Magnus Spence was my Great-Great-Great-Great Grandfather.

These are a collection of entries from the HBC Archives that are about Magnus Spence born about 1764 from Birsay. Except that around the mid 1790's there was another Magnus Spence about 5 years younger from Stromness. They usually mark the difference by calling them Senior and Junior but not always and I may have one or two in here about the wrong Magnus Spence. And still probably only interesting to relatives.
Magnus Spence came to Canada in Sept. 1783    York Factory 1783

"List of Servants" 1783
Magnus Spence
"Labourer" at 6 pounds per year until 1788
1M785 B.239/f/1

York Factory Journal Humphrey Marten
Dec. 30 1783
" Magnus Spence making straitching board for Foxes etc."
1M160 B.239/a/82

Mar. 2 1784
" Magnus Spence taken ill."
1M160 B.239/a/82

York Factory Humphrey Marten
Oct. 19 1784
..." Guthrie and Magnus Spence roofing the Carpenters shop."...
1M160 B.239/a/84

York Factory Journal
May 30 1785
" Magnus Spence Caulking the roof of the Smiths Shop."
1M160 B.239/a/84

Humphrey Marten at York
Aug.1 1785
" At five this morning
Wm Tomison
George Hudson
Magnus Twatt
Malcholm Rofs
Magnus Flett
Wm Flett junior
James Spence senior
James Spence junior
Magnus Annell
James Gray
Edward Wishart
Mitchell Oman
James Tate
Magnus Spence
James Sandison
John Sabestone
James Boriwick?
John Irvine
Andrew Corrigal
George Rofs
William Copeland
James Morowick
James Johnson
John Kirknefs
Robert Davey
John Flett
Jsmes Flett senior
James Flett junior came out 1783
William Saunders
Hugh Lisk
James Banks
William Folster
Thomas Robinson,
in all 53 Men with 19 Women two young lads and a few Children set off for Inland."...
1M160 B.239/a/84

"List of Servants" 1785
Magnus Spence
"Labourer" at 6 pounds per year until 1788
Character "Good"
1M785 B.239/f/1

"List of Servants" 1786
Magnus Spence
"Labourer" at 6 pounds per year until 1788
Character "Good but bad Cannoe? Man"
1M785 B.239/f/1

Hudson House Journal William Tomison
April,13 1786
..."in the Evening Isaac Batt, James Gaddy, James Johnston, Nicholas Allen, James Flett, James Oman and Magnus Spence came home from the Barren ground brought 8 Horses loaded with Furs, the Indians put up short by reason of bad weather. James Gaddy informs me where he has been is a very Plentiful country of all sorts of Animals common in the country Beaver & wolves especially, he says that to his Knowledge 14 old Beaver has been taken out of one House he also says that the Qu'hen,now Indian tribe is much the largest of any he has seen being 250 tents in number, these with the Blood & Black foot tribes go constantly to War against the snake indian tribe and many is killed on both sides, at times the former take numbers of Horses & mules from the latter which is the reason of their going to war he says they travelled about 150 miles along the Rocky Mountains but saw no end to it."
1M63 B.87/a/9

Copy of a letter from Wm Tomison to Wm Walker
Nov. 14 1786
"After a Journey of nine days we arrived at the Pine Island where Mr [Donald] McKay built on last Summer which proves to be the same place Pointed out by the Natives for us to build on. It is 60 miles above the fighting river Their is at Present four Houses all different Interests Two more between 30 and 40 miles above this and one at the Fighting River below So that Indians has nothing to do but go from house to house get Drunk and beg Goods on Expectation of what they are to bring. Our house is not yet finnished and is built on the same spot where Magnus Spence worked in the Summer and is 60 feet by 22. We are now at work on the Stockades"...
1M63 B.87/a/9

"List of Servants" 1787
Magnus Spence
"Canoe Man & Labourer" at 6 pounds per year until 1788
1M785 B.239/f/1

"List of Servants" 1788
Magnus Spence
"Bowsman" at 14 pounds per year until 1791
Character "Good"
Remarks "Entered into Contract for 3 years"
1M785 B.239/f/1

"List of Servants" 1789
Magnus Spence
"Steersman" at 14 pounds per year until 1791
Remarks " Leaves his terms to the Comp. and hopes that they will allow him 20 pounds per year"
1M785 B.239/f/1

Joseph Colen York Factory Journal
July 23 1789
" Twenty-two Englishmen 2 Canadians & 3 Indians set off in 8 large Canoes with Trading Goods for the Inland Settlements"

"Edward Wishart
William Sabbiston
James Flett Sen.

