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BIO: HOWSE Family - Lamont

Contributed for use in Alberta Digital Archives by Patrick Best


Joseph Howse Family
Our Heritage
Fort Victoria, Alberta

The Howse family in unique in having the good fortune to share a remarkable monument, Howse Mountain, named in honor of our illustrious forefather, Joseph Howse. However we should keep in mind that Fort Victoria also played a significant role in our history. Fort Victoria is where the family planted roots.

It began with Henry Howse, Joseph's only living descendant. Henry Howse was born in 1809. Like many Metis, he lived in Red River Settlement where he married Janet Spence on November 1, 1830. As they say, "The union was fruitful". They had thirteen children.

Henry became disturbed by the influx of white migrants and government surveyors that threatened title to his property. His sense of loyalty to the Hudson's Bay Company and Canada deterred him from joining forces with the disgruntled French Metis that were in a state of rebellion. He chose not to take sides and decided to move his family to a safer location. In 1864, the Howse family set out for Fort Victoria. Henry selected Fort Victoria because he wished to join the Reverends George and John McDougall. He was also confident his old friend, the Hudson's Bay Company, would employ him. They made their way in ox carts along the established route, the Carlton Trail. The agonizing nine hundred mile took six weeks. As he had anticipated, Henry found full time work at the Fort, where he was engaged as a trader and carpenter. It is likely that he was involved in constructing the clerk's quarters that still remain at the original site. Henry died at Fort Victoria on February 9, 1891.

It was at Fort Victoria where another noted pioneer, Sam Livingston, joined the Howse family during the bitter winter of 1864-65. Two of Henrys daughters, Jane and Nellie were setting rabbit snares, when they saw two visitors climb the riverbank. They looked like walking skeletons, dressed in their bedraggled buckskins. One of the strangers displayed long golden locks, that fell to his waist from under an old felt hat that provided little protection from the cold. The two emaciated travelers were Sam Livingston and James Gibbons.

Sam and James had been prospecting in the Eastern Rockies in search of gold. They were attempting to find the North Saskatchewan River when they fell upon hard times. They were forced to eat one of their horses, and in rugged bush country, their remaining mount was stolen. Lost and afoot, they wandered aimlessly until they stumbled upon a travois track. The tracks lead them to Rocky Mountain House where Chief Factor Hardisty took them in. After they regained their strength, Hardisty supplied them with snowshoes and provisions, pointing them to Fort Edmonton.

Sam and James arrived unceremoniously at Fort Edmonton in December 1864. After acquainting themselves, they decided not to stay because the local inhabitants spoke mainly Gaelic, French and Cree. Just imagine, how frustrating it would have been for them to recite tales of their exploits to an audience that did not understand a word they said. Rather than becoming multi-lingual, they choose once more to brave the elements and move on. Malcolm Grout suggested they spend the remainder of the winter at Fort Victoria, where they could resume prospecting when the river ice cleared. Once again, undaunted by previous hardships, they trudged along the frozen North Saskatchewan River; to the place they scaled the steep bank at Fort Victoria.

After a brief stay, James Gibbons pulled stakes, but on that occasion, Sam chose to stay behind, ending his nomadic ways. Perhaps it was Jane that brought about the change. The Reverend George McDougall in the Methodist Church married them. Only the family and the Hudson's Bay Factor were allowed to attend the ceremony but it was followed by a gala celebration, open to everyone. The dinner consisted of pea soup, bear venison, trout, duck and buffalo. Sam insisted there would be no "Hawk Soup". There had been too much of that on his menu during his stay in the wilds. Jane also mentioned she had lost  her appetite for "rabbit stew". they grand feast was followed with musicians playing a strange variety of instruments. Metis and Irish played fiddles. Scotsmen played their pipes while the Cree and Blackfoot beat drums in rhythm.
Sam and Jane set up housekeeping in a one room, eight by ten shanty. It was reported that Sam was able to pan $16.00 worth of gold per day. (Good money in the 1860's). He also tended a small garden and finally, he learned to speak Cree. Three of their children: Jane, Nellie and George, were born at Fort Victoria. They later moved a short distance, seven miles  northeast to White Mud Settlement. The move saved them from a small pox epidemic at Fort Victoria in 1873 that took fifty lives. The Livingston's eventually moved again, seeking greener pastures at Morley, Alberta. They settled at Morley to be with their friend, Reverend John McDougall, who was establishing a new mission. They were also encouraged by reports that buffalo could still be found in the region. From Morley, Sam made his last move to Calgary, where he became one of Calgary's most prosperous and prominent citizens.

Little is known about the Howse descendants. Records indicate their mother, Jane died at Fort Victoria on June 15, 1902. Joseph Howse II died at Pakan (Fort Victoria) on January 14, 1903. Adam died at Fort Victoria in 1867. Eliza died at Fort Victoria in 1872. Thomas Howse married Susanne (Sussette) Hope at Fort Victoria in1882. Nellie (Elizabeth) married Joseph Favel at Fort Victoria in 1872. Undoubtedly, a number of past family members now rest in unmarked graves, off to the west of the Fort Victoria site. They are silent now but are incumbent upon us who remain to keep their memory and our heritage alive.

Our family has been truly blessed. Fort Victoria, once Pakan, now Victoria Settlement, has been designated a provincial historical site. Fortunately, we can make a short trip, back into our past, and stand on the ground where our ancestors once stood. They are gone but the river still runs, the stars still shine, the coyotes still howl and their spirits still linger on.

Dates may vary. When I found conflicting information, I selected the data I felt to be the most accurate, obtained from the best source. I chose to spell "Livingston", dropping the "e" off the end, because it was the original spelling.

Tom and Robert Howse were born in the Touch Hills near the Hudson's Bay Post of Popular Point, Manitoba. Their grandfather was the English fur trader, Joseph Howse, who spent the winter of 1804-05 at the Hudson Bay post, Chesterfield House. Joseph Howse married a Cree woman.

Their father worked for the Hudson Bay and worked on fur trading boats going from Fort Garry to Montreal. The route followed by the Rainy Lakes and Great Lakes to the St. Lawrence River. Their mother was of Scotch descent from the Selkirk setters.

Tom was married in 1904 to Mary Madeliena Gardipee, with Father Martin Hagel officiating. The young couple moved to the forks of the Red Deer and South Saskatchewan rivers. Tom homesteaded the north 1/2 16-23-29-W3 in Saskatchewan near the Alberta Border. He built a log house and lived there a short time.

Later he bought Trail's large rooming house and moved it to the top of the hill on NW 1/4-35-22-29-W3. Tom raised horses and cattle and could be seen in later years, riding the hills or sitting on a hill with his horse close by.

Tom and Mary had one daughter, Katie. She moved to Vancouver, BC and married there. Katie came back regularly to visit her father. Katie had three children and nine grandchildren. Ruth Pawlak and Hilda McCurdy visited her during Expo 86 had jotted down much of this information.

Robert Alexander (Bob) married Rosalee Gardipee on January 14, 1904 at Seven Persons, Alberta. He homesteaded along the Red Deer River west of Empress, Alberta and some of the log buildings can still be seen there. There were nine children in his family, five boys and four girls. Joseph (Joe) was born on the homestead about the time the hard winter of 1906-07 and could have been the first baby born on a local homestead.  Mary, Albert, Joe and Cousin Kate drove by a democrat to Delta School from 1914-1917 and the Morrisons rode with them.

Joe, spent most of his time on different ranches in the area, working for years on the Anderson Ranch, later owned by Heatons and now part of the Ferguson's Ranch. He worked for Willis McLennan on what is now the Bar TH Ranch. Joe was a real handy blacksmith, making very good spurs and bits and got to be an expert with leather. His belts and purses were a real works of art.

