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John RowandJohn Rowand was chief factor at Fort Edmonton from 1826 until his death in 1854. He was nicknamed "One-Pound-One" by his employees because of a limp, as well as  "Big Mountain" by the Cree, who considered him fierce, larger-than-life, egotistical yet likable with both a fiery temper and good humour. 

Inside Fort EdmontonDaily life at the fort was filled with hard work and trade, but on special occasions, such as Christmas, grand celebrations and feasts were held, where dishes such as beaver tail, moose nose and buffalo meat were heartily enjoyed. Dancing, like everyday life, was a cross-cultural experience, as artist and explorer Paul Kane discovered in 1847:

. . . having led her into the centre of the room, I danced round her with all the agility I was capable of exhibiting, to some highland-reel tune which the fiddler played with great vigour, whilst my partner with grave face kept jumping up and down, both feet off the ground at once . . .

Religious observances perhaps received less attention on such occasions, at least in the opinion of Robert Rundle. On Christmas day, 1843, the missionary noted in his diary, "Xmas Day. Read prayers in forenoon but only 2 present except my own boys. The Scotch do not keep Feast Days."

Heritage Trails - Presented by CKUA  Fur Trade Christmas, Part 1: The Groaning Table
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Fur Trade Christmas. Part 2: Dances and the Kissing Line
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Fur Trade New Year  Begins with a Drink of Old Man's Milk
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Rundle Small PortraitThomas Woolsey SketchFather ThibeaultGeorge McDougall PortraitRelated Topics
  Robert Rundle »
  Thomas Woolsey »
  George McDougall »

 

Citation Sources
Dolphin, Ric. "Pass the rum and moose nose, please Mr. Rowand." Edmonton Journal. Dec. 24, 2000.

Rundle, Robert Terrill. Edited by Hugh A. Dempsey. The Rundle Journals, 1840-1848. Calgary: Alberta Records Publications Board, Historical Society of Alberta and Glenbow-Alberta Institute, 1977.


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