James Morrowick
Nicol Allan
James Murry

Alex Corrigal
James Batt
John Strickler

Gilbert Laughton
Robert Garrock
Peter Brown

Magnus Spence
Peter Sabbeston
James Linklater

Hugh Lisk
John Irvine Jun.
John Flett

Andrew Davey
James Davey
George Short

Antony Godda
John Groat
Alex Flett"
1M160 B.239/a/89

York Factory Journal
July 7 1791
" Magnus Spence Steersman"
1M160 B.239/a/91

"List of Servants" 1791
Magnus Spence
"Steersman" 16 pounds until 1794
"a careful steady servant and a good linguist to the Black foot & Blood Indians"...
1M785 B.239/f/1

Buckingham House Wm Tomison
Nov. 11 1792
" at 9 AM sent off John Irvin for the South Branch accompanied by Magnus Spence & Donald Mowatt who are to return with sundry articles of Stores & Trading Goods from Manchester House"...
1M18 B.24/a/1

Buckingham House Journal
From a copy of a letter from James Tate at Manchester House
Nov. 14 1792
"by the arrival of Mag. Spence Donald Mowatt & John Irvin on Tuesday last"
1M18 B.24/a/1

"List of Servants" 1792
Magnus Spence
Age "28" years.
"Steersman & Linguist to the Blackfoot etc. Natives"
Remarks" a better servant cannot be"
1M785 B.239/f/1

Buckingham House Journal Tomison?
Oct. 24 1793
" also sent Mag. Annal, Mag. Spence and John Simpson to meet those that bring the packet"
1M18 B.24/a/2

Cumberland House Malcolm Ross
Jan. 13 1794
"A Journey up the Saskachewan by Malcolm Rofs"
" At 10 AM I set off for Nippeway accompanied by 3 Men Viz. Andrew Davey, James Park & Magnus Spence"
1M39 B.49/a/25b
The whole Journey is here

Cumberland House Magnus Twatt
June 9 1794
" I received the command of Cumberland house with the trading goods stores etc. from Mr. Malcolm Ross. and the following men are staying here all summer, Wm Hawkland,Mag. Spence, Henry Hay, the latter very ill, with Henry Hallet and James Swain Writer."
1M39 B.49/a/26

York Factory Journal J. Colen
June 27 1794
" Entered into Contract the following Steersmen James Davey Magnus Spence at 20 pounds per annum for three years."...
1M161 B.239/a/96

"List of Servants" 1794
Magnus Spence
Age "30" years.
"Steersman & Linguist" 20 pounds until 1797
1M785 B.239/f/1

From the York Factory Accounts book 1794
Magnus Spence
Baize 2 yds.
Brandy 3 Gals.
Buttons sleeve best for 3
com. 3
waistcoat 3
Frocks duck No.2
Horn powder 1
Knives best clasp 2
common 2
yew handle 3
Needles Dg. 2
pipes 6
Pot tin of 1Qt
Rum 2 Gals.
Scissors 1
Soap 4
Sugar brown 4
Sugar loaf 9 1/2
thread 1
Tobacco cut
roll 4.2
Twine fine sk 1?

signed Magnus Spence.

Mr.Tomison at Cumberland House to Joseph Colen at York Factory
June 10, 1795
..." a more miserable set of men were never left Inland there being only James Spence and Magnus Spence that can fire a Gun so that we are laughed at by the meanest Canadian that came from Canada"...

From " A list of mens Names at Cumberland Nippowan? & Buckingham House 1795"
"36 Magnus Spence a good Canoeman and a very good hunter, I was under the Necefsity to Leave him up all summer at Buckingham House."
William Tomison
1M784 B.49/f/1

Cumberland House
July 26 1796
" Mag. Spense can scarcely walk occaisioned by a swelled Foot which he got by a Sprain in Gill River on his pafsage up"
1M39 B.49/a/27b

Cumberland House Journal
Peter Fidler at Buckingham House
Oct 28 1796
..." Taylor cut out a Coat & Trowsers for Mag Spence of white Cloth to hunt in"...

In the margin:
Coat 2 yd
Trowser 1 1/4 yd
1M39 B.49/a/27b

Cumberland House or Buckingham House
Oct. 30 1796
Taylor making "a Coat & Trowsers for Mag Spence"
1M39 B.49/a/27b

Cumberland House
Feb. 10 1797
" sent 2 men to Stay at the Hunters Tent - sent Magnus Spence Ammunition"
1M39 B.49/a/27b

Cumberland House
Mar. 5 1797
" Mag. Spence John Forbest [or Forbert] & Mag. Yorston all came from below and brought everything with them as there are no Buffalo below, all the Grafs being eat up by them in the Summer and the ground has no grafs on it for the Buffalo to stay upon."
1M39 B.49/a/27b

Cumberland House
March 6, 1797
"Gave Magnus Spence for his Wife Children for making Parchment Skins as much as made 30 Pemmican bags and a great deal of line for tying up furrs."

