Diary of Donald Manson Finlayson (1853 - 1889), Saskatchewan
John Anderson's Ranch, July 12, 1888: Arrived all safe from Troy and went down to Marceilles at the forks of Sask. and am to have another 18 ft. Keel boat built, John to work along with him. Marceilles and I went to the swamp and dug out crooks for ribs and John was to get poles and wood to make oars. Marceilles and I went to Port Arthur and got lumber, had it planed, got oakum, pitch, nails etc. and sent him back, I came back to Carrot River. Just arrived to-night, sketoes a pure fright.
Carrot River: Camped at Alex Roger's for a few days.
Wednesday, July 18, 1888: Went to P.O. got letter from Polly (my Mother). Back to Alex's and started for forks of Sask.
Saturday, July 21, 1888: Getting out oars. Boats about finished.
Sunday, July 22-Monday July 23, 1888: Travelled 20 miles and hired Norman McLeod to go to Cumberland.
Tuesday, July 24, 1888: Finished pitching boats in afternoon rained in morning, ran boats down hill to Sask. Hill about 350 feet.
Wednesday, July 25, 1888: Came down Sask. to Fort La Corne and camped at George Goodfellows. John at La Corne, Mosquitoes galore.
Thursday, July 26, 1888: Legged it to Carrot River (25 miles) boght 30# butter at 20¢. Rode to J. Pattersons' with J. Tenant.
Friday, July 27, 1888: Went to A. Rogers. J. Hornby and I came as far J.H. and camped.
Saturday, July 28, 1888: Windy, arrived at Fort LaCorne and unloaded.
Sunday July 29, 1888: The men wish to start as they will be late for haying. Extra heavy rain. 6 miles camped.
Monday, July 30, 1888: Ran all rapids in safety going down stream at a good rate both boats fastened together at present as we are having lunch before supper. Intend to float all night. Go on shore, boil our kettle and go aboard and float along as we eat. Set net and caught 3 goldeyes and 1 sucker.
Tuesday, July 31, 1888: Took short cut and ran worst rapid in safety, the river being high we go along very fast. Boiled kettle and intend to float all night. John and I watching. Ran on one sandbar.
Wednesday, August 1, 1888: Fine day first Portage, Elm portage, arrived at Cumberland 12 at night. Big Stone River very swift, make about 1 mile per hour, only 3 miles long.
Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, August 2-6, 1888: Pitched boats over again.
Tuesday, August 7, 1888: Rain, the fellow we hired for winter got married (Jerry Umphryvil)
Wednesday, August 8, 1888: At Cumberland. Norman and Charles Fiddler leave for home.
Thursday, August 9, 1888: Have our crew hired and leave for Pelican Narrows, Francis Shayes, (Steersman) Frederick Budd and John at oars for one boat and for mine Pierre Morin (Bowsman) Edward Indian (Steersman) myself and Jerry at the oars. Had to hire Jacob Kenngay for bowsman at mouth of Sturgeon River as river is very high and swift, camped 6 miles out and saw first Chippweyans. Camped with them and P. Dechaumbault.
Deer Lake: Camped on lake shore in boat.
Friday, August 10, 1888: Crossed 2 or 3 fair sized lakes camped at the mouth of Sturgeon River, got poles ready for going up Sturgeon River. Fine Weather.
Saturday, August 11, 1888: Left early, first rapid about 100 yds. from start. River extra high and swift. About 2 1/2 miles up we made a portage, carried pieces across but pulled boats up the rapid. Camped on banks of river, fine and smooth here but it was a rough and tumble day. Hanging on to the bushes up to our middle in water and about 120 feet of rope that is made fast to the boat to keep tight. Drawing boat through the water as it is too swift to pole or row in most parts of Sturgeon River. This year we make fast our packing straps on the line, then put the straps across our shoulder and pull for all we are worth, the water sometimes washing into the boat. Steersman and Bowsman remain in boat. A great many places take up one boat then go back for the other. Made about 10 miles.
Sunday, August 12, 1888: Very rapid in a few places but not so much tracking. Slight rain at noon.
