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CHARLES FIDLER (1798-1886)

(Last Updated: February 17, 2017)


Charles FIDLER was born Oct 10, 1798 at Cumberland House, the second child of Mary MACKEGONNE and HBC surveyor and trader, Peter FIDLER SR (1769-1822) of Bolsover, England.


Charles was 14 years old in 1812 when his father (Peter) took charge of Brandon House and began surveying lots for the Selkirk Settlers. Charles began his first official HBC assignment as a labourer in the Winnipeg District.


During 1815-16 Charles was working as a steersman out of Brandon House. He was reported to be “Sober, honest and industrious, likewise a good cooper”. It was in the spring of 1816 that Cuthbert GRANT, “Captain-General of all the Half-Breeds” and his men set out to Brandon House with the intention of destroying it. Charles and one other man were sent by his father to warn the Red River settlement. However, they no sooner embarked than they were surrounded by GRANT’s men, who took their guns and sent them back. They plundered FIDLER’s warehouse before proceeding on their way toward the mouth of the Pembina.


In the fall of 1817 Charles and his brother Tom built an outpost at Curling River. Charles remained as the master in charge until the following year.


From the Peter FIDLER Book, pg 233 (with quotes from Peter FIDLER’s Journal):  In the spring of 1818 “Charles was feeling his oats and resenting the weight of the paternal hand. On April 13 he had been instructed to go down to the Forks to deliver some horses to Governor WILLIAMS (later to become his brother-in-law), and then for some reason he had not gone. Instead, he had gone over to one of the Indian camps, and James INKSTER’s woman had left her husband and gone to live with him. It was hard for a father to record such conduct in his journal.
Then on April 18, “HENDERSON went yesterday to the Indian tents to bring home James INKSTER’s woman, who lately ran away, she says she will never return to him again - - tho he had always been kind to her”.- - About 10 days later, “Yesterday in the afternoon the Laughing Man and Tobacco came here and brot back James INKSTER’s woman to him - - he gave them for their trouble ½ gal keg of Indian rum besides other things - - Charles remains at the Indian tents.” Then on May 6, “Charles came over here - - I did not see or speak to him - - “
It had worked out in the end, however, for next day Charles set out for the Forks to deliver a message, but the incident had been quite a blow to his father. Nevertheless, these details had to go into the journal. For it would be studied at headquarters and later by the Committee in London, the journal that told all the facts of the fur trade at each post, and in a large measure enable those higher up to pick men for new tasks, to promote some and to discharge others, so that only the best men would advance in the service. On those journals would be based the York Factory reports, such as that for 1819, which, when it came out later in the year, said: “FIDLER, Charles, Steersman., Behaved with great impropriety last spring”


In 1818 Charles’ 16 year old sister (Sarah) became the wife of William WILLIAMS (1800-1837), recently appointed Governor of the Southern Department of the HBC, a man old enough to be her father.


In 1819 the FIDLER family moved to their father’s newly assigned post at Fort Dauphin near the shores of Lake Manitoba. His father became ill that winter, and Charles took charge of the post.


By the summer of 1821, greying and with deteriorating health, Old Peter FIDLER was demoted to Clerk at Ft Dauphin. He passed away there on December 17, 1822 at the age of 53. 


Soon after their father’s death Charles’ brother Tom, (age 26) was "country wed" to 25 yr old Nancy HALLETT.


In the summer of 1823 Charles (age 25) was “country wed” to Annie SAUNDERS, the daughter of Isabel, a Swampy Cree woman, and John (Jack) SANDERSON aka SAUNDERS (1780-1831).



Annie presented Chas with a baby boy in the spring of 1824. They named him Peter, after his grandfather.


The Presence of the Church of England had been established in present-day Manitoba with the arrival of Rev John WEST in 1820, Chaplin of the Hudson's Bay Company and supported by the Church Missionary Society of England.  Though he stayed only 2 years, the mission church of St John'swas being built (both a church and a school).  This "Upper Church" is the site of the present day Cathedral.  His successor, Rev David T. JONES, along with William COCHRANE, established three more churches further down the Red River.  COCHRANE, in particular, would not baptize 'Country Wives' before they were married and he wouldn't marry them before being baptized. 


Charles was baptized on Oct 18, 1824 at RRS, and the following year, on Oct 25, 1825 he and Annie SAUNDERS were formally married (church-wed) by banns by Rev David JONES. Witnesses were:  William GARRIOCH & William NORN. Brother Tom and Nancy HALLETT (his country wife) were baptised that same day (a prerequisite to their marriage).


