William MacKay (1), aged 44, emigrated from Caithness, Scotland, with the 1815 party. (2) He is listed as a shoemaker, and a note beside his name states that he brought out a pair of millstones. His wife Barbara Sutherland, aged 35, and their three children, Betty (10), Dorothy (4), and Janet (2) accompanied him. They arrived at York Factory in late August and set out for Red River. On 8 September 1815, at Painted Stone Carrying Place, en route from York Factory, their fourth child was born. He was baptised Selkirk Thomas Douglas MacKay by acting minister James Sutherland-307, who was also with the third party.
The MacKays spent the first winter at Pembina, returning to Red River in the spring. After Seven Oaks in June 1816, they fled with the other settlers to Jack River House at the north end of Lake Winnipeg where they spent the winter of 1816-17. In the summer of 1817 they returned to the settlement; in August, William was granted Lot #19 by Lord Selkirk. Kildonan Park, Winnipeg, includes a part of his original property.
William died at Red River in April 1849. His burial is recorded in the registers for St. John’s Cathedral, so it is probable that he was buried in the churchyard there. Barbara died in November 1861 and was buried in Kildonan Presbyterian churchyard.
(1) In the earlier records, MacKay is the most common spelling. McKay eventually became the accepted form.
(2) HBCA C.1/345, Passenger list of the Hadlow, outward bound, 1815. Most of the passengers on board the ship had first boarded at Thurso, and then sailed to Stromness. The McKay family first boarded the ship at Stromness.