Written in the margin:
Blanket 2 pt - 1
Ditto 1 pt - 1
Cloth Blue - 1 1/2
[Cloth] Aurora? - 1
Beads? of sorts com. - 3/4
Gartering yds? - 16
Knife yew - 1
Comb Ivory - 1
[Comb] horn - 1
Tob. brazil - yd 2/3
1M39 B.49/a/27b

Cumberland House
Mar 7 1797
... " Taylor making a small pair of Trowsers for Mag Spences boy"...
1M39 B.49/a/27b

Cumberland House
Mar. 22 1797
" gave Magnus Spence orders to pitch nearer the House - he is now tenting 32 Miles from the House."
1M39 B.49/a/27b

"List of Servants" 1797
Magnus Spence
Age "33" years.
Occupation "Linguist to the Black foot & Peakemow? Natives & Steersman"
wages 25 pounds to 1800
Remarks " This man steered one of the Boats from Edmonton to the head of Trout river - and did not come down to York-"...
1M785 B.239/f/5
According to Wikipedia Trout river is another name for the part of the Hayes river in Manitoba between Knee Lake and Oxford Lake and that might better explain the comment.

"List of Servants" 1798
Magnus Spence
Remarks " A better servant is not in this Employ in the station he fills he has had large offers made him by the Canadians - leaves his Terms to the Co."
1M785 B.239/f/6

"List of Servants" 1800
Magnus Spence
"Linguist & boat Steersman"
30 pounds until 1803
1M785 B.239/f/6

"List of Servants" 1803
Magnus Spence
"Linguist & boat Steerer"
30 pounds
Remarks "Stays one year"
1M785 B.239/f/6

From the Saskatchewan District Account Books
Magnus Spence 1811
Wages 30 Pounds
Position Steersman
Residence Acton House.
1M467 B.60/d/2a

Edmonton Accounts
Men's Debt Sask. District
Magnus Spence
Blanket large 1
Brandy high 11/2 Gal
Cloth plain 2 yds.
Cloth white 1/2 yd.
Flints 4?
Pipes tobacco 1 Doz.
Pot tin of 1 pint 1
Powder Gun 1 lb
Rum 21/2 Gal.
Shirt Cotton 1
Shirt Flannel 2
Sugar loaf 10 lbs
Tea green 1 lb
Thread 1/8 lb
Tobacco 14 lbs
Twine fine 1 sk.
1M467 B.60/d/2a

Carlton House Sask. JP Pruden
June 7 1815
" Magnus Spence & Andrew Spence and families arrived from Paint Creek on their way to the Colony"
1M19 B.27/a/5

June 30 1815
" An Indian who accompanied Magnus Spence to show him the way to Red River arrived having returned 2 Days short of Fort Hibernia"
1M19 B.27/a/5

From a letter to James Bird from James Sutherland at Swan River
Oct. 3 1816
..."John Easter, John Lyons, Thomas Favel, and Humphrey Favel are gone free men in Red River. all the rest of our Men have arrived at Fort Hibernia and old Magnus Spence among the number. I do not know what to do with him, I suppose I shall be obliged to engage him for the Winter altho' I have no use for him, indeed we have a great many more men than is necefsary for the District and I am afraid more than we will be able to maintain and I am convinced that should we be permitted to carry on the trade that the whole returns of the place will not pay their Wages, we are altogether now thirty-eight Men and attached to these about fifty more Women and Children, it is entirely impracticable in the present state of affairs to settle a Post beyond Fort Hibernia."...
1M175 B.27/b/1

From the "Winipeg Department Servant List 1815 & 16"

93 Magnus Spence - Birsay - Labourer - "Winter Residence" Qu'Appelle - "Age" 54 - earning 15 pounds per year- 5'8" tall[Possibly 5 ft. 0 inches] "well proportioned" - "unfit for Service any longer consequently Free"
1M784 B.63/f/1

James Bird Carlton House Sask.
Mar. 2 1817
" James Gaddy, McDonald and Magnus Spence arrived from Swan River"...
1M19 B.27/a/6

