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Title David Thompson letter to Anthony Barclay
Date March 9 1821
Description 1 letter, 4 pages, last pages missing
People Thompson, David, 1770-1857
Search Terms International Boundary Commission
Treaty of Ghent
Scope & Content 1821 Mar 9 - missing last page or pages, stops mid-sentence

? 9th March 1821

The Honorable Anthony Barclay

I hope the
maps for the Ministry and letter for you, sent from
Montreal, in care of Mr. Mahon to the care of Colonel
Barclay at New York have arrived safe. The letter
contains our occurrences up to the 8th Janry. On the
9th I at length thank god, arrived at my House.
On the 11th Janry Mssrs Stevenson and Gibbs left Mon-
treal for Amherstburgh, on the 12th I met them at
Cornwall, and gave them their Instructions &c, in
which Mr. A. Stevenson was directed to go from Ancas-
ter to Fort George, and bring from thence "all the pro-
perty belonging to the Commission." On the 18th
Janry I left my house in company with my son
and proceeded on our road for this place. At York
a strong thaw with much rain came on, and by the
time we got to Ancaster (40 miles above York) the
heavy rains and warm weather had made the
roads bare of snow; and for the last 210 miles
we had to walk on foot over very bad wet roads
and faring very bad in this new settled country.
prices of every thing exorbitant. On the Febry 5th
we arrived at Lake St. Clair. Mssrs Stevenson
and Gibbs arrived here on the 28 Janry just as
the heavy rains had wasted all the snow. They
engaged four men with horse and trains according
to their instructions from me, to proceed and set up
the stations, &c from below Amherstbrugh to the end
of Point pele but the weather was to bad they could
do but little, and the stations they placed on the
ice, to their surprise shifted with every gale
of wind, and they had some narrow escapes.

end p1
begin p2

On my arrival near Point Pele I enquired for the maps
which we had left last Decr at Fort George; when to my
astonishment, I learnt that Mr. Stevenson had left
them there - so strange a neglect appeared to me like
insanity; as it was for these maps, from which the two
fair copies for the Board were to be made, he had gone
to Fort George. I immediately sent off a letter, and its
duplicate, the following ? But? to Mrs. John Rifo, to send
them up by the mail, and I should have wrote you
sooner, had it not been in hopes to inform you we had
received them, which I am sorry to say is not the
case. by the 13th Febry, amidst the sorst of wea-
ther, we had set up the stations of the Ban? Line
in the extremity of Point Pele; and were now ready
to cross to the Islands; I had engaged a Mr. Lages, and
an Indian Chief to guide the party across, and Mr.
Stevenson handsomely volunteered to go with them,
as my presence was necessary at the Ban Line; and
the Party was to start at daylight. At 3 AM a heavy
storm came on, attended as usual with heavy sleet
and rain, and by 9 AM in a tremendous manner
had broken up the vast expanse of ice to within 300
yds of the shore, and dashed it into small pieces.
here was an end of all our hopes of survey on the ice.
There has been no crossing this year but twice which
was on the 7th Febry. The man who crossed informed
me, as he returned, the ice had large rends, one of
which was about 60 feet wide, and that he must have
returned back to the Island had not a piece of drift
ice been jammed in the rent, to which they crossed
in planks, and from thence on planks to the main
Ice. Had we been ready sooner, the Party could
not have got back; and must have remained to
the beginning of April. An officer informed me
that himself and 6 men had remained above 6
weeks on that Island with Ice. In the year 1819-
the people here crossed often in February, and until
the 14th March. In 1820 they crossed 9 times, until

end p2
begin p3

21st Febry. This year only twice, on the 7th Febry
In 1819 Detroit River broke up April 8th. In 1820 on
March 8th and this year on Febry 2nd. We had still
one important work to do, the measurement of the
Base Line; the Land curving too much to get a line
long enough unless part of it measured on the Ice
on Febry 17. we completed the measurement of a
Base Line of 15893 feet. Still bad weather. On the
18th we left Point Pele, having lodged in tents; but
the roads were so bad, and the ice so dangerous, that
it was the 21st before we got all to Amherstburg where
we paid off all those we did not want and got the
jolly boat in the water. I came to this place to hire
rooms for an office &c ready to commence the fair maps
for the Board. On the 22nd Mssrs Gibbs and S. Thomp-
son and 4 men got the boat loaded and came off
and worked their say thro the ice to within 9 miles
of this place, when the ice became so heavy, as nearly
crushed the boat to pieces, and with difficulty they
got ashore. they secured every thing ? the boat, which
latter is still in the same place on account of the drift
ice. I hired rooms at 8$ per month, we board our-
selves &c On the 23rd we got? the loading of the boat up
here, and Mrs. Stevenson came from Amherstburgh.
On the 26th we got the rooms put in order and settled
all accounts &c since which we have worked at the
fair Maps, and until now have made slow progress?
as I have to recalculate the places of the Stations
again, and indeed the whole business to begin anew
from the original maps having been left at Fort
George which will render the work dilatory. We
shall hope to finish them in this month, and then
turn our whole attention to the Survey. So much is
employed in getting a nea map of all the Survey
of 1820 on the scale of an inch to a mile ready for you.
It was almost impossible to have executed it last
Autumn, or it would have been done.

end p3
begin p4

I have settled the contract for provisions &c with Mr.
Angus McIntosh, at much more reasonable terms than
last year. The coy of which I have sent to Mr. Hale
and also the order? that I have given Mr. McIntosh
for provisions &c. By the first post I shall send Mr.
Hale a list of such things as I suppose will be requir-
ed for the following season, from Montreal, they will
not be many. We have at present only two men,
one of whom acts as a servant &c they other making station
poles &c &c for the survey. I have already as many
men ready to engage as soon as the ice shall clear
away, and I have finished my calculations, as we
shall want, at the usual price of 12 $ per month I
shall probably be obliged to put them on pay about
the 25 Inst to prevent their engaging with the Farmers
who will then require them, but if possible not
until I begin the Survey, which I hope may be
about that time. I shall get every thing ready
for the dispatch of the summer business with as
much economy as possible. We have not been
fortunate enough to get a Patent Compound Log - Com-
modore Barre? had not one left. I am in hopes there?
? for by colonel Barclay, will be ready in the
spring they are of the first importance for the Survey
of Lake Huron on the proposed plan. It appears to
me, that the position of the Moanitoualin Isles
will oblige us to survey all the main shore, from
where we left off last September to the head of the
River, St. Clair, and is only by this means, we can
prove they are much nearer the British than the
American shore. The islands that lie in this main
shore, are in my opinion not worth notice, as the
knowledge of their situations is of no consequence
to the business at ?. I think we can accom-
plish all this very well with 10 or 11 active boat-
men. The Repeating Circle will be of the first utility

end p4
no p 5?

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.