John McLean (ca. 1798-1890)


  • Patrick O'Flaherty



Biographies, Expeditions, Explorers, Fur trade, History, Hudson's Bay Company, McLean, John, ca. 1798-1890, Canada, Fort Simpson, N.W.T., Fort Smith, Kuujjuaq, Québec, Labrador, Ungava, Baie d'


[John McLean's book, Notes of a Twenty-five Years' Service in the Hudson's Bay Territory, provides insight into the type of individual on whose industry the wealth of the Company was founded.] ... After initial brief employment by the North West Company, he entered the service of the HBC following the union of the two companies in 1821, and until 1833 worked as a fur trader in the Ottawa Valley. ... In 1833 he was transferred to the Company's western department, and his book describes his trek overland to the North Pacific slope of the Rockies .... In 1837 he began the greatest adventure of his life, when he was appointed by Simpson to take charge of what was termed the "Ungava venture", i.e., the quixotic attempt to open up a fur trade in the interior of the Labrador peninsula. [His explorations of this area are impressive. McLean was the first European to describe Grand (now Churchill) Falls, which he eventually managed to navigate around after much hardship.] ... his brilliant expeditions were landmarks in the story of northern exploration. ...






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