The Fur Trade in the Northwest Territory

©Illinois Trails History and Genealogy

When the French, the first discoverers of the vast Northwest territory came to know the country with its network of lakes and rivers, they found it to be the greatest fur producing region on the continent and soon realizing the importance of Makinac Island, then called Michilimackinac, made it a central rendezvous area. The original "fur traders" were men who accompanied the Indians on their hunting expeditions and returned, their canoes laden with pelts, which in Montreal were traded for the necessities and often the pleasures of life.

This trading continued until 1763 when the close of the war between the French and the English saw the end of the French domination in Canada. The trade then fell into the hands of the British. About three years later, profitable trade resumed and through the efforts of Montreal merchants, various companies were organized to systematically the trade. One of these companies was the Mackinaw Company.

At the close of the Revolutionary War, by treaty between the U. S. and Great Britain, the island and all the territory south of it, passed into the possession of the Americans, although the British and their refusal to give up such a profitable enterprise prevented occupation by the Americans, the Jay treaty of 1796 finally forced the English garrison out and the American occupancy began.

In 1811, John Jacob Astor, who arrived in this nation in 1784 and had already organized the American Fur Company, purchased the Mackinaw Company. Mr. Astor assisted in pushing passage of a law through Congress that prevented all foreigners from engaging in trade within the U. S. Boundaries. After the war of 1812, in the year 1815, the American Fur Company began operations once again and chose Mackinac Island as it's factory headquarters.

Because of the vast number of waterways within the Northwest Territory, the trade stretched from Canada to the lower Mississippi. From the French Canadians, the English and French settlements in Illinois, the Spanish in Missouri, a variety of nationalities engaged in the fur trade during the early years.

Congress eventually passed legislature, allowing foreigners to purchase licenses to engage in trade.

Map of Mackinac Island

Below is a list of American Fur Company Employees for the years 1818 and 1819, including their position and place of employment if available



