McKenzie, Kenneth
b. 1811-10-25
d. 1874-04-10
Kenneth McKenzie was born on 25 October 1811 in Edinburgh, Scotland. McKenzie is most recognized as holding the positions of bailiff for Puget's Sound Agricultural Company, agent on Vancouver Island, farmer, and provisions supplier.1 He was educated at Edinburgh College and in his early life moved to his father's estate in Rentonhall in Haddingtonshire where he managed the farm and tile works until he decided to put the land up for auction in 1848.2 McKenzie worked hard to get a position as a bailiff or land steward in the British Isles, but it was not until 1851 that he was finally able to obtain a position with the Hudson's Bay Company.
He was given the position as bailiff for Puget's Sound Agricultural Company in the Esquimalt district on a five-year contract on 16 August 1852 -- the farm allotted to him was that of Craigflower which contained 600 acres of land.3 McKenzie, along with 73 other individuals he hired to help manage his farm, arrived on Vancouver Island on 16 January 1853. However, the family manor did not finish until 1856, so for a short time, the McKenzie family were temporarily housed at Fort Victoria. During his time waiting for the completion of his home, Mckenzie was appointed by Governor Douglas as a magistrate and justice of the peace for the district of Victoria on 31 March 1853, and agent and superintendent for the agricultural company of V.I. by the HBC in 1854.4
As the company agent, Mckenzie was expected to terminate Edward Langford's contract on Colwood Farm, Langford's refusal to accept his termination led to the chastisement of McKenzie for not being able to handle a situation and perform his job effectively.5 By 1856, McKenzie and the other men on his farm worked to provide the navy with meat, vegetables, and flour, which he consistently supplied until his death in 1874.6 Observers of McKenzie and his men described them as a bunch of men wearing kilts and drinking heavily during the day.7
Amongst his work in agriculture and as a magistrate, in the 1860s and 1870s, McKenzie was in the position as road commissioner for the Esquimalt District and Victoria, founded the Vancouver Island Agricultural and Horticultural Association, and later was appointed to the Court of Appeal to Esquimalt and Metchosin.8 McKenzie continued to work until his death on 10 April 1874 from heart disease. He is now remembered in his description as having done much good to the colony in the shape of keeping it at a high standard of civilization; and Craigflower is known for being the most successful of the original four HBC farms.9
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