Monday, August 13, 1888: 4 rapids within 3 1/2 miles of Beaver Lake, tough work wading to our waist, water swift, sharp stones. Hanging on to grass, bushes, trees, or anything we get hold of pulling up boats. Arrived at Beaver Lake the last rapid on Sturgeon River is close to B. Lake. Crossed 1/2 way and camped for night. Large rocks as square on side as if they were hewn, had to get up in middle of night and move boats around in shelter as the wind sprung up strong. Head wind and very rough on lake but crossed safe. Water washed into boats a few times but they stand a good sea. I enjoy the sailing immense, especially in rough weather it looks fine to see a large wave coming along and give your boat a swipe sending the water spinning all over you. Its a fine life. Beaver Lake looks to be about 10 or 12 miles across in some parts more. Plenty of pipe-stone on some of the islands. This is extra good for whitefish. Tues. 14. Across Beaver Lake. Passed a small island about an acre and 1/2 in extent with potatoes, turnips, cabbage, carrots, pumpkins, all growing well. On Beaver Lake about a mile from the mouth of Pine River. First rapid on Pine River, carried pieces and tracked up boats. Pine on west mixed Poplar and Pine on East side. Fine river can row right along in most parts of it. Camped on Banks.
Wednesday, August 15, 1888: Passed Bail Rapid, camped about 2 miles above. Rocky hills all along, river fine and wide with very little current except at rapids.
Thursday August 16, 1888: Passing rocky hills, river very smooth with easy bends. Scoop rapid or Quapayhagan rapid very bad but portage about 40 yds. Good portage, hauled over boats and carried pieced, scooped up the white-fish with a scoop net. Camped 1/2 mile below leaf rapid. Mohawk had 6 pups, that camp is to go by her name after this through her having pups there.
Friday, August 17, 1888: Passed leaf rapid and large rocky hills also Birch rapid. Portaged boat went up between large Rocky hills looks more like a long narrow lake than a river as the surface is so smooth at present. Camped at night on an island.
Saturday, August 18, 1888: Sailing some to-day, banks not quite so high in some places. Passed a small rapid. A portage in low water no hauling just now. Into more like lakes than a river with small islands. Crossed last Portage to Pelican Narrows. Portaged everything. Lake very smooth across the narrows and camped near the church, slept in boats as the dogs are numerous.
Sunday, August 19, 1888: Morning cloudy, balance of day fine.
Monday, August 20, 1888: Still at the narrows.
Tuesday, August 21, 1888: Left for Deers Lake. Passed 4 rapids first hauled boat and load through the water. 2nd Portaged all. 3rd. 1/2 loads off and hauled boats up narrow stream through the rocks, very swift. 4th. Portaged all over rock.
Wednesday, August 22, 1888: Passed some fine rocky scenery and large lakes camped at one large lake saw two York boats going down to Cumberland. Rock islands all through lake. Passed Indians fishing, camped at Churchill river. Got boats and all across ready for early start. Frog portage the water runs out of Churchill river through the rock with about 4 feet perpendicular fall.
Tuesday, August 23, 1888: Churchill or English river is from 3/4 to a mile wide. Full of islands, in these parts very deep. Camped and over portage a regular falls very bad rapid. Boat load of people lost here a good many years ago. Deers river camped about 3 miles, passed one rapid. Fell on a stone and cut my knee.
Friday, August 24, 1888: Camped for dinner on a small island. Red currants moss, berries, etc. Showers, quite a few leaves frosted.
Saturday, August 25, 1888: Waited 2 hours to see if it will clear up. Fine young Indian in a canoe came along with us from here. Crossed hill Portage, lost butcher knife.
Sunday, August 26, 1888: Went quite a way to-day sailing.
Monday, August 27, 1888: Slight shower last night got over the last rapids. Three bad places on them. Fair wind, got to Deer Lake all safe minus a butcher knife. Got very windy from north and had to carry goods up on bank and haul boats up on the rocks.
Tuesday, August, 28, 1888: Calm but cloudy. Two Deer Lake boats passed.
Wednesday, August 29, 1888: Loaded for a start but turned windy and laid over.
Thursday, August 30, 1888: Fine day rigged up net for fish. Got present of large trout. Weigh about 8# and broke the hook. another about 10#. Smashed all the hooks.
