Volume V: Sarah Ainse Montour

Sarah or Sally Ainse of the Oneida First Nation. Succesful female fur trader, diplomat and vocal champion of her own legal rights. She became owner of a deed for the land where Fort Stanwix (New York state) was located, and purchased vast tracks on land in Michilimackinac and in Detroit.

Lt. Perkins Magra of the British 17th Regiment created this map of Michilimackinac in 1765.

In 1790, the British acquired the land from the Ojibwe in the McKee Purchase, they refused to acknowledge that Ainse was the rightful owner of the land even though the Ojibwe repeatedly stated Ainse’s land was exempt from the purchase. Ainse continued to make legal attempts to have her ownership recognized in 1808, 1809, 1813, and 1815, when the Executive Council of Upper Canada claimed she was dead.

Ainse left her property and moved near the mouth of the Detroit to Fort Malden (today Amherstburg, Ontario) where she died in 1823.

Sally Ainse was the second wife of Andrew (Henry) Montour, son of Anne Abenaki and grandson of Marie Mite8agami8k8e of the Algonquin Nation.

Sarah’s son Nicholas, born in New York in 1756 and baptised and baptized on 31st of October in the Dutch church at Albany, N.Y.

Nicholas continued in his mother’s footsteps to become successful fur trader. In 1774, he was employed as a clerk in the fur trade by Joseph and Benjamin Frobisher on the Churchill River in what is now Manitoba and later worked in what is now Saskatchewan.

The only Indigenous shareholder of the Northwest Company, he used his fortune to purchase 4 seigneuries (land rights under the French regime) at the confluence of the Saint Lawrence and on each side of Lac Saint-Pierre: Tonnancourt, Gastineau, Deguire (Rivière David) and Pierreville.

On map: 21 – Tonnancour, 23 – Gastineau, 38 – Pierreville, 39 – Deguire

In 1796, Montour was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Lower Canada for Saint-Maurice. He was named a justice of the peace for Trois-Rivières district in 1799. He died at Pointe-du-Lac in 1808.

Nicholas’ eldest son, also named Nicolas, was born in the Northwest Territories around 1781 and baptized at the parish of Ste-Genevieve-de-Berthier under the surname Mitif in 1783.

On October third, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-four by me, undersigned priest, was baptized NICOLAS, born in the Upper countries of a CANADIAN father and SAVAGE mother and belonging to NICOLAS MONTOUR residing in the said places above, already aged three years old and presented by Joseph FAGNAN the godfather was Antoine DÉSROSIERS and the godmother Elizabeth PAGÉ who with the presenter declared not knowing how to sign

Twenty-three year-old Nicolas entered service with the Hudson Bay Company in 1804. His first outfit sent him back to West to Fort des Prairies, known today as Edmonton, Alberta.

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