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MacKay and McKay Study - Canadian Connection

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Notable MacKay's/McKay's

Dictionary of Canadian Biography

  • Alexander MacKay, (he also signed McKay), fur trader and explorer; b. c. 1770, probably in the Mohawk valley of New York, son of Donald McKay and Elspeth (Elspy) Kennedy; m. à la façon du nord Marguerite Waddens, daughter of Jean-Étienne Waddens*, and they had one son, Thomas McKay, and three daughters; another woman was likely the mother of his son Alexander Ross McKay; d. c. 15 June 1811 in Clayoquot Sound (B.C.). Alexander MacKay participated in two momentous events in the history of North American exploration and westward expansion. As lieutenant in Alexander Mackenzie’s expedition to the Pacific Ocean on behalf of the North West Company in 1793, he was among the first Europeans to cross the breadth of the continent. In 1811, as a Pacific Fur Company partner, he became one of the founders of Astoria (Oreg.), the first English-speaking settlement on the Pacific coast.
  • MacKAY, ALEXANDER HOWARD, educator and scientist; b. 19 May 1848 in Plainfield, N.S., son of John MacKay and Barbara MacLean; m. 26 Oct. 1882 Maude Augusta Johnston, daughter of Dr George Moir Johnston*, in Pictou, N.S., and they had one son and one daughter; d. 19 May 1929 in Dartmouth and was buried in Scotsburn, N.S. Most of MacKay’s many activities related to his interest in education and science. Alexander Howard MacKay is the author of “Leading to technical education,” Mining Soc. of Nova Scotia, Journal (Halifax), 7 (1902–3): 49–54. Other of his publications may be found in “Bibliography of the members of the Royal Society of Canada,” comp. J. G. Bourinot, RSC, Trans., 1st ser., 12 (1894), proc.: 57, and Science and technology biblio.
  • MACKAY, ALEXANDER McLELLAN, businessman and politician; b. 1834 in Pictou County, N.S.; m. 18 Oct. 1859 Elizabeth O’Neill in Pictou, and they had five daughters, one of whom died in infancy, and four sons; d. 24 Nov. 1905 in St John’s. After teaching briefly, Alexander Mackay worked as a telegrapher in Halifax, Hamilton, Upper Canada, and New York. He went to Newfoundland in January 1857 as local superintendent of the New York, Newfoundland and London Telegraph Company. He was responsible in 1885 for establishing at St John’s the first public telephone system in Newfoundland. Mackay had become active in the social and cultural life of St John’s. A leading mason, he was a provincial grand master from 1867 until his death. Mackay had entered politics in 1878 as a supporter of William Vallance Whiteway and his railroad policy. He was elected by acclamation in Burgeo and LaPoile and served in Whiteway’s cabinet as minister without portfolio from 1882 to 1884.
  • Angus McKay, ANGUS (baptized Auguste), Métis politician and Indian agent; b. 1 Nov. 1836 in Edmonton House (Edmonton, Alta), son of James McKay and Marguerite Gladu; m. Virginie Rolette, and they had seven children; d. in or after 1897. Angus McKay’s father, a fur trader, was a native of Sutherlandshire, Scotland, and his mother was of mixed Cree and French Canadian ancestry.
  • MACKAY, DONALD, fur trader and office holder; b. 1753 in Gordonbush, Scotland; d. 26 June 1833 in Barneys River, N.S. When he entered the northwest fur trade in the spring of 1779 Donald Mackay’s pugnacious character had already been formed by his service in the British army during the early campaigns of the American revolution. He left Montreal as the clerk of John Ross and, after several independent traders had combined forces at Grand Portage (near Grand Portage, Minn.), to form the North West Company he became a clerk in the new organization. According to family tradition, his country wife, the daughter of HBC officer James Sutherland, was killed by angry Indians, leaving him with two sons, William and Donald. He and his Scottish wife, Mary McKenzie, had several children. Mackay immigrated to Nova Scotia in 1822 with his Scottish wife and family and settled in present-day Pictou County. He was a colourful character and a subject of local folklore when he died in 1833.
  • MACKAY, GEORGE LESLIE, educator, Presbyterian missionary, dentist, anthropologist, and author; b. 21 March 1844 in Zorra Township, Upper Canada, youngest of six children of George MacKay, a farmer, and Helen Sutherland; m. May 1878 Tui Chang-mia, and they had a son and two daughters; d. 2 June 1901 in Tamsui (Tanshui, Republic of China). Note see below for book Pioneer Life in Zorra by Rev. W. A. MacKay p384
  • MACKAY, JOHN ALEXANDER, Church of England priest, educator, and translator; b. 14 July 1838 in Mistassini (Que.), tenth of the twelve children of William McKay and Mary Bunn, who were both of mixed blood; brother of Joseph William McKay*; m. 4 Aug. 1864 Margaret Drever, sister of Jean Anne*, in Red River (Man.), and they had five daughters and one son; d. 26 Nov. 1923 in Battleford, Sask., and was buried in Prince Albert, Sask. The son and grandson of Hudson’s Bay Company men, John A. Mackay eschewed a career in the fur trade in favour of mission work. He received his initial training as a catechist under the Reverend John Horden* at Moose Factory (Ont.) and then continued his studies in the late 1850s at St John’s College in Red River. His ordination as a priest on 29 May 1862 was part of the mid-19th-century attempt of the Church Missionary Society to create an indigenous native clergy in Rupert’s Land.
