrew.80 Mac felt it worthwhile to build a mill to service the farmers of St. James. Again with Scottish granite grindstones he set up a better sited mill by a haven of wood nearer the entry of Sturgeon Creek into the Assiniboine River than Grant's location. This was the one he offered to A.G.B. The amount Mac had learned about milling was to leave the management of the mill in the hands of trusted family members. His son-in-law Thomas Bird ran the mill at Emerald Grove, now he was offering his next son-in-law a similar position. However, when A.G.B. was released from HBC service he set up a dry good store and traded in furs. He and Annie were married in 1851, the year of his release and, judging by how much help she was in later years, helped him run the business. They prospered. The running of the Sturgeon Creek mill fell to Miles McDermot who had married Guillemine Goulet of Norwood. (There is a belief that the singer/actor Robert Goulet springs from the same Goulet family.)

During this time there had been a rising dissatisfaction with the Governorship of Major Caldwell. His view of the colony and his conduct of his position alienated the councilors, except for Bishop Provencher in St. Boniface, Bishop Anderson at St. John's, and William Cochrane who was generally not noted as a company supporter. Indeed other than those clerical worthies the councillors wrote to Eden Colvile in July of 1850 requesting urgently that Caldwell be removed from the office of Governor. Just a segment of the petition will be enough to establish the tone of the signers discontent. "For more than twelve months all useful public works have been almost entirrely suspended. Our roads neglected and bridges unrepaired have rendered intercommunication only possible at the imminent risk of life, for many weeks there has been an entire suspension of administrative justice all the magistrates declining office from prudential motives under the present Government. Acts of felonious violence on property have been committed with impunity - and submitted to in silence from the utter hopelessness of obtaining redress. These and other evils we attribute to Major Caldwell's entire unacquaintedness with business to his total unfamiliarity with the art of Government and to an unhappy infirmity of temper, or defect in demeanor which disqualifies him from acting in concert with those who for many years have assisted in maintaining order administering justice and otherwise promoting the public welfare."

They went on to ask Colvile to take over the governance of the settlement. Besides this direct appeal to Colvile a copy was sent to Lord Grey in London. The councillors James Bird, John Bunn, Alexander Ross, Andrew McDermot, Cuthbert Grant, John P. Pruden all signed along with 504 others. Clearly the major was an autocrat and, to put it in the vernacular, a pratt. Ross did not even wait very long for a reply but resigned from Council and the Bench on July 17.81 On August 14 Governor Colvile wrote to Adam Barclay, the HBC secretary in London about the situation, still not having come to a final decision in the matter.82 Eventually he did ask Caldwell to step down temporarily. However, Caldwell remained as Governor for quite a number of years after Colvile had returned to Montreal.

Although Sara Ballenden was now in a house she did drive out to see Captain Foss on one occasion. There was an air of desperation about this visit to him at Donald McKenzie's house, which would have been the old Sinclair place close to Enerald Grove. Whatever shred of credibility this lonely woman had at this point was now gone. Foss himself was decided nuisance in the colony. Among others, Augustus Pelly owed him money from the card games in which he spent much time. Foss continued his social life as best he could under the circumstances, but in November he decided to return home. Mac was contracted to supply the Captain with horses and guides. As Mac felt that the horses would be rendered unserviceable for the ensuing winter, and that the greater part of the horses were likely to be left on the road upon their return, he claimed Ninety Pounds would not be unreasonable. Foss was sent with the Pensioners to St. Peter's, but he did not leave, preferring to stay in the colony.83

The following year, around February, Foss was recalled to England. This left him with the problem of disposing of his assets in the colony. Having agreed to arbitration to do so he named Andrew McDermot and Eden Colvile as arbiters on his part and Alexander Ross on the part of the Company. Ross' son was to be umpire in cases of disagreement. This likely was James. The one disagreement which arose was over the amount allowed on the house Foss had occupied. Young Ross awarded Foss Ten Pounds more than the arbiters had. Mac went along with that decision and Colvile reluctantly acquiesced.84

An interesting comment on some of the behaviour of those under the command of Caldwell and Foss is mentioned in a letter of Eden Colvile to Adam Barclay in London. The wife of one of the soldiers, Catherine Murphy, was found dead on the road after drinking beer in the home of another of the pensioners.85 No doubt hypothermia was the cause. Many of the men of the Pensioners were Irish, and grizzled old guzzlers for the most part, according to many of the settlement. The husband, Murphy, was reprobated by the court for his negligence.86

Citing the demands of his business affairs Mac resigned once more from Council and the Court in May of 1851. It seems likely that Caldwell may have been the real cause. There was also a sudden change in his immediate family which needed his attention.

XVI On May 10, 1851 the oldest child of the McDermot's, Marie, died of a painful illness in Oregon, where she had moved with her husband, Richard Lane, some years previously. With the death of their mother the two children, Marie and John, were sent by their father across the Rocky Mountains on mules in two baskets and on to Red River to be raised by their maternal grandparents.87 The mixed emotions of losing their first born and gaining two children unexpectedly must have been quite a pull in several directions; but the McDermots were nothing if not resilient and two more children to raise would have been accepted as a natural part of life. The McDermot family had expanded once more, only this time a generation apart from its founders. While a single man raising two children on his own in a pioneer society would have presented many challenges, one cannot help speculate that Lane was relieved to pass the responsibility on to his in-laws. It does not appear as if he saw his children again.

Two deaths which occurred in 1853 were far removed from the settlement, but nonetheless bear mention. Sara Ballenden died in Scotland, reconciled at last with her husband. In Lachine, Frances Simpson died on March 21. She had not had a very happy life, with a husband such as George Simpson she would have seen little of this energetic businessman, although when she died she left three daughters and a son, John Henry Pelly Simpson. Perhaps her children made up for the infrequency of her husband's attentions.

XVII The years following saw a reasonably calm period, although things on the plains were beginning to evidence the change wrought by the excessive hunting of the buffalo on both sides of the border. The once vast herds were dwindling, eaten up by the fur trade and wanton shooting for sport and trophy. The agricultural spread from the settlement and the expansion of settlement in the United States were gradually taking their toll on the habitat of many species. Even the wolves which had plagued the hunters and settlers for years were reduced in numbers. Trapping was exhausting many of the populations of animals. The wilderness was changing. Nevertheless, the native nations who were not directly involved in the sphere of "the trade" still roamed the plains, but more of these tribes and bands were competing for the bison as their sustenance. The Red River hunt was having to travel further into other territory to obtain its prey. Over the years there had been occasional clashes with other peoples, but in 1852 the Metis found themselves under attack by a Sioux war party at Grand Couteau. Their discipline played an important role in their ability to hold the Dakota at bay for several days. After the Sioux war chief was killed in an attack on the encirclement of carts and gun pits the war party called off their attack and agreed to a pact with the Metis where they would fight no more. The courage and skill of the Red River hunters had earned the respect of one of the most feared nations of the Great Plains. Nevertheless, the fact that the Metis had ventured so deeply into Dakota range indicates how the herds were being affected by the expanding "white" society.

