How Ross Cox changed the world

Some months into my research on the Pacific Northwest, I found a comment on a historian’s website about Ross Cox. It was something Cox did, which at the time must have seemed insignificant to him. (If you want to know what it was, you’ll have to wait for my book.) According to the historian, it started a chain reaction that led to a lasting peace between two First Nation peoples and also was a prime contributor to a peaceful treaty between the First Nations of Alberta and the Canadian government.

“Ross Cox did that?” I could hear his colleagues calling from their graves. Continue reading

The book, part 1: Who isn’t writing one?

All right. I admit I don`t know everything.

But I do know a little about a lot.

About six years ago, I came across a book called The Columbia River, by Ross Cox.

It was originally written in 1831 but was republished in 1957.

Cox was an Irishman who ventured to the Pacific Northwest with the second ship carrying supplies for John Jacob Astor’s fur trading expedition at what was to be called Astoria, at the base of the Columbia River. Continue reading

A Quick Primer on the Fur Trade

Before diamonds; before oil; before gold; a good segment of the world’s economy depended on furs.

It all started when Captain Cook stopped briefly on the northwest coast of North America and his crew bartered with the natives for a few bits of animal hides to repair their clothing (Cook voyages: 1768-79).

Cook’s ship and unwitting crew traveled to China where the inhabitants went nuts for these beautiful foreign pelts. The Chinese were willing to pay monumental prices, causing near mutiny of Cook’s crew, who couldn’t wait to get back to the far Pacific coast as quickly as possible to obtain more. Continue reading