George McKay, a weaver aged 50, emigrated from Sutherlandshire, Scotland, in 1815 with his wife Isobel Matheson (1), aged 50, and their three children, Roderick (18), Roberty (16), and Robert (11).(2) Roberty married Donald McKay (20045), an HBC man, a few days after the Hadlow arrived at York Factory. The McKays spent the first winter at Pembina and the second at Jack River House at the north end of Lake Winnipeg, where the settlers had fled after Seven Oaks. Upon their return to the settlement in the summer of 1817, George was granted lot #18 by Lord Selkirk. Kildonan Park, Winnipeg, includes a part of his original property. George apparently died within the year as a list of the settlers of Red River in 1818 includes Widow George McKay or son Roderick with a household of four.

Donald McKay (20042), aged 31, was an older son of George McKay and emigrated on the same ship (Hadlow) as his parents and siblings. He was accompanied by his wife Catherine Bruce, aged 33, and their one-year-old son John. Donald was granted lot #17 by Lord Selkirk, and Kildonan Park includes part of his original property. The 1818 list of settlers at Red River includes Donald with a household of four.

George and Isobel McKay had two more children who had preceded them to Red River in 1813: James and Ann. The passenger list of the Prince of Wales gave James’s age as 19 and Ann’s as 22. James married Christian Bannerman, also a passenger on the Prince in 1813. Ann McKay married William Bannerman, brother of Christian. Both couples left Red River in June 1815 and relocated in Upper Canada.

In 1820, a group of settlers left Red River for Upper Canada. This group included Isabella Matheson (widow of George McKay), and her sons Roderick and Robert.  Also in the 1820 group were Isabella’s son Donald, his wife Catherine and their son John. The family settled in West Gwillimbury.

The Auld Kirk Cemetery registers, West Gwillimbury, Ontario, record the death of Isabella, wife of George McKay on 19 Feb. 1851, aged 95 years. Other family members buried in the churchyard of the Auld Kirk are Roderick, Robert, Donald and his wife Catherine, James and his wife Christian.


(1) Also referred to as Isabella or Elizabeth
(2) HBCA C.1/345, Passenger list of the Hadlow, outward bound, 1815

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