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MRS JANE KENNEDY (c1791-c1885)
(Last Updated: June 12, 2017)


Mrs.  Jane KENNEDY was an Indian born around 1791 (according to Census 1881), probably in the St Peters Indian Reserve. In DIA correspondence it was stated “Mrs. Jane KENNEDY is a Swampy Indian and like most of these Indians, has White blood in her veins. She never married but has three daughters who by their appearance are Half-breeds. She has drawn Annuities for herself and three daughters from date of Treaty to 1880.” Although only three daughters are referred to in letters she wrote as a very old lady, it seems fairly obvious that there were other children as well.


If Jane never married it raises the possibility that she was actually born a KENNEDY.




The impetus to create this page is a quest to determine the ancestors of Alexander KENNEDY (1852-1935) who married Margaret DENNET. Alex’s parents were Margaret and John KENNEDY who was born around 1810 in the St Peters Indian Reserve. In addition to my own desire to find the ancestors of some of my own relatives, I was further inspired by a young man named Kennedy Jr. who has posted numerous comments and provided valuable insights about this lineage on the Forum of this website; his username on the Forum: Kennedy/ Thomas.


Around 1790 Chief PEGUIS (1774-1864) led his band of Ojibwe Indians from Lake Superior to Red River country and established their main village at Netley Creek south of Lake Winnipeg.


Around 1804 Elder Alexander KENNEDY (1781-1832) began a connubial relationship with Mary Aggathas BEAR (1785-1863) and on Jan 29, 1805 their first child, John Frederick KENNEDY, was born at Cumberland House (SK).



It wasn’t until 1812 that the first Selkirk Settlers began to arrive at Red River.


During 1812-13, the aforementioned Elder Alex KENNEDY was in the Brandon House and Swan River districts and in 1814 he was promoted to a Post Master at Cumberland House. By this time he had six children (John Frederick (age 9), Mary (7), Alexander Jr. (6), Elizabeth (5), James (4), and baby William.


In the following, the denotation S&F refers to the book “The Genealogy of the First Métis Nation”, authored by D.N. Sprague & R.P. Frye first published in 1983. This book presents genealogical information in tabular form, based on information compiled from many sources. The authors admit there are numerous errors to be found. Imperfect as it is, it is often the only documented source to be found for many of the early Red River ancestors; a last resort. Verification from more reliable sources is essential wherever possible.

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The Selkirk Treaty of 1817


In 1817 Lord SELKIRK negotiated a Treaty with the Saulteaux Indians led by Chief PEGUIS (1774-1864). They were granted land on both sides of the Red River running north from Sugar Point to the Netley Creek area south of Lake Winnipeg. At first the area was simply referred to as the Indian Settlement or Chief Peguis’ Reserve. It would later become the St Peters Indian Reserve. Thereafter, the land from Sugar Point south was ‘up for grabs’ by non-Indian settlers.


In 1817 Jane would have been about 26 years old and probably had a few young children, including our John who would have been about seven years old then.


Union of the North West Company (NWC) and the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC)
Arrival of Reverend John WEST


From my own research I have identified a number of other individuals with the name KENNEDY who born between 1810 and 1820, making them also, potentially, Jane’s children. In 1820 those children and their approximate ages were probably as follows: John (age 10), Adam and Ellen (both around 5), Isabella and Antoine (both either babies or toddlers).Two others, Sarah Ann (Nancy) and Elizabeth or Betsy may have been born later.


In 1821 the North West Company (NWC) was absorbed by the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) in a merger that ended many years of bitter and costly fur-trade rivalry that seriously affected their financial stability. As a result, many voyageurs and fur trade employees were either dismissed or retired. These retirees were mostly of Scotch, English, Irish and French Canadian origin. Most of them had acquired Indian wives early in their careers and their children were referred to as Half-breeds or Métis.


In order to establish churches and schools for both settlers and Indians, the HBC brought in the Rev John WEST (1778-1845) of the Church Missionary Society (CMS) as the first chaplain to Rupert’s Land. WEST established the first church and school at St Johns (Kildonan). After three years of service, WEST was replaced by Rev David JONES (1796-1844) who established a 2nd church and school at St Paul (Middlechurch).




Around 1830 son Adam KENNEDY married Elizabeth “Betsy” BIRD, daughter of James “Jimmy Jock” BIRD (1798-1892) and a daughter of Chief PEGUIS. ** MORE ABOUT CHIEF PEGUIS


In 1833 Ellen KENNEDY married Joseph WHITFORD, son of Sarah (Cree) & James Peter WHITFORD (1766-1818), an Englishman.


