Lady Frances has second place!

Surely, Lady Frances Simpson deserves a leading role in any 2003 pageantry surrounding this town’s 100th birthday party. And yet . . . . !
While it’s been well-documented that Lady Frances gave her name to Fort Frances, there have been certain doubts expressed as to the legitimacy of her stand. It’s said she probably (almost certainly) was not Mr. Simpson’s only wife.
Passing through town last week came Barbara Forsythe from Dawson City, Yukon, who grew up here before moving to the Yukon and becoming a part-time actress whose talents are much appreciated in her adopted community.
This was Barbara’s second recent visit here all the way by car.
Forsythe had accepted an unofficial invitation on her previous visit in November to look into whatever is available on Mrs. Simpson. As she was en route to Ottawa, she would be in position to check the archives and determine how best she could portray Lady Frances if there becomes such an opportunity.
What she learned, however, would perhaps not become parlour talk in society of the day. While it is well-known that fur traders in the days of Hudson’s Bay Factor Simpson usually took native wives, lacking opportunity to meet white women, there previously had been no mention of this in connection with him. But, here it comes!
At that time, there had been official dispensation for the English fur traders to go back home and bring out white women, thereby ignoring their hitherto convenient associations with the native women.
It’s said the natives were most properly upset by the spurning of their mothers and sisters but little of this was recorded in our history. However, the insult to our natives could be waiting for just such an event as our centennial observance.
There might be sufficient alarm to let sleeping dogs lie, and leave off dwelling on the facts with unnecessary accuracy.
After all, there is little evidence that, beyond arriving by canoe from the east and finding prominence in a painting of her arrival here, Lady Frances seems not to have done much else locally to be honoured for.
She went further west to live at Fort Garry or early Winnipeg, and probably never even met her predecessor who may be the lady the town should be honouring.
Someone might start digging into our history for that name!
• • •
More on Rainy Lake. Bill Martin recalls this incident. While his well-remembered father, Steamboat Billy, was running up the lake, he applied more steam one day and the sudden rush of water brought up a drowned team of horses–still in harness.
A pair of his deckhands loafing in the sun were scared silly.
The team had been lost while crossing the ice earlier that year. The horses seemed to be jumping out of the lake.
• • •
Excellent progress seems to be developing on any number of issues ignored until recently. Such as a new bridge and forest access roads being opened to the public, and the key appears to be organization and persistence.
This also was the case with construction of the Noden Causeway over Rainy Lake, where promotion lasted more than 20 years.
• • •
Now certain women have a new excuse for their lapses in judgement. They say they are having a “blonde moment.” That’s a new expression.

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