Local History Books
William F. Tolmie at Fort Nisqually: Letters, 1850-1853
Edited by Steve A. Anderson, with an Introduction by Jerry V. Ramsey, Ph.D. © 2019
Scottish-born Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) Chief Trader William Fraser Tolmie took charge of Fort Nisqually in 1943, but soon the International Boundary Treaty of 1846 between Great Britain and the United States spawned myriad legal and regulatory problems.
In 2006, former Fort Nisqually Living History Museum manager Steve A. Anderson discovered volumes of Fort Nisqually's letter books at HBC Archives. He transcribed several, spanning from January 1850 to the threshold of Puget Sound's Indian War. The documents—more than 400 total—offer private conversations, weighty business discussions, gossip, political intrigue, patterns of commerce, deadly epidemics, and an eyewitness account of San Francisco's devastating fire, and present a rare British perspective on higher-level HBC and Puget Sound Agricultural Company (PSA) operations, as well as insight into conflicts that followed the 1846 treaty.