Memorable Manitobans: George Taylor (1800-1844)
Born at York Factory to a Cree woman named Jane and a local Sloop Master, George Taylor Sr., of England. In 1815 he accompanied his father to Europe where he studied at Aberdeen University.
In 1819, he joined the Hudson’s Bay Company as a clerk. He worked at York Factory until 1820; the following year, he worked at Fort Prince of Wales. All the while he was training under and assisting his father with ships. Upon George Sr.'s retirement in 1821, he took on the command of the Sloop Severn. Between 1823 and 1827, he divided his time between these two careers: serving as clerk for York Factory and Churchill during the winter and as the local Sloop Master in the summer.
In 1827, he married Jane Prince (?-?) of Fort Albany, though they would not have a ceremony before a Reverend until 1828. They had eight children: Mary Thomas Taylor (1828-?), Jane Taylor (1829-?), George Simpson Taylor, Robert Alexander “Bob” Taylor (1836-?), Victoria Taylor (1837-?), Sarah Taylor (1838-?), Edward Prince Taylor (1840-?), and Thomas Taylor (1843-?).
He traveled south to the Red River Settlement, mapping and sketching the route on the way. This map is available on microfilm through the Archives of Manitoba under the name “Map from York Fort to Winnipeg Lake through Hayes River etc.” [Microfilm No. 11M1, Location Code G.1/4, Date 1827.] He then returned north, acting as clerk for a time in several regions including the Columbia District, Oxford House, and once again York Factory.
In 1832, he brought his family south to the Parish of St. Andrews, where he completed his career as the Master on Lake Winnipeg vessels and Clerk/Surveyor for Lower Fort Garry. He was the primary surveyor for the Red River Settlement between 1836 and 1844. While he is not attributed on the plans, is it “generally acknowledged to be his work.” Called the “Old Settlement Belt Survey,” his work covered most of modern-day Winnipeg. He surveyed 1,542 river lots, reaching from Selkirk to St. Norbert, and as far west as St. Francois Xavier. These were the last surveys of river lots until Confederation.
In 1839 he obtained a Hudson's Bay Company Land Grant for the property later developed by John Edward Harriott as Hawthorne Lodge.
He died of a heart attack at Fort Dauphin on 15 November 1844.
George Taylor, Red River Ancestry.ca
H. E. Beresford, “Early Surveys in Manitoba,” MHS Transactions, Series 3, Number 9, 1952-1953 season
This page was prepared by S. Goldsborough.
Page revised: 17 June 2021