Chronology: During the Resistance, 1870 (January – March)


In Canada:

3 January: John A. Macdonald writes Commissioner from Canada, Donald A. Smith at Red River, sending comments on the Convention of Twenty-four‘s List of Rights that was conveyed to Ottawa by the returned William McDougall:

“I have read again the claims set up by the insurgent Half-breeds, some of which are altogether inadmissible [and he then lays out what Canada is prepared to concede] … You are authorized, to invite a delegation of at least two residents to visit Ottawa for the purpose of representing the claims and interests of Rupert’s Land. The representation of the Territory in Parliament will be a matter for discussion and arrangement with such delegation. … The Indian claims, including the claims of the Half-breeds who live with and as Indians, will be equitably settled. There is no general Homestead Law in Ontario as you state in your letter, but you can assure the Residents that all titles to land held by residents in peaceable possession will be confirmed, and that a very liberal land policy as to the future settlement of the Country will be adopted. These are, I think, the principal points alluded to in your letter …”

[John A. Macdonald, Correspondence of Sir John Macdonald; selections from the correspondence of the Right Honorable Sir John Alexander Macdonald, first Prime Minister of the Dominion of Canada, made by his literary executor Sir Joseph Pope (1921), 117.]

4 January: John A. Macdonald receives a telegram from his intelligence man, H.P. Dwight at St. Paul MN, warning of negative U.S. government reaction to Canadian Party attempts to enlist refugee Sioux at Red River and Portage la Prairie (whom Dwight identifies as Little Crow/ Taoyateduta and Little Six’s Bands), to their cause. The U.S. fears a re-igniting of the Dakota War/ ‘Sioux Uprising’ of 1862. Attacks of retribution, against the American settlements at St. Joseph and Pembina, are believed possible, given the “disgraceful” proceedings of 1864. In that year Eatoka/ Shakpedan/ Zhaagobens/ Little Shakopee/ Sakpe/ Little Six (a leader of the Yankton Dakota of Minnesota), and Wa-Kan-O-Zhan-Zhan/ Wa-Kan-O-Zan-Zan/ Medicine Bottle were betrayed, drugged, and subjected to a cross-border abduction. They were transported to prison in Fort Snelling, tried before a military tribunal, and executed there on 11 November 1865.

[Library and Archives Canada [LAC], John A. Macdonald Correspondence January 04, 1870, MIKAN no. 561894. See also “Red River Dakota,” this site; stories about the abduction implicate both John C. Schultz and Andrew Graham Balleden Bannatyne.]

5 January: John A. Macdonald is informed that John Stoughton Dennis sought Sioux support after the arrests of Canadian “Royalists” [taken prisoner at John C. Schultz‘s store, 7 December 1869]. Rumours of Canadians arming the Sioux to attack “Revolutionists” at Red River have led people at Pembina to call upon the U.S. Department of War. Dennis, however, has denied any intention of arming the Sioux.

[LAC, John A. Macdonald Correspondence January 05, 1870, MIKAN no, 561868; Mikan no. 561867; Mikan no. 561870.]

In Assiniboia:

Alexander Begg’s Red River Journal entries indicate “six or seven” prisoners were released on 3 January 1870 “on condition that they leave the settlement in a day or two,” while a few more were released on parole.

[Alexander Begg, Alexander Begg’s Red River journal: and other papers relative to the Red River resistance of 1869-1870, ed. W.L. Morton (Toronto: Champlain Society, 1956). See also “Note on Alexander Begg’s Journal, History and Heritage,” and “Prisoners,” this site.]

6 January: President Louis Riel and Council of the Provisional Government receive Father J.-B. Thibault and Colonel Charles de Salaberry (the latter having just recently arrived). The two ‘good-will ambassadors’ sent by Canada, communicate their instructions which are taken under consideration.

Riel and Council meet with Donald A. Smith.

Two prisoners are rumoured to have been released, and to have left for Canada.

[See “Prisoners,” this site.]

7 January: the New Nation (7 January 1870), articles include:  “Confederation! The British American Provinces. Proposed Annexation to the United States. Hostile Attitude of Red River! Public Opinion on the Subject!“, which opens with the statement “It is evident from the circumstances attendant upon our present condition, and the tone of public sentiment abroad, that we are now left to choose that form of government which may best advance the interests of this country,” then proceeds with “The Red River Demand“, [continued], then “The annexation of British North America,” and “The North-West” and “Our Elephant” which notes that Canadian surveyors are “occupied in a portion of the country never hitherto surveyed, and over which the Indian title is still unextinguished” [italics in source], followed by “The Confederation Party Defeated in Newfoundland” with returns from the election there, and “Annexation — British Columbia“, then “Defying the Dominion“, and “An Unenviable Position“; “A Threat” posed by Canada, of sending in armed forces; “History of Red River Settlement” to be published in installments; “The Sioux! Winnipeg in Arms! The First Appearance of the Canadian Allies” accuses MacDougall and his “Canadian Agents” of trying to bring about “civil war in out midst” by arming First Nations and counselling them to attack the settlement; “History of the Red River Press“.

