Wanted: Charlotte Small stories and artifacts

A statue of David Thompson and Charlotte Small featured at Pothole Park portrays the iconic couple

After reviewing the historical archives at the Windermere Valley Museum extensively, Windermere Valley Museum curator J.D. Jeffery discovered a deficit in their records about the reputation of a nationally historic woman.

Canada’s iconic geographer David Thompson was married to Charlotte Small and had 13 children together; while mapping out vast sections of western Canada by foot, horseback and canoe — including the Columbia Valley.

Jeffrey is asking the community to make submissions with historical accounts, photographs and artifacts to learn more about Small’s life as a fur trader’s wife and guide.

“I want to create relationships with our community groups and with the First Nations. Our displays only get better when information is shared,” said Jeffrey. “For me, I want to allow that relationship with the First Nations, or even the Métis to continue to grow.”

According to the Government of Canada, Small was born by a Cree mother on Sept. 1, 1785 and had a father who was a Scottish trader.

It’s believed that Small had Cree language skills from her mother’s ancestry and was a Métis person with extensive knowledge about travel and exploration in Canada.

Historical records from the Government of Canada indicate that 13-year-old Small married 29-year-old Thompson and explored more than 40,000 kilometres together in the Canadian fur trade through the Northwest Trading Company.

However, it is believed four of the couple’s children perished on their journey.

“At this point, I don’t know much about her,” Jeffery explained about Small. “It would definitely be an asset to get to know more about her. She was kind of behind the scenes and I think she deserves to be recognized as well, so it would be great to know more.”

As a result, the Windermere Valley Museum is accepting stories, recollections, photographs and general information about Small to help build up historical archives in the community.

To make a submission about Small, please call 250-342-9769 between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the week or email wvmuseum@shaw.ca.

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