MYATT (Miatt), JOSEPH, HBC employee from 1708; d. 1730.
Myatt, who came from Cheshire, England, joined the HBC as a landsman in May 1708 signing a contract for four years at £10 per annum for the first year with annual increases of £2. He distinguished himself (perhaps as a gunner, a position he contracted for in 1714) when John Fullartine commanded the defence of Albany against a French attack in 1709. Myatt was a competent, trustworthy servant, and in 1714–15, having become conversant with the Indian languages, he traded for the HBC on the East Main. His wages were raised but because his terms were so high he was recalled in 1719.
He returned in 1720 to succeed Nathaniel Bishop as deputy to Thomas McCliesh*, governor of Albany. After wintering on the East Main he succeeded McCliesh as governor in 1721. A 50 per cent drop in trade in 1721–22 because French coureurs de bois prevented any of the leading upland Indians from coming to Albany, and some false and malicious reports, led the London committee to send out Richard Staunton* as governor in 1723; Myatt was demoted to deputy governor. He filled this position for two years as well as conducting the trade on the East Main, where he completed the building of a new factory. Staunton’s favourable reports dispelled the London committee’s bad opinion of Myatt although the members were still annoyed at Myatt for teaching an Indian boy to read and write.
For reasons of health Myatt spent the 1725–26 season in England. He returned to Albany as governor in 1726, a position he held until his death of “gout in the stomach” on 9 June 1730. In 1727 Myatt had suggested that Moose Factory be re-established, citing the case of Scatchamisse, who drowned making the perilous trip from Moose to Albany, to support his proposal. In July 1728, he sent Joseph Adams and William Bevan to survey Moose River for a possible site. The company acceded to Myatt’s request and in 1730 sent out a sloop with orders for the establishment of Moose Factory. As Myatt died before the orders arrived, the task of re-establishing Moose fell to Joseph Adams who succeeded him as governor.
HBC Arch. A.6/3 (letters outward, 10 June 1713, 25 May 1714); A.6/4 (letters outward, 30 May 1718, 1719, 1 June 1720, 26 May 1721, 24 May 1722, 17 May 1723, 20 May 1724, 24 May 1725, 25 May 1726); A.6/5 (letters outward, 25 May 1727, 24 May 1728, 21 May 1729, 15 May 1730); B.3/a/4–5, 9–18 (Albany journals between 1712 and 1730); B.3/d/24–27 (Albany account books, 1715–19). HBRS, XXV (Davies and Johnson).