Angus McPhail

The Hudson's Bay Company Archives has put biographical sheets for some of their employees online.  One for Angus McPhail can be found at:

By Laurel Katernick

     Previously I had said that Angus McPhail was born 2 August 1812 in Shawbost, Ross & Cromarty, Scotland to Duncan McPhail & Catherine McPhail, having found this information in an LDS IGI file, but it appears this may not be accurate.

     Angus McPhail and Francis Xavier Vautrin did arrive together at Fort Langley and both end up being related through marriages of their descendants, not only to each other but also to my family when Angus McPhail's descendent Francis Verdier married Joseph LaFortune, as well as when Francis Xavier's granddaughter married Joseph LaFortune's brother Francis Xavier LaFortune.  Francis Xavier LaFortune is my great grandfather, hence making Joseph LaFortune my great uncle.

     To this I can now add that Angus was also known as Aeneas McPhail, and was born in Gearrannan, Lewis Island, Scotland.1  Lewis is the largest of the islands in the Outer Hebrides.  His actual date of birth at this time is not known.  Oral tradition is strong on these islands and to this day Gealic is still in use.  This would explain Angus' fluency in the language.

     Angus signed on as a labourer for the Hudson's Bay Company in 1837.  He sailed at that time from Stromness, Scotland to York Factory on the Prince Rupert.  The following is a list of his appointments and service while in the employ of the Hudson's Bay Company:2

1837   Signed contract  
1837-1838 General Charges Post: Not yet assigned District: Northern Department
1837-1846 Labourer Post: Fort Langley District: Columbia Department
1846-1855 Dairyman Post: Fort Victoria District: Columbia Department
1855-1856   Listed under "Sundry Accounts" District: Columbia Department

     Upon completion of his service in the Hudson's Bay Company Angus settled on the Saanich Penninsula of Vancouver Island.  Local history has it he was the first white settler in the area.  He was to spend the remainder of his life in the area.

     Angus apparently had 2- 3 wives during his lifetime and 2 daughters, Anne and Mary, that we know of.

     Anne married Alphonse Verdier, and Mary married Frank/Francois Gravelle.3  Descendents of both these families still reside on Vancouver Island to this day.

     Angus McPhail become related to another Fort Langley employee, Francois Xavier Vautrin, through the marriages of their descendents.


1. Angus McPhail's place of birth information courtesy of Phil LaFortune

2. Hudson's Bay Archives, Manitoba, Angus McPhail Biographical Sheet courtesy of Saanich Pioneers Society

3. Victor E. Virgin, History of North & South Saanich Pioneers & District, 4th edition, Saanich Pioneers Society, 1997, 14


Employee Contact Person
Angus McPhail
see also
Francis Xavier Vautrin
Laurel Katernick

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moved 28 July 2002
updated 21 July 2013