I turned 51 this past March and my Dad was told many times by his Grandmother (Sarah Jane) that they were related to some very interesting people. Unfortunately his Grandmother died in 1938, when he was 10 (and living with her, due to his mother passing away in 1936). My Dad has pictures of Sarah Jane, and also her mother, but nothing further back than that. All we have seen is pictures of William and Simon online.
Sarah Jane's husband (John Cyrus Garrioch) was the son of Hannah (or Anna Bourke as she was sometimes known) and Gavin Garrioch. Hannah's parents were John Palmer Bourke (who was one of the few survivors at the Battle of Seven Oaks). Bourke was dragged to Montreal and imprisoned by the NWC. He joined the Masons while "imprisoned in Montreal (Don't know how he managed that). Upon his release he was re-arrested at Fort William!! He was given a large land grant by the HBC, and Bourkevale (close to Polo Park in Winnipeg on the south side of Portage Avenue) is where he raised my Great-Great Grandmother, Hannah. I was very surprised to learn that Hannah did not know to write as she signed her scrip application with an "x". It did not seem important that she had an education, although her brothers were very well educated.
One of William Hemmings Cook's daughter's (Nancy) married William Garrioch, who was the father of Gavin, John (stated above) Peter and William. Things became further complicated when Peter married Margaret McKenzie (who was the daughter of fur Trader Kenneth McKenzie of the American Fur Company). Margaret and her sister were sent from Missouri to attend school at the Red River Settlement. Their mother (an Aboriginal woman), followed them and almost starved outside of the Fort. They frequently snuck out and fed her. It seems as though once McKenzie sent his daughters to the Red River that he forgot about them. He certainly forgot about his country wife, and we have never been able to find out what happened to her. When my Grandfather Robert Gavin Garrioch (son of John Cyrus and Sarah Jane) got married in 1921, he married Lucy Dobbs who was the Granddaughter of Peter and Margaret--so he married his second cousin.
The fur trade story in Canada is a fascinating tale. The country wives (sometimes many wives and children), taught their husbands and children well. A few of the husbands (the highland Scots) did return to the Orkneys with their wives and some of course married and stayed along fur trade routes, in the north or at Red River.
It is a a pleasure to meet you my cousin.....I would love to hear about your life at The Pas. I used to know who Joseph married (was it Fanny Boucher--or am I thinking of someone else)?
I hope to hear from you again, and would love to hear more about the conspiracy. I have no doubt that one exists.