Fur trade contract, 1692

Francoeur, François; Guillory, Simon; Jarry, Jean Baptiste; Roy, Louis; Roy, Simon; St.-Jean, Marie Magdeleine
Fur trade contract between François Francoeur and four voyageurs for transport of goods and purchase of beaver pelts in Michilimackinac and Chicago, 1692, Rudy Lamont Ruggles Collection, Newberry Library.

Fur trade contract, dated Sept. 15, 1692 in Ville-Marie, Québec, concerning transport of merchandise to Michilimackinac and Chicago to be traded for beaver pelts. The contract describes an agreement between François Francoeur dit Lavalle—represented here by his wife Marie Magdeleine St.-Jean, authorized by him to conduct their joint business affairs while he was away “aux Illinois”—and four voyageurs: Simon Guillory, Jean Baptiste Jarry, Louis Roy, and by proxy, Simon Roy. For 500 livres each in beaver pelts, and their food, the voyageurs agreed to make the journey to Michilimackinac and “Chicagou” (one of the earliest references to Chicago in a voyageur contract) the following spring, in two canoes to be furnished by them, to transport merchandise, and to make the return with beaver pelts. At each of the trading centers, the four voyageurs have permission to use one of the canoes to trade 300 livres of merchandise each for personal profit. There are also provisions concerning voyageurs “hyvernants,” those who spend the winter out in trapping country in Illinois. The contract includes Francoeur's footnotes in margins, marked in the text with a sequence of carats and circles. Each addition is initialed by two or three of the parties involved, and the document is signed by St.-Jean and Guillory; the notary, Maugue; and witnesses Jean Legras and Adrien Betouni. Jarry and Roy did not sign, as they did not know how to write their names.


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