John Gunn was born in Sutherlandshire ca 1789. He entered the British Army at 18 and served in the 78th Regiment of Foot. Due to an injury, he was released from the service in 1813 as a Chelsea out-pensioner and in May 1815 he married Ann Sutherland of Balnavaliach. Ann was a daughter of William and Isabella Sutherland, who left for Red River in 1815.
John and Ann remained in Scotland and had five children before joining her family at Selkirk’s settlement. Twin daughters, Margaret and Isabel, were born in June 1816 in Balnavaliach. A son William was born in 1818. The family was a victim of the Sutherland Clearances of 1819, and relocated to Latheron, Caithness, along with a number of Kildonan families. Two more children were born in Benicheilt, Latheron: Henrietta (Henny) and Catherine. The Gunn family left Scotland in 1823, sailing on the Prince of Wales to York Factory and arriving at Red River in the fall along with a number of other colonists. Ann Gunn was the only member of William Sutherland’s family to make a permanent home in Red River.
The land at the settlement was originally surveyed by Peter Fidler; the second survey was carried out by William Kempt. According to Kempt’s survey, in 1824 John Gunn was situated on lot #777 on the east side of the Red River. He originally occupied this lot with another settler, Bernard Rhe/Ree who had come to Red River with the de Meurons who accompanied Lord Selkirk in 1816-17.
John and Ann would have seven more children: Alexander (Sandy), Johanna, Donald, Ellen, Ann, Jeremiah, and Robert. John died in Feb. 1866 and Ann in Feb. 1879. They are both buried in Kildonan Presbyterian Churchyard.