Letitia Hargrave

Letitia Hargrave

Mistress of York Factory

By Irene Ternier Gordon

Published by Ternier Gordon Publishing, 2017 

Letitia MacTavish, granddaughter of the nineteenth chief of Clan MacTavish, met Hudson’s Bay Company fur trader James Hargrave in 1838. Hargrave  had arrived in the Highlands of Scotland to seek a wife. Within two weeks of their meeting, Hargrave had decided that the outspoken Letitia was the woman for him–even after receiving a letter containing her views on the latest family gossip:

[My cousin Bob] is flirting with all his might with an heiress…I have heard that she is the most obnoxious of women…I hope she will marry Bob as it will be a good thing for his sisters if the principals should kill one another, [it] will be on either side merely justifiable homicide.  [page 45]

Letitia Hargrave: Mistress of York Factory, based on the letters Letitia wrote to her family in Scotland, describes the life of Letitia and James Hargrave and their children  at the remote HBC post of York Factory on Hudson Bay.  Courtship, sex scandals, childbirth; operations of the HBC, racial and religious tensions; medical care, crime  and murder–all are recorded in Letitia’s letters  and subjected to her incisive and often acerbic comments.

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© Copyright 2022 Irene Ternier Gordon All rights reserved.