Thomas & Phoebe Bunn

Thomas (d.1853, aged 88) and Phoebe (nee Sinclair, d.1848, but her age is unrecorded)

The Bunns were the first couple married by an Anglican priest in western Canada. They were married at Rock Point in 1820 by the Rev. John West as he made his way south to the Red River Settlement. Until the arrival of clergy, common law marriage was the norm (it was called mariage au facon du pays, and the women, who were often native or the daughters of fur traders and native women, were referred to as country wives).

“The first records in Rev. John West’s church registers are the marriage at the Rock Depot, which was about fifty miles south of York Factory, of Thomas Bunn and Phoebe Sinclair, on September 9, 1820, and on the same date the baptism of their four children. This was a rather unusual occurrence according to present day customs; but it must be remembered that prior to West’s arrival there were no ministers anywhere in the northern wastes of Rupert’s Land.”

source: Manitoba Historical Society