The Grand Old Man of the River
by Bruce W. Taylor
Stephen Lafricain was born in 1837, the same month and year that Queen Victoria ascended the throne; and died in 1936, the year that King George VI was proclaimed king. He was a part of our history; not just of Canada, but of the United States as well. He was a part of the settlement of the Labrador coast; he lived in the city of Montreal in its formative years. He was a took part in the US Civil War and in the campaign against the Fenian Invasion of Canada.
He witnessed the treaty negotiations with the native people of Northeastern Ontario. He saw the decline of the fur trade in northern Canada, and the discovery of the vast mineral wealth of northern Ontario.
He was there.
He knew and counted as friends some of the most influential men in Canadian history, men such as Lord Strathcona, and Governor Simpson of the Hudson's Bay Company. He saw Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, General Ulysses Grant, and the ill-fated General Custer. And, although none of the wealth of the land accrued to him in his wilderness homes, he lived with and even guided some of the famous prospectors who discovered the gold and silver mines in the north.
Living for most of his life at the Fort Matachewan Hudson Bay Post, he befriended the native community, the prospectors, the hunters, trappers, the priests, and community leaders who came through the area with their various pursuits.
This is his story.
Short-listed for a 2019 Northern Lit Award!
ISBN: 978-1-927541-81-4 | WMPub#1157 | 5½" x 8½"
156 pages, 29 photos/ diagrams; index; trade paperback | $14.95
Available In EBook Formats Here: $4.95 CDN
It has come to light, on page 142, the Michel Batisse (Jr), born on August 16, 1877, was NOT the elected chief of the Matachewan Band at the time of the Treaty No 9 negotiations. It was his father also named Michel Batisse (seen on page 89). Michel (Jr in 1877) was actually the son of Michel Batisse (Sr) and Annie Batisse (née MacDougal).
Table of Contents
13PART 1: Labrador Beginnings
17Ancestry Chart - Stephen Lafricain
17The Jourdain Family
18The Broomfield Family
20Hudson's Bay Company Trading Post at Rigolet
22Map of Rigolet Area
23Donald Smith Takes Over at Rigolet
26The Wreck of the Marten
28Definition of Occupations in the HBC
31PART 2: Montreal Roots
31Montreal-1850s and 1860s
32Tracing the Lafricain Family Genealogy
36Pedigree Chart for ;Eacute;tienne (Stephen) Lafricain
37PART 3: The U.S. Civil War
37Becoming a Soldier
39112th Regiment- New York Volunteers
42The 3rd New York Veteran Volunteers
43The Fenian Invasion of 1866
46PART 4: A Servant of "The Bay"
49Map of Lake Temiskaming Area
50Robert Hamilton, Chief Factor
52Hunter's Lodge, Lake Kipawa 1867-1868
53James Hunter, In Charge at Hunter's Lodge
54Paddling His Own Canoe 1869-1889
56Charles Stuart, Chief Trader-Fort Temiskaming
56Point McMartin Post, Lake Temiskaming
57Colin Rankin, Chief Factor-Temiskaming District
58Life as a Farmer
62PART 5: The Montreal River
64Fiddler's Point HBC Post
66Map of Bay Lake and Area
70Stephen Lafricain's Sojourn at Fiddler's Point
77PART 6: Fort Matachewan 1896-1906
79Stephen Lafricain at Fort Matachewan
80Plan of Ft. Matachewan
83Ontario Government Survey 1900
86The 1901 Census
91C. C. Farr's Fishing Trip to Fort Matachewan
931906-1912 James Bay Treaty No. 9
99The Discovery of Silver at Elk Lake 1906
106PART 7: Fort Matachewan 1907-1920
106Death of Marie Josee Lafricain
107The Gowganda Silver Rush of 1908
110Mining in Matachewan Area
116Stephen Lafricain's Quest for a Pension
119Closure of Fort Matachewan 1920
121Marriage to Sabeth Roundeye
123PART 8: Fort Matachewan 1921-1936
126The "Electric Girl"
131Birth of the Town of Matachewan
136Death of Stephen Lafricain
140PART 9: Lafricain's Legacy