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Season 3

Andy Russell
Jack Morton
Father Lacombe
Bill Twan
David Thompson
William Roper Hull
Louis Riel
Jerome and Thaeus Harper
James Gladstone
Bert Sheppard
Harry Hargrave
Paddy Cripps
Pat Burns


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David Thompson

For nearly a century and a half rancher cowboys have watched from their saddles as cattle have been watered in the clean cool waters of the Thompson river, named after David Thompson who explored and mapped more of North America than anyone else.

Born to impoverished parents in England, in 1770 he apprenticed to the Hudson’s Bay company as shipping clerk and was shipped to Canada in 1784. As he recovered from a broken leg during the winter of 1789-90 he learned surveying and practical astronomy. He went on to explore and map 1.5 million square miles of the North American West using a compass, sextant and two pocket watches.

During his life he earned respect from the voyageurs who pushed on with him through some of the treacherous journeys, the fur traders and the first nations he met and befriended. The Peigans called Thompson koo koo sint, meaning you who look at the stars and they beloved that bears were his super natural protectors. When Thompson and his brigade were attacked by Peigans near Rocky Mountain house, three grizzly bears suddenly appeared on a river bank un-nerving the attackers and adding to the legend.

He married Charlotte Small, the Metis daughter of a Northwest Company partner, they had 13 children and remained together for 57 years.

Ill health and failing eyesight plagued his last years and Canada’s greatest trail blazer died in 1857 in poverty, totally blind and forgotten.

No known images of David Thompson exist today.

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