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Memorable Manitobans: John Charles (c1784-?)

Fur trader.

Born in London, England, he joined the Hudson’s Bay Company as an apprentice in 1799. He spent most of his early career on the Churchill River and Reindeer Lake. In1811 he became trader and second-in-command at Churchill, and in 1815 head of the New Churchill District. He was made a Chief Factor when the HBC and North West Company merged in 1821, and from 1822 to 1824 he was in charge of the Nelson River District. Charles later served on the English River and in Athabasca. From 1836 to 1838 he commanded York Factory. He was a governor’s councillor in 1815 and 1822 and a councillor of Rupert’s Land from 1839. He lived in the Red River Settlement on a leave of absence from 1841 onward, officially retiring there in 1843. He was fluent in Cree and Chipewyan. George Simpson described him as “a plain blunt Englishman, ... a man of veracity and integrity, but not bright.”

Sources:

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

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 17 August 2013

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society. We acknowledge that the collection contains both reputable and disreputable people. All are worth remembering as a lesson to future generations.

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