David Balthasar Hoerner was born on 3rd January 1762 at Sindringen, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany. He was an apothecary at Neuchatel in Switzerland, where he married Marguerite Marianne Chanel of Lignieres on 30 December 1797. Their first child, Louis, was born at Lignieres and the family then moved to la Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. Seven more children were born there: Sophie, Auguste, Louise, Henrietta, Olympe, Caroline and Frederique.
In 1821 the family left Switzerland and came to Red River. (1) They were part of a group recruited by Captain Rudolph von May, a former de Meuron. Hoerner was described as “a Physician & Apothecary, a very worthy & good man, with a fine numerous & blooming family, his wife a most worthy & deserving woman is an excellent midwife”. (2)
The Swiss immigrants sailed from Dort (Dordrecht), Holland, 30 May 1821 on the Lord Wellington, a chartered ship. Their experience at the colony began badly when their baggage was left at York Factory and they arrived at Red River with none of the possessions they had brought from Switzerland. The boats also failed to bring their goods the following year. Conditions were difficult at Red River and many of the Swiss and German settlers began to consider moving to the USA. The Hoerner family, however, chose to return to Europe. (3) They disembarked at London and apparently made their home there.
Henrietta, daughter of David Hoerner, married William Walne Higgs at the Church Mission House at Red River in 1822. Higgs had come to the settlement in 1820 as a tanner for the newly formed Buffalo Wool Company. Two children were born to the couple at Red River. The Company had failed by 1825, and this may have contributed to the decision of the Hoerner and Higgs families to leave the settlement.
Olympe Hoerner, another daughter of David and Marguerite, returned to London with the family in 1825. In 1838, she married Jean-Emmanuel Tanner, probably in France. She and her husband came to Montreal in 1841 as Protestant evangelists with the French Canadian Missionary Society.
(1) It seems that Sophie and Auguste did not accompany the family. Little is known of Sophie. Auguste later came to Canada and was living at Lachine, Quebec, in 1850
(2) LAC, Bulger fonds, MG 19 E.5 p.43
(3) HBCA C.1/806, passenger list of the Prince of Wales homeward bound 1825