The Royal North-West Mounted Police
Chapter VIII


HEADQUARTERS REMOVED TO REGINA

The Usefulness of Fort Walsh Disappears, and the Post is Abandoned—Several New Posts Established—Fort Macleod Moved—The Construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway—A Record in Track-laying and an Equally Creditable Record in the Maintenance of Order— Extra Duties Imposed Upon the North-West Mounted Police.

EVER since the establishment of the Mounted Police there had been uncertainty as to the best place for the establishment of permanent headquarters. It has been related how, in 1874, Swan River near Fort Ellice was chosen as the site for headquarters and the erection of barrack and other accommodation begun. It has also been explained that Lieut.-Colonel French, the first Commissioner, on the return march from the Pelly River, arrived at Swan River, but on account of the unpreparedness of the buildings, and the lack of winter forage, due to prairie fires, left only one division at and near Swan River, and proceeded with headquarters and the remainder of his force to Winnipeg, and later to Dufferin, Man.

The next spring the headquarters of the force were, under orders from the Government, and in spite of Lieut.-Col. French's opinion that the site was unsuitable, established at Swan River, but in a few years, owing to the vital importance of preserving order among the numerous tribes of Indians in the vicinity of the International frontier, and the necessity of putting a stop to illicit trading across the lines, headquarters were first removed to Fort Macleod, and in 1879, to Fort Walsh.

The Mounted Police Buildings in the North-West Territories in 187G were as follows:—

Swan River, accommodation for 150 men and horses
Hattleford, accommodation for 50 men and horses
Fort Macleod accommodation for 100men and horses
Fort Walsh accommodation for 100 men and horses
Fort Calvary accommodation for 25 men and horses
Fort Saskatchewan accommodation for 25 men and horses
Shoal Lake accommodation for 7 men and horses

The buildings at Swan River and Battleford were erected by the Department of Public Works; those at the other posts by the Mounted Police.

To the outside observer it began to look as though the headquarters of the Mounted Police were destined to be a perambulatory institution, but as a matter of fact, within the force, and particularly on the part of those responsible for Us efficiency, the idea of establishing a satisfactory permanent headquarters for the force was never lost sight of.


Wood and Anderson's Ranch, On site of Old Fort Walsh.

In his annual report for the year 1880, dated January 1st, 1881, the Commissioner, referred to this subject as follows:

"1 am perfectly well aware of the many important considerations that require to be most- carefully weighed before a point for the headquarters of the force can be finally settled upon. It is a matter that cannot be looked at merely from a military point of view. The future construction of public works throughout the North-West Territories, the rapid immigration that may safely be anticipated, and the settlement that will necessarily accompany it, must, I presume, also prove important factors as regards the permanent establishment of police headquarters. It would then be a most grievous mistake to arrive at and hastily formed conclusion which might, and the chances are would, be a source of never ending regret.

"I propose that in future the headquarters of the force be a depot of instruction, to which place all officers and men joining the force will be sent, where they will remain until thoroughly drilled and instructed in the various police duties. To carry out this plan successfully, it is indispensable that a competent staff of instructors be at my disposal. A portion of such a staff I can obtain by selection from officers and non-commissioned officers now serving in the force. In addition to this, however, I recommend that the services of three perfectly well qualified non-commissioned officers and men be obtained from an Imperial Cavalry Regiment. I am satisfied that the inducements we could hold out would be the means of obtaining the best class of noncommissioned officers to be had in England. I would not recommend that non-commissioned officers of more than five years service be applied for. Old men, who have already spent the best days of their life in the British service, would be quite unfit for the work that in this country they would be called upon to perform, nor would they be likely to show that energy and pride in their corps which is desirable that, by example, they should inculcate into others. Instructors of the class I have described, in addition to the knowledge they would impart to others, would serve as models for recruits, as regards soldierlike conduct and general bearing. The importance of the benefits the "force would thus derive cannot, in my opinion, be overrated."

In the same report the following reference was made to the unsatisfactory condition of the barracks at headquarters and elsewhere:—"Complaints continue to be made regarding the condition of the police buildings, and the character of the accommodation they afford in their present state of repair. It is most desirable that the barracks should be as comfortable as possible, but it is not deemed expedient to incur any considerable expenditure upon them at present, not until the line of the Pacific Railway has been finally determined, as upon that determination will depend the situation of the permanent headquarters; and it may then be found convenient to abandon a number of the existing posts and construct others elsewhere. There were obvious disadvantages attaching to the custom of permitting detachments to remain throughout the entire length of service at one post, and during spring the system was inaugurated of moving them to new stations at least once in two years. It is, of course, understood that the headquarters staff do not come under the operation of this rule."

