McGillivray, William

 William McGillivray, fur-trade merchant (b Scot c 1764; d at London, Eng 16 Oct 1825). Attracted to the fur trade by his uncle, Simon MCTAVISH, McGillivray was a wintering partner in the NORTH WEST CO for several seasons. From 1794 he represented the Montréal end of the business at the annual rendezvous at GRAND PORTAGE [Minn]. Eventually he became superintendent of the northwestern trade, and when his uncle died in 1804, McGillivray was made chief director of the NWC.

During the War of 1812 he commanded a company of voyageurs, assisting General BROCK at the capture of Detroit. As leader of the NWC, he presided over a period of intense competition with the Hudson's Bay Co that ended when the companies united in 1821. Afterward, he was a director of the newly organized company. FORT WILLIAM, the NWC depot at the head of Lake Superior, was named after him.