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Orkneymen with the Hudson's Bay Company

Information Wanted

Family information is being sought on Orkneymen who served with the Hudson's Bay Company west of the Rockies to 1858. Can you help?

A biographical dictionary of fur trade and exploration west of the Rockies (from California to Alaska) is being compliled by an individual in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Since the major fur trading company for this Pacific slopes area was the Hudson's Bay Company and many HBC servants came from Orkney, family information is being sought on the Orcadians who once served in the Company west of the Rockies up to 1858. Respondents with information are asked to· please contact:

Bruce M. Watson
208-1949 Beach Avenue
Vancouver, B. C.,
V6G 1Z2
tel: [604] 684-6786
fax: [604] 871-7100

If a relative were to provide information to this researcher, a dictionary entry thus far compiled from the Hudson's Bay Company Archives and other sources will be sent to the respondent. Dictionary entries (about 120 of the 3700 compiled to date are former Orcadians) vary in length from only a few lines to a page and so are in various stages of completion. The researcher would also appreciate being put in contact with family relatives elsewhere who could provide information on those Orcadians in question.

Information being sought is:

birth date, birth place, parents of individual
marital status/occupation before leaving Orkney
reason for leaving
how individual got to the Pacific Northwest
known fate of individual/subsequent family, etc.
any other written or oral tradition information which would "humanize" the entry
sources for the above

Eventual entires will centre only on the individual servant involved and his immediate family. In order to protect the privacy of descendants, only the names, as well as birth and death years of the children of the H.B.C. servant will be written up.

To assist in identifying relatives who worked west of the Rockies, a list of Pacific slope establishments follows: (Geographical information in parentheses indicates the present site of the fort or establishment)