In January of 1826 a second child was born (Edward), and in Census 1827 Charles’ family was recorded on Lot #117 in Red River. They had one acre under cultivation.


On Nov 6, 1828, Charles’ brother Tom was church-wed at St Johns to Nancy HALLETT, Rev William COCHRANE presiding.


In 1835 Charles lived on Lot#58 (48 acres) in St James when there were 8 persons in the household and they had 2 horses, 10 cattle, a farm implement, and a cart.  They had 8 acres under cultivation.


Around 1845 son Edward was united with Nancy Ann BREMNER, daughter of halfbreed Elizabeth TWATT & Alexander BREMNER (1791-1842), a Scot. ** MORE ABOUT ALEXANDER BREMNER


From 1849 to 1853 Charles worked again for HBC as a middleman on the boats. 


Around 1849 son Peter was country wed to Jane LAMBERT, daughter of Catherine GADDY and Etienne LAMBERT (c1785-c1853).  The families of Etienne LAMBERT, and of Charles FIDLER were closely entwined.  The LAMBERTs lived up the Assiniboine River from St James, in the Headingly area.  Peter's younger brother Tom FIDLER would marry Jane's sister Margaret Anne LAMBERT; and his little sister Sophia FIDLER would marry Jane's brother Joe LAMBERT.


St James Anglican, a large log building, was built in 1853 to serve the settlement along the Assiniboine River.  Charles was 55 years old in 1853. 


Son Tom married 1855 St James to Margaret LAMBERT (his sister-in-law).


In 1853 son Charles Jr. married Charlotte ATKINSON at Fort a la Corne, daughter of Margaret and George ATKINSON (1777-1830). ** MORE ABOUT GEORGE ATKINSON


In 1859 daughter Amelia married John McKenzie SIMPSON, a child of Margaret TAYLOR and Governor George SIMPSON (1786-1860). ** MORE ABOUT GOVERNOR GEORGE SIMPSON


St Clements Anglican Church (at Mapleton)was built in 1863.


In the Census of 1870 Charles (age 74) and Anne (age 63) were enumerated in St James.  Charles was recognized owner of Lot #58 that year. 


Winnipeg was incorporated as a City in 1873 (population about 2,000)


Brother Tom FIDLER died at the age of 80 on March 1, 1875.  He was buried in St Clements Anglican Churchyard at Mapleton.


In 1875 Charles (of St James) claimed his Métis Scrip.


In 1878 son Edward took his family to Saskatchewan (Bresaylor area).


Charles may have moved to Pilot Mound for a time. If he did, he soon after returned to St James.


Census 1881:  Assiniboia/Selkirk (St James): Charles FIDLER (age 84); Ann (age 70); and their son David FIDLER (age 39).


In 1882 Charles received patent to Lot #58 in St James.


Ann died Feb 5, 1883 in St James and Charles died there too on May 15, 1886 (age 88).

Please post comments & queries at this link: FORUM DISCUSSING the CHARLES FIDLER FAMILY


======================= Family Details =======================


1. Mar 15, 1824 PETER FIDLER (m1. Jane LAMBERT, m2. Therese Elizabeth SWAIN)
2. Jan, 1826 EDWARD FIDLER (m. Nancy Anne BREMNER)
3. Aug 30, 1827 THOMAS FIDLER (m. Margaret Anne LAMBERT)
4. Oct 6, 1828 NANCY FIDLER (m. John CHAMBERLAIN)
5. c1831 CHARLES FIDLER JR (?m1. Flora BREMNER, m2. Charlotte ATKINSON)
7. Sep 11, 1835 ALEXANDER "SANDY" FIDLER (m. Mary Ann LINKLATER)
8. Apr 27, 1837 SOPHIA FIDLER (m. Joseph "Joe" LAMBERT)
10. 1839 AMELIA "Amy" FIDLER (m. John McKenzie SIMPSON)
11. Aug 18, 1840 CATHERINE FIDLER (m. George Henry SMITH)
12. 1840 ELIZABETH (Chas) FIDLER (m Louis LeBLANC JR)
13. Oct 6, 1842 DAVID FIDLER (m. Elizabeth McCORRISTER)
14. Mar 7, 1846 EMILY (EMMA) FIDLER (m. William ABBOTT)




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