Friday, August 5, 2016

Cousin Andre Lagasse was an Interpreter for David Thompson

In 1803, Andre Lagasse -- my 1st cousin 6x removed -- signed a 4 year contract to act as a guide and interpreter for the North West Company, and to go to the Red River, Swan River and Lake Winnipeg.

Andre's contract dated April 19, 1803:

Last Name: Lagasse
Last Name Standardized: LAGACE
Given Names: André
Contract Date: 1803, Apr 19
Contract Place: Montréal
Length of Contract: 4 years
Overwintered: Yes
Parish (Standardized): Montréal
Destinations: Grand Portage, Nord et Dépendances (North and Dependencies), RIVIÈRE ROUGE (Red River), Lac Winipique ou rivière du Cygne (Winnipeg lake or the Swan River)
Occupation: NL
Functions: GUIDE, Interprete
Function Notes: Guide et interprete pour la rivière rouge, Lac Winipique ou la rivière du Cingne (Translation: Guide and interpreter for the Red river, Swan river and lake Winnipeg)
Merchant Company: Alex Mackenzie & Co. (Also known as the North West Company at that time)
Company Representative: NL
Notary Name: Gray, Jonathan A.
Wages: 1500 Livres ou chelins par année (or shillings per year)
Advance at Signing: 0 NL
Advance at Departure: 0 NL
Contract Notes: - passer par Michilimakinac, s’il en esr requis. - équipement double d’un guide (Translation: Michilimakinac go through, if required ESR . - Equipment doubles as a guide)
Archive Source: BANQ, Greffes de notaires
Microfilm Number: M620/1535 00214

Journals of Alexander Henry and David Thompson

We know from Journal entries and records kept by explorers Alexander Henry and David Thompson that Andre was part of their adventure among the Indians on the Red, Saskatchewan, Missouri, and Columbia Rivers.

About Alexander Henry (from wikipedia)

Alexander Henry 'The Younger' (1765 – 22 May 1814), was an early Canadian fur trader, explorer and diarist. From 1799 until his premature death in 1814 he kept an extensive diary which is the most complete record ever printed of the daily life of a fur trader in the north. These journals cover everything that happened to him in a most matter-of-fact manner and have yielded much material for historians and other researchers of that time period in North American history.

In 1792, with his well-known uncle of the same name, Henry became a partner in the North West Company and he was later a wintering partner of the XY Company and the Pacific Fur Company. His diaries record his travels from Lake Superior to the Pacific Ocean. In Canada, he travelled through Ontario, Manitoba, Assiniboia, Keewatin, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. In the United States of America his travels took him through areas that comprise the modern states of Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. 

He encountered many different tribes of Indians, and in the north saw much of the Chippewas, the three tribes of the Blackfeet, the Crees, Assiniboines, Sioux, Sarcees, and others. In the south, he reached the Mandans, the Minitari, the Rees, and even the Cheyennes, south of the Missouri River. On the west coast he saw many tribes of the Columbia River, such as the Wanapum. In 1808, he travelled with David Thompson from Lake Winnipeg to Fort Vermilion, Alberta.

From Fort George, Henry and Donald McTavish (first cousin of Simon McTavish) were being taken back along the Columbia River by five sailors of the Royal Navy to the warship HMS Isaac Todd when their boat capsized and they drowned.

About David Thompson (from wikipedia)

David Thompson (30 April 1770 – 10 February 1857) was a British-Canadian fur trader, surveyor, and map-maker, known to some native peoples as "Koo-Koo-Sint" or "the Stargazer." Over Thompson's career, he travelled some 90,000 kilometres (56,000 mi) across North America, mapping 4.9 million square kilometres (1.9 million square miles) of North America along the way. For this historic feat, Thompson has been described as the "greatest land geographer who ever lived."

Thompson's decision to defect to the North West Company in 1797 without providing the customary one-year notice was not well received by his former employers (Hudson's Bay Company). However, joining the North West Company allowed Thompson to pursue his interest in surveying and work on mapping the interior of what was to become Canada. 

In 1797, Thompson was sent south by his employers to survey part of the Canada-US boundary along the water routes from Lake Superior to Lake of the Woods to satisfy unresolved questions of territory arising from the Jay Treaty between Great Britain and the United States. By 1798 Thompson had completed a survey of 6,750 km (4,190 mi) from Grand Portage, through Lake Winnipeg, to the headwaters of the Assiniboine and Mississippi Rivers, as well as two sides of Lake Superior.

In 1798, the company sent him to Red Deer Lake (Lac La Biche in present-day Alberta) to establish a trading post. The English translation of Lac la Biche-Red Deer Lake-first appeared on the Mackenzie map of 1793.

Thompson spent the next few seasons trading based in Fort George (now in Alberta), and during this time led several expeditions into the Rocky Mountains.

In 1804, at the annual meeting of the North West Company in Kaministiquia, Thompson was made a full partner of the company and spent the next few seasons based there managing the fur trading operations but still finding time to expand his surveys of the waterways around Lake Superior. However, a decision was made at the 1806 company meeting to send Thompson back out into the interior. Concern over the American-backed expedition of Lewis and Clark prompted the North West Company to charge Thompson with the task of finding a route to the Pacific to open up the lucrative trading territories of the Pacific Northwest.

