John Tod and me

The old Thompson's River post was built on the east bank of the North Thompson River, and the new post of Kamloops constructed on the river's west bank, in 1843.
Alexander Caulfield Anderson’s 1849 painting of the Kamloops post, courtesy the Kamloops Museum & Archives. In 1843 the larger post was built on the west back of the North Thompson River; but the post that Sam Black knew is the smaller post or building on the right hand or east back of the North Thompson River, which comes in from the top of the image.

No, I am not running off with John Tod of Kamloops: I am just telling you that there will be no blogpost this day, partly because I am so exhausted from a medical condition that the doctors are working to solve. And they will solve it. So far as I can tell, they are alarmed but it is no disaster.

So, to keep you entertained, here is a little story about John Tod, later of Fort Kamloops. He was a character, and this story should amuse you! It amused me.

In his “History of New Caledonia and the Northwest Coast,” John Tod (later of Kamloops) wrote about his journey to Hudson Bay in what the HBC men called “the London Ship.” Here is his story:

“John Tod was born at Levin, Scotland, in 1793. Hearing of the Red River colony for which Lord Selkirk was recruiting, he went to his (Lord Selkirk’s) agent at Glasgow, engaged with him for four years, with sixteen others — then between 17 or 18 yrs of age. Sailed from Glasgow in a small vessel and landed at Stornoway, where we awaited 6 weeks for one of the H.B.Co ships to take us to York Factory.

“This was perhaps the first time that Scotsmen and irishmen had been taken by the H.B.Co. —
[The ship] was hired by the Company and manned by their own men, named the Edward and Ann; we remained three days in the harbour, three miles out, the captain giving the crew nothing but oatmeal. The men complained; the captain replied, “do you know what you can do, you can jump overboard if you don’t like your fare.”

“At that, the speaker and leader sprang into the water, and half a dozen others followed his example. The life boats at once were lowered, and boats from shore were sent out by those who saw; there was unusual conversation about the vessel. The men were all carried back to shore and remained there, and the Captain, alarmed for fear all would do the same, sailed that night leaving much business unfinished. He had been long in the H.B.Co., and always had had quiet men from the Orkney’s for labouring servants; their gentlemen were all Englishmen, and this was their first encounter with men of this calibre.

“We used to get ashore on the icebergs and had a tedious time, on account of being delayed by them. When we reached York Factory, the 20th of September, three months after leaving our nation, [word], winter set in with great severity; I was apprenticed to go to Severn [the rest of this experience is reported elsewhere.]”

This comes from a file in B.C. Archives, E/A/T56, and although fun to read it has little to do with anything I am researching right now.

Copyright, Nancy Marguerite Anderson, 2022. All rights reserved.

8 thoughts on “John Tod and me

  1. Sharon Seal

    So sorry to hear you are experiencing health problems Nancy. I join what I know is a myriad of well wishers sending good thoughts your way and good wishes for a speedy resolution. Take care.

  2. Dave

    Thanks for the uniquely funny post. Eating oatmeal most mornings, I can’t imagine jumping overboard into such frigid water for want of better fare. Apparently the Captain couldn’t imagine it either. Maybe 24-7 for 3 months might change my mind. I doubt it.
    Speedy recovery Nancy!

  3. Deborah Lougheed Sinclair

    I feel for you as I have also undergone a battery of tests. Things are not good but manageable with medication. I wish you good health.