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JOHN KIPLING SR (1724-1794)
 ‘BAY WIVES’ (?)
(Last Updated: January 12, 2016)


John KIPLING was born Apr 27, 1724 at Barmingham in the Parish of Stockton-on-Tees, UK. He is generally accepted as the true patriarch of the North American KIPLING families.


Most genealogists refer to the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives (HBCA) for basic information about John KIPLING and his service with the Company (HBC). ** MORE ABOUT JOHN KIPLING in HBCA


Marriage to Hannah HEALY


On Mar 3, 1762 John KIPLING (of Parish of Ferrybridge - Ferry Fryston) married Hannah HEALY (1734-1829). Their child, Thomas KIPLING, is on record as baptised on Sep 3, 1761 in West Yorkshire.


United Kingdom

Google Map of the United Kingdom: Stockton-on-Tees is located east of Darlington
Is it Barmingham or Birmingham? (We have Birmingham on the above map)
Wikipedia describes Ferrybridge as a village on the River Aire in West Yorkshire


Hudson’s Bay Company Service
Fort Albany - Henley House


In 1766 John KIPLING (age 42) began his service with the HBC at Albany Post (Fort Albany on map below) as a Carpenter and Sawyer. He seens to have essentially abandoned his wife and family in England and would spend the rest of his life in the Albany District (except for one trip home about 25 years later; two years before he died).


When John arrived at Albany, Humphrey MARTEN (1729-1792) was the Chief Factor (from 1764 to 1774). Throughout MARTEN’s career the HBC was under increasing pressure from competition in the interior by Montreal-based traders. His primary object (and that of the London Committee) became the re-establishment of Henley House (at the junction of the Albany and Kenogami rivers) which had been sacked by WAPPISIS in 1755. Without company servants on the Albany River encouraging Indians to go down to the coast, Albany’s trade system would be controlled by the Canadians. Second in command at Albany was John FAVEL(1740-1784). This is the John FAVEL who married TITAMEG.

** MORE ABOUT JOHN FAVEL (under construction; check later)


Despite stalling by MARTEN’s men, who feared for their scalps, Henley House was finally completed in 1768 (with John KIPLING as one of the builders).


Most of John’s career would be spent at Henley House and Gloucester House, further up the Albany River (see map below), with frequent trips to the main base at Albany Factory where he usually spent the winter.


An Indian Wife named Nancy


By about 1773 John had begun a relationship with an Indian woman named Nancy (probably Cree or Ojibwe).


During the winter of 1773-74 John accompanied Matthew COCKING (1743-1799) on a trip from Albany to Henley House (they arrived in December) and back; ‘a fatiguing journey owing to the prodigious roughness of the ice’. At the time, COCKING was second in command at York Factory.


It was around 1774 that Nancy gave birth to a son, John KIPLING JR, at Albany.


In 1774 Thomas HUTCHINS (1742-1790), a surgeon and naturalist, became the Chief Factor at Albany (for the next eight years). ** MORE ABOUT HUTCHINS in DCBO 


In January of 1775 FAVEL recorded that he and one of the Packet men were ill. The "Packet man (mailman) was probably John KIPLING). 


In June of 1776 KIPLING was appointed in command of Henley House by HUTCHINS, on FAVEL's departure (to Albany).

In August of 1776 KIPLING relinquished command of Henley, upon the arrival of Edward JARVIS (?-1800).  According to HUTCHINS, the Indians had refused to guide JARVIS on his first journey because they were opposed to Company exploration, finding “it more beneficial to have two places of opposite Interests to resort to, where each by presents endeavors’ to gain them for the other.” Having refused to go inland again after the 1776 expedition, he spent the years 1776–78 shuttling between Albany and Henley. ** MORE ABOUT JARVIS in DCBO


From September until October (when John FAVEL returned), KIPLING was again temporarily in command of Henley.


The Founding of Gloucester House


Albany River Forts


In June of 1777, KIPLING founded Gloucester House [on Washi Lake some 300 miles up the Albany River; north of Lake Nipigon] He arrived at "the place the Indians appointed for us to build a settlement". 


In December that year (1777), it was recorded that "Mr KIPLING, David MOORE, Thomas FLETT, and Andrew CORRIGAL, with one Indian, arrived at Henley from Gloucester, in a miserable condition, half starved with hunger.  Mr KIPLING informs me they were obliged to leave the House; otherwise in all probability must have perished."  Later that month, after they recovered, these men set off for Albany. 


HBCA: On Jun 30, 1778 John was commissioned as Master of Gloucester House. He returned there the following summer.

On Aug 18, 1778 Orkney man James SUTHERLAND (1751-1797) and seven men arrived at Gloucester with provisions, having journeyed up the Albany River.

