Metis 1866 - 1868


1866 - 1868

Vital Justin Grandin, future Bishop of Edmonton,
considered the Metis of Red River to be careless people,
more inclined to a nomadic occupation.

Red River, he believed, would be better served with the
introduction of French farmers.

General Phillip Sheridan made his infamous quote:
"The only good Indian is a dead Indian."

The Anglican Bishop, Reverend Machray,
considered the inhabitants of Red River savage
and not worthy of his time.

The Metis Nation is being attacked by Church,
Government and the Hudson Bay Company.

The English Ontario Orangemen, however, would inflict
the most cruel damage- character assassination.


The Red River Settlement suffered from want of government from 1862 to 1869. William Mactavish, on August 22, said that, at present, any act of the government is suspected to be taken in the interest of the Hudson Bay Company, and agitation has been so long carried on here, that nothing will disabuse the minds of the people on this point.

Mactavish earlier, and again in 1867, pointed out that all was not well and that a change of government was imperative, as concessions could no longer induce active support of the Council's authority. Bishop Tache and company seemed unable to look beyond their own membership and allies when making new appointments.

Rev. James Nisbet, Presbyterian missionary, established Prince Albert thirty five miles above the forks of the Saskatchewan Rivers. A few families from Red River made up the early inhabitants. By 1871 the population of Prince Albert would only grow to one hundred and forty three people. (VII)-Francois-Xavier S. Garneau, the first great French Canadian historian, died this year. The Fenian secret brotherhood of New York mounted a series of raids into Canada as part of its attempt to support the Irish revolutionary movement in its struggle with Britain. Their long arm would eventually reach Red River but with little consequence.

The Red River Canadian Party of Masons added Thomas Spense to their group. On December 8, at Fort Garry, the Masons passed a resolution that the Red River settlement join confederation, and a signed petition of two hundred names went to the Queen. Red River saw a good harvest this year, including root crops.

Louis Girard, who ran a store at Red River, stated that, generally, English and Scottish Half Breeds were better off than French Half Breeds who were more free hearted (spend it and save nothing). They live more wandering lives. In summer they go everywhere, generally as voyageurs, and in winter they go trapping. It is noteworthy that the Metis culture has been isolated from Eastern influence since 1821, some thirty five years, when James W. Taylor introduced, into the Minnesota House, the notion of building a railway to the British Northwest Territories to secure trade and the possible annexation to the United States.

The question of a Red River Rifles for the defense of Red River is still being discussed. William Mactavish, in August, wrote that the Council of the Assiniboia is to do without a force, as the cost would be the greatest difficulty. But the more important reason was that a change in Government in Red River would be required. This would not be a very agreeable experiment, in his opinion. He went on to say that representation, in some way, would be required to be given to the people before they would agree to increased taxation.

Monseigneur Grandin suggested the introduction of French farmers, whom alone are capable of improving and retaining the lands which the careless Metis are inclined to leave for their nomadic occupations. The Metis are idlers who abandon their lands to the English so as to go and live like savages on the prairies. Vital Justin Grandin's distaste for the Indians and Metis Canadians would intensify over the years.

The Ojibwa and Metis of Red Lake attacked the Dakota on their visit to Red River but the Dakota did not retaliate. The Ojibwa of Portage La Prairie attacked a Dakota camp, killing two, but the Dakota again did not retaliate.

November 29: Norbert Larance, Metis, is appointed Magistrate of the Middle District of Red River. William Robert Smith is appointed President for the Petty Court of the White Horse Plains District of Red River.

December 21: The Battle of Lodge Trail Ridge (Fetterman Battle) on the Bozeman Trail, north west of Fort Philip Kearny, resulted in the complete annihilation of the American army. The military had been completely outwitted and hopelessly outnumbered. This was one of only three battles in American history in which not a single American survived. General William Tecumseh Sherman, upon hearing the news, said, " I do not understand how the massacre of Colonel Fetterman's party could have been so complete". He went on to say that we must act with vindictive earnestness against the Sioux, even to the extermination, men, women and children. Nothing else will reach the root of this case. This belief in extermination (genocide) was fairly representative of the military attitude at this time. Other accounts say that Captain Fetterman boasted, "Give me 80 men and I'll ride through the entire Sioux Nation". In a battle that lasted under 1/2 hour, 81 soldiers- 25% of his troops out of Fort Kearny, were cut down.


Wood Mountain, a Metis settlement, is believed started about this time.

Russia sold Alaska to the United States at less than 2 cents an acre because Russia considered the British an enemy.

