Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Thomas Bunn (1764-1853)

Fur trader.

Born at Hendon, Middlesex, England in 1764, he was a freeman of the City of London and of the Draper’s Company. He was married three times: first, to Jane, a daughter of William Roper, in 1789; second, to Sarah, a daughter of John McNab, by whom he had two children, including John Bunn; and third, to Phoebe, a daughter of William Sinclair and Nahovway (Holden) Sinclair, in 1820. They had five children. He had been apprenticed to an oilman in Aldgate, London, and later established his own business in Bloomsbury.

He entered the service of the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1797 as a “writer” at Albany Factory. For a short time during 1799 to 1801 he was in charge of Osnaburg House and Brandon House. In 1803 he transferred to York Factory in the capacity of a writer and served there almost continuously until 1819 with the exception of the winter years of 1812-1813, when he was inland master at Merry’s House. From 1814 to 1819 he was employed as accountant and storekeeper, and from 1819 to 1821 he was accountant at Rock Depot. In 1821 Nicholas Garry promised him a retired share after 25 years’ service on the understanding that he would retire to Red River. However, Bunn did not impress new governor George Simpson, who suspected him of dishonesty, and he soon headed for the settlement, arriving in November 1822.

Bunn retired to Red River in 1822 and died there on 15 January 1853. He is bured in the St. John’s Cathedral Cemetery. Papers are at the Archives of Manitoba.

See also:

A Londoner in Rupert’s Land: Thomas Bunn of the Hudson’s Bay Company by Denis Bayley (1869).


Pioneers and Early Citizens of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Manitoba Library Association, 1971.

Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 14 October 2018

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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