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Canadian Historic Sites: Occasional Papers in Archaeology and History No. 6

A History of Rocky Mountain House

by Hugh A. Dempsey

Appendix A. Trade Goods

As trade goods have been found in the archaeological excavations at Rocky Mountain House, a few appropriate lists are presented here. The first, prepared by David Thompson shortly after arriving at Rocky Mountain House No. 1 on 31 October 1806, is an inventory of goods on hand. The second list, dated 5 January 1807, indicates the items traded to the Peigan Indians. The third list, prepared during the same year, is a request for goods for the Columbia Department, and is included in Thompson's "Journal of the Rocky Mountain House, Occurrences, 1806 & 7." The list was probably a standard one used by all North West Company posts, as there are a number of items which were not ordered. Although the goods were destined to cross the mountains, they must have been shipped via Rocky Mountain House and probably reflect the type of goods handled in the area at the time. The fourth list was prepared by Alexander Henry and shows the goods handled for the Gros Ventre trade, both at Rocky Mountain House and Fort Vermilion. Besides this list, Henry prepared others for the Blood, Peigan and Sarcee Indians, listing the same items but showing Fort Vermilion as the only outlet.

Among the interesting features of the four early lists is the lack of any mention of clay pipes, and the limiting of beads to blue, white and green colours. Also surprising is the presence of such luxury items as chocolate, coffee, nutmeg and peppermint, probably for the personal use of the officers.

The fifth list is an invoice of supplies taken to Rocky Mountain House in 1851 by James Sinclair. This is probably not a complete inventory of goods handled at that time, but is merely a good sampling. The sixth list is an inventory of articles left at Rocky Mountain House after it was closed in 1875. At that time the fort was being kept open by Angus Fraser, acting as a free trader. The list probably represents a few basic articles which had been left behind in the event that the fort should be reopened.

The seventh and final list is part of an inventory of merchandise at the Hudson's Bay Company's two Bow River posts on 1 May 1878. Although this is three years after Rocky Mountain House had closed, these two posts had taken over much of the fort's trade with the Blackfoot and Stony tribes. Many of the items are undoubtedly the same as those handled by the earlier post, while some of the luxury items, particularly at Elbow River post, were later additions for the Mounted Police trade.

The original list contains several hundred items and includes inventories of Lesser Slave Lake, Victoria Post, Lac La Biche, Lac Ste. Anne and Edmonton, as well as the Bow and Elbow river posts. However, only the items actually stocked on the Bow River at the time of the inventory are listed, and data from the other posts have been omitted.

List No. 1

[Inventory of goods on hand at Rocky Mountain House, October 31, 1806.]1

1piece of HB blue Strouds
14Yds of HB blue   do.
3Yds Com.   do.
3-3/4Yds HB green   do.
16Yds Aurora   do.
3-1/3Yds Scarlet   do.
1-1/2Yds. blue Molton
2Blankets 3 pt.
9  do. 2-1/2 Pt.
5Capots of 3 Ells
35  do. 1-1/2 Ells
43  do. 1 Ells
4Chiefs Coats
7Yds. Cotten
8Yds. com. Calicoe
1Calicoe Shirt
1Linnen   do.
2Small Calicoe
1  do. Cotten
11Cotten hand'k
5Silk   do.
6Calicoe Mantlets
6pr. Sleeves large
7pr. Sleeves med.
6pr. Sleeves Small
1piece silver lace
80Pigiene Eggs
3steel Tob. Boxes
2Jap'd   do.
6Eyed Dags
1-1/4Doz. 10 In. Niles
5/6Dox. 8 In. Niles
3Indian Flags
22Yds. Gartering
3laced Hatts
2bound   do.
6lbs. Vermillion
4pr. oxhide shoes
2pr. portage slings
1Cod line
12doz. large Knives
16doz. Small   do.
7doz. Fire Steels
10gross Rings
2gross Gun Worms
1/4W Thread
2-1/2Gross Awls
2pr. Scissors
153Gun Flints
9-1/2doz. hawks Bells
10looking Glasses
6Bunches of blue Beads
4Masses China   do.
7Masses Barley Corn   do.
1/3lbs. of Glaubers Salts
9horn Combs
11Ivory   do.
19Yds. Ribben
1/4lb. of snaring wire
19new NW Guns
5-1/2Kegs Gun powder
7Bags Ball
3/4nest Kettles
1Bag of 55 lb. of Shot
6Rolls of Tobacco
10Carrotts   do.
25half axes
9small   do.
15-1/2prs. of Trenches
10Kegs of H Wines, less 11 qts.

