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Home >> From 1600 to 1867 >> Identity, Culture & Communities >> Articles/Diaries/Ephemera/Journals

Daily life and challenges for the various groups involved in the fur trade.

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Author: Letitia Hargrave
Title: The Letters of Letitia Hargrave
Publisher: The Champlain Society, Toronto
Year Published: 1947
Copyright Holder: The Champlain Society
  -47- Letitia Hargrave: Meals

Letitia Hargrave nee MacTavish (1813-1854) was the daughter of Sheriff Dugald MacTavish and Letitia Lockhart. In 1840, she married James Hargrave, Chief Trader for the HBC, and left Scotland for York Factory.

The letters Letitia wrote to family and friends provide us with observations of daily life that differ from the typical post journals of that time which were written by men.

Her correspondence is also recognized for its importance as being one of the earliest for pioneer women in the fur trade in Western Canada. Through her letters, we can see her mature from a gawking and sea-sick newcomer to a shrewd and experienced observer of fur trade life.

1840. This letter to her mother describes a meal in York Factory. P61, 1st pgh: “The usual dinner… after dinner.”

“The usual dinner for our mess meaning the 3 ladies and me was – a roast of venison at the top 3 geese at the food, 4 ducks on one side 6 plovers on the other, a large Red river ham (whole leg) and potatoes and mashed turnips or boiled lettuce. For something green when they have broth they put lettuce and the bitterness is surprising – They have radish and lettuce after dinner.”

Other Related Material
Read excerpts from Letitia's letters - enter 'Letitia' in the search box to your left.

What does Letitia Hargrave look like?

Check the Beaver Index - e.g., type in women, children, health, etc.

Did You Know?
Although Letitia Hargrave's fashionable London gowns caused quite a stir at York Factory, she usually wore them with Cree leggings and moccasins.