The Wintering House

Immediately west of the Main Gate was the residence of the wintering partner (or proprietor) in charge at Fort William. He oversaw Fort William's operations as a fur trade post, as well as those of the entire Department that stretched along the north shore of Lake Superior, and west to Rainy Lake.

The person in charge at Fort William for most of the North West Company period was Kenneth McKenzie. McKenzie began his fur trade career as an apprentice clerk at Grand Portage in 1800.  At the termination of his apprenticeship in 1805, he seems to have been placed in charge at Kaministikwia. He became a partner in 1808 and in 1816, an agent, representing the interests of Sir Alexander Mackenzie & Company. Lord Selkirk arrested him in August 1816 and sent, along with the other North West Company partners at Fort William, to Upper Canada for trial. On Lake Superior near Sault Ste. Marie, he drowned when his canoe overturned.

The wintering house contained two apartments. Besides the proprietor's, one was reserved for the captain of the schooner, Robert McCargo, who often wintered at Fort William.