A truckhouse or truck-house was a type of trading post established by legislation in the colonies of British America to regulate the North American fur trade. Truckhouses were maintained in the early to mid-18th century.

Truckhouses in the province of Massachusetts Bay held a monopoly on trade with Indigenous peoples along the Nashua, Merrimack, and Piscataqua rivers.[1] Leach argues that truckhouses "completely dominated" trade in the eastern colonies between 1726 and the 1740s, when King George's War erupted.[2] Despite its dominance, however, the system did not generally turn a profit.[3] Truckhouses sold goods to Indigenous buyers at low prices.[3] The aim of the truckhouse system was to disrupt French diplomatic influence in the area, not primarily to supplement government revenue.[3][4] It also served as a means of regulating settlers' trade with Indigenous peoples.[5]

The Massachusetts General Court, legislature of the province of Massachusetts Bay, established truckhouses by statute in 1699.[1][6] An earlier statute creating truckhouses had been passed in 1694, but the system was disrupted when King William's War—in which many Indigenous groups sided with the French—broke out.[7] The 1699 statute was reenacted every year until 1703.[8] A later statute, passed in 1726, used the truckhouse system to implement terms of the Treaty of Falmouth which followed Dummer's War.[9] The 1726 statute continued until 1731, when a new statute was passed that prescribed trade with Indigenous peoples "at such easy rates and prices as may oblige them to a firm adherence to His Majesty's interest".[10] The 1731 statute continued, with modifications, until 1742.[11]

During the American Revolutionary War, there were truckhouses on the Saint John, Penobscot, and Machias rivers.[12] The Saint John truckhouse was destroyed by the British in 1777.[12] Another truckhouse on the Kennebec was closed before the war ended.[13]

Truckhouse officials, known as truckmasters, included:[14] Samuel Moody (1675–1747), a minister;[15] Joseph Heath, a military official;[16] Joseph Kellogg (1691–1756), a militiaman and trader;[17] Thomas Smith, an Indian agent and father of a cleric of the same name;[18] John Noyes; and Jabez Bradbury, a militiaman.[19][20]

The province of Pennsylvania passed a truckhouse statute in 1758 which was based on the Massachusetts law.[21] The Halifax Treaties, concluded in 1760–1 between the Miꞌkmaq and the British Crown, included provisions establishing truckhouses in Nova Scotia.[22]

See alsoEdit

  • R v Marshall, a 1999 court case concerning a treaty where truckhouses are discussed


  1. ^ a b Leach 1966, p. 147.
  2. ^ Leach 1966, p. 148.
  3. ^ a b c Leach 1966, p. 149.
  4. ^ MacFarlane 1938, p. 48.
  5. ^ Leamon 1993, p. 4.
  6. ^ Massachusetts General Court (July 17, 1699). "An Act for Giving Necessary Supplies to the Eastern Indians, and for Regulating of Trade with Them". State Library of Massachusetts. OCLC 01696853. hdl:2452/118892.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. ^ MacFarlane 1938, p. 49.
  8. ^ MacFarlane 1938, p. 50.
  9. ^ MacFarlane 1938, p. 55.
  10. ^ MacFarlane 1938, pp. 56–57.
  11. ^ MacFarlane 1938, p. 57.
  12. ^ a b Leamon 1993, p. 97.
  13. ^ Leamon 1993, p. 218.
  14. ^ MacFarlane 1938, p. 51.
  15. ^ Bailey, Alfred G. (1974). "Moody, Samuel". Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Retrieved April 27, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  16. ^ Ghere, David L. (1993). "The "Disappearance" of the Abenaki in Western Maine: Political Organization and Ethnocentric Assumptions". American Indian Quarterly. 17 (2): 196. doi:10.2307/1185527. JSTOR 1185527.
  17. ^ Stearns, Raymond P. (1974). "Kellogg, Joseph". Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Retrieved April 27, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  18. ^ Saxine, Ian (April 23, 2019). Properties of Empire: Indians, Colonists, and Land Speculators on the New England Frontier. Vol. 9. New York University Press. p. 111. doi:10.18574/9781479860524 (inactive February 28, 2022). ISBN 978-1-4798-3212-5. JSTOR j.ctv12pnnh2. OCLC 1090728635.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: DOI inactive as of February 2022 (link)
  19. ^ Ghere, David L.; Morrison, Alvin H. (2001). "Searching for Justice on the Maine Frontier: Legal Concepts, Treaties, and the 1749 Wiscasset Incident". American Indian Quarterly. 25 (3): 388. doi:10.1353/aiq.2001.0044. ISSN 0095-182X. JSTOR 1185858. S2CID 159989309.
  20. ^ Gill, Eliza M. (1906). "The Bradburys of Medford and Their Ancestry". Medford Historical Register. Vol. 9. Medford Historical Society. OCLC 656758234.
  21. ^ Leach 1966, p. 162.
  22. ^ Patterson 1993, p. 55.