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A Genealogical Perspective

(Last Updated: August 20, 2013) 


Ojibwe Wigwam

An Ojibwe birch bark Wigwam at Grand Portage
Originally produced in 1857 by Eastman Johnson


In oral tradition, the Ojibwe remember a time when they lived near an ocean. This may have been the Atlantic near the gulf of the St. Lawrence, but more likely it was Hudson Bay. Archaeologists and geneticists indicate that the aboriginals of North America originated in Europe and migrated across the Bering Straits into the Arctic and the Northwest Territories.


Sometime around 1400, the North America climate became colder, and the first Ojibwe, Ottawa and Potawatomi bands started to arrive on the east side of Lake Huron. The Ottawa remained at the mouth of the French River and Lake Huron islands, but the Ojibwe and Potawatomi continued northwest occupying the shoreline to the Mackinac Strait which separates upper and lower Michigan. By about 1500 the Ojibwe continued west to the Lake Superior region.


Eldred & I were huge fans of Gordon Lightfoot. ‘Gitche Gumee’ is an Ojibwe phrase meaning ‘great water’ or ‘great lake’ (Lake Superior). Whenever I hear the following lyrics I think about Eldred and her Ojibwe ancestors.


Oh, there was a time in this fair land when the railroad did not run
When the wild majestic mountains stood alone against the sun
Long before the Whiteman and long before the wheel
When the green dark forest was too silent to be real
(From Gordon Lightfoot's Railroad Trilogy)


The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they call ‘Gitche Gumee’
The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
When the skies of November turn gloomy
(From Lightfoot’s The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald)



There were definitely no railroads around ‘Gitche-Gumee’ in those days. Just prior to the arrival of the Whiteman the Ojibwe people dominated most of the land, and stalked those green dark forests around the shores of the great lake.




The purpose of this narrative is to present some information about the Ojibwe people and the Métis of the Great Lakes region, and their descendants who eventually moved to the western provinces of Canada. At a personal level I am particularly interested in the ancestors of MAMONGAZEDA or BIG FOOT, who descended from the Reindeer Family, a branch of the Mous-o-neeg, who emigrated from the Grand Portage near the mouth of the Pigeon River to Lapointe, Shag-a-waum-ik-ong or Chequamegon.


From a genealogical perspective, before the arrival of the Whiteman all we have is the stuff of myth and legend, and oral accounts from early native elders. The first documented information comes from French explorers, fur traders and Jesuit priests (The French Era).


My hope is to stimulate discussion on my Forum whereby we can improve on some of confusing and conflicting information that appears in the literature and on the Internet.


There are few who would dispute that when it comes to oral history passed down from Ojibwe relatives, SCHOOLCRAFT & WARREN present the most reliable and credible insights. Even these two scholars hesitated to put date references to many of the very early events and people, causing much confusion and confliction among genealogists. For more information about these two historians, go to the following links (then use the < Back Button to return here):










The ‘Garden of Eden’ equivalent for the Sioux was in the lands around Mille Lacs Lake in today’s northern Minnesota. The Mdewakanton, known as the 'sacred lake village' (Mde Wakan) people, were one of the subdivisions of the Santee Sioux. The Mdewakanton are considered in the oral tradition, one of the most ancient divisions of the Sioux Nation or Ocetisakowin 'Seven Council Fires'. The sacred lake (Mille Lacs) figures prominently in Lakota/Dakota creation stories.




The Sauk (English) or Sac (French) may have had their original territory along the St Lawrence River. They were driven by pressure from other tribes, especially the Iroquois, to migrate to Michigan, where they settled around Saginaw Bay. Anishinaabe expansion and the Huron attempt to gain regional stability drove the Sac out of their territory. The Huron were armed with French weapons. The Sauk moved to new territory in parts of what are now northern Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota.