Andre Lagasse's Fur Trading Adventures:

From: New light on the early history of the greater Northwest : the manuscript journals of Alexander Henry ... and of David Thompson ... 1799-1814, page 28...

"A very successful winter was spent at Park River. Henry took at his station, 643 beaver skins, 125 black bear, 23 brown bear, 2 grizzly bear, 83 wolf, 102 red fox, 7 kitt, 178 fisher, 96 otter, 62 marten and 97 mink. 

Michael Langlois, clerk on the Red River Brigade, who remained in charge of the party at Morris during the winter of 1800- '01, had also a station at Hair Hills (Pembina Mountains) that winter. The returns showed 832 beaver skins, 52 black bear, 20 brown bear, 4 grizzly bear, 111 wolf, 82 red fox, 9 kitt, 37 raccoon, 108 fisher, 60 otter, 26 marten, 68 mink and various other skins, bags of pemmican, kegs of grease and bales of meat. 

Andre Lagasse, "a voyageur, conductor," in the Red River Brigade was sent from Morris to trade with the Indians in the Pembina Mountains the winter of 1800-'01. With him went Joseph Dubois, "voyageur, steerer or helmsman," and later they were succeeded by Joseph Hamel, "'voyageur and midman" in the Red River Brigade."

AND From: New light on the early history of the greater Northwest : the manuscript journals of Alexander Henry ... and of David Thompson ... 1799-1814, page 50: 

"There were many portages on the route from Lake Superior, ranging in length from short distances to 3,000 feet, over which both canoes and goods were packed, each man carrying from 90 to 180 pounds, the bowman and the helmsman carrying the canoe. 

In the first canoe there were — First, Alexander Henry, the bourgeois ; second, Jacques Barbe, voyageur, conductor or bowman; third, Etienne Charbonneau, voyageur, steerer; fourth, Joseph Dubois, voyageur, steerer; fifth, Angus McDonald, voyageur, midman; sixth, Antoine Lafrance, voyageur midman ; seventh, Pierre Bonga, a negro servant of Mr. Henry. 

Second canoe — Eighth, Michael Langlois (sometimes mentioned as Coloret), clerk, with his wife and daughter; ninth, Andre Lagasse (sometimes mentioned as Lagace or La Gasser), voyageur, conductor, with his wife; tenth, Joachim Daisville (sometimes mentioned as Danville and once as Rainville in transcribing Henry's Journal), voyageur, steerer; eleventh, Andre Beauchemin, voyageur, midman ; twelfth, Jean Baptiste Benoit, voyageur, midman. 

Third canoe — Thirteenth, Jean Baptiste Demerais, interpreter, wife and two children; fourteenth, Jean Baptiste Larocque, Sr., voyageur, conductor; fifteenth, Jean Baptiste Larocque, Jr., voyageur, steerer; sixteenth, Etienne Roy, voyageur, midman; seventeenth, Francois Rogers, Sr., voyageur, midman. 

Fourth canoe — Eighteenth, Joseph Masson (or Maceon), voyageur, conductor, wife and child; nineteenth, Charles Bellegarde, voyageur, steerer; twentieth, Joseph Hamel, voyageur, midman ; twenty-first, Nicholas Pouliotte, voyageur, midman."

ALSO FROM: New light on the early history of the greater Northwest : the manuscript journals of Alexander Henry ... and of David Thompson ... 1799-1814, page 51

"No. 9. No question of identity in this case.—There is at least one other of same surname, Charles Lagasse, or Lagace, who was with Thompson on the Upper Saskatchewan in April, 1800 ; went with him to the Kootenays, Oct. 5th-23d, 1800" -- I believe this is Andre's brother (See his HBC contract at end of this post).

More about André Lagassé

André Meunier dit (Lagacé) Lagassé, was baptised 19 AUG 1775 in La Pocatière, Quebec, Canada.  An unidentified source has his death as  3 Jun 1856, but I cannot find that record.
On 16 Oct 1798, in  Saint-Roch-des-Aulnaies, Québec he married Marie Marthe Thiboutot (Boutotte)(1747–1759)

André was the son of Charles Migner Lagacé born 28 Nov 1744, died 23 Jan 1819, AND Marie Madeleine Aubé dit Aubert.  And, he was the grandson of Joseph Migner (Lagacé) Lagassé AND Felicite Caouette.

Lineage to Lucy Pinsonneau:

Andre Lagasse (Mignier) dit Lagace (1775 - ) -- 1st cousin 6x removed

Charles Mignier dit Lagace (1744 - ) -- father of Andre Lagasse (Mignier) dit Lagace

Joseph Mignier dit Lagace (1706 - 1778) -- father of Charles Mignier dit Lagace

Jean Baptiste Mignier Lagace (1749 - 1828) -- son of Joseph Mignier dit Lagace

Jean Baptiste Mignier Lagasse (1776 - 1835) -- son of Jean Baptiste Mignier Lagace

Marie Emélie (Mary) Meunier dit Lagassé (1808 - 1883) -- daughter of Jean Baptiste Mignier Lagasse

Lucy Pinsonneau (Passino) (1836 - 1917) -- daughter of Marie Emélie (Mary) Meunier dit Lagassé -- my 2nd great-grandmother

The document above, from the Archives of Winnipeg, is the transfer of a contract for Charles Lagasse from the North West Company to the Hudson's Bay Company after their merger in 1821.  I believe this Charles is perhaps the younger brother of Andre.

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