John Stuart (explorer)

John Stuart (explorer)

John Stuart (12 September 1780 – 14 January 1847) was a nineteenth century Canadian fur trader and explorer, employed by the North West Company. Stuart is best known as one of the two clerks (the other being James McDougall) who participated in Simon Fraser's explorations of present-day British Columbia, Canada from 1805 to 1808. After Fraser returned to his work in the Athabaska Department in 1809, Stuart was placed in charge of the New Caledonia District from its headquarters at Fort St. James, located on what would be named after him as Stuart Lake . In this position, Stuart was instrumental in establishing a number of new posts, most notably Kamloops House. He was also instrumental in disrupting competition by John Jacob Astor's Pacific Fur Company. Stuart became a partner in the North West Company in 1813 and a Chief Factor in the Hudson's Bay Company after its merger with the North West Company in 1821.

Stuart is noted for his exploration of Fraser Lake, where he and Fraser built a post, now known as Fort Fraser. Stuart Lake and Stuart River, both in British Columbia are named for him. According to Father Adrien-Gabriel Morice, a missionary and historian of northern British Columbia, Stuart "seems to have been one of those well-meaning men who, unconscious of their own idiosyncrasies, make life a burden to others".

At Stuart's initiative, his nephew Donald Smith (later Baron Mt. Royal and Strathcona) was persuaded to come to Canada, where he would play an instrumental role in the building of the Canadian transcontinental railroad.


* [ Biography at the "Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online"]
* [ An account of Stuart's role in the competition between the North West and Pacific Fur Companies ]
* [ BCGNIS listing "Stuart Lake"]

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