(This information contributed by Clarence Kipling, Calgary, Alberta)

Henry Howse, address, Fort Victoria via Edmonton; born 1797 at Red Deer River, father Joseph Howse (Englishman), mother Mary (Indian), Henry married 1820 at Winnipeg, Manitoba, to Janet Spence, children living, 8, children deceased, 5, claim number 1195, scrip for $160.00 (Taken from Manitoba Free Press, Henry Howse, died about February 9, 1891, age about 100 years, born at Red River, died at Fort Victoria Settlement, Alberta.

Jane Howse, address, Fort Victoria via Edmonton, born 1808 near Fort Pitt, Saskatchewan, father, Magnus Spence (Orkneyman), mother Christina (Indian), married in 1820 at Winnipeg, Manitoba to Henry Howse, children living ,8, children deceased, 5, claim number 1199, scrip for $160.00.

Henry Howse, a child, address in 1885, Fort Victoria, born 1875 at St. Andrews, Manitoba, father Henry Howse, mother Janet Spence, heirs; his father, Henry Howse, deponent. He received scrip for $240.00, claim number 1208.

James Howse, address, Fort Victoria, 1885, born at Red Deer in 1870, father, Henry Howse, mother, Janet Spence: married November 1869 at Edmonton, Alberta to Isabelle Calder. Children living 3, by adoption, Vital, Hewett and Sophie. Claim number 1209, scrip $160.00.

Adam Howse, address, Fort Victoria, born 1846 at Boniface, Manitoba, father Henry Howse, mother, Janet Spence: married Margaret Favel at Fort Victoria in 1868, remarried Rosalie Erminskine in June 1884 in Calgary, Alberta. Children living 2, children deceased 3. Claim number 1205, he received scrip in the amount of $160.00.

Suzanne Howse (nee: Hope), address, Calgary, Alberta, new wife of Thomas Howse concerning the claim of her deceased husband, Andrew Howse, born 1847 at Winnipeg, Manitoba, father Henry Howse, mother Janet Spence: married January 1867 at Lac La Biche, Alberta to Suzanne Hope, children living 1, Henry Howse born April 1869. Remarks: Thomas Howse died 1870, claim number 400, scrip $80.00.

Henry Howse, concerning claim of his deceased daughter, Eliza Howse, a child born in 1860 at Carlton, Saskatchewan, father Henry Howse, mother, Janet Spence, daughters claim number 1207, received a scrip $240.00.

Elizabeth Howse, address, Fort Victoria, 1885, born 1838, at St. Andrews, Manitoba, father Thomas Anderson, mother, Catherine _______: married February 11, 1885 at Portage La Prairie, Manitoba to Joseph Howse, claim number 1200, scrip $160.00.

James Howse concerning the claim of his deceased mother, Marguerite Howse (nee: Favel). She died December 1879, address, Fort Victoria  in 1885, born 1850 at St. Andrews Mission. Father, Joseph Favel, mother Maggie ______: married 1867 at Fort Victoria to Adam Howse. Children living 2, James Howse born 1868 deponent and Bella Howse, born 1870. Children deceased 2, claim number 1209, scrip $80.00.

John Howse, address, Fort Victoria 1885, father, Joseph Howse, mother, Elizabeth Anderson, claim number 1198, scrip $240.00.

Joseph Howse, address, Fort Victoria, 1885, born 1830 at St. Andrews, father Henry Howse, mother, Janet Spence: married at Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, to Elizabeth Anderson, children living 9, children deceased 2, scrip for $160.00, claim number 1197.

Margaret Howse, address, Calgary, Alberta, 1885, born 1856 at Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, father Henry Howse, mother Janet Spence: married on September 4, 1878 at Prince Albert, Saskatchewan to Albert Anderson, scrip for $240.00, claim number 376.

Thomas Howse, address, Calgary, Alberta, 1885, born 1852 at Red River, father Henry Howse, mother Janet Spence: married 1882 at Fort Victoria to Suzette Hope, children living 2, children deceased 1, scrip for 240 acres of land, scrip for $160.00 to Suzette Hope, claim number 252.

Vital Howse, address, Calgary, Alberta, born in November 1868 at Edmonton (Long Lake), father Joseph Lepetil Cauteau, adopted by James Howse when his parents died, scrip for $240.00, claim number 378.

(This information contributed by Clarence Kipling, Calgary, Alberta)

Adam Howse heir to his deceased children (1) Joseph Henry Howse at Fort Victoria, born 1872, died 1872 at Fort Victoria. (2) Sarah Howse born 1876 at Fort Victoria, died 1876 on South Branch of Saskatchewan River, (3) Rachel Howse born 1878 at Fort Victoria, died 1878 at Fort Victoria, (4) Margaret Jane Howse, born 1880 at Fort Victoria, address, Fort Victoria in 1900, father, Adam Howse, claim number 1925.

Benjamin Howse, address, Fort Victoria in 1900, born on January 5, 1881 at Saddle Lake,  Alberta, father Joseph Howse, mother, Elizabeth Anderson, claim number 1916.

Elizabeth Howse for her deceased children (1) Jessie Howse, born on November 15, 1870 at Fort Victoria, died on April 12, 1885 at Fort Victoria, (2) Belle Howse born on April 7, 1885 at Fort Victoria, died on May 17, 1885 at Fort Victoria, address, Lobstick, Alberta, 1900. father Joseph Howse, mother, Elizabeth Anderson, heir, their father, Joseph Howse, claim number 1903.

Emilie Howse, for her minor daughter, Marie Howse, address, Baptiste Lake, Alberta, 1900, was born 1887 at Lac La Biche, Alberta, father Charles Howse, deceased mother Emilie Bruno, claim number 1415.

Emilie Howse, for her minor children (1) Adelaide Howse born 1890 at Moose Lake, Alberta, (2) Narcisse Howse born 1894 at Athabasca Landing, address, Baptiste Lake in 1900, father, Charles Howse, deceased mother, Emilie Bruno.

Emilie Howse, address, Baptiste Lake, Alberta, in 1900, father, Michel Bruno, mother Catherine Ladiuceen, form E. number 3330, and claim number 2414.

Joseph Howse Jr., address, Fort Victoria 1900, born on January 15, 1877 Goodfish Lake, Alberta, father, Joseph Howse, mother, Elizabeth Anderson, form E. number 1222, claim number 1924.

Lizzie Howse, for her deceased children (1) Marie Rose Howse born on April 3, 1883 at  Oak Point, died October 1898 at St. John, New Brunswick, (2) Joseph James Howse born on April 3, 1885 at Touchwood Hills, died 1887 at Oak Point, father, John Howse, mother, Elizabeth Despailos, heirs, Lizzie Howse, Henry Howse, Lizzie Howse.

Louis Howse, address, Baptiste Lake, Alberta born 1875 at Lac La Biche, Alberta, father Charles Howse, mother, Emilie Bruno.

Marie Rose Howse, address, Baptiste Lake, Alberta born 1876 at Hard Hills near Red Deer River, father Louis Nepissing, mother Madeline Molatene, form E. number 1396, claim number 2406.

Marie Louis Howse, address, Baptiste Lake, Alberta born 1885 at Lesser Slave Lake, Alberta, father, Charles Howse, mother Emilie Bruno.

Mary Howse, for her deceased daughter, Ellen Todd, address, Lower St. Paul in 1900, born at Bresalor, Saskatchewan, died in the spring of 1886 at Fort Pitt, Saskatchewan, father William Todd, mother Marie Dufresne, heirs, Mary Howse, James Todd, Mary Todd, Isabelle Todd, Margaret Marie Howse, Norman Howse, claim number 2051.

Mary Howse, address, in 1900, Baptiste Lake, Alberta born 1882 at Lac La Biche, Alberta, father Charles Howse, mother, Emilie Bruneau, claim number 2434.

Robert Alexander Howse, address, Touchwood Hills, Saskatchewan, born July 12, 1879 at Poplar Point, Manitoba, father Henry Howse, mother, Elizabeth Nellie Inkster, claim number 899.

