James Sutherland (age 47) of Kenacoil, Sutherlandshire, emigrated with the 1815 party. James was a weaver by trade. He was also a Presbyterian church elder, authorized to perform baptisms and marriages, and known in the settlement as “the Parson”. He was accompanied to Red River by his wife Marion (Mary) Polson (48) and four children. According to the ship’s passenger list, the children were Jannet (16), Karthrine [sic] (14), Isabella (13) and James (12). (1) The Scottish Old Parish Registers include a daughter named Christian – 1800, who does not seem to have accompanied the family. There were also four older children: John, Elspy, Heman, and Barbara. John and Elspy remained in Scotland; Heman and Barbara had preceded the family to Red River.
Heman and Barbara had sailed on the Prince of Wales in 1813. (2) Typhoid fever broke out during the voyage and the ship’s captain landed the passengers at Churchill Fort rather than York Factory. The colonists spent the winter at a camp about 15 miles up the Churchill River and did not arrive at Red River until the summer of 1814. Barbara married John Matheson (3513), son of Hugh Matheson and Jean Polson, on July 22, 1814. The colony was continually harassed by the North West Company and in June 1815, the majority of the settlers left for Upper Canada. Barbara, her husband, and Heman left the settlement with this group, so were gone by the time their parents and siblings reached Red River later that year.
In 1817, Lord Selkirk granted James Sutherland Lot #1 of those surveyed by Peter Fidler. James seemed never to have been satisfied at the settlement and in 1819 he went to Upper Canada to visit. The following summer he returned to Red River, then departed again in the NWC canoes for Upper Canada, accompanied by his wife, son James and daughter Isabella. They made their way to West Gwillimbury, Simcoe County, where Heman and Barbara were located. He died ca 1828.
When James Sutherland took his family from Red River to Upper Canada in 1820, two daughters remained at the settlement: Janet (Jannet) and Catherine (Karthrine). Janet had married Beth Bethune/Beaton about 1817. Beth drowned in 1822 and in 1824 Janet married Donald McDonald. They moved to West Gwillimbury ca 1825. In 1821, Catherine married Arthur Campbell. They moved to Upper Canada in 1825.
(1) HBCA C.1/345 passenger list of the Hadlow outward bound 1815; also LAC Selkirk Papers, vol. 5, pp.1659-1661, List of passengers landed at York Fort 26th August 1815
(2) HBCA C.1/778 passenger list of the Prince of Wales outward bound 1813