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WeirdOtter121 t1_jat6xp6 wrote

That was an interesting story. I had never heard of Julia Rivet but think she will stay in my memory.


creemetismami OP t1_jatczsr wrote

She was a truly remarkable woman!

Thanks for reading. I'm glad you enjoyed her story!


gwaydms t1_jatr9dx wrote

What a life she led! And she had some (figurative) brass balls too. "Think you can take that horse and my son? Think again! Oh, and I'll take this other horse too, with our furs. Bye." She was a great lady.


Nanooktoo t1_jatgmkm wrote

This was a riveting read. Probably will be turned into a movie soon. If not, it should be.


creemetismami OP t1_jatm23l wrote

The family had always entertained the idea of her story being brought to the big screen. (I'm a descendant of her adopted son, Peter)

I wouldn't even know where to begin pitching the idea, so if anyone reading this has any tips on how to make this happen, please feel free to contact me :)

I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading!

Edit: pun 10/10


Mor_Tearach t1_jatzqck wrote

I'd contact authors first. You could probably reach one through their agent? Her story certainly requires absolutely no embellishment, it's allll there. Maybe research writers known portraying historical characters with accuracy while retaining the ability to make the story live .


creemetismami OP t1_jau6bow wrote

Wonderful suggestion, I might just look into this! Thank you!


chestnu t1_jau9kp1 wrote

Maybe try your local screenwriters guild as well?

Do some IMDBing of films or mini series that you thought did a good job of portraying historical stories and look up the screenwriter(s)?


creemetismami OP t1_jaw66mp wrote

Great suggestion! I'll take a look, thanks!


chestnu t1_jazm496 wrote

Best of luck! I for one would love to watch a movie or a miniseries about her!


creemetismami OP t1_jb2hryz wrote

Thanks so much! I'm looking into screenwriters in my province, I would love to see her amazing story come to life ❤️


Ballplayerx97 t1_jatozsh wrote

Damn this is an amazing story. Seems like something out of Ken Burns The West documentary.


OwnSky5929 t1_jau9w3m wrote

I just finished reading A History of Canada in Ten Maps by Adam Shoalts. It's a must read for anyone who is interested in early Canadian explorers, their personalities, native leaders, and the hardships they all endured in mapping westward. Peter Ogden is in the book as is Rivet. A much better read than 'non fiction Canadian history ' genre sounds like it would be. The book paints Ogden as an unstable force who killed those who got in his way. I imagine Julia must have been one tough lady to make it through marriage to him and the times they lived in.


creemetismami OP t1_jauqn50 wrote

And that one is going on my to read list. Thank you for sharing. I looked up the reviews, and it sounds very interesting!

There's no denying he was a real brute, especially in his younger years, yikes! As he aged, he was said to have been remorseful for how he was in those days, from what I've been told anyway.

Julia was a force, my goodness. She really did it all, all while tending to a company of men, and horses, PLUS 8 children?? Absolutly wild, what a legend!


TUGrad t1_jatz24q wrote

Wow, what an amazing woman.


creemetismami OP t1_jb56v15 wrote

From article:

At the southwestern end of Lac La Hache is found the old pioneer cemetery.

Near the middle of this graveyard is a plot with a stone that reads: “Julia, wife of Peter S. Ogden C.F.H.B.C.

Died Jan. 21, 1886 aged 98 years” (C.F.H.B.C. stands for Chief Factor, Hudson’s Bay Company). This grave holds the remains of a very remarkable and courageous woman with a fascinating life story.

Julia Rivet was born in 1788 in the vicinity of present day Spokane, Wash. She and her mother were members of the leadership clan of the Flathead First Nation, a subgroup of the Interior Salish people. Julia’s mother was widowed a few years later, and she subsequently took up with a French Canadian explorer and trapper, Francois Rivet.

He had been a scout and interpreter with the Lewis and Clark expedition, and had remained in the area trapping and trading. Julia took on the name of her stepfather, but otherwise had a very traditional Indigenous upbringing.

Julia married a young Flathead warrior when she was in her mid teens. He was killed in a skirmish with another tribe, and Julia returned to the lodge of her mother and stepfather as a 19 year old childless widow.

She live with them for more than 10 years before meeting Peter Skene Ogden, the young Hudson’s Bay Company trader posted to Spokane House.

In 1819, when she was 31 years old and he was 29, she became his country wife. This union cost Ogden dearly — he spent half his life’s savings on 50 horses which he traded in ceremonial fashion for her hand, but he had his mind set on this marriage and was not to be dissuaded, no matter what the cost.