During 1881, the contract for the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway was made by the Dominion Government with the Montreal syndicate at the head of which were Messrs. George Stephen and Donald A. Smith (now Lord Mount Stephen and Lord Strathcona). The work of pushing the gigantic work to completion was at once taken up energetically, and with the laying of the rails across the prairies a new era dawned for the North-West and the Mounted Police. It was realized that the exact location of the line woidd have much to do with the future distribution of the force and the location of the permanent headquarters. In his report at the end of the year 1881, the Commissioner wrote:

"The distribution of the force cannot well be satisfactorily laid down until the exact location of the Canada Pacific Railway is known. In any case there is an immediate necessity for having a strong force in the Macleod district, which includes Fort Calgary. In the meantime the following will give a fairly approximate idea as to what I consider a judicious distribution, viz:— Qu'Appelle, 50 noncommissioned officers and men; Battleford, 50 noncommissioned officers and men; Edmonton, 25 noncommissioned officers and men; Blackfoot Country, 200 non-commissioned officers and men; Headquarters, 175 non-commissioned officers and men. Total 500. It will be observed that this distribution is based upon the assumption that my recommendation, as regards the increase of the force, will be acted on. I make no mention of Wood Mountain; for this section of the country I propose utilizing the fifty men shown as being stationed at Qu'Appelle. I understand the Canada Pacific Railway will run south of our present post known as 'Qu'Appelle.' The chances are therefore, I will hereafter have to recommend that the location of this post be moved south. Were this done we would then have control of the section of country in which Wood Mountain post now stands. The location of the present post at Battleford may not require to be changed for some time at all events. Edmonton would be an outpost from Calgary. Our present post in the Edmonton district is Fort Saskatchewan, which is situated some eighteen miles east of Edmonton proper. It is, I think, actually necessary that our post be moved to Edmonton.

"There is, to my mind, no possible doubt but that the present headquarters, Fort Walsh, is altogether unsuitable, and I would respectfully urge upon the Government the necessity of abandoning this post with as little delay as possible. In making this recommendation I am in a great measure prompted by the knowledge of the fact that the Indian Department do not consider that the farming operations at Maple Creek have been successful in the past, and that they are still less likely to prove so in the future."

At the time this report was penned, Col. Irvine believed that the main line of the C.P.R. would pass considerably north of the Cypress Hills and of its actual location ; as was first proposed, in fact. During 1882, the Commissioner was notified by Mr. C. E. Perry, the engineer in charge of the work, that the southern route had been adopted, and that considerable supplies would have to pass through, or in the immediate vicinity of the Cypress Hills. In view of the change, the Commissioner received a letter from Mr. Perry, on the subject of the syndicate parties receiving protection from the police. He was at the same time informed that large quantities of supplies were to be shipped through Fort Walsh, and a considerable number of men were to be employed at once in and about Cypress Hills. This being the case, the situation of affairs was essentially changed, and Col. Irvine was compelled to somewhat modify his previous recommendations, in so far as they related to the immediate abandonment of Fort Walsh, as he saw that it was actually necessary to maintain a force of police m that vicinity for the protection of the working parties from United States Indians as well as Canadian ones, and also to prevent smuggling and illicit whisky dealing being carried on from the United States territory. He therefore recommended that Fort Walsh be not abandoned until the authorities were positively informed as to the location of the Canadian Pacific Railway line, by which time a suitable site for a new post could be selected, possibly, he thought, near the crossing of the South Saskatchewan River, about 3o miles north-west of the head of the Cypress Hills. On ascertaining the final location of the Canadian Pacific Railway line, the Commissioner communicated with the Minister of the Interior recommending that the site for future headquarters be decided upon at once, and a suitable post be erected without delay. He based this recommendation upon the assumption that the site would be selected at or near the crossing of the South Saskatchewan River. He stated, however, that should the Government consider that point too far west for headquarters, it would nevertheless be necessary to erect a post in the vicinity of the Cypress Hills.

By a telegram of the 20th July, 1S82, Col. Irvine was informed of Sir John A. Macdonald's decision of the Pile of Bones Creek (now Regina) being the headquarters of the force, also of the number and dimensions of the section buildings to be made in the Eastern Provinces and forwarded to Regina, for stables and quarters. This telegram reached Colonel Irvine at Fort Macleod.

