Since I started this blog, I have learned a lot about French Canadian history, the vast size of New France, and the passion of French Canadian descendants in the United States about their heritage. I am particularly impressed at the number of Americans who study the history of New France and research their French ancestry. The members of the Great Lakes French Canadians Facebook group is an example of a passionate group of people who want to learn and share what they know about their heritage. Almost every week, I learn something from them.
Recently, the Facebook group’s administrator posted a column about a voyageur who travelled to Minnesota. The column was written by Brent Peterson, executive director of the Washington County Historical Society. The voyageur in question is Marcel Courtier who joined the American Fur Company in 1832 when he was 16 years old. Born in Saint-François, Quebec, Courtier’s first experience as a voyageur was to hike 1,000 miles across Wisconsin, Minnesota, and North Dakota. Halfway through his journey he fell sick and was nursed back to health by band of Indians. Years later, an article about Courtier described him as the “last of the voyageurs.”
To learn more about Courtier and what happened to him, read Mr. Peterson’s column, Last of the Minnesota voyageurs.