Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: William Flett (1815-1882)

Fur trader.

Born on the Orkney Islands in 1815, son of James Flett, he came to North America around 1840 in the service of the Hudson’s Bay Company. He worked for the company for about forty years, serving at Fort Edmonton, Fort Pitt, and Lower Fort Garry, and rising to the rank of Chief Trader. At Fort Edmonton, he married a daughter of Chief Factor Rowand. Their daughter Nancy Flett (b 1845) later married Alexander R. McKenzie. He later married Nancy Clouston (1832-1902), daughter of Robert Clouston, with whom he had six children: William Robert Flett (b 1852), James Clouston Flett (b 1856), Jane Ellen Flett (b 1858), Alfred John Flett (b 1862), Llewellyn Thomas Flett (1866-1877), and Anne Sarah Flett (1868-1877). He died in a hotel at Toronto, Ontario on 17 September 1882, of an accidental gas overdose while on his way to Montreal. His body was returned to Manitoba for burial in the St. John’s Cemetery. He is commemorated by a plaque inside the Little Britain Church.

Sources:

“Death of Mr. Flett,” Manitoba Free Press, 23 September 1882.

Biographical Sheet, Hudson’s Bay Company Archives.

This profile was prepared by Donald Young and Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 9 June 2013

Memorable Manitobans

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