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David Thompson

The biography of David Thompson, the fur-trading explorer.
by

Ali Mian

on 28 November 2011

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Transcript of David Thompson

Early Life Born in London, on April 30, 1770 Son of Welsh parents, who immigrated to England Family was hit by Financial problems Was put in Grey Coat Hospital, institute for orphans Graduated Grey Coat as a mathmatical student Was introduced to basic navigation skills at school, which would help him further in life At 14,in 1784, he signed seven year apprentiship to Hudson's Bay Company Set sail to Rupert's Land, on May 28. and left England forever David Thompson, biography of a fur-trading explorer Without the main breadwinner, the family could not earn much. After leaving, he never saw his home land, nor his family ever again. Father died when Thompson was only two Career at HBC In less than a year after arriving to Prince Rupert, in 1785, he was transferred to York Factory. In the York Factory he was an apprentice clerk and worked for the governor of the factory at the rate of 6 Euros per year! 1786, he moved inland to Manchester House along North Saskatchewan River. He spent two winters. One of them with Peigans (an aboriginal group) He broke a leg when he fell down a bank.
The injury was life threatening, but he would recover after some time. By: Shuja and Ali
Period - 4 Exploration with NWC Instead of the suit of clothes that one recieves, he requested to be given surveying instruments. He learnt practical astronomy under the watchful eye of Philip Turnor, the official HBC surveyor. He learnt this when he was in critical condition after breaking his leg due to falling off a bank. Some say, it is due to looking at the sun for too long and some say that it is because of studying overnight with only one candle. In September 1792, Thompson was ordered to find a new shorter route to Athabasca. On February 1, 1790, he began making navigational measurements. This was to determine the position of a place or object on Earth. But, during his training, he went blind from one eye. In 1791, David Thompson's apprenticeship ended. Instead of the typical clothes that an apprentice gets, Thompson requested a set of surveying instrument. He got what he wanted. Athabasca was a key place because it was rich with fur. He failed to find a Native guide and thus was forced to turn back in the spring of 1793. He finally found the direct route in 1796 after many tries. But, he was not happy with the strong emphasis on trade that HBC had. So in 1797, he left HBC and joined the rival company North West Company. Arrived at Alexander Fraser's establishment at Reindeer Lake. Finally recieved encouragement to explore. Started his journey on August 9, 1797 He travelled with Hugh Mcgillis, an experienced Nor'wester, to Rainy Lake. Then to Lake of the Woods. Then to Lake Winnipeg Lake Manitoba Lake Winnipegosis He met Cuthbert Grant Sr. They borrowed horses from a HBC post located near by to go to the Assiniboine River. For two months he explored the Red Dear and the Assiniboine Rivers. He was still not happy with his accomplisments. He went exploring to find a new route between Red and Mississippi Rivers and Grand Portage. Then, he pressed onto Lake Superior and suveyed its south shore. After that, he reported back to head quarters. on July 14, 1798, he left again to explore. Went through Rainy Lake. To Lake Winnipeg Churchill River On to Lac Ile-a-la- Crosse Up the Beaver River. Finally arrived at Lac la Biche where he spent the winter. On june 10, 1799, at Ile-a-la-Crosse, he married Charlotte Small. She was mixed- blood. A combination of European Patrick Small adn his Cree wife. They had thirteen children all together. In the June of 1801, Thompson tried to go through the barrier of the Rockies. He had to turn back because of great walls of rock that blocked his way. He made numerous other expeditions in his life even after the merger of NWC and HBC in 1821. Unfortunately, no one recognized or paid him for his great atlas and maps even though his maps were used extensively. Thus, by the time he died in 1857 at the age of eighty-seven, he was bankrupt. His wife Charlotte, died three months after him. David Thompson left an unforgettable legacy for Canada and its development to the West. His maps and measumrements are still used to understand surveying, as he is known as the greatest map maker of the new world.
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