The Fox (Outagomie, Odug-am-ee re Warren) tribe was intimately related to the Sauk, and the two were probably branches of one original stem, it is probable that the early migrations of the former corresponded somewhat closely with those of the latter. One of their important villages was for some time on Fox river. The conclusion of WARREN (Hist. Ojibways, 95, 1885) that the Foxes early occupied the country along the south shore of Lake Superior and that the incoming Chippewa drove them out, has the general support of Fox tradition.




When the Reindeer clan of the Ojibwe first settled at Lapointe in Chequamegon Bay it wasn’t long before they found themselves warring with the Sioux, and the Sauk and Fox tribes as well, who considered them intruders in their domain (south and west of Lake Superior). The main village of the Sioux was located in the Mille Lacs area.




It was in 1524 that the Italian navigator Giovanni da VERAZZANO explored the east coast of North America from Florida to Newfoundland, naming these new lands Novelle-France (New France) for King Francois the First.


In 1534 Jacques CARTIER founded Charlesbourg-Royal in the Gulf of St Lawrence, the first French settlement in the New World.


In 1605 Samuel de CHAMPLAIN founded the settlement of Port-Royal (now Annapolis, Nova Scotia), marking the birth of Acadia. In 1608 he founded the City of Quebec on the St Lawrence River.


In 1610 Etienne BRULE left the French settlement to live among the Hurons. He became the first European to see lakes Ontario, Huron and Superior.


In 1618 Jean NICHOLLET (NICOLET) arrived in Quebec to become New France’s foremost ambassador to the Indian nations in the Great Lakes region.


In 1627 a group of French merchants founded the Companie de la Novelle-France (Company of New France) with a goal of exploiting the fur trade and assist in colonizing the country.


 In 1634, under the orders of CHAMPLAIN, Siur de la VIOLETTE founded a trading post and fort that would come to be known as Trois Rivieres at the mouth of the St Maurice River. For many years this site would be one of the most advantageous for the activities of fur traders.


Jesuit Relation of 1640 records the information Jean NICOLET obtained on his visit (1634) to Green Bay (visiting the Winnebago - a Siouan tribe whose language & culture are more closely related to the Iowa, Oto & Missouri Siouan tribes than the Sioux) documenting a tribe called "Naduesiu" to the west (the Algonquian name for the tribe meaning snakes - the French version of the name became Scioux or Sioux (the Winnebago name for their distant relatives, the Sioux, was Caha). It was probably about this time that the Assiniboine split off from the Yankton (Nakota) Sioux and migrate north into Cree lands. It appears by this time period the Winnebago have been cut off from their distantly related Siouan tribes of the Iowa, Oto, Missouri & Sioux due no doubt to the Iroquios wars in the east which forced the Algonquian tribes to migrate west. The Ojibwe into the north western Winnebago lands & the Fox/Sauk into the southwestern Winebago lands.


In the early part of the seventeenth century the Ojibwe had already commenced the custom of yearly visiting Quebec, and afterwards Montreal, taking with them packs of beaver skins, and returning with the fire-arms, blankets, trinkets, and firewater of the whites. This custom they kept up for many years, gradually curtailing the length of their journeys as the whites advanced toward them step by step, locating their trading posts, first at Detroit, then at Mackinaw, then at Sault Ste. Marie, till at last the smoke of their cabins arose from the island of Lapointe itself. The fur trade greatly affected the Ojibway homeland by attracting migrations of the other tribes into the region.


Perhaps the first contacts the Sioux had with the white men were in 1659-60 when they were visited at Izatys (Kathio) by Pierre RADISSON (1632-1710) & Medard GROSEILLIERS, and around 1673 by Jesuits Jacques JOLIET & Louis MARQUETTE.