List No.2

[List of goods traded to the Peigan Indians at Rocky Mountain House, January 5, 1807, for which the North West Company received 236 wolf skins, 30 beaver, 6 bear, 5 badger, 730 lbs. of side fat, 180 lbs. of dried meat, 120 lbs. of grease, 124 tongues, almost 2 animals in fresh meat, 40 lines for horse bags, 3 buffalo robes, 15 sides of dressed leather, 70 lbs of pounded meat, 3 dressed elk skins and 1 elk parchment skin.]2

1piece of Tobacco
2/5Kegs Powder
1 or 2Kegs H Wines
14large Knives
15small   do.
1Bunch of Blue Beads
1Gross of Rings
7looking Glasses
27Gun Flints
15Gun Worms
75papers of Paint

List No. 3

Order for the Columbia Department, 1807-083

Awls, IndianDoz.24
Axes, Canada largeNo.4
              half)2 Cases60
              square headed for Canoes
Augers of 1-1/2 inchesno.1
          1     do. "1
          3/4 "
          1/2 "1
Blanket, Striped, 2-1/2 Pt. "12
        plain, 3 point "1210
              2-1/2 "1210
              2 "24
              1-1/2 "24
              1 "26
Belts, small worsted "2050
Beads, com Whitelbs.46
          Blue "
          Green "
Boxes, Tobacco, steelNo.46
                  Japan'd with B G "26
Bells, hawkGross6
Buttons, Coat "1
        Waistcoat "1
Brandy, frenchKegs11
Coats, Chiefs, blue lacedNo.2
                   gartered "24
              Red laced "
                   gartered "4
Capot, IIIinois "612
Books, Blank of 1 Quire "24
Seeds, Garden, a Quantity
Capots, Molten of 4 EllsDoz.410
                   3-1/2 "1520
                   3 "1212
                   2-1/2 "46
                   2 "26
                   1-1/2 "6
                   1 "6
" , Swanskin of 4 Ells "
               3-1/2 "
               3 "
               2-1/2 "
               2 "
               1-1/2 "
               1 "
Caps, grey milledNo.4
Combs, IvoryDoz.1
       Horn "6
Cards, PlayingPacks26
Cocks, brassNo.
Candlesticks, brass Campprs.11
Candles, waxlbs.23
Chocolate ) 1 Partner, 2 Clerks
Coffee     )
Cloves "11
Campher "24
Darts, fishNo.1224
Dags, hand, small "3066
     eyed "2
Dishes, tin, large "
Eau de LuceBott.11
Files of 7 InchesDoz.26
         9 Inches "46
         handsaw "21/3
         X cut saw "11/6
         Whip-pit saw "11/6
File, half round 10 In. "11/6
             do.    8 "11/6
      Rat tail "11/6
Feathers, cockDoz.
Flags, IndianNo.1
Funnels, tinNo.1
Flints, Gun[? ]815
Glasses, papered lookingDoz.6
Guns, NWNo.1020
Gum wormsDoz.6
Gun PowderKegs25
Gouges of 1/2 In.No.1
           3/4 "1
Gimblets, spike "11
          small "1224
Gartering, assortedPieces412
Hankerchiefs, silkNo.18
              cotton "18
Hatts, velvet bound "4
Horns, powder "12as many as possible
Hoesif any11
Hooks, KirbyNo.50
      mid size "50100
      Cod "50
Hammers "11
Hinges, largepr.
        small "
Hartshorn SpiritsBott.11
Ink Powder, blackPapers24
            Red "1/2
Kettles, Copper, campBale
Kettles, copper, commonBale1/21
Knives, scalpingDoz.614
Locks, stockNo.
      Pad "2
Lines, Cod "46
        small fishing "12
Lancets in Can of 2 eachCan11
Lemon EssenceBott.11
Laxitive Electuaryoz.2
Mantlets, calicoeNo.26
Maitres of 3, lbs.Bunches46
Mace "1/21
Needles, largeNo.100100
         common small "100
Pots, Japan'd of 1 pintNo.12
                 1/2 "12
                 1/4 "12
                 1/8 "14
Paper, fools capQuire46
       fish, Quarto "46
Plates, tinNo.
Pischens "
Pencils, black lead "612
Plaister Blisteringoz.24
Quills[? ]1/2
Strouds HB bluePieces1/21
           Red "1/21
           White "1/21
           Common "1/21
Slings, portageNo.46
Steels, fireDoz.1224
Shirts, cottonNo.2430
        flannel "1015
Scissors, smallprs.12
Saws, handNo.11
Sheeting, RussiaYds.24
Shot, BeaverBags13
Moulds for Ball, 26 or 28 to the lb.prs.12
Soap, marbledlbs.2030
Salves drawingBoxes2
Steel yards, 130 lb.prs.11
Trowsers, R. Sheetingprs.612
Thread, Nettlbs.1318
        Coloured "13
Twine, Sturgeon "412
Trencher, broadNo.30
          narrow "30
Tap, Brass "1
Tea, Aysen,lbs.1 partner,2 clerks
Tobacco, AlbanyRob.26
Vitriol, blueoz.1
Vices, small keyNo.1
Wimbrage for Earlbs.1/2
             Trading "2
Wick, CottonBalls1012
Wax, sealingSticks46
Wossen [? ], colouredBun.
Wines, high
Wine, MadeiraKeg1

