Thompson's Highway

The Literary Origins of British Columbia, Volume 3

By (author) Alan Twigg
Categories: History
Series: Literary Origins of BC
Publisher: Ronsdale Press
Paperback : 9781553800392, 254 pages, October 2006

Description

For his third volume about BC literary history, Alan Twigg traces the writings of David Thompson, Alexander Mackenzie, Simon Fraser and thirty of their peers, mainly Scotsmen, who founded and managed more than fifty forts west of the Rockies prior to 1850.

This lively and unprecedented panorama introduces remarkable but little-known characters such as the wandering artist Paul Kane; the spy Henry James Warre; the botanist David Douglas; the "white slave of the Nootka," John Jewitt; the devout Christian Daniel Harmon; and John D’Wolf (Herman Melville’s uncle), the inspiration for Moby Dick.

Thompson’s Highway anticipates a wide range of bicentennial events to mark David Thompson’s mapping of the Columbia River, near Golden, BC, in 1807. After the failure of Alexander Mackenzie and Simon Fraser to find a navigable route to the Pacific Ocean, it was the remarkable mapmaker, David Thompson, who was instrumental in creating the "highway" for commerce that connected both sides of the North American continent. Thompson’s exploration and mapping enabled George Simpson, the "Little Emperor" of the Hudson’s Bay Company, and James Douglas, the founding father of the province, finally to bring viability to the corporate fur trade on the so-called Western Slope.