Brandon House Journal Peter Fidler
July 30 1817
" Magnus Spence & son came here from Brandon House 10 Days ago where all our 3 other Freemen are remaining. he says that 3 Bungees lately stole 3 Horses from the Forks and pafsed Brandon House slyly & when they came near Moose head hill 6 miles from this the oldest Indian said that as he had never been on the top of this hill he would now so all went & when they came very near the top up rose suddenly several Indians supposed Mandan fired off their Guns & killed 2 of the 3 Bungees on the spot the other made his escape wounded on horseback 2 arrows in him one near thro his body & galloped to the House when the French pulled out the arrow but the Iron barb remained behind. the blood had softened the Sinnew it was fixed the Shaft & remained - he is now in a lingering state."...
1M17 B.22/a/20

Brandon House Journal Peter Fidler
Aug. 12 1817
" our Freemen Lyons 2 Favils & Mag Spense pitched their Tents within our Stockades & gave each 2 feet Tobacco & a Dram each & 1 qt Spirits amongst them. They are also pleased at our return"...
1M17 B.22/a/20

Brandon House Peter Fidler
Aug. 29 1817
" our Freemen John Lyons, Humprey Favel, Thomas Favel & Magnus Spense came here with 6 Carts from Brandon and brought down the Provisions for our people"...
1M17 B.22/a/20

Brandon House Peter Fidler
Oct. 7 1817
" John Flett a Freeman came here, engaged him to make Carts for us during the winter as he means to Settle along with Magnus Spense, John Spense and Peter Corrigal next spring. he has his wife & Child with him also his wifes Sister both from Scotland"
1M17 B.22/a/20

Brandon house Journal Peter Fidler
Oct. 29 1817
..." John Spense came here from Beaver Creek. I had engaged until Mr McDonald? & more men arrived there, paid him for his Months Services there & he & father & Corrigal moved away to hunt Buffalo for themselves. They are all free - Jn Spense wishes to get his father completely established as a farmer and to return to this service again. he is a very steady young man."...
1M17 B.22/a/20

Brandon house Journal Peter Fidler
Nov. 2 1817
" Magnus Spence came here for us to fetch 3 Buffalo from his Tent he has killed for us."
1M17 B.22/a/20

Brandon house Journal Peter Fidler
Nov. 7 1817
..." Bonhomme Montour took away the Wife belonging to the late Mr. Longmoors son - Magnus Spenses Daughter one of our freemen - but I understand with his consent"
1M17 B.22/a/20

Nov. 8 1817
..." Longmoors son went away for his Country at the Saskatcthewan area? and debauched away the Wife of our Canadian Smith - he has two Horses of his own"...
1M17 B.22/a/20

Brandon House Peter Fidler
Jan. 26 1818
" Jack Spense had killed 18 Cows in the same time our previously engaged hunter only killed 7"...

Jan. 27 1818
" our Hunter & Jack Spense came here & left off for the present Peltiers son ashamed that Jack Spense should kill 21 in the same time he only killed 7"...
1M17 B.22/a/20

Brandon House Peter Fidler
Feb. 17 1818
" Flett repairing a Cart for Magnus spense & also brot home one cow for himself killed by Jack Spense yesterday"...
1M17 B.22/a/20

Brandon House Peter Fidler
Feb. 18 1818
" Got home the last of the 10 Cows lately killed by J Spense. Told old Peltier to kill no more for us as we shall have enough whilst it will keep good tho it will be well buried in a deep cellar mixed & surrounded with Large blocks of Ice & Snow"...
1M17 B.22/a/20

Brandon House Peter Fidler
Feb. 26 1818
" John Flett & his family moved to Magnus Spense & our Freemen tents about 2 miles off. the whole of them will pitch away as soon as Jack Spense returns from the Forks. he is to examine the river for a good situation as they have now given up the idea they first had of settling at Portage des Prarie as being to distant from the Colony"...
1M17 B.22/a/20

Brandon House Peter Fidler
March 1 1818
" Jack Spense & party returned here yesterday from the Forks. only 2 1/2 Days coming up tho above 130 miles - he has fixed on the white Horse Plain a bout 18 miles above the Forks for his party to settle at and they will in a very few Days all move down there."
1M17 B.22/a/20

Brandon House Peter Fidler
March 7 1818
..." Magnus Spense and party pitched away for the white Horse Plain to settle"...
1M17 B.22/a/20

Brandon House Journal Peter Fidler
June 7 1818
" Sunday at 5 PM reach Birsay where Magnus Spence & several others have settled at this spring. - it is a very good situation on the N ? the river. They have got about 4 Bushels of wheat, half as much Barley & some potatos in the Ground & are now hawling wood to make their dwelling Houses. they mean to build 5 Houses for as many families within a picket enclosure to keep their horses from being stolen as the Bungees are much adicted to Horse stealing in the Summer time."...
1M17 B.22/a/21