|Harrison River © Stephen Mullock|
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Maybe for good reason, for one, Benjamin Harrison was English and never visited the area, or, North America for that matter, and secondly, his name got associated with this area a long time ago in 1828.
It was a era before settlers and gold rushes when the Hudson Bay Company ran a fur trade empire and a big chunk of North America as well, for their shareholders, called the Company of Adventurers. British Columbia, known as New Caledonia, was a wilderness and especially on the heavily forested coastal area if there wasn't a trail or waterway it became very difficult to get around. Beaver pelts were in high demand and the HBC in need of making a profit.
|We need your Pelts © Stephen Mullock|
The Hudson Bay Company centred in Fort Langley was anxious to open up fur trading routes with the First Nation people of the interior. An alternative to the ever dangerous Fraser River was sought after and a promising alternative river to the Fraser known to the Natives as "Pinkslitsa" explored. Governor Sir George Simpson, had a look at the river in 1828 and was so pleased he sent the following dispatch to London "As it promises to become important to our interests, in this quarter, not only as a practicable route to and from the interior but as an opening to us a new tract of country, which the Natives say is Rich in Beaver, I have taken the liberty of naming it after one of the Members of Your Honble. Board "Harrisons River".*
Now, Sir George Simpson, nicknamed the "Little Emperor" while possessing great administrative skills was also, by many accounts a lousy human being. Leading me to wonder what sort of man was Benjamin Harrison? I will see what I can find and report back in the next post.
*The best information and the quote above comes from the excellent book "The People of the Harrison" (1990) by Daphne Sleigh and available for sale at the Agassiz Harrison Museum.
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