Soon after his return from that post to Fort Walsh, he proceeded to Qu'Appelle; and after having inspected "B" division, accompanied His Honour the Lieutenant Governor, the Hon. Edgar Dewdney, to the Pile of Bones Creek. The Commissioner, after looking over the ground, instructed Inspector Steele, who had accompanied him, where the buildings were to be situated, and immediately moved the headquarters of "B" division from Qu'Appelle to Regina. At the end of October the sectional buildings commenced to arrive, and building was proceeded with.

The headquarters of the force was transferred from Fort Walsh to Regina 011 the 6th of December.

A recruiting depot, with an establishment of one officer and ten men was, under authority of the Minister established in Winnipeg in the spring of 1882.

Building was carried on extensively during the year 1883, not only at the new headquarters but at other posts. During the year in question the buildings at Pile of Bones Creek (or Regina) were completed. New barracks at Fort Macleod to replace those previously in use, were in course of erection New posts were pushed forward towards completion at Medicine Hat and Maple Creek.

There had been very special and particular reasons for building a new post at Fort Macleod. in fact a new site had to be selected. January 18, 1881. the Commissioner reported that the course of the "Old Man's" River at Fort Macleod had changed, This river, at high water, at this date, deviated from its original course in two places, the stream, after this unexpected freak of nature, passing nunediately in front and rear of the fort, the post thus being made an island in rear the water flowed within a few feet of the west side of the fort The deviations made from the original course of the river continued, becoming more and more formidable, and it was probable that in the coming spring many of the post buildings would be carried away if left in their actual positions.

Taking all these things into consideration it was felt to be absolutely necessary that Fort Macleod be removed from its original site. The Commissioner recommended that a new site be selected at the police farm, which was situated some 30 miles south-west from where the fort originally stood.

It appears that the Old Man's River changed its course by breaking through a narrow neck of land that divided the main stream from a slough. In 1880, the river reverted to its old bed, breaking through lower down, cutting off another large portion of the island on which the fort was built, and causing the demolition of several houses. The soil of the island was a loose mixture of sand and gravel, and to show the strength and velocity of the current, it might be mentioned that in one night one hundred and twenty yards of the bank was washed away. To save the saw-mill from being swept away it was necessary to move it from its old site. The whole lower portion of the island, including a part of the farm, was inundated, and the water rose so high as to approach within twenty yards of the fort itself. The level of the flood was not five feet from the floors in the fort.

Nothing was done about the selection of a new site until March, 1883,when the Commissioner was informed that the latest site which had been selected for the erection of the new post at Fort Macleod had been approved, and that the erection of a new post was to be commenced during the following summer. The site chosen was about two and a half miles west of the old post, on the bench land overlooking the "Old Man's" River, and on the south side of it. Every care was taken in the selection of the site. The soil was dry and gravelly, good drainage was obtainable, plenty of fresh water was near at hand, there was good grazing ground in the immediate vicinity, and an uninterrupted view was afforded.

Work on the post was at once begun and pushed to completion. The principal buildings were laid out in a rectangle, 484 ft. long by 254 ft. wide, with officers' quarters on west side, barrack rooms facing them on the opposite side, offices, guard room, recreation room, sergeants' mess and quarters, on the north side, with stables, store rooms, harness room, opposite; the remaining buildings were outside the "square".

The buildings were of the same general construction. All buildings rested on foundation blocks about 12 inches square, and placed at intervals of 6 feet. These blocks had a firm bearing on the hard, gravelly soil, a thin layer of soil and mould being removed. All sills were 8 in. square, floor beams, 2 in. by 8 in., and were 2 ft. apart; framing 2 in. by 6 m. and were 18 m. apart, with 0 in. square corner posts. Plates of two 2 in. by 6 in. scantling, firmly spiked joists, which were 2 in. by 8 in. by 6 in. strongly braced and firmly attached to ceiling joists, which were 2 in. by 8 in.

Every precaution was taken to strongly brace the framing and roofs, to prevent any damage resulting from the high winds which prevail at Fort Macleod.

All outside walls were of common 1 in. boarding covered with tar paper, and then sided up with 5-8 in. siding, 6 in. wide and lap of 7-8 in.

The floors throughout were of two thicknesses, with tarred paper between. Roofs were shingled, with felt paper between shingles and sheeting. The window casings and door frames were of neat appearance. The officers' quarters, barrack rooms, mess room, hospital, offices and recreation room, were all lathed and plastered in the interior; the guard room and store houses were lined with dressed lumber. All doors leading to the exterior were 3 ft. by 7 ft. and 1J in. thick inside doors, 2 ft. 6 in. by 6 ft. 8 in and 1 in. thick; with the exception of the barrack rooms all the doors were 3 ft. 7 in. The windows in all the buildings had twelve lights, 12 in. by 16 in. except in the kitchens of the officers' quarters and store and harness rooms, which were each of twelve lights, 10 in. by 12 in.

