Catherine (Kate) McPherson emigrated from Gailable, Kildonan Parish, Sutherlandshire, Scotland. She was either 24 or 26 when she and her younger brother John sailed on the Prince of Wales in 1813. As many of the young people in that group, they were expected to make preparations at Red River for family members who were to follow.
Typhoid broke out on the ship and the Captain disembarked the passengers at Churchill Fort rather than York Factory. Kate was always well respected for having ministered to the sick and dying during this time. The colonists were forced to spend the winter at Colony Creek camp (also called Churchill Creek camp), about 15 miles up the Churchill River. Kate and John remained at the camp during the winter of 1813-14 and were among those who trekked on snowshoes to York Factory in the spring. This group then proceeded in boats to Red River, where they arrived in June.
The settlers were subjected to constant harassment by the North West Company men at Fort Gibraltar, the NWC post at the Forks. By the spring of 1815, only a small group remained loyal to Selkirk’s settlement. The expectation that her family would be arriving may be the reason Catherine remained at the settlement when the majority of the 1813 people, including her brother, left in NWC canoes for Upper Canada in June 1815.
After the departure of the people for Upper Canada in June 1815, the remaining settlers at Red River were driven from their homes by the Métis, acting with the approval of the NWC. Catherine was among the settlers who fled to Jack River in 1815, returned to Red River, and was forced to flee again in 1816 after Seven Oaks. During this turmoil, she remained a single woman as indicated by the account books of the Red River Settlement. Her marriage to Alexander Sutherland (4434) apparently took place in June of 1817 as it was at that time that her account was transferred to that of her husband, Alexander Sutherland, soldier. Alexander had arrived with the settlers of 1815.
Catherine and Alexander had only one child, John, who became a prominent member of Red River and Manitoba society. Catherine died in 1867 and was buried in the Kildonan Presbyterian Church cemetery.