Daniel GREYSOLON, Sieur DU LHUT (DULUTH) (1636-1710)
A Peaceful Sioux – Ojibwe Alliance


In September of 1678,Daniel GREYSOLON, Sieur DU LHUT (DULUTH) left Quebec (with seven French followers and three Indian slaves), to explore the upper Mississippi, and to negotiate a permanent  peace between the Sioux, Chippewas and other tribes dwelling west and north of Lake Superior.  In 1679 DULUTH took possession of the Sioux country in the name of the King of France, and effected an alliance between the Sioux and the Ojibwe. He also built a small fort at Kaministiquia (Thunder Bay)


Around the same time, Jesuit priest Robert LASALLE (1643-1687) and Father Louis HENNEPIN (1626-1705) started out from Niagara on an expedition to the Mississippi. Somewhere along the way HENNEPIN separated from LASALLE, in the company of voyageurs Michael ACCAULT and Antoine AUGUELLE. From Fort Crevecoeur (present day Peoria, Illinois), the small party headed down the Illinois on Feb 29, 1680.  They reached Leech Lake. On Apr 11, 1680, while on their return journey back to Fort Crevecoeur they were captured by the Sioux who took them back to their village at Mille Lacs. Sieur DULUTH, was able to rescue them when they reached the St Croix River.


Nicolas PERROT (c1642-1717)
Fort St Antoine on Lake Pepin

In 1686 Nicolas PERROT built Fort St Antoine on Lake Pepin (near Stockholm, SE of St Paul) along the Mississippi.


Pierre Charles Le SUEUR (1657-1704)
Another Ojibwe - Sioux Peace


Pierre Charles Le SUEUR, French fur trader and explorer, recognized as the first known European to explore the Minnesota River valley. He came from France with the Jesuits to their mission at Sault Ste Marie, but soon turned himself to fur trade and became a coureur des bois. According to Wisconsin Historical Society LE SUEUR, in 1693 negotiated a peace between the Sioux and the Chippewas, and in 1693 he built a fort on Madeline Island to check intertribal war.


An Ojibway Woman becomes the wife of Sioux Chief Snow Mountain WABASHA
** Parents of Red Leaf WABASHA **


Peace having been effected, both tribes, in Warren’s words, “hunted on the richest hunting grounds without fear and trembling, and plenty reigned in their lodges. On the St Croix the two tribes intermingled freely, being more immediately under the supervision of their traders. They encamped together, and inter-marriages took place between them. It is at this time that a few lodges of Ojibways first located themselves in a permanent village on the waters of the St Croix River. They chose Rice Lake, the head of Shell River, which empties into the St Croix, for their first permanent residence and it remains an important village of their tribe to this day (1852) “


It was during this peace (around 1700) that Snow Mountain WABASHA, a Dakota Sioux, took an Ojibwe woman as his wife. They had two sons (Omigaundib “Sore Head” & “Red Leaf” WABASHA).


Given the long history of warfare between the Sioux and the Ojibwe, any peace between them was bound to be a fragile one. Warren states: “From a comparative slight cause, the flames of their old hatred again broke forth with great violence. It originated at a war dance which was being performed by the Dakotas on Lake St Croix, preparatory to marching against some tribe of their numerous enemies toward the south. - - Under a state of excitement, as here described, a distinguished Dakota warrior shot a barbed arrow into the body of an Ojibway who was dancing with the Dakotas, intending to join them on the war trail against their enemy. Some of the old men who relate this tradition, assert that the Ojibway was part of Dakota extraction “(probably OMIGAUNDIB), and the fierce warrior who shot him, exclaimed as he did so, that “he wished to let out the hated Ojibway blood which flowed in his veins.”


The Battle of Point Prescott


Warren:”The ruthless shot did not terminate his (OMIGAUNDIB’s) life, and after a most painful sickness, the wounded man recovered. He silently brooded over the wrong so wantonly inflicted on him, for the warrior who had injured him was of such high standing in his tribe that he could not revenge himself on him without impunity. After a time he left the Dakotas and paid a visit to his Ojibway relatives on Lake Superior, who received him into their wigwams with every mark of kindness and regard. He poured into their willing ears the tale of his wrong, and he succeeded in inducing them to raise a war party to march against the Dakota encampment on Lake St Croix.” When the Ojibwe war party arrived, the Sioux were located at Point Prescott, and the battle that ensued (The Battle of Point Prescott) resulted in an overwhelming victory by the Ojibway with hundreds of Sioux warriors slaughtered and scalped.