Slowly the Red River Settlement was losing its isolation. In 1859 that isolation was further diminished with the arrival of the steamboat, Anson Northup, named after its owner, a Minneapolis businessman who saw the possibilities in a river connection to the settlement. The boat was taken apart near the headwaters of the Mississippi and carried over to the Red River and rebuilt. In spite of having to push over a number of shoals the steamer speeded up traffic between the two centres. This made it easier for the local merchants to import goods from the United States, as the cart trails had already begun that process. Eventually even the HBC saw the advantage in this system, even obtaining their own steamboats for the river traffic. On the more navigable routes yorkboats were replaced by the mechanically driven craft.

The conduct of Mac's business in these times involved a certain amount of litigation. It appears that Recorder Thom had made an impression as to the possibilities of law to settle disputes in the settlement. Much of the cases in which Mac was either Plaintiff and, occasionally, Defendant, had to do with his business. After being charged by Mac, Louison Sayer, presumably the son of Guillaume of the Free Trade case, spent a month in gaol and was responsible for the security of the debts incurred due to false contracts. Plenty of collection of debts were the cases being brought to the bench. Mac himself was taken to court by the Reverend Thibeault seeking payment on bills of exchange. As the bills were not endorsed the court ruled that there was no suit. At the time of this particular case, 1853, Mr. Thom was no longer presiding but rather had been moved to the position of Clerk Of The Court as the Metis had made it clear they would not co-operate with the court if he remained as Recorder. This left Major Caldwell in charge. When considering how many cases came up in front of Caldwell in comparison to Adam Thom or his other successors, they are few indeed. Out of three one was brought by the Reverend Thibeault against Mac. The Major's incompetence as a judge was certainly reflected in his evidence before the Select Committee of the House of Commons on the Hudson's Bay Company in 1857. " I was judge; I administered justice, as far as hearing what was said, but I pretty much adopted the plan which is usual in our military courts, and instead of charging the jury, which I felt I had not the ability to (I had not the phraseology to charge the jury in the language in which they should be charged), I merely desired the clerk of the court to read the proceedings, to refresh the memories of the jury, and I left them to decide the question..."88

Major Caldwell left the bench when Adam Thom was replaced by Francis Godschall Johnson. On February 3, 1854 the bilingual Queen's Counsel was commissioned as Recorder of Rupert's Land. The court was now in the hands of a competent lawyer. However, it seems as if the settlement had calmed down somewhat as Johnson's docket was rarely full.

XIX Emerald House became the focus of a curious incident in 1853. The former Chief Trader of Ft. Dunvegan in the Athabasca, Colin Campbell, retired to Red River with his wife and family. He had already sent a boatload of daughters to be educated at Miss MacCallum's school, nine handsome young girls. James Sinclair had taken one of Campbell's daughters, Mary, as his second wife in 1848. Campbell was much taken with the McDermot's house and continued to make offers to Mac for it. Finally Mac gave in to the persistence of the old company officer and agreed to move into the house he had recently finished for A.G.B. and family. The Campbells then moved into Emerald House and began redecorating. In the midst of painting Colin Campbell died suddenly. His widow had not the heart to continue in the house and an exchange was made for other quarters. The McDermots moved back in and continued to live in the house until 1870.89

In returning to Red River from St. Louis in the Spring of 1850 with wagons and heavy horses for the journey to Oregon, James Sinclair and his daughters, whom he was bringing home from school, found much of the area was under flood. With James McKay in charge of the party they found themselves spending nights in boats moored to trees on their way to Ft. Garry from Kittson's place at Pembina. It was one of the causes which prevented James Sinclair from moving his family to the Oregon territory when he had planned. He was persuaded by George Simpson to rejoin the company, which Sinclair did on condition he was free to carry on his lumbering, cattle and horse ranching in Oregon.90 In the meantime, Simpson wanted to employ Sinclair in opposition to the Free Traders, although to what degree he acted in that capacity in unclear.

Another flood overran the area in 1852. Although it was not as deep as the one twenty six years previously it still had quite a serious effect on the inhabitants as it was extensive. It again delayed the departure of the Sinclairs. The family had to move out to Sturgeon Creek and live in tents for two months. It was during this time that Harriet's interest had been caught by Dr. Cowan, who had come out with the Pensioners as a medical officer. During the flood most of the officials had removed to the Stone Fort. The doctor and Judge Black - who replaced Francis Johnson as Recorder - had remained at Fort Garry keeping charge from the house that they shared. The Sinclairs would row out to the Fort to visit and it would seem that the courting couple's "walking out" was done on the gallery which ran around inside the walls of the fort. Later that same year William Cowan and Harriet Sinclair were married. It was not until 1854 that James and his family, along with fourteen other families, made the trek to Ft. Walla Walla in the Oregon territory. Harriet did not go as she was now settled with Dr. Cowan. It was the last she was to see of her father.91Three years later James Sinclair was killed in a raid by the Yakimas on Fort Walla Walla on the Columbia Cascades on March 26, 1856.

1856 proved to be a year of loss. Although he had not seen his former neighbour and partner in several years there is no doubt Mac would have been saddened by his untimely and warlike death. Then, only two months after that the death of the eldest son of his longtime friend, Alexander Ross occurred. William had taken over his father's position as Sheriff in 1851 following the old man's resignation. Alexander was getting old, he was now in his mid-seventies, but he had not expected to be pre-deceased by the boy Sally had brought from the Okanagan the year after he had set out for Red River in advance of his family. William was close to turning thirty when he died, still a relatively young man, and his death seemed to reduce the spirit of his father, who was more troubled by illness in these less active years. On October 25, Alexander followed his son to the grave. Although his wife Sally was to continue as a much loved figure in the colony as Granny Ross, the darling of the children; the two men who shared much of the excitement of previous times were gone, along with the child Mac had seen grow to step into his father's shoes. Mac was witnessing the change in the world about him at close quarters. He would miss the companionship of all those years.

