Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: William Kempt (?-?)

Surveyor.

Came from Scotland as a surveyor for the Red River Settlement at a salary of 100 pounds per year. He took up the work of surveying where Peter Fidler had left it. In 1822 he laid out lots on the Image Plain, and in February 1823, he drew up a plan of a village on the Assiniboine River. Governor Bulger wrote of him: “He is surpassed by no man that I have ever known in zeal and industry in the performance of his professional duties.” When Bulger left the colony in August 1823, Kempt was assigned the nominal charge pending the arrival of Governor Pelly. He was instructed to consult Chief Factor Donald McKenzie privately on all important matters. The conduct of Chief Factor Clarke during the previous winter had aroused the settlers to such a pitch that riots were feared from the view that the Hudson's Bay Company was undertaking the exclusive management. On 23 September 1823, Kempt held a meeting of the Council of Assiniboia by correspondence. The Selkirk Papers contain Kempt’s “Journal from the period of Governor Bulger’s departure until the arrival of Governor Pelly, August 6-Sept. 25, 1823.” Kempt subsequently resumed his professional activity in Scotland.

Sources:

E. H. Oliver (editor), The Canadian North-West, Its Early Development and Legislative Records, 2 volumes. Publications of the Canadian Archives, No. 9, 1914.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 7 June 2020

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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