John Work

c. 1792 - December 1861

Work, John, pioneer (c. 1792-Dec. 1861). Work, "an important man in the Hudson's Bay Company," joined the organization in 1814 and reached the Oregon country in 1823. His journals are informative and valuable records. Work went to Oregon with Peter Skene Ogden, spent the winter of 1823-1824 at Spokane House and in the fall of 1824 led a party to trade with the Flatheads, then transferred Hudson's Bay operations from Spokane to Fort Colville on the Columbia. He married a Spokan woman, Josette Legace, fathering 11 children. In 1830 Work succeeded Ogden as head of the Snake River brigade, leading trapping parties in the upper mountains and to the Sacramento River, California. Blackfeet kept his brigade out of their country after skirmishes in 1832. His Sacramento expedition also was less than successful, although he contacted both Spanish and Russian settlements. Work followed Ogden in charge of the coastal trade in 1834, in 1846 succeeded McLoughlin as chief factor and in 1849 became a member of the board of management for the Columbia District, concentrating his attention thenceforth on British Columbia, where he became prominent. He died on Vancouver Island.


Gloria Griffen Cline, Peter Skene Ogden and the Hudson's Bay Company, Norman, Univ. of Okla. Press, 1974.