Fort St. John (4)

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Fort St. John (4) (1794-1923) - A North West Company Fort originally established in 1794 about 15 miles from the present city named Fort St. John, Peace River Regional District, British Columbia. It appears to have been named for St. John the Baptist, on whose feast day (June 24) it may have been established. It underwent five changes in location and was finally abandoned in 1923. Also known as Fort d'Épinette.


The first Fort St. John was established by John Finlay of the North West Company, maybe as early as 1794, but certainly by 1798, as the trading post of Rocky Mountain House (also "Rocky Mountain Fort") at the confluence of the Pine and Peace Rivers. It is said to be "the oldest non-native settlement on the British Columbia mainland." In 1804 or thereabouts it was moved to a location on the Peace River just across from the present town of Hudson's Hope.

From 1806 to 1823 it was known as Fort d'Épinette. After the merger of the North West Company and the Hudson's Bay Company in 1821, the unprofitable fort was closed in 1823, which seems to have triggered the killing of Company clerk Guy Hughes and four other men by members of the Sekani tribe in November 1823: reports, however, of this massacre are contradictory and inconclusive.

The fort was reopened in 1858. In 1874 it was moved to its final location, the spot now at 100th Street and 100th Avenue, which eventually was taken as the center point of the new town that now bears the fort's name. The fort was closed in 1923.

Current Status

No remains.

Location: Fort St. John, Peace River Regional District, British Columbia.

Maps & Images

Lat: 56.24645 Long: -120.8576

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  • Elevation: 2260'

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