XX There were always children about Emerald Lodge. Not only were Marie's children being raised by Andrew and Sara, but the grandchildren were regular visitors to the household. Kathleen's daughter, Mary Jane, who had even been born in Emerald Lodge, played on the south veranda of the house along with her cousins and aunt who lived there. Mac must have loved having children about for he never tired of teasing them and his daughter Harriet spoke of the affection in which the family was raised. " It used to seem to me that the whole settlement was pervaded by his kindliness."92Harriet herself was no more than ten years older than her Lane niece and nephew. Marie and John must have seen Harriet as an older sister, and when she married Alexander Roff Lillie on December 6, 1860, the youngsters would have had a wonderful romp at the wedding. Their large grandmother was still an enthusiastic dancer and James McKay, the famed scout, who kept up with her in the reels, was even heftier, but they cut some fine measures when the fiddles struck. There is no mention of Mac dancing, but he may well have sung himself hoarse at the celebration.

Lillie was an adventurer. He carried out a variety of duties for the HBC in his years of service. While he was bringing back sheep and oxen to Lower Fort Garry from St. Paul on the Mississippi in 1857 he just missed encountering Sitting Bull's Sioux raiders. He was made superintendent of the Experimental Farm, and appears to have done no better than any of his predecessors. One year after marrying Harriet he was still in the company's employ and one of his duties appears to have been keeping an eye on Mac's activities. He was part of a party sent to oppose the trading party Mac had sent north. He followed the party beyond Lac La Loche, past Cumberland House. The trip took months. Lillie was reporting to his brother-in-law, William McTavish, at Fort Garry. Mac's sons-in-law may have a sense of divided loyalities, or perhaps not, depending on their sensitivity to their wives' father. However, three years after marrying Harriet, Lillie went into business with his father-in-law and brother-in-law, A.G.B. Bananatyne. That relationship did not last very long. Marital ties were not enough to keep Lillie close to Emerald Grove, he returned to company service and did duty at Cumberland House, Fort Alexander, Lac La Pluie, and Fort Frances.93 During the Wolseley Expedition of 1870 he assisted the troops who were coming to ensure peace in the new addition to Canada. It may not be recorded on paper, but there is an oral family tradition that says Lillie was a womaniser and may have done more traveling without Harriet than with her.94 She went with him to his postings and after he died retired back to Winnipeg. Their only child, Jessie, was born in in 1861, which may support the supposition that relations between them were very controlled. In looking at a photograph of Harriet she appears as the beauty of her family, well dressed and with a gentle lines to her face. Fashion may not have been her passion but she certainly was the most decoratively dressed of the McDermot sisters. Of course, she was also the youngest. She died in 1921.

In spite of the passage of the years, and the company efforts to combat the free traders, George Simpson always enjoyed trying to get the better of his old friend, Mac. The Governor was a never-ceasing man of business, and at times wore out his health with his activities, but he seemed to revive from his exhaustion on his canoe trips from Montreal to Fort Garry. Although there is no date given for a prank he played on Mac, it is likely that the Eighteen Fifties were the years when he sent three young men to "Old McDermot" bearing a bottle of brandy by way of introduction. As was his wont, Mac entertained the gentlemen but soon twigged to the fact that something was afoot, particularly in the way they set about consuming alcohol and inviting their host to keep up with them. He poured liberally into their glasses, but did not dispense such generous portions to himself. Nonetheless, by the time the last of the guests had slipped beneath the table in slumberous state, Mac was still clear minded. However, in his telling the story to Dr. Cowan and the U.S. Consul, James Wickes Taylor, when they asked if the liquor had affected him, he replied, "Oh no, I was all right, but when I got up there was something wrong with my feet. I could not get them straight. But I was not drunk. Oh no, I was quite sober. You see, I knew they were trying to make me drunk." It came out later that Simpson had wanted them to get Mac drunk and get some information out of him, perhaps the way Mac had when Simpson had been his guest years before. Simpson would have loved to have got one up on his old chum and rival in that way, but Mac hadn't lost his keen eye for finding out what others were hiding.

Simpson's eye was a keen one for investment, from which Mac had benefited over the years. For his own part Sir George had invested in many new ventures in Montreal and its surroundings. He had even convinced John Ballenden and some other officers to invest in what became the Montreal and New York Railroad. In 1860 he joined the Bank of Montreal, which is still a leading Canadian bank. That same year, after entertaining the Prince of Wales with a show that included painted Iroquois, he was struck with apoplexy and died on September 7. Another major player in Mac's life was gone.

XXI When the Anson Northup sailed into Red River on its first excursion in 1859, on board was an Ontario man by the name of Henry McKenny, along with his wife and eldest son. He was part of the influx of Canadians arriving in the colony and in many ways was a harbinger of the change coming to Red River. He was looking for his fortune. Rather than a pioneer of the land McKenney was a pioneer of the urban world. He was enough of a entrepreneur that if he saw a lack he would fill it. So it was that he realized that there was not a single hostelry in town to accommodate visitors, nor to run an attached bar-room. As the principal area of centralized habitation was McDermotstown, as local humour referred to Emerald Grove and its neighbors, he rented a building from Mac located northeast of where the post office was situated, along where the main trail between the Upper and Lower Forts passed. The two storey structure he named The Royal Hotel. It was the first in the expanding settlement.

A year after Henry McKenney had arrived his half brother, John Christian Schultz, came to see what opportunities might lie in the North West. He certainly saw a way of life that was already altering, just as where he was from had succumbed to the advance of "civilisation". Very much a man of times, and staunch in his Britishness, Schultz saw that whoever was in place by the time Canada might acquire the territory would be in a good position to profit by being at the head of the influx. As a graduate of Queen's University with a medical degree, and a mercantile turn of mind, Schultz felt he could profit by being ahead of the inevitable push westward by the confederation building in the east. He returned to Upper Canada and laid plans for a return.

