John Flett was born in Orkney ca 1784. He came to Rupert’s Land as an employee of the HBC.(1) When the 1815 party of settlers arrived at York Factory, John was appointed steersman on one of the boats which were to convey them to Red River. During the course of this trip, he married Isabella Murray, who had emigrated from Scotland with her siblings and parents Alexander and Elizabeth Murray. (2)
The Fletts were among those settlers who were forced to flee after Seven Oaks in June 1816. They wintered at Jack River, where their first child was born. On their return to the settlement in 1817, John was granted Lot #24 (Peter Fidler’s original survey) by Lord Selkirk. Kildonan Park Golf Course includes a part of his original property. John and Isabella made their permanent home in Red River and raised a large family. The first public school in the settlement was opened in their home in 1847.
John Flett died on 3 January 1865. The entry in the burial register gave his occupation as miller. Isabella died 3 April, 1868. They are both buried in the Kildonan Presbyterian churchyard.
(1) There were numerous John Fletts in the HBC employ, and it is difficult to pinpoint which one is this man and the date when he entered service.
(2) HBCA C.1/345, passenger list of the Hadlow, outward bound, 1815