CAPTAIN DONALD CHARLES McLEAN

In St. Luke's Cemetery, Eardley, Que. there stands, taller than most others, a stone monument marking the grave of Captain Donald Charles McLean (1786-1873) and his wife, Ann Bowden Warren (1803-1865). McLean was hired as a shallop master by the Hudson's Bay Company in 1813, partly because he was recommended to them by Lord Selkirk.

On January 1, 1816, while in the employ of the H.B.C., McLean and seven others left Moose Factory, on snowshoes and pulling toboggans heavily laden with provisions. On reaching the North West Company's trading post on Lake Abitibi, four of the men returned to Moose Factory, leaving most of what was left of their food supplies for McLean and the others who carried on to their destination. They reached Montreal on March 7, 1816.

As McLean's contract with the H.B.C. was due to expire in June, he remained in Montreal, assisting Lord Selkirk in his preparations for a journey to the Red River Colony. Ironically, Donald's brother, Laughlan, who had worked for the N.W.C. since 1812 was implicated in the cruel harassment of the Red River settlers which eventually led to the massacre at Seven Oaks.

After Donald's contract with the H.B.C. had expired he obtained employment with the N.W.C. as Captain of their sailing vessel, The Governor Gore, which plied the waters of the Upper Great Lakes. While employed in this capacity, he met and married the 17-year-old, Ann Bowden Warren, of Fort Erie.

After the amalgamation of the two fur trading companies, Donald, Ann and their young son, Alexander, moved to the Seigneury of Argenteuil, just west of Montreal. Most of their nine boys and three girls were born there, before, during and after the Rebellion of 1837-38. Donald Charles McLean was commissioned Captain of a Troop of Cavalry stationed at St. Andrew's East, in 1826 and played a small part in the rebellion.

He acquired 1,500 acres of land in Eardley Township in the mid 1840's and moved there with his wife and unmarried children. The children, for the most part were very successful and led interesting lives in various parts of the United States and Canada.

His story is told in a book titled, 'THE TRUTH ABOUT CAPTAIN D.C. McLEAN'. The last chapter records all of his descendants that have been located and a little narrative if it is available. There are 312 pages which includes a bibliography and an index of 18 pages. There are over 40 diagrams, maps, photos and illustrations. The manuscript will be going to the printers at the end of October and will be available by November 15, 1998 or sooner. The price of the book will be $30 which includes all taxes, mailing and handling. If you want a copy reserved for yourself or as a Christmas gift, please advise me by E-mail before the end of October. Enquiries about the book or the McLean family are welcome.

Lawrence C. Erwin laurie.erwin@sympatico.ca


Posted 20-Sep-1998