McKenney did not remain long in the hostelry business. He sold The Royal to George, "Dutch" Emmerling, an American who was living at Red River. Deciding to relocate, Dutch built a new establishment just a bit further down the developing Main Street. The new building lasted until 1890; a later building, The McIntyre Block, itself a well known landmark sat on the site until the Nineteen Eighties. (At this writing the site is now a parking lot.) Dutch's hotel acquired a reputation as a gathering place for raconteurs. There was one imported ale on hand, Bass, and drinks were sixpence each. As to the quality of the spirits one can only surmise, but whisky was labeled L.I. (Lingering Illness), brandy bore L.D. (Lingering Death), and another spirit was labeled I.D. (Instant Death). 95

McKenney also built the first house in what was to become Winnipeg. Again he rented from McDermot and built close to the intersection of the Main trail to the Stone Fort and the trail westward toward Portage la Prairie. (Now Portage and Main.) That McKenney's and McDermot's dealings with each other were not always smooth is evidenced by the court cases which were conducted with one or the other as Plaintiff, mostly Mac. Curiously enough, McKenney was for a time the Sheriff of Assiniboia, replacing James Ross, who had stepped into the position after the death of his brother William. During 1864, while holding the Sheriff's office James was also editing the Nor'Wester, the colony's newspaper, and was quite outspoken in his resistance to HBC rule. Governor Dallas was not one to tolerate such a viewpoint from a company maintained officer and Ross was dismissed and McKenney appointed. McKenney did not himself remain in office very long. He did hold other offices, however, including magistrate.

In the meantime, John Christian Schultz had returned to Red River and joined his half-brother in McKenney and Co. The partnership did not last, it dissolved in 1864.To make matters worse, Schultz had no desire to repay his share of the partnership. Even though the dispute ended up in court Schultz refused to pay the Six Hundred Pounds awarded McKenney as Schultz's share. The kinsmen had most definitely fallen out. Schultz certainly had proven to be the more opportunistic of the two. Now he went into business on his own, trying his hand at all sorts of enterprises, especially after finding little profit in practicing medicine. He set up on Water Street and Main and ran a pharmacy, a dry goods store, and a hotel at various times. He also agitated strongly for Canada to take over Red River.

Even in his seventies Andrew still ran the business for a time. Mary Jane Truthwaite's descriptions of Mac's store help form a picture of his place of business, even the entrance, because she often tripped over the sill on the way in. "The store was a place of wonder for us. There was everything in it. It would be easier for me to say what there was not in it than what there was in it. Paper and string were not used. When a person bought some tea, or some sugar, or anything else that today would be put in a paper bag, he used also to buy a cotton handkerchief to wrap it in. The Indians were very fond of tea, and they used to treasure a cotton handkerchief in which some tea had been wrapped, as long as it kept any of the odour of the tea, which they considered a delightful fragrance."

Some of the things in the store which Mary Jane remembered made quite a list. She described a "Noah's ark of a warehouse" which contained ponies, paregoric (camphorated tincture of opium used for pain relief), gingerbread made by the Selkirk Settlers at Kildonan, sugar that was lumpy because it sat where the roof leaked, belts, whips, rawhide, buckets, robes, blankets, port wine, butter, Magnell's Question Book ( a primer encyclopaedia), French merino, cashmere, reels of cotton, and dozens of other items needed by the colonists.96 Compared to the description of George B. Elliot, who wrote of Mac's first store years earlier, Mac's inventory had grown. That early establishment was redolent of dried hides, Indian dressed skins, groceries and other commodities. A pair of rusty balances took the place of scales; on the floor was a mowing machine, recently imported, also moccasins, boxes of tea, tobacco, beads, and many other items of barter.97

At seventy six years of age Andrew was slowly withdrawing from the actual running of his business interests. Most of it was now under the management of those he trusted most, his son Henry, and sons-in-law A.G.B. Bannatyne, and Thomas Bird, who had long operated the mill at Emerald Lodge for him. Of course, he still kept busy, as his court cases demonstrate.

By the time Andrew McDermot finally broke with the Catholic Church Monseigneur Provencher had departed and a younger man, Antonine Tache, was now the bishop. Once more an old colleague was gone, a man who had pioneered as a missionary while Mac pioneered as a merchant. They had agreed and argued for many years, but many of Mac's children had been educated at some stage of their lives under the supervision of Provencher, or by the nuns he had brought to Red River. Another missionary was gone too. William Cockran, after a dedicated life, had died. His Anti-Catholic bias must have rankled with Mac, although the latter did attend church with Sara. In spite of the fact that he had been married to Sara in the Anglican church by Cockran had less meaning for him than the fact that they had already been married for twenty two years without the necessity of any clergy blessing the union. By this point in his life he had more social than theological reason for joining the Anglican Church. Andrew had already proven how stubborn he could be and so, rather than give satisfaction to a man whose bigotry was so palpable, Mac joined St. John's in 1866, the year after William Cockran had gone to the rewards he had earned in service of his Maker.

The year Mac joined the Anglican fold was the year his father-in-law, Thomas, died in Montreal. It is doubtful if the McDermots had seen Thomas McNab since he took his leave of the family in 1821. In the days of the fur trade it was not uncommon for the offspring to not see their parents again once they had left home. They may have corresponded but none of it remains, in public domain at least.

XXII A series of court cases between Mac and Charles Garratt began in 1866 and concluded in 1869. Most of their disagreement concerned the dam for the mill at Sturgeon Creek. After receiving ten Pounds from Garratt over a debt, Mac was in turn brought to court on a claim that the dam had backed up the creek and impaired the quality of Garratt's spring.The court found in Mac's favour. The following year Mac charged Garratt with damaging the mill dam and claimed Fifty Pounds. He was awarded Twelve Pounds and costs. The dispute ended with Garratt getting a deed containing land on the north side of the road, as the road had existed at the time of the original contract. The boundary between them was set on the highest bank of the creek and Garratt was to have water access.98

In 1869 Andrew sought payment of Fifty Pounds on a note of hand from McKenney given in 1862, and payment of Fifteen Pounds rent on Lot 482. The Defendant refused to pay until Mac opened a way to the river. A.G.B. applied for a new trial. McKenney took Mac to court for a debt of Forty Six Pound, Fifteen Shilling, and Fourpence and was awarded a payment of Thirty Eight Pounds, Four Shillings and Tenpence Farthing, plus costs of One Pound, Three Shillings and Sixpence. This same year was one in which momentous upheaval was occurring in the colony. on one side of the problem was McKenney's estranged half-brother and former partner, John Schultz. On the other was Marie-Anne Gaboury's grandson Louis Riel, son of the leader of the Metis during the Sayer Trial and the Free Trade dispute.

Schultz had made no secret of his view that the majority of the inhabitants, particularly the Metis, were undeserving of the land which was their home. By the time he had purchased the Nor'Wester he had rabble-roused a group known as the Canada Party, who were very strident in their equation of Protestantism and Canadianism and the eventual triumph of the two. Schultz and his cohorts made the Metis nervous, and many of the settlers besides. Men like A.G.B. and his current partner, the Canadian Alexander Begg also disliked Schultz and his tactics. McKenney himself had fallen out with his half brother on the dissolution of their partnership and Shultz's refusal to pay his share.

