Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Duncan Finlayson (c1795-1862)

Fur trader, Governor of Red River Settlement (1839-1844).

Born at Dingwall, Scotland, son of John Finlayson. He was the brother-in-law of Lady Simpson, wife of Sir George, and was the executor of Sir George Simpson’s will. He entered the service of the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1815 and served as a clerk at various posts including the Red River district in 1819-20. In 1826 he was appointed clerk at Fort Garry in the Lower Red River district and in 1828 he became Chief Trader. In 1831 he was made a Chief Factor and transferred to Fort Vancouver where he remained until 1834.

Husband of Isobel Graham Finlayson Simpson.

After two furloughs and another sojourn in Fort Vancouver in 1839 Finlayson was appointed Governor of Assiniboia and Councillor of Rupert’s Land with headquarters at Fort Garry. In 1844 he was transferred to Lachine where he held the position of Agent. He retired in 1859. Finlayson Lake and River in the Yukon were named in his honour.

Finlayson died in London, England on 25 July 1862.

More information:

Duncan Finlayson, Dictionary of Canadian Biography IX, 260-61.


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

Page revised: 7 March 2008

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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