Sunday, September 2, 1888: Heavy rain last night and all day today.
Monday, September 3, 1888: Showery with Nor. West wind.
Tuesday, September 4, 1888: Made start for our winter quarters, about 20 miles from south end of lake on Lake shore. Passed a great many islands, some square faced cliffs of rock 2 or 3 hundred feet high. Arrived all safe. Had Duncan Cook as guide.
Wednesday, September 5, 1888: Cut and built 6 rounds of house. Pine logs from 6 to 9 in. through. Very windy.
Thursday, September 6, 1888: Rain.
Friday, September 7, 1888: Rain.
Saturday, September 8, 1888: Fine day D. Cook went home. Built balance of house walls.
Sunday, September 9, 1888: Dull looking in morning but turned fine in afternoon. Netting 4 or 5 fine trout, perch, whitefish, sucker, etc. per day. (Scotch mist in morning)
Monday, September 10, 1888: Morning rain afternoon fine cutting roofing poles. John fitting posts in house for ridge pole,
Tuesday, September 11, 1888: Frost, caught extra large trout, fine sun rise. Since arriving ave had north, nor. west, nor. east, winds. Blown about four hours from south. Peeling roofing poles. John filling in gable ends.
Wednesday, September 12, 1888: Finished peeling poles. John at door and putting in the jams. Fine weather, south wind.
Thursday, September 13, 1888: South wind. Mending net. John putting on roof poles. Sand flies terrible.
Friday, September 14, 1888: North wind. Finished roof and net. Carrying moss for roof. Few sand flies.
Saturday, September 15, 1888: Calm (south wind very light). Carried more moss and we covered part of roof. Layer of moss and layer of clay and sand mixed with water. Sand flies very bad, extra warm. Roused out of bed in the night by the dogs. Treed and killed porcupine. Dogs got a terrible dose of quills in the tongue and all around their mouth. Took them out with the bullet molds. Skinned porcupine to take home. Had to take a forked stick and John held them down and I drew the quills out with the mold. Held Kis-Ki-U to tight and he very nigh gave up the ghost.
Sunday, September 16, 1888: Very fine day, September have all our bedding out for an airing.
Monday, September 17, 1888: Working at roof. High wind from south but fine weather, do not feel the wind as we are right in the Pines. Few sand flies.
Tuesday, September 18, 1888: Cutting floor poles. John laying floor, South wind.
Wednesday, September 19, 1888: Finished cutting floor poles and packed all the goods up to the house. We use a leather strap, in packing, 21 feet long. Two feet in centre is left broad for your head. Make fast your strap on your Piece whirl it on your back and away.
Thursday, September 20, 1888: Indian and wife here today. Traded 3 beaver and 1 Bear. Caught in net 23# trout. S.E. wind.
Friday, September 21, 1888: South wind. Finished roof.
Saturday, September 22, 1888: Fine day, September south wind. Went for grass for chimney, also brought some stone. Caught 20# trout.
Sunday, September 23, 1888: Fine day. Calm, very slight breeze from south.
Monday September 24, 1888: North wind. Dull day with rain. Henry arrived.
Tuesday, September 25, 1888: Packing stone for a chimney. John made chimney frame and started foundation.
Wednesday, September 26, 1888: North wind. Carrying stone.
Thursday, September 27, 1888: Brought stone in boat. South Wind.
Friday, September 28, 1888: Building chimney. N.E. wind.
Saturday, September 29, 1888: S.E. wind. Finished stone work. High wind East. John's birthday. Average catch of fish 20, trout, Perch, whitefish, Red & White sucker, Jackfish.
Sunday, September 30, 1888: Slight showers rain. North wind.
Monday, October 1, 1888: Very slight fall snow disappeared at sunrise, North East wind.
Tuesday, October 2, 1888: At chimney clay very tough have to break it with our hands. South Wind.
Wednesday, October 3, 1888: NE. wind in morn. east in evening. Repairing net.
Thursday, October 4, 1888: S.E. wind. Working at chimney.
Friday, October 5, 1888: S.E. wind. Finished chimney.
Saturday, October 6, 1888: Slight breeze from S. E. Lake very calm. Have 60 large trout on stage. Put up stage to hold about 800 trout and other fish and repaired net.
