Frank Beatton and the Fort St. John Fur Trade


Frank W. Beatton: A Biography

Francis Work Beatton was born July 10th 1865 in Kirkwall, Scotland. He left the Orkney Islands as a young sailor employed with the Hudson's Bay Company. At age 18 or 19, Beatton arrived in Edmonton and later transferred to the Athabasca district. One of his first inland job with the HBC was building river steamers at Fort Wrigley. At 22, Frank Beatton married Emma Shaw, the Métis daughter of an HBC Factor, William Shaw. Shortly thereafter, he became post manager at Trout Lake and Grouard, opening a subpost at Chippewyan Lake. Around this time, seven of Frank's children were born: John, Mary, George, Kenneth, Thomas, Margaret and James. In 1898, at age 33, Beatton transferred first to Hudson's Hope, where he stayed for a short time, but moved permanently to Fort St. John. Here, five more children were born: Angus, Frank, Duncan, Fred and William.

Frank W. Beatton was employed with the Hudson's Bay Company at Fort St. John for over 30 years. Beatton opened additional subposts, which were managed by his son John. These posts were located at Fontas River, Sikanni River, North Pine (Beaton) River and Nig Creek. Frank W. Beatton and his family have had a significant impact on the development of Fort St. John and have been noted for having a positive relationship with the local Aboriginal population. Frank W. Beatton died January 9, 1945 in the old Providence Hospital in Hudson's Hope.