The trouble fomented by Schultz, in part, led to the collapse of the local authority, especially when the Canadian Government purchased the North West Territory from the Hudson's Bay Company. Surveyors had already come out from Canada before the change of government and a number of the survey party had joined Schultz's Canada Party. While the group were stockpiling arms to play a role in the transfer to Canada events were moving rapidly at Red River. Moving from a Committee to ensure the rights of the local inhabitants into a provisional Government with young Louis Riel fils as President, the settlement found itself in division. The Metis had arrested Schultz and a number of his followers at Schultz's house and imprisoned them at Fort Garry, which they had taken over. The HBC governor, William McTavish, was being held at the fort. His wife, Mary Sally (Sara) McDermot was with him constantly as he was quite ill during this period. Another son-in-law of Mac was a member of the Provisional Government, A.G.B. Bannatyne; who was himself imprisoned by Riel for a night or so when they argued. Still A.G.B. felt the essential aim of the provisional government was sound. James Ross was also a member of the Provisional Government.

With the aid of his wife, who was permitted to visit her husband, Schultz managed to escape. However, one man who had been among his followers and had an unfortunate belligerence toward the Metis and Riel, was the Orangeman, Thomas Scott. Having already been involved with a party attempting to release prisoners from the upper fort, himself having escaped earlier, he was recaptured after an incident in which a local settler and a Metis youth caught up in the affray had both perished. Scott was tried and condemned by a Court Martial of the Buffalo Hunt. His execution gave Schultz the ammunition he needed to rouse support in Ontario against the Provisional Government and persuade the Prime Minister of the new confederation of Canada, John A. Macdonald, to send an expeditionary force to the new acquisition. By this time the delegates from the Provisional Government had managed to negotiate Red River's entry into Canada not as a colony but as the Province of Manitoba.

During the tense days when William McTavish was being held at Fort Garry, Mac had not played an active role in the events transpiring just beyond Emerald Grove. His daughter, Mary Sally, accompanied by another woman, came to visit from the fort where her husband was being held. Mac drew them into his study and attempted to hand each of them a pistol, telling them to shoot Riel and put an end to the business before it got completely out of hand. He assured them that nobody would hold them to blame. The shocked women managed to dissuade him and withdrew as soon as they could.99 As to what motivated the eighty year old man to scheme up such drastic measures we can only wonder. However, returning to his early childhood, the spectre of the devastation in the wake of the 1798 Rebellion in Ireland may have raised the fear of something similar happening at Red River. By removing the perceived leader of a "rebellion" against British authority that danger would be alleviated. All his life Mac had opted for the legal course. Perhaps there was a family inclination in that direction. His great-nephew Hugh, Prince of Coolavin, was to be the Attorney General of Ireland. Another great-nephew, Henry, was an Inspector in the Royal Irish Constabulary. Mac himself, having served on the bench, had demonstrated a penchant for the law.

There is an oft told Winnipeg tale of another daughter of Mac dealing with a member of the Canada Party during the events leading up to the formation of the Provisional Government. A fellow termed "The Canadian Poet", Charles Mair, in from Ontario to work on the overland Dawson Trail, had been writing home to his brother about life in the colony and made a disparaging remark about the half-breed wives of some of the society of Red River. The letter was published in the Toronto Globe, and apparently re-published in the Nor'Wester. When Mair came for his mail into the Post Office run by A.G.B., Annie was working inside . "Hand me down that horsewhip, Dick!" she said to the store clerk and proceeded to chase Mair down Main Street with said item, as payment for his remarks. The women of the McDermots had clearly been raised with a sense of pride in who they were.

XXIII The cluster of buildings around the location of Mac's store included A.G.B.'s two buildings, the Post Office, McKenney' house, Fonseca's establishment, The Royal Hotel, Mr, Barber's, Logan's, and closer to the Fort was Shultz's brick block. There was also Red River Hall, a building erected by McDermot, which contained a meeting hall on the upper floor and several shops on the ground floor. The village of Winnipeg was beginning its evolution. The Royal was sold to another American and transformed into the Davis Hotel and was the only hostelry, and a fairly gloomily lit one at that, when the first stage coach carrying mail arrived at Red River from Minneapolis on September 11, 1871.100

The McDermots may not have taken much notice that event as their son Henry had died on September 8th at Sturgeon Creek. Mourning would have dominated the family life at this point. Henry had not yet turned forty when he died. Earlier in the year, in February, Henry had undertaken court proceedings on his father's behalf against Henry McKenney to recover a debt of almost Seventy Pounds. However, McKenney had left the area for North Dakota, after renting his store to a hardware company in May of 1870. Old Andrew himself continued the pursuit of McKenney in court. [It might bear speculation that some of McKenney's financial tardiness may have been caused by Schultz's refusal to pay what he owed his half-brother.] McKenny must have been visiting from Pembina because he was arrested to prevent his departing the jurisdiction. He posted bail but then failed to appear in court. Ironically, he was elected Sheriff of Pembina County (the only man of the time to hold the office of Sheriff in both countries) and took office on June 9, 1871. A writ of execution for Three Hundred and Forty Eight Pounds and twelve Shillings was issued against McKenney in April of 1872. By then, it had ceased to be Henry's concern. With Henry gone son, Miles, stepped in to run the store. It was also in 1872 that Donald Smith, Prime Minister Macdonald's man at Red River during the time of the Provisional Government, who recommended Andrew McDermot to be the Manitoba representative among the provisional directors of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Not that not even such an honour ever induced Mac to board a train.

Mac had already shown a pleasure in things theatrical with the magic show in his kitchen back in the Eighteen Forties. In 1867 he let Red River Hall to an amateur theatrical group from the settlement. The opening night pantomime must have raised a few alarms, for the audience were afterwards encouraged to desist from foot stomping as a sign of approbation. Even applause was discouraged for fear that the floor might collapse, particularly as most of the storekeepers had long poles propped against the ceiling for security's sake. Eventually one of the store owners had the performances stopped. On February 15th the building was venue for the Citizens' Ball, which was given in honour of the Ontario and Quebec battalions, who had staged entertainments previously. At least two hundred and fifty attended and the was dancing of different traditions in different rooms.101 There were even weddings performed in that structure, as Dr. George Bryce mentions having conducted one there. The building burned down in 1874 in a spectacular blaze. Grand spectacle or not, it was preceded by an even more awesome fire on another of Mac's properties in the area. The windmill at Emerald Grove had been replaced by a steam mill, another of which Mac had installed at Portage, and in 1872 some sparks from the boiler must have set off an explosive ignition - a not uncommon occurance in flour mills. [The vintage Oglivie building in Fort Douglas met the same fate around one hundred years later.] The mill reportedly went up like tinder, for the firefighters had to use chemicals to stop the conflagration from spreading to surrounding buildings.102 Even Mac's past was burning down.

