John Sutherland, aged about 50, emigrated from Kildonan, Sutherlandshire, in 1813. He was accompanied by his wife Catherine (Grant) and four children: George (18), Donald (16), Janet (14) and Alexander (9). (1) According to the Scottish Old Parish Registers, the children were actually a year or two older than the ages given on the ship’s list. The registers also include a son William, born in 1800. There is no record of William having accompanied the family, so it is probable that he died at a young age in Scotland. Also on board the ship were Angus McKay and his wife Jean, who was a daughter of John Sutherland and Catherine Grant.
Typhoid fever broke out on the ship, and the passengers were landed at Churchill Fort instead of York Factory. John died of typhoid at Churchill Fort on 2 Sept. 1813. The settlers wintered at Colony Creek camp about 15 miles up the Churchill River. In April 1814, the fittest of them, including George, Donald, and Janet Sutherland, and also Angus and Jean McKay, trekked on snowshoes to York Factory. Jean fainted after seven days of snow shoeing, at which time it was revealed that she was four months pregnant. It was feared that she would miscarry, but after a few days rest, she was able to carry on. They reached Red River 22 June. The settlers who had remained at Churchill were later picked up by HBC boats and arrived at the settlement in August 1814. Jean McKay gave birth to a healthy son on 23 August 1814 at Red River.
After a winter of harassment by the North West Company, Widow Catherine (Grant) Sutherland was among the approximately 140 colonists who left for Upper Canada in Nor’Wester canoes in June 1815. She was accompanied by the four children who had sailed with her on the Prince of Wales and also Angus and Jean McKay and their new son. They all remained in the east, where Janet married Heman Sutherland, another member of the 1813 group.
The Sutherland’s eldest son, John, also sailed for York Factory in 1813. He was on the Eddystone as an HBC servant. (2) The Eddystone was not affected by typhus and her passengers were transferred to the Brazen in Hudson Strait, not to the Prince of Wales as originally intended. The Brazen discharged her passengers at Churchill Fort and the young HBC men made their way partly by boat and partly on foot to York Factory. John completed his service with the HBC and came to Red River in May 1816. He was with the settlers who fled to Jack River after the Seven Oaks debacle. He and Margaret McBeath were married in December at Jack River and returned to the colony in the summer of 1817. They and their twelve children left for Scotch Grove, Iowa, in 1837.
(1) HBCA C.1/778, passenger list of the Prince of Wales, outward bound, 1813.
(2) HBCA C.1/298, passenger list of the Eddystone, outward bound 1813, men to be put on board the Prince of Wales in Hudson Strait.