Ojibway Woman - WABASHA becomes wife of NOKAY, also Ojibwe
** Parents of Big Foot” MAMONGAZIDA **



Eventually the two tribes withdrew from each other. Some of the men took their wives with them, and others separated. The elder (Snow Mountain) WABASHA became a chief, and as such, his position compelled him, with great reluctance, to leave his Ojibwe wife behind. She wouldn't be safe among the Sioux. As the blood of the Sioux flowed in the veins of her sons, neither could he allow him to be among the Ojibway. Ojibwe Woman sadly agreed that Red Leaf must remain with his father. 


It is not clear exactly when they separated, but we know that the Ojibwe wife of WABASHA eventually did returned to her own people, and in time she became the wife of NOKAY, a man of her own tribe.


Ojibwe Woman - WABASHA eventually did returned to her own people, and in time became the wife of NOKAY.  In the early to mid 1720’s son Big Foot MOMANGAZEDA was born in Lapointe.


There must have been occasions when young Red Leaf WABASHA was able to have discrete visits with his mother, because he and his younger half-brother (Big Foot) knew each other well, and were able to form a bond.




Sieur de la VERENDRYE (1685-1749)
Grand Portage, Fort St Pierre, Fort St Charles


In 1731 Sieur de La VERENDRYE began his explorations west of Lake Superior, and he built forts atGrand Portage and Fort St Pierre (near today’s Fort Frances) that year. In 1732 the next important link in the movement west was built on Lake of the Woods. It was called Fort St Charles. (He was assisted by a Cree chief named LA COLLE from the Rainy Lake area)


Fur traders introduced new tools and weapons, as well as liquor, into their lives and they grew more and more dependent on the white man's goods as the years passed.  Each tribe needed newer and larger hunting territories as the fur-bearing animals became scarcer. 


In May of 1735 VERENDRYE, having gone to Montreal for financial assistance, returned to Ft St Charles bringing his youngest son (Jean Baptiste) and Father Jean Pierre AULNEAU, a Jesuit priest.


The Sioux Massacre at Fort St Charles


Fort St Charles

Fort St Charles


In 1736, though word of a Sioux war party in the area disturbed him, VERENDRYE sent his son (Jean Baptiste), accompanied by Father AULNEAU, to Michilimackinac for badly needed supplies. On a small island some fifteen miles from the fort, all were surprised, massacred and beheaded by the Sioux.  Father ALNEAU's headless body was found later, propped in a kneeling position.  The bodies of Jean-Baptiste and the priest and the heads of the other Frenchmen were returned to Fort St Charles and buried.


More at (then use the < Back Button to return here)


After the massacre at St Charles, perhaps more for their own reasons than to avenge the French, the Ojibwe swore revenge, formed an alliance with the Cree and Assiniboine and attacked Dakota villages at Lake Pepin on the Mississippi (SE of Minneapolis-St Paul).  French traders at La Pointe tried to halt the fighting, but this had been coming for years, and neither the Dakota nor the Ojibwe would listen.  The war was on, and this was just the beginning.  The northern Minnesota Ojibway-Sioux wars would continue for the next 40 years!


French – English Wars


In 1744 the French made an unsuccessful assault on Port Royal. The next year (1745), a Massachusetts-planned expedition under William PEPPERRELL with a British fleet under Sir Peter WARREN took Louisburg. Border warfare was severe but not conclusive. The Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (1748) returned Louisburg to France, but the hostile feelings that had been aroused did not die Using Montreal on the St Lawrence and New Orleans on the Mississippi, the French developed a network of trading posts that extended as far west as the plains of the Dakotas and as far west as central Saskatchewan. 


