Letitia MacTavish, granddaughter of the nineteenth chief of Clan MacTavish, met Hudson Bay Company fur trader James Hargrave in 1838. Hargrave had arrived in the Highlands of Scotland to seek a wife. Within two weeks of their meeting, Hargrave had decided that the outspoken Letitia was the woman for him--even after receiving a letter containing her views on the latest family gossip:
[My cousin Bob] is flirting with all his might with an heiress...I have heard that she is the most obnoxious of women...I hope she will marry Bob as it will be a good thing for his sisters if the principals should kill one another, [it] will be on either side merely justifiable homicide.
My book Letitia Hargrave: Mistress of York Factory, based on the letters Letitia wrote to her family in Scotland, will be out in August 2017. It describes the life Letitia and James Hargrave and their children led at the remote HBC post of York Factory on Hudson Bay. Courtship, sex scandals, childbirth, operations of the HBC, racial and religious tensions, medical care, crime—all are recorded in Letitia's letters and subjected to her incisive and and often acerbic comments.
More news about the book will follow in August. People in the Winnipeg area will be able to attend a book launch some time in the fall.