Abel Farwell, a.k.a. Fairwell or Farewell, b-1842, married to River Crow Woman, a.k.a. Goes First, Horse Guard, Crow Mary b-188 Montana. Abel built Fort Peck between Montana and the Dakota Territories.

Bishop Vital Grandin, an obsessive, sickly man, was recruiting in a French seminary that proclaimed: Where men collect the skins of wild beasts, the Oblate seeks to win souls for Christ. The Oblate mission is to bring Christianity to the West, to go forward for Christ- right to the ends of the earth. The grand plan is a massive failure, and the Oblates themselves feel they will fade away by the end of the twentieth century, having failed their mission. The fundamental error is not recognizing the unique theology of the aboriginal people. European Christianity is not necessarily God's Christianity for the Americas.

Augustus Chenquay, pure blood Chippewa, claimed that Joseph Gurnoe and General L.E. Webb- Indian Agent tried to get him to apply for mixed blood script and give him twenty dollars. He refused after consulting with Mr. Moulferrand, a school teacher, who said it was not all right. He said he told other members of his band not to sign.

Major General Winfield Scott Hancock is commander of the Department of the Missouri (Kansas, Missouri, eastern Colorado and northeastern New Mexico). He proclaimed that no insolence will be tolerated from any band of Indians whom we may encounter. This incredibly stupid man was determined to start war.

Moses Solomon and Abel Farwell arrived at Fort Benson to trade.

January: The Indians of Kansas and Colorado were obtaining guns and ammunition from traders. Such trade had been authorized by the Indian Bureau. The War Department was furious.

March: General Hancock departed Fort Leavenworth for Fort Riley, Fort Harker and Fort Larned with an army of 1,400 men. Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer was among this group. A delegation of chiefs and warriors approached Hancock, asking him not to approach their village as the women and children were frightened, fearing another surprise massacre. Hancock ignored their request and ordered Custer to surround the village. The Cheyenne quietly abandoned the village, and in the morning Custer's men discovered an absolutely deserted village. General Hancock is enraged and ordered the cavalry out in pursuit. It was a hopeless quest. The Government, shortly after, declared war on the Cheyenne, Arapahos and Sioux south of the Platte. It would appear that the government had ordered Hancock to instigate war in support of the land clearance policy.

June: Twelve soldiers, 7 mounted and 5 on foot, deserted, and the great General George Armstrong Custer (who married Elizabeth Bacon), in a rage, ordered his men to run them down and bring none in alive. Fortunately, only three were killed and two captured after pretending to be dead. Those who were mounted escaped. Custer had graduated at the bottom of his class at West Point, and many considered him a big-mouthed braggart who was incompetent.

July: The Dominion of Canada came into existence. Canada, however, was not allowed to deal directly with other states (such as the Indian and Metis states), control immigration or command Canadian armed forces, except through British Officers. The Hudson Bay Company believed it would help them by providing status and authority in the commerce of land sales to support their colonization policy. Canada consisted of southern Ontario, southern Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The population of Canada is three million, three hundred thousand. Louis Riel arrived at St. Paul, Minnesota, having been educated at the college de Montreal. More than two thousand caravans of ox-drawn Red River Carts with iron or steel wheels made the trek from Red River to St. Paul, Minnesota this season. Some of their return cargo is glass panes for windows, spinning wheels, looms and tools. All aspects of life on the Red River are improving. Most houses had floors and partitioned rooms. This is the year that General Philip Sheridan, Commander of the division of the Missouri, became infamous for his racist quote: "The only good Indian is a dead Indian".

July 14: General George Armstrong Custer is at Fort Wallace on the Smoky Hill River in western Kansas with orders to use the cavalry to keep the Indians constantly engaged.

July 15: General George Armstrong Custer deserted his men to visit his wife in Fort Riley.

July 19: The British Government rejected a request that British Columbia be allowed to join the Canadian Confederation.

September: General George Armstrong Custer is placed under arrest for court-martial at Fort Leavenworth on seven charges, including: deserting his command; the shooting of deserting men; damaging horses on his forced march to see his wife; failing to pursue Indians; and not recovering the bodies of men killed by the Indians. He was found guilty of all charges and his rank and command was suspended for one year.

September, 17: Barkerville, B.C. (established 1862) is destroyed by fire and 116 homes are destroyed. The fire was caused by a miner trying to kiss one of the girls in a saloon. The ensuing struggle dislodged a stove pipe, setting the canvas ceiling on fire.


U.S.A. having declared war in 1846, this year forced Mexico to cede 55% of its lands to America. This included Arizona, California, New Mexico, Texas and parts of Colorado, Nevada and Utah. The lesson to the world is that might is right.