Where Engaged

Pierre Aimar Boatman Mackinac
James Aird    
Francois Albert Blacksmith Montreal
Jean Bt. Allar Boatman Montreal
Jean Bt. Allen Boatman Montreal
Antoine Arelle Boatman Montreal
S. Ashman Clerk Montreal
Pierre Baritte `  
Jean Bt. Barte   Mackinac
Joseph Bayargent    
Jean Bt. Beauchemin Boatman Montreal
Augustin Beandrie Boatman Mackinac
Francois Beulieu Boatman Montreal
Bazal Beaulieu Interpreter Mackinac
Paul Beaulieu Interpreter Mackinac
David Beaulieu Boatman Montreal
Alexis Beudrin Boatman Lac du Flambeau
Francois Beunoit Boatman Montreal
Louis Berair Boatman Mackinac
Jean Bt. Bercier Boatman Montreal
Alexis Berthaume Boatman Montreal
Joseph Berthaume    
Thomas Berthaume Boatman Montreal
Louis Bibeau Interpreter Mackinac
Louis Binette Trader Mackinac
Pierre Bizayon    
Maurice Blondeau Trader St. Louis
Jean Blondin Boatman Montreal
Pierre Bonga Engagement 1818
Louis Bornai Boatman Montreal
Bazil Bouche Boatman Montreal
Francois Boucher Sr.   Fond due Lac
Francois Boucher Jr.    
Touissant Boucher Engagement 1818
Alexander Bourassa Clerk Mackinac
Leon Bourassa Boatman Mackinac
Eloy Bourassa Trader Mackinac
Pierre Bourdeaux Boatman Montreal
Francois Bourdeaux Boatman Montreal
Paul Bourdinon Boatman Mackinac
Louis Buisson Engagement 1818
Amable Cadieu Boatman Mackinac
Michel Cadieu Boatman Montreal
Jean Bt. Cadotte Boatman Mackinac
Duncan Campbell    
Scott Campbell    
Joseph Cardinal Boatman Nadawasaga
Louis Chantiloux Boatman Fond du Lac
Solomon Chapeau Boatman Montreal
Simon Charette Interpreter Mackinac
Mad. Charette (spouse) Trader Mackinac
Germain Charland Boatman Montreal
Andre Charlebois Boatman Montreal
Antoine Charpantier Boatman Montreal
Joseph Charpantier Boatman Montreal
Joseph Charpantier Boatman Montreal
Ignace Chenier Clerk Mackinaw
Jean Bt. Chevallier    
Pierre Chevallier    
Philip Christy Boatman Montreal
Jermie Clairmont Interpreter Mackinaw
Laurent Clements Boatman St. Mary's
Jean Bt. Cloutier Boatman Mackinaw
Theodore Come Boatman Mackinaw
Etienne Comptois    
James Cook Clerk Montreal
Jean Bt. Corbin Clerk Mackinac
Nicolas de Coteau Boatman Montreal
Joseph Cotte    
Etienne Cotte Boatman Montreal
Pierre Cotte   1818
Pierre Coune Interpreter Mackinac
Michel Courcheae Boatman Montreal
Joseph Cousineau Boatman Mackinac
Antoine Dabin    
Pierre Daunai Boatman Mackinac
John H. Davis Interpreter Mackinac
Joseph C. Dechenaux Clerk Montreal
Louis Decheneau Boatman Montreal
Joseph Danau    
Constant Denau Boatman Mackinac
Antoine Deschamps Clerk Mackinac
Joseph Deschamps Boatman Mackinac
Jean Bt. Desormier    
Etienne Doant Clerk or Trader St. Louis
James Dodge Boatman Mackinac
Mr. Dorion Sr. Not in employ  
Batis Dorion Jr. Not in employ  
Luc Dubois Boatman Mackinac
Joseph Duchene Jr. Boatman Mackinac
Joseph Duchene Sr. Interpreter Mackinac
Joseph Dufaust Boatman St. Mary's
Louis Dufaust Interpreter Mackinac
Phillip Dufrene Boatman Mackinac
Antoine Dulude Boatman Mackinac
Louis Duplain Boatman Montreal
Joseph Dupuis Boatman Montreal
Bazil Durant Interpreter Mackinac
Andrew Durocher Boatman Montreal
John Dyde Clerk Montreal
Jacques Ebert Boatman Mackinac
Louis Faille Boatman Mackinac
William Fainsworth Clerk Montreal
John H. Fairbanks Clerk Montreal
Jacob Fallstraw    
Russell Farnham    
Simon Fairveau Boatman Montreal
Antoine Fellix    
Francois Le Fennai Boatman Montreal
Jean Fillion Boatman Mackinac
Jean Bt. Flamand Boatman Drum'd Island
Louis Foise    
Joseph Gardipi    
Antoine Gauthier Boatman Mackinac
Victoire Gauthier Boatman Montreal
Francois Gendron Boatman Montreal
Louis Genereux Boatman Mackinac
Augustin Gerard Boatman Montreal
Amable Gervais Boatman Mackinac
Antoine Giere Boatman Mackinac
Joseph Ginereth Trader Interior
Antoine Goke    
Augustin Gosselin Boatman Mackinac
Andre Gosselin    
Pierre Gosselin Boatman Mackinac
Charles Goulais Boatman Mackinac
Joseph Goulais Boatman Montreal
Alexis Gregoir Boatman Mackinac
Francois Grenier Boatman Nadawasaga
Nicolas Grenier Boatman Montreal
Tunis Hagerman Fisherman Lac du Flambeau
John G. Hawly Clerk Montreal
Smauel Hawly Clerk Montreal
Nicolas Hebert Boatman Montreal
Augustin Herbert Boatman Montreal
John F. Hogel Clerk Montreal
John Holliday Trader Mackinac
John Hotley Boatman Mackinac
Gordon S. Hubbard Clerk Montreal
Clement Hudos Boatman or Carpenter Montreal
Michel Jalaine Boatman Montreal
Simon Janvier Boatman Montreal
Antoine Jaudoin Boatman Montreal
Jean Bt. Jebon Boatman Mackinac
Pascal Jenvine Mason Montreal
John Kenzie Jr. Clerk Chicago
