A mountain Freemen culture developed as a result of French and Scottish bloodlines intermingling with the native women. The fur-trade empire was dominated by hardy, adventuresome and hard-working Scotsmen from Royal households of Scotland, Highland warrior society and the Orkney Islands. During the next one-hundred years, throughout the 1800s, men like James Findlay, Picinah Findlay, Colin Fraser, Louis Loyer, and Henry John Moberly became the patriarchs of a unique mountain culture that has flourished on Alberta’s eastern slopes for more than two hundred years.
The indomitable spirit of the Freemen remains prevalent in the Rocky Mountain social structure of today. Rustic backcountry lodges, bed and breakfasts, horseback outfits, adventure products, and trap lines are owned and operated by some of the descendants of the fur traders. Willmore Wilderness Park and Jasper National Park was, and still is, home of the Freemen and their progeny.
Visitors to the Jasper and Willmore Wilderness Park areas can rediscover folklore and local legends such as Louis Karakuntie, Ignace Wanyandie, Jacco Findlay, Tête Jaune, Louis Loyer, David Thompson, Colin Fraser, Henry John Moberly, and Adam Joachim. The bloodlines from the Canadian fur trade run deep in families of this mountain regions. Descendants of the early mountain men include Agnes, Berland, Cardinal, Delorme, Desjarlais, Findlay, Gauthier, Joachim, Karakuntie, Kenny, McDonald, Moberly, Thappe, Plante, and Wanyandie.
Many of the places name in the Yellowhead region were inspired by the fur trade. Some of these are Yellowhead, Jasper, Grande Cache, Pierre Grey’s Lakes, McLeod River, Smoky River, Brazeau River, Cardinal River, Tête Jaune, Leather Pass, Adolphus Lake, Adolphus Flats, Mt. Robson, Colin Range, Roche Miette, Miette Range, Miette Hot Springs, Moberly Lake, Moberly Homestead, Sulphur River, Kakwa River, Big Grave, Little Grave, Deadman Creek, Thappe’s Grave, Moose Lake, Moosehorn Lake, Snaring River, Snake Indian River, Adam’s Creek, Kvass Creek, Kvass Flats, Mt. Kvass, Mountain Trail, Indian Trail, and many other landmarks.
The language of the families that lived in Jasper House was French
.. and their faith was Catholic.
The 1872 Jasper Census gives us a good idea of who was living in the Upper Athabasca River region during Vincent Wanyandie’s lifetime. Records show that 14 Shuswap men, 14 Shuswap women and 40 Shuswap children were residing in the area. There were also 30 French half-breed men, 30 French half-breed women and 150 French half-breed children. It is of interest to note that there were no English half-breeds and no Whites noted, with a total population of 281 people. Jasper was a thriving town.