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William McKay fonds (P178)

1810-1878. - 8 cm of textual records.

Administrative History - Biographical Sketch:

Entering the North West Company in 1790, William McKay (1772-1832) had become a partner by 1796. After being in charge of the posts at Lake Winnipeg (1799) and Portage La Prairie (1805) he retired from the fur trade in 1807. He became a member of the Beaver Club in Montreal and in 1808 married Eliza Davidson. He fought in the War of 1812 and led the British forces to victory at Prairie-du-Chien. After the war he became a lieutenant-colonel and was appointed the Superintendent of Indian Affairs at Drummond Island, Upper Canada (now Michigan). Captain Thomas Anderson served under McKay at Drummond Island as a storekeeper, clerk and interpretor. Drummond Island was occupied by British troops in 1815 but returned to the Americans in 1828.

(Source : Guide to Archival Resources at McGill University : Private Papers At McGill University. McGill University Archives. 1985. Vol.3, p.197)

Scope and Content:

The William McKay fonds pertains to military matters. The fonds mainly consist of commissions, correspondence with Lt. Col. Robert McDouall pertaining to military strategy at Prairie-du-Chien and the importance of Aboriginal people as a military force and copies of correspondence of Capt. Thomas Anderson with Lt Col. Robert McDouall on military actions, supplies and relations with members of the Aboriginal community.

The other portion of the fonds is made up of notebooks pertaining to his tenure as Superintendent of Indian Affairs at Drummond Island.

(Source : Guide to Archival Resources at McGill University : Private Papers At McGill University. McGill University Archives. 1985. Vol.3, p.197)