Fort Alexandria (British Columbia)
Fort Babine (British Columbia)
Fort Boise (Idaho)
Fort Chilcotin (British Columbia)
Fort Colvile (Washington)
Fort Connolly (British Columbia)
Fort Flathead (Idaho)
Fort Fraser (British Columbia)
Fort George (British Columbia)
Fort George (Washington)
Fort Hall (Idaho)
Fort Kamloops or Thompson River (British Columbia)
Fort Langley (British Columbia)
Fort Kootenay (Montana)
Fort McLeod (British Columbia)
Fort McLoughlin (British Columbia)
Fort Nez Perces (Washington)
Fort Nisqually (Washington)
Fort Okanagan (Washington)
Fort Rupert (British Columbia)
Fort Shepherd (British Columbia)
Fort Simpson (British Columbia)
Fort Spokane (Washington)
Fort Stikine (Alaska)
Fort Taku (Alaska)
Fort Tluz Kluz (British Columbia)
Fort Umpqua (Oregon)
Fort Vancouver (Washington)
Fort Victoria (British Columbia) Kulleyspell House
Nanaimo mines to 1858 (British Columbia)
Puget Sound Agriculture Association farms to 1858
Howse House (Montana)
Saleesh House (Idaho)
San Francisco establishment (California)
Hawaiian establishment (Hawaii)
As it is quite possible that Orcadian relatives may may not be able to pinpoint specific locations, the following names of individuals who signed on in Orkney and worked part or all of their career west of the Rockies, are provided.
Name of Orcadian in H.B.C. Known birth year Year of entry Parish of entry Years West of Rockies Status in Company Last Known Information
Aiken/Aitken, George
1836 Birsay 1841-42 blacksmith (settled in Willamette Valley, Oregon)
Anderson, James c.17981828Stromness 1829-30ship's carp. (died of fever at Fort Vancouver, Dec. 25, 1830)
Anderson, Robert
1833Birsay 1833-38middleman (untraced after going east of Rockies in 1838)
Baikie, James
1851Walls 1851-52labourer (dismissed July 10, 1852 from Fort Vancouver)
Baikie, John
1852Evie 1852-66labourer (died in Victoria, B. C., February 16, 1866)
Baker, James c.18041824South Ronaldsay 1826-40steward (settled in Willamette Valley, Oregon)
Balfour, Thomas
1832Westray 1834-36labourer (last noted as working in Saskatchewan area)
Ballenden, Jacob
1842Sandwick 1844-48farmer (possible suicide August 7, 1848 on Fraser River)
Ballenden, James c.18221836Evie 1846-52farmer (discharged 1851, possibly remained in Ft. Vancouver area)
Ballenden, John 18101829Stromness 1850-53Chief Factor (died Dec. 6, 1856 likely in Red River area)
Beinston, Adam 1820/24? 1843Eday 1844-52labourer (settled in Washington State, died March 26, 1912)
Bichan, James
1843South Ronaldsay 1844-49cooper (left for California gold rush, September 1, 1849)
Brown, William [a] c.18101830Sandwick 1831-43labourer (untraced after 1843 at Fort Vancouver)
Brown, William [c]
1850Harray 1850-52gardener (discharged around 1852)
Brown, William [f]
1850Stromness 1850-53boatbuilder (untraced after 1853)
Burger, George c.18061830Westray 1831-37sailor (either returned to British Isles or went east over Rockies in 1837)
Campbell, William
1835Westray 1836-39labourer (returned to British Isles)
Clouston, John [b]
1851Rousay 1851-54labourer (died at Fort Vancouver in 1854)
Clouston, Robert 18211838Stromness 1850-58Chief Trader (died in San Francisco of brain fever, August 14, 1858)
Cormack, Hugh
1835Eday 1836-42 steward (returned to British Isles in 1842)
Corzey, William
c.1850St. Ola 1850-60blacksmith (appears to have died c.1863 in Victoria, B. C.)
Craigie, James 18131835Rousay 1836-52interpreter (died Yaquina Bay, Oregon, September 29, 1895)
Craigie, William [b]
1843Rousay 1844-60labourer (untraced from 1860 at Fort Colvile, Washington)
Craigie, William [c]
c.1851Deerness 1851-53labourer (untraced from 1853 at Fort Colvile, Washington)
Cromartie, William 18141843b. S. Ronald. 1844-72cooper (died c.1876 at Fort Langley, B. C.)
Davie, Malcolm
1833Firth 1834-40middleman (returned to British Isles in 1840)
Davie, William
1833Firth 1834-38middleman (returned to British Isles?)
Dickson, James
1835Harray 1836-43blacksmith (returned to British Isles c.1843)
Driver, Edward
1826Kirkwall 1827seaman (killed on Vancouver Island, 1827)
Flett, David
1835Harray 1836-42servant (drowned May 31, 1842 at Okanagan Falls)
Flett, John [c]
1838Firth 1839-54blacksmith (untraced from 1854)
Flett, John [d] 18271848Stromness 1848-60cooper (died February 5, 1886 in Victoria, B. C.)
Flett, Magnus
1844Birsay 1845-51labourer (possibly retired in area)
Flett, Thomas c.18141833Harray 1834-51labourer (settled in U.S.A, possibly in Colvile, Wash. area)
Folster, George c.18031830Birsay 1829-48blacksmith (died at Fort Vancouver, 1850)
Foubister, Thomas
c.1851St. Ola 1851-53labourer (likely retired in British Columbia)