9 January: Alexander Begg’s Red River Journal entry indicates anywhere from 5 – 12 prisoners were thought to have escaped, and 3 to have been recaptured. Escaped prisoners — Henry Woodington, George Parker, George D. McVicar, Charles Mair, and Thomas Scott — make their way to Portage la Prairie, where other Canadians, including ‘Col.’ Charles Arkoll Boulton, reside.

[Henry Woodington, “Diary of A Prisoner in Red River Rebellion,” Niagara Historical Society 25 (1913), 47 – 48; and John Black Morrison, interview, “Living Local Old-Timer was Fellow Prisoner of Scott,” Winnipeg Free Press Evening Bulletin (Saturday, 2 April 1927): 18. See also “Prisoners,” this site.]

10 January: J.-B. Thibault writes to the Provisional Government asking for the conditions required by the colony for union with Canada, “in order that we can submit them to the examination of the government that sent us.”

11 January: the Council of the Provisional Government replies to  J.-B. Thibault, pointing out that the documents he and Charles de Salaberry had submitted do not appear to confer to them power needed to conclude an agreement.

13 January:  J.-B. Thibault and Charles de Salaberry meet the “President and Council of the People,” to explain their position, admitting they have no power to negotiate.

In Canada:

14 January: John Rankin is appointed secret agent for Canada at St. Paul MN.

[LAC, John A. Macdonald, Correspondence January 14, 1870, MIKAN no. 543793. See also LAC, John Rankin fonds, which notes “Fonds consists of letters from Sir John A. Macdonald to John Rankin, relating principally to the resignation of his seat in 1869 and his appointment as government agent at St. Paul, Minn., the following year, 1866-1886, 11 pages; commissions of Rankin as captain and ensign in the county Militia, 1870, 2 pages.”]

In Assiniboia:

14 January: the New Nation (14 January 1870), includes “Canada’s Blundering,” which sets out a description of events leading to the Resistance [continued] [continued] and [continued] opines, “We may be a small community, and a half-breed community at that — but we are men, free and spirited men …”

19 – 20 January: Settlers assemble outdoors to hear Donald A. Smith.

“Donald Smith read a series of documents aloud to the settlers of Red River; with Riel providing translations. Royal Proclamations, the terms of his government commission, communications from the government in Ottawa – all these demonstrated that the Canadians were serious in their desire to settle the affairs to the colonists’ satisfaction.”

[HBC, Our History: People: Governors: Donald A. Smith.]

Smith agrees to carry the wishes of the settlers to Canada. Louis Riel proposes a Convention of Forty to review Smith‘s instructions from Canada. Riel’s proposal is accepted.

21 January: the New Nation (21 January 1870) is published and reports on civil rights (in French); minutes of the outdoor assembly; that a meeting will be held by settlers from ‘English’ parishes to elect representatives for the upcoming Convention of Forty; on a number of American annexationist proposals; Canadian foibles; and rumours of Canadian Party supporters organizing.

23 January: John C. Schultz escapes from jail. In accord with arrangements made by his wife, he runs to Edmund Lorenzo Barber‘s house, is picked up by James Monkman, then hides at Robert McBeath‘s at Kildonan, from whence he will circulate to hide at other houses.

[See Lillian Gibbons, “How Dr. Schultz Escaped From Jail,” Manitoba Pageant 4, no. 2 (January 1959); and Frank J. Walters, “James Monkman’s Rescue of Dr. Schultz,” Pieces of the Past: Collection of Tales of Old Red River (Winnipeg: Bindery Publishing House, 1993).]

25 January: First Day of the debates of the Convention of FortyAlexander Begg writes in his Red River Journal that weather-wise, “To-day was the most stormy … drifting dreadfully.” At noon 37 representatives from the Settlement parishes meet. They adjourn to 3 pm., to see if the 3 missing representatives will arrive. When they do not, the convention is postponed to the next day.

[Begg, Red River Journal, 282.]

26 January: On Day 2 of the debates of the Convention of Forty, parish representatives meet at Upper Fort Garry. The chairman, Judge John Black (currently acting for the ill and incapacitated HBC Gov. William Mactavish), states, “they must proceed to the business before them … viz: … to decide as to what would be best for the welfare of the country.” Donald A. Smith‘s papers are read.

McLaughlin’s Firemen, of the Town of Winnipeg, hold a ball.

27 January: On Day 3 of the debates of the Convention of Forty, the Committee of Six — Thomas Bunn, James Ross, Dr. Curtis James Bird, Louis Riel, Louis Schmidt, and Charles Nolin — is appointed to draft a non-partisan Bill of Rights.

Copies of the New Nation newspaper are being returned with “pretty hard” comments scribbled on them — for example, having “New Damnation” written over the masthead. Alexander Begg records the rumour that Louis Riel is not allowing exchanges of letters between Upper Fort Garry and Lower Fort Garry; and the rumour that there is widespread displeasure that Alfred H. Scott beat out Andrew G.B. Bannatyne in the election of a representative to the Convention of Forty for the Town of Winnipeg.

John C. Schultz is rumoured to be hiding at Sidney Miller’s house, St. Paul’s Parish.

[See Begg, Red River Journal, 288; and]

28 January: On Day 4 of the debates of the Convention of Forty, the “Convention met, but adjourned again immediately till ten to-morrow, to enable the committee on the list of rights to get through their labors.”

