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Memorable Manitobans: Bernard Rogan Ross (1827-1874)

Click to enlargeFur trader.

Born in Ireland, he immigrated to Canada in 1843 and later obtained a post with the Hudson’s Bay Company through the intervention of a relation. He began as an apprentice clerk at Norway House. He subsequently served at many posts, including York Factory, Fort Simpson, Fort Norman, and Fort Resolution. He became a Chief Trader in 1856. Ross was well read, boasting in 1859 of a library of over 500 volumes, and extremely active in various cultural activities, including music and natural history. During his 24 years of service to the HBC he collected many natural history specimens which in later years he sent to the Smithsonian Institution. He also sent collections to the Royal Scottish Museum in Edinburgh and the British Museum in London. He was a correspondent of several American learned societies, and he wrote a number of scientific papers. In late 1869 Ross was in Red River, advising against the formation of a provisional government. Instead, he and his coterie recommended the continuation of HBC government with a popularly elected executive council to deal with Canada.

His library is housed in the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives. There are papers at the Archives of Manitoba.

See also:

The Beginnings of Subarctic Ornithology: Northern Correspondence with the Smithsonian Institution, 1856-68 edited by Debra Lindsay (1991).

Bernard Rogan Ross, Dictionary of Canadian Biography X, 629.


Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by J. M. Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 9 May 2011

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

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