Sunday, October 7, 1888: Duncan's wife and family are laying in their winter stock of berries. Henry and family back from his hunt, away ten days. Duncan back, away two days. East wind. (Fish for breakfast, fish and one dog choker for dinner, fish and porridge for supper.)
Monday, October 8, 1888: Mending net. S. wind.
Tuesday, October 9, 1888: Giving outside of house second coating of mud, caught a 20# trout. Saw flock of ducks. N.E. wind.
Wednesday, October 10, 1888: Calm, South breeze. Mudding inside of house.
Thursday, October 11, 1888: More snow but soon disappeared, sleety showers all day. North east wind.
Friday, October 12, 1888: East wind but not so cold.
Saturday, October 13, 1888: Sun showing bright today. Finished house today except a coat of white or rather clay wash. It turns almost as white as plaster. West wind.
Sunday, October 14, 1888: Cold, East wind with sleety showers.
Monday, October 15, 1888: 1 inch of snow with cold N.E. wind. Bed frame made today.
Tuesday, October 16, 1888: Chilly East wind.
Wednesday, October 17, 1888: S.E. wind. Duncan cut his leg.
Thursday, October 18, 1888: East wind with inch of snow, milder towards evening.
Friday, October 19, 1888: South wind and snowing.
Saturday, October 20, 1888: South wind and thawing towards evening.
Sunday, October 21, 1888: Slight white frost, began to thaw early in morn very calm with slightest ripple from south. Slight showers of snow but melting away fast. Very light wind from South. Duncan away to H.B. Co. Sun shining very bright afternoon.
Monday, October 22, 1888: S.E. Thawing slowly.
Tuesday, October 23, 1888: Fine day. Thawing some, still about inch of snow.
Wednesday, October 24, 1888: Fine day S.E. wind and light.
Thursday, October 25, 1888: E.E. wind and middling strong. Light fall of snow.
Friday, October 26, 1888: Calm fine day. S.W.
Saturday, October 27, 1888: Fine weather South wind.
Sunday, October 28, 1888: Fine day light breeze from S.E. by East. This week has been very calm, best since we came here.
Monday, October 29, 1888: Light breeze from S.E. Went down to Wm. Hoogemaw's visited Mr Halcrow and received loan of Scientific American bound very neat by himself but covers too weak for weight of book, camped at Wm's.
Tuesday, October 30, 1888: Started in a S. East snowstorm very heavy, veered around to N.E. and blew a gale, very heavy sea, rowed about 5 miles and put ashore. Camped for the balance of the day and most of night in a heavy snow storm, started early in morn and rowed remaining 10 miles. Reached home at break of day, October freezing keen, ice freezing in the small bays.
Wednesday, October 31, 1888: Put on a rousing fire when we reached home and had a hot plate of mush (straight) as the keg of syrup is all done, we got a keg from Finnerty of the valley it was miserable stuff, we called in Finnerty's soft soap.
Thursday, November 1, 1888: Fine day S.E.
Friday, November 2, 1888: S.E. wind went with Duncan and Henry for deers meat that he shot about 15 miles from here returned same day and received 60# meat for trip. Our boat that we took. Saw an Otter but did not get it. Had 2 dogs and flat sleigh with us as we had 1 1/2 miles to pack meat.
Saturday, November 3, 1888: S.E. fine day with slight frost.
Sunday, November 4, 1888: S.W. Fine day.
Monday, November 5, 1888: S.W. Fine day with frosty weather.
Tuesday, November 6, 1888: S.W. very light. Wm. Hoogemaw arrived for fish that Duncan owes him Bot 30 fish from Wm. 1/2# tea and 1/4# B. Soda. Bot shirt for 1# salt and 1 1/2 oz. cayenne.
Wednesday, November 7, 1888: Strong N.W. wind with heavy fall of wet snow. Wm. went home today. John is ripping some boards for a door for Duncan. 320# fish on stage.
Thursday, November 8, 1888: Freezing very keen. Hardest frost this winter. NW wind but changed in morn to S. very thin ice showing in sheltered nooks and small bays on Lake.
