Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Daniel Williams Harmon (1778-1843)

Fur trader.

He was born at Bennington, Vermont. He married Elizabeth Duval, a Cree half-breed, and is said to have had fourteen children. In 1799 or 1800 he became a clerk in the Montreal firm of McTavish, Frobisher and Company, agents for the North West Company. Joining the latter company in 1800 he was sent to the north-west where he spent five years at posts on Swan River and the upper Assiniboine River.

He later served in the Athabasca and New Caledonia districts becoming a wintering partner in the North West Company in 1818. In 1820 he was in charge at Rainy Lake. Following the amalgamation of the North West and Hudson’s Bay Companies in 1821 he became a Chief Trader but retired the same year from the fur trade settling at Coventry, Vermont.

He was the author of A Journal of Voyages and Travels in the Interior of North America (1820), a heavily edited edition of his manuscript journal that was replaced in 1957 by Sixteen Years in the Indian Country: The Journal of Daniel Williams Harmon, 1800-1816, edited by W. Kaye Lamb.

In 1842 or 1843 Harman returned to Canada making his home at Sault au Recollet, near Montreal, where he died in poverty on 23 April 1843. He is commemorated by Harmon Avenue in Winnipeg.

See also:

Two Bennington-Born Explorers and Makers of Modern Canada by John Spargo (1950).

Daniel Williams Harmon, Dictionary of Canadian Biography VII, 385-86.


Pioneers and Early Citizens of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Manitoba Library Association, 1971.

Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 7 September 2012

Memorable Manitobans

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