Around 1780 (probably earlier, I say) another son, George KIPLING, was born.


In May of 1782 KIPLING wrote a letter from Gloucester to John McNAB at Henley stating that "we all got the scurvy".  In August of 1782, he set off for Albany, once again leaving James SUTHERLAND as summer Master.


The French Capture (briefly) Churchill and York Factory
Matthew TRUTHWAITE arrives at Albany


On Aug 13, 1782 Jean Francois LA PEROUSE (born 1741, a French Naval Officer and Explorer) captured and destroyed Prince of Wales Fort (Churchill) then under Governor Samuel HEARNE who was taken prisoner. Soon after, York Factory surrendered without a fight. John’s previous boss, Humphrey MARTEN, was also taken prisoner.


On Sep 10, 1782, perhaps unaware that La PEROUSE had captured Churchill and York Factory the previous month, Chief Factor HUTCHINS left Albany for good. Much anxiety followed over whether the French would attack other English forts (like Albany) and whether the HBC ships would arrive in the summer of 1783. HUTCHIN’s successor at Albany was surgeon Alfred ROBINSON.


On Oct 10, 1782, Matthew TRUTHWAITE (1753-1793), a "Joiner" (Carpenter), arrived at Henley House from Albany. Matthew was born around 1753 in St Marylebone, England (near London) having signed a five year contract with the HBC.

On Oct 13, TRUTHWAITE set off for Gloucester with John KIPLING, but they were forced to return to Henley on Oct 17 due to river conditions. On Nov 19, they set out once more with 6 sledges, arriving at Gloucester on Dec 15, 1872.



In 1784 John FAVEL died at Albany.


In July of 1784 at Gloucester John recorded that "In the morning performed the Ceremony of smoking the Calumet with two Captains (Chiefs?)".  He was informed that "a little beyond his Country" are a great number of Ojibway who have no trader among them, that they are remarkably fond of Company Guns, Cloth, etc, that they understand well how to build large canoes (we are much in want of), that their Country abounds with Indian Corn and Moose.


Around 1785 TRUTHWAITE’s wife was an Indian named Elizabeth (POCATHEA), possibly a sister of one of KIPLING’s ‘Bay Wives’.


In Aug of 1787 James SUTHERLANDwas left as summer Master of Gloucester.


On Sep 31, 1787 Robert GOODWIN (1761-1805) of the HBC arrived at Gloucester House (via Moose and Albany) to become a Trader there. From 1788 to 1794 GOODWIN moved further inland to become Master at Osnaburgh House.


A Second ‘Bay Wife’ (?)


John KIPLING SR was noted by some researchers to have been a bigamist. Of course he had a wife and child in England and eventually at least two native wives in the Albany area. These researchers seem to take great pleasure in confusing us all in their attempts to attach names to them (without any credible source references). Around 1788 son Jack Ram KIPLING was born, a third child, purportedly by a second ‘Bay Wife’.


In August of 1788 John KIPLING went to Albany Fort while Matthew TRUTHWAITE was left in charge of Gloucester House. It seems that KIPLING usually spent winters at Albany, often leaving someone else in charge at Gloucester.


TRUTHWAITE was also left in charge of Gloucester in the summer of 1789, and again in the summer of 1790. This was the year that one of John’s wives gave birth to his only daughter, Margaret.


Hudson's Bay House at Fort Albany

Hudson’s Bay House at Fort Albany (Perhaps around 1790)


In September of 1790 John was said to have been "seized with a paralytic fit which entirely deprived him of sense an speech and he is now dangerously ill"  He was confined to his bed, at Albany, through to June of 1791, when he was left in charge while Governor McNAB went inland in his stead.


In late Sept of 1791, John set off again for Gloucester;  he was "stopped by ice" before he got to Gloucester and, a month later, still at "Good Intent Point", fear was expressed that he was losing use of his right hand. During the winter of 1791-92 (i/c for E JARVIS; as Second at Albany Post under John McNAB) he was again “struck with strokes”.


It wasn't until Mar 22, 1792, that he welcomed Donald McKAY at Gloucester.  This was “Mad” Donald McKAY (1753-1833) from Scotland, who had joined the HBC as an inland trader (Albany District). That year McKAY was on his way to establish Osnaburgh House (west of Gloucester).


In June of 1792, John was left in charge at Albany again, while Gov McNAB went inland.  His last child, Thomas Pisk KIPLING, was born around 1792.


