Tracking Down South Branch House: A Critical Look at the Identification of the Hudson’s Bay Company’s South Branch House (FfNm-1)
The late Arthur Silver Morton has contributed immensely to our understanding and preservation of western Canadian history. One of Morton’s joys was locating remains of long forgotten fur trade posts. As a result, a large number of the Saskatchewan fur trade posts that we know of were located and recorded by Morton. The majority of Morton’s investigations took place throughout the 1930s and 1940s. Morton consulted whatever historic sources were available to him at the time: numerous historic documents, ethnographic accounts and local histories. There has been archaeological evidence that suggests Morton misidentified numerous fur trade post sites. For example, research at the Hudson’s Bay Company’s South Branch House (1786-1794), which Morton identified in 1944, has sparked some controversy as to whether or not it is that particular post. As a result, this provides the author with an excellent chance to examine how Morton identified Saskatchewan fur trade posts and to determine through archaeological excavations and historical documents the accuracy of Morton’s historical site designation at South Branch House. A critical approach to Morton’s work will determine how accurate his work is for contemporary archaeological investigations of fur trade posts. Furthermore, this thesis may provide historical archaeologists with insights as to how to go about identifying fur trade posts, which will contribute to our overall understanding of the western Canadian fur trade.
Fur Trade. South Saskatchewan River., South Branch House
Master of Arts (M.A.)