List No.4

[List of the Gros Ventre Indian trade, 1808 and 1809. "The Indians Trade at the Rocky Mountain House and Fort Vermillion."]4

121 lbs.New Twist Tobacco@ 3:118:13:1
22   "Balls1:102:—:4
16   "Powder4:—3:4:4
46Gunflints per 25/— :101:8
1 7/12Doz. Scalpers9:114:4
22Gun Worms per 25/—1:—1:—
1 9/12doz. Folders3:56:—
1 7/12doz. Camwood7:611:11-1/2
1 " Blue Beads3:43:4
5Half Axeseach 5:41:6:8
6P.C. Glasses :94:6
1/4 " Vermillion8:32:1
8 1/8Gallons High Wines19:87:19:1

List No.5

[List of goods supplied to James Sinclair for Rocky Mountain House, dated May 21, 1851, from Edmonton House.]5

1851, Oct. 6 —6 lb.Tobacco2:—£-:12:—

3  "Gunpowder1:44:—

5  "Ball Shot :83:4


2Scalping Knives1:—2:—

2Plain Blankets 2-1/2 pts.

10 pr.Indn. Shoes1:—10:—

89 lb.Dried Meat :31:2:3

1Pack Saddle


2Half Beef Skins
Nov.17—1Com. Indn. Gun       ) *

1 " Capot 1-1/2 Ell )

* To Cadien for note 15 MB

List No.6

[List of articles left at Rocky Mountain House, November, 1875.]6

2Packs prime Buffalo Robes
1Do.           Do. Skins
182lb. Hard grease
3Hand Saws
1Pit Do.
1Drawing Knife
3Hand Plains
4Tin Pans
1Do. lantern
1Candle mould
1Squaring axe
3Cast Steel Do.
3quarts of English salt
1/2Keg of nails
4trading guns
4Rolls of narrow gartering
1Broad awl
2Fish nets
1Old cooking stove
1large stove Eq't.
12Rolls tobacco

List No. 7

"Inventory of Sundry Merchandise, the property of the Hudson's Bay Coy. remaining on hand in Edmonton District, the first day of May, 1878, on account Outfit 1877."7