All buildings were painted a light grey, and trimmed with a darker shade of the same colour. The wood work and casings in the interior were painted the same colour. Roofs were painted with fireproof paint.

Chimneys were of zinc, 14 in. square with a circular flue, 7 in. in diameter, thus giving a large air space, which was utilized as a ventilator. They projected 4 in. above the peak of the roof, and passed through the ceiling.

Owing to the distance from the railway, 138 miles, it was impossible to construct the chimneys of brick. Where stovepipes were carried through partitions, they were surrounded by three inches of concrete.

This new post was considered a masterpiece at the time it was built.

On the 10th of May last, 1884, the new barracks were taken over from the North-West Coal and Navigation Company, and occupied shortly after by "C" division, a small party only being left as caretakers in the old buildings.

Fort Calgary having been created a district post, and "E" division removed there, under the command of Superintendent Mcllree, the buildings were entirely inadequate to accommodate the Division, and were so entirely useless and out of repair that Col. Irvine gave instructions to that officer to commence building at once on his arrival, and to retain for use during the winter such buildings as, with little, or no expense, could be made habitable for the winter The buildings to be erected were to be laid out in a general plan for a new post.


Calvary Barracks, erected in i888-89.

Superintendent Mcllree immediately on his arrival commenced work Several of the old buildings were pulled down to make way for the new ones, all the same logs being utilized. A contract was at once let for the erection of a new barrack room, 110 ft. long by 30 ft. wide, with (lining room, 30 ft. square, and kitchen, 15 ft. square; attached, 1 guard room, 30 ft. by 50 ft., with 12 cells; 1 hospital, and 1 officers' quarters. These buildings were all completed during 1882. The walls of the buildings throughout were 9 ft. high and constructed of logs, with the exception of the officers' quarters, which were frame. The cracks were filled with mortar. The floors consisted of 7 inch planed lumber, tongued and grooved, while the roof was of shingle laid in mortar. The buildings erected were good and substantial ones, neat in appearance, well ventilated, and slited for the requirements to which they were to be put. Much more commodious barracks were erected at Calgary in 1888 and 1889.

For some considerable time it had been the intention to abandon the old Fort Walsh post, which had figured so prominently in the early history of the force, and abandonment was desirable for many reasons. In the first place, the site was, from a military point of view, a most objectionable one. The rude buildings, always considered but a temporary refuge, had become utterly dilapidated. The post, too, being some 30 miles south from the located line of the Canadian Pacific Railroad, rendered a change of site imperative, in addition to the fact of its being a temptation to straggling bands of lazy Indians whose desire was to loiter about the post, and when in a destitute condition, make demands for assistance from the Government.

The Commissioner, therefore, acting under usual authority, had the post demolished; the work being performed by the police, commencing on the 23rd of May, and concluding on the 11th of June. The serviceable portion of the lumber of which the old buildings were composed, was freighted to the camp established at Maple Creek, a point on the main line of the Canadian Pacific Railroad, where the division previously stationed at Fort Walsh was encamped during the summer.

Acting under the direction of his Honour the Lieut.-Governor, a detachment, consisting of one officer (Inspector Dickens) and twenty-five men, was, during the month of September, 1883, stationed at Fort Pitt, and a police post established there. This was done on account of reports which had reached His Honour, to the effect that the Indians on reserves in that vicinity were likely to give serious trouble.

At the end of 1882, the Commissioner was able to report that the increase of the force, referred to in an earlier chapter, had proved most judicious. The effect on the Indians throughout the Territory had been to show them that the Government intended that law and order should be kept, by both white men and Indians alike, and that sufficient force was provided to accomplish this. The cases of " Rig Bear" and of the trouble at the Blackfoot Crossing, early in the preceding January, were sufficient to show that a strong force was still necessary to enforce the law among the Indians. The Commissioner was, owing to the increase of force, enabled to move a sufficient force to Forts Macleod and Calgary, winch was urgently required. At Fort Macleod there were the Blood and Piegan reservations, numbering about four thousand people. The Sarcee reservation of about five hundred was only ten miles from Calgary, and the Blackfoot reserve, 50 miles down the Bow River from that post. The fast growing settlements about these posts, together with the large cattle ranches, rendered it imperative that they should receive good police protection from such a large body of Indians, in all about 7,000, as well as that order should be kept among the Indians themselves.

Great vigilance was required to prevent smuggling from Montana, U.S.

