The Pacific Fur Company was established on 23 June 1810 and headed by New York fur dealer John Jacob Astor. Principal partners included ex-Nor'Westers Alexander McKay, Donald McKenzie and Duncan McDougall. Astor envisaged a string of fur posts and settlements across the US and planned a fort, Fort Astoria, at the mouth of the Columbia River. On 6 September 1810 he sent the TONQUIN
from New York to the Columbia (arrived 22 March 1811) to inaugurate trade with Indians of the NORTHWEST COAST
; in June 1811 Tonquin
was taken by Indians, probably in Clayoquot Sound (Vancouver Island). An overland party did not reach Astoria until February 1812. During the WAR OF 1812
, on 25 June 1813, the partners decided to sell their supplies to their competition, the NORTH WEST COMPANY
. In July they dissolved the company and on 16 October 1813 sold everything to the Nor'Westers; Astoria was later renamed Fort George. The arrival of HMS RACOON
in November 1813 and the NWC's ship ISAAC TODD
in April 1814 speeded the decline of the PFC. Astor subsequently put his energies into the American Fur Co.
BARRY M. GOUGH
Links to Other Sites
In Pursuit of Adventure: The Fur Trade in Canada and the North West Company
An extensive website featuring digitized archival material related to the fur trade and its role in the early exploration, settlement, and economic development of Canada. From the McGill University Digital Collections Program.