Gravelle, Francois

Gravelle was born around 1817 in Terrebonne, Quebec and entered the service of the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1838. He served as a middleman at Fort Durham in 1842 before being transferred to Fort Victoria in 1843, where he took part in the construction of the new fort. In February of 1845 Finlayson was critical of him following an incident when, after being reprimanded for abusing a 'Native lad' employed by the Company, 'his old friend', Cassimir Gariepy, attacked him (Finlayson) and Gravelle merely stood by. In 1846, it was noted in the journal that Gravelle suffered a serious injury while hauling logs with oxen but he recovered and returned to duty six days later. He was transferred to Fort Langley in December of 1846, and three years later, in 1849, he was married to Henriette, a Saanich woman. Later in the same year, he retired from the HBC and settled for an unknown period of time in the Oregon Territory before returning to Saanich where Henriette died in 1866. Subsequently Gravelle returned to the Oregon Territory where he died in 1876.


  • Abstract of Servants' Accounts (York Factory – Columbia District). B.239/g/26. Hudson's Bay Company Archives.
  • Evans, Mike. "Francois Gravelle." BC Metis Mapping Project.
  • Fort Victoria Correspondence Book. B 226 b (1844-45). Hudson's Bay Company Archives.
  • Watson, Bruce McIntyre. Lives Lived West of the Divide. Kelowna: Centre for Social, Spatial, and Economic Justice, University of British Columbia, 2010.
Graham Brazier