Kennedy, John Frederick
b. 1805-01-29
d. 1859-04-03
John Frederick Kennedy was the son of a Cree mother and Scottish father. He worked as a surgeon for the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) from 1829 to 1850, having received his M.D. from the University of Edinburgh in 1828. His postings included the vessel Isabella (based in Fort Vancouver), Fort McLoughlin, Fort Durham, and Fort Simpson.1 He enjoyed respect within the company, as evidenced by Pelly recommending him to hold a commission of the Peace, in 1848.2
In 1850, Kennedy was appointed Chief Trader at Fort Simpson.3 In this capacity, he was involved in early gold-hunting expeditions in Haida Gwaii.4 While returning from Haida Gwaii in the Una, Kennedy travelled ahead to Victoria by canoe when the vessel anchored at Cape Flattery. After his departure, bad weather blew the Una to shore, where it was looted and burnt by locals. Reverend Staines reported that the mother of Mr. Kennedy's children was stabbed during the conflict, but, as Kennedy writes a letter to his wife and daughter in 1854 (and has no record of remarrying), it appears she survived and was rescued by the crew of the Susan Sturges, with the rest of the victims.5
Kennedy's wife, Sudaał, was the daughter of a Tsimshian chief. They married at Fort Simpson in 1832.6 Records suggest they had two daughters and five sons.7
When the Susan Sturges was attacked, looted, and burnt in 1852, Kennedy accompanied Commander Prevost in pursuit of the culprits. They captured Seakai, who was reportedly one of the instigators, and recovered some of the stolen goods.8
Kennedy had invested in over twenty acres of land on Vancouver Island by 1855.9 He retired to this land in 1856, and became Nanaimo's first representative in Vancouver Island's House of Assembly the same year.10
Kennedy may have been the first person of First Nations descent to receive a medical degree from a European university.11
Mentions of this person in the documents