Rosalie Howse, address, Touchwoods, Saskatchewan, born 1872 at Winnipeg, Manitoba, father, Joseph Desjarlais, mother, Isabelle Lefrenise, form E. number 648, claim number 887.

Rosalie Howse, address, Wetaskiwin, Alberta, 1900 born winter of 1868, south of Whitefish Lake, Alberta, father, Baptista Biche, mother, Betsy Natawawhpekoo, husband, Adam Howse, claim number 1983.

Samuel Henry Howse, address, St. John, New Brunswick, born December 24, 1882 at Oak Point 1900, father, John Howse, mother, Lizzie Desjarlais, form E. number 3582, claim number 1036.

Sarah Howse, address, Touchwood Hills, Saskatchewan, 1900, born on August 9, 1877 at High Bluff, Manitoba, father Henry Howse, mother, Elizabeth Nellie Inkster, claim number 698.

Sussette Howse, address, Calgary, Alberta, 1900, father James Hope, mother, Judie Desjarlais: married (1) Andrew Howse at Las La Biche, Alberta in 1867 (2) Thomas Howse in 1893 at Fort Victoria, children living 3, Henry, Joseph and John. Deceased children 4, Matthew, Charles, George Washington and Edward Howse, claim number 51.

Thomas Henry Howse, address, Battleford, Saskatchewan 1900, born in 1859 at Portage la Prairie, father, Joseph Howse, mother, Elizabeth Anderson, claim number 852, scrip $240.00.

Thomas William Howse, address, Touchwood Hills, Saskatchewan, father Henry Howse, mother, Elizabeth Nellie Inkster born January 11, 1883 at Touchwood Hills, Manitoba, form C. number 494, claim number 874.

Thomas Howse, heir to his deceased children, address, near Edmonton, Alberta 1900, (1) Matthew Howse born 1876 at Battle River, died 1877 at Battle River,  (2) George Washington Howse born 1877 at Morley, Alberta, died in 1880 at Wood Mountain, Saskatchewan, (3) Charles Howse born at Morley, Alberta died at Wood Mountain, Saskatchewan, (4) Edward Howse born 1879 at Cypress Hills, Saskatchewan, died at Wood Mountain, Saskatchewan, father Thomas Howse, mother, Suzanne Hope, claim number 1732.

(This information contributed by Clarence Kipling, Calgary, Alberta)

Henry Howse married Elizabeth Nellie Inkster, children (1) Joseph Howse baptized on December 2, 1855 at Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, (2) Anna Margaret Howse baptized on October 5, 1856 at Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, (3) John Howse baptized on September 13, 1857 at Portage La Prairie, Manitoba (4) Jane Howse baptized on January 24, 1859 at Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, (5) Mary Howse baptized on March 31, 1861 at Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, (6) Charlotte Howse baptized on April 20, 1863 at Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, buried on February 16, 1864 at Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, (7) Matilda Howse baptized on January 15, 1865 at Portage La Prairie, Manitoba.

Joseph Howse married Elizabeth Anderson on January 21, 1858 at St. Mary's Church at Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, children (1) Jane Howse baptized on June 6, 1856 at Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, (2) Thomas Henry Howse baptized on December 3, 1859 at Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, (3) Andrew Howse baptized on September 1, 1861 at Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, (4) Marie Howse baptized on February 21, 1864 at Portage La Prairie, Manitoba.


In the years immediately preceding, Joseph Howse's crossing of the Rocky Mountains, the Hudson's Bay Company's posts along the Saskatchewan River, in what was called the Saskatchewan district, were in charge of James Bird. His headquarters were at Edmonton House on the North Saskatchewan River, very near to Fort Augustus (Fort des Prairies) of the North West Company. At that time the rival posts were on the site of the present city of Edmonton, Alberta.

At the end of trading season 1807-08, James Bird, accompanied by Peter Fidler and Joseph Howse who had spent the season at subordinate posts in the district, took their fur returns to York Factory, the Company's depot on Hudson Bay. They arrived at York on June 29, 1808 and left on their return to the Saskatchewan district with the trading goods for outfit 1808-09 on July 11 following.

Whilst he was at York Bird, he evidently had some discussions with his superior officer, John McNab, about the possibility of sending an expedition to the west of the Rocky Mountains, for in a letter he wrote to McNab from Oxford House on July 30, 1808, he remarked:
     "I arrived here with Messers. Howse and Fidler in three canoes the 25 instr. The Expedition across the Rocky Mountains does not seem to be quite relinquished by the Northwest Company though their success last year appears not to have been encouraging."

"A canoe manned by five Iroquois and carrying sixteen pieces of goods, they have again sent there, principally as it appears with a view of drawing their Freeman and Iroquois to that quarter, and to obtain from them, those beaver, they have in vain hoped to receive from the natives."

"I shall expect to hear by the fall canoe your wishes with regard to the west side of the Mountain in every point of view; it must always however be understood, that a few extra men will be required for such an undertaking should it appear eligible."

To this, McNab replied from York Factory on August 30, 1808:

"I received your letter of the 30th of July ...  You know my sentiments the Rocky Mountain accord with yours, as our wishes depend on the aid of extra men they must remain unfulfilled".

Howse wintered at Carlton House on the South Branch of the Saskatchewan River during 1808-09 and in May 1809, he was en-route to Edmonton House, where he was to take charge, whilst James Bird paid his annual visit to York Factory. James Bird wrote from Oxford House to Joseph Howse, on July 25, 1809:

"You will herewith receive an adequate supply of trading goods and a sufficient number of men for every requisite undertaking"

And added:

"As you are acquainted with the nature and extent of the Honorable Company's Concerns at Edmonton and as I have already given you every information that I could conceive to be requisite, I shall add nothing further to the subject, than to say that I have the utmost confidence in your zeal and ability, and to wish that your exertions may meet with the success I know they will merit".

James Bird's remarks suggest that Joseph Howse was to do something more than the usual routine duty of looking after the business of Edmonton House during the summer of 1809, but of this we have no confirmation because the most likely sources of information for trading season 1809-10 are missing from the Company's Archives and no mentions of Howse's movements have been found in less likely sources therein. But confirmation can be found in the journals of Alexander Henry, the Younger, and David Thompson of the Northwest Company. According to both Elliott Coues and J. B. Tyrrell (though there is a slight discrepancy in the facts they give.), David Thompson met Joseph Howse in the summer of 1809, returning from an exploring journey into or towards the Rocky Mountains. In the York Factory Account Books for outfit 1809-10, Joseph Howse was listed as being stationed at Edmonton House during that trading season, and his hope that his salary would be raised from 65 pounds to 80 pounds per annum was recorded. The recommendation reading:
"The readiness with which this Gentleman undertook the expedition across the Rocky Mountains merits some attention."

Must have been added by James Bird and this recommendation, in turn, confirms David Thompson's statement that Joseph Howse had made a journey into the Rocky Mountains in the summer of 1809. According to Elliott Coues, one white man and an Indian had accompanied Joseph Howse.

Again, because the most likely sources of information are missing from the Company's archives, we have to rely on Alexander Henry's journal for the exact date in 1810 on which Joseph Howse began the journey that was to take him into present day Montana. According to Henry, the Hudson's Bay Company men, began their journey on June 19, 1810, in two canoes.
"For the Columbia, with nine men including the two Pacquins."

Henry continued:
"They embarked four rolls of tobacco, two kegs of high wine, powder, several bags of balls, a bag of shot, pemmican etc. June 20, 1810. Mr Joseph Howse, Mr. John Parks, Willock ______, with four Cree guides and hunters, the youngest of the Pacquins and a number of horses, off by land; the Hudson Bay Company Columbia expedition consists of 17 persons including the four Indians."

