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Francois Xavier Gravelle Biography

Francois Xavier Gravelle was born in approximately 1818, he joined the service of the Hudsonís Bay Company in 1839 from Terrebone, Lower Canada (Quebec). 1 It is believed that he most likely was born in that area of Canada. During his service with the Hudsonís Bay Company he was employed as a middleman.

The following is a list of his appointments and service while in the employ of the Hudsonís Bay Company: 2

1839-1840 General Charges Middleman Fort Vancouver.

1840-1843 Middleman Fort Taku/Durham.

1843-1847 Middleman Fort Victoria

1847-1849 Middleman Fort Langley

Upon completion of his service with the Hudsonís Bay Company Francois headed south to Pierce County, Washington State.Francois and his family are recorded on the 1857 Pierce County, Washington Territorial Census. The family next appears to be in the Saanich area on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. At some point he moved backed to the U.S.A. as he died in 1876 in Oregon. 3

During his lifetime Francois Xavier Gravelle had two wives that we know of. One was a native woman that he married possibly while posted at Fort Taku, Alaska in about 1841. This couple had one son, Joseph, born to them. In 1849 Francois then married a Saanich Native woman, Henriette. Together this couple had four children, Paschal, Francois Jr., Isidore & Mary. 4

Interesting enough Francois Gravelle Jr. married Mary Elizabeth McPhail, daughter of fellow Fort Langley employee Angus McPhail. This marriage creates another link between the descendants of Francois Xavier Gravelle, Angus McPhail & Francois Xavier Vautrin, of which all were at one time employed at Fort Langley.

1. Information provided courtesy of Bruce Watson

2. Hudson's Bay Archives, Manitoba, Francois Gravelle Biographical Sheet information provided courtesy of Bruce Watson

3. Information provided courtesy of Bruce Watson

4. Brad Morrison, Peninsula News Review, Pioneer Portraits, Wednesday, July.29,1998.

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UPDATED May-07-2002