Have you ever wondered why so many Indians carry French surnames? This is the case all across the US and Canada, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, literally, but very pronounced from New York through the northern Plains states and along the Mississippi River.
The answer lies in the history of the French businesses – and I’m not talking about a few individual trappers, I’m talking about an industry, largely forgotten or ignored by history. At a time when most people don’t think about any Europeans living beyond the Appalachian Mountains, the French were traversing this country and where there were French, there were many more Indians.
This article, French Entrepreneurship in the Post Colonial Fur Trade by B. Pierre Lebeau is quite enlightening. Enjoy!
Hat tip to Marie for this article.