The party of 17 was thus made up to ten Company employee, three Pacquins (presumably freeman), and four Indians. The only direct record in our archives of Joseph Howse's venture during 1810-11 is an account book headed:

Columbia or Flat Head River Accounts 1810-11.
And this makes no reference to the Pacquins family or to the Cree Indians. The men under contract of the Company who accompanied Joseph Howse, were according to this account book:
John Ashburn
William Bruce
William Harper
Joseph Lewes (alias: Levi Johnston of Canada)
John Morwick
John Park
William Taylor
James Whitquay

Confirmation that these were the only men under contract to the Company and in receipt of annual wages that were in "the Columbia" during 1810-11 is to be found in the Edmonton House account book referred to in note 12 on page 10.

Alexander Henry Howse at Terre Blanche House "Fort Augustus" on the North Saskatchewan River learned on October 22, 1810 from one of the Crees who had started off with Joseph Howse, but was returning to look for his family, that the Hudson's Bay people had gone " to the old Kooteny House". This was apparently on the Columbia River. James McMillan and Nicholas Montour of the North West Company had left Terre Blanche House on July 9, 1810 previous "to watch the motions" of Joseph Howse and his men and according to the returning Cree, the rival parties had, at the time he left, been "prevented from descending further by the Pagans and Fall Indians" who were watching the North West Company people on McGillivary's River (present day Kooteny River.) 

Meanwhile, James Bird, had arrived at Carlton House en route to Edmonton House on October 18, 1810 and there entered in his journal:

"Received also letters from Joseph Howse and party who are well and had embarked safe on the Cootana (Columbia ) River on their way to the Columbia."

James Bird reached Edmonton House on October 31,  1810, following and recorded in his journal on that day:

"Received letters from Joseph Howse, dated Cootana River, August 20, 1810 in which he says that, having been informed by some Cootanada's that a battle had been fought between a party of Flat Head Indians, with who Mr. MacDonald, clerk of the North West Company, was in company and a party of Muddy River Indians, in which the latter were defeated with the loss of 14 men killed; and that the Muddy River Indians in consequences were laying in ambush to intercept him, or any white man, who might attempt to convey goods to the Flat Heads, he had determined on remaining some time at the place where this letter was dated to gain further intelligence, after which, he should determine on his future proceedings. The news of Joseph Howse had received has been seriously confirmed by the Muddy River Indians themselves who stopped four French canoes, which were bound for the Columbia, a little above old Acton House; and this band of Indians that stopped the Canadians declare that, another is laying on the banks of the River (called by Mr. Thompson, McGillivray's River) which Joseph Howse intended to descend, to intercept them there in case they had passed Acton House without their knowledge. I am consequently not without serious apprehensions for the safety of Joseph Howse and party without a probability of being able to render them any assistance or, having it in my power to obtain any intelleigence of their present situation. Mr. Thompson, it appears after a settlement had been formed and goods left for the Muddy River Indians at Acton House set of privately with twenty men and horses, conveying a few goods, to go by another way towards his last years abode near the Columbia ..."

The following extracts from James Bird's Edmonton House journal also refer to David Thompson and Joseph Howse during the winter of 1810-11:

January 14, 1811
"It appears that Mr. Thompson is passing the winter close to the Rocky Mountains in one of the branches of the Athapuskow River, from whence he expects to find a passage to some branch of the Columbia next spring: Our men from Acton House met seven of his men on their way to that place who were going as we suppose, for a supply of provisions."

February 17, 1811
"Two Canadians arrived at our neighbors who brought us letters from Acton House. From these letters and from the information of our neighbour, I am acquainted that two of the North West Company clerks. Arrived at Acton House on January 23, from the plasce at whixh Joseph Howse is wintering which they left on December 12, they have brought no letters from Joseph Howse; but we have the satisfaction of knowing that he reached the place of his destination in safety, and that they left him and his party in good health.

March 25, 1811
"Sent off two men to go to Acton House, and from thence with horses and pemmican to meet Joseph Howse at the Cootana River, on the Westside of the Rocky Mountains."

May 10, 1811
"Men arrived from Acton House. William Flett and four men remain there to pass the summer." A desire to conciliate the minds of the Indians, and to dispose them as much as in our power to behave friendly towards Joseph Howse, and party should they, as is too probable, meet with him in their was excursions, has induced us, and the Canadians, to comply with the urgent solicitations of the Indians to leave men and goods at this settlement during the summer; and on the account (and a few freemen making their spring hunt, in that quarter) only could this place have been thought worth maintaining. The Muddy River Indian Chiefs have promised not to molest Joseph Howse on his return from the Flat Head country; but declared that, if they again met with a white man going to supply their enemies, they would not only plunder and kill him, but that they would make dry meat of his body..."

On May 24, 1811, James Bird wrote to Joseph Howse remarking:
"All that is necessary to be said, is, that if a trade to the Flat Head country should prove to be sufficiently valuable to justify us in continuing it, through the additional dangers and difficulties, with which it must now be attended. I, rely on your making use of every means in your power to accomplish so desirable an object."

"I confess that I have but little hope of our being able to re-cross the mountain with advantage; I have notwithstanding, left several extra men, to be at your disposal, if past success had induced you to form a different opinion..."

But Joseph Howse, after returning safely to Edmonton House, considered it too dangerous to re-cross the Rocky Mountains.

According to J. B. Tyrrell, Joseph Howse had used a route followed by David Thompson in previous years. He, Joseph Howse, had crossed the divide and reached the Columbia, which he had ascended to its head. From there he had gone to the Flat Head River, north of Flat Head Lake, "not far from the site of the present town of Kalspell, Montana," where he wintered. Alexander Ross, when on his Snake Country expedition in 1824, halted on February 14, 1824, for his party to smoke "at a spot on which some faint traces of civilization were to be seen." This spot was on the Wild Horse River. Ross added:

"Mr. Joseph Howse, an entertaining (enterprising)  individual belonging to the Hudson's Bay Company, established himself here in 1810; but after passing part of the winter, he re-crossed the mountains again, and never returned. We believe this is the first and only instance in which any of the servants of the company had penetrated so far to the west preparing the country, falling into their hands in 1821."

A map of the Columbia River by Alexander Ross dated Red River Settlement, August 1, 1849, is in the collection of Additional Manuscripts in the British Museum (reference Add. MSS., 31, 358B), and from this we find that, in spite of Ross's remarks quoted above, "Joseph Howse, 1810" is sited on the westshore of Flat Head Lake, towards the northern end, and not on "Riviere aux maron", which is also marked on the map.

Both Joseph Howse and William Hemmings Cook, the Governor of York Fort, apparently kept in touch with Joseph Colen, a former Company offficer retired to Cirencestor, England. Letters from both men to Colen referring to the crossing of the Rockies in 1810-11, must have been sent to England by the ship which sailed from York in the fall of 1811, for on December 29, 1811, Colen informed Sir Joseph Banks, Colen quoted Cook as saying that Joseph Howse had travelled "across the Stoney Mountains and explored a Country that European feet had never trod..." Colen also mentioned that Joseph Howse had not "laid down his track", as he was "not provided with Astronomical Instruments." Joseph Howse did infact make the following maps which were sent to the Govenor and Committee in London.

No. 58(x) "Rocky Mountains Sketch of showing the connection of the Athapuskow, Saskatchewan and Missouri Rivers by Joseph Howse, 1815."

And No. 82 "Columbia River Sketch of by Joseph Howse, 1815."

These maps are listed in the Catalogue of Archives, which was brought up to date annually as records arrived from North America and a footnote explains that the (x) against No. 58, means that the map was sent to Arrowsmith, this was presumably never returned. No. 82 has also been missing from the Company's Archives for at least forty years.

