John McLeod was born about 1793 in the Parish of Uig, Rosshire, Scotland. (1) He probably came to Rupert’s Land as a servant of the HBC, but the date of his arrival is unknown. (2) He came to Red River about 1823 and settled in the Little Britain area (St. Andrews).
In 1829, John married Elizabeth Swain, daughter of James Swain Sr (HBC) and a First Nations woman. John and Elizabeth had 14 children. John died in 1873 and was buried in the Old St. Andrews Church cemetery (St. Andrews-on-the-Red). Elizabeth died in 1895.
One of their children was John McLeod (5925)who married Georgiana Franks. Georgiana, born at Red River, was the daughter of James Franks who had arrived at the settlement in 1837 (3) as an employee of the HBC farm. An obituary for John (5925) in the Winnipeg Free Press notes that he was an extremely tall man…6’10”! The obituary gives his age at death as 99 years, although other information shows that this is an exaggeration.
(1) This information was given in the application for scrip by Elizabeth McLeod (born Swain) as heir to her deceased husband. The witnesses to the affidavit were Donald Gunn and John Gunn. Donald Gunn had also been a witness to their marriage.
(2) The HBC records and the ships’ passenger lists include several John McLeods so it is difficult to pinpoint his arrival.
(3) The Red River farm servants arrived at York Factory in 1836, but did not get to Red River until the following summer.