Kids of Fort Vancouver: George Stewart Simpson

A boy in the fur store holding an animal fur.

Photo: Julie Padgett

George Stewart Simpson

George Stewart Simpson was the son of the most important man in the North American fur trade, but that didn't mean his life was always easy!

George was born in 1827 at the Red River Settlement in Manitoba, Canada. George's father was Sir George Simpson, the governor of the Hudson's Bay Company from 1821 to 1860. Sir George Simpson was in charge of the Hudson's Bay Company's fur trade forts across North America. George's mother was Margaret Taylor, a Métis woman with both European and Native American family. When he was very young, his father left his mother and married another woman. When he was eight years old, George joined the Hudson's Bay Company as an apprentice and was sent to Fort Vancouver with the 1836 fur brigade.

At Fort Vancouver, he lived inside the fort at the Chief Factor's House and lived and played alongside the other children of the house, including Eloisa McLoughlin and Cecilia Douglas. Unlike the girls, he had a job outside the house - beating furs in the fort's Fur Store to remove bugs and dirt so that they could be ready to send to England. Sometimes the fleas from the furs would jump onto George and bite him, giving him itchy sores!

In 1841, when he was 14 years old, George's father came to Fort Vancouver, and together they went to Hawai'i. In Hawai'i, George began an apprenticeship, learning to become a trader at the Hudson's Bay Company post there. When he grew up, George became the Chief Trader at Fort Dunvegan in Alberta, Canada.

Part of a series of articles titled Kids at Fort Vancouver.

Fort Vancouver National Historic Site

Last updated: August 14, 2020