When Joseph Howse finally returned to England in the fall of 1815, Govenor Rober Semple of the Hudson's Bay Company wrote from York Factory on September 11, 1815,  to Thomas Douglas, fifth Earl of Selkirk, and founder of the Red River Settlement:

"Joseph House (Howse), who goes home in the Prince of Wales, appears to be a plain sensible man and may perhaps be able to give Your Lordship, some useful information. As everybody had not been at Corinth so neither has everybody been across the Rocky Mountains."

Joseph Howse's journals or letters written during his stay west of the Rocky Mountains have not survived in the Company's Archives. In the early part of 1843, when Sir George Simpson, the Company's overseas Govenor, was in London the Oregon Boundary Question was obviously much to the fore because he wrote to Joseph Howse and James McMillan, requesting them to supply him with information about early crossings of the Rocky Mountains, Copies of Simpson's letters have not been found in our archives, so the exact questions asked are not known, but on February 9, 1843, Joseph replied from Cirencestor, England, as follows:
"I hasten to answer your Queries as follows: -
FIRST I crossed the Rocky Mountains in the summer and autumn of 1810 by the north branch of the Saskatchewan - ascended the Kootnet (Columbia) River - carried into the Flat Bow (Kooteny) River - descended the most southerly bight of it - crossed  (portage poil de Custer) to Flat Head River (above the Lake - See Arrowsmith "Howse Ho" where we built. In December with a couple of my men, I accompanied the Flat-heads to head branches of the Missouri - returned to our house - February 1811 and to the Saskatchewan - the following summer.
SECOND I was myself, the first in the Hudson Bay Company's Service.
THIRD. The North West Company had already established them among the Kooteny, they had not proceeded so far as I was via among the Flat-heads. (See Enclosed Papers.)
FOURTH. I am not aware of any.

In rummaging over my Hudson Bay papers, which I have not before for a great many years, I have found the enclosed, which are at least cuious, I know not how many they came into my possession, but they may throw some light on our subject.

I shall be most happy to give you any further iformation in my power.
Congratulating you most heartily on your safe return to Old England ...
PS. You seem to say that the Country in dispute lies between Latitudes 42 & 54 & 40 North. Did not MacKenzie make the Sea between these Latitudes? Say 52 something?

See also David Thompson Lieut. Broughton.
D.T. formerly in our service was in that of the North West Company when these letters were written.
Could you send me the "Spectator" alluded to?
McMillan's reply did not make any reference to Joseph Howse.



Joseph Howse (pronounced Howze), a second great-grandfather on mother's side, was a remarkable individual. He was born in Cirencestor, Glucestorshire, England but I could find no date of his birth. Records of the Ampney St. Mary Parish, otherwise known as Ashbrook or Eastbrook in Cirencestor, show he was baptized on March 2, 1774. He was one of the younger members of a family of seven or more children.

The Howse family's name appeared frequently in the church registers of Ampney St. Mary from 1602 onward, and the clan seemed to have been a large one. Philip Cowen, rector of St. Mary in 1967, said there were several Howse tombstones in the churchyard at the late date.

He said the Howse's were farmers, noted that in 1625, Edith Howse married John Wise, whose name was still retained by the farm house, called "Wise farm", though it was no longer a farm house. Phillip Cowen continued that there was no Howse's living there in 1967, and ended by saying he didn't know of any of the Howse family being buried there since 1852, when Joseph Howse died, and was buried in the churchyard.

Joseph Howse's father, Thomas Howse, died in 1778 at the age of 39; and his mother, Ann, died in 1788 at the age of 57. Monuments to their memory were among that Philip Cowen mentioned. The Howse name was fairly common in the Cotswold's, a range of Jurassic Hills, in southwestern England in Gloucestershire County.

Of his brothers, two were braziers in Cirencestor: Thomas (1764-1828), who married Mary Bullock of Preston in 1794; and Richard (1769-1831), who married Ann Slattter in 1800, but she died after the birth of their only child, who also passed away in 1801. He had a child by his second wife, Mary, Another brother Edward Hawlins Howse died on the coast of Africa in 1792 at the age 26.

No records were covered concerning Joseph's educational background, but he must have received considerably more education than the average person of that day and age, because when he was quite young, the Hudson's Bay Company, that ancient arm of commerce, employed him as a writer. He embarked at Gravesend on the company's ship, King George, on June 5, 1795 and disembarked at York Factory, Hudson's Bay and Rupert's Land on August 31, 1795. His age at that time was stated in his contract of service with the Company to have been 21 years.


The Great Company in Rupert's Land as an inland trader, subsequently employed Joseph Howse, until 1815, when he retired to his native Cirencestor, England. These rigorous 20 years of his life are of most interest to this story.

Although showing early promise of becoming a useful employee of the Great Company, he remained at York Factory until December 17, 1797, when he left to pass the remainder of the season of 1797 through 1798 at Gordon House on the Hayes River. He returned to York Factory in July 1798. In the summer of 1799, Joseph Howse then considered well qualified for most stations, went inland to take charge of Carlton House, situated just below the forks of the North and South Saskatchewan Rivers, and he remained there until the summer of 1801. About that time, Carlton House was abandoned. It was re-established in 1803 and Joseph Howse re-appointed to take charge. During the season 1804-05, he was master of Chesterfield House, situated on the South Saskatchewan and Red Deer Rivers. In the summer of 1807, he had charge of Paint Creek House on the North Saskatchewan River and returned as master of Carlton House for the seasons of 1807-08 and 1808-09.


Accompanied by one white man and an Indian, Joseph Howse made a journey into the North Rocky Mountains in the summer of 1809. David Thompson of the North West Company, then on his way to the Columbia, met them on their return journey on August 9, at a point not far from the Kootney Plain on the Saskatchewan River. Joseph Howse was listed as spending the season of 1809-10 at Fort Edmonton, in all probability making preparations for the important journey he was to begin in the summer of 1810, to extend the fur trade across the Rockies and to spy on activities of the North West Company.


At the head of party of 17, four of whom were Indians, Joseph Howse crossed the Rockies through a pass, which still bears his name. David Thompson, had traversed the pass before Joseph, but in spite of that, Thompson honoured Joseph anyway, a few years later, when Thompson published his map of that area. The exact location of the pass on the globe is this: 51 degrees, 46 minutes longitude and 116 degrees, 41 minute latitude. That places it in the northern end of Banff National Park on the Alberta-British Columbia boundary. It is not shown on many maps, and neither is Howse Peak. 10,800 feet high, in the same area. There is also a Howse River, which rises northwest of Howse Pass and flows into the North Saskatchewan River.

He traveled southward to near present day Kalispell, Montana and there built a post, the only one west of the Rockies constructed by the Hudson's Bay Company prior to the union with the North West Company in 1821.


The Hudson's Bay Company's accounts show this pioneer expedition cost 576 pounds and yield 36 bundles of good furs worth 1,500 pounds. This convinced Joseph Howse, the new territory would be profitable to open us, though the pass was only fit to be traversed in the summer time. It soon was realized that commercially the solution lay in the discovery of a more convenient pass through the mountains, because not only the climate, but  also Indian warriors frequently barred the route, so much so that though one party later got through Howse Pass in 1811, it was not for another 10 years, that white men used it again.


Joseph Howse left Rupert's Land for England in the autumn of 1812 to discuss with the Hudson's Bay Committee, the practicability of launching a trade push across the Rockies. Those officials gave him a bonus of 150 pounds for his services in the mountains "as a gratuity for his past and encouragement for his future exertions." He returned to western Rupert's Land in the summer of 1813, but the proposed expansion westward came to very little.


There were political implications. The rivalry between the two fur companies became so acute, that it reached a point of actual warfare. The North West Company hired Irish bullies to overawe Hudson's Bay Company opponents. One clash led to the killing of Howse's assistant, James Johnson in 1814.

Two schools of thought conflicted in each company: One for aggression and the other for peaceful competition. Howse was decidedly an adherent for the milder policy. Perhaps his experience with actual bloodshed, caused by too eager a push for trade, gave him a distaste for his calling, for though he was promoted to the post of councilor of Rupert's Land in 1815, he left for England in the autumn and when he returned there, resigned from the Hudson's Bay Company.