It appears that while the old man was not averse to using steam in extracting greater usage from his mills he had no inclination to trust his person aboard any vehicle driven by steam. For although he enjoyed watching the steamboats from his seat on his front porch, and the passengers alight, he never set foot on one, nor employed such a craft in his business. Nor did he ever ride a train, even though the younger members of the family tried to get him aboard these new fast transports when they finally began service between St. Boniface and St. Paul. He had probably watched the unloading of the first locomotive from its barge when the Countess Of Dufferin was brought to help construct its own tracks to the border with North Dakota at Emerson. Even when there was an excursion of the first train run on the west side of the Red no one, not even Dr. Cowan, could persuade Mac to ride on it.

XXIV During the 'Troubles" of 1869 and leading up to the subsequent arrival of troops from Canada under the command of Col. Garnet Wolseley (another Anglo-Irish officer of Imperial Britain) the local population were much disturbed by the behaviour of some of the Metis. Stores were often raided and cleared, firstly of guns and ammunition, but also of other goods. It seems that being the dominant force in the settlement went too far with some of the Buffalo Hunters. Even A.G.B. was so raided, in spite of being on the Provisional Government. When the delegates of the Provisional Government sent word that Red River would enter the Confederation as the Province of Manitoba there was a sense of accomplishment among all the people of the Provisionbal Government, with the possible exception of William Bernard O'Donoghue, the Treasurer. Even though he had only been in the settlement for a couple of years O' Donoghue had considerable influence among the Metis. He had come at the invitation of Bishop Grandin to teach mathematics while studying for the priesthood. He soon abandoned his vocation and became involved in the demand for the rights of the Red River citizens, especially the Metis, in the face of a British takeover. O' Donoghue was Fenian is his outlook. He had witnessed the devastation of the famine in Ireland in his youth, a famine that could have been reduced, or greatly alleviated, if the British authorities responsible for Ireland had acted. Instead, at least a million died, and millions emigrated to North America and Australia, many perishing from a mix of starvation and fever before they had a chance to become part of a new society. The bitterness which followed in the wake of this tragedy created a movement which attempted to wrest a part of Canada from Britain and hold it to ransom for Ireland's independence; Fenianism. Taking its name from a legendary group of warriors, many of the Irish veterans of the American civil war joined the movement and had a brief, and limited, success with raids in the Canadas. In fact, the raids are seen as part of the impetus which helped create the confederation of 1867.

Needless to say, Schultz and Scott saw O'Donoghue as the embodiment of Satan. Jesuitical in appearance he stood for the other Ireland, the once conquered Catholic Celtic society. He was also of an Ireland that had evolved since Mac had left the island almost sixty years previously. It is doubtful if Mac ever met O'Donoghue but he would have been aware of the Fenian movement and he would have been aware of the views of D'Arcy McGee, the Irish ex-patriot who felt that the best his countrymen could do was to become an integral part of the new country, and with the strength of being citizens could make their point of independence for their homeland by influencing their Canadian government to support the idea. Mac read the newspapers and given his upbringing would have supported McGee's denunciation of the Fenians as a threat. After all, McGee himself had left for North America as a member of a failed movement toward Irish independence. He is still recognized as a major poet of the period. No doubt Mac heard from A.G.B. about O'Donoghue's efforts to convince Riel and the Provisional Government to move toward creating an independent state, or annexation to the United States. The colony has been described as being Georgian in its ways, for that is the era during which the settlers and company men who made Red River their home sprang. The isolation which had sustained that political and cultural outlook had essentially been broken in the Eighteen Sixties with the arrival of the steamboats and the railway. The dissolution of the Council of Assiniboia and the setting up of a provincial legislature - interestingly enough, in the house of Mac's daughter Annie and her husband A.G.B. - was for Mac a natural extension of the vision he annunciated some twenty years previously. Small wonder he would want to ensure the transition to the Dominion of Canada. Certainly his espousal of that cause would have played a role in his unusual request of Mary Sally. Not that he was opposed to the rights of the population, but he did feel that a country from coast to coast was inevitable and right.

Mac's own home was rented by the new government to house the offices of Indian Affairs. The McDermots moved to a house further up the boundary of their property, now called McDermot Avenue. It was there they would have heard of O'Donoghue's abortive Fenian Raid near Pembina in 1871. Riel and O'Donoghue were still in hiding from the Canadian authorities, but each had gone their separate ways. Riel was still in the province, while O'Donoghue was attempting to get up a force south of the border, fully expecting the Metis to rise up in support. He was wrong, and Riel's loyalty to the principles with which Manitoba entered Canada kept the Metis from O'Donoghue's wild scheme. So, after the brief scare the raid created in the new province things settled into a pattern of legislative activity. It was not long before O'Donoghue's warnings about British duplicity came true, as the flood of settlers changed the dominant ethnic and cultural base of the population completely and French language rights were swept away by the Provincial legislature controlled by the Anglophone, Loyalist majority.

XXV After years in business, and with many of his old friends, colleagues, and antagonists gone, Mac settled down to enjoying his declining years, spending much time sitting on his porch watching the world pass by and enjoying the activity of his extensive family. He would sit in his square chair, feet on the bottom rung, and an oak stick on which his hands rested, smoking his pipe.103 There were always children around. Sadly, in 1875, after fifty nine years of marriage, Sara died. She had been a loyal spouse to Andrew for all those years, given birth to at least seventeen children, most of whom had survived; raised two grandchildren as if they were her own offspring; and had instilled a pride of their mixed bloodlines in her children. Sara had not been one to pursue social position among the company wives, her attendance in church was the primary public appearance in that world. She obviously enjoyed dancing and the social activity of weddings and such celebrations, so she was not reclusive. Her hands would have been full raising all those youngsters over the years. She had lived for seventy three years, with daughters married to influential men, and sons in business in the new province. Her grand-daughter Marie Lane married Alexander who later became Mayor of Winnipeg, their neighbour Robert Logan's son. Her son Henry had married Alexander's sister Sara, which indicates how close all those neighbouring families were. Her descendants number over four hundred today, many in and around the Winnipeg area, with others scattered across Western Canada for the most part.

