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SARAH “SALLY” FIDLER (1802-1885)
JAMES HALLETT (1800-1885)

(Last Updated: July 10, 2014)


Sarah “Sally” FIDLER was born Nov 26, 1802 at the HBC’s Nottingham House (Fort Chipewyan), the eldest daughter of Mary MACKAGONNE (Cree) and Peter FIDLER of Bolsover (1769-1722), surveyor, explorer, fur trader. Her Cree name was See-Lee-ah. ** MORE ABOUT PETER FIDLER of BOLSOVER


Sally was 10 years old in 1812 when her father (Peter) took charge of Brandon House and began surveying lots for the Selkirk Settlers.


Sally and William WILLIAMS


In May of 1818, during the HBC’S bitter struggles with the North West Company (NWC), William WILLIAMS (1771-1837) replaced James Curtis BIRD (1773-1856) as the Governor of Rupert’s Land. BIRD had been the Acting Governor since 1817. Sally FIDLER was only 16 years old, when she became WILLIAMS’ concubine that year, a man old enough to be her father. ** MORE ABOUT WILLIAM WILLIAMS in DCBO by Shirlee Anne Smith

From the book “Many Tender Ties” by Sylvia Van Kirk, pg 160: Even young mixed-blood girls, raised with the expectation of becoming the wives of officers, could find themselves reduced to the status of mistresses, a situation which must have caused them considerable grief and confusion. The swashbuckling governor William WILLIAMS, appointed to superintend the affairs of the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1818, formed a liaison with Sally, the daughter of Peter FIDLER, soon after his arrival in the Indian Country. Sally, and undoubtedly fur-trade society at large, considered that she was WILLIAMS’ wife. In his view she was only a pleasurable mistress, for he already had a wife in England. 


In October of 1818 Colin ROBERTSON (1770-1837), who was the leader of the HBC campaign in Athabasca, was captured by the Nor’Westers who charged him with attempted murder. As competition escalated, William WILLIAMS was also in danger of arrest.

In 1819, when navigation opened on Lake Winnipeg, WILLIAMS decided to retaliate, capturing a group of wintering NWC partners at Grand Rapids, on their way to their summer rendezvous with their Montreal counterparts, sending his captives to York Factory and thence to England. Unfortunately one winterer, Benjamin FROBISHER, escaped from custody and attempted to make his way back inland, only to die of starvation near Cedar Lake, a tragedy which further embittered relations between the two companies. Ultimately unable to surmount (or buy rights to) the HBC’s route through the Bay, the NWC initiated merger talks.


It is believed that Sally’s first child with WILLIAMS may have been a daughter named Mary, born about 1819-20.

** Under review


The North West Company is merged into the Hudson’s Bay Company


In 1821 the union of the North West Company (NWC) and the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) occurred, ending the years of bitter rivalry for dominance of the fur trade in Western Canada. George SIMPSON (1786-1860) became the Governor of Rupert’s Land. ** MORE ABOUT GOVERNOR GEORGE SIMPSON


In August of 1821 Sally gave birth to a daughter (Matilda) at Cumberland House (SK).


By October of 1821, the companies agreed on terms and approved an “amalgamation.” The new, merged Company retained the HBC name and governing board in London. By the terms of the merger the administration of the Company was split into two regions, the Northern and Southern Departments, each with its own Governor. Most of the profitable fur areas were in the former area, which covered the region westward from Rainy Lake and Fort Albany to the Pacific coast. London designated William WILLIAMS as the senior governor with responsibility for the Northern Department. But WILLIAMS instead chose the governorship of the Southern Department, leaving to George SIMPSON the more promising appointment.


From the book “Many Tender Ties” by Sylvia Van Kirk, pg 160: Two children (perhaps three) were born to Sally, but WILLIAMS abruptly severed his connection with his native dependents when he was transferred to the Southern Department and his wife came out to join him in 1822. The classic practitioner of this new exploitive attitude toward native women was WILLIAMS’ successor, George SIMPSON, the most important personage in the nineteenth century fur trade.


WILLIAMS was transferred to Moose Factory, where his wife and children from England joined him.


On Dec 27, 1822 Sally’s father (Peter FIDLER) died at Dauphin House, and her widowed mother (Mary) moved with her youngsters to Red River. Sally probably joined them there.
On Dec 6, 1823 Sally gave birth to William WILLIAMS JR.


In 1826 the Company’s two main departments were consolidated, and George SIMPSON was given charge of all of Rupert’s Land. WILLIAMS was recalled to England, where he remained the rest of his days.


Sally and James HALLETT


By 1828 Sally was living with James HALLETT 1800-1885), son of Catherine (Cree woman) and Henry HALLETT (1773-1844). In 1830 they were listed with three children and a house at Point Douglas (Winnipeg). These would have been Matilda & William WILLIAMS, and her first child with HALLETT (James HALLETT JR).


In 1830 alleged daughter Mary was in a relationship with William STEVENSON, an Indian from St Peters (born c1807).


William WILLIAMS JR died in 1833, only about 10 years old.


In 1834 James HALLETT wrote to William WILLIAMS SR to demand child support for his daughter Matilda.


In 1837 William WILLIAMS SR died in England.


By 1840 James HALLETT & Sally had six children together.


In 1855 daughter Matilda (WILLIAMS) became the 2nd wife of John McALLUM TODD SR (1833-1896).


In 1858 son James HALLET JR married Maria (Mary Ann) BOURKE at St James Anglican Church.


In 1865 daughter Flora became the 2nd wife of Walter BOURKE (her brother-in-law). Walter had been previously married to Charlotte FIDLER, the daughter of Ann HALLETT & Andrew FIDLER (Charlotte’s cousin).


In 1872 son Frederick HALLETT married Isabella Ann (nee RICKARDS), the widow of John TAIT who died in 1871 under mysterious circumstances.

By 1872 James HALLETT was said to be "insane".


Census 1881 of Assiniboia (St James) enumerated James (age 81), his wife Sarah (age 78) and their daughter Maria (age 58).


In 1885 both Sally (nee FIDLER) and James HALLETT died in St James (Winnipeg).


** Comments and queries at this link: FORUM DISCUSSING DESCENDANTS of SARAH “SALLY” FIDLER


========================== Family Details ==========================


Children of Sarah FIDLER & William WILLIAMS:
?1. 1820 MARY WILLIAMS (m. William STEVENSON)


2. Aug, 1821 MATILDA WILLIAMS (m. John McAllum TODD SR)
3. Dec 6, 1823 WILLIAM WILLIAMS JR (Died in 1833)
Children of Sarah FIDLER & James HALLETT:
1. Aug 17, 1828 JAMES HALLET JR (m. Maria (Mary Ann) BOURKE)
2. Jan 16, 1831 MARIA HALLETT (Never married)
3. Jan 1, 1833 FLORA HALLETT (m. Walter BOURKE)
4. June 8, 1835 JULIUS HALLETT (Never married, died 1918)
5. Dec 27, 1837 FREDERICK HALLETT (m Isabella Ann (nee RICKARDS) TAIT)
6. 1840 SARAH HALLETT (Died in infancy 1845)