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STIFF LITTLE FINGERS: “NOBODY’S HEROES”
A teenaged girl, posing as a male, routinely made 1800 mile treks through the Canadian wilderness…….in 1806.
The first European woman to enter western Canada, Scottish teenager Isobel Gunn was only 15 when she disguised herself as a man, traveled to the Canadian wilderness in 1806, and labored for Hudson’s Bay Company for eight pounds a year. Giving as good as she got despite the horrendous working conditions of the early 19th century, Gunn is heralded as a pioneer of feminism.
The first employees of Hudson’s Bay were adventurers who undertook back-breaking work in order to support the fur-trapping trade. They had to endure mosquito swarms in summer and freezing winter conditions that saw many a man perish. Food was often hard to come by and sanitation was non-existent. Working on the Canadian boats–running supplies, collecting furs, and hoisting 90-pound loads on their backs–was dangerous physical work, too hard for most men. So why did a teenage girl from the isolated Orkney Islands defy the all-male rules of Hudson’s Bay and sign up under her father’s name, John Fubbister?
We can’t know Gunn’s reasons for sure, because she didn’t keep a journal and would likely have been illiterate, but some historians believe she was enticed by her brother George, who also worked for the company and would have shared stories of excitement and adventure with his sister.
Voyageurs at Dawn, 1871 by Frances Anne Hopkins. ‘Voyageurs’ traded fur, which was a large part of the Hudson’s Bay Company’s business.
Others note that early 19th-century Orkney really only only gave three options to men: risk life and limb fishing in the dangerous North Sea for a pittance, sign up to fight against Napoleon’s army for a pittance, or join Hudson’s Bay Company, head to Canada, and earn a whopping £8 a year–far more than any of the men could earn at home.
As a woman, Isobel would never be able to earn as much as even the poorest male worker in Orkney. And she’d likely need that money–one side of her face was marred by smallpox scars, which would have ruined her marriage prospects. So why not dress as a man and try to earn some money for herself?
Gunn quickly distinguished herself for her bravery. Her canoe treks and expeditions through the most remote stretches of Canada saw her traveling some 1,800 miles between remote trading posts. Hugh Heney, who led one of the brigades Gunn traveled with to Pembina, wrote that she “worked at anything and well like the rest of the men.” She even earned herself a pay rise for performing her duties “willingly and well.”
Fort Daer of the Hudson’s Bay Company, and across the Pembina River on the right, old Fort Pembina built by the North West Company. In 1807, Gunn was working at the Pembina trading post when she went into labor.
But on December 29, 1807, she excused herself from work at the Pembina trading post, citing stomach pains to Alexander Henry, who was the head of the post. She begged him to let her rest in his home by the fire. Henry’s journal, re-printed in Stephen Scobie’s The Ballad of Isabel Gunn, notes his reaction:
I was surprised at the fellow’s demand; however, I told him to sit down and warm himself.
I returned to my room, where I had not been long before he sent one of my own people, requesting the favour of speaking with me. Accordingly, I stepped down to him, and was much surprised to find him extended out upon the hearth, uttering most dreadful lamentations; he stretched out his hand towards me and in a pitiful tone of voice begg’d my assistance, and requested I would take pity upon a poor helpless abandoned wretch, who was not of the sex I had every reason to suppose. But was an unfortunate Orkney girl pregnant and actually in childbirth, in saying this she opened her jacket and display’d to my view a pair of beautiful round white breasts.”
Isobel Gunn was having a baby.
Henry’s journal continued: “In about an hour she was safely delivered of a fine boy and that same day she was conveyed home in my cariole, where she soon recovered.”
The name Gunn registered on the birth certificate? Hudson’s Bay laborer John Scarth, who she said had forced himself upon her.
This story is plausible. There are records to show that Scarth had been with Gunn at numerous HBC postings. Some historians say Gunn was trying to cover up an affair gone wrong; others believe she likely was taken advantage of by Scarth, who could have discovered her ruse as a man, and threatened to tell their employer.
In early 1808, Gunn and her son James were ordered to return to Fort Albany, in Ontario. Upon her arrival she was no longer allowed to work with the men, but rather was offered work as a washerwoman. Although the boss at Albany seemed sympathetic toward Isobel, Hudson’s top brass didn’t want to be seen to be supporting a woman of “bad character.”
Against her will, Gunn and her child were returned to Scotland after a year. Unmarried and considered “ruined,” Isobel was likely ostracized from her Scottish family back in Orkney. She lived in poverty, working as a stocking and mitten maker until her death in 1861, aged 81.
Former President Bill Clinton accused the campaign of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders of making sexist attacks against supporters of his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“When you’re making a revolution you can’t be too careful with the facts,” Clinton said in a speech to supporters Sunday in Milford, New Hampshire, The New York Times reported.
Bill Clinton talked about the race for almost 50 minutes, beginning with kind words for his wife, and steadily grew more and more angry at Sanders and his supporters.
Clinton said Sanders’ supporters use misogynistic language to attack his wife and anyone else who supporter her.
One female “progressive” blogger was force to write under a pseudonym because vitriol is so angry, Clinton said.
“She and other people who have gone online to defend Hillary, to explain why they supported her, have been subject to vicious trolling and attacks that are literally too profane often, not to mention sexist, to repeat,” he said.
If Hillary is the Democrat candidate, this is how her whole campaign will be waged. Any pointing out of her failures as a Senator and SecState will be labeled as a sexist attack. Any reference to her compromising classified information will be a sexist attack. Her failures in the Middle East, especially in Benghazi leading to the deaths of an American Ambassador and three other Americans will be sexist attacks. Just like any pointing out of Obama’s failures is racism, going after Hillary will be sexism.
I notice this allot with the Republican candidates especially. The news is always talking about the donors, especially the big donors. We hear that the donors were leaving Bush and going towards Rubio or some other candidate. It seems the candidates, except Trump, is courting the big donors.
Question is: At what point do the Donors become Owners?
Searching for your soul mate? It turns out what shows and movies you watch online can have a major impact on your relationships, according to a new study just released by Netflix NFLX -7.67%.
The study—which consisted of a sample of 1,008 Americans 18-39 years old—found that roughly one third of respondents (27%) said show compatibility was important. 13% said they would ask someone out solely based on if they liked similar shows, with 34% of men being likely to get smitten based on similar tastes in shows and movies. According to a spokesperson for Netflix, the survey results should be accurate with an interval of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
Whether or not you share a Netflix account has also become a milestone for modern relationships, much like becoming “Facebook FB -5.77% official” has. More than half of respondents said sharing a Netflix account felt like a “serious” step forward in the relationship, and 17% said they would wait until getting engaged or married to share an account.
Once a relationship gets serious, Netflix continues to be an important part of keeping that bond tight. 72% of respondents who were married or in a relationship said staying in and watching Netflix together was one of their favorite ways to spend a casual date night.
If you’re out on the dating scene, be ready for the fact that it’s no longer all about romance–it’s about showmance, too.
Facebook has banned selling firearms. I wonder what this guy is selling?