The Heritage Network

The Heritage Network

Fort Colvile Bicentennial


The list of resource documents for this project keeps growing. Some documents are ready to post on the Internet and others have restrictions that allow “fair use” – in other words are available for free to researchers but cannot be sold or otherwise published. Then there is the issue of knowing what is in a document before opening it or even knowing that it exists. As an interim solution to these needs, a list of documents is shown on this page with descriptions and links to the documents. If access is restricted to fair use, you can request a document by email and it will be sent to you.

This page can be searched by using Ctrl-F or using the website search function. It is a simple system. We will see how it works for awhile.

The Hudson’s Bay Company’s Fort Colvile, 1825-1871
An annotated bibliography, by Tom Holloway (Thanks to Tom for the first entries in this library.)
Comments welcome, to
June 26, 2021

Columbia Boats in the Pacific Northwest in the Fur Trade Era
With Plans for Building a Modern Replica
By Tom Holloway, Research Volunteer, Fort Vancouver NHS, updated June 2021
Comments welcome, to email:

Barman, Jean, and Bruce M. Watson, “Fort Colvile’s Fur Trade Families and the Dynamics of
Race in the Pacific Northwest
,” The Pacific Northwest Quarterly 90:3 (Summer 1999), 140-153.
An overview of the social history of Fort Colvile from 1825 to 1871, focused on race,
ethnicity, mixed marriages, and metis children. Includes several historical photos of fort
buildings and the people discussed. (Request copy)

Elliott, T. C., “Journal of John Work, June-October, 1825,” The Washington Historical Quarterly
5:2 (April 1914), 83-115.
Includes (pp. 98-99) a letter from HBC Governor George Simpson, dated April 16, 1825,
instructing John Work to begin construction of Fort Colvile, and Work’s journal entries
(pp. 113-114) detailing that process.

Lewis, William S., “Archibald McDonald: Biography and Genealogy,” The Washington Historical
Quarterly 9:2 (April 1918), 93-102.
On the HBC officer in charge at Fort Colvile from 1835 to 1844.  He was the great uncle of Angus McDonald, the last fur trader at HBC Fort Colvile. There is more information on Angus below.  Archibald was also the father of Ranald McDonald, the explorer and educator who was the first native English-speaker to teach the English language in Japan. 

Lewis, William S., “Francis Heron, Fur Trader: Other Herons,” The Washington Historical
Quarterly 11:1 (January 1920), 29-34.
Biography of Francis Heron, the HBC officer in charge at Fort Colvile, 1829-31 and

Lewis, William S., “Information Concerning the Establishment of Fort Colvile” The Washington
Historical Quarterly 16:2 (April 1925), 102-107.

Quotes at length from several letters from HBC Governor George Simpson and others on the topic, concluding with extensive material from the report by John Warren Dease of July 1827, and John Work’s census of Indian tribes in the area as of April 1829. Thereare no citations of the sources quoted, and a typo on the first page mistakenly gives the founding year as 1835. The correct year is 1825.

Lewis, William S. and Jacob Meyers, “Life at Old Fort Colvile,” The Washington Historical
Quarterly 16:3 (July 1925), 198-205.
From the journal of Angus MacDonald, written January 1 to 31, 1868.

Oliphant, J. Orin, “Old Fort Colville” The Washington Historical Quarterly 16:1 (January 1925),
Mainly consists of a compilation of extended quotations from published documents
concerning the establishment and operation of Fort Colvile from 1825 to 1846. Claims
2 (in an unnumbered note on p. 29) that “the more common spelling” is Colville. That
claim is clearly contradicted by voluminous HBC documentation spelling Colvile with
one “l” consistent with the surname of HBC board member Andrew Colvile.

Oliphant, J. Orin, “Old Fort Colville (Continued)” The Washington Historical Quarterly 16:2 (April
1925), 83-101.
A continuation of the previous installment, covering the period from 1846 to 1871,
included details on the final valuation of the property. Concludes with a section (pp.
97-101) on “the present town of Colville.”

Partoll, Albert J., “Angus McDonald, Frontier Fur Trader,” The Pacific Northwest Quarterly 42:2
(April 1951), 138-145.
Biography of the HBC officer in charge of Fort Colvile from 1854 until it closed in 1871. (Request copy)

Also Recommended is Angus McDonald of the Great Divide – The Uncommon Life of a Fur Trader, 1816 – 1889 by Anderson, Steve

Watson, Bruce McIntyre, Lives Lived West of the Divide: A Biographical Dictionary of Fur
Traders Working West of the Rockies, 1793-1858. Kelowna, BC: The Centre for Social, Spatial
and Economic Justice, University of British Columbia, Okanagen, 2010.
The bulk of this 1,200+-page work consists of more than 4,000 biographical sketches,
most of them of HBC employees. On pp. 1,059-62 there is a brief history of Fort Colvile,
with a list of the men who worked there. Their biographies can be found in the main
listings. The ebook can be purchased for $5.00 at www.lulu,com:

Williams, Christina MacDonald McKenzie, “The Daughter of Angus MacDonald,” The
Washington Historical Quarterly 13:2 (April 1922), 107-117.
Recollections of the daughter of Angus MacDonald, of growing up at Fort Colvile.

George Simpson’s Trip Around the World. This file contains 5 pages from a journal “From Edmonton House to Fort Vancouver” that have to do with arriving at HBC Fort Colvile and some negotiations regarding its establishment.

Supplies sent to Fort Colvile: 1827 from the HBC Archives. Lists tools, medicines, cloth etc. requested from Fort Vancouver by Fort Colvile.  Good readable script with amounts and prices for a great variety of goods.

Original HBC reports:  The following reports from Fort Colvile are derived from scanned documents in the HBC Archive.  They are difficult to read and if anyone is up to it, transcriptions would be very welcome.  Tom Holloway has offered some aids which are linked below.  They are no longer copyrighted.

Philip Goldman Archive:  This link goes to transcribed copies of the HBC reports listed below.  Thanks to historian Philip Goldman for this work and the link to his archives.






Aid number 1: Warren Dease Report 1827 – Compare transcription to original writing

Aid number 2: Fur Trade Report 41 – More legible writing

Why Fort Colvile was Established and Spokane House Closed : research by Tom Holloway with a lot of interesting insights into  fur trade personalities. 

One Response to Library

  1. Kudos, Joe—hope to see more Indigenous content as people contribute. —Rick G.


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