Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: John Ballenden (c1755-1817)

Fur trader.

Born at Stromness, Orkney, Scotland, he worked for the Hudson’s Bay Company, being posted at Fort Severen and Fort Prince of Wales as a servant to Andrew Graham. After Graham’s retirement in 1775, he remained at Fort Prince of Wales, rising through the ranks then moved to York Factory, serving as Chief Factor from 1800 to 1802.

On 23 April 1797, he married Elizabeth Gray of Orkney. They had seven children, all born in Scotland: Jane Eliza Ballenden (b 1798), William Ballenden (b 1803), Eliza Ballenden (b 1805, wife of James Bannatyne, mother of A. G. B. Bannatyne), Andrew Graham Ballenden (b 1807), Lawrenda Gray Ballenden (b 1809), John Ballenden, and John McNab Ballenden (b 1813). His grandson by daughter Eliza was Andrew Graham Ballenden Bannatyne. It is rumoured that, while in North America, Ballenden had several additional children with a Metis woman known only as Jane. One of those children, Harriet Ballenden, married John Richards McKay.

Ballenden returned to Stromness, Scotland in September 1802, where he died on 23 May 1817. He was interred in Stromness Kirkyard No. 1.


Hudson’s Bay Company Biographical Sheets, Hudson’s Bay Company Archives.

We thank Craig Sefton and Christine Buckley for additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 17 August 2013

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