William Aird: (? - ?)
He was living in L'Assomption, Quebec in the 1780's as a former soldier in the 70th regt. and was married to Jane (?). They had a daughter named Elizabeth (b.Oct.1786).
In the spring of 1777 he financed Robert Aird trading venture out of Michilimackinac.
George Aird: (? - 1805)
He was buried in St.Louis, Missouri on 1 April 1805.
James Aird: (? - 1819)
He was born in Ayrshire, Scotland and married Grey Cloud (daughter of Dakota Chief Wabasha). They had a daughter named Margaret (Mahkpiyahotowin/Grey Cloud II) (1793-1850) who married Thomas G.Anderson about 1805 and later married Hazen Mooers.
He was trading on the Upper Mississippi River (Wabasha's Dakota village) as early as 1783. In the winter of 1785/86 he was apart of Jean Perrault's trading venture at a post on the Leaf River with Roch [in the spring of 1785 he was licensed out of Michilimackinac with Robert Aird]. For the winter of 1786/87, James Aird is located at Prairie Du Chien (trading on the St.Peters /Minnesota River) and is associated with Charles Paterson, Etienne-Charles Campion and others in the "General Co. of L.Superior and the South" (also known as the "General Society") other traders in the firm were; Charles Chaboillez Sr., John Sayer, [the firm was gone in 1788]. That season he loaned his interpreter, Joseph Rocque, to Joseph Ainse who was on his peace mission to the Dakota & Ojibwe. James Aird, Charles Paterson and other traders wrote a petition (10 Aug.1787) to commandant Thomas Scott accusing Joseph Ainse of selling Indian Department presents for profit. The winters of 1787/88 he was trading on the St.Peters River (Minnesota River) [Etienne Campion arrived at his post on 25 October 1787].
James next shows up as arriving at Mackinac with his brother George Aird on 29 May 1803, from the River St.Peters (Minnesota River). In August of 1804 he signed an agreement/partnership with Robert Dickson, Allen C.Wilmet, Murdoch Cameron, John Lawe & Jacob Frank, forming R.Dickson & Company with competitors Jacques Porlier, Noel Rocheblave, Grignon brothers, Louis Beaupre, Charles Reaume, etc... Another agreement is signed on 24 June 1806 between the R.Dickson & Company [Robert Dickson, James Aird, also for his late brother George Aird, Jacob Franks and Wilmot] and the James and Andrew McGill & Company [James McGill, for his late brother Andrew McGill, Thomas Blackwood and Francis DesRivieres of Montreal], the former was indebt to the latter. During this period James was incharge of the Missouri trade for the firm , where he met (3 Sep.1806) Lewis & Clark between the mouth of the Vermilion River and the mouth of the Big Sioux River (on the Missouri) - returning from the their expedition to the Pacific Ocean. [the following is from the Lewis & Clark journal] "...We landed and found a Mr.James Airs, a partner of a house at Prairie du Chien, who had come from Mackinau by the way of P.d.C. and St.Louis, with a license to trade among the Sioux for one year...After so long on interval, the sight of anyone who could give us information of our country was peculiarly delightful and much of the night was spent in making inquiries into what had occurred during our absence. We found Mr.Airs a very friendly and liberal gentleman...(sep.20) we reached the little French village of La Charette, which we saluted with a discharge of four guns and three hearty cheers. We landed and were received with kindness by the inhabitants, as well as by some traders from Canada [two young Scotchmen in the employ of Mr.Aird], who were going to traffic with the Osages and Ottoes..."
He was trading on the Missouri in 1806/07 (Ramsey Crooks, his clerk and future head of the Amer.Fur Co. was waiting for him at St.Louis in June of 1807). Thomas Blackwood at Mackinac writes to J.& A.McGill & Co.(30 jul.1807): "...yesterday Mr.Aird arrived 30 days from St.Louis and has brought his furs with him, but not enough to pay...he gave into the Company's Store at St.Louis the remainder of his Goods, which he says may be near to L200 Currency...From what Mr.Aird says it appears there will be difficulties in the way of traders going to the West of the Mississippi, it is however believed here that they will be got over, as the Indians must have supplies which the Americans cannot for the present furnish...". By August of 1807 James is leaving Mackinac again, bound for St.Louis and the Missouri with his employee, Bellair, for the winter of 1807/08. By the winter of 1810/11, James is back trading above the Falls of St.Anthony with Robert Dickson.
During the War of 1812, Aird seems to have remained neutral and continued in the business of trading while his partner, Robert Dickson, becomes more committed to the British war effort. Dickson takes time to write from Mackinac, another partner in the firm, Jacob Franks, on 8 Sep.1812 "...Detroit was taken by Gen.Brock on the 16th of last month. Gen.Hull, with 2,400 men, laid down their arms. The American regulars are all gone to Quebec; but the Kentucky militia have been allowed to go home...Poor Hanks, having been detailed by Hull, was cut in two and died instantly. Col.Proctor, of the Forty-First, commands at Detroit. Gen.Brock staid only 24 hours there and is gone to attack Niagara...Troops are arriving daily from England...Gen.Brock's force, Indians, militia and regulars, did not exceed 1500...A large re-enforcement of Americans coming to Detroit, with 170 wagons,were also included in the capitulation. Gen.Brock has acquired much glory and the Americans, after their vain boasting, are covered with disgrace...Dispatches from Madison to Bonaparte had been intercepted...There has been a terrible affair at Baltimore. A general, 2 captains and 30-40 individuals, have been killed by the mobs...Berthelot and LaCroix arrived 2 days ago...Mr.Lawe will proceed with it (boat to La Baye) to the Mississippi until he meets Mr.Aird and they will arrange for his wintering...Mr.Wilmot is still here...".
After the war Aird is reported to be starving on the River St.Peters in March of 1815 and the next season began trading for the new firm of American Fur Company, continuing to trade with them on the River St.Peters until his death. Hazen Mooers writes to Ramsey Crooks of the American Fur Co., on 28 Dec.1818 of James poor health at Prairie du Chien - he died there on 27 Feb.1819.
John Aird: (1720 - ?)
He was married to Anna/Janet Campbell (daughter of Alexander & Agnes) in 1738 at Riccarton, Ayr, Scotland and they were probably the parents of the above. Their children were: Janet (b.1740, Kilmarnock, Ayr, Scotland) (m.Alexander Carr), Margaret (b.1741, Kilmarnock, Ayr, Scotland), Mary (b.1743, Kilmarnock, Ayr, Scotland), Ann (b.1747, Kilmarnock, Ayr, Scotland), William (b.1749, Kilmarnock, Ayr, Scotland), John (1751-1815) (m.Janet Hunter in 1778), Robert (1753-1806) (m.Janet Findlay in 1782), Elizabeth (b.1755, Kilmarnock, Ayr, Scotland), Hugh (b.1756, Kilmarnock, Ayr, Scotland), James (b.27 Nov.1757, Kilmarnock, Ayr, Scotland), George (b.1759, Kilmarnock, Ayr, Scotland) & Andrew (b.1761, Kilmarnock, Ayr, Scotland).
BACK TO MAIN PAGE