Governor Mactavish advised the Council of Assiniboia that unless the Hudson Bay Company's Government is to be entirely supported by force, I do not think the Council can maintain order and I would, therefore, strongly urge the absolute necessity, in the interest of all parties, that the authorities here should derive their power from some source independent of the Hudson Bay Company, and that no Company officer should be mixed up with the Government. Many French councilors boycotted the Council. Neutrality seemed the best policy to follow. Council included: Bishop Tache, Salmon Hamelin, Roger Goulet, William Dease, James McKay, and Magnus Burnston.

Marriage, Roger Goulet, son of a hunter, and Josephte Severet, daughter of Chief Factor John Siveright of Edinburgh. Bishop Provencher was his godfather at St. Boniface.

James McKay is a great friend of Bishop Tache, the grandson of Charles Gladu and he married Marguerite (Peggy) Rowand, granddaughter of John Rowland and Julie Desmaris. He would leave the country to avoid the impending troubles because he was a man of considerable means.

William Dease is the son of Chief Trader John Warren Dease and Genevieve Beignet, and had no support among the Metis.

All Red River crops are in danger from grasshoppers. The hoppers piled up three feet deep in some spots, and the citizens used wheel barrows to carry them away for burning in huge mounds.

The Minnesota Legislature formally protested the proposed transfer of Hudson Bay Territories to the Dominion of Canada. The railway arrived Sioux City, Iowa. Louis Riel moved to Red River and joined the Metis movement as secretary to John Bruce who is the elected President of the National Committee.

Some Metis, sensing pending trouble and being constrained from hunting south by the Americans, moved further west in search of the larger buffalo herds. They established themselves at the forks of the Saskatchewan, along the north and south Saskatchewan River valleys, in Cypress Hills and some as far as Lac Ste Anne and St. Albert, which are west and north of Fort Edmonton. Lac Ste Anne is the largest settlement west of Red River.

The Kansas Pacific Railway frequently stopped trains so as to allow passengers the opportunity to leave the cars and shoot passing buffalo. No attempt was made to salvage the meat or hides.

Lawrence Garneau met two people who exerted a profound influence on his life. One is a gentleman named Louis Riel and the other a lady named (IV)-Eleanor Thomas. Robert Garneau contends that Lawrence Garneau met (IV)-Eleanor Thomas at Sault Ste Marie. She was nineteen years old when they married. This tradition could not apply to Eleanor but may apply to his Great Grand Father Louis Gaunaux who married in Sault Ste Marie, a (V)-Archange Cadotte. (II)-James Brady contends that Lawrence Garneau married (IV)-Eleanor Thomas five years after arriving at Red River. The various censuses confirm Red River as the most probable marriage location, but I have not been able to verify the marriage. Lawrence also claimed to have been married at Red River. The family also contends that (IV)-Eleanor Thomas only spoke English and Gaelic, always wore her hair in a bun, and wore hats like Queen Victoria. She was born a Metis in Swampy Cree Village, Red River and, therefore, probably spoke Cree. Lawrence Garneau spoke French and Ojibwa but must have had a working knowledge of Cree when they first met. Some of the family contends that Eleanor's mother is born at sea on the trip to the new world, that Eleanor is a striking blonde (some say red head) from the Scottish settlement of Kildonan and that she had no Indian heritage. She claimed she was born in Kildonan on August 13, 1853 from a trio of Scots and one Indian grandparent. The family later said she was three quarters Scot and one quarter Indian. The 1870 census suggests 1850 or 1851 as her birth year, and all records indicate much more Native heritage than family tradition allows. Her father, (III)-Alexander Thomas, married a Betsy Cree in 1840 and a Victoria Taylor in 1851, which would support either tradition depending upon date of birth. (IV)-Eleanor Thomas claimed Victoria Taylor as her mother, so this would place her birth as 1851 or 1852. The Reverend William Fletcher served at Little Britain Church where (IV)-Eleanor Thomas and Lawrence Garneau married. The Presbyterian had congregations at Kildonan (Frog Lake), Little Britain and Headingly.

Thomas Spense moved to Portage la Prairie, opened a store, and organized the Republic of Manitoba to hold the Country for Canada. His organization would become the headquarters for the Orange Canadian, Mason movement. Dr. John Schultz sold the Nor'wester to Walter Robert Brown. The Metis considered the paper an unmixed evil, primarily an instrument to serve the owners personal interests which were not the interests of the Red River Nation and the peoples.

The only legal trading companies to trade in the American North West are I.G. Baker on the Marias River and the North West Fur Company on the Teton.

