John Sutherland (52), his wife Christy (45) and their family sailed on the Prince of Wales for Red River in 1823. (1) This family was originally from Kildonan, Sutherlandshire, although they were living in Latheron, Caithness, at the time they emigrated. The Old Parish Registers record the marriage of John Sutherland, Soldier, of Balnavaliach, and Christy Sutherland, Dalvate, on 29 March 1795. The OPRs also include the births of five children: John (1796), George (1800), Katherine (1803), Margaret (1805) and Alexander (1808). The ship’s passenger list shows that John and Christy were accompanied by three children: Kate, Margaret and Alexander. Also on board the ship were John Sutherland, age 27, and his wife Betty. The passenger list does not indicate that John was a son of John and Christy, but it is probable. George Sutherland did not leave Scotland at that time; however, a man named George Sutherland came to the settlement in 1830, (2) and it is possible that he was their son. He married Henrietta Gunn in 1837.
Upon their arrival at the settlement, the two Sutherland girls seem quickly to have attracted the attention of the colony bachelors. In December 1823, Margaret Sutherland married Jeremiah Sutherland, and Catherine married George McBeath. Jeremiah Sutherland died in 1829 and his widow, Margaret, married James Matheson, son of Alexander Matheson of Coirag, in 1831. James and Margaret and their children went to Jo Daviess County, Illinois, in the mid-1830s. George McBeath and family went to the Talbot Settlement in Upper Canada in 1838. Alexander, the youngest child of John and Christy, remained at Red River. He married Christina McBeath in 1836 and had a family of six children.
During their years at Red River, John and Christy farmed at Frog Plain and John consequently became known by his residence… John Sutherland of Frog Plain. Christy died in 1853 and John in 1863. At the time of his death, he was reputed to be 103. This advanced age does not agree with his age as given on the ship’s list, which would give him a life span of about 92 years. They are both buried in St. John’s churchyard.
(1) HBCA C.1/800, Passenger list of the Prince of Wales, outward bound 1823
(2) HBCA C.1/918, Passenger list of the Prince Rupert, outward bound 1830.