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Memorable Manitobans: William Hemmings Cook (c1766-1846)

Hudson’s Bay Company employee.

Born in the parish of St. Andrew’s, Holborn, London about 1766. He had three wives, the first two “in the custom of the country,” the third being Mary, a daughterof Matthew Cocking, whom he married on 8 March 1838. He had four sons and seven daughters. He entered the service of the Hudson’s Bay Company as a writer in 1786 and was employed at York Factory until 1791, when he established Chatham House. He remained in charge of the post until he went back to England in 1794. He returned to York Factory in 1795.

In September 1797, Cook settled at Split Lake and was placed in charge of the posts on the Nelson River. He remained there until 1809 when he took over the management of York Factory, a position he held until 1815. He spent the winter of 1815-16 in the neighbourhood of Oxford House, in retirement, but rejoined the Company and was posted at Split Lake from 1816 to 1818. During 1818-1819 he had charge of the posts in the Swan River area but resigned again in the summer of 1819 to become a settler.

He took his family to the Red River Settlement, and on 29 May 1822 was appointed a Councillor of the Governor of Assiniboia. He was appointed Councillor of the District of Assiniboia on 27 February 1839.

Cook died at Red River Settlement on 23 February 1846.

More information:

William Hemmings Cook, Dictionary of Canadian Biography VII, 206-7.


Pioneers and Early Citizens of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Manitoba Library Association, 1971.

Page revised: 31 July 2008

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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

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