The spring buffalo hunt is a complete failure and relief came from Canada and the United States. On September 18, William McDougall, Canada's minister of public works, orders John A. Snow to construct a road from Fort Garry to the Lake of the Woods as Canada's portion of the relief, and plans to use some Ontario Orangemen. John Snow and Charles Mair said they plan to use American and Ontario workers. This did not sit well with the Metis Nation. John Snow and Charles Mair lodged with John Christen Schultz, implying a connection with the Canadian Party, and they also engaged Thomas Spense to handle provisions. A violent young Ontario Orangemen, Thomas Scott, is in the Canadian Party, which gives the impression that the road building was an excuse to bring the storm troopers into Red River. The Canadian party alleged to have bought land at Oak Point from the Indians and forced the long time resident half-breeds, who they said are squatters, from their land. The Metis Nation is having their greatest fears confirmed, and they assembled a Red River armed force to remove the Canadian Party from the lands. To make things worse, Charles Mair, the poet, wrote: Many wealthy men are married to half-breed women who having no coat of arms, but a totem to look back to make up for the deficiency by biting at the backs of their white sisters. The white sisters fall back on their whiteness; while the husbands meet each other with desperate courtesies and hospitalities with a view to filthy lucre in the background. The Toronto Globe and Mail published his account which is circulating in Red River.

The Anglican bishop of Red River, the Reverend Machray, personally told (I)-John A. MacDonald (1815-1891) of the mounting Red River problem, but he considered the inhabitants savage and not worthy of his time. The reality is that the government believed everything is in hand, and that the necessary plans were in place to quietly take over the West with the help of the Orangemen.

N.W. Kittson and associates of Saint Paul, Minnesota had Franklin Steele obtain three hundred applications for script, not one of which is valid. The American Government decided the Chippewa (Ojibwa) land script could be applied anywhere in the United States and, as a result, most script from Mixed Blood is purchased this year at a cost of four to four dollars and fifty cents per acre.

Lawrence Gourneau, alias Garneau (1840-1921), witnessed the wedding on August 11, 1868 at St. Andrews, of George Turner born 1838 and Mary Ann Sauders born 1850.



(VII)-Lawrence Garneau alias Gourneau, Guerneau and Gurnoe born 1840, Bay Mills, Michigan, died December 10, 1921 St. Paul de Metis, Alberta, son (VI)-Louis Garneau born 1790 and second wife (V)-Archange Cadotte born 1798. Lawrence married about 1868, Red River, North West Territories to (IV)-Eleanor (Heline) Thomas, born August 12, 1852, an English (Scottish) speaking Metis of Swampy Village, Red River, North West Territories, died July 13, 1912 St. Paul de Metis, Alberta, daughter (III)-Alexander Thomas, born 1823 Swampy Village, Red River, North West Territories; census 1849, C-2170, census 1870, C-2170, St. Andre, P-191. They are living 1870 about lot 96-97 St. Andrew Parish, Red River, Manitoba. Metis script C-11878 HB 290, HB 1458. Lawrence arrive Red River 1861 as per 1901 census #T6551.

A second marriage, about 1912, at Saint Paul des Metis, Alberta, to Emily Hamlin, his house keeper, no children recorded. Reference North West Half Breed Commission C-11875 P-72, C-11876 P-13. (9)-Margaret Garneau Poitras claims the second marriage is 1912 is to a Emily Hamelin daughter Alexander Hamelin voyager born August 7, 1841 St Vital, Red River and Angelique Houle?. Alaxander is the son Salamon Hamelin and Isabella Vendals both Metis.

1859 Lawrence departed La Pointe, Wisconsin.

1861-63 Lawrence officially arrived at Red River in 1861, according to the 1901 census. It's highly possible he altered this date to avoid implications of being associated with the Dakota Sioux resistance movement.

1868 Lawrence is a witness at a marriage on September 12, 1868 at St. Andrews, Red River.

1870 Lawrence, living Little Briton, sold his Red River property to David Harcus- a Metis.

1871-73 Lawrence claims, during script application in 1901, to have wintered in Red River in a rented house and is working in the prairies.

1872 Lawrence is living in St. Andrews North, Red River.

1872-75 The Garneau family officially arrives in Strathcona on August 1875, based on 1901 script application. It's highly possible he altered this statement to avoid script implication, as family tradition suggests his arrival as the summer 1874.


