John Bell

John Bell, fur trader, explorer (b on the Isle of Mull, Scot 1799; d at Saugeen, Ont 24 June 1868). John Bell joined the North West Company as a clerk in 1818.

Bell, John

John Bell, fur trader, explorer (b on the Isle of Mull, Scot 1799; d at Saugeen, Ont 24 June 1868). John Bell joined the North West Company as a clerk in 1818. In 1824, working for the Hudson's Bay Company, he was transferred to the Mackenzie District, becoming chief clerk of Fort Good Hope (1825-26), the HBC's most northerly post. On the Company's behalf he explored northwestern British North America, looking for new fur trade routes.

In 1840 he opened Peel's River Post (Ft McPherson), the most northerly HBC post at the time. In the summer of 1845 he reached the junction of the Yukon and Porcupine rivers, the first European to do so. In 1847-48 he participated in the search for the lost Franklin expedition (see Franklin Search). He served in northern postings until 1851. A modest, unassuming man, he was the classic blend of fur trader and explorer.