John Inkster1

#298, (1756 - )
FatherRichard Inkster1 (s 1725 - )
MotherKathren Marion1 (s 1730 - )
RelationshipFather of William Inkster
ChartsDescendants of John Inkster & Abigail Marion

Children of John Inkster and Abigail Marion

Life Events

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John Inkster married Abigail Marion in 1788 in Stromness, Orkney. There they had two children baptised in the years 1789 & 1791. Then John served six years in the Hudson's Bay Company in Quebec. Four more children were baptised in Stromness in 1798, 1800 (twins), and 1802. One son James likely died as an infant given that the next son was also named James (a common custom). His son William went to Canada but the lives of the rest are as yet undiscovered.

* * * * *

BirthJohn Inkster was born circa 1756.2
BaptismHe was baptized on 4 Apr 1756 in Stromness, Orkney. There was no information in the baptism register beyond the date and the fact that John was the son of Richard Inkesator and Kathren Marion.1 
Research Note There were a handful of Inksters in Stromness parish and this baptism is the best fit. Note that the mother's surname (Marion) is the same as John's wife - the only two people with that name in the parish register. 
MarriageHe married Abigail Marion on 29 Apr 1788 in Stromness.
The parish register stated that they were both in this parish.1
Marriage of John Inkster & Abigail Marion
Stromness, Orkney parish register
29 April 1788
Note.On 3 July 1791, John Inkster signed a contract to work for the Hudson's Bay Company. Below is a transcription of the contract. The italicized words were handwritten, the rest were on the printed form.

I John Inkstar Sailor of the Town of Stromness Aged 35 years do hereby Covenant and Agree to and with the Governor and Company of Adventurers of ENGLAND, Trading into Hudson’s-Bay, and their Successors, to serve them for the Term of Five Years to commence from the Time I shall arrive at Hudson’s-Bay; after the rate of Eighteen Pounds pr year and to have Sailor wages the outward & homeward bound Passages, & if I intend to leave the said service at the expiration of this Contract to give one year notice to the Chief of the Factory but if no such notice be given to stay one year if requird after such notice shall have been given as aforesaid at the same Wages & under the like terms Agreements Provisions Penalties & Forfeitures as in this agreement mentiond.

And to Ship myself upon the first Vessel or Ship that the Committee of the said Company shall Order me to embark in, that shall go, or is bound for Hudson’s-Bay; where I oblige myself to stay according to the aforesaid limited Time, and to do, and perform such Labour and Work, and obey such Commands as the Governor in Hudson’s-Bay, or chief Factor there, shall impose upon me. During my being in the said Company’s Service, I will, with the utmost Hazard and Peril of my Life, in my Station, with Courage and Fidelity, maintain and defend the said Company’s Factory and Factories, Territories, Rights, Privileges, Goods and Properties, against all Enemies whatsoever, either Foreign, or of our own Country; and to the utmost of my Power, will cause the same to be maintained and defended by all others, according to the Duty of my Service; And I will in all Things submit myself to the Commands and Discipline of the Governor or Commander in Chief for the said Company, and all other my superior Officers, by his Directions. And during my Abode there I will not directly or indirectly Trade to and from any Place within the Limits of this Company’s Charter, for my own particular Account, or for any other Person or Persons, save only for the said Company, in any Furrs, Skins, or other Commodities whatsoever, with the Indians, or with any Nation inhabiting or trading in or about Hudson’s-Bay. And that whatsoever Commodities I shall Trade for there, or get into my Possession, shall be only in Trust, and for the sole Use and Benefit of the said Governor and Company and their Successors. Any Person that shall drive any private Trade, I will endeavour to hinder, their Names I will detect, the Commodities so traded for I will discover, as much as in me lies, to the Chief of the Factory and the Committee of the said Company for the Time being. And in Case I the said John Inkster shall make any Breach or Default of, or in Performance of all, or any of the aforesaid Covenants, Agreements, or Things, Then I and my Executors and Administrators will not only forfeit and lose all Wages, Salary, and Monies, as by Virtue of this Contract, or otherwise, shall be due to me, or them, from the said Governor and Company, or their Successors, which I do hereby enable them to detain to their own Use and Benefit; But also I and my Executors and Administrators will, for every such Breach or Default, also forfeit and pay to the said Governor and Company the Sum of Thirty Six Pounds of lawful Money of ENGLAND, over and above all Damages that may arise, or happen to them, by Reason or Means of such Breach or Default. In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my Hand and Seal this 3d day of July in the Year of Our Lord God 1791

