The book, part 4: Do we need Indians?

So I pretty much knew I had the story; but the background research was going to kill me. I mean, I had to learn everything I could about the fur trade in order to write about it with any inkling.

How could I do all that and finish the book in my lifetime?

One way would be to do what every other historian over the past two hundred years has done – eliminate the Indians. Continue reading

Tonquin – Astor’s first ship


(You may want to read this saga from the bottom up. You can bypass the Primer on the Fur Trade and just go to the next story.)


The first ship to set sail – to set up a colony on the Pacific Northwest coast – was called the Tonquin.

Our main character, Ross Cox, was not on it.

However, the Tonquin plays a vital part in the story.

So I began Chapter 1 on the date the Tonquin set sail.

There was nothing in Cox’s journal to explain why he went to America or what possessed him to sign up for such an arduous enterprise; so this part had to be fiction. Continue reading

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