Monday, June 18, 2018

Was Grandpa Gabriel Pinsonneau (1803-1877) involved in the Fur Trade?


It seems likely he may have had some involvement in the fur trade, especially when you consider the following facts:

His father, his grandfathers, all of his uncles, and his father-in-law had all been voyageurs.

His last known Canadian address in Chateauguay, Quebec, Canada (1825) was property he shared with a voyageur Jean Baptiste Poupard -- his brother-in-law -- who married Marie Angelique Meunier dit Lagasse, his wife’s sister.

According to the 1830 US Federal census he was living on Isle La Motte, Lake Champlain, Vermont, located on a long time fur trade route between Albany and Montreal.

From the birth records of his children we know he was in Wilna, New York before 1836 — 20 years earlier -- between 1792 and 1814 -- Wilna, New York had been known as Castorland.

1802 New York map with Castorland (Wilna is the red dot)

About Castorland:

The Castorland village name means "Land of the Beaver."  The name stems from a colony of refugees from the French Revolution, established in 1792 to provide a new home away from the violence in France. 

The land, 210,000 acres, was originally part of Macomb's Purchase.  It was purchased by La Compagnie de New York. "Castorland" is a literal translation of the old Indian name of the area, Couch-sach-ra-ga.

Castorland was located in the northwestern part of the State of New York, between the Black River, and the forty-fourth degree of latitude (in the region where the towns of Wilna, Castorland, Carthage, Great Bend, Black River and Watertown are situated today).

Due to many reverses, including harsh winters, poor planning, loss of livestock and funds, the colony was dissolved in 1814.  Many of the original settlers from the Castorland colony returned to Europe or moved to larger communities.

1829 New York map (Wilna is the red dot)

About Wilna, New York

According to 1850 through 1870 US Federal census records Gabriel lived in Wilna, New York.

Gabriel lived in the northeastern corner of Wilna in an area known as Natural Bridge, and is just west of the renown adirondacks mountains.  His homestead fronted the Indian River which gave him canoe access to vast wilderness areas during the first half of the 19th century.

About Gabriel Pinsonneau (1803–1877), 3rd great-grandfather, born 3 MAR 1803 in La Prairie, Quebec; died 16 DEC 1877 in Wilna, Jefferson Co., NY.

He  went by the name Gilbert Passino after moving to the USA.

His father: Gabriel Pinsonneau (1770–1807)

His mother: Marie Vielle (1773–1808)

Spouse: Marie Emélie Meunier dit Lagassé (1808–1883)

Gabriel's home in 1864 is the red dot


i. Nelson Francis Pinsonneau b. 1821 Canada, d. 1897

ii. Justine Pinsonneau b. 1827 Canada, d. 1827

iii. Moses David  Pinsonneau b. 1827 Canada, d. 1895

iv. Flavie  Pinsonneau b. 1834 Canada, d. 1908

v. Lucy  Pinsonneau b. 1836 New York, d. 1917

vi. Laura  Pinsonneau b. 1840 New York, d. 1915

vii. Mary Jane  Pinsonneau b. 1841 New York, d. 1917

viii. George Gilbert Pierce (Pinsonneau) b. 1853 New York, d. 1913

Indian River emptied into the St. Lawrence

The record of Gilbert's life is so thin my question may never be answered, but my guess is that he had both the means and opportunity to trade furs for a little extra income.

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