Moffatt was born on June 12, 1832, on Isle of Wight and educated in Ireland. He joined the Hudson's Bay Company as an apprentice clerk in 1849 and arrived from England, along with a group of eight labourers, at Fort Victoria aboard the Cowlitz in March of 1850. His brief stay in Fort Victoria was spent awaiting the preparation of the Cowlitz for its journey to Fort Rupert where he was to spend most of his career in the service of the Hudson's Bay Company. It's not clear if he was among the "new recruits from England" mentioned by Finlayson on April 15 "who refused to work for a part of this day because it was raining". Accompanied by Dr. J. S, Helmcken, he departed for Fort Rupert on April 25 aboard the Cowlitz. Though Moffatt's career with the Hudson's Bay Company was served primarily at Fort Rupert, where he was appointed Chief Trader in 1863, he also served at Fort Simpson, Kamloops, Babine and St. James before he retired in 1872 to become an Indian Agent.