The New Nation (28 January 1870) is printed, and will be available the next day. It features articles on: The Convention of Forty, Days 1-4 (Jan. 25, 26, 27, 28); “La question du Nord Ouest”; John C. Schultz‘s escape; the weather; the death by freezing of Clyman Fiddler; aspects of womanhood and manhood; and Canada having inspired a preference in the Settlement for annexation to the U.S.

Settlers learn that on 20 January a U.S. mail carrier (on whose service the Settlement depends), was badly frozen. Subsequently, another has died, others have been reported lost.

Mr. [J.E. Norbert] Gay (formerly of Nice, France, a ‘soldier of fortune’ with Garibaldi, and a Colonel of 3d Republic of France), arrives from Paris and checks into Emmerling’s Hotel, Winnipeg.

Canadian rumours circulate, alleging: that Gay has a letter from Joseph Rolette of Pembina; that Enos Stutsman and Louis Riel have been paid $42,000 from American sources: and that ‘the French’ intend to attack Lower Fort Garry.

[Begg, Red River Journal, 290, 291.]

29 January: On Day 5 of the debates of the Convention of Forty, the Committee appointed to draw up the Bill of Rights presents a draft list for review. The first three terms are debated before the convention adjourns to take Sunday off then meet again Monday.

31 January: On Day 6 of the debates of the Convention of Forty, terms of the Bill/ List of Rights are reviewed by the representatives.

1 – 3 February: Canadian Party sympathisers circulate “strong talk” of deposing Louis Riel and making him a prisoner at Lower Fort Garry when the Convention of Forty ends.

[Begg, Red River Journal, 294.]

1 – 4 February: The Convention of Forty continues the review of the List of Rights. They decide:

• on 1 Feb., Day 7 of the debates, that the meaning of the term “native of the country” is not clear; that the people of the settlement form “a long link of family connection,” so that “the Settlement is related from end to end,” which will be “our safeguard in the future.” They therefore strike an article referring to the nationality of troops formed to guard the settlement upon confederation with Canada. The common assumptions are that the choice will be between British regulars and men from Assiniboia, or, that men from Assiniboia will be allowed to enlist in whatever military force is created. The idea that  ‘foreign’/ Canadian troops might dominate causes anxiety — particularly to Louis Riel and 16 other representatives — but that outcome, apparently, is not believed likely by a majority  of 23 representatives. The representatives agree that French and English will both be official languages, and that First Nations and Métis have inherent rights to land;

• on 2 Feb., Day 8 of the debates, that a local legislature will control lands inside circular territory, with  Upper Fort Garry at the centre, with a radius that extends to the U.S. border;

• on 3 Feb., Day 9 of the debates, that ‘civilized and settled Indians’ (by default) will have the right to vote;

[See discussion of the term ‘Civilized,’ “Note(s) on Terminology and Aboriginality,” this site.]

• on 4 Feb., Day 10 of the debates, that Assiniboia will enter confederation with Canada as a Territory, not a Province.

4 February: the New Nation (4 February 1870) is published. It includes: the Convention of Forty Debates, Days 5 – 7 (Jan. 29 – 31); an argument that Canada must accept the Red River Bill of Rights to regain a ‘Paradise Lost’; a French article entitled “Etats-Uni”; repudiation of the ‘rebel’ label; a notice that Capt. J.E. [Norbert] Gay has arrived; a notice that the U.S. mails have not arrived; U.S. Senator from St. Paul’s MN Alexander Ramsey‘s Bill for a railroad to the Town of Winnipeg; observations on the duty of women.

Canadian rumours circulate, alleging: John C. Schultz is hiding at Mrs. Spence’s house, St. Andrew’s Parish; Walter Robert Bown (former editor of the defunct Nor’-Wester newspaper) is at HBC Eagles Nest post on the Assiniboine [or Winnipeg?] River; escapee George Duncan McVicar is at HBC Fort Alexander on the Winnipeg River; Joseph Monkman, a “great friend. Schultz,” has failed to obtain HBC supplies to treat with First Nations, on the strength of McDougall’s commission, so has returned to Red River; Alfred H. Scott has no loyalty to Red River, being a self-interested transient; Sheriff Henry McKenney (Schultz’s estranged half-brother and friend of A.H. Scott) is relocating to Pembina because he owes outstanding debts in Canada; and that Louis Riel, while in a drunken rage, threatened to kill HBC Gov. William Mactavish.

[See Begg, Red River Journal, 295, 296, 297. See also “Prisoners,” this site.]

5 February: on Day 11 of the debates of the Convention of Forty, the representatives decide that they will not support Louis Riel‘s proposition to declare the HBC to Canada deal null & void (because the Convention members object such a move would be an insult to the Crown), and they will not, on that basis, insist on an entirely new deal directly between Red River settlers and Canada.

6 February: The Provisional Government hoists a ‘larger’ flag at Upper Fort Garry.

[See “Flags and the Red River Resistance,” this site.]