The Battle of Kathio or Izatys


The Battle of Kathio, or Battle of Izatys, was an oral tradition of the Chippewa (Ojibwe) presented by William WARREN in his book. Dates are fuzzy, but Wikipedia and the US Park Service suggest it took place around 1740-50.


An old man, living in a Chippewa village at the Fond du Lac (end of the lake), had four adult sons. They frequently made trips to visit the Sioux and they often returned home with gifts. Until one day, when one of the sons was killed in a quarrel over a Sioux woman. The three brothers returned home for a short while then returned to the Sioux, convinced the death of their brother was a mistake. However, upon this trip, only one brother returned home to his father safely. The last son, filled with forgiveness, went to seek the Sioux and reconcile their differences, but only met his death in the Sioux village.

For two years after, the father hunted and worked hard to obtain enough ammunition and supplies to raid the Sioux village and seek his revenge. As was the custom, he sent his tobacco and war club to the other Chippewa villages asking for help to accompany him “in search of his sons”. The response was overwhelming and a large war party assembled at Fond du Lac. The Chippewas were victorious, and gained control of the Mille Lacs area. The Sioux then re-located their village further south, on the Rum River.

Fort Repentigny


In 1750 the French government, in order to keep the British at bay, granted land at Sault Ste Marie to two men, Captain Louis de BONNE de MISELLE and Ensign Louis LEGARDIER de REPENTIGNY (1721-1786). They built Fort de Repentigny. De BONNE was rather an absent landlord, but REPENTIGNY was more active, staying half the year and setting up a man, Jean Baptiste CADOTTE (1723-1803), to look after things when he could not.


REPENTIGNY left his fort to fight for the French government against the British in Quebec. He fought at Montmorency Falls and was present at the French government defeat at Quebec. DE BONNE was killed in this later fight. CADOTTE was left in charge much like a feudal tenant landlord. REPENTIGNY did not return.


French – Indian Wars


On Jul 3, 1754 George WASHINGTON surrendered the small, circular Fort Necessity (later Pittsburgh) in southwestern Pennsylvania to the French, leaving them in control of the Ohio Valley.


In 1756 England declared war on France. The French and Indian War in the colonies now spread to Europe. That same year, General  Louis-Joseph , Marquis de MONTCALM (1712-1759) forced the surrender of the British fort at Oswego on Lake Ontario, thereby breaking the British finger hold on the Great Lakes.  A year later he destroyed Fort William Henry at the south end of Lake George, dashing British hopes for an advance through the Champlain Valley to Crown Point.  The northern frontier seemed to be collapsing in upon the British colonies.


The French, who claimed the entire watersheds of the Mississippi and St. Lawrence Rivers—which included the Great Lakes and the Ohio River valley—became worried about British encroachments into this region and so they moved to set up a series of forts, including at Crown Point on Lake Champlain, and on the Wabash, Ohio, Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. The British, meanwhile, built their own forts at Oswego and Halifax, the government granted lands in the Ohio Valley to the Ohio Company and adventurous traders set up bases in the region.


The rushing rapids in the St Mary’s River (Sault Ste Marie) were a key point in the water route to the interior, since all canoes going between Lake Huron and Lake Superior had to be portaged or pulled through the swift water.


On Mar 28, 1756 Jean Baptiste CADOTTE married Catherine Anastasie EQUAWISE (1740-1776). They would become the maternal Great Grandparents of William Whipple WARREN.


VAUDREUIL is defeated in the BATTLE of ST FOY


A small party of the tribe from the central village of La Point followed Big Foot MAMONGAZIDA nearly two thousand miles to join MONTCALM in his famous battle. 


Quebec fell to the British in Sept, 1759 in the Battle on the Plains of Abraham. Both WOLFE and MONTCALM died in the battle.


Big Foot MAMONGAZIDA received a medal and a flag from the French for his efforts in this battle.