Friday, November 9, 1888: S. Wind and mild covered roof of fish house with moss. Traded another pup just one left.
Saturday, November 10, 1888: S. Wind but changed to North while looking at our nets, freezing. John put on Duncan's door.
Sunday, November 11, 1888: SE in morning and South in afternoon. High wind with showers of snow but not cold, sorry we have no Thermometer. Had a treat today 2# tin of black currant preserves and 1# tin of dried beef, also we have a table made now.
Monday, November 12, 1888: S. W. not very cold.
Tuesday, November 13, 1888: N.W. Wind and freezing keen all day. Fish house finished.
Wednesday, November 14, 1888: Freezing keen N.W. in the morning changed soon to south, floating thin ice in lake very little ice on shore just the wash from the waves that is frozen.
Thursday, November 15, 1888: N.W. Freezing extra hard today. Hunt birch for flat sleigh, found some fair trees about 1 mile back in a small creek.
Friday, November 16, 1888: It was a nipper last night as it froze clear across the lake, it being very calm in the night, freezing very keen today. Back to the birch hewing them out to right thickness to carry home. For the sleds. Got them home and cut out our nets the will remain out now until ice will carry us then we will set them under the ice. We will not require floats on them then. We have 3 nets. Very nigh lost bob-tail or Kis-ki-u. He was playing around on the ice, we were cutting our way out to end of net in the boat and of course as we got out the ice formed behind the boat but it was not large enough pieces to hold him so he bounced in amongst the loose ice and the water was that cold he got chilled immediately and could not get up on the ice. By the time we got back to him he was very near a gonner but he is fat and hearty again as we took him up to the shanty and gave him a good drying and a big feed. Pup is three months old today.
Saturday, November 17, 1888: Not so cold today South Wind. John ripped out one board for flat sled a good sound one.
Sunday, November 18, 1888: North Wind freezing pretty hard today but the sun is shining bright. Had treat of 1# tin fried chipped beef. Since coming out here there has been very cloudy weather but this is the place for good spring water pure and wholesome and soft to wash with. It is very nigh in fact I cant tell any difference in washing either my face our our clothes with it from rain water and it is cold all summer.
Monday, November 19, 1888: North Wind. Duncan and Henry setting nets under ice they saw a large wolf after a deer. Turned flat sleigh head.
Tuesday, November 20, 1888: South Wind but freezing keen. Henry's wife bought 4 shirts making of which cost 1/2 skin each. 4 oz. tea 1/2 skin, 2 bars soap 1 skin. Tin cup salt 1/2 skin. Opened another sack of flour today last sack lasted 56 days.
Wednesday, November 21, 1888: Went down to south end camped at Wm. Hoogemaw's bot 5 bunches Baleesh at 25 cents a bunch. 5 otter were seen here today in an opening in the lake. Wind N.E.
Thursday, November 22, 1888: Hired Pierre he to keep 3 nets in repair and help look at nets received 1/2 fish. Pierre and his brother killed 2 Beaver cached them and a wolverine, eat them.
Friday, November 23, 1888: SW. Set net today freezing keen.
Saturday, November 24, 1888: S.W. Fine day.
Sunday, November 25, 1888: Very slight wind from south and thick rime on trees.
Monday, November 26, 1888: Trees covered with rime but melting off some. S. W.
Tuesday, November 27, 1888: S. W. W. Rime still on trees. Lake beginning to floor from shore, caught extra large trout 30# with hook.
Wednesday, November 28, 1888: Freezing keen in morn turned fine about 10 o'clock. Killed 11 large trout today. Have 19 hooks set. We bait our hooks tail and about 3 in. of meat of the white fish and use about 30 feet of line, cut a hole in ice drop our bait down, tie the other end of line to a forked stick long end of forked stick is 3 feet under water put a pole (small) about 4 feet long across the hole drop forked stick across pole and line is set and down clear of ice of course as ice gets thicker we have forked stick longer so there is no danger of cutting line when you go to look at them, the hole soon freezes up, then we use an axe and chisel in cutting ice. Pierre has not got lonesome yet his is only about 14 year old. Does not know his age. His father is dead.
Thursday, November 29, 1888: Fine day slight S.W. cut out pair leggings. Friday, November 30, 1888:South wind fine day. One legging made and another cut out also John has one cut out.
