Fonds F1807 - Traill family fonds

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Traill family fonds


  • 1859-1976, predominant 1859-1914 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

50 cm of textual records.
172 photographs.
2 sound recordings

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

William Edward Traill, 1844-1917, was born in Ontario, the son of Thomas and Catherine Parr Traill. He joined the Hudson's Bay Company in 1864, became a junior trader in 1878, and chief trader in 1883. In 1869, he married Harriet McKay, 1847-1920, eldest daughter of Chief Trader William McKay. They had twelve children, nine of whom lived. He served with the HBC at Fort Ellice, Egg Lake, Fort Pitt, Carlton House, Lac La Biche, Lesser Slave Lake, Fort Vermilion and Fort St. James. In 1893, he left the HBC to farm near Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.

His brother, Walter J.S. Traill, 1847-1932, joined the HBC in 1866. He served in the Swan River district and at various USA posts before resigning in 1878. In 1881, he married Mary Gilbert, a widow with two children. He subsequently farmed near Pembina, then in Kalispell, Montana and finally in the Okanagan, British Columbia. Mary Traill, 1883-1984, the daughter of William E. Traill, was born in Lesser Slave Lake. She was a trained nurse, and ran a nursing home in Meskanaw, Saskatchewan for many years.


Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Gifts of T.R. McCloy, A.P. Drever, and C.H. West, 1957-1988.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

The fonds consists of photocopies of: William's correspondence (1863-1893), HBC records (1886-1892), land documents, financial records (1864-1912) and reminiscences (1911); Harriet's diaries (1889-1893); and Walter's correspondence (1866-1914). Includes two recorded interviews with Mary Traill (1970s) and extensive family photographs.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


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Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

No restrictions on access.

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes

The material is in English.

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

The original textual records are held by the British Columbia Archives and Records Service, Library and Archives Canada and the Hudson's Bay Company Archives.

Existence and location of copies

Digital content is available of interviews with Mary Traill.

Many of the Willie Traill letters are published in Fur Trade Letters of Willie Traill, 1864-1893 / edited by K. Douglas Munro. -- Edmonton : University of Alberta Press, 2006.

Related units of description

Other Traill family papers are in the Pat McCloy Genealogical Collection, at Glenbow; and at the Saskatchewan Archives Board. .

Related descriptions

Notes area


Title based on contents of records.


NA 1010 is copy negatives of PD 232 and PA 498. NA 2617-77 is a copy negative of a PA 1540 print.


Other McKay family photos are in the Pat McCloy fonds.

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Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion




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