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RE:NWCo. beginings

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  • macomb@pop.ca.inter.net
    ... Really? Could you give me more info about that, I ve always been under the impression that they were based in Montreal (with offices in London and, no
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 7, 2005
      Really? Could you give me more info about that, I've always been under the
      impression that they were based in Montreal (with offices in London and, no
      doubt, Detroit). But my research focuses more on their western operations, I
      have a lot to learn about the administration of the company.

      Your humble & obedient servant,
      Angela Gottfred
      It's enough to drive one crazy trying to figure out who was with what
      partnership in the fur trade in Canada, especially during the early British

      My main reference is "Fur Trade in Canada", by Harold A. Innis. I consider
      this the leading scholarly publication on the subject, but the actual
      orgins of the NWCo. hasn't been known pre 1796, except from isolated

      My research began trying to find records on Macomb, Edgards, and Macomb of
      Detroit and any references starting from 1768, when Alexander Macomb Sr.
      (not to be confused with his son the US General) traveled alone from Albany
      NY to Fort Niagara in 1768, delayed with friends while the native battle to
      exterminate the Massassaguas raged, then continuing alone to Detroit. There
      he entered the merchant trade. John Askin was a cousin of his.

      It would be a few years later in my research to discover that the MACOMB
      family had been collecting an archive, with these being referenced in
      histories published c1860 and much later. These were given to Burton, a
      prominent lawyer in Detroit with a trust set up to store these records for
      public access, and add to the collection. Well,,, that really didn't

      My discovery of the archive location, rejected requests to access those
      records, the establishment of like minded researchers to establish an
      advocacy group, discovery that this archive wasn't indexed and the US
      government granting funds to force an index and restoration to submit to
      the Smithsonian, the inside whistle blower's claim of thieft and fraud
      within...which is now before the US Supreme Court, the future of this
      archive in doubt, and we still haven't been able to secure scholarly access.

      Some days the truth is REALLY hard to come by:(

      However, the index is truly amazing:) OK, I digress....

      Relevant items in this archive are the daily journals of both William and
      Alexnader MACOMB Srs. The complete daily business records from 1768 to 1796
      of first Alexander on his own, then the partnership of Macomb, Edgars, and
      Macomb (which had the monopoly for British military shipments and sole
      operation of shipping on the Upper Great Lakes during the ARW), then the
      formation of a company they called the NWCo. which orginally had 15 shares
      of which the Macomb brothers held 9. (the NWCo was one of the first
      enterprises based on Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations", of which the British
      Prime Minister, William Pitt the Younger was a strong supporter. The NWCo.
      competed on the contractual basis from then on. They also had one of the
      first ever Pension Plans for the voyageurs., and they were well financed
      enough to underwrite their own business insurance (ie loss of cargo, loss
      of ship...)

      Most of all the other fur trading agents began to form consolidated
      partnerships to compete likewise.

      Montreal was the juncture of all inland British shipments. It was indeed to
      be considered Head Offices later. While the Macomb Brothers were in charge,
      the actual decisions and business were made at Detroit and expanded to NYC.
      Agents, like MacTavish, Todd and McGill were at Montreal.

      The MacTavish letters between Edgars and himself are guarded in the
      mentioning of the name MACOMB, more often refered to as "my esteemed
      Friends" or something of the like. However, there remains no doubt that the
      Macomb's held the superior position in the business. When William died in
      1796, he was considered one of the richest men in North America (the
      closest 1/100th, so far researched). MacTavish would pick up substantial
      shares, enough to lead upon William death.

      To give you some contextual history, William was one of the first MPPs to
      the British Niagara Legislature. Alexander moved to NYC and became involved
      in the British/American intrigue to centralize the US goverment and to
      stabalize the US economy so trade could continue (Alexander Hamilton
      especially). George Washington's first Presidential residence was the
      Macomb House built on Broadway NYC.

      However, what little history there is, has a bleaker less informed
      perception on it all.

      Well, I don't know if I answered your question? Does anyone really know how
      Fort William got it's name?

      Your humble serv't
      Murray McCombs

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