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Adelaide Morin Thomas

Adelaide Morin Thomas

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A Metis matriarch of the Traverse Bay and Grand Marais area.See also the "People of the Metis Nation," "Dictionary of Metis Biography"and "Women of the Metis Nation."

A Metis matriarch of the Traverse Bay and Grand Marais area.See also the "People of the Metis Nation," "Dictionary of Metis Biography"and "Women of the Metis Nation."

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Published by: Lawrence J. Barkwell on Feb 12, 2013
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06/21/2014

 
Adelaide Morin Thomas.
(1847-1957)
By Audreen HourieAdelaide Morin, the daughter of Metis parents Genevieve Rouix (Roy) and Pierre Morin,was born at Ile à la Crosse in 1847. The family moved to Brochet and there Adelaide met dashingGeorge (Geordie) Thomas, born to a Metis family at Brochet in 1840. He became Hudson's BayFactor at Moose Factory. They were married at Brochet in 1864, at a time when the Civil War was still raging between the northern and southern United States. With the exception of a fewtrips to Selkirk by York Boat, Adelaide spent most of her life in the hard north. Adelaide lived to be 110 years old. “She made history – then outlived it.”Geordie Thomas died in 1927, at the age of 87 years old and is buried in the St. Luke's An-glican cemetery at Balsam Bay, Manitoba. Until about 1952, Adelaide lived alone in a tiny homeat Traverse Bay, Manitoba. There she snared rabbits and trapped muskrats to sell for provisions.As she did almost one hundred years ago, Adelaide continued to live off the land. She netted fishwhen the water was open, and in winter drilled holes in the ice for her catch. Close at hand was agrove of Maple trees that Adelaide tapped and boiled down the sap. Now almost a forgotten art inManitoba, maple syrup was a vital part of her existence; a few quarts to her diet during the year.“The taste of Pemmican; the life of the north;” Adelaide would say; “is still fresh in my mouth...”Ile a la Crosse was a depot for Pemmican storage and Adelaide became an expert at making the“condensed” food that was often the only rations for northern explorers and trappers. Adelaideoften shared her recipe for Pemmican. She would dry the lean parts of the meat in the sun, then pounded it into a paste with a mixture of fat. The result was a flavored with acid-type berries suchas saskatoons. Pemmican was truly the lifeblood of the north.Adelaide lived near her sister-in-law Sophia Linklater-Thomas (Daniel) at Traverse Bay.The two women shared a lifestyle and made long leather Metis coats. The coats were designedwith fringes and intricate beadwork. A mixture of cornmeal and kerosene was used to clean theleather coats. Sophia also made rabbit robes (blankets) which she sold to the Hudson’s Bay Com- pany along with the Metis coats. The fleshing tools of the two Metis women were part of theHudson's Bay Company Collections and are now in the museum collections at the Manitoba Mu-seum of Man and Nature in Winnipeg.In her later years, Adelaide lived with her daughter Josephine Orvis at Traverse Bay. Retir-ing early at family birthday celebrations to the tune of the Red River Jig and over a century of memories, Adelaide died at 110 years of agein in 1957. She is buried at St. Margaret's RomanCatholic Church cemetery at Traverse Bay. (Contributed by Great Granddaughter AudreenHourie of Grand Marais from her recollections, those of Helen Hourie of Stony Point, the historyof the R.M. of St. Clements, and memories of the women in the family.)
Edited and Compiled by Lawrence Barkwell1

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