Henry the Younger, Alexander (fl. 1791-1814)

To avoid confusion, Alexander Henry is known as the Younger while his uncle, also named Alexander Henry, is the Elder. Henry the Younger began his career as a North West Company (NWC) trader in southern Manitoba, then lived at various posts along the Alberta portion of the North Saskatchewan River and ended up at Fort George at the mouth of the Columbia River, where he drowned in 1814. Unlike many of his fellow NWC traders, Henry kept a lengthy journal throughout his career. Although the original is lost, the existing copy is 1,642 pages long and has been published twice. His journal is not a simple diary: it includes meteorological tables and lists of employees, as well as vocabularies and detailed descriptions of the major plains tribes, especially the Cree. He was also the only trader to name the various Nakota bands across the northern plains. Henry spent little time in what is now Saskatchewan, yet his account of travelling up the Saskatchewan and North Saskatchewan Rivers in August 1808 contains detailed descriptions of those valleys, providing both natural and historical observations.

Dale Russell

Further Reading

Gough, B.M. (ed.). 1992. The Journal of Alexander Henry the Younger, 1799-1814. Toronto: Champlain Society.