Julia willingly adopted Ogden’s two sons from a previous country marriage, Peter and Charles.

She also made it clear to him that she would not be left behind during his expeditions and explorations.

In their 35-year marriage Julia had six children, three boys and three girls. She accompanied her husband everywhere, children in tow, facing cold, starvation, attacks, sickness, and other crises along the way.

She assumed a full share of duties and more, setting and breaking camp, preparing meals, skinning and drying furs, and assisting with medical problems for both men and horses.

Many stories are told about Julia’s courage and bravery during these travels. One such story took place in the early spring of 1825 near what would eventually become known as the Ogden Valley in Utah. Young Charles was having breathing problems, and Julia needed goose grease to which she would add medicinal herbs to create a salve.

She shot a goose on an island in the middle of the river, but nobody would volunteer to swim across the river to get it.

The expedition members, including her husband who could not swim, watched in astonishment as Julia jumped in, struggled against the current, and returned with the 15-pound bird, her neck encrusted with ice.

Charles recovered fairly quickly after receiving the medications, and Julia somehow avoided even getting a cold.

Another story occurred later on that year, in May.

By this time, Julia was not only a mother to Peter and Charles, she also had two children of her own — Cecilia and Michael, who was just eight months old.

There was a tense confrontation when Ogden’s HBC group ran across a large number of American trappers.

A brawl ensued, along with some gunfire, fortunately with no fatalities.

READ MORE: Rich history behind the Evans place near Williams Lake

A large number of Ogden’s men decided to defect to the other side, taking horses, gear and furs with them.

After the incident, Julia discovered that the horse Michael had been strapped to was missing.

She didn’t hesitate, jumping onto another mount and riding directly into the American camp.

There, ignoring the rifles and handguns pointed directly at her and the shouts to shoot her down, she grabbed the reins of the horse carrying her baby and also the reins of another horse laden with pelts and rode back out.

Both sides were amazed at her nerve, and she emerged completely unharmed, but Ogden and the remainder of his company had to flee the area for their lives.

After completing several expeditions in what is now Washington, Oregon, northern California, Utah and Idaho, Peter Skene Ogden was promoted to the HBC’s New Caledonia District to the north (now known as British Columbia).

Just before setting out, one of the children, a boy, died of a stomach ailment on Jan. 5, 1831.

By 1834, Ogden had been named Chief Factor for the district, and was stationed at Fort St. James on Stuart Lake. There, their last son, Isaac, was born in 1839 when Julia was 51 years old.

Ogden referred to her affectionately as “the Old Lady” even though he was two years her junior.

By 1847, Ogden had been appointed Joint Chief Factor (along with James Douglas) at Fort Vancouver, Wash.

He and Julia remained there until 1854, when his health began to decline rapidly. They retired to the home of their daughter, Sarah-Julia and her husband Archibald McKinlay (sometimes spelled McKinley) in Oregon City.

Peter Skene Ogden passed away on Sept. 27 of that year at the age of 64.

Julia, however, was to live another 32 years. In 1862, the McKinlay family decided to come north to take up land at the southwestern end of Lac La Hache. Archibald McKinlay had also worked with the HBC and was very impressed with the area and its potential.

So it was that in 1863, Archibald, Sarah-Julia, their three sons, their two daughters, Sarah-Julia’s half brother Charles, and 75 year old Julia made their way north on horseback and covered wagon. They travelled from Oregon City to Walla Walla to Penticton to Fort Kamloops and thence to Lac La Hache, arriving in early May.

They constructed a large log dwelling, a store and several outbuildings.

The big log home became the 115 Mile House on the Cariboo Wagon Road, and the McKinlay family remained on this land for the next 79 years.

The store was run by Sarah-Julia and her mother, and the roadhouse was operated by the now grown McKinlay children.

The roadhouse prospered, becoming well known for its good meals and clean beds.

The store and trading post did a brisk business and was known for its honesty.

READ MORE: The origins of Columneetza

The ranch did very well too, supplying beef dairy products and grain to the goldfields to the north.

Once the 115 Mile was running well, Archibald McKinlay and his brother in law Isaac Ogden raised and trained fine racehorses and operated a quality horse race track, part of a large racing circuit in the Cariboo.

As for Julia, she lived to the amazing age of 98, dying peacefully in her sleep. She was buried in the McKinlay family cemetery, later to become the Lac La Hache pioneer cemetery, in 1885.

No pictures are known to exist of Julia, whose life saw amazing experiences and adventure. She was a woman of two cultures who witnessed incredible changes in her long and memorable life.