ElbowBow River
1715lb.Beads, white Enamel
1815Bunchesdo. various col'd seed
41"do. white do.
5Ea.Belts, mens worsted scarlet 2 in.
6"do. " " " 4"
4"do. " " Magenta 6 "
53"do. " " Striped 2 "
3"do. " " " 4 "
24pairBlankets, dark blue 3 pts.
1-1/2"do. " " 2-1/2
4-1/21/2"Green " 4
3"do. " " 3-1/2 "
1-1/213"do. Scarlet 3 "
43"do. " 2-1/2 "
4-1/21/2"do. white 4 "
3"do. " 3-1/2 "
9-1/228"do. " 3 "
7"do. " 2-1/2 "
6"do. " 1-1/2 "
24"do. " 1 "
2"do. fancy striped 3-1/2 pts.
3/4Gro.Braid, narrow worsted
1-1/31/3doz.Bridles, short single reins
1/6Gro.Brooches, med. #2
1SetBrushes, roach shoe
5Gro.Buttons, gilt ball vest
7Ea.Capots, blue blanketing 3-1/2 ells
91"do. " " 4 "
7"do. white " 4 "
2"do. mixed grey cloth 3 "
5"do. " " " 3-1/2"
2410"do. " " "4 "
3116"do. Indian white " 1 "
4920"do. " " 1-1/2"
6112"do. " " 2"
3410"do. " " 2-1/2"
195"do. " " 3-1/2"
3318"do. " " 4"
4Yds.Cloth, S'fine navy blue
154"do. second dark "
45"do. light "
940"do. scarlet
31"Coating, Grey bath
56Ea.Coats, Indian laced blue
6"do. scarlet
3"do. lustre brown sac
5"do. black "
5"do. fine tweed
22/3doz.Combs, fine horn dressing
21/2"do. large horn
1/4"do. small "
1-11/125/12"do. small ivory
642322ydsCotton, 7/8 light printed
48"do. 36 in. S'fine twilled white
70"do. 6/4 blue striped
55"do. 6/4 red "
1/ Ball Wick
2doz.Dags, hand 7 in.
4"do. " 9"
33130Yds.Druggets, 45 in. plain blue
1441130"do. striped blue
40-1/240"Duffle, 6/4 white
2Doz.Files, flat bastard 6 ins.
3"do. " 8"
7/12"do. Pit saw
1/12"do. Tenon
55Yds.Flannel, fine dark blue
10"do. light "
10"do. scarlet
6018"do. white
4Ea.Frocks, stout duck
5"white guernsey
7"do lambswool
1/4Gro.Garters, light blue
1/4"do. green
1/4"do. scarlet
1/6Doz.Glasses, wound peuter frame
710Ea.Guns, com. Indian flint, 3 ft.
2Cwt.Gunflints, mixed
150675lbs.Gunpowder TPF
5712Doz.Handkerchiefs, 4/4 f'cy Corah cotton
1-1/2"do. 5/4 " Mistin
1-1/ Corah silk
5/63/ Black, 36 in. silk
1/3"Hats, mens thresher felt black
13Yds.Hollands, brown
1-2/3Gro.Hooks & Eyes, black
1-5/6"do. & do., white
216Ea.Horns, powder
7/ mens grey wsd. half
5/12"do. womens col'd wds. long
7-1/4Yds.Huckabuck, 8/4 bleached
11Ea.Jacket, pilot cloth
148"Kettles, open copper, 2 Gn.
106do." 3"
11Doz.Knives, Butchers Beechwood handles 8 in.
1/2"do. " " " 10"
1/31/3"do. Buffalo hunting "
1/2"do. Fine horn pocket w'h pricker
1-1/6do." " dble blade
25Yds.Merino S'fine black light
1/4Doz.Neckties, Burlington #4 black
1Cwt.Needles, darning
2"do. Glovers
1"do. white chapel
1/12Doz.Pans, frying 9 in.
1/2"Pins, patent B.C.
2/3"Pipes, briar root #2 Baltic yachter clay
1-1/4Doz.Pomatum, scented roll
14Pces.Ribbon, 8 dy. double black hair
2"do. 6 dy. sarsnet col'd.
1/4Gro.Rings, yellow metal finger
13Ea.Robes, Embossed 2
1/41/4doz.Scissors, Tailors small 9 in.
1/25/12"Shauls, 8/4 com'n black wool
11/121/3"do. 5/4 fine Tartan wool
11/2"do. 8/4" " "
17350Ea.Shirts, mens com. blue striped cotton
620"do. yacht "
116"do. dark blue flannel
278"do. red
154"do. white "
156"do. " fancy Crimean " collars
6"do. Boys com. striped cotton
53"do. Childs " " "
1-12/112Cwt.Shot, #28 ball
1-14/1121-14/112"do BB
50/112"Soap, hand yellow
2-1/ scented honey #2
1-1/4"Spoons, tin'd iron table
4"Steels, oval strike fire
1/31/3PairsStirrups, tin'd iron
1/31/3"Straps, Stirrup
45696Yds.Strouds, HB plain blue
4Ea.Suits, fine light summer tweed
3"do. " winter "
2550Yds.Tartan, assorted fine 24-1/4 Yds.
5050"do. Galaplaid
1Ea.Tents, stout duck, 10 ells
1/4Gro.Thimbles, brass steel top
1-7/ all
2-7/12"Thread, col'd reel cotton
2"do white " " all cols. linen
80"Tobacco, Canada twist
168PairsTrousers, drab beavertrim
1012"do. com. blue cloth
10"do. " mix'd
445"do. drab Corduroy
4"do. blue "
3"do. com. grey gambroon
2"do. fine summer tweed
1"do. com. " "
4"do. fine winter "
5"do. duck sheeting
3Yds.Tweed, fine all wool light
23"do. " " " dark
25lbs.Vermillion in 1/4 lb. bags
14-1/2"Wire, ear #16
1"do. snaring #22
2"Worsted, colored

60lbs.Chocolate, English
13"Mustard, Durham
26"Pepper, black
450900"Tea, Congon in whole chests

American Goods
10lbs.Apples, dried Canadian
1/6doz.Axes, HB #177 4 1/4 lbs.
5/61/12"do. #178 2 1/2 "
1 2/3"do " #179 15/8"
1/3"Belts, road, L'Assumption
1/3"do. narrow
10PairsBoots, Kip miners
5"do. black oxford hunting
1"do. Shoes, fine calf elastic
1"do. Boys, Kip Balmoral
3 1/5MCartridges, 7.44 W.C.F. for Winchester '73
7/10"do. 56.50 " Spencer's 8's
66BagsFlour XXXX 100 lbs.
62"do. XXX
18lbs.Sugar, crash'd
100"Grease, hand
1/24Gro.Painkiller, P.D. med.
13Ea.Rifles, Winchester
2"do. " Carbines
10 lb.
Bbls.Salt, Goderich of 5 bush.

Country Produce
200lbs.Pemican com'n
16Ea.Skins, dressed Buffalo whole
2"Tents, Leather used pr. skin

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