Ulrich Kauffman was born in Canton Bern(e), Switzerland, in 1788. At the age of 16, he enlisted in the French army during Napoleon Bonaparte’s first series of campaigns. He served in the Spanish peninsular campaign under Marshall Murat, during which he was taken prisoner by the English and shipped to Canada. (1) Once in Canada, he volunteered for service in the British forces and served in the ranks of the de Meuron regiment. The regiment was demobilized in 1816 and Kauffman was among those recruited by Lord Selkirk to provide an escort for his expedition to Red River, in return for which they were to receive grants of land in the colony. Ulrich originally took up land on Point Douglas.
Kauffman and his compatriots did not find Red River to be what they had hoped, and in 1822 he was one of those who signed a petition to Governor Bulger, requesting passage to Europe or the United States. Ulrich’s desire to leave Red River apparently diminished after he made the acquaintance of Elizabeth McKay, daughter of William McKay-2398 and Barbara Sutherland-2399. Ulrich and Elizabeth were married ca 1824 and their first child was born in 1825. The year 1826 saw the most disastrous flood in the recorded history of Red River, and when the waters receded most of the Swiss settlers and the de Meuron soldiers left for the USA. Ulrich, now a married man with a child, remained at the settlement.
The land on Point Douglas was given up, and the Kauffmans obtained land in Kildonan. The couple had eleven children. Ulrich died at his home on 27 February 1869 and was buried in Kildonan Presbyterian churchyard. Elizabeth died in 1892.
(1) Information taken from obituary published in The Nor’Wester, 6 March 1869.