Fraser, John
1847Walls 1848-52labourer (deserted in 1852 from Fort Umpqua)
Garson, James
1838Sandwick? 1839-43cooper (returned to the British Isles in 1843)
Goudie, James c.18101829Stromness 1830-51blacksmith (in 1881 living in Victoria, B. C.)
Goudie, John
1843Birsay 1844-49labourer (returned to British Isles c.1849)
Greig, John
1844St. Ola 1845-51labourer (untraced after retiring in Fort Colvile area in 1851)
Groat, Malcolm
1834South Ronaldsay 1834-39labourer (returned to British Isles c.1839)
Gullion, William
c.1833Westray 1835-39labourer (returned to British Isles c.1839)
Gunn, Adam
1835Orphir1836-39labourer (sent to London hospital in 1839)
Guthrie, David
1828Kirkwall 1828boatswain (likely returned to British Isles)
Guthrie, William Logan
1850Orkney1850-55labourer? (likely settled on Vancouver Island)
Hackland, Gilbert Spence 18281852Strom. or Birs. 1852-54 ship's master (worked/lived in Red River until death in 1901)
Hamilton, Gavin18351852Stromness 1852-78clerk (not traced after 1878)
Harry (Harvey?), William
1851Harray 1851-56carpenter (likely settled in Victoria area)
Harvey, Andrew18231843Birsay 1844-57shepherd (possibly settled in Victoria area)
Harvey, George 18221843Birsay 1844-69storekeeper (not traced after 1869 in Victoria area)
Harvey, Robert
1845Stromness 1847-50boatbuilder (not traced after 1850 in Victoria area)
Harvey, Thomas
1852Birsay 1852-57labourer (not traced after 1857)
Horie, John
c.1851St. Ola 1852-58blacksmith (untraced after 1858 at Fort Victoria)
Horie, Simonc.18201843Sandwick 1844-48labourer (untraced after 1848 at Willamette Falls, Oregon)
Horn, Adam Grant18311851Orkney? 1851-68clerk (died in Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, 1903)
Humphrey, Charles
1833Stromness 1840-46ship's master (returned to British Isles in 1846)
Huntow, Peter
1844Stromness 1845-49carpenter (to California gold rush in 1849)
Inkster, John
1848Rousay 1848-53labourer (untraced after retirement in 1853)
Irvin, Joseph
1836Evie 1837-39steward (discharged c.1839 in Oahu)
Irvine, John
1850Eday 1850-56labourer (in 1862 still living in North Saanich, Van. Island)
Irvine, Peter
c.1850Stromness or Shetland 1851-61labourer (likely settled on Vancouver Island)
Irvine, Robert
c.1850St. Ola 1851-58labourer (likely settled on Vancouver Island)
Johnston, John
1833Sandwick 1834-53labourer (died at Fort Vancouver, 1853)
Johnston, Robert c.18121833Sandwick 1834-49labourer (to California or British Isles in 1849)
Johnston, William [c]
1833Kirkwall 1833-35trapper (drowned at Fort George, July 7, 1835)
Johnston, William [d] c.18191835Harray 1836-51labourer (possibly retired in Idaho)
Johnstone, James [d]
1829Stromness 1830-372nd mate (returned to British Isles in 1837)
Johnstone, James [2]
1850Walls 1851-57labourer (last traced in 1858 at Fort Victoria)
Lawrenson, William
1848Walls 1848-49labourer (deserted March, 1849 for gold fields of California)
Leask, Henry
1850Sandwick 1850-51labourer (deserted December 28, 1851 from Fort Vancouver)
Leask, John
1843Sandwick 1844-48labourer (not traced after 1848)
Linklater, James
1850Harray 1850-56labourer (likely settled in Victoria)
Linklater, John
1851Birsay 1851-67post master (likely settled in Victoria)
Linklater, Thomas
1833Stromness 1834-51interpreter (possibly settled in Washington State)
Linniard, John
1834Birsay 1835-61farmer (likely settled in British Columbia)
Logie, John 18141834Westray 1835-49dairyman (died March 24, 1854 on Sauve Island, Washington)
Louttit, Andrew
1839Birsay 1840-44blacksmith (returned to British Isles in 1844)
Low, John [1]
1836Stromness 1827-30seaman/cook (returned to British Isles in 1831)
Low, John, Sr. [a]
1836Stromness 1836-40seaman/cook (same as [1]?) (returned to British Isles in 1840)
Low, John, Jr. [b]
1836Stromness 1836-39seaman (likely returned to British Isles in 1839)
McKay, John [f]
1850St. Ola 1851-52labourer (deserted in 1852)
McKay, Kennethc.18081828Sandwick 1828-40sailor (killed August 15, 1840 on Columbia River)
Marwick, David
1851Stromness 1851-54farmer (likely settled in Victoria, B. C.)
Marwick, James
1851Stromness 1851-62labourer (likely settled in Victoria, B. C.)
MeCuras/McCuras, Magnus c.18021828Burray1829-32seaman (likely returned to British Isles in 1832)
Merryman, William c.18131833Harray 1834-38labourer (returned to British Isles in 1838)
Millar, James [c]
1838Birsay 1839-43labourer (returned to British Isles in 1843)
Moar, Jonathan18301845?Stromness 1850-51blacksmith (deserted 1851)
Moffatt, Hamilton
1849Stromness 1849-72Chief Trader (died April 13, 1894 in Victoria, B. C.)
More, John 17961831?Birsay 1831-34labourer (not tracked after 1834)
