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Title David Thompson letter to Anthony Barclay
Date July 5, 1820
Description 1 letter; 4 pages
People Barclay, Anthony, 1792-1877
Bigsby, John J. (John Jeremiah), 1792-1881
McGillivray, William
Thompson, David, 1770-1857
Thompson, Samuel
Search Terms International Boundary Commission
Treaty of Ghent
Drummonds Isle
Lake Erie
St. Joseph's Island
Neebish Rapids
Lake Superior
St. Clair River
Penetanguishene Bay
Fort Erie
Grand River
Scope & Content
July 5th 1820 Plo? Garrison
of St. Josephs Island
Anthony Barclay EsqrLake Huron

Last Sunday, by Mr. Mc
Lean of the Govt? I received your letter of the 11th June
and also one from Mr. Hale. I have wrote him on the contract
for provisions &c &c and shall during this summer, and
on my return gain every information on the prices of
provisions, quality &c for the aid of making any
future contract. Having for several years, as a partner
of the NW Cpy had? contracts with Mr. McIntosh, and others
for provisions &c, I am acquainted with the results
we were always obliged to return to him. Four years
ago Mr. Wm McGillivray, from the fine promises and
? // every thing ? to be about york mad
his contract there, and however seeming//
over the terms, what from negligence, bad quality &c &c
a difference of about 2000 L in the end of the business
was found, would have been saved, had they given the
contract to Mr. A. McIntish. If we can possibly get
better and cheaper elsewhere, I shall be glad. All the
provisions we have hitherto had from him, are at least
equal, if not superior to any we have every had of this?
kind. The confiance is now off at Drummond's Isle
to bring us the necessaries required, after which we
shall not require her these 6 weeks, about which
time we may expect, with fine clear weather to
remove the Camp. Hitherto we have had always
one man in the sick list, and we have another (Bougette
who has a bad rupture. I had? engaged one Pierre Lou-
cisse a good canadian at the usual price of 12 Dol per Mo?
and very much require him to take the place of the sick
as other casualty. We find the Cuttter cannot do with
less than 6 men, the jolly boat 10? men and each of the
skiss at least one man, and as yet we have not been able

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to muster the number. At present sick and healthy we?
have 10 working hands and Thos Williams Johnson &
Cook are required constantly in the camp. Dr. Bigsby-
requires his servant, whom he offers on all emergencies-
what we want is regular work. Yesterday mroning
at Little ?Am, when almost arriving from a heavy squall
came on and altho' the main sail was brailed? up, car-
ried away the mast by the board, fortunately ?
sent ahead with a skiff had a few minutes before
joined us, and all our exertions with much difficulty
saved the boat from being wrecked on a lee shore, when
the struck several times. had we as usual had only 4
she dragged her anchor.
men we could not have saved her. We shall not aug-
ment our number.
This year, if we have good weather and no accident will
enable us to cover a considerable extent of country for the
time we shall be; but to do this, the skiffs must be in
constant motion attendant on the boats sketching the
shores and islands, and not as usual part? lying idle
in the camp. Messr Ferguson and Gibbs are now toge-
-ther, with 2? men for the Jolly boat (one upturned) and
one man for the skiff. Myself in the cutter, 2 men (when
the sick man gets well) and Samuel with one man i
the skiff. We have compleated the junctions of the
channels at the head of St. Josephs Isle but Mr. Ferguson
has not been able, from the very smoky? weather, to take
the survey lower down than about 1/2 M below the
head of the said Isle. where it is now for the present
ended. On my part the two channels of the Neebish
are connected to their heads about 2 miles each and
the survey carried from the foot of these rapids ?
between St. Josephs Isle and the west main shore, abt
6 1/2 miles, which is about 20 miles short of this place.
The very smoky weather, so dense, that the air ?
300 yrd

