Harvey may have been born at Stromness, Orkney where he joined the Hudson's Bay Company in 1845. As he arrived at Fort Victoria from Fort Langley in 1848 it is possible that he served there in the interim. Throughout much of 1849 he was assigned boat building and repair tasks and worked alongside of Andrew Crawford. In January of 1850 he was transferred to serve on board the Beaver. He disappeared from Company records after 1850.