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Fur trader presentation set

Have you ever met a real fur trader? Come to the Blackduck Golf Course Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. and meet one! This is free to the public however, due to limited seating, anyone interested in attending should pick up a free ticket at the Blackduck Community Library.

Imagine yourself back in the 1800s to be George Nelson, rur trader, with three different fur trade companies -- the XY, the Hudson's Bay and the North West companies will come and join us.

George made his living in the fur tade business working as a clerk for the XY, the Hudson's Bay and the North West companies from 1802 to 1823. During this time, he carefully recorded the daily work and life of the fur trade. His writings have helped us learn about the fur trade and the importance of wild rice in its operation.

His journals have been published by the Minnesota Historical Society under the title My First Years in the Fur Trade: the Journals of 1802-1804. Nelson had an excellent education and could have gone into many different careers, but the "adventurous voyageurs" and western wilderness lured him into the fur trade.

He left home when he was 15, and signed a five year contract with the XY Company when he was 16 years old. He signed on as an apprentice clerk and was right away put in charge of a small fur trade outpost. In this way, he began a more than 20 year career in fur trading.

Nelson's life included many interesting events. He was severely burned when a keg of gunpowder exploded in his camp. The next year he married Maryann, a member of the Ojibwe Loon Clan from the north shore of Lake Superior.

They had eight children together and remained married until her death in 1831. When he died in 1859, Minnesota had only been a state for a year. The journals he wrote during his fur trading years leave a fascinating picture of one part of Minnesota's history.

This Minnesota History Player program is brought to Kitchigami Regional Library residents through the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Grant funds.

The Minnesota History Player program is part of the Minnesota Historical Society. This program will be of interest to all ages, including children.