  • MACKAY, JOHN, assistant ship’s surgeon; fl. 1785–87. Little is known of John Mackay’s life until late in 1785. At that date he embarked with an expedition which was sailing from Bombay (India) under the leadership of Madras merchant James Charles Stuart Strange to trade with the coastal Indians of present-day British Columbia. According to Alexander Walker, who took part in the venture and who later interviewed him, Mackay was a native of Ireland who had received some medical training but had enlisted in the service of the East India Company as a private soldier.
  • MACKAY (MacKay, McKay), JOSEPH, businessman and philanthropist; b. 18 Sept. 1810 at Kildonan (Highland), Scotland, son of William McKay and Ann Matheson; d. 6 June 1881 in Montreal, Que. Joseph Mackay was educated in Scotland. In 1832 he immigrated to Montreal where he established a wholesale dry goods business on Rue Saint-Paul. His brother Edward (b. 13 March 1813 in Kildonan) left Scotland in 1840, settled first in Kingston, Upper Canada, and then after six months moved to Montreal and became a clerk in Joseph’s firm. He was made a partner in 1850. The same year their nephew Hugh (b. 1832 in Caithness) arrived from Scotland and entered the business; he was admitted to partnership in 1856. The business flourished and in 1860 Mackay Brothers moved into a large new building on McGill Street.
  • McKAY (Mackay), JOSEPH WILLIAM, fur trader, explorer, businessman, politician, jp, and office holder; b. 31 Jan. 1829 at Rupert’s House (Waskaganish, Que.), son of William McKay and Mary Bunn, both of mixed blood; m. 16 June 1860 Helen Holmes in Victoria (B.C.), and they had four daughters and two sons; d. there 21 Dec. 1900. He joined the Hudson’s Bay Company on 1 June 1844, at age 15, and was sent to Fort Vancouver (Vancouver, Wash.) Though nominally a fur trader, McKay was also involved in the exploration, economic development, and colonization of Vancouver Island. McKay’s varied career, which spanned the fur trade, colonial, and provincial eras, reflects the diversity of the HBC’s interests in British Columbia. In 1872, when requesting a promotion, he had pointed out to the company that he had “been Sailor, Farmer, Coal Miner, packer, Salesman, Surveyor, explorer, Fur Trader and Accountant in Your Service.” Like several of his colleagues, McKay made a natural transition from fur trader to Indian agent, and like most of his contemporaries he exhibited an abiding personal interest in the development of natural resources.
  • MACKAY, ROBERT WALTER STUART, author, publisher, and librarian; b. c. 1809 in Scotland, son of Donald Mackay of the 42nd Foot; m. Christina —, and they had at least one daughter; d. 9 Oct. 1854 in Montreal. Robert Walter Stuart Mackay immigrated to British North America in 1840 and entered the publishing business as a book agent after his arrival. Between 1842 and his death in 1854 he was a prolific compiler of statistical works about the Canadas and their municipalities which constitute an invaluable source of information for their history. Mackay’s publications were primarily of two types: guide-books and directories.
  • William McKay, fur trader, militia officer, and Indian Department official; b. 1772, probably in the Mohawk valley of New York, son of Donald McKay and Elspeth (Elspy) Kennedy; d. 18 Aug. 1832 in Montreal and was buried in Mount Royal Cemetery. While in the northwest McKay had married, according to the custom of the country, Josette Latour, but she probably remained in the northwest when he retired and she later became the country wife of NWC trader John Haldane*. On 15 Oct. 1808 at Montreal McKay married Eliza Davidson, daughter of the late Arthur Davidson*, a distinguished local judge. The couple would have two sons, one of whom survived infancy.
  • MacKAY, WILLIAM,] physician and politician; b. 11 Sept. 1847 in Earltown, N.S., son of John MacKay and Dolina MacKay; m. there 10 Nov. 1875 Catherine Campbell Sutherland, and they had three children, one of whom became a physician; d. 8 Nov. 1915 in Reserve Mines, N.S. He obtained his md on 10 Nov. 1873. After his graduation he practised with his brother, Daniel G. MacKay, at Little Glace Bay (Glace Bay), Cape Breton Island, but in May 1874 he was appointed resident physician to three local collieries. MacKay was instrumental in organizing and perfecting a system of quarantine of infectious and contagious diseases for the mining districts, and it worked so satisfactorily that the municipal council caused it to be applied to all Cape Breton County.

General Canada




  • The Township of Warwick:A Story Through Time [1] [2] by the Warwick Township History Committee - John Henry McKay and Family]
  • McKay Public School was erected in 1924 at the corner of Fielden Avenue and Killaly Street East in Port Colborne. The school was dedicated to the memory of Donald William McKay, principal of Port Colborne schools for thirty-seven years, born April 3, 1851 and died June 1, 1907. It was erected by his pupils as a token of esteem and affection.

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Categories: Clan MacKay