The Vincent Family Collection - Part Four:
Capt. George Cleveland of Hudson Bay Company
The Vincent Family Photo Album, Vineyard Haven, Mass.

Capt. George W. G. Cleveland (1871-1925), known to the Inuit as Suquortaronik, was the son of Henry Newell Cleveland and Ann Eliza Gibbs of Vineyard Haven. He left Martha's Vineyard about 1900 and traveled on a ship which left him in Northern Canada, Manitoba Province. He was "adopted" by a band of Inuit and lived with them for the next 25 years, making his living as a fur trader for the Hudson Bay Company. George had two daughters with an Inuit woman.

Dorothy Harley Eber, in her excellent book When the Whalers were Up North, writes:

"Near Igloolik," an interpreter told me, "there's a beach covered with caps and liquor bottles; they say that's where Suquortaronik had his last party."

George Grover Washington of Martha's Vineyard, also known as Suquortaronik - the harpooner - is a name that crops up all along the whaling route. An elderly Cape Dorset woman remarked, "I certainly know of Suquortaronik, the harpooner. He went off the ships to hunt musk-ox and left many children in the camps." Suquoronik became known for the number of his progeny, twins included.

His somewhat chequered career attracted attention in the south when Peter Freuchen - Big Pete in the Keewatin - who met him about 1922, painted him as larger than life in his stories of the Fifth Thule Expedition. He wrote of him, "Cleveland was a great character. When we asked him, during our first meal together, whether he would object to our bringing out a bottle of our famous Dutch schnapps, he assured us that we could make ourselves at home in his house as long as we desired. 'In fact,' he assured us, 'liquor is my favourite drink - any kind and any brand.'"

These images are from the collection of Charlie Vincent. Can you identify something in one of these photos that is not noted - a person, building, location, or event? Please Let us know!

Thumbnail Index to Photographs
Click on the image for enlargement.

Capt. George Cleveland, second from left.

"The Barber at Work
Eskimo gives me a haircut.
Boat with tent for sleeping quarters.

"Native Building Snow House"

"Fairway Island"

"Natives [illegible]nse Island"

"Stripping a whale"

"Working[?] cargo - Chesterfield"

"On the ice - Preparing for a walrus hunt"

"Building house at Southhampton Island - Schooner in distance"

"Whalebone projecting from relaxed jaws of dead whale."

"Breaking Camp"

1923 Hudson Bay Company contract with Post-manager George Cleveland.

Letter addressed to
"Mr. George G. Cleveland
c/o Hudson Bay Co.
Repulse Bay Post
York Factory
Pikwitonei P.O.
Via The Pas

:Llewllyn Cleveland (1893-1944) and Ramona Mae Cleveland (1890-?), Capt. Cleveland's children by his Vineyard wife Hattie Walker Chase. (They divorced before 1900.)

Ramona left Martha's Vineyard about 1915, leaving her two daughters in the care of her grandmother. She was never heard from again.

See The Cleveland Family genealogy.

Continue on to Part Five

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