BIRD, THOMAS, HBC chief at Albany Fort, 1737–39; d. 1739.
Nothing is known about Thomas Bird’s origin or the circumstances of his entry into the HBC. He sailed from London in 1719 in the Hudson’s Bay [III] (Capt. Richard Ward), which was wrecked off Cape Tatnum on 24 August. After working as book-keeper at York Fort, Bird was transferred to Fort Prince of Wales, Churchill River, in 1720. Except for two short periods, when he held temporary command, he served successively under Nathaniel Bishop, Richard Norton*, Anthony Beale, and again Richard Norton. Bird was recalled to England in 1733. His failure to reach even the rank of second before 1731 was apparently due to the lack of respect shown him by the men at Churchill River.
In 1734 Bird was re-engaged as second at Albany Fort; he held that position until 1737 when he became chief on the retirement of Joseph Adams. Bird’s death, probably “hastened by an immoderate use of liquors,” occurred at Albany on 21 June 1739. He was succeeded by Rowland Waggoner and survived by a child living in England.
It is unlikely that this Thomas Bird was related to his contemporary of the same name who was secretary to the HBC and died in London in 1735.
[Letters to the Governor and Committee written by Bird and his colleagues at Fort Prince of Wales and Albany Fort are printed in HBRS, XXV (Davies and Johnson). The volume also includes references to manuscript journals kept by Bird and housed in the HBC archives. a.m.j.]