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No. 81

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Memorable Manitobans: William Sinclair (1794-1868)

Fur trader.

Born in Rupert’s Land, son of an Orkney fur trader and an Indian or mixed-blood wife, he joined the Hudson's Bay Company in 1808, demonstrating considerable initiative and a spirit of adventure in his early years. He began a lengthy service in the Winnipeg River/Rainy River Districts in 1824, but his advancement was limited by his inability to speak French. He finally became chief trader in 1844 and chief factor in 1850. He organized troop transportation between York Factory and Red River on a number of occasions and served from 1851 to 1863 as a member of the Council of the Northern Department. Sinclair was one of the few successful country-born mixed-bloods in the HBC. Although he owned property in Red River, he retired to Brockville, Canada West, in 1863.


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

Page revised: 27 April 2008

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