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Newsletter #259 - October 10th 2015

A One Pound Sterling and a Five Shilling promissory note from the Hudson's Bay Company York Factory at the Red River Settlement.

Toronto University >
"Currency was needed by the new settlers in the Red River Settlement, and the Hudson’s Bay Company's first promissory notes—2000 for one pound each and 4000 for five shillings each—were sent to York Factory in May 1820. The promissory notes were issued in books containing 100 notes each. They were not put into circulation immediately as Governor Simpson feared the settlers might hoard them, but after 1824 they gradually came into circulation and other denominations added.

The notes served as currency until the Dominion of Canada took over the Company's territory in 1870. Unused notes from the original shipment were found at York Factory in 1920 and two books of differing denominations, almost certainly came from that supply and were donated by J.B. Tyrrell to the University Library."


HBC 1820 York Factory Pound 001 HBC 1820 Five Shillings Note 001

The Five Shilling Note Binder:

HBC 5 Shilling York Factory binder only 001

 

Christy Harding - a link to H.B.C.'s Northern past.

These H.B.C. Notes came from the family of Christy Harding. Here's a summary of various interesting newspaper clips that they kindly forwarded.

Christy Harding was born in 1872 in the holy city of Benares, India. He was the son of an Englishman in the East India Company and he first studied in Darjeeling, then in England and then came to Canada. In 1886 he became an apprentice clerk at the Hudson’s Bay Company and was posted to the Mackenzie River He worked his way through many Company posts in the Mackenzie River district; Fort Wrigley, Norway House, Fort Simpson, Fort Norman, Fort Resolution. He founded the Arctic Red River settlement and became district manager of the entire Western Arctic.

It was in 1919 that he was posted as district manager to the York Factory where he stayed for 12 years; even becoming the first police magistrate. He was made Factor before he ended his 36 years of Company service.

A proud husband and father, Christy retired to Victoria on Vancouver Island to grow the vegetables that wouldn’t grow in his cold northern postings. And perhaps a spot of ‘curling’ he said. Christy was a sportsman, author, contract bridge player and even a keen philatelist for just a few of his many skills. He died in 1943.

Christy Harding
Christy Harding aged around 50 years old.

 

The first note is offered at auction Lot 194 on 10th October 2015: http://www.allnationsstampandcoin.com/images/A1030_image_pages/194.html

Thank you Toronto Univesity Library for the quoted text http://www.library.utoronto.ca/fisher/exhibitions/thompson/case3.html

There's an article in the Vancouver Sun about more H.B.C. history. http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/west+coast+trade+circa+1842/11388599/story.html

Promissory Notes are an example of Paper Money. Hudson's Bay Company is often abbreviated to H.B.C.

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