Clarke Historical Library
Central Michigan University

Finding aid for
Gabriel Franchere Collection

Finding aid created by
KYle Garver, Marian Matyn

Summary Information
Title: Gabriel Franchere Collection
Creator: Franchere, Gabriel, 1786-1863.
Inclusive dates: 1883-1992, and undated
Extent: .5 cubic feet (in 1 box)
Abstract:
The Gabriel Francher Collection contains biographical materials, letter book, and an article of agreement.

Call number: MSS.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University
250 East Preston Street
Mount Pleasant, MI 48859
Phone: 989-774-3352
Fax: 989-774-2160
Email: clarke@cmich.edu
Website: http://clarke.cmich.edu


Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

Acc# 2240 The provenance of the rest of the collection is unknown.

Access Restrictions:

Gabriel Franchere Collection is open for research.

Copyright:

Copyright is unknown.

Preferred Citation:

Gabriel Franchere Collection, Folder # , Box #, Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University


Arrangement

The collection is organized alphabetically and numerically by page number.


History

Biography:

Gabriel Franchere was born in Montreal (Canada) in 1786. He received an excellent education in French and English from highly respectable parents.

In 1810, at age 24, he joined an expedition fitted out by John Jacob Astor and others, the American Fur Company, to establish a fur trading station on the Columbia River in Oregon. In September 1811, Franchere sailed form New York to Cape Horn, acting as one of the clerks of the expedition. They traveled by canoe via the St. Lawrence and St. John rivers, Lake Huron, and the Hudson River, carrying their canoes overland as necessary. He described New York, then with a population of 90,000, in his journal, later published as Relation d’un voyage a la cote du nord-oeste de l’Amerique septentrionale English and French (Journal of a voyage on the north west coast of North America during the years, 1811, 1812, 1813 and 1814.)

The expedition included 57 men. They sailed in the Tonquin under an American flag although most were British. After landing at the mouth of the Columbia, everyone except the officers and crew went ashore and were attacked and killed by Indians at Nootka Sound. The survivors stayed at the settlement called Astoria. Franchere later accompanied one exploring party into the interior for furs. After the start of the War of 1812, the English broke up the settlement. The inhabitants found their way overland back to the U.S. via rivers and Great Lakes. Franchere returned to Montreal in August 1814.

Franchere described his adventures in his book, Adventure at Astoria, 1810-1814, published in French. In 1854 he published an English translation of the book. The French version provided conclusive evidence of the priority and claim by Americans concerning the occupation and settlement of Oregon in a boundary dispute of 1846.

After Astoria, Franchere was connected as a factor (agent) with the American Fur Company. He sacrificed his own fortune to meet the company’s liabilities when it failed. Later, he was associated with Pierre Choteau Jr. and Company in their Northwest operations. Still later, Franchere engaged in his own fur business in New York.

Franchere died on April 12, 1863 at age 77 while visiting his stepson, J.S. Prince, in St. Paul, Minnesota. He was survived by his second wife, several married daughters, and a son. Franchere was the last known survivor of the Astoria expedition. (This information is from the Minnesota Historical Society Collections v. VI Pts. I-III, pp. 417-420.)


Collection Scope and Content Note

The collection consists almost entirely of typed English transcriptions of letters, mostly Franchere’s, from two letterbooks of the American Fur Company, 1835-1837 (8 folders) and 1838-1840 (8 folders), of his Remarks made on a visit from Lapointe to the fishing stations of Grand Protage, Isle Royal and Ance Quiwinan (1839) (in French with typed, English transcription, copies, 1 folder), and an original agreement, 1838, with French and English versions, and a related original letter, 1847, in French, concerning a fishing agreement between Pierre Jacoiff, Simon Favreau, and Franchere, as agent for the American Fur Company (1 folder). Biographical materials (copies, 1 folder) are also included.

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • Franchere, Gabriel, 1786-1863.
    • American Fur Company.
    • Fur trade--United States.
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
     
    Gabriel Franchere Collection. [series]:
    Box   1 F   1
    Biographical Materials (copies), undated
    Box   1 F   2
    Letter book (American Fur Company, typed English transcriptions), pages 1-20, 1835-1837
    Box   1 F   3
    Letter book (American Fur Company, typed English transcriptions), pages 21- 42, 1835-1837
    Box   1 F   4
    Letter book (American Fur Company, typed English transcriptions), pages 43-60, 1835-1837
    Box   1 F   5
    Letter book (American Fur Company, typed English transcriptions), pages 61-80, 1835-1837
    Box   1 F   6
    Letter book (American Fur Company, typed English transcriptions), pages 101-120, 1835-1837
    Box   1 F   7
    Letter book (American Fur Company, typed English transcriptions), pages 121-140, 1835-1837
    Box   1 F   8
    Letter book (American Fur Company, typed English transcriptions), pages 141-160, 1835-1837
    Box   1 F   9
    Letter book (American Fur Company, typed English transcriptions), pages 1-20, 1838-1840
    Box   1 F   10
    Letter book (American Fur Company, typed English transcriptions), pages 21-39, 1838-1840
    Box   1 F   11
    Letter book (American Fur Company, typed English transcriptions), pages 40-60, 1838-1840
    Box   1 F   12
    Letter book (American Fur Company, typed English transcriptions), pages 61-80, 1838-1840
    Box   1 F   13
    Letter book (American Fur Company, typed English transcriptions), pages 81-101, 1838-1840
    Box   1 F   14
    Letter book (American Fur Company, typed English transcriptions), pages 102-120, 1838-1840
    Box   1 F   15
    Letter book (American Fur Company, typed English transcription), pages 121-140, 1838-1840
    Box   1 F   16
    Letter book (American Fur Company, typed English transcription), pages 141-151, 1838-1840
    Box   1 F   17
    Article of agreement, (in French and English) ; related letter (in French), 1838, 1847
    Box   1 F   18
    Remarks made on a visit from Lapointe to the fishing stations of Grand Portage, Isle Royal and Ance Quiwinan (in French with typed, English transcription, copies, MS#9a-51, Acc#2240), 1839