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Fort Pembina Makes Merry


During the summer of 1801, Alexander Henry and his employees built a new trading post named “Fort Pembina” near the Red River just south of the Canadian border. They had built a different post the year before and called it Park River, but a spring flood forced them to relocate. Sometime that summer, they began constructing and using carts made entirely of wood, including wheels made from solid pieces cut from the trunks of 3-foot-wide trees; these were the forerunners of the famous Red River Carts, which would come to play a large part in the area’s future economy.

On this date in 1801, Henry celebrated the completion of Ft. Pembina by erecting a flagstaff and giving each of his men two gallons of (quote) high wines, four fathoms of tobacco and some flour and sugar to make merry (end quote).

Dakota Datebook written by Merry Helm