James Kenzie Clerk Mackinac
Kinenigwin (Indian) Boatman Mackinac
Charles Labay Boatman Mackinac
Louis Lacroix Boatman Mackinac
Louis Ladebauche Boatman Mackinac
Pierre Ladebauche Boatman Mackinac
Jean Bt. Lafortune Interpreter St. Joseph's
Claude Laframboise Boatman Mackinac
Madame Laframboise Trader Mackinac
Jean Bt. Legard Sr.    
John Bt. Legard Boatman Mackinac
Antoine Lalancet Clerk Mackinac
Antoine Lalande Boatman Mackinac
Francois La Mieux Boatman Mackinac
Francois Lamoreaux Boatman Montreal
Pierre Landrie Boatman  
Bellamy Landry Boatman Montreal
Jaques Lantier Boatman Mackinac
Joseph La Perche (1816)    
Joseph La Pierre Boatman Montreal
Jean Bt. La Pointe Boatman Nadawasaga, deserted at St. Mary's, 1818
Joseph La Pointe Boatman Montreal
Joseph La Raviere Boatman Drummond Island
Joseph La Raviere Boatman St. Mary's
Augustin La Roche Interpreter Illinois
Samuel Lasly Clerk Mackinac
Pierre Lassallier Trader Mackinac
Roderie Laurence Clerk Montreal
Alex Laurent Interpreter Mackinac
Pierre Laurent Boatman Mackinac
Alexis Lavalle Boatman Mackinac
Francois Lavigne Boatman Drummond Island
Pierre Leelere Boatman Montreal
Jean B. Le Clere Not engaged in 1818  
Alexis Le Compte Boatman Mackinac
Louis Lefort Boatman Montreal
Jacques Le May Guide Montreal
Louis Le Roux Boatman Mackinac
Louis Lezier Boatman Mackinac
Joseph Lizotte Boatman Mackinac
Pierre Lensignon Boatman Mackinac
Joseph Lozon Boatman Mackinac
David McGulpin Interpreter Mackinac
James McIntyre Tailor Montreal
Joseph Macon    
Francois Mainville    
Louis Mainville Boatman Montreal
Joseph Marchand    
Antoine Martin Boatman Mackinac
Daniel Martin Boatman  
Louis Martin Boatman Mackinac
Antoine Mace Massie Boatman Lac des Sables
Francois Massie Boatman Mackinac
Jean Bt. Massie Boatman Mackinac
Charles Matthews Boatman Mackinac
Francois Mayatt Boatman Mackinac
Michael Mayeux Deserted  
Pierre Menard Boatman Montreal
Gabriel Metevier Boatman Interior
Antoine Minard Clerk Mackinac
Louis Minard Boatman Montreal
Leon Monier Boatman Montreal
Joseph Monsreau Boatman Mackinac
Hazen Mooers Clerk Montreal
William Morrison Interpreter Mackinac
Jean Bt. Nadeau Boatman Montreal
Joseph Neumanville Clerk Mackinac
Alexis Neveu Boatman Montreal
Jean Maril Nicoli Carpenter Montreal
Antoine Oscom Interpreter Chicago
Antoine dit charon Page Interpreter Mackinac
Joshua Palen Trader Mackinac
Jacques Parisian Boatman Mackinac
Pierre Peligord    
Alexis Pillon Boatman Montreal
Joseph Pillon Boatman Montreal
Jacques Pillon Cooper Montreal
Gabriel Petitverge Boatman Montreal
Francois Piquette    
Joseph D. Pocheron Boatman Montreal
Joseph Poivier Boatman Mackinac
Louis Pombert Boatman Mackinac
Nicholas Pouyotte    
Touissant Prevost Boatman Montreal
Bazil dit Jean Bt. Prout Boatman Mackinac
Charles Provost Boatman Round Island
Charles Pruneaux Boatman Mackinac
Bazil Prunier Boatman Mackinac
Jean Bt. Rabideaux Boatman Mackinac
Etieene Racette Boatman Mackinac
Alexis Luc Reaume Trader Mackinac
Constant. Relle Boatman Mackinac
Francois Robert Boatman Montreal
Francois Robinson Boatman Montreal
Joseph Roi    
Jean Bt. Roi Boatman and Interpreter Mackinac
Jean Bt. Rolland Boatman Montreal
Pierre Rondeu Boatman Mackinac
Laurent Roucelle Boatman Montreal
Enstache Roussian Interpreter Mackinac
Augustia Rousseau Boatman Montreal
Joseph Rousseau Boatman Montreal
Saganaquoitte (Indian) Boatman St. Mary's
Andre St. Amant Trader Portage des Sioux
Edward St. Arno Boatman Montreal
Leon St. Germain   Mackinac
Antoine Saucier Boatman Fond du Lac
John Suanders Boatman Montreal
Joseph Schindler Assistant Mackinac
Jean Bt. Seunet Mason Montreal
Joseph Sicard Boatman Montreal
Francois Antoine Simoneau Boatman Montreal
William Solomons Boatman  
Garry Spencer Tailor Montreal
David Swanson Boatman Mackinac
Jean Bt. Sylvester Boatman Mackinac
William Sylvester Blacksmith Montreal
Jean Bt. Taillis Boatman Mackinac
Francois Terrien    
Battis Trague Boatman Mackinac
Pierre Turcotte Boatman Montreal
Amable Turpin Boatman Mackinac
Edward Upham Clerk Montreal
Charles Varin Boatman Montreal
Jacques Vasseau Boatman Mackinac
Antoine Vasseur Boatman Montreal
Jean Bt. Villemenne    
Benjamin Vincent Boatman Ance
William H. Wallace Clerk Montreal
Goodrich Warner Clerk Montreal
Francois Willett Boatman Mackinac
Elisha Wroth    
Thomas Berthaume   St. Jean 1819
Amable Cadrieu   St. Jean 1819
Pierre Menard   St. Jean 1819
Joseph Charpantier   St. Jean 1819
Jean Bt. Desjardin   St. Jean 1819

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