METIS-L ArchivesArchiver > METIS > 2007-02 > 1170374509
From: Stanley Hulme <>
Subject: [METIS] More McKay
Date: Thu, 01 Feb 2007 16:01:49 -0800
Glad I could help. I would suggest writing to the HBC Archives. Their
They have files on nearly all HBC and NWC servants. When you contact them
(their email address is at the above site) ask if you can get copies of any
information on Neil McKay from the Fort Timiskaming area. I have found the
"search file" to be very useful. It is a file that is created when people do
research on a particular individual and it is held by the Archives
separately from any biographies, work records etc.
According to the Fort Timiskaming book Donald McKay was a brother to
Neil so I have copied his bio from the book, pages 235 and 236. I have not
yet found any other refs but I am working my way through all my old Beaver
Mags to see if there might be an article that mentions him.
Fort Timiskaming and the Fur Trade, page 235 and 236
"Donald McKay (fl. 1785-1820)
In 1793 Donald McKay's parents were living in Berthierville, Lower Canada,
where he may have been born, although he told Philip Turnor that he had been
born in Montreal of Scottish parents. The McKays, who were poor, had a large
family and at least three sons, Donald, Angus, and Neil, entered the fur
trade. All served for a time in the Timiskaming district, but only Donald
spent his life there. In 1785, when Turnor built Frederick House, Donald
McKay, a clerk, was master of the Canadian house, Langue de Terre, on Lake
Mistinikon, but in 1794 he established a post on Matawagamingue (modern
Mattagami) Lake which became headquarters for the area. In 1800, from
Matawagamingue, McKay also built the Flying Post on Groundhog Lake and
Langue de Terre was apparently abandoned.
When Æneas Cameron left Fort Timiskaming in 1804, he put McKay in charge
of the depot, but two years later McDougall took over the fort and McKay
went to Abitibi. In 1807, however, when McDougall returned to his old post,
McKay went back to Fort Timiskaming, remaining as master there until his
death on 9 June 1820. He was presumably buried at the fort, although no
trace of his grave remains.
Two half breed sons of Donald McKay, Donald Jr and John, also served as
clerks in the Timiskaming district under both the North West and Hudson's
Bay companies. Donald Jr. spent most of his life in the Matawagamingue area,
succeeding George McBride as master of the Flying Post in 1820 and
afterwards becoming master of Matawagamingue and head of the Kenogamissi
River district. He left the service in 1836, dying in Canada two years
later. In 1850 his son, James, 'a smart clever boy', was James Cameron's
servant at Fort Timiskaming and direct descendants of Donald Jr are still
living on the Mattagami reservation. John McKay, long a chronic but
otherwise likeable drunk and a good servant until his addiction overcame
him, served mainly at Fort Timiskaming. Twice reduced to the rank of
postmaster, he finally retired in 1847 on a pension of £30, which he enjoyed
until his death in 1857. His only son, Henry, John Simpson's cook at
Nipissing, died there in 1851."
The above John McKay is identified in Simpson Character Book of 1832
published as part of Hudson's Bay Miscellany 1670-1870, The Hudson's Bay
Record Society Volume XXX page 236 as follows:
"No. 17 McKay John. A half breed native of Temiscamingue. About 40 Years of
Age - 20 odd Years in the Service. Was a Clerk in the Service although
deficient in Education and a poor Weak Nervous drunken Creature. Reduced to
the rank of Postmaster as he was a disgrace to the class to which he
originally belonged, and only retained in the Service as he would be
troublesome in opposition from his knowledge (of) the country and influence
over the Principal Indians in the District to whom he is related. Saly £60p
Note - "John McKay joined the North West Company in about 1816, and the
Hudson's Bay Company in 1821. He served only in the Timiskaming district,
retiring in 1848. He died on 15 August 1856."
Donald McKay Jr. is identified in the Character Book also, on page 217
of Hudson's Bay Miscellany as follows:
"No. 50 McKay Donald. A Temiscamingue half breed about 40 Years of Age, has
been 21 years in the Service. An active useful Man at Kemigumissie, to the
Indians of which place he is related and with whom he has much influence.
Would be very troublesome if in the hands of opposition and therefore
retained in the Service altho not steady fond of Liquor and given to
falsehood. Stationed at Kennigumissie."
Note - "Donald McKay seems to have joined the North West Company in 1807; he
entered the service of the Hudson's Bay Company in 1821, and at the time of
this entry was in charge of Kuckatoosh (Flying Post) in the Kenogamissee
district. He retired in 1836. H.B.C. Archives Dept. file."
The search goes on - take care
----- Original Message -----
From: "Deborah Crawford" <>
To: "Stanley Hulme" <>
Sent: Wednesday, January 31, 2007 12:54 PM
Subject: McKay - THANK YOU!!
> Oh my gosh - thank you. That's the first time I've ever heard reference
> to a Niel Mackay - it's the best lead I've ever had.
> I must look for that book - see if our library has it, or can borrow it.
> Thanks again. Hopefully some day I can return the favour by sharing some
> data with you that you may require.
> We'll keep in touch.
> Bye for now. (P.S. - did I say THANK YOU??!!)
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