After Sara died her daughter, the widowed Catherine Truthwaite, and grand-daughter Mary Jane, now in her twenties, moved in with Andrew to keep house for him. The family circle around Andrew filled his last years with pleasure. He loved teasing the grandchildren and their friends, of which there was quite a number around. Once he had jokingly checked their pockets for sugar when they would be leaving his store in earlier years, he now loved to play tricks on them with his oak stick. When the girls were dressed up for a special outing in dresses with trains, he would suddenly put out his stick and try to pin the train to the floor with it. On one Halloween the children persuaded A.G.B to put on a mask and drape himself in a shawl so that he could approach Andrew in the disguising light of dusk. Bannatyne, however, had a very distinctive walk, heavy footed and turned out, and, while the children were keeping their anticipatory laughter in check, Mac announced, "Andrew Graham Ballenden Bannatyne, you forgot to put masks on your feet.104 It was his ambition to live to one hundred and although he certainly joined the ranks of the long lived of the settlement he fell short of his ambition.

In the Spring of 1881, still with a twinkle in his blue eyes, his silvery white hair flowing long, and a humorous turn to his mouth, Andrew finally took to his bed. As he was being tucked in he said, "My body, mind you, is as young as ever, and my mind is as good as ever, but my legs seem to be played out. I think I'll lie down and take it easy for the rest of the time." That time came to a close on October 16. It was the same year that the Canadian Pacific arrived in Winnipeg. The cross country connection Mac had spoken of thirty years and more before had made its way to Red River on iron tracks the year he departed this life. He was buried at St. John's Cathedral on October 18, 1881.

In many ways, apart from the avenue bearing his name, Andrew McDermot's legacy still remains in Winnipeg to this day. The Health Sciences Centre, once the General Hospital, still sits on the land he and A.G.B. Bannatyne donated in 1872. Holy Trinity Church on Donald Street was assisted in its construction by a large donation by Andrew. He also had donated land in St. James for the construction of an Anglican church. However, as the land was low lying it was not regarded as an ideal site and later his grandson, also Andrew McDermot exchanged it for some higher ground. Not far from the site of McDermot's Sturgeon Creek mill at Woodhaven still sits St. Andrew's Church, bearing the name of the land donors.

Perhaps his friend, Alexander Ross, should be left the last summation of this Manitoba pioneer's character. In 1856, the last year of his life, Ross wrote: "In barter, traffic, and bargain making, he stands unrivalled. He has tried everything and everything has turned to his advantage...And although he sometime sold his commodities at exorbitantly high prices, and occasionally prided himself in overreaching his neighbour, yet he was liberal and charitable withal - the poor man's friend and the rich man's companion."