Saturday, December 1, 1888: S.W. Beautiful day trees still covered with rime. Flat sled finished.
Sunday, December 2, 1888: Beautiful day S. W.W. Rime still on trees.
Monday, December 3, 1888: Down to south end with Pierre. Fine day S. W. went and came back same day.
Tuesday, December 4, 1888: N.W. Fine day took up 2 nets.
Wednesday, December 5, 1888: S. W. took up last net and set 8 hooks John has frames for 2 pair snowshoes made. Getting ready to go for the north.
Thursday, December 6, 1888: N.W. Fine day.
Friday, December 7, 1888: S. W. Fine day trees covered with rime.
Saturday, December 8, 1888: Left about noon for north of lake with 350# two dogs, John and I to draw and push. Camped about 8 miles. One upset and portage.
Sunday, December 9, 1888: N.E. went about 12 miles and camped on an island. Snowed last night and most of today very heavy drawing.
Monday, December 10, 1888: Made about 15 miles camped on an island. Freezing keen tonight. Lake full of large islands. Crossed very large Bay N.W. travelled N. East.
Tuesday, December 11, 1888: S.E. wind travelled about 15 miles 1/2/day north 1/2/day East of North. Camped on about 1 1/2 acre island and saw deer tracks, wolf, wolverine.
Wednesday, December 12, 1888: About 17 mile South wind fine day. Fish nigh done. Deer tracks galore.
Thursday, December 13, 1888: Fish done 8 dog fish left. Very keen frost in morn. Crossed wide bays. Missed Ptarmagan.
Friday, December 14, 1888: Short rations 1/2 whitefishe each. East wind snowing all day. Heavy travelling, about 16 miles.
Saturday, December 15, 1888: S.E. Went up large bay 15 miles. Camped.
Sunday, December 16, 1888: Had to cache our goods and came back out of bay.
Monday, December 17, 1888: Set the hooks if no fishe will kill our dog Kis-Ki-u. Caught about 125# of trout.
Tuesday, December 18, 1888: S. wind went about 12 miles.
Wednesday, December 19, 1888: Had to return we were going down a large bay. Made about 5 miles S. E. Wet snow. Terror of a storm at night, woke up in the morning with about 4 in. snow drifted in on us.
Thursday, December 20, 1888: Drying out, made one spell 6 miles N.W. Freezing extra hard.
Friday, December 21, 1888: Very windy and stormy in the morning. S.W. went 12 miles. Out of food will return home.
Saturday, December 22, 1888: Returned to one camp, just a drink of tea for supper.
Sunday, December 23, 1888: Returned in one day that took us three going to fishing camp. When we left there before we left a big pile of fish guts. they were still there and as we had travelled on 1/2 cup rice and 2 drinks of tea we ate every gut, about 4#.
Monday, December 24, 1888: Set the lines again 7 in number. Will have to wait until we get fish enough for 6 days travel for us and dogs. All rock and muskeg and low country, small scrubby wood, birch and pine. No fish, supper 1/2 cup rice and about 1/4 cup rice left for Christmas morn and no feed for dogs now for 3 days.
Tuesday, December 25, 1888: Hurrah! Christmas morn N. W. Polly wish you and the chicks a merry Christmas but John and I will have a tough one as I have looked at the lines and no fish. John has the tea drawn and cooking the last feed of rice so goodbye Kis-Ky-u if no fish today as we intend to kill him. There is nothing around here to shoot. Our cache is one spell from here but we have nothing in it but Balsam of Life that we want for food. No dinner on Xmas. Hurrah John caught 2 trout (BIG SUPPER).
Wednesday, December 26, 1888: N. W. Caught 3 trout, will try tomorrow to get nearer home. Cold day. Boil burst on my hand. Got moccasins and mitts mended.
Thursday, December 27, 1888: Drank 1 Bottle Balsam of life. Tired out. S. W. made to old camp but had to travel late. No one knows what starvation is unless they have experienced it.