Canadian rumours circulate, alleging: Charles Mair and his wife  Elizabeth ‘Eliza’ Louise McKenney (the niece of Sheriff Henry McKenney and his fugitive half-brother, John Christian Schultz) are at Portage la Prairie; James Farquharson saw ‘the French’ stealing from his daughter and son-in-law Schultz‘s store; prisoners in Upper Fort Garry have heard of a plan for a jail-break, but ask that settlers do not support it, as they expect to be released shortly – the message has been relayed by prisoner Dr. John Harrison O’Donnell through American Consul in Winnipeg, Oscar Malmros, to ‘the French’; J.E. [Norbert] Gay is a Canadian government detective or spy in touch with Joseph-Albert-Norbert Provencher (William McDougall‘s secretary, who remained behind after the latter returned to Ontario) at Pembina.

7 February: Day 12 of the debates of the Convention of Forty, “The three Canadian Commissioners, Grand-Vicar Thibeault [sic], Colonel DeSalaberry [sic] and Mr. Donald A. Smith, were present — having been requested to attend.” The Convention’s List of Rights is presented for their review. Smith invites the convention to send a delegation to Ottawa to negotiate.

Canadian rumours circulate, alleging: HBC Gov. William Mactavish is under guard; Dr. William Cowan is under lock; Andrew G.B Bannatyne, after breaking into Upper Fort Garry, was threatened with arrest, then arrested; ‘the French’ are responsible for spreading false intelligence about Bannatyne leading up to his arrest, and now they are after Alexander BeggCharles Nolin was attacked and arrested; Louis Riel and/or his guards are paranoid about mail delivery, and about an attack on Riel, so are arresting strangers; men are roaming about the Town of Winnipeg at night “on alert to find out what is going on”; McLaughlin’s firemen have had a meeting.

[See Begg, Red River Journal, 297, 299, 300.]

8 February: Day 13 of the debates of the Convention of Forty. The representatives agree to accept the invitation of the Canadian Government to send a delegation to Ottawa — though the question is raised: does the Convention have the authority to do so?

HBC Gov. William Mactavish tells “Messrs. Sutherland and Fraser,” delegates of the Convention of Forty, to “Form a Government for God’s sake, and restore peace and order in the Settlement.” Mactavish declines, however, to delegate his HBC authority to any other party.

Canadian rumours circulate, alleging: the French Canadian Commissioners, J.-B. Thibault and Colonel Charles de Salaberry, are not friendly to the English Canadian Commissioner, Donald A. SmithLouis Riel is proving to the Convention of Forty that the HBC is defunct (by arguing that the Council of Assiniboia has not posted court notices and that defiant criminals are allowed to run at large); escapee John C. Schultz is hiding at the house of Mrs. Spence’s relative-in-law,  Joseph Monkman, of St. Peter’s Parish; Schultz’s father-in-law, James Farquharson, has been arrested; Andrew G.B. Bannatyne is not free, but he is comfortable in Upper Fort Garry; ‘the Americans’ say that Alfred H. Scott is behind the arrest of Bannatyne; Dr. William Cowan might be free or not free; Charles Nolin and family are demanding the release of Bannatyne, Cowan, and HBC Gov. William Mactavish; there are “spies everywhere.”

[See Begg, Red River Journal, 302.]

In Canada:

8 February: The Toronto Globe reports:

8 February

In Assiniboia:

9 February: Day 14 of the debates of the Convention of Forty. James Ross calls for unity between ‘English’ and ‘French’ in the settlement on the grounds that:

• HBC Gov. William Mactavish has said “we are at perfect liberty to go forward and form any Government we think best for the welfare of the country (cheers)”;

• Louis Riel “and those acting with him are willing to assume the whole responsibility of all that is done up to the time of union. If necessary, he will give us in writing a contract freeing us from all the responsibility of any acts done by his party and himself up to the time of union”;

• the question of prisoners will be addressed, “And I have not the least doubt but that our French friends will meet us on this point in a manner to satisfy us (cheers).”

[See “Prisoners,” this site.]

Riel agrees to the grounds for union and says, “This moment is a happy one for the Red River people — for we are determined to unite and be brethren henceforth (cheers).”

The representatives debate a constitution developed by committee and pass a plan for a new Provisional Government — although a few representatives had objected that they needed to first consult with their constituents. They agree to establish a Representative Assembly [soon to be known as the Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia], for which 24 members are to be elected. Louis Riel is confirmed as President, James Ross as Chief Justice.

Riel announces the release of “Mr. Bannatyne, Dr. Cowan and Mr. Mactavish from all confinement.”

In Canada:

The Toronto Globe reports:

9 Feb

In Assiniboia:

10 February: On Day 15, the last day of the debates of the Convention of Forty, the representatives confirm 3 delegates nominated to go to Ottawa: Rev. N.J. Ritchot, Judge John Black, and Alfred H. Scott (although there had been some debate as to whether his position should be filled instead by a ‘Native’).

Canadian rumours circulate, alleging: Andrew G.B. Bannatyne, Dr. William Cowan, and HBC officers, including Donald A. Smith, have been released from confinement in Upper Fort Garry; 50 – 200 men are on the way to Winnipeg from Portage la Prairie to attack Upper Fort Garry and free the prisoners; William Thomas Lonsdale (foreman on the Canadian road-building works, and farming at Headingly) told them to wait until after the Convention of Forty.