Retiring to Cirencestor, England, he published, late in life, "A Grammar of the Cree Language" with which is combined an "Analysis of the Chippewa Dialect" (London, Rivington, 1844). He was an accomplished linguist and evidently had read everything available on the subject of Algonquian language and the various attempts, which had been made to write grammars of several of these languages.

He knew his subject, and his analytical and writing skills produced such an original, detailed and accurate grammatical analysis of the Cree language that it has served as the basis of study for many other Indian tongues, as well as providing a vast storehouse of original ideas and accurate information on the Cree language.

Of all the various Algonquian languages, dialects, Joseph Howse believed Cree was the oldest and the purest. In fact, he considered it the "leading language of all the tribes belonging to the British Settlements in North America, "and the source or mother-language of all dialects, in the different branches of the great Algonquian language."

Of the several Cree languages, he believed the one most likely to have suffered the least change from its original form was the dialect as spoken by the people in the vicinity of the Churchill River. His grammar made use of it, but it applied equally well to all the other Cree dialects by substituting the appropriate sounds peculiar to each such one, it being a peculiar fact that the chief difference in Cree dialects consist of substitutions of certain words.

Where the Churchill River Indians use the sound of "th", as in the English word "with", the Prairie, or Plain Cree use the sound of "y" and the Swampy Cree or Muskogee Indians the sound of "n", while the Moose Cree Indians on the coast of Hudson and James Bay use "I". The grammatical construction is not affected by the sound changes. For instance, the words meaning, "I do not know it" are the same, in these four dialects, except for the differences shown below in capital letters.

Churchill River Cree: NumuweTHu ne KiskayTHitan; Prairie Cree: NumuweYu ne KiskayYitan; Swampy Cree: NumuweNu ne KiskayNitan; Moose Cree: NumuweLu ne KiskayLitan.

The firm of Bailey of Cirencestor printed the book. Toward the expenses of its publication, the Royal Geographical Society, of which Joseph Howse was one of its earliest members and until his death, contributed 50 pounds. Besides the Royal Geographical Society, the Bingham Library in Cirencestor, England, the New York City Library and the Glenbow-Alberta Institute of Calgary have copies. There may be others.


Joseph Howse died on September 4, 1852 at the age of 78 years. His death certificate listed his occupation as "gentleman". He was buried at Ampney St. Mary Parish. One of the executors of his will, John Howse of Ampney St. Mary, received the bulk of his estate, about 1,000 pounds. That was a lot of money back then. The will specified its maker wished to sleep among his ancestors in the parish churchyard of Ampney St. Mary of Ashbrook, and there he was buried in an oak coffin.


Joseph Howse has been given credit for establishing the first Hudson' Bay Company trading post west of the Rocky Mountains. The Arrowsmith maps located Howse's House at the present day Flat Head Lake, near Kalispell, Montana. When I discovered this, I wrote to the Chamber of Commerce in Kalispell in September 1966, asking whether or not the city had honoured him in any way for this accomplishment, or if they knew where the post had been located. They answered saying they had no knowledge of a memorial of Joseph Howse; however, they informed me that my letter had been forwarded to the Flat Head Historical Society in hopes it would have more information.

Shortly thereafter, I received a letter from A.B. Braunberger, a practicing optometrist, in Kalispell, whose hobby was digging into the past. He told me that in the late 1950's, he had embarked upon a one-man crusade to learn more about the fur trading post Howse supposedly constructed in that area. After some years, he discovered he had "bitten off too big a chuck to chew". So, he enlisted the assistance of a self-educated anthropologist-archeologist-historian, Thain White, who ran a museum called "The Lookout on Flat Head Lake". In the course of their research, they learned that if they were going to get anywhere on this project, they would have to obtain the cooperation of the Hudson's Bay Company in London.

After some correspondence with the University of Montana and Washington State University, Mr. Braunberger wrote to Mrs. Alice M. Johnson, Hudson's Bay Company archivist. To make a long story short, he said before they were through, they had spent about $100.00 for research on Joseph Howse. It took him and Mr. White about four years in their spare time to compile the material on Howse and set it down in print.

Sometime in late 1963, Mr. Braunberger was approached by C.G. Nelson, an electrical engineer for the Great Northern Railroad, whose hobby was editing the "Washington Archeologist," published quarterly, by people who gave of their space, time and energies to the publication of manuscripts written by people not on the university level. Mr. Braunberger said the group published the paper in what amounted to two quarterly issues combined into one. In their conclusion, they placed Howse's House above Lake Pend d'Orelle, Idaho, instead of Kalispell, Montana. This action prompted Dr. Burlingame at Montana State University to comment: "You are giving our beloved Howse House to the State of Idaho?"


Like most of the men who where hired by the Hudson's Bay Company, Joseph Howse took unto himself, an Indian woman. Just when and where Joseph met my second great-grandmother, I have not been able to ascertain; perhaps, like so many of the mating between the men of European extraction and the natives of North America, it was a "marriage of the country." Daniel William Harmon, a servant of the North West Company, writing in 1800, descibed the proceedure as follows:

"When a person is desirous of taking one of the daughters of the Natives, as a companion, he makes a present to the parents of the damsel, of such articles as he supposes will be acceptable, and among them, rum is indispensable, for of that the savages are fond, to excess. Should the parents accept the articles offered, the girl remains at the Fort with her suitor and is clothed in Canadian Fashion. The greater part of these women, as I am informed, are better pleased to remain with the white people, that with their own relations. Should the couple, newly joined not agree, they are at liberty at any time to separate; but no part of the property given to the parents of the girl, be refunded."

Some of these matings were registered in the Hudson's Bay Company's archives, but in the case of Joseph Howse and my great-grandmother, there is not record. But there is evidence of a son been born. A letter from the Hudson's Bay Company says: "we find from the census papers of the Colony in the Red River Valley, that one, Henry Howse, described as a native of Rupert's Land, was a resident there in 1831, when his age is given as 23 years old, from which it is clear he was born in or about the year 1808."

"This date falls within the period of Joseph Howse's employment by the company, and as we have been unable to establish that any other person bearing the name of Howse was in the service about this time, we think it is reasonable to assume he was the father of this last mentioned Henry."

"From later census papers, we have established, the fact that Henry Howse was still an inhabitant of the Red River Colony in 1843, and it does not appear that he was never employed by the company."

There is some confusion as to the exact birth date for Henry Howse, because Clarence Kipling of Calgary, Alberta, who had done considerable research in the records of the Red River Settlement, discovered the census of 1849 showed there was a Henry Howse of St. Andrew's, Rupert's Land, as birthplace and age is 39. This would place his birth date as 1810, but his birth date is not too important; what is important is that there is definitely was a Henry Howse and he was my great-grandfather.

There is a possibility Joseph fathered a daughter, too; Mr. Kipling added; "St. Johns Anglican Church baptism No. 352, Jenny Howse, baptized April 29, 1824, daughter of Joseph Howse of England and an Indian woman." But it appears she did not live very long, for in Mr. Kipling's next paragraph, he says: "Burial No. 55, St. Johns Anglican Church, Jane Howse of Red River buried on February 29, 1829, age appears to be eighteen."

By reading Mr. Kipling's other findings, I found many other baptisms of the Red River Settlement took place when the person reached maturity, so it is possible Jane or Jenny, would have to wait until she was about 14 years old before she was baptized, which would have placed her birth date at sometime in 1811. This also, placed her birth date within the time, Joseph Howse was employed by the Hudson's Bay Company.