(VIII)-Victoria Dalphina Garneau alias Guerneau is born (1869) or October 22, 1870 near Lower Fort Garry, Red River, North West Territories baptized November 1, 1870 St. Andrews Anglican Church, Red River Ruperts Land and died December 18, 1899, Strathcona, District of Alberta, census 1870, C-2170, P-121, married Edmonton, Alberta to Peter Lacombe born October 14, 1858 Quebec who is believed to be a relation of Rev. Father Lacombe, they had no children. Metis script is disallowed April 18, 1903 #768987 (Manitoba S&B). 1870 census suggests a birth date of 1869.

(VIII)-Louis Lernartine Garneau alias Guerneau baptized September 12, 1872, St. Andrews, Red River, Manitoba, died Saint Paul des Metis, married Edmonton, Alberta after 1901 to Elizabeth (Bessie?) La Vallee. Metis script is disallowed on April 18, 1901 #768987.

(VIII)-Edward (Ned) Garneau, born November 12, 1874, Strathcona, North West Territories or April 3, 1872 Red River died September 1959 Elk Point, Alberta, married 1898 Edmonton, District of Alberta to Mabel Mary Mooney born October 9, 1884 Sheybogan, Michigan died February 3, 1972 Glendon, Alberta. Grand daughter Peggy Fidler Zaraska claims Ned is born April 3, 1872 Red River, married 1904 Vianna, South Dakota. Birth date does not agree with 1880 and 1890 census and other records. Metis script is disallowed #768987 April 18, 1903, most likely because there is no birth record in Red River or Strathcona.

(VIII)-Philomena Archange Garneau, born September 24, 1876, Strathcona, North West Territories, baptism September 24, 1876 Edmonton, Alberta, died 1918, married November 18 or 28, 1905, Strathcona, Alberta to (I)-James Brady, born August 18, 1875 Ireland, came to Canada 1896 and had six children, Anne born 1906, James, March 11, 1908, Eleanor 1909, Jean 1911, Redman 1912-13, Anthony 1914-18 all at St. Paul de Metis, Alberta. Archange is living Winnipeg from 1898 to time of script application November 1, 1901 and listed as single. Received script Manitoba supplementary case 1458.

(VIII)-Lawrence (Larry) Garneau, born April 4, 1878, Strathcona, North West Territories, died 1918 and married Grace Boose. Issued Metis script C-11876 #2342.

(VIII)-Alexander Garneau, born February 22, 1880, Strathcona, North West Territories, died 1918 Vegreville, Alberta, married 1893 Marie (Maimie) Ackerblade died 1918 Vegreville, Alberta. Issued Metis script C-11876 #2338 November 3, 1900.

(VIII)-Charlotte (Sharlet) Garneau, born January 19, 1882, Strathcona, District of Alberta, she is thrown while horse riding at age 18 years and died September 13, 1902 Strathcona, Alberta. Metis script C-11876 #2340 dated November 2, 1900.

(VIII)-Chile (Agatha) Garneau, born November 12, 1883 Strathcona, District of Alberta, died 1918 Saint Paul des Metis and married July 8, 1902 Strathcona, District of Alberta to Arthur Poirier born October 20, 1875 St. Jacques L'Achigan county du Mont Calm, Quebec and had no children. Metis script C-11876 #2360. They adopted a daughter, Germain (Min). Marriage lists age as 17 years.

(VIII)-John (Jean) Marie Garneau, born, December 30, 1885, Edmonton, District of Alberta, married April 28, 1908, Edmonton, Alberta to Mary Alexazina Gauthier, born, June 20, 1888, Aurora, South Dakota. Metis script C-11876 #2358.

(VIII)-Millicent (Melicie) Garneau, born July 4, 1888, Edmonton, District of Alberta, married Saint Paul des Metis a Oscar Savard who died Edmonton 1922, and had one child Yvonne born 1912, second marriage to a Bergevin but had no children in this second marriage.

(VIII)-Henri Joseph Garneau baptised March 22, 1890. Claimed by Laurent Garneau in Fort Edmonton to be his and Eleanor's legitimate child. This is witnessed by Mr. Baptiste Derchanger and Madam Marguerite McDonal. It would appear this child is illegitimate, possibly an out of wedlock child of one of the Garneau girls (likely a child of Archange).

(VIII)-Five babies died very young, most probably between 1868-1874. One is born with a perfect letter "J" as a birth mark on its chest.

The 1881 and 1891 census doesn't agree on ages or place of birth, and there appears to be confusion concerning who is first born. Lewis is listed first in both cases. However, the 1870 census only lists Victoria age one year, therefore Lewis must be second born.

October: Thirty people are killed in San Francisco region by what is called the 'Great Earthquake'.