Hislop and Nagle Trading Company

The most successful of the Northwest Territories’ ‘free-traders’ – individuals or businesses that challenged the trading monopoly of the Hudson’s Bay Company – was the Hislop and Nagle Trading Company.

In 1893, Jim Hislop and Ed Nagle, using money saved from working for the Hudson’s Bay Company, put together a boatload of trade goods and took it north to the Slave River delta. There they set up a trading post near Fort Resolution. It was the perfect location for planning the establishment of a new trading post near the Hudson’s Bay Company post at Fort Rae (now Old Fort Rae), the focal point of the trade-in muskox hides.

At that time, Fort Rae was on an island in the North Arm of Great Slave Lake about 25 kilometres southeast of the present location of Rae, now Behchokǫ̀. Jim Hislop and Ed Nagle decided to set up a trading post on Marian Lake near the head of Frank Channel. Their new business eventually became the location of the community of Rae. The Hislop and Nagle Trading Company gave a better price for muskox hides at this location and offered a better selection and price for their trade goods.

This company did very well at Rae and expanded into other areas of the Northwest Territories. It had, at its peak, 14 permanent trading posts in the North and a steamboat network. In 1910, Jim Hislop and Ed Nagle sold their company to a consortium of traders that renamed it the Northern Trading Company.