The following summer, in the Battle of Ste FOY, VAUDREUIL surrendered Montreal to MURRAY HAVILAND and AMHERST, and the whole of Canada to the British on Sep 8, 1860.




The French were finished in North America.  British soldiers occupied most of the forts in the Great Lakes later that year. Soon after the British conquest, General GAGE gave the first permit to trade in the Great Lakes region to Henry BOSTICK, and reluctantly granted the second to Alexander HENRY the ELDER (1739-1824), who set out for Mackinac in 1761.

More about HENRY the ELDER  (then use the < Back Button to return here)


Montréal remained the organizational hub of the fur trade. However, ‘Canadien’ merchants were no longer granted transportation contracts for the West or the financing they required for large expeditions. They were gradually replaced over the next years, primarily by Scots.


In January, 1763, JEMMET, CADOTTE and his family, and Alexander HENRY the Elder, left for Ft Michilimackinac.  JEMMET was killed there, and HENRY was taken prisoner.  Alex barely escaped massacre by Native Americans at Michilimackinac in PONTIAC's Rebellion, with persuasion by CADOTTE's wife.  Captured by the Ojibway, he was later adopted and protected by a family and made his way back to Fort Niagara in time to join BRADSTREET's army in lifting the siege of Detroit.


In 1765, HENRY the Elder and his partner, Jean Baptiste CADOTTE, were granted exclusive rights to trade on Lake Superior.  This is the year that his nephew, Alexander HENRY the Younger, was born.  In 1767-68 he wintered at Michipicoten where they built a post.  The Elder formed a company with Sir William JOHNSON, Henry BOSTICK, the Duke of Gloucester, and Alexander BAXTER to mine the copper of the Lake Superior region.


Big Foot Befriends the English


After the Siege of Detroit by Chief PONTIAC, British traders dared not extend operations into the more remote villages of the Ojibway, fearing their hostilities.  La Pointe, at this time, didn't have a resident trader, and the Ojibway, who had become accustomed to the commodities of the whites, were anxious for increased trade. 


In 1768 Big Foot, who wasn't terribly fond of the British, was asked to go to SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON in New York to ask that a trader be sent to reside among them.  Reluctantly he went, and to his surprise, he was well received (no doubt JOHNSON was thinking about Lake Superior copper).  He was even presented with a broad wampum belt of peace.  This act set the foundation of lasting good-will and was the commencement of active communication between the British and Ojibways of Lake Superior.  Thereafter, through the attentions he received from JOHNSON, he became a friend to the English as well.

Battle at Crow Wing


Wikipedia: The confluence of the Crow Wing and Mississippi Rivers formed a natural crossroads, attracting humans with its easy travel routes and quality hunting. At the beginning of the historical period the region was inhabited by Dakota, who clashed with Ojibwe being displaced from farther east. It is told that in 1768 a Dakota war party raided an Ojibwa village and carried off several women in their canoes. The village's warriors, returning from their own unsuccessful raid, laid an ambush on a high bank over the river, digging shallow pits from which to fire their rifles. As the Dakota convey passed under the Ojibwa, the men opened fire, while the captured women overturned the canoes they were in and swam for shore. The Dakota regrouped and counterattacked by land, but were repulsed. The two day battle cemented Ojibwa control over the area.

After this battle the Sioux evacuated the Rum River country and moved to the Minnesota River.


Progress of the Ojibwe on the Upper Mississippi
Minnesota River Attack
Battle on Elk River


Warren: The incidents of this fight (Village on the Minnesota River) were told to me by WAUBOJEEG (White Fisher), a present living sub-chief of the Mississippi Ojibways, whose grandfather NO-KA acted as one of the leaders of this party; but as his accounts are somewhat obscure and much mixed with the unnatural, I refrain from giving the details. - - A few years after the incursions of NO-KA to the Minnesota River, the Ojibways again collected a war party of 120 men, and under the leadership of KE-CHE-WAUB-ISH-ASH.


