Frances Ramsay Simpson (b. c.1812 - d. 1853), the daughter of a London merchant, married her cousin, HBC Governor George Simpson, in 1830. She initially accompanied him to Rupert's Land but her health deteriorated during her first pregnancy, and she was often an invalid therafter. Her husband settled her first in London and then in Lachine, where she died after giving birth to her fifth child.
This entry from the journal of her first canoe trip is dated June 11th 1830. They are leaving Fort Garry to journey first to Norway House, and then to York Factory. p15, 7th pgh:"Left Fort Garry... continued our march."
"Left Fort Garry at ½ past 6 A.M. accompanied by another Canoe, in which were Messrs. McKenzie & Finlayson and arrived at 9 O’clock at Mr. Cocrane’s, where we were met by Dr. Todd, & Mr. Rea, who had travelled across the Plains on horseback.
After breakfasting with Mrs. Cocrane, we proceeded to examine the ground for the site of a New Establishment, about to be built at this end of the Settlement, and Mr. Simpson having selected a beautiful spot on a gentle elevation, surrounded by Wood, and commanding a fine view of the River, we took leave of Messrs. McKenzie & Cocrane, and continued our march."
Read excerpts from Frances' journal - enter 'Frances' in the search box to your left.
What does Frances Simpson look like?
Discover a personal object that once belonged to Frances.
Check the Beaver Index - e.g., Journey for Frances [Parts 1-3], by Grace Lee Nute, December 1953, March 1954 and June 1954.
Visit Lower Fort Garry and take a virtual tour using an interactive map.
Messrs. McKenzie and Finlayson were Donald McKenzie, the charming and experienced Governor of Assiniboia, and Duncan Finlayson, an HBC Chief Trader (soon to be Chief Factor) who married Frances' sister, Isobel, in 1838.
Dr. Todd was William Todd, the most noted doctor in the west in his day, who would soon see Frances through her first pregnancy. Mr. Rae was William Glen Rae, the son of the HBC agent at Stromness in the Orkneys, who had recently joined the Company as a clerk.
And the "New Establishment" was Lower Fort Garry, now restored and operated as a living history museum by Parks Canada.