Buckingham House (HBC) and Fort George (NWC)
Buckingham House (HBC) and Fort George (NWC) were two trading posts on the NorthSaskatchewan River
13 kilometers southeast of the town of
Elk Point, Alberta.From 1792 to 1800, Buckingham House belonged to the HBC and Fort George to the NWC.
Faced with a declining supply of beaver at Pine Island Fort the NWCmoved 120 miles upriver and established Fort George. It was one of the several placesalso known as Fort des Prairies. Angus Shaw, who came south from Moose Lake, Albertawas in charge for most of its eight year history. Two of his clerks were DuncanMcgillivray and John McDonald of Garth. Sixty to eighty men were there and an almostequal number of women and children. When news of the massacre at South BranchHouse in 1872 reached them the men stayed inside the fort for six weeks and the menfrom Buckingham House moved into the NWC fort. In 1794-96 it produced 325 bales of fur and 325 bags of pemmican. T
he journal of Duncan McGillivray at FortGeorge indicates:
28th Febry  — The Bel Homme and Son arrived yesterday with about 80 Beavers. —The old man made a present of 40 for which he received a large Keg & cloathing, which he says will bethe last that he'll purchase as he intends to resign his place andauthority to his Oldest Son. — The amount of our trade is asfollows — 118 Bales, 10,000 lb Pounded Meat, Grease, Bear Skins, &c and the Indians owe about 20 Packs of Credits sincethe Fall. The men are commanded to fell and square 3 logs of timber of certain dimensions each to Build a Block House in theSpring which is much wanted to beautify and defend the Fort...
Explorer David Thompson spent the winter of 1799 at the post and found it dilapidated.By 1800 the local beaver had declined so much that it was abandoned in favor of Fort del’Isle 20 miles upriver. In 1809 Alexander Henry the younger salvaged what he could andtook it downriver to fort Vermillion.
Following Angus Shaw, William Tomison of the Hudson's BayCompany arrived with 28 men in October 1792. At various times Peter Fidler, GeorgeSutherland James Pruden and Henry Hallet were in charge of this fort. It always hadfewer men and less trade goods than its rival. Relations between the two posts wereusually difficult but correct. During a drought the HBC tried to deny the NWC access tothe HBC well. Access was restored when John McDonald of Garth told Tomison thateither one or the other of them would visit the bottom of the well. Buckingham Housewas abandoned in 1800.
The Journal of Duncan M'Gillivray of the North West Company at Fort George on the Saskatchewan, 1794-5
. Arthur. S. Morton, editor. Reprinted by Ye Galleon Press: Fairfield, Washington, 1989. Originally published by Macmillan : Toronto, 1929.