Henry Howse married Janet Spence on November 1, 1830 in the St. Johns Anglican Church in the Red River Settlement. Reverend David T. Jones, a Church of England (Episcopalian) missionary, performed the ceremony in the presence of Peter Corrigal and William Taite. Janet was the daughter of Magnus Spence and Christiana, a Cree Indian woman. Magnus was born about 1755 on the Isle of Pomona in the Odkney Islands. His home was called Birsay, which means, "hunting territory" in the Old Norse language. Magnus worked for the Hudson's Bay Company from 1790 until 1831. He passed away on May 12, 1845 and was buried in a grave number 193, in the St. Andrews Parish in the Red River Settlement.

Magnus had five children: John, baptized on November 26, 1820, married Jane Taite the next day. Reverend John West, the first Hudson's Bay Company Chaplain, before Reverend Jones, mentioned above, performed the ceremon. They had Nancy, baptized on December 1, 1839 and Jane, baptized on May 12, 1843.

Mary baptized on November 26, 1820, married James Whitford on November 27, 1820. She was about 17 years old. They had 12 children, baptized on these dates:
Jane, on November 10, 1821.
John on May 23, 1824.
Mary on January 22, 1826.
Philip in October 1828.
James in 1831.
Peter on May 22, 1832.
Sally in 1834.
Francis on December 22, 1836.
Andrew on March 19, 1839.
Margaret on August 10, 1841.
Donald on June 3, 1844.
Nancy in October 1848.

Christie baptized on November 26, 1820, married Peter Whitford the next day. She was about 16 years of age. They had Emma, baptized in November 1823; Simon on March 25, 1826; Magnus baptized on July 19, 1832; Christy on February 24, 1834; Peter on September 27, 1836; Charles on May 8, 1841; Alexander on September 4, 1843; John on August 23, 1846 and Isabella on October 9, 1848.

Magnus was baptized on June 1, 1823; married Sally Favel on August 7, 1832. They had Thomas, baptized on August 11, 1835; Maria on August 9, 1836; James on May 21, 1839; Sally on May 21, 1839; Andrew on August 18, 1842 and Jane on August 20, 1845.

Andrew baptized on May 27, 1823 married Susetta La___ on October 30, 1827. There were no children listed.

In a letter from the Department of Northern Affairs and National Resources, Ottawa, Canada, A.D. Hunt, chief Resources Management Division, said: "We traced a Henry Howse, son of Joseph Howse, an Englishman, and son of Mary,an Indian woman, but much of the family date provided in his statement conflicted with extracts taken from the Red River census."

For instance, Henry claimed to have been born at Red Deer in 1797; lived there until 1815; spent the next 56 years in Manitoba; moved to Fort Victoria and was in residence there as of July 3, 1885. He purportedly married Janet Spence of Fort Garry, Manitoba in 1820 and the following 13 progeny were reported without specific dates or doucmentary evidence:
Joseph 1830
Henry Jr. 1832
James 1834
John 1836
Helen 1840
Andrew 1842
Jane Mary 1844
Magnus 1845
Adam 1846
Thomas 1849
Elizabeth 1851
Marguerite 1853
Eliza 1860

Henry Howse's occupation was given as employee of the Hudson's Bay Company from which he received a twenty-five acre lot in a Manitoba Parish, and he duly received Metis Scrip for $160.00, as the head of the household. His wife's claim bore out most of the foregoing statements, and she went on to identify herself as the daughter of Magnus Spence of Orkney, England, and Christiana, a Cree Indian woman, having been born near Fort Pitt, Saskatchewan about the year 1808.

The first son, Joseph, stated he was born at St. Andrews, Manitoba, about 1830; was employed as a farmer; married Elizabeth Anderson at Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, in 1858 and they had the following 11 children: Jane born on April 9, 1858; Thomas Henry in 1860; Andrew in 1862; Maria in 1864; John in 1866; Elizabeth born on May 9, 1868; Jessie in 1871; Catherine in 1874; Joseph Jr. in 1877; Benjamin in 1880 and Elizabeth on July 4, 1885.

It seemed probable, Henry Howse Jr., who was engaged by the Hudson's Bay Company as "bowman" in 1856-57, was the person already noted as being baptized on May 14, 1833 and engaged by the Hudson's Bay Company at Fort Victoria on May 18, 1867 and was employed as a labourer in the Saskatchewan District during the ensuing two years.

James reported, he was born on the Red River about 1840; worked as a farmer and freighter; married Isabelle Calder at Edmonton in November 1869, and they had four adopted children; Mansel, Vital, Hewitt and Sophie.

Andrew entered the employ of the Hudson's Bay Company at Fort Garry on March 10, 1856, and served as interpreter and middleman in the MacKenzie River District until 1859, when he retired to the Red River Settlement. He married Suzanne Hope at Lac La Biche, Alberta in January 1867, and they had one child born there in April 1869. Andrew died on November 1, 1870 at Fort Victoria, Alberta and was buried by the Reverend George Mac Dougall.

Adam was born about 1846 at St. Andrews; worked as a hunter and freighter; married Margaret Favel at Fort Victoria in 1868 and was remarried to Rosalie Ermine Skin in June 1884 at Calgary, having the following children: James born in 1869; Isabelle born in 1872; Joseph Henry (no year given as he died in infancy during a smallpox epidmic); Margaret Jane born in 1875 and one un-names infant girl, who was born and died in 1870.



"Wagons Ho!" called the old wagon master, and with a jingling of harness and creaking of wooden wheels, my family began  four days on the trail. I wasn't in one of the 15 wagons. I was an outrider, on an Appaloosa horse, 16 hands high.

It was crazy for me to be there. I didn't have much experience on horseback, I had never met these relatives, and why on earth had I left the warm beaches of Penticton, BC to ride in northern Alberta.

I did it because I was lonely for family since my parents died. When the shakily handwritten letter arrived from an old woman who claimed to be my kin, I read with interest that I was invited to join the Livingstone-Howse family "Wagon Trekk."

Most of my riding experience had been when Mom agreed to slip a dime into the mechanical horse at Woolworth's. Later, when my sister got horses, she occasionally allowed me to join her for a jaunt from our suburban neighborhood onto the plains of the Indian reserve. I never learned how to ride well, but became expert at falling off. I could fall off over the back, from either side, and right over the ears of a horse. This skill would come in handy on the Wagon Trekk.

The minute I arrived at my family's farm near Vilna, Alberta, I learned how horse crazy they all are. I saw a group of people standing in tall grass. My second cousin, Bert, approached me and said "Howdy Roxanne. I'd like to introduce you to the horses." We walked right past the people to his corral of a dozen horses. Bert sized me up and decided I would ride the big Appaloosa, a white horse with brown spots named "Joker." Only after Joker and I were acquainted was I allowed to meet my relatives.

Our family had three wagons and many outriders. The horse team that pulls your family wagon represents who you are. Slim's wagon, appropriately, was pulled by mules. Jim's buggy was pulled by a roan, which wanted to own the road. Bert's team was pulled by matching Appaloosa (traditionally preferred by Canadian Natives) and carried a flag of a First Nations person on an Appaloosa in the Canadian Maple Leaf. I knew we had a few drops of Cree blood in us, but I wondered if he wasn't playing it up a bit too much.

I liked the big sky of Alberta. The world seemed to be all sky as I rode high up on my big horse. Fields of barley and canola waved a gentle hello as we passed by. Wind kept the flies away and burned my lips until they blistered. Sometimes we heard a low thunder and saw herds of cattle come running to stare at us. Fences saved us from them and from the stallions that once charged us and then raced back to keep their herd of mares away from our horses.

Our Appaloosas were the butt of friendly teasing by the other outriders. One man rode up to Joker with a felt pen and began to play connect the dots on his rear end. The black mules were shiny and proud and made everyone laugh when they brayed.

Every Livingstone and Howse could ride well, except me. Our uncles had been range detectives and cowboy stunt riders. Horses kept the generation together. The kids respected and obeyed their grandparents because Grandma and Grandpa knew more than they did about horses and how to stay alive amongst 24 outriders. When a parent or older relative gave an order, the children jumped. A cousin explained, "You don't get ne second chance." This meant that you had one or two seconds to react when someone called out a warning that a horse was about to buck or tip over a wagon. Ignore that warning and be crippled or killed.

