Saskatchewan Gen Web Project - SASKATCHEWAN AND ITS PEOPLE by JOHN HAWKES Vol 1II 1924


Captain R. Deacon of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, was a pioneer settler both in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. While a youth in the city of Montreal, he was a volunteer in repulsing the Fenian raids and when about twenty-one years of age he joined General Wolseley's volunteers to suppress the first Riel Rebellion. When the soldiers were disbanded he took up land in Manitoba and afterward embarked in the goldsmith's business in Winnipeg, being a neighbor of J. H. Ashdown. In 1871 he married Mary McBeth, a daughter of two of the original Selkirk settlers. On the founding of a mission at Prince Albert by the Rev. Dr. Nisbett, this family of McBeths migrated to the banks of the Saskatchewan. The son-in-law accompanied them and took part in the Pioneer life of the northern city. At this writing (1923) he is the only survivor of four men who stood at the four corners of the first little log schoolhouse erected in the Northwest Territory. These men erected the building and hired a teacher in order to get some schooling for their children some years be- fore the government schools were organized. Hearing that Louis Riel was inciting the Metis to rebellion the second time, Captain Deacon went boldly to their meeting and denounced Riel to his face, telling him that he would not escape hanging this time and warning those present what they could expect if they followed Rid. He thus incurred the enmity of the rebels and was obliged to have police protection while trouble was brewing. During the period of the rebellion he was on military duty with the rank of captain. After farming in the vicinity of Prince Albert for some years, Cap- tain Deacon built and operated steam tugs on the river at Prince Albert, where the lumbering industry was growing to large proportions. Later he used the tugs in developing the Red Rock Brick Company, a new in- dustry operating large clay beds down the river. He had the honor of being the first certificated captain on the Saskatchewan river and gave his son, A. A. Deacon, training along the same line. Captain A. A. Deacon now operates the Hudson's Bay Company's steamer running to Fort McPherson on the McKenzie. When Prince Albert became a city Captain Deacon was one of its first aldermen. After a lifetime of strenuous work in the great out-of-doors the captain is still (1923) a hale and vigorous man. He will shortly complete the duties on his second homestead. In September, 1921, he and Mrs. Deacon celebrated their golden wedding and had the pleasure of a visit from their granddaughter, who brought for their inspection a little great-grandson and great-granddaughter. Mrs. Johan Wilson, daughter of Captain R. Deacon, and wife of Colonel James Wilson, was interested and helped in the pioneer woman suffrage work at Prince Albert and in organizing the provincial Equal Franchise League at Regina, in February, 1915. She had the honor of addressing the first public meeting held in Prince Albert to discuss equal franchise and afterward addressed meetings at Melfort and at Regina. Bibliography follows:

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