Pics from the past show Fort Rupert

Fort Rupert construction no quickie job

Fort Rupert was established in Beaver Harbour on Northern Vancouver Island in 1847

Fort Rupert was established in Beaver Harbour on Northern Vancouver Island in 1847, the second permanent trading post established on Vancouver Island after Fort Victoria in 1843 by the Hudsons Bay Company (HBC).

During the advent of coal-powered steamships, Fort Rupert was established to support the mining of coal from reported surface deposits in the area.

Due to the perceived hostility of local First Nations, Fort Rupert was one of the most highly fortified forts constructed by the HBC. It had an 18-ft palisade wall, was fortified with inner and outer gates, and was protected by a number of cannons, one of which is on display outside the current Kwakiutl Band Administration office.

More than 2500 First Nations lived in the area immediately adjacent to the Fort.  There are numerous historical references to cannons being used on local First Nations villages during this early historical period.

James Douglas, the Chief Factor for HBC in Victoria, signed two Douglas Treaties with the Queackar and the Quakeolth First Nations in the North Island in 1851, in order to settle concerns about establishment of the Fort.  They were paid in blankets the equivalent of £64 and £86 respectively.

These are some of the only treaties ever concluded historically with B.C. First Nations.

More than  220 large stumps were removed to prepare the site, just to the southeast of the main Kwakiutl reserve.  The fort was constructed with green wood, which reportedly twisted and cracked as it dried, meaning the buildings required significant repair as they aged.

The chimney for the central oven was constructed three times before it met the specifications of standards required.  It was one of the last remaining vestiges of the fort, still visible as recently as 2003.

French Canadians, Russians, and Hawaiians were employed to construct the fort.

The settlement included wharves, houses, a blacksmith’s shop, gardens, a common kitchen, livestock areas, water closets, a provisions house, a trading shop, and areas for coal and firewood supplies.

Before long it also included a graveyard behind the main Fort.  The Fort was designed to be manned by a small number of employees.

Fort Rupert never lived up to the expectations of the HBC, and was sold to an HBC employee, Robert Hunt, at some point between 1873 and 1882.

Hunt and his wife, Mary Ebbets, from a high ranking Tongass-Tlingit First Nations family in Alaska, had 10 children, and many of their descendants still reside on the North Island today in such families as the Hunts, Lyons, Cadwalladers, and many others.

 

Brenda McCorquodale lives in Port Hardy and is a North Island history enthusiast.  If you have any stories or North Island information that you’d like to share, please e-mail Brenda at storeysbeach@gmail.com.

 

 

Just Posted

Island Foods renovates bottle depot and cans old bottle return system

“I don’t want people to spend the whole day here,” said Angela Taylor on Port McNeill’s bottle depot.

Yukon man facing new attempted murder charge in Port Alice exploding mail case

Leon Nepper, 73, is now facing one charge each of aggravated assault and attempted murder

Sointula Resource Centre to hold fundraising play

The play will “grab people’s attention” says Stephanie Rockman.

Risk of thunderstorm this afternoon for Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland

A special weather statement calls for heavy rain and wind over the next 48 hours

Western Forest Products goes ahead with harvesting, despite Falconer’s concern

WFP will “mitigate impact on local wildlife” near Coal Harbour.

VIDEO: Neighbours fear impact of B.C. tent city residents

Greater Victoria residents opposed to campers voice concerns at provincial campground

B.C. premier apologizes for removal of 1950s totem pole at Canada-U.S. border

First Nations say pole was raised at Peace Arch but removed to make way for tourism centre

Tornado touches down in Ottawa and Gatineau, Que.

Environment Canada says cars and homes have been damaged by severe thunderstorms and high wind gusts

An unexpected sight: Bear spotted eating another bear in central B.C.

Cheslatta Carrier Nation Chief finds bear eating another bear’s carcass

RCMP confirm death of missing BC teen Jessica Patrick

No details on cause were given. Case is under criminal investigation and police are asking for tips.

CUTENESS OVERLOAD: 2 sea otters hold hands at the Vancouver Aquarium

Holding hands is a common – and adorable – way for otters to stay safe in the water

B.C. teen with autism a talented guitarist

Farley Mifsud is gaining fans with every performance

B.C. man who left hospice to run in upcoming election dies

A week after leaving hospice to go to city hall to declare his candidacy, David Hesketh has died.

Tilray Inc sees $10-billion in market cap go up in smoke

Tilray’s share price closed at $123 US on Friday, a decline from its intraday peak of nearly $300 US earlier in the week

Most Read