Helen Kennedy, from Sligo, Ireland, sailed for Lord Selkirk’s settlement in 1813. She was a passenger on the Prince of Wales, which experienced an outbreak of typhoid. The surgeon, Dr. Peter LaSerre, who died on board ship, was nursed during his illness by Helen. The Captain of the Prince set his passengers ashore at Churchill Fort instead of York Factory and the colonists wintered at a camp on the Churchill River. In the spring, Archibald McDonald led a number of them on snowshoes to York Factory. The others remained at Churchill until the melting of the ice enabled HBC boats to pick them up. Helen was part of the latter group, which arrived at the settlement in August 1814.
Throughout the winter of 1814-15, the settlers were constantly harassed by North West Company men and in June 1815 a majority left for Upper Canada. Helen was among those who remained loyal, along with her countryman Michael Boyle. Those remaining at the settlement were soon driven out and fled to the north end of Lake Winnipeg where they established a camp known as Winipic Settlement. They were met by Colin Robertson, who persuaded them to return to Red River under his leadership. Donald Livingstone and Michael Boyle remained at Winipic Settlement to construct a boat to help convey the settlers of 1815 who would soon arrive from York Factory. Helen also remained. When the 1815 settlers arrived at Winipic Settlement, the new boat was put into service, and they departed for Red River. Michael Boyle and Helen Kennedy were married by Governor Semple.
The settlers were forced to abandon Red River in 1816, and the Boyles decided to return to Britain. In September 1816 they boarded the Prince of Wales at York Factory. The Prince and Emerald were unable to clear Hudson Strait because of the ice. The ships returned to James Bay and wintered near Moose Factory. In May, the postmaster at Moose Factory told the colonists that they must leave Moose and go in the HBC boats to New Brunswick House. From New Brunswick House they could go to Fort William and either return to Red River with Lord Selkirk, or have their expenses paid through Canada if they insisted on a passage to England.
The Boyles arrived at New Brunswick House in July 1817. Michael accepted an offer of £40 per annum to winter there in order to repair the old house and erect a new one. They left New Brunswick House in an HBC boat in July 1818, bound for Meshippicoton (Michipicoten) on Lake Superior. They arrived at Meshippicoton on July 27th, and the next day a boat was available to take them to St. Maries [Sault Ste. Marie]. There is no record of the Boyles having returned to Red River, so presumably they went east.