Did you know that the Buffalo Wool Co has a Canadian Connection!
Check out this excerpt from the history of the “Hudson’s Bay Co. – the Selkirk Settlements” from the ElectricCanadian.com! This the story that gave Ron Miskin his inspiration for naming the modern Buffalo Wool Co!
……….The discontent of the settlers, and the wish to advance the colony, led the Company for a number of years after the union of the Companies to try various projects for the development of the colony. Though the recital of these gives a melancholy picture of failure, yet it shows a heartiness and willingness on the part of the Company to do the best for the settlers, albeit there was in every case bad management.
Immediately after the union of the two fur Companies in 1821, a company to manufacture cloth from buffalo wool was started. This, of course, was a mad scheme, but there was a clamour that work should be found for the hungry immigrants. The Company began operations, and every one was to become rich. $10,000 of money raised in shares was deposited in the Hudson’s Bay Company’s hands as the bankers of the “Buffalo Wool Company,” machinery was obtained, and the people largely gave up agriculture to engage in killing buffalo and collecting buffalo skins. Trade was to be the philosopher’s stone. In 1822 the bubble burst. It cost $12.50 to manufacture a yard of buffalo wool cloth on Red River, and the cloth only sold for $1-10 a yard in London. The Hudson’s Bay Company advanced $12,500 beyond the amount deposited, and a few years afterwards was under the necessity of forgiving the debt. The Hudson’s Bay Company had thus its lesson in encouraging the settlers.
The money distributed to the settlers through this Company, however, bought cattle for them, several hundred cattle having been brought from Illinois that year. A model farm for the benefit of the settlers was next undertaken. Buildings, implements, and also a mansion, costing $3,000, for the manager, were provided. A few years of mismanagement and extravagance brought this experiment to an end also, and the founders were $10,000 out of pocket. Such was another scheme to encourage the settlers……..
Everything goes in circles!
Thanks in great part to the efforts of the Buffalo Wool. Co. Buffalo fibre is making a comeback. And what wonderful items can be created with this fabulous fibre.
Felt hats, knit gloves, scarves and blankets – anything we can think of, we can now create from the fibre of these iconic beasts.