John returns to England and prepares his Will


Apoplexy (also known as stroke) is uncontrolled bleeding into the brain due to a cerebra-vascular accident (CVA), resulting in sudden loss of consciousness and paralysis of various parts of the body. Due to his illness, John was discharged from the HBC service at Albany, on Sept 10, 1792. Two days later, he left Albany for England, via Moose Factory on Sep 17 (the daughter of Mr THOMAS was said to have come aboard for the trip). They were mentioned Oct 18, 1792 on the coast of England. KIPLING apparently took Matthew TRUTHWAITE’s oldest son (Edward TRUTHWAITE, about 7 years old) with him. Edward was baptised at St Mary's Church, Marylebone, London, on Nov 12, 1792.


On Feb 18, 1793, while KIPLING was in England, Matthew TRUTHWAITE died at Gloucester House. A few months later, unaware of TRUTHWAITES’s death, KIPLING prepared his Last Will and Testament.


John KIPLING’s  Will of 1793:
On May 3, 1793, at Stockton in the county of Durham, England, John KIPLING, the late master of Gloucester House in Hudson Bay, Yeoman, made his Last Will and Testimony. Therein, his wife was named as Hannah KIPLING (HEALEY), his son as Thomas KIPLING of Stockton, Bricklayer. If his wife and his son were to die (without issue), his estate was to be left to Edward, "natural son of Pocathea, native of Hudsons Bay, and of Matthew TRUTHWAITE - failing that - to Ann (MILLER) KIPLING, wife of the aforesaid Thomas KIPLING - after her decease then to his brother (? Brother-in-law perhaps)Matthew TRUTHWAITE, now master of Gloucester House (he did not realize that TRUTHWAITE had died). John made no mention (or provisions for) any wife in Rupert’s Land, nor for of any of his half-breed children.


On May 30, 1793, John KIPLING boarded the King George III at London, arrived back at Albany on Sept 8, 1793. 


In 1793 “Mad” Donald McKAY was sent further inland from Osnaburgh with three boats to establish Brandon House, in opposition to the NWC at Fort Souris. This is considered the HBC's first venture into the previously colonized Red River Valley. John’s eldest son (nineteen year old John KIPLING JR.) appears to have joined McKAY on this journey (he was reported at Brandon House that year).


John KIPLING dies at Fort Albany


In June of 1794, John was left in charge of Albany, while Gov. McNAB went inland again, and on Nov 18, 1794 he was seized with yet another apoplectic fit (stroke) that would end his life. He died at Albany Fort on Nov 23, 1794 and was buried there.


I asked Rod McQuarry (also known as Rupertslander), a respected genealogist, for his opinions about the Will of John KIPLING, particularly regarding TRUTHWAITE and omissions regarding his half-breed children therein. His response: "The statement in KIPLING's will, calling him (TRUTHWAITE) "brother" is problematic. TRUTHWAITE seems to have been quite unrelated to KIPLING, at least before TRUTHWAITE joined the HBC. His home parish was St Marylebone in the heart of London. The statement has been interpreted, notably by HBCA people, who made up service cards (but which contain many errors) as meaning that TRUTHWAITE was KIPLING's brother-in-law. This could be so, if TRUTHWAITE's wife POCATHEA was a sister to KIPLING's New World Wife. But "brother" could also be figurative, could refer to Matthew's status as fellow-master at Gloucester House, or could even be brother in a religious sense, as the will may have been prepared by Quaker brethren. In short, the statement in the will does not, by itself, prove a family relationship. It seems to me that the will is remarkable for not making any provision for KIPLING's New World family at all. KIPLING seems to have been anxious to keep that family hidden. So I don't think he'd want anyone to know that Matthew TRUTHWAITE was his brother-in-law, because of the questions that would raise. I suspect that the bequest to TRUTHWAITE and the care of TRUTHWAITE's son was part of a reciprocal arrangement. KIPLING expected to rely upon TRUTHWAITE to provide for the KIPLING children in the New World. If so, it came to naught, as Matthew died before John KIPLING did, and didn't get a chance to do anything for the KIPLING children.” 


Upon his death, John KIPLING SR was replaced at Albany by John HODGSON SR (1763-1826)


About 1913 son Thomas Pisk married Marguerite VILLEBRUN in Red River, daughter of Marie Anne ZHEZHEWGEWEG and Louis VILLEBRUN (1780-1845). ** MORE ABOUT LOUIS VILLEBRUN




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


Child by Hannah HEALY:

1. Sep 5, 1762 THOMAS KIPLING (m. Ann MILLER)

Children by John’s ‘BayWives’:



2. c1780 GEORGE KIPLING (m. Unknown INDIAN)

3. c1788 JACK (JOHN RAM) KIPLING (m. Margaret OKANENS)



6. c1792 THOMAS dit Pishk/Pisk KIPLING (m. Marguerite PLOUFE dit VILLEBRUN)