Friday, December 28, 1888: S.W. and terrible cold. Drank another B of L. Late when we arrived at old camp will cache our goods here and strike for shanty. We have 2 small cuts fish, 9 fish tails (fish bait) and 75 miles to travel. No feed for our dogs they are splendid to haul. The snow is soft so when we get on ice I have to use a pole pushing.
Saturday, December 29, 1888: Arrived at old camp S.W. Fine day. About 3 oz. fish each and drink of tea, poor dogs not a bite. Drank 1/2 B of L. at noon (J&I) and 1/2 at night. It seems to strengthen a person.
Sunday, December 30, 1888: Could not make old camp, John played out and I was a good seconder. Had 1/2 back bone for supper and small whitefish tail for 2. For breakfast and dinner about 4 oz. fish between two. Had a strong S. wind to walk against.
Monday, December 31, 1888: S. W. Came about 12 miles, both well played out. Dinner 2 fish tails in copper kettle. Breakfast small bit fish stewed in fry pan drank water and all the bones. Last of fish. Fine day and lots of fire wood. Now tea for supper.
Tuesday, January 1, 1889: Breakfast 2 small fish tails and 2 quarts soup of them. Dinner on fish tail and cup tea. Super snow shoe strings stewed, what we had for mending shoes with. S. W. Beautiful day, I was played out at night, drank bottle of B. of L. myself and helped J. to finish one. Within 15 miles of shanty will try to get home tomorrow.
Wednesday, January 2, 1889: S. W. up early . I have bedding packed on sleigh while John is boiling 2 tails in 2 quart Copper kettle that will leave us one tail and they were pretty well chewed as we used them for bait for a week. So that will give you an idea what we had to live on through several storms, it was that that delayed us.
(Here they stop and were found one spell from this place only 7 miles from their shanty.)
Letter found at end of typed copy of diary:
THE LATEST REPORT WITH REGARD TO THE DEATH OF THE FINLAYSON BROTHERS:
The following are extracts relating to the sad fate of the Finlayson Brothers, taken from letters dated the 31st of January and the 16th of February, 1989, written by Mr. Gideon Halcrow, in charge of the Hudson's Bay Company's Post at the south end of the Deer Lake, to H. Belanger, Esquire, Chief Factor, Hudson Company Cumberland District. "I wrote you on the 13th December last, that the Finlayson brothers had left their place on the 9th of that month as was supposed, for Lac Due Brocket. I regret very much having to write you now that the bodies of these unfortunate men were found on the 21st of January about eight miles from their shanty, they having perished from hunger. It appears from the memorandum found in one of their pockets, which with other papers and account books, I now forward - that death took place on the 2nd or 3rd of January. It would appear the men had gone ashore on to an island about noon to boil their kettle. They managed to make a fire and no doubt had tea to drink but everything had been put back on the sleigh except an axe which was sticking in the snow, a small bag with a little tea, and a can of salt, which one of them was still holding. From the position in which they were found, the one who held the tea and salt was going to put them on the sled, but no doubt being exhausted he fell with his feet on the fire and was unable to rise, the other seeing his brother's position evidently went to his assistance when he fell on his brother's feet where they both remained; there being little or no fire they sustained no injury. The shoe of one was a little singed, and one side of the others face a little blackened by smoke."
They started with two dogs and a sled and when found one dog was alive and the other dead. Nothing was found on the sled except 2 axes, 3 traps, one kettle, one frying pan, a rifle, shotgun, their bedding and a quantity of Balsam of Life.
It was too far to remove the bodies to the Fort in the condition in which they were found and there was no possibility of having them thawed and straightened; and as the fatal spot was so rocky as to preclude the possibility of internment there, they were removed to Birch Point 40 or 50 miles from here. Their shanty is about 30 miles from this Post. There was no money found amongst their property except 10 cents, which you will find in the pocket-book. Two men were off six days looking for their cache without finding it. I would have given up the search but I was informed they had money with them, so I sent the men out for another six days. They returned with all the goods but no money. The cache was very difficult to find, as the deceased men had chosen a place well suited for concealment. Their memorandum states that it was 75 miles from their shanty but it was more as it was at the point known as half way to Lac Due Broche Post and they must have been very near that Post when they turned back. I know of nothing that will throw more light on the melancholy subject.
Donald Manson Finlayson, 1853 - 1889