1 McDermot Clan Geneology. Obtained through Brent Lanyon. St Vital. Referenced through the McDermot Clan Website
2 The Story Of The Irish Race. Seumas MacManus. Devin-Adair Co. N.Y.1967 ED.
3 Some texts describe a crew mutiny which was forestalled by the passengers.
4 Owen Keveny's Party. Gunn Family Page, - tmsnyder/OWEM.htm
5 Character Book, Clerks of the Northern Department 1821 & 1822.  HBC archives. B 229 /f  /12
6 Harriet (McDermot) Lillie. W. J. Healy: Women of Red River.
7 There are a number of variants of the spelling of this name; most common are Lajimoniere and Lagimoniere. 
8 Clarence Truthwaite of Lockport, MB. Direct descendant.
9 George Simpson's character book of 1821-22. HBC Archives. " A sober man but without talent as a clerk or trader. Has a quarrelsome irritable temper and disliked by men and Indians, without method in management or business and will be discharged next season."
10 Alexander Ross. A History of The Red River Settlement
11 Wm. Brown. Hudson's Bay Co. Archives. B. 122/e/l
12 Character book 1821-22. George Simpson.  HBC Archives. B. 229/f/12 
13 W.E. Ingersoll, Yarns of Early Winnipeg.  Winnipeg Free Press April 27, 1963.
14 Ibid
15 Ibid
16 Alexander Ross: The History of The Red River Settlement.
17 Alexander Ross: The History of The Red River Settlement.
18 Alexander Ross. The History Of The Red River Settlement. Ch. X. & W.E. Ingersoll, Wpg. Free Press, April 27, 1963
19 Robert Logan file. N.H.F.J. Jan.1830-Dec. 1831.Box 442. HBC Archives.   June 19 1831: McDermot with boats Passed Norway House bound for York Factory / Sept. 23 1831: Passed Norway House with boats bound for Red River.
20 Gail Morin. English (sic) Ancestors of Andrew McDermot.
21 Thomas Simpson to Donald Ross, March 12, 1831.Published in the Winnipeg Free Press, March 15, 1930. M9  Manitoba Legislative Library.
22 Ibid.
23 Ibid.
24 Thomas Simpson. Letter to Donald Ross, Sept 15,1831 Winnipeg Free Press, March 15, 1930. M9  Manitoba Legislative Library.
25 Thomas Simpson to Donald Ross 1832 Winnipeg Free Press, March 15, 1930. M9 Manitoba Legislative Library
26 Thomas Simpson to Donald Ross. December 19, 1832  Winnipeg Free Press, March 15, 1930. M9  Manitoba Legislative Library.
27 St. John's parish records. Manitoba Archives
28 Thomas Simpson to Donald Ross, March 18, 1833. Published in the Winnipeg Free Press, March 15, 1930. M9  P32, Manitoba Legislative Library.
29 Alexander Ross, The History of The Red River Settlement. Chapter  XIV
30 Ibid
31 Alexander Ross, The History of The Red River Settlement. Chapter XVI.
32 Alexander Ross, The History of The Red River Settlement. Chapter XVI.
33 Thomas Simpson to Donald Ross, June 3, 1840. Published in Wpg. Free Press 6. 5. 1930
34 Alexander Ross. The History Of  The Red River Settlement.
35 Alexander Ross. The History Of  The Red River Settlement.
36 Cary Papers. Hudson Bay Archives. MG 2. C3
37 Alexander Ross. History of The Red River Settlement. Chapter XVII
38 Alexander Ross. History of The Red River Settlement.
39 Alexander Ross. History of The Red River Settlement. 
40 Clarence Truthwaite of Lockport. Family oral tradition.
41 Mrs. William Cowan (Harriet Sinclair). Women of Red River by W.J. Healy. Ch. 3. Peguis Publishers Ltd.
42 Mrs. William Cowan (Harriet Sinclair). Women of Red River by W.J. Healy. Ch. 3. Peguis Publishers Ltd.
43 Alexander Ross. History of The Red River Settlement
44 Rev. G. Corbett. To the British Parliament's Select Committee on the Hudson's Bay Company, March 5,1857 " I have heard Mr. McDermot, who is, perhaps, the greatest merchant on the banks of the Red River, say again and again that he is quite surprised that the authorities in England do not extend the route via Lake Superior, and open up a grand overland route, and form a great nation from Lake Superior right across the Rocky Mountains; that it could be done and that he is surprised that towns and cities have not been raised up."
45 Alexander Ross. History of The Red River Settlement. Ch. XVI	"We hope the day is not far distant when the British Government will say to the Hudson's Bay Co., 	'Reliquish your chartered rights, not without their just value indeed, and we will take the country to 	ourselves.' " He further suggested filling the country with British Settlers.
46 Andrew McDermot - The Red Rogue.  Chuck Thompson. Winnipeg Sun, Sept. 7, 1986
47Red River Settlement Papers. MG 2 B5-2. HBC Archives.  
48 Red River Settlement Papers. MG 2 B5-2. HBC Archives.  [NOTE: The entire series of letters transcribed in a notebook by one of Christie's writers gives a detailed view of the situation.]
49 James Sinclair to Alexander Christie, August 25,1845. Red River Settlement Papers. MG 2 B5-2. 
50 Alexander Christie to George Simpson, April 21, 1846. Red River Settlement Papers. MG 2 B5-2. 
51 Alexander Christie to George Simpson, December 31, 1845.Red River Settlement Papers. MG 2 B5-2. 
52 Alexander Christie to George Simpson, December 31, 1845. Red River Settlement Papers. MG 2 B5-2. 
53 George Simpson to Chief Factors and Traders, July 15 1846. Published in Wpg. Free Press , 26. 4. 1930
54 Alexander Christie to Andrew McDermot, March 3, 1846. Red River Settlement Papers. MG 2 B5-2. HBC Archives.  
55 Letter of Andrew McDermot to Alexander Christie, March 3, 1846.Red River Settlement Papers. MG 2 B5-2. HBC Archives.  
56 McDermot to Alexander Christie, March 3, 1846.MG2 B5-2  HBC Archives
57 Alexander Christie to Andrew McDermot. March 3, 1846 MG2 B5-2  HBC Archives
58 See Richard Lane  Dictionary Of Canadian Biography. .
59 Mrs. Harriet (McDermot) Lillie. Women of Red River by W.J. Healy
60 Women of Red River by W.J. Healy
61 Letter from Wemyss Simpson to Donald Ross, December 7, 1846. Published in the Winnipeg Free Press, 26. 4. 1930
62 Letter from Alexander Christie to George Simpson, July 30,1847. Red River Settlement Papers. MG 2 B5-2. HBC Archives.  
63 Dictionary of Candian Biography  Vol. X
64 Dictionary Of Canadian Biography  see John ffoliiet Crofton.
65 Alexander Ross to Donald Ross. August 9 1847. 
66 Andrew McDermot to George Marcus Cary, December 8, 1847. Cary Papers,  MG2  C3, HBC Archives..
67Andrew McDermot to Marcus Cary, December 8, 1847 Cary Papers MG2  C3. HBC Archives
68 McDermot to George Marcus Cary. .July 24, 1848.Cary Papers MG2  C3 HBC Archives.
69Andrew McDermot to Alexander Christie. 4. 8. 1845. MG2 B5 -B7 HBC Archives.
70 McDermot to George Marcus Cary. .July 24, 1848.Cary Papers MG2  C3 HBC Archives.
71 Ibid.
72 Ibid.
73 Harriet (Sinclair) Cowan, Women of Red River by W.J. Healy. Peguis Publishing
74 McDermot to George Marcus Cary. June 15, 1850.Cary Papers MG2  C3 HBC Archives.
75 Women of Red River by W.J. Healy
76 McDermot to George Marcus Cary. .July 24, 1848.Cary Papers MG2  C3 HBC Archives.
77 Roy St. George Stubbs. Four Recorders of Rupert's Land.  Peguis Publishers
78 Roderick McLeod. Dictionary of Canadian Biography.
79 Eden Colvile. Letter to Adam Barclay, HBC House, London. May 22, 1851.Eden Colvile Letters
80 History Of St. James.  St. James Library, Winnipeg.
81 Ross Papers. MG 2 B4-1, HBC Archives
82 Eden Colville to A. Barclay, HBC Secretary in London, 14. 8.1850 . Eden Colvile Letters
83 Eden Colville at LFG,  letter to A. Barclay, HBC Secretary in London, 28.11.1850
84 Eden Colville letter to A. Barclay, HBC Secretary in London, 7.2.1851
85 Eden Colville letter to A. Barclay, HBC Secretary in London, 7.2.1851
86 General Quarterly Court Sessions 1851.HBC Archives.
87 Women of Red River by W.J. Healy. Peguis Publishers Ltd.
88 Quoted in Four Recorders of Rupert's Land by Roy St. George Stubbs
89 Andrew McDermot - The Red Rogue. By Chuck Thompson, Winnipeg Sun, Sept. 7, 1986 .& Women of Red River by W.J. Healy
90 Harriet (Sinclair) Cowan. Women of Red River by W.J. Healy  
91 Ibid.
92 Harriet (McDermot) Lillie. W. J. Healy: Women of Red River.
93 Alexander r. Lille. Dictionary of Canadian Biography
94 Clarence Truthwaite of Lockport, MB. Direct Descendant
95 Winnipeg Free Press. William Douglas' address to the Manitoba Hotel Association. Nov. 4, 1946
96 It Happened Here. Edith Paterson, Winnipeg Free Press, October 8, 1970.
97 Edith Paterson, Winnipeg Free Press, October 3, 1970.
98 MG 2  B4-1 HBC Archives.
99 A Red River Pioneer  Winnipeg Free Press 1914 . Search file: HBC Archives.
100 Dr. George Bryce: Early Days In Winnipeg. Manitoba Historical Society 1894
101 W.J. Healy: Women of Red River
102 Winnipeg Free Press, December 16, 1952. 
103 Mary Jane Truthwaite. A.J Healy: Women of Red River.
104 Mary Jane Truthwaite. A.J Healy: Women of Red River.