If Dumpdiggers unearthed a forgotten fur trading post from the mid 1700's, what kind of relics could they expect to find?
Early HBC beaver traps? I’m skeptical. Aboriginal people didn’t use iron traps, and
I’m told the Indian fur trappers had developed excellent all-natural methods of hunting beavers without using guns or iron traps. They used snares which would trap the animal in a wire noose, and baited traps, which would attract the animal with food or another substance. The 'deadfall trap', which dropped a heavy weight onto the animal to kill it, was also used. In addition to these ingenuities, the First Nation's people had perfected a method of trapping the beaver inside his own wooden lodge. They somehow blocked the submerged entrance of the beaver den, and then broke into the side of the hut to take the whole family at once!
Iron leg traps (which were cruel and inhumane) came about much later in the history of the fur trade. The first mention of iron leg trap is from David Thompson, the foremost cartographer of
Some of the very first iron traps were made in
Finding an early French Canadian iron beaver trap from the 1780’s and 1790s would be a spectacular relic! It would be extremely collectible and certainly worthy of a museum, (
Indeed according to The Fur Trapper the use of iron traps did not become wide spread until the early 1800s. This web page reports that that the iron beaver traps created the Mountain Men, and eventually the Rocky Mountain fur trade. The sole purpose of the American and the Canadian fur trade brigades between 1807 and 1840 was to locate and trap beaver using such devices. During that time frame, it came to pass that trapping beaver by the white European mountain men (in
According to the Fur Trapper website, Lewis and Clark did not have beaver traps listed among their Indian trade goods, but several of the expedition members carried iron beaver traps for their personal use. Before the Lewis and Clark Expedition reached the Pacific, a North West Company fur trader, François Antoine Larocque, had taken beaver traps to the Crow Indians along the Bighorn and
Here's a suspicious consignment of historical milieu that has been dressed to sell as Fur Trade relics on eBay. The seller lists the items as ‘Assorted nails from trade posts or battows (boats), part of a fur trade trap, two folding knife blades, end of rifle or pistol barrel, French amber musket flint, five cast brass tacks, Woodland pottery chards, metal arrowhead, copper dangle cut out of a trade kettle, small fur trade ring broach, and what looks to be part of an ice chisel.’ This load of debris is congruous with Dumpdigging. Somebody somewhere at some time dug up an 1800’s fur trade post. But is this evidence of Chest Huff’s amateur archeology in