John Sutherland, born 1808 in Caen, Sutherlandshire, was the son of Robert Sutherland and Janet Matheson-3511. (1) He immigrated to Red River with his widowed mother in 1823. Janet sailed on the Prince of Wales and John was a passenger on the Eddystone, which sailed in convoy with the Prince. (2) The Eddystone carried a small group of men and boys for York Factory and the Colony who were transferred to the Prince of Wales in Hudson Strait. This arrival date is corroborated by his scrip application, in which he stated that he had arrived at Red River in 1823.
The Red River census returns for 1827 and 1828 list the Widow Sutherland as head of household and her son living with her. The 1829 census shows John Sutherland, married, as head of his own household. The 1830 census contains the notation that his mother was included in his household.
John’s first wife was his cousin Catherine Matheson-3157, whom he married in 1829. They had three children – Robert, Ann, and Catherine. Ann died at about 2 years of age. John’s wife, Catherine, died in December 1834.
In 1837, John married another cousin – Jane Polson-3738. They had two children, Janet and Ann; Ann died in mid-December 1843 and her mother died two weeks later.
In 1847, John married Margaret Tait-4615. This marriage was a long-lasting one, and produced eleven children. John was known as “Big John” in the settlement. He was an Elder of Kildonan Presbyterian Church. He originally farmed along the Red River, but moved to Headingley about 1860. He died at Headingley in 1891 and was buried in Kildonan Presbyterian churchyard. Margaret died in Bathgate, North Dakota, in 1901 and was also buried at Kildonan.
(1) Daughter of Hugh Matheson-3509 and Jean Polson-3510
(2) HBCA C.1/800 passenger list of the Prince of Wales outward bound 1823; passengers from the Orkneys to York Fort – Janet Manson (Matheson) #29; passengers from the Eddystone to York Fort – John Sutherland #12