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Marguerite McLoughlin

Submitted by Fort William Historical Park

Name: Marguerite McLoughlin
Date of birth: 1775
Date of death: 1860
Accomplishments related to: Education, Community Development, Government
Major affiliations: North West Company Fur Trade

Marguerite McLoughlin was the mixed blood daughter of a Swiss-born fur trader and a Cree woman. At an early age, she witnessed her father’s murder at the hands of Peter Pond at Lac La Ronge. One can only imagine how this traumatic event shaped her youth and early adulthood.

At the age of eighteen, she married Alexander McKay à la façon du pays (marriage in the custom of the country) and together they had four children: Nancy, Mary, Catherine, and Thomas. After becoming a partner in the Pacific Fur Company, McKay left his wife to take care of herself and her children. A year after being “turned off” by her first husband, she married her second husband, Dr. John McLoughlin. With John, she had five more children, becoming the matriarch of one of the most prominent families at Fort William. While her husband practiced European medicine, the knowledge passed down to her by her mother made her skilled in utilizing the natural environment for healing and treating ailments. 

Eventually moving to what would become Oregon, Marguerite and John became founding members of the community, fighting for the rights of the settlers in the area. 

Marguerite was known in her lifetime for her beauty and strength of character. She died in 1860, three years after her husband who to this day is known as “the father of Oregon” for his role in establishing the rights of the settlers in the area.

Marguerite McLoughlin is an example of a strong mother, wife, healer, and nation builder.

Marguerite Wadin McLoughlin
Marguerite Wadin McLoughlin.Courtesy of Oregon Historical Society #bb006496

John McLoughlin meets Narcissa Whitman
John McLoughlin meets Narcissa Whitman, the first white woman in Oregon, in 1836. Courtesy of the Oregon State Archives. Retrieved from:

Old Fort William Trading Post ca. 1853
Old Fort William and the Hudson Bay Post, near the mouth of the Kaministikwia River (ca. 1853). John Herbert Caddy fonds/C-020770. Courtesy of Library and Archives Canada.

Old Fort William 1857
Hudson’s Bay Company Post, Fort Pic, Lake Superior. David Ives Bushnell collection of Canadiana/C-114491. Courtesy of Library and Archives Canada.