Chief PEGUIS (1774-1864)


Around 1774 PEGUIS (BEGUA-IS) “Little Chip, Cut Nose, Destroyer” was born in the Sault Ste Marie area. This was the beginning of the French-Indian Wars.  I would love to hear more about the origins and early life of PEGUIS while he was yet in the Great Lakes region.** MORE ABOUT CHIEF PEGUIS


WAUBOJEEG (1747-1793) Becomes a War Chief
Closing of the War between the Ojibways and Odugamies (Foxes)
The Battle at St Croix Falls
Late 1770’s


It seems that when MAMONGAZIDA became too old for the rigors of battle his son, WAUBOJEEG, succeeded him as War Chief. However, at home, MAMONGAZIDA was still considered the chief in civil matters. It is said that a chief's power in Ojibwa society was based on persuasion, and held only as long as the community of elders chose to respect and follow his lead and was by no means absolute or binding. This is another factor that frequently leads many researchers into confusion.


It was around this time that Dakota, Sauk and Fox warriors joined forces in an effort to drive the Ojibway from the valleys of the Chippewa and St Croix rivers.  In the Battle of St Croix Falls (in the late 1770's), they were decisively and finally defeated by Ojibway under the leadership of Chief WAUB-O-JEEG.





The Fur Trade Moves West


In 1775 Simon McTAVISH (1750-1804) moved from Albany, NY to Montreal with the idea of a joint venture to challenge the HBC's fur monopoly. He started his own business and took Patrick SMALL, an Irishman, as his partner.


The American War of Independence broke out in 1776


Around 1776 John SAYER (1751-1818) first appeared in the Canadian/American fur trade scene at the age of 26. He became active in the Fond du Lac district as a free trader** MORE ABOUT JOHN SAYER


By 1781 Alexander HENRY the YOUNGER (1765-1814) was in partnership with Alexander HENRY the ELDER.


Beginning in 1781, outbreaks of smallpox would kill thousands of Ojibway around Lake Superior. 


Around 1783 OBEMAU-UNOQUA (NANCY), daughter of BIG FOOT MAMONGAZIDA, became the wife of John SAYER.

The North West Company is Formed


In 1784 the North West Company (NWC) was formed by Simon McTAVISH, and that year he brought his nephew, William McGILLIVRAY (1764-1825) to Montreal. McGILLIVRAY then engaged two young Scot cousins, Alexander MacKENZIE (21 yrs old) and 12 yr old Roderick McKENZIE as clerks.


In response to the forming of the NWC, John SAYER entered an agreement organizing the General Company of Lake Superior and the South (also known as Compagne Generale (the General Society)John CHABOILLEZ and Etienne CAMPION were among the partners.  Because of his previous experience, SAYER was appointed the company's Director of Operations for the region south and west of the lake


On Apr 19, 1788, at the age of 19, PETER FIDLER (1769-1822) signed a five year contract (as a labourer) with the Hudson Bay Company (HBC), arriving that summer at York Factory.


In 1789 Sir Alexander MacKENZIE, 26 years old, made his famous expedition (for the rival NWC) to the Arctic Ocean from Fort Chipewyan, along the McKenzie River.  Alex's 27 yr old 'Cousin Roddy’ had built, and was located at, Fort Chip at the time.


In 1790 Chief PEGUIS (1774-1864) led his band of about 200 Ojibway from Sault Ste Marie area to Red River (Netley Creek/Petersfield).  This band became the Salteaux of the Prairies.


Around 1790 John JOHNSTON (1762-1828), a native of Ireland, arrived in Sault Ste Marie. In 1792 he married Susan OZHAGUSCODAYWAYQUAY at Lapointe, a daughter of WAUBOJEEG. Their daughter, Jane JOHNSTON would later marry Henry Rowe SCHOOLCRAFT (1793-1864)