Morwick, William c.18131833Stromness 1834-43servant (killed January 15, 1843 at Fort Babine)
Mowatt, Hugh
1851Rousay 1851-51steward (possibly settled in Fort Vancouver area)
Mowatt, Henry c.18141833Birsay 1834-41labourer (returned to British Isles c.1841)
Norn, Samuel c.18071830Sandwick 1831-44labourer (settled in Victoria, B. C.)
Norquay, William [1]
1829Walls 1830middleman (drowned in Columbia River, August 5, 1830)
Norquay, William [2]
c.1851South Ronaldsay 1852-56labourer (untraced after 1856 in Victoria, B. C.)
Oman, Edward c.18261844Stenness 1845-50labourer (retired in 1849 in Fort Vancouver area)
Peace, James
1836Stromness 1836-38seaman (deserted June 10, 1838 in Monterey, California)
Pottinger, William c.18141835Westray 1835-54labourer (died March 22, 1887 at Hillside, Washington)
Rae, William Glenc.18091827Orphir1834-45clerk (suicide January 9, 1845 in Yerba Buena [San Francisco])
Randal, John c.1801c.1820Stromness 1825-28boatbuilder (untraced after 1828 at Fort Vancouver)
Reid, Captain James M.18031852Orkney1853-54ship's master (died April 24, 1868 in Victoria, B. C.)
Rendall, James c.17921820Evie 1830-46cooper (returned to British Isles in 1845)
Robertson, David [a] c.18041828Sandwick 1829-32seaman (likely returned to British Isles in 1832)
Robertson, David [b] c.18131830Sandwick 1831-39labourer (returned to British Isles in 1839)
Robertson, James [2]
1847Sandwick 1848-52labourer (died at Flatheads, February 24, 1852)
Robertson, Samuel [1] c.18241843Sandwick 1844-58boatbuilder (settled in B. C.)
Ross, William
1849Orkney? 1849-50overseer (likely settled in B. C.)
Sabiston, James c.18291850Stromness 1851-69post master (likely settled in B. C.)
Sabiston, John [a] 18281849Walls 1849-59labourer (settled in B. C.)
Sabiston, John [b]
1852?Walls 1853-58labourer (not traced after 1858)
Sabiston, Joseph
1844Stromness 1851-58labourer (likely settled in B. C.)
Scott, Thomas
1842Harray 1844-47blacksmith (returned to British Isles in 1847)
Sinclair, James [e]
1842South Ronaldsay 1844-46cooper (returned to British Isles in 1846)
Sinclair, John J.c.18301844Stromness 1844-551st mate (untraced after 1855)
Sinclair, Thomas [a] 17911824St. Ola 1836-34ship's master (returned to British Isles in 1834)
Spence, John [c] c.18001820Stromness 1825-33boatbuilder (likely returned to British Isles in 1833)
Spence, John [a]
1838Stromness 1838-63ship's carpenter (settled at Victoria, B. C.)
Spence, John [e]
c.1852Stromness 1852-60labourer (likely settled in Victoria, B. C.
Spence, Joseph c.18041828Harray 1829-36seaman/carp. (possibly went to Hawaii)
Spence, William [e]
1852Birsay 1852-59labourer (likely settled in area)
Stensgair, John c.18171838Birsay 1839-51labourer (likely settled in area)
Stengair, Thomas c.18191838Birsay 1839-52labourer (possibly settled near Fort Colvile, Washington)
Stockand, James c.18211851Stromness 1851-56carpenter (retired in Victoria area in 1856)
Stove, James c.1828c.1850Firth 1850-56labourer (likely settled in B. C. area)
Swain, William
1828South Ronaldsay 1828seaman (records uncertain, likely returned to British Isles)
Tait, John c.18101829Stromness 1829-35boatbuilder (died of consumption January 17, 1835 at Fort Vancouver)
Taylor, James [1] c.17941817Birsay 1821-23labourer (likely settled in Red River area)
Taylor, James [d]
1833South Ronaldsay 1834-50dairyman (went to California gold rush in 1849)
Taylor, James [2]
1851?Birsay 1852-62blacksmith (likely settled in B. C.)
Taylor, John
1830Stromness 1831-38seaman (returned to British Isles in 1838)
Thompson, James [2]
1851Walls 1851-59labourer (untraced after 1860 in British Columbia)
Walls, William
1829South Ronaldsay 1830-34servant (possibly returned to British Isles in 1834)
Wards, Henry
1829Stromness 1830-34shipbuilder (untraced after "put off duty" in 1834)
Williams, John [a] c.18121830Stenness 1831-39labourer (died May 12, 1839 at Fort Vancouver
Wilson, James [a]
1828Stromness 1829-34seaman (returned to British Isles in 1834)
Wilson, William [b]
1826Kirkwall 1827-30seaman (returned to British Isles in 1830)
Work, John [2]
1850Kirkwall 1850-57miner (died 1857 from injuries in Nanaimo mine, B. C.)
Work, William
1850Stromness 1850-54labourer (likely settled in Victoria, B. C.)
Yorston, Magnus
1838St. Ola 1839-40carpenter (likely worked in Saskatchewan district)

*The designation "Walls" is problematic because of the duplication of names with the Shetland Islands.

(Many more could have been added to this list but they have not been positively identified as being from Orkney.)

Page created by Bill Teschek
[Last updated: 24 July 2005 - Dave Annal]