Fort Coulonge, on the Ottawa River in Pontiac County, Quebec, Canada
History and Genealogy
and the Taylor family
January 13, 2013:
Good morning, Al,
I'm attaching a thumbnail of the Taylor family at Fort Coulonge, Pontiac County, along with a very poor photo of what the last building looked like.
It was scanned from a newspaper article which I found at the archives in Hull. I'm also attaching a photo of what the site
looked like a few years ago, some artifacts found on the site, portraits of Thomas Taylor and Mary Keith and one of her headstone.
Hudson's Bay Post and Store at Fort Coulonge
Thanks to Ellen Paul for the photos and text on this web page!
Nicholas d'Ailleboust, sieur de Coulonge, spent the winter of 1694-95 near the mouth of the Coulonge River and so established
one of the first settlements on the Ottawa River. The first trading post was called Fort Coulonge and in 1760 the Northwest Company
took over its management. With the amalgamation of the Hudson's Bay Company and the Northwest Company, it became the property
of the Hudson's Bay Company and served until 1828 as the head post on the Ottawa River.
The posts' 655 acre farm was sold in 1844 and the buildings in 1855. The trading post became the village of Fort Coulonge which
is now situated several kilometers down river. Thomas Taylor was its last postmaster.
Thomas Taylor was born circa 1797 in the Hudson's Bay Territory. He was the son of George Taylor, the sloopmaster, born 1759 in
Berwick-upon-Tweed or Bamborough, Northumberland, England, and a Homeguard Cree woman who was known by the English as "Jane."
Thomas Taylor signed his first contract with the Hudson's Bay Company in 1815 and served at posts in the districts of York Factory,
Swan River, Peace River, Lake Superior, Winnipeg, Lac La Pluie and Montreal. From 1822 - 30 he was Governor George Simpson's personal
servant and accompanied Simpson to the Columbia in 1824-25, to England in 1825-26, and back to the Columbia in 1828-29.
In 1832 Simpson noted in his Character Book:
"Taylor, Thomas a half-breed about 35 years of Age. Was a Labouring apprentice for 7 years was my own body servant for 10 years, and
has for the past 3 years been one of the most effective Postmasters in the County. Speaks several of the Native Languages, is a
great favorite with Indians is a "Jack of all Trades" and altogether a very useful man in his line . . . ."
In the summer of 1841 he was raised to the status of Clerk and appointed to the post of Lake St. John, King's Posts.
On 17 August 1831 he married Mary Keith, the daughter of Chief Factor, James Keith [1782-1845] at St. Andrew's, Red River Settlement.
(see more about James Keith under date of April 8, 2013, below).
Their children were:
Thomas, Jr. 25 May 1831 m. 10 Oct 1860 Caroline Kennedy d. Jan 1904
James 3 June 1833 - 30 October 1862
Mary 30 October 1835 - 21 July 1866
George 4 February 1838 m. 30 Sep 1867 Angele Lafrance
Jane 5 March 1840 - m. 2 Sep 1855 Damase Gervais d. 6 March 1865
Albert died 28 May 1844
Frances 26 May 1846 m. 18 Jul 1865 William Dillard Kelley
John Swanston 17 June 1849 d. 27 May 1852
William 5 May 1851 m. 23 Oct 1869 Louise Lafrance d. 23 Apr 1890
Florence Isabella Victoria 3 December 1854. m. Francis St. Denis d. 22 Dec 1882
In 1850 Thomas Taylor was posted to the post at Buckingham by the Hudson's Bay Company.
In 1853 Taylor was posted to Fort Coulonge. He was the last postmaster and purchased the post in 1855 upon his retirement.
Mary Keith died 11 October 1866 at Fort Coulonge, QC
Thomas Taylor died 18 December 1879 at Pembroke, ON
They are buried in Fort Coulonge although only Mary Keith's headstone remains standing.
All of the above material was submitted by Ellen Paul.
Thanks for this Ellen, it's wonderful stuff!
Keywords: Fort Coulonge was an important steamboat landing on the Upper Ottawa River, above the Chats Lake.
The native peoples were the original occupants of the Ottawa River watershed.
The logging and lumber industry in the Ottawa Valley overlapped with the Fur Trade starting about 1800.
April 7, 2013:
To Mr. Larry Kenney:
I just found your web page with the old photos of Fort Coulonge at http://www3.sympatico.ca/larry.kenney/index.html.
Lots of great pictures.
April 8, 2013:
A very interesting book is Fort Timiskaming and the Fur Trade by Elaine Allan Mitchell. (See our James Bay web page).
Chief Factor James Keith is mentioned in this book.
Over the years, he was a major player at Moose Factory on James Bay, at Fort Timiskaming (also sp. Temiskaming), Fort Coulonge and at Abitibi Lake.
He spent most of the 1840's, until his death, at Lachine, Quebec where he was the main organizer for the supply of food and merchandise sent annually
to the fur trade posts in Northern Ontario and Quebec.
April 19, 2013:
Photos from trip to Fort Coulonge, April 17, 2013:
George Bryson House, Fort Coulonge, Quebec, Canada
Keywords from the plaque: Robina Cobb, emigration from Scotland, Ramsay Township, Lanark County, Bryson Lumber Company,
Upper Ottawa Improvement Company, Pontiac and Pacific Junction Railway, Mansfield Quebec, Herman Coulton (brother-in-law of George Bryson), Coulonge River.
June 17, 2013:
August 28, 2013:
Mr. Ken Desjardins has written four books about Catholic Churches in Pontiac County:
Glad to hear from you, Al, and happy to share.
The books I've written to date and their prices are:
"The marriages of St. Peter's Parish, Fort-Coulonge, Quebec 1884 - 1992" $18
"St. Elizabeth's of Hungary Parish, Vinton, Quebec 1875 - 1996" $30
"St. James The Greater Parish, Portage-du-Fort, Quebec 1851 - 1998" $30
“St. Anne's Parish, Grand-Calumet Island, Quebec 1846 – 2004” $50
The small profit from their sale is given to each parish. The one on Fort-Coulonge is nearly out of print and the one on Calumet Island
is 640 some pages in two volumes. The books can be picked up here in Orleans, Ontario or from my sister in Fort-Coulonge.
I can also ship the books through Canada Post at an additional $10 to $18, depending on where people live.
The books are really for heavy users or people who were born in those places. For those who are only looking for a few pieces of
information, I would be happy to look up their info & email it to them.
Yes, by all means add my email to your site.
E-mail Ken at email@example.com
December 21, 2015:
Here is an amazing photograph which was posted to the Facebook Group "Fort Coulonge, La Passe, and Westmeath History Forum"
on December 20, 2015 by Mr. Robert A. Denault. Every time I look at this photograph, more interesting information jumps out.
This is an example of photography surpassing landscape painting. ... Al
"une des soeurs a mon pere je pense que c'est tant Dorene" , Robert A. Denault
January 3, 2015:
Here is a photograph of Ernest Laderoute from Fort Coulonge, at Schyan Point in 1939.
E-mail Ellen Paul, Larry Kenney and Allan Lewis
Back to Bytown or Bust - History and Genealogy in the Ottawa, Canada, area - The Fur Trade in the Ottawa Valley
Bytown or Bust is also on