In 1834 Reverend William COCKRAN (1796-1844)initiated the construction of a log schoolhouse and church at Sugar Point (the first Indian School); the 20' x 40' building also functioned as a teacher's residence and had a loft which doubled as a granary.  It was opened on July 11, 1834, with Joseph COOK (1788-1848), a retired (Métis) HBC trader as the first Teacher; and 32 children in attendance.


On Dec 30, 1835 Isabella KENNEDY married George SETTER, son of Margaret SPENCE & Andrew SETTER (1777-1870) from the Orkneys. ** MORE ABOUT ANDREW SETTER


In 1836 Reverend COCKRAN built the first St Peters Church (of log) near the mouth of Cook’s Creek and it wasn’t officially opened until Jan 4, 1837. Only after that did the term St Peters Reserve and St Peters Parish come into being.


On Feb 7, 1838 PEGUIS was converted to Christianity (Anglican) by COCKRAN and baptized as William KING, his wife as Victoria. Thereafter, decreed the Chief, “My sons are now PRINCEs, and shall be known by that name.”


Around 1845 son John KENNEDY married Margaret (possibly SINCLAIR)


Around 1847 Antoine KENNEDY married Sally ERASMUS, probably the daughter of Kitty BUDD & Peter ERASMUS (1794-1849) from Denmark. ** MORE ABOUT PETER ERASMUS


PALLISER & HIND Expedition
Beginning of the St Peters Land Dispute


By 1857 the Canadian Government had firmly established settlements in Upper Canada, and now politicians  were allowed to look to the prairies as a possible region to open up for immigrants. Two explorers, John PALLISER (1817-1887) and Henry Youle HIND (1823-1908), would set out that year on a "scientific expedition" to discover if this land was suitable for mass settlement.


Part of Hind's Map of 1857

Part of Henry Hind’s Map based on his observations of 1857


Throughout the 1850’s, Chief PEGUIS pressed for the rights of his people to lands and resources at Red River. In 1857 and 1859, he dictated two letters regarding the land situation. Debate about land claims raged on for the rest of the decade.


Chief PEGUIS dies and Henry “Red Eagle” PRINCE becomes Chief


On Sep 24, 1864 Chief PEGUIS died and his son, Chief Henry “Red Eagle” PRINCE (1819-1902) became Chief of the St Peters Band. ** MORE ABOUT CHIEF HENRY “RED EAGLE” PRINCE


Canadian Confederation


On July 1, 1867 the British colonies in North America were united under the British North American Act to become the Dominion of Canada.  Sir John A MacDONALD (1815-1891) was appointed as Canada’s first Prime Minister. William McDOUGALL (1822-1905) became the Minister of Public Works, and he began negotiations to acquire Rupert’s Land from the HBC. Land speculators saw an opportunity to make a fortune by being the first to grab up the most valuable farm sites. There were many easterners who jumped at the opportunity to acquire free land for homesteads.


Colonel John Stoughton DENNIS (1820-1885), a soldier and a surveyor, was sent to delineate plots of land for settlers.

It was during DENNIS’ surveys that the properties occupied by Adam KENNEDY (Lot 19) and John KENNEDY were established, later Lots.


Red River Rebellion
Creation of the Province of Manitoba



On Oct 11, 1869, Louis RIEL (1844-1885) placed his foot on the surveyors’ chain to tell them their work was finished! This marked the beginning of another Red River Métis Rebellion.


In 1870 the Rebellion ended and Manitoba became a Province.


St Peter’s Parish was occupied in part by white and Métis settlers who had received title to their river lots from Chief PEGUIS. In addition, some of the followers of Chief PEGUIS had acquired land for their own use from the Chief and were farming alongside their non-Indian neighbors. This patchwork of ownership within the Indian Settlement would create havoc in the ensuing decades, and would ultimately culminate in the surrender of the St Peter’s lands and the removal of the Peguis Band from the Red River Valley.


In 1870 the only KENNEDY Families recorded (re S&F) in St Peters Parish were:
John KENNEDY (age 60; b-1810; wife was Marguerite b-1820)
No children recorded with them. Son Alex recorded separately as follows:

Son Alexander KENNEDY (age 23; b-1847; wife was Marguerite DENNET)

Children: William (age 4), Alexander (3) and John  (age 1)

Adam KENNEDY (age 55; b-1815; wife was Betsy BIRD b-1825)

No children recorded with them

AntoineKENNEDY (age 50; b-1820; wife was Sarah ASMAS (ERASMUS) b-1821)
Children: Ann (age 19), John (15) and Catherine (age 12)

Andrew KENNEDY (age 40; b-1830; wife was Marie COCHRANE b-1840)

Children: John (age 8), Marie (6), Emma (4), Jane (2) and Sarah (age 1)


Signing of Indian Treaty Number One – a New St Peters Reserve


In 1871, Wemyss McKenzie SIMPSON (1824-1894) was selected by the Department of Indian Affairs (DIA) as General Indian Agent, to make Treaties with the Indian Tribes, and to represent the Government in the Northwest; as Commissioner.