[See Begg, Red River Journal, 303. See also scrip of William Lonsdale’s widow, Anne Cameron.]

Fireworks are set off. [Apparently these were obtained from James Farquharson, from John C. Schultz‘s store, where they had been warehoused in anticipation of celebrating the installation of William McDougall as Canadian Lieutenant Governor in charge of the Settlement.] Alexander Begg records, “A regular drunk commenced,” that lasts to 4 am.

11 February: The New Nation (11 February 1870), includes a report worded more positively:

“Enthusiasm reigned everywhere. In the town of Winnipeg brilliant fireworks were set off and bonfires lighted — guns fired and cheering and drinking universal,”

in the newspaper’s announcement of Representative Government for Rupert’s Land.

The newspaper also includes reports on: the Convention of Forty, Days 8-12 (first part) [Feb. 2, 3, 4, 5, 7]; Canadian Party withdrawal; John Stoughton Dennis in ‘Cannekdom’; John C. Schultz at Lake Winnipeg; William Dease being active about the settlement, but eluding arrest; U.S. railroads to Red River; U.S. Annexation; Upper Fort Garry having all the gunpowder reserves at Red River; mild weather, but roads drifted over; and children.

 Alfred H. Scott and Hugh Francis Olone circulate a petition in the Town of Winnipeg asking for representation in the Legislative Assembly that will be separate from that of St. John’s Parish.

Charles Mair and members of the Canadian Party (including fugitive Thomas Scott) at Portage la Prairie, enlist Major  Charles Arkoll Boulton to lead an attack against Upper Fort Garry. They march as far as Headingly, where they are stalled “3 or 4 days” by a blizzard that breaks out on the 11th.

[Charles Mair, ed., “Memoirs and Reminiscences,” in Tecumseh, a Drama and Canadian Poems 2d ed. (Toronto: William Briggs, 1901; reprinted with extended introduction, Toronto: Radisson Society, 1926), xli (page number  to the reprinted and extended edition).]

Canadian rumours circulate alleging: the Convention of Forty met this day; Louis Riel declared John C. Schultz an exile who was to be shot on sight, have his property confiscated to pay his debts (including back-duties owed and liabilities elsewhere); prisoners were to be released on taking oath to not break the peace (except for 4 who were instead banished from the settlement); Walter Robert Bown‘s Nor’-Wester press has been confiscated.

[See Begg, Red River Journal, 304.]

In Canada:

The Canadian Cabinet agrees to negotiate with delegates from Red River.

In Assiniboia:

12 February: on or about this date Alfred H. Scott and Hugh F. Olone, present their petition asking for representation in the Legislative Assembly for the Town of Winnipeg that will make it a constituency separate from the parish of St. John’s. Louis Riel, in his capacity as president, subsequently approves the change (by 2 March 1870); the number of representatives to be elected to positions in the Legislative Assembly is raised to 28 (14 from nominally ‘English’ parishes, 14 from nominally ‘French’).

Canadian rumours circulate, alleging: William Hallet, Charles Garrett, and other prisoners have been released; William Thomas Lonsdale reports from Headingly that 105 men intend to march against Upper Fort Garry and release the prisoners.

[See Begg, Red River Journal, 305. See also “Prisoners,” this site.]

13 February: Canadian rumours circulate, alleging: some prisoners still remain, because they refuse to swear allegiance to the Provisional Government and/or to keep the peace.

14 February: Canadian rumours circulate, alleging: arrests have been made at William Dease‘s house, though Dease escaped; Dr. William Cowan‘s house in Upper Fort Garry is being used as Government House, and Cowan has moved into HBC Gov. William Mactavish‘s house; released prisoner Charles Garrett says the HBC officers are in collusion with Louis Riel; 20 more prisoners are slated to be released; John C. Schultz is raising a force of men at Lower Fort Garry, with Chief Henry Prince onside against ‘the French’; ‘the French’ are taking goods from Schultz’s store, including the clothes of his wife; the U.S. mail has not arrived because the carriers have been frozen.

[See Begg, Red River Journal, 306, 307. See also “Prisoners,” this site; and Chief Henry Prince (1819-1902) – Red River Ancestry.]

15 February: 60 armed Canadians from Portage la Prairie led by Charles Arkoll Boulton, including Charles Mair and Thomas Scott, have joined John C. Schultz in Red River.

Canadian rumours circulate, alleging: members of the Dease Party are not prisoners; 80 – 100 men from Headingly pass through Winnipeg at 4 am., with ladders, continuing on to Lower Fort Garry; they raid the home of Pierre-Henri Coutu/ LaCouture (a butcher at the town of Winnipeg), looking for Riel (because he is known to sleep there — Coutu’s wife being Marie Catherine Lagimonière, Riel’s cousin), but do not find him; they stop for breakfast at Redwood — the late William Inkster‘s house, now occupied by Alfred Boyd — where they hold a meeting; the pro-Canadian Party men are anti-Thomas Bunn, anti-Donald and/or George Gunn, and anti-James Ross for having “sold out to Riel”; 600 – 700 men have gathered at Kildonan bent on “bloodshed”; Victoria ‘Vicky’ McVicar has gone to Upper Fort Garry to plead for peace; Louis Riel has released 20 prisoners, who have taken an oath of peaceable behaviour; a plea for amnesty for John C. Schultz has been denied; a flag has been raised at Kildonan Parish; Charles Arkoll Boulton’s group has seized two prisoners.

