Finnan MacDonald

1782 - December 3, 1851

MacDonald, Finnan, frontiersman (1782-Dec. 3, 1851). born at Inverness, Scotland, he joined the North West Company about 1804 and worked at several posts, arriving at Pend d'Oreille Lake in 1809 where he took up with an Indian woman whom he formally married 20 years later. He erected Kalispell House and led his Pend d'Oreille Indians in 1810 to challenge the Piegans on the buffalo plains, defeating them and opening the way to the great herds for his adopted people. MacDonald fulfilled important roles in development of the northwestern fur trade at Kalispell, Spokane House and elsewhere, particularly after the amalgamation of the North West and Astor enterprises. He continued his services after the Hudson's Bay Company took over the North West Company. MacDonald extensively explored and trapped the Pacific northwest. On his way to Ontario retirement, in 1826, he had a famous hand-to-horn fight with a buffalo in which he was mauled severely, but survived. He died at his Ontario farm.