Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tussle on Eagle Lake....

For those familiar Eagle Lake you may know about the park and boat launch on the east end of Eagle, just off hwy 594. You may not know that this was the site of a Hudson's Bay Co. trading post back in the "day". This year, specifically September 15th, is the 200th anniversary of a skirmish between the HBC people and an encampment of the rival Northwest Trading Co. Two of the HBC people were injured in some sword play and the clerk of the Nor'westers (Aeneas MacDonnell) was shot dead. The shooter, one John Mowat, was later captured and transported to Montreal by canoe where he was sentenced to six months in prison and branded on the hand with a hot iron. Eagle Lake is a pretty tame place these days compared to some of it's colorful history!


  1. History...Time has no beginng and history has no end...
    Cool bit of information.
    I like the part where they had to tracel all the way back to Montreal.
    Perhaps they tried stopping in ThunderBay, and couldn't find anyone to brand him while swearing in French.

  2. This historical account brought back pleasant memories of some time I spent in Northwest Wisconsin. Actually, on the way up to VBL one could stop in Burnett County Wisconsin and visit the Fort Folle Avoine just north of Webster on the Yellow River. At this location, the competing fur trading companies of Northwest and XY actually shared a fort. As Gord has pointed out, fur trading companies killed over the rights to collect and trade furs. At this location however, "the North West Company arrived first in 1802. Its men built a trading post, a cabin and a stockade. In November of that year the XY Company traders pulled their canoes onto the grassy bank of the river. Soon those men had cut trees and built a single structure that combined trading post and living quarters. That winter, the XY traders moved inside the North West stockade fearing attack from members of the Dakota tribe, who were enemies of their Ojibwe trading partners". Fear has a way of creating unusual bed partners. The fort and buildings have been rebuilt and the historical park would offer a nice break in the trek up to VBL! It also gives you a better sense of the huge territory covered by these fur trading companies.