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Memorable Manitobans: William Sinclair (1794-1868)

Fur trader.

Born in Rupert’s Land in 1794, son of an Orkney fur trader and an Indian or mixed-blood wife, he joined the Hudson's Bay Company in 1808, demonstrating considerable initiative and a spirit of adventure in his early years. He began a lengthy service in the Winnipeg River/Rainy River Districts in 1824, but his advancement was limited by his inability to speak French. He finally became Chief Trader in 1844 and Chief Factor in 1850. He organized troop transportation between York Factory and Red River on a number of occasions and served from 1851 to 1863 as a member of the Council of the Northern Department. Sinclair was one of the few successful country-born mixed-bloods in the HBC. Although he owned property in Red River, he retired to Brockville, Canada West (now Ontario), in 1863 and died five years later.

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: 28 April 2020

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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