[See Begg, Red River Journal, 307, 308, 309. See also “Prisoners,” and “Flags and the Red River Resistance,” this site.]

16 February: Canadian rumours circulate, alleging HBC Gov. William Mactavish has heard from London, receiving instructions to keep the peace and avoid “bloodshed”; there is a £5 bounty on John C. Schultz’s head; 4 cannon (one an 18 pounder) have been brought to the Kildonan Church; an attack on Upper Fort Garry is immanent; Winnipeg has battened down — ammunition, guns, and horses are being requisitioned; scouts have been sent out from Upper Fort Garry; Judge John Black has refused to be a delegate to Ottawa; ‘the French’ have moved two of Upper Fort Garry’s large guns across the river to St. Boniface with 100 men; the ‘Americans’ have taken refuge in Upper Fort Garry; forces gathered by Schultz and Chief Henry Prince are at the Kildonan church with torches to burn down Upper Fort Garry; Louis Riel has sent a message to Kildonan saying, ‘form a government if you want to, but keep away from Upper Fort Garry or there will be a fight.’

[See Begg, Red River Journal, 310, 311 , 312.]

One of the prisoners of the Canadians, Norbert Parisien escapes and while running away shoots Hugh John Sutherland, who is riding by. Parisien is recaptured and severely beaten. John C. Schultz performs surgery on Sutherland, who dies.

[For biographical information on Hugh John Sutherland, see “The Three Deaths of the Resistance,” this site.]

The Canadian Party loses support in the lower Settlement.

Canadian rumours circulate, alleging: William Fraser has reported the shooting of Hugh John Sutherland to Upper Fort Garry, and that a man named Paquin chased after Norbert Parisien, who has suffered a head injury; Louis Riel has expressed sympathy for Parisien; Dr. Curtis James Bird has reported Sutherland’s dying to Upper Fort Garry, and says the Portage Party might withdraw from the Settlement; Maurice J.G. Lowman has reported that the men at Kildonan have dispersed; Parisien has been taken to Lower Fort Garry; the lower fort is guarded by Chief Henry Prince‘s men; a large guard has been placed in the Town Winnipeg.

[Maurice J.G. Lowman had been a member of the Convention of Twenty-four, representing St. John’s Parish, in 1869, and was the son, from a previous marriage, of Mary Kelly Lowman Bird, the widow of James Bird Sr. By his mother’s last marriage, Maurice Lowman was half-brother to Dr. Curtis James Bird.]

 John C. Schultz and Charles Mair flee the Settlement and head for Canada (Mair heads first for Portage la Prairie, then St. Paul; Schultz goes to Fort Alexander, then up the Winnipeg River, to Duluth).

[See Begg, Red River Journal, 327.]

17 February: Charles Arkoll Boulton and a party of 48 men making their way back to Portage la Prairie are arrested — including Thomas Scott.

Canadian rumours circulate, alleging: the Provisional Government is “as good as dead” thanks to John C. Schultz; the Canadian newspapers have been publishing false ‘eyewitness news’; William Gaddy/ Gaddee, reputed to be a Métis supporter of  the Canadian Party, has been arrested; Gaddy had letters in his possession that detailed a plot to attack Upper Fort Garry from three sides, including Sioux warriors and a party led by William Dease; Gaddy has been executed; Gaddy has been threatened with death by firing squad three times, but has escaped; ‘the French’ are searching for Dease.

[See Begg, Red River Journal, 313, 314, 315. See also “Prisoners,” this site.]

18 – 19 February: elections for the Legislative Assembly are taking place.

Canadian rumours circulate, alleging: William Dease arrived at Upper Fort Garry and, along with the Milliens, pledged not to go against the Provisional Government; Duncan Nolin was a prisoner but has been released; a force of Sioux warriors is on the way to attack ‘French’ homes in the Settlement; Charles Arkoll Boulton has been court-martialed and condemned to be shot; Joseph-Albert-Norbert Provencher (William McDougall‘s secretary, who remained behind at Pembina after the latter returned to Ontario), is to be arrested if he crosses the border from the U.S.: J.E. [Norbert] Gay is living at Upper Fort Garry.

[See Begg, Red River Journal, 315, 317, 318.]

The New Nation (18 February 1870), is printed, but not distributed until the 19th. It reports: on the Convention of Forty, from the second half of Day 12 to Day 15 [Feb. 7, 8, 9, 10]; on the uproar caused by the Portage Party (a satirical account); the death of Hugh John Sutherland; that, in Canada, the view is, “in the spring, Canada or Red River must go down”; William Dease escaped arrest; a U.S. Senate Railway Bill proposes to connect St. Paul to Fort Garry “within 3 yrs.”

In Ottawa:

19 February: John A. Macdonald, receives word by telegram from his intelligence man at St. Paul MN, H.P. Dwight, that “Rankin of Essex” (Arthur Rankin, a railway enthusiast and speculator), is heading to Fort Garry.

