McKenzie was described in Hudson's Bay Company records as 'Native'. He was likely born in 1820 at the Red River Settlement. He entered the service of the Company in 1839 at Fort Vancouver where he was employed as a carpenter and millwright until 1849 when he was transferred to Fort Victoria, where upon his arrival in July he was placed in charge of the party employed at the mill site. Though his marriage to Sarah Goudie was not recorded in the Journal, church records indicate it took place at Fort Victoria on September 23, 1849. Upon retirement from the Company in the late 1850s he took up farming in the Victoria area where he lived until his death in 1893.