Manitoba Historical Society
     Keeping history alive for over 140 years

 

Pay & Donate in the MHS Online Shop

Endangered Top 10
Endangered
Top 10
2019

Young Historians 2019
Young
Historians
2019

Jens Munk at Churchill
Field Trip:
Churchill
2020

Manitoba History No. 89
Manitoba
History

No. 89

War Memorials in Manitoba
War
Memorials
in Manitoba

This Old Elevator
This Old
Elevator

Abandoned Manitoba
Abandoned
Manitoba

Memorable Manitobans
Memorable
Manitobans

Historic Sites of Manitoba
Historic Sites
of Manitoba

Memorable Manitobans: Henry Kelsey (c1667-1724)

Fur trader, explorer.

Probably born in East Greenwich, England, he was apprenticed to the Hudson's Bay Company in 1684 and posted to the Nelson River. He quickly achieved a reputation as “a very active Lad, Delighting much in Indians Compa.” In 1689 he was sent to Churchill River, and he kept his first journal of the endeavour, which included an unsuccessful overland march. A year later, under orders from the Company, he began his expedition from York Fort “to call, encourage, and invite the remoter Indians to a Trade with us.”

The journal he kept of this expedition is one of the most famous and controversial in the literature of western exploration. It was published in 1929 by A. G. Doughty and Chester Martin as The Kelsey Papers. The notoriety is a result of the journal being written partly in rhyme. The controversy revolves around Kelsey’s route, particularly how far north and west he got. Whatever his actual route, he was the first European to travel extensively west and north of the Bottom of the Bay, and the first to record descriptions of many things, including buffalo and grizzly bears.

Kelsey remained at the Bay almost continuously until 1722, one of the most enigmatic of the early European figures of the region. He was well known for his expertise in Native languages, and he made several subsequent forays into the North.

He is commemorated by the Rural Municipal of Kelsey.

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Henry Kelsey Monument (The Pas)

Henry Kelsey, Dictionary of Canadian Biography II, 307-15.

Sources:

Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by J. M. Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 25 July 2012

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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

Search the collection by word or phrase, name, place, occupation or other text:

Custom Search

Browse surnames beginning with:
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z | 2017


Send corrections and additions to the Memorable Manitobans Administrator at biographies@mhs.mb.ca

Criteria for Memorable Manitobans | Suggest a Memorable Manitoban  | Our Inspiration | Acknowledgements

Support the MHS and

Back to top of page

   


To report an error on the above page, please contact the MHS Webmaster.

Home  |  Terms & Conditions  |  FAQ  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy  |  Donations Policy

© 1998-2019 Manitoba Historical Society. All rights reserved.