[LAC, John A. Macdonald Correspondence February 19, 1870 MIKAN no. 516197.]

In Assiniboia:

20 February: numerous people have interceded on behalf of  Charles Arkoll Boulton and his death sentence has been commuted.

Canadian rumours circulate, alleging: James Ross, a founding member of a Red River teetotaler society, is drunk; the loading of mail by Post-master Andrew G.B. Bannatyne is being monitored; Ambroise-Dydime Lépine, Elzéar Goulet and 50 other men are searching for John C. Schultz; Schultz had been hidden by John Tait, Rev. Gairdner, Murray, and Andrew Mowatt; Schultz’s wife, Agnes Campbell Farquharson Schultz, has been found at John Tait’s; Schultz was the source for a rumour that Anne ‘Annie’ McDermot Bannatyne and Katherine Jane Glen Macaulay Rae Hamilton Begg were nearly arrested on suspicion of being spies; 60 men are, or are not, occupying Lower Fort Garry.

[See Begg, Red River Journal,  319.]

21 February: Canadian rumours circulate, alleging: no plans for any Sioux or Cree attack against the settlement have been heard of at Headingly, according to William Auld Tait; William A. Tait and his brother Robert Tait  “sold” the parish of Headingly to the Provisional Government to gain post office positions; a guard of 30 men has been sent to White Horse Plains; the parishes of St. Andrew’s, St. Paul’s, St. James, and St. John are all pro-Provisional Government (the St. Andrew’s representative has already been elected).

In Canada:

John A. Macdonald writes to his secret agent at St. Paul MN, John Rankin, to report back on his return to Ottawa in March.

[LAC, John A. Macdonald Correspondence February 21, 1870, MIKAN no. 544048.]

22 February: Order-in-Council no. 1870-1179: Proceedings at Red River – Commercial intercourse with U.S. (things are stalled).

In Assiniboia:

22 February: Canadian rumours circulate, alleging: the ‘French’ guard requisitioned horses to go and look for John C. Schultz, and Louis Riel along with John Tait rode with them to Lower Fort Garry where the party ransacked the fort and took possession of the keys; William Drever Jr. and Dr. James Spencer Lynch will leave for Canada on the 23d; Dr. John Harrison O’Donnell is now in charge of paying off the men who enrolled in the Volunteer Militia originally organized under John Stoughton Dennis.

[See Begg, Red River Journal, 320. See also “Prisoners,” this site.]

In the U.S.:

Secret agent at St. Paul, John Rankin, writes to John A. Macdonald indicating that “Col. [Arthur] Rankin of Essex” is on the way to Red River, that Bishop Alexandre-Antonin Taché (likewise heading to the settlement), knows this and is aware that the Colonel is hostile to Riel.

[LAC, John A. Macdonald Correspondence February 23, 1870, MIKAN no. 495890.]

Norman Wolfred Kittson at Pembina writes to John A. Macdonald that he forwarded a telegram from Macdonald to Donald A. Smith at Upper Fort Garry and warned Smith that Col. [Arthur] Rankin was working in the interest of Louis Riel “and his party.”

[LAC, John A. Macdonald Correspondence February 22, 1870. MIKAN no. 488494.]

In Assiniboia:

23 February: The last of the Legislative Assembly members are elected.

Canadian rumours circulate, alleging: Judge John Black will not be a delegate to Ottawa because his sister is ill; Alfred H. Scott and Hugh Francis Olone failed to get the Town of Winnipeg declared a separate constituency for the Legislative Assembly of the Provisional Government; James Ross declined the position of Chief Justice in the Provisional Government; Andrew G.B. Bannatyne has been elected to the Legislative Assembly; George Washington’s birthday ball in Winnipeg has been cancelled for lack of funds.

[See Begg, Red River Journal, 321.]

24 February: Canadian rumours circulate, alleging: Louis Riel, who was seriously ill at the home of his cousin Marie Catherine Lagimonière and her husband Pierre-Henri Coutu/ LaCouture, “threatened with an attack of brain fever,” has been moved to Upper Fort Garry; 300 men stationed as Provisional Government guards at the HBC Lane’s Fort are eating the Company cattle; Donald A. Smith and Anglican Archdeacon John McLean have gone to Portage to urge unity with the Provisional Government; William Auld Tait has been elected at Headingly; William Drever Jr. and Dr. James Spencer Lynch left for Canada.

[See Begg, Red River Journal, 322.]

25 February: the New Nation (25 February 1870), reports: the debates of the Convention of Forty, from the second half of Day 12 to Day 15 [Feb 7, 8, 9, 10], noting the transcription is as “complete as possible,” but that translation into English and French meant that some speeches have lost their “force and point”; names of representatives elected to the Legislative Assembly, although the elections are not yet finalized; Judge John Black will not be a delegate to Ottawa; a description of the electoral franchise; a re-telling of the attack of the Portage Party, in a more serious tone that previously; Hugh John Sutherland’s obituary; Canadian troops are organizing; U.S. sympathy for Red River; U.S. offers of mediation; John C. Schultz is on the way to Canada; William Drevor Jr. and Dr. James Spencer Lynch have left for Canada; allegations about a Sioux and Cree attack are baseless rumour; revolutions, rulers, & executions elsewhere; the Northern mail has arrived; no U.S. mail arrived.

