Catherine (1) (Kitty) Sutherland and her brothers William (4848) and Alexander (4847), from Balnavaliach, Sutherland, were in the party of emigrants who sailed on the Prince of Wales in 1813. (2) There was an outbreak of typhus on the ship and the captain put the passengers ashore at Fort Churchill instead of at York Factory. The colonists were forced to spend the winter at a camp a few miles up the Churchill River. William died during the winter. Catherine and Alexander were among the young people who trekked on snowshoes to York Factory in the spring, arriving at Red River in June 1814.
During this time, Kitty formed a liaison with John McIntyre, from Inverness, who was also in the 1813 group. Soon after their arrival at the settlement, John signed on with the HBC and was sent to Brandon House, leaving the pregnant Kitty at the settlement. Their child was born in March 1815 but lived only two weeks. John McIntyre returned to Red River in June, and he and Kitty were married. They remained loyal to the settlement when the majority of the colonists left for Upper Canada in the Nor’Westers’ canoe brigade in June 1815.
Those who had remained at Red River were then forced out by the Métis and NWC men. The fleeing colonists went to the north end of Lake Winnipeg, where they established a camp known as Winipic Settlement near Jack River House (Norway House). They returned to the colony under the leadership of Colin Robertson. In the fall, another group of settlers arrived from Scotland. This group included Kitty’s and Alexander’s parents (William and Isabella Sutherland) and younger siblings. The settlement was again destroyed in June 1816 and the settlers spent the winter at Jack River, returning to Red River the following summer.
John and Kitty farmed in the settlement for more than twenty years and had nine children. In 1837, the family migrated to Jo Daviess County, Illinois. Kitty died in 1866, age 74. John died in 1871, age 81. They were buried in Lost Mound Cemetery in Jo Daviess County, Illinois.
(1) Sometimes spelled Katharine
(2) HBCA C.1/778, passenger list of the Prince of Wales, outward bound 1813