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Memorable Manitobans: Pierre-Chrysologue Pambrun (1792-1841)

Soldier, fur trader.

Born in Lower Canada, he enlisted in the Voltigeurs Canadiens and was promoted from the ranks to second lieutenant for his service with distinction at the battle of Chateauguay. Left at loose ends when his unit was disbanded, he joined the Hudson's Bay Company, departing for Red River with Colin Robertson. While accompanying a fur brigade from the West in 1816, he was captured and taken prisoner by Métis led by Cuthbert Grant as part of the fur-trade war. He was forced to accompany the Métis from Fort Qu’Appelle to Fort Douglas to Fort William, where Lord Selkirk freed him. He testified for the HBC against the North West Company in the court trials in Canada, and was in turn charged by the NWC. After the merger of the two companies he headed further west, ending up in the HBC’s service in the Columbia District. He became a chief trader in 1839, his career progress hampered by his being a French Canadian and by his lack of formal education. He died at Fort Walla Walla after falling off a horse.

More information:

Narratives of John Pritchard, Pierre Chrysologue Pambrun, and Frederick Damien Heurter, Respecting the Aggressions of the North-West Company, against the Earl of Selkirk’s Settlement upon Red River (1819).

“P.C. Pambrun” in The Mountain Men and the Fur Trade of the Far West by K. L. Holmes, volume 3, edited by L. R. Hafen (1968), 239-47.

Pierre-Chrysologue Pambrun, Dictionary of Canadian Biography VII, 671-72.


Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

Page revised: 18 April 2008

Memorable Manitobans

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