Sealed and Delivered in the Presence of Us;
Dad Geddes
Jn Turner

David Geddes, a Stromness merchant, was appointed by the HBC as their local agent in 1791. John Turner was the name of the captain of the HBC vessel Queen Charlotte.2

John Inkster's signature on HBC contract, 1791
Note.The snippet below is the September 18 1791 entry in the log book for Eastmain Post, noting the arrival of John Inkster on the Hudson's Bay Company ship Queen Charlotte.
[historical note: The Queen Charlotte Islands were named for this ship which voyaged there in 1787]3
Eastmain journal entry
18 September 1791
Note.The Eastmain post journal from which the above image was taken was kept from September to September, at which time it was closed up and sent to London on a company ship. I have transcribed a few interesting days prior to 15 September 1791, then complete journal entries from 15 September 1791 until 2 September 1792 so as to get the flavor of a complete year. The transcription is hosted at a site dedicated to Hudson's Bay Company records and you can read it by following this link
Note.At the end of his five years of service, John signed up for one more year on 1 September 1796. The form was the same as his initial contract and the pertinent details are as follows:

I John Inkster, Mariner, of the parish of Stromness Orkney aged about 40 years...
term of one year, to commence from the expiration of my last contract anno 179- ------- recalled by the Committee of the said Company after the rate of Eighteen pounds, & six pounds as Steersman, under the like Terms, Agreements, Provisions & Penalties as in my last contract mentioned & during my voyage to the port of London I will not quit or desert the ship in which I shall be made to embark on any account whatsoever, without the leave permission of the Commander of the said ship in ---ting and will obey all such orders and instructions as shall be given me by the Commander of the said ship.

[if he defaults he pays the sum of] Forty Eight Pounds
[dated] first September 1796
[witnesses] Thomas Knight and Thomas Wiegand

[Thomas Knight was the post surgeon and Thomas Wiegand was a writer (clerk), one of whose duties was to keep the post journal].4

John Inkster's signature on HBC contract, 1796
Item. This is the certificate John Inkster received at the end of his service with the HBC.5
John Inkster's certificate of service
to the Hudson's Bay Company
Note.An Outfit Year ran from 1 June to 31 May. John Inkster was posted at Eastmain, Quebec, on the eastern shore of James Bay. He was a sailor and, for the last year, a steersman. The steersman was a skilled position describing the crewman in the stern of a canoe or boat, responsible for guiding the boat.6 
OccupationJohn Inkster was a noted to be a sailor in his children's baptism records between 1798 and 1802.1 
Note.On October 23, 1818, an unsigned note was written on the back of his certificate of service that he had received in 1797. It read as follows:

1818 Friday October the 23 took Sick with a Stich in my Side Saturday took Blood for it Lost my stomach took nothing that night But Tea. Kept goying on till Wednesday next week thought I was Quet well went out in the Cold to Take a Boat in to Repair Catcht Cold and made me worse thene ever So that I have Such a Short Brath and a Cough that I Can skrse walk Twenty Yards till the Cough Saizing me With my Short Breath I am near falling Down. I wishing earnestly that I was But at my Aunts fireside But it is fare away I thought I would Be better there than here among the Canadians that Can not Speake a word of English.7
Research Note Was this note written by John? Did he return to Canada after his children were born? The note was handed down to descendants of his son William. 
Last Edited2 Jun 2015


  1. Microfilm of the Old Parochial Register of Stromness, Orkney, 1695-1854 (Family History Library, 990514 & 990515).
  2. John Inkster 1791 servants contract, HBCA. A.32/4, fo. 157.
  3. Eastmain Post Journal 1776-1793, B.59/a/51-69, Microfilm Reel 1M45.
  4. John Inkster 1796 servants contract, HBCA. A.32/8, fo. 25.
  5. E-mails from Tara Mills, Ontario, to J Kolthammer.
  6. Hudson's Bay Company Archives Biographical Sheet for John Inkster, born c1756.
  7. Note written 23 October 1818 on the back of John Inkster's HBC leaving certificate. Original in the possession of a descendant.