My chance came when I was riding alongside two children doubling on their horse. Tara, eight, was explaining horsy things to men when Joker suddenly lunged forward and jumped into the ditch. I pulled up the reins and said, "Whoa!" but he acted lika a mechanical horse with too many volts of electricity. I felt my back nit the deep grass and next my head made contact. My sister had been right all along. She told me to get a tight fitting cowboy hat because it would break the blow if I ever got bucked off. My hat was  crunched and dirty, but I felt fine and leapt to my feet to catch the runaway.

In the evenings after the horses were fed and watered, we sat around the campfire and my relatives sang and played guitars. Stories were told of our Cree ancestors living in buffalo tents and warring with the Blackfoot, across the North Saskatchewan River. The Blackfoot had kidnapped some of the women in our family, and present-day contact has been made with their descendants living on the Blackfoot Reserve. I asked how these stories from long ago cold have been remembered. The answer shocked me. It was not so long ago. I had more that a few drops of Cree blood in me. There had been several marriages to Crees in our family. I was Metis.

This had been best-kept secret in our family. Seven thick volumes of family history had been written and my Cree heritage had been conveniently omitted. There were thousands of documents pertaining to every relative I ever had, but the script my great-grandmother signed with an"X", accepting payment in lieu of land from the Canadian government, was left out. No copies of the census in which she acknowledged her heritage were in books.

There had been much ado about my blond, blue-eyed great-grandfather, Sam Livingstone, greeting the North West Mounted Police as they came in search of a place to establish Fort Calgary. He gave up his site for the city of Calgary and his home is preserved in Heritage Park. Then there is the story that he was the first to know about the rebellion led by Louis Riel because he read the smoke signals. Who taught this Irishman how to read smoke signals? Was it actually Sam who read them or was it his wife, Jane?

I listened in fascination and at our destination; I pored over the documents our younger family historian had uncovered. It was easy to see why our Cree heritage had been swept under the rug. Even today at the place Sam had given Jane's father a saddle to cement his marriage to her, little is said of the fact that it was a Cree encampment for perhaps centries.

Instead, plaques state that it all began when a white missionary arrived in 1865. His family has a tidy, fenced cemetery. The Metis graves are down the road, buried in waist high weeds. I stood with my cousins on the bank of the North Saskatchewan River and felt that the Crees had been brushed with invisible ink.

More family joined us by the river; I was among 60 relatives I had never before heard of. They sang beautifully around the glowing orange flames of our campfire. The Big Dipper seemed to come down to the prairie and touch us. The hollow spot in my heart since I lost my parents was now filled. I have family again. I have the Livingstones and the Howses, and I am a member of a greater family called "Metis."

Joseph Howse married Mary

Henry Howse married Janet Spence
(1808-1904)          (1808-1912)
Jane/Jenny Howse - Unmarried

Joseph Howse married Elizabeth Anderson
(1830- )
Henry Howse Jr. married Elizabeth Mary Inkster
(1831- )
James Howse married Isabelle Calder
(1833-1897)          (1851-1917)
John Howse (1835-1837)
Magnus Howse (1838-    )
Helen/Elenor Howse (1841-1843)
Andrew Howse (1842-1870)
Jane Mary Howse married Sam Livingstone
Adam Howse (1846-     )
Thomas Howse (1849-      )
Elizabeth Howse (1851-     )
Margaret Howse (1853-      )
Eliza Howse (1860-        )

Joseph Allen Howse married Eva/Enda Whitford/Pearl Elliot Bunn
Velma Grace Howse married Albert Skaley
(1905-1984)               (1897-1963)
Pearl Caroline Howse married Wilfred Alexander Shanks
(1907-1976)                  (1907-1961)
Orville Hawkins Howse married Annabelle Hudson
(1909-1989)                    (1915-1991)
Edward Field Howse married Susan Agnes Parker
(1910-1978)                (1914-1994)
Francis Benjamin Howse married Florence Lillian Elliott
(1913-1973)                    (1920-1949)
George Milton Howse married Alice Stoley
William Leo Howse married Patricia McMahon
(1917-1995)               (1917-       )
Wilma Howse - unmarried
Dolly Howse - unmarried
Sid Howse married Vera Delise
(1924-     )      (1913-1994)
James Howse - unmarried
Doris Jane Howse married Dennis Shelvey
(1928-     )            (1926-     )

Jane Howse (1858-      )
Thomas Henry Howse (1860-     )
Andrew Howse (1862-     )
Maria Howse (1864-     )
John Howse (1866-     )
Elizabeth Howse (1868-     )
Catherine Howse (1874-     )
Joseph Howse Jr. married Alice Smith
(1875-1963)              (1886-1961)
Benjamin Howse (1880-     )
Jessie Howse (1885-     )
Elizabeth Howse (1885-1885)

Joseph Howse married Mary

Henry Howse married Janet Spence
(1808-1904)         (1808-1912)
Jane/Jenny Howse - unmarried
Joseph Howse married Elizabeth Anderson
(1830- )

Henry Howse Jr. married to Elizabeth Mary Inkster
(1831- )
James Howse married Isabelle Calder
(1833-1897)          (1851-1917)
John Howse (1835-1837)
Magnus Howse (1838-     )
Helen/Eleanor Howse (1841-1870)
Andrew Howse (1842-1870)
Jane Mary Howse married Sam Livingstone
Adam Howse (1846-     )
Thomas Howse (1849-     )
Elizabeth Howse (1851-     )
Margaret Howse (1853-     )
Eliza Howse (1860-     )

Robert Alexander Howse married Rosalee Gardipee
(1879-1961) (1899-1951)

Olive Lavina Howse married Ezra Louis Howard
(1914-1985) (1913-1952)

Lorna Revilla Howard married Percy J. T. Best
(1934-     )                 (1930-     )
They were married on June 10, 1952 at Frenchman Butte, Saskatchewan. Their children are Ezra Larry born on March 24, 1953; died on April 24, 1953 and is buried at Mervin Cemetery, Mervin, Saskatchewan. Terry Ronald born on May 17, 1954 in Paradise Hill, Saskatchewan. Patrick Kelly born on December 9, 1956 at Oxbow, Saskatchewan. Jonathon Percy Robin born on March 8, 1972 in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan.

Terry Ronald Best married (1) Loris Ruth Pynten on August 18, 1973 in Marwayne, Alberta. Loris was born on July 19, 1955 in Elk Point, Alberta. Their children are: Kimberly Dawn born on February 28, 1974 in Elk Point, Alberta and Cameron Jon Leif born on March 18, 1978 in Elk Point, Alberta.

Terry Ronald Best married (2) Tina Marie MacLeod on August 26, 1995 in Grande Centre, Alberta. Tina was born on October 28, 1968 in Fort St. John, BC. Their children are: Sean Allen born on December 19, 1994 in Bonnyville, Alberta. Tanner Percy born on July 9, 1996 in Bonnyville, Alberta and Tyra Jane born on September 18, 1999 in Bonnyville, Alberta

Jonathon Percy Robin Best married Melanie Laurette Lebrie on July 15, 1995 at St. Paul, Alberta. Melanie was born on April 9, 1974. There children are: Karisa Christine born on April 5, 1995 in Edmonton, Alberta and Jaydon Patrick born on October 7, 1997 in Bonnyville, Alberta.

Kimberly Dawn Best married Brent William Greig on June 28, 1996 at Heinsberg, Alberta. Their children are Paige Lavaunne born May 1, 1997 at Lloydminster, Saskatchewan. Kelly Lynn born on September 10, 1998 in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan and Jillian Grace born on November 16, 2000 in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan. 

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