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Manitoba History No. 89

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Memorable Manitobans: Samuel Robert Henderson (c1790-1864)

Fur trade worker, farmer.

The Henderson family is one of the oldest in Manitoba. It traces its descent from Samuel Robert Henderson, who apparently first arrived here as a servant of the Hudson’s Bay Company in late 1807. Henderson was an Orkneyman, who had joined the Company on 16 June of that year, at 17 years of age. The exact dates and details of his service are somewhat obscure, but he seems to have remained more or less continuously in the Company’s employ at Red River until 1826. In that year, he retired with his wife and young son to become a farmer in the Red River Settlement. He had married Flora Livingstone (1805-1865), one of the Selkirk settlers, and the first of their ten children, a son, Angus Henderson, had been born in November of 1825.

Henderson was following the pattern set by many of his fellow Orkneymen in taking up land in the settlement. Under the terms of Lord Selkirk’s grant from the Hudson’s Bay Company, each retiring Company servant was entitled to a 100-acre land grant. Henderson first settled on a lot on the west side of the river. By 1849, he was cultivating ten acres of land and had a house, three stables and a barn on the property. He also had six horses, six oxen, six cows, one pig, and 27 sheep. These possessions made him one of the most prosperous farmers in the area.

Family records indicate that, in 1854, for some unexplained reason, Henderson moved from this established farm on the well-settled west side of the Red River to a lot directly opposite on the relatively untenanted east side. This lot contained the house known as 2112 Henderson Highway. Henderson lived there until his sudden death on 4 July 1864, at 74 years of age. His death was mysterious, as he disappeared while on a short walk from his house and his body was never found.

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Henderson House (2112 Henderson Highway, Winnipeg)


River East Transcona School Division newsletter, The Torch, Fall 2004, submitted by Cheryl Moore ( Original source material was from the Canadian Inventory of Historic Buildings – Historical Building Report, 1974.

We thank George Stewart for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 31 January 2019

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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

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