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300 yd could scarcely be seen has prevented our extending
it farther. This smoke arises from all the woods &
around us being on fire, and will only cease when we
have heavy rains. This weather has lasted since the
mroning of the 28 June. It was with great exertaion that
the Garrison, and all the billage at Drummond's Isle
escaped being burnt down. On the morning of the 4th July
we left our encampment at Neebish, and yesterday
arrived here early, heat? winds? My reason for removing
to this palce, is to take such a position as gives me the survey
of all the channels by which vessels can approach Lake
Superiour and keep this survey in my own hands, which
I have now obtained. The distc between this and where
I left the survey is about 20 In? and like a large River
with a few bays which I commit to Messr. Ferguson &
Gibbs, and shall with Samuel take the ship channel
Lake 9 miles and then turn the survey please God
to the strait between Drummonds Isle and this St. Josephs
towards the east shore, and rounding to where Mr. Fer-
guson has just now ended 1/2 hr? below the head of this
island. I confess this is a great grasp St Josephs almost
is reckoned 100 miles in ascent. We shall exert our-
selves as much as possible. As Mr. Stevenson is not en-
gaged for any time beyond the season, and as ? a salary
is 3?L per year, which Mr. Hale seemed to think could
not be granted him, I have not reckoned on him for
the winter. I shall pay attention to your information
on the ice in Lake Erie, and so arrange affairs, please
god, as will enable me to be at Amherstburg abt the
20th Janry. where we must also get ready the fair maps
when this lake becomes stormy say 15th Septr I propose
quitting the survey here, and removing to the head of
River St. Clair, and then survey until about the 10th
October, after which we shall make the best of our
way to Montreal, and having settled accounts with
Mr. Hale, go up with Mr. gibbs to my house, and then
get ready for the maps for the ministry, then may

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be done by the beg of January, abt which time it will
be necessary for us, with Samuel ? off for Am-
herstburg, in this will also save the expense of an
office and fire wood which has always been no small
sum. On receiving your letter last Sunday morning Mr
Gray enquired of me, if you had written that he should
be employed for the winter, on answering him, that his
name was not mentioned, he declared his resolution to
return directly to Montreal. In vain I represented to him
he ought to have settled this point at Amherstburg, and
that as yet he had done nothing whatever in the survey
of this summer, he said his determination was taken
and he would abide by it. And on Monday morning
early he set off and in company with some Indians went
to Drummond's Isle by him I have writtn? Mr. Hale
for? some time past his mind seemed ? with do-
mestic exertions, and he was unable to apply himself to
business. It will always be difficult to keep those in
? who set a high value on the pleasures of life.
Samuel under my direction weill?
have done, and we shall not miss him. The large? 9
in theodolie is so much shaken forward of the mechan-
ical movements being of sufficient size and strength
that is is become delatory? tow rok with, with our per-
mission I will get it sent to England by one of my NW
Cpy acquaintances, and brought back to Drummond's
Isle in one of their light canoes by the 15th next June?
It will require a repair in screws and it came firmly
set also the adidtion of anotehr Telescope and ?
tic eye piece, by which it will become a good transit
instrument, and save us the trouble of carrying abt
a heavy instrument used only 5 or 6 6imes each year.
As we shall require the Confiance to take the party
down to Fort Erie, it will then be so late, that all
chances will be against her beating back to Lake Huron
let alone getting to Penitaquishen? Bay. by her win-
tering at the Grand River, this vessel is sure of im-
mediately finding a good harbour and plenty of stores

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Admin/Biographical History This compiled collection includes papers from Thomas Barclay (1753-1830), his son, Anthony Barclay (1792-1877), John Ogilvy (d. 1819), Ward Chipman (1754-1824), Ward Chipman, [Jr.] (1787-1851), David Thompson (1770-1857), Alexander Wadsworth Longfellow (1814-1901) and others related to the determination of the boundary between Canada and the United States. Materials include government documents, correspondence, maps, surveys, diaries and Indian deeds related to the determination of the boundary between Canada and the United States, particularly of the years of the St. Croix Commission, 1796-1812, the Commissions appointed after the Treaty of Ghent, 1814-1838, and the Commissions under the Treaty of Washington, 1842. Papers of diplomats appointed by the British and American governments include the correspondence of explorers who surveyed the boundary zones and of several other diplomats, political officers and aids who became involved in the arbitration of the border. The explorations around the Island of St. Croix by Robert Pagan and Native American Francis Joseph Neptune, and a map by Chief Wasp of the Ojibway tribe in the vicinity of Ontario and Minnesota are noteworthy.