St Peters Reserve No, 1

Plan showing boundaries St Peters Reserve No.1


Census of 1881


In the 1881 Census the only relevant KENNEDY names recorded in St Peters area were:
1. Mrs. Jane KENNEDY, an Indian (age 90; born c1791). Jane was recorded in the St Peters household
        of Margaret and John SANDISON (1820-1916).
2. Margaret KENNEDY, widow of John KENNEDY b-1810. Margaret is 70 years old and is living in the
        household of William SINCLAIR b-1836. Margaret died two years later (1883).
        3. ALEXANDER KENNEDY (age 29; b-1852); wife Margaret (age 28; b-c1853) and six children.
        This is the child of the above Margaret & John KENNEDY (b-1810)
4. Adam KENNEDY (age 66; b-c1815), Indian Hunter; wife Elizabeth, age 65 (also Indian).


Mrs. Jane KENNEDY requests a Discharge from Treaty in order to receive Scrip


In the Library of Archives Canada (LAC) correspondence can be found that reveals all kinds of information previously unknown to me about our KENNEDY Family. The first of several letters is dated Sep 24, 1883, from Mrs Jane KENNEDY (then living in Selkirk) to the Honorable John NORQUAY (1841-1889). NORQUAY in turn wrote a letter on Oct 3, 1883 to John P WRIGHT, Supt, Indian Office, Winnipeg in which he said “I have to request that you will report all the facts in connection with the case of Jane KENNEDY of St Peters who claims that she and her family are entitled to a Halfbreed Grant or to be paid the sum amount the she alleges is justly due them for Annuities as Members of an Indian Band.” Her ‘family’ that she is referring to in these letters is herself and her daughters, Elizabeth, Sarah Ann and Isabella.


Her letters are handwritten and are very difficult to read. They appear to have been written on her behalf by Reverend Abraham COWLEY (1816-1887) who was then the incumbent clergyman for St Peters at that time. Numerous government officials wrote letters back and forth regarding her case, including the Honorable John NORQUAY (1841-1889) who wrote a letter on Oct 3, 1883 in which he said “I have to request that you will report all the facts in connection with the case of Jane KENNEDY of St Peters who claims that she and her family are entitled to a Halfbreed Grant or to be paid the sum amount the she alleges is justly due them for Annuities as Members of an Indian Band.”


Nov 21, 1883:  From Indian Office, Winnipeg: - - In reply I beg to state that Jane KENNEDY is a Swampy Indian and like most of these Indians, has White blood in her veins. She never married but has three daughters who by their appearance are Half-breeds. She has drawn Annuities for herself and three daughters from date of Treaty to 1880. Since that date she has not drawn any payments, having been absent. I am informed by Agent MUCKLE that what she wants is commutation of her Annuity. - - Signed by E McCOLL, Supt of Indian Agencies. References here are to Indian Agent Alexander MUCKLE (1844-1908) and Ebenezer McCOLL (1835-1902).


May 19, 1884: From MUCKLE: - - that Mrs KENNEDY who sometime ago received consent of the St Peters Band with her daughters to withdraw from Treaty, asked me to call on her at Selkirk, which on my doing, she informed me that she did not want her commutation money but that she wanted either Scrip or land as a Halfbreed.

Sep 23, 1884: Jane to McCOLL: I, Jane KENNEDY, a member of the St Peters Band - - hereby make application to Withdraw from Treaty as provided in Section 14 of the Indian Act of 1880, and desire that annuity money drawn by me for myself and children from date of the Treaty to the summer of 1880, to be deducted from my land or Scrip which we may be entitled to receive from the Government a provided in said Act.


Jane would have been about 93 years old when she wrote that last letter in 1884. I have found no other references to her thereafter.


Please post comments and queries under this Link: FORUM DISCUSSING MRS JANE KENNEDY


======================= Family Details =======================


Potential Children of Mrs Jane KENNEDY:
1. c1810 JOHN KENNEDY (m. Margaret SINCLAIR?)
2. c1815 ADAM KENNEDY (m. Elizabeth “Betsy” BIRD)
3. c1820 ISABELLA KENNEDY (m. George SETTER)

5. c1821 ELLEN KENNEDY (m. Joseph WHITFORD)
6. c1824 NANCY KENNEDY (m. Alexander SANDERSON)
** Perhaps the Sarah Ann mentioned in her Letters

        ** Mentioned in her letters