Hudson's Bay Bark Letter

Contributed by inguanoveritas

Hudson's Bay Bark Letter

My grandmother left this letter written on birch bark.

July 29 18

Phillips Hudson's Bay Exploratory Party
Fort Churchill
Hudson's Bay

Dear Father, Mother & all

Just a few lines to let you know I am alive and well and hope you are all the same. I have no doubt you have all been wondering where I am and what I am doing. You will see by the address that I am a long way from civilisation. I came across two old Indians today in the woods and I know them very well having once having done one of them a favour. As they are making their way back to civilisation to trade fur I asked them to post these letters... & I think they will do alright...

I made very good time with the party coming North having brought them 1000 miles in 3 weeks which I think is about a record.

As I have no paper I have cut this bark off a tree...

And so my dear parents, how are you getting along at home...

I like this life very well. Rough & Ready I think...

I lost one man on our way out with a canoe upsetting but we could not help it.

I must draw my letter to a close as it is getting daylight...

Hoping [this] will find you all in the best of health and spirits as it leaves you loving son...


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  • 1 comment
  • 1. At 10:05 on 1 January 2011, Ali Finlayson wrote:

    What a fantastic item to have in your family's possession. What I find impressive is the matter of fact way in which an ordinary man describes extraordinary experience - 1000 miles travel in 3 weeks - that's about 40 miles a day over terrain which would have been difficult to say the least ? A fatal canoe accident, using bark for paper, encounters with Native Americans, . . . all elements which I think would have seemed as exotic to his family back home as interplanetary journeys / meetings would be for us today. A fascinating object, well deserving of its place in this planet's history.

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Hudson's Bay, Canada




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