Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: John George McTavish (c1778-1847)

Fur trader.

Born at Argyllshire, Scotland around 1778, he joined the North West Company in 1798, was stationed first at James Bay and later on the West Coast. He bought the Pacific Fur Company’s assets for the NWC in 1813. He was captured at Grand Rapids (now in Manitoba) in 1817 and sent to England for trial on charges connected to the fur trade war, but soon returned and became a Chief Factor at the merger of the Hudson's Bay Company and the NWC. George Simpson had nothing but praise for his management skills, and after 1824 he presided at council in Simpson’s absence. In 1830 he married in Scotland without making provision for his mixed-blood wife, an action that caused much criticism in the country, although Simpson (who had acted similarly) supported him fully. Nonetheless, he was becoming corpulent and intemperate, and was transferred to an undemanding post near Montreal in 1836, where he remained until his death on 20 July 1847.

See also:

John George McTavish, Dictionary of Canadian Biography VII, 577-78.

Sources:

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

Biographical Sheets, Hudson’s Bay Company Archives.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 18 November 2018

Memorable Manitobans

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