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Gavin Hamilton's Geni Profile

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About Gavin Hamilton

GAVIN HAMILTON (1835-1909)

Commissioned Officer of the Hudson's Bay Company: A pioneer among pioneers, and one of the notable factors of the early Hudson Bay days of the province of British Columbia

Gavin Hamilton is the son of Doctor John Macaulay Hamilton and his wife Marion Sibbald Rae. He was born on 1 January 1836 and his baptism was registered on 7 January 1836, at Hoy and Graemsay in Orkney, Scotland. Hoy and Graemsay Baptismal Records

Evidence from the Orkney Census Returns

Stromness 1851

Main Street in Stromness (1) John M Hamilton, (M), 50, Head, Mar, Justice of the Peace & Agent for Lloyds, Hoy (2) Marion Hamilton, (F), 42, Wife, Mar, Orphir (3) Marion Hamilton, (F), 18, Dau, S, England, Chatham (4) Gavin Hamilton, (M), 15, Son, S, Scholar, Stromness (5) John Hamilton, (M), 13, Son, Scholar, Stromness (6) Helen Hamilton, (F), 11, Dau, Scholar, Stromness (7) Margaret Hamilton, (F), 9, Dau, Scholar, Stromness (8) Katharine Hamilton, (F), 7, Dau, Scholar, Stromness (9) Thomas Hamilton, (M), 4, Son, Scholar, Stromness (10) Colin Hamilton, (M), 3, Son, Stromness (11) Jessie Hamilton, (F), 1, Dau, Stromness (12) James McKay, (M), 27, Servant, S, Out Door Servant, Stenness (13) Jane Tait, (F), 26, Servant, S, House Servant, Stromness (14) Betsy Flett, (F), 27, Servant, S, House Servant, Stenness (15) Katharine Gray, (F), 19, Servant, S, Nursery Maid, Stromness (16) Betsy Sutherland, (F), 16, Servant, S, House Servant, Stromness [Orkney Family History Society: 1851 Census Return for Stromness]

Biographical Account

Mark Huston (A descendant) writes: Young Gavin Hamilton left the Orkneys in August, 1852, aboard the Norman Morison, and arrived at Victoria in January, 1853. He began his career with the Hudson's Bay Company as an apprentice clerk at Fort Langley. According to the History of the Northern Interior of British Columbia, by A.G. Morice, "he served under J. M. Yale, 'a fine specimen of a trader, though a very diminutive man,' as Hamilton wrote many years after" [The Children of Fort Langley]

Mark Huston also points out, that after Chief Trader, Peter Ogden's death, Gavin Hamilton, "heretofore a simple clerk, was at once promoted to a Factorship [at Fort St. James] and entrusted with the direction of affairs." He continues with, "G. Hamilton had the advantage of being very well connected. His grandmother was a near relative of Lord Macaulay, the historian, and by his maternal side he was a nephew of Dr. J. Rae, the explorer, while one of his cousins was Sir Robert Hamilton, at one time Governor of Tasmania." After leaving Fort Langley, according to HBC records, Gavin Hamilton worked as a clerk at Babine and McLeod Lake before Fort St. James. He was "Clerk in charge of district" there for 1870-1872, and then Factor for 1872-1878 [The Children of Fort Langley]


Gavin Hamilton died in Victoria on 30 Jul 1909 [British Columbia Death Registrations, 1872-1986, index and images, FamilySearch] Death came quietly and peacefully. He had looked death so often in the face with coolness and self control that it had lost all its terrors for him.The end came very suddenly and was almost without pain [The Children of Fort Langley]


Gavin Hamilton is buried in Ross Bay Cemetery in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada [Find A Grave] The inscription on his Memorial Stone reads as follows: In Memory of Gavin Hamilton a Commissioned Officer of the Hudson's Bay Co. and for 53 years a resident of BC. Born in Stromness, Orkney Islands, Jan 1, 1835 Died in Victoria Jul 30, 1909 After life's fitful fever, he sleeps.

Marriage and Family

Gavin Hamilton married Margaret Julia Ogden, daughter of Chief Trader, Peter Ogden, and Phrisine Brabant, probably about 1862, in the Stuart Lake region.They had 16 children, although two died very early in life.The family moved to 150 Mile House in the late 1870s, after he retired from the HBC, so that the children could attend school at St. Joseph's Mission. According to Branwen Patenaude, in Trails to Gold (Vol. 2): Roadhouses of the Cariboo, "In the summer of 1878, Hamilton had met Bates, who offered to sell him the 150 Mile Ranch and roadhouse. This suited Hamilton, and a deal was made. The asking price of $35,000 included the flour and sawmill machinery." The family was soon beset with disasters, including fire and flood, as well as the mysterious death of their two-year old daughter, Christine Mary Hamilton. Coupled with some poor management, the Hamiltons sold the 150 Mile House and moved to the Lac La Hache area, around 1883. There they were some of the original European settlers, along with the Ogdens and McKinlays, related through marriage and the Hudson's Bay Company.

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Gavin Hamilton's Timeline

January 1, 1835
Stromness, Orkney, Scotland
Age 28
June 1865
Age 30
Fort St. James, British Columbia, Canada
May 6, 1868
Age 33
Stuart Lake, British Columbia, Canada
September 28, 1869
Age 34
Fort St. James in the Omineca Country, Regional District of Bulkley Nechako, British Columbia, Canada
December 21, 1872
Age 37
Stuarts Lake, British Columbia, Canada
July 23, 1874
Age 39
British Columbia, Canada
December 25, 1875
Age 40
Fort St. James, British Columbia, Canada
January 21, 1877
Age 42
Fort St. James, British Columbia, Canada
May 7, 1884
Age 49
150 Mile House, British Columbia, Canada