Dr. John McLoughlin The
Hudson's Bay Company and the Northwest Company
The Hudson's Bay Company was established in 1670 under a
charter granted by King Charles II.
The Northwest Company was formed in Montreal in 1783-4. It
became the great rival of the Hudson's Bay Company. Warfare occurred between
the two companies, beginning in 1815. A compromise was finally effected and
in 1821 the Northwest Company coalesced with the Hudson's Bay Company. Dr.
McLoughlin was a partner of the Northwest Company and opposed the coalition
in a most determined manner. He would not sign the final agreement, as he
considered it unfair to himself and to his associates in the Northwest
Company. But the Hudson's Bay Company knew of Dr. McLoughlin, his
resolution, his power, and his capacity, and it employed him as Chief Factor
to manage and to build up the Company's business in the Oregon Country. He
was given plenary powers. He was the man for the place and the time.
Genealogy and Family of Dr. John McLoughlin. Dr. John
McLoughlin was born October 19, 1784, in Parish La Riviere du Loup, Canada,
about one hundred and twenty miles below Quebec, on the south side of the
St. Lawrence River. He was baptized November 3, 1784, at the Parish of
Kamouraska, Canada, there being no Roman Catholic priest at La Riviere du
Loup. Both of his parents were Roman Catholics. His father was John
McLoughlin, a native of Ireland. Of him little is now known, excepting that
he was a man of high character. He was accidentally drowned in the St.
Lawrence River. The date I have been unable to ascertain. It was probably
while his son John was quite young. For convenience I shall hereinafter
speak of John McLoughlin, the younger, as Dr. John McLoughlin, or Dr.
McLoughlin. His mother's maiden name was Angelique Fraser. She was a very
fine woman. She was born in the Parish of Beaumont, Canada, and died in
Canada, July 3, 1842, aged 83 years. Her father was Malcolm Fraser, a native
of Scotland. At the time of his retirement from the army and settlement in
Canada, in 1763, he was a captain in the 84th regiment of the British
regular army. He was at one time a lieutenant in the 78th regiment, known as
the Fraser Highlanders. He spelled his name with two "f's" Ffraser. His
daughter was also related to Gen. Fraser, one of Burgoyne's principal
officers, who was killed at the battle of Saratoga, October 7, 1777.
Dr. John McLoughlin's father and mother had seven
children, of which five were daughters; the youngest daughter died while
young. He was the second child, the eldest son, his only brother, David,
being the third child. It is probable that Dr. John McLoughlin and his
brother David were brought up in the home of their maternal grandfather.
Their only maternal uncle was Samuel Fraser, M. D. He was a lieutenant in
the Royal Highland Regiment (the famous "Black Watch" regiment). He took
part in all the engagements fought by that regiment from 1795 to 1803, in
the Napoleonic wars. Their maternal relatives seem to have exercised a
strong influence on both young John and David McLoughlin. They both became
physicians. David served in the British army, and, after the Battle of
Waterloo, practiced medicine in Paris, France. Dr. John McLoughlin was
educated in Canada and Scotland. He joined the Northwest Company, which was
composed and controlled by very active, practical, and forceful men. In 1821
he was in charge of Fort William, the chief depot and factory of the
Northwest Company, when that Company coalesced with the Hudson's Bay
Company. Fort William is situated on the north shore of Lake Superior, at
the mouth of the Kaministiquia River. It was at Fort William, where he was
stationed for a long time, that he became acquainted with the widow of
Alexander McKay. Dr. McLoughlin married her, the exact date I have been
unable to ascertain. Alexander McKay was a partner of John Jacob Astor in
the Pacific Fur Company. He was killed in the capture, by Indians, of the
ship Tonquin in June, 1811, at Clayoquot Sound, on the west coast of
Dr. John McLoughlin and wife had four children, whose
names in order of birth were as follows: Eliza, John, Eloisa, and David.
They are all dead. Eliza McLoughlin married Captain Epps, an officer in the
English army. John McLoughlin, Jr., was murdered in April, 1842, at Fort
Stikeen, where he was in charge. Eloisa McLoughlin was Dr. McLoughlin's
favorite child. She was married to William Glen Rae at Fort Vancouver in
1838. Rae was appointed, after his marriage, a Chief Trader of the Hudson's
Bay Company. In 1841 he was sent to California to take charge of the
Company's business at Yerba Buena, now San Francisco. He continued in charge
there until his death in 1844. All of their children are dead, excepting two
- Mrs. Theodore Wygant and Mrs. Josiah Myrick, both now living in Portland.
In October, 1850, Mrs. Rae was married to Daniel Harvey. There were three
children by this second marriage, all of whom are now dead. Daniel Harvey
died prior to his wife. She died at Portland in October, 1884. In Portland
and its vicinity there are now living several children of Mrs. Wygant and
Mrs. Myrick, and also several grandchildren of Mrs. Wygant. At Mirabel,
Sonoma County, California, there are now living a son, a daughter, and also
the widow of James W. McL. Harvey, a son of Daniel and Eloisa Harvey. A son
of Mrs. Myrick is living at Los Angeles, California. David McLoughlin, the
youngest child of Dr. McLoughlin, was educated in England. He returned to
Oregon, and later made his home in Idaho, where he died at an advanced age.
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