Manitoba Historical Society
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A Fur Trade Romance

by Margaret Arnett MacLeod

Manitoba Pageant, January 1958, Volume 3, Number 2

This article was published originally in Manitoba Pageant by the Manitoba Historical Society on the above date. We make this online version available as a free, public service. As an historical document, the article may contain language and views that are no longer in common use and may be culturally sensitive in nature.

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Mrs. John Dugald Cameron, wife of Chief Factor Cameron who served the Hudson's Bay Company for many years, was a fine looking woman. She dressed well in the silks and satins of the Victorian Age, and wore the elaborate jewellery of the ladies of that day. When her husband retired from the Company's service, they went to live among his people in Ontario. She also travelled abroad with him.

In the story of Cameron's courtship one sees a picture of life in the fur trade. Mr. Cameron was in charge of a rather remote post where one year there was near starvation. The larger animals and small game, even rabbits, had disappeared and the crisis was so serious that Cameron set off for a distant post to get supplies.

During his absence the people of his post were in such an extreme condition from starvation that they lay in their beds. No one moved about the place except a little Indian girl. Though sadly lacking in food herself, she managed to get about each day and snared every living thing she could find, even mice. These she cooked and went through the post feeding the broth to the starving people.

On Mr. Cameron's return he found all alive, and asked how they had survived. He heard the story of the little Indian girl's devotion and sent a servant to summon her that he might thank her. He was much impressed with her quiet dignity and poise. Some time later he wanted to marry her but, because of the difference in their positions, her mother did not think he really intended to make her his wife so she took her away to another part of the country. Cameron followed them, convinced the mother of his sincerity, and married the girl.

Page revised: 30 June 2009

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