Canadian rumours circulate, alleging: Louis Riel is recovering; Alexandre-Antonin Tache is expected to arrive, men have been sent to meet him, he is travelling in company with Hector Langevin (Canadian Minister of Public Works); a man has died at Upper Fort Garry; William Dease and Laboucan Dauphinais are to take an oath of allegiance to the Provisional Government; Andrew G.B. Bannatyne and Onis Monchamp are deciding the outcome of a small claims case.

[See Begg, Red River Journal, 322.]

26 February: a severe snowstorm hits the settlement.

Canadian rumours circulate, alleging: Patrice Breland and Pierre Laveiller/ Léveillé, in charge at HBC Lane’s Fort at Portage la Prairie, have joined the Provisional Government; Charles Arkoll Boulton sympathizes with the Provisional Government; Col. Arthur Rankin from Canada is expected to arrive.

[See Begg, Red River Journal, 323, 324. See also See “Letter from Pierre Leveille,” to the editor, translation, dated White Horse Plains, 25 May 1870, New Nation News 27 May 1870, this site.]

27 February: Canadian rumours circulate, alleging: that with the severe snow storm, a spring flood is predictable; Louis Riel has recovered; HBC Gov. William Mactavish‘s health has gotten worse; HBC officers at Upper Fort Garry might appear free, but they really are not; some people who have been described as prisoners appear not to be so.

28 February: the amount of snow has made travel difficult.

Canadian rumours circulate, alleging: Louis Riel has all the HBC keys; Thomas Bunn and James Ross were drunk and professed to wanting no part of the Provisional Government; Riel is ordering that HBC cattle be killed; ‘English’ councillors are refusing to take an oath of allegiance to the Provisional Government; Charles Mair and Setter have gone from Portage [headed for St. Paul via White Mud River].

[See Begg, Red River Journal, 325, 327.]

1 March: The settlement experiences its first melt of the year. The U.S. mail does not arrive.

Thomas Scott is put in irons for being “rough and abusive.”

Canadian rumours circulate, alleging: William Drever Jr. and  Dr. James Spencer Lynch were ‘chased across the line’ to the U.S.; Louis Riel has taken all of the HBC furs; the Provisional Government has sent messages to the interior, telling the winterers to come to Red River with their pemmican and to not sell it to the HBC; the story that Dr. William Cowan and William Dease were arrested and chained proved false; ‘the French’ are planning to attack traders once the HBC store of food is gone; Thomas Scott has been “indiscreet” in the use of his tongue; a “gloom” hangs over the Settlement because the delegates to Ottawa did not leave for Canada and no meeting of a Legislative Council has been called.

In Canada:

The Toronto Globe reports:

1 March

In Assiniboia:

2 March: Canadian rumours circulate, alleging: Louis Riel granted the Town of Winnipeg representation separate from St. John’s in the Legislative Assembly, but this was an unpopular decision; there is no sign of Bishop Alexandre-Antonin Taché yet; Colonel Charles de Salaberry and Donald A. Smith have not left for Canada; 3 ‘French’ guards have been jailed for drunkeness; Riel is enjoying the use of  John C. Schultz’s furniture.

3 March: A Military Tribunal votes for the execution of Thomas Scott.

Canadian rumours circulate, alleging: Louis Riel has disallowed separate representation for the Town of Winnipeg in the Legislative Assembly; the Legislative Council is scheduled to meet; ex-President, John Bruce, is a pauper; Robert Tait has been ordered to run his mill; saloons are issuing tickets in lieu of change; ‘French half-breeds’ are eating all the food at HBC Lane’s Fort; ‘the French’ are bragging about taking HBC goods “by the bale”; the “Half-breeds” plan to seize all HBC posts.

[See Begg, Red River Journal, 327.]

4 March: The U.S. mail does not arrive; there is 3 feet on snow across the prairie. Private Thomas Scott of the Canadian Volunteer Militia is executed.

Canadian rumours circulate, alleging: the New Nation is not being distributed;Thomas Scott has been condemned to be shot at noon, but this is not believed; coffin building is going on; Rev. George Young [a Canadian Methodist missionary] is interceding on behalf of Scott; Scott was executed at noon by P. Champagne, Marcell Roi, Capt. Dechamp, François Thibault, Augustin Pariesien, and François Guillemette, a Canadian employee of  John C. Schultz.

[See Begg, Red River Journal, 328.]

The New Nation (4 March 1870), is printed and reports: the names of the last representatives elected to the Legislative Assembly of the Provisional Government; an analysis of the Canadian Commissioners’ instructions; U.S. Senator from St. Paul’s MN Alexander Ramsey’s speech; a ”Military Execution”; Winnipeg is now the capital of the North-West; there has been unrest among winterers in the interior; the Canadian Party has no firm support; William Dease‘s Party has joined the Provisional Government; that when there are “Political Quarrels” respect must be given to opposing political views; projections of prosperity; a currency shortage; Benjamin Beauchemin [father of Jean-Baptiste Beauchemin] has died at Upper Fort Garry; about the snow; that in the blizzard a U.S. citizen and a boy, Thomas Ard Smith, were lost.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: