Fonds MSG 406 - John McDonald of Garth

Autobiographical notes, volume I Autobiographical notes, volume II Correspondence and papers, 1791-1818 Correspondence and papers, 1825-1839 Correspondence, 1840-1848 Correspondence and paper, 1850-1859 Correspondence and papers, 1860-1866 Duncan McDonald, correspondence and papers Correspondence and typed transcritps Autobiographical notes and typed extracts

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John McDonald of Garth

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  • 1921-1922 (Creation)
  • 1791-1866 (Creation)
    McDonald, John, 1771 or 1772-1866
  • 1791-1872 (Creation)

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11 cm including three albums.

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(1771 or 1772-1866)

Biographical history

Born in Scotland, John McDonald of Garth entered the service of the North West Company in 1791. In 1799 he built Rocky Mountain House on the North Saskatchewan River. In 1800 he became a partner in the company. McDonald established Fort Gibraltar at the junction of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers in 1807. Later, in 1811, he moved to the Columbia district where in 1813 he took over Fort Astoria from Astor's Pacific Fur Co. McDonald retired in 1815 and settled in Glengarry, Upper Canada.

Custodial history

This material was acquired from Archibald Chaussegros de Léry Macdonald in 1922 at the cost of $150.00 (Order 5888). See: De Léry Macdonald Papers / MSG 439 for the letter to Dr. Lomer describing his collecting of historical documents.

The third volume of autobiographical notes (file MSG 406-11) was purchased March 2014 from Greenfield Booksellers 217 Academy Road, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3M 0E3.

Scope and content

McDonald's correspondence, 1791-1860, mostly concerns business and property matters, but also includes personal correspondence. There are statements of account with McTavish, Frobisher & Co., 1799; with McTavish, Fraser & Co., 1803-1804; with McTavish, McGillivray & Co., 1808-1809. There are two volumes of autobiographical notes assembled in 1859 and covering the period 1791-1816.

There is a second copy of the autobiography, probably transcribed in the late 19th century. Written on the front fly leaf is the name: A.E. MacDonald. It has 63 leaves, and there are minor textual variants.

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