The following is a return showing the amount of Customs duties collected by the North-West Mounted Police, during the year 1882:—Port of Fort Walsh, up to 8th December, $15,135.40; Port of Fort Macleod, up to 30th December. S35.525.70; Port of Wood Mountain up to 31st December, $2,784.04; Port of Qu'Appelle up to 31st December, $1,070.50—Total S52,522.30.

It can be readily understood how largely the police work of the force was added to during the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway. As the work neared the eastern boundary of the Territories, the troubles then feared ma)- be classified as follows:—

1st. Annoyance and possible attack on working parties by Indians.

2nd. Difficulty of maintaining law and order among he thousands of rough navvies employed; and the prevention of whisky being traded in their midst md at all points of importance along the line.

Fortunately, the Indians were so kept in subjection hat no opposition of any moment was encountered from them.


His Old Order and the New—An Indian at a Celebration of Whites near a North-West Town.

As originally expected, numerous and continued efforts were made to smuggle in whisky, at almost I) points along the construction line. This taxed ie resources and vigilance of the force to the utmost; but these labours were successful.

In the construction of the railway during 1882, upwards of 4,000 men were employed during the whole summer, some of them exceptionally bad characters, •wing, however, to there being no liquor obtainable, very little trouble was given the police, the contractors, the settlers, or anybody else, by them. Where large amounts of money are being expended among such men as railway navvies it is to be expected that many attempts will be made to ftp ply them with liquor, and such attempts were made in the west in 1882. Had this not been effectually stopped, the historian of the period would have had to report a large number of depredations as having been committed. It is probably unparalleled in the history of railway building in an unsettled, unorganized western country that not a single serious crime had been committed along the line of work during the first year of operations, and this fact certainly reflected great credit on those responsible for the enactment and carrying out of the laws.

The following is a copy of a letter the Commissioner received from W. C. VanHorne, Esq., General Manager of the Canadian Pacific Railway, just as he was preparing his annual report:—

"Canadian Pacific Railway,
Office of the General Manager,
Winnipeg, 1st Jany., 1883.

"Dear Sir.—Our work of construction for the year of 1882 has just closed, and I cannot permit the occasion to pass without acknowledging the obligations of the Company to the North-West Mounted Police, whose zeal and industry in preventing traffic in liquor, and preserving order along the line under construction have contributed so much to the successful prosecution of the work. Indeed, without the assistance of the officers and men of the splendid force under your command, it would have been impossible to have accomplished as much as we did. On no great work within my knowledge, where so many men have been employed, has such perfect order prevailed.

"On behalf of the Company, and of all their officers, I wish to return thanks, and to acknowledge particularly our obligations to yourself and Major Walsh.

(Signed) W. C. VaxIIorne. Lieut.-Col. A. G. Irvine,

Commissioner of North-West Mounted Police, Regina."

The next year, 1S83, the work of railroad construction was accompanied by increased duties and troubles for the Mounted Police.

Track-laying on the Canadian Pacific Railroad ceased in the month of January, at a point some twelve or thirteen miles eastward of the station now known as Maple Creek. Several parties of workmen employed by the railway company wintered in the

Cypress Hills, cutting anil getting out timber. These men, ignorant of Indian habits, were on different occasions needlessly alarmed by rumours that reached them of the hostile intentions of the Indians in the vicinity. On one occasion, a timid attempt was made by a few Indians to stop their work, such attempt at intimidation being prompted on the part of the Indians by a desire to procure presents of food from the contractors. On representation being made to the officer commanding at Fort Walsh, prompt and effectual steps were taken to secure quietude, and prevent any similar occurrence. On this subject Superintendent Shurfliffe reported to Col. Irvine as follows:

"On the 7th inst., Mr. LaFrance, a railway contractor, who was cutting ties in the neighbourhood of Maple Creek, came to me and complained that a body of Indians, under 'Front Man,' had visited his camp and forbidden them to cut any more timber, saying that it was the property of the Indians, and that they had also demanded provisions from them. Mr. La France and his men being thoroughly frightened, at once left the bush and repaired to the police outpost at Maple Creek and claimed protection. On hearing Mr, LaFranec's complaint, I sent for 'Front Man.' and explained that it was a very serious matter to interfere with any men working in connection with the railway, and convinced him that it would not be well for him or any other Indian to do anything having a tendency to obstruct the progress of the road. On being assured that he would have 110 further trouble, Mr. LaFrance resumed work."

The Pie-a-pot incident , is one of the traditions of the force, for have not gifted pens embalmed it.

The work of construction was being rushed across the prairies west of Swift Current, and right in the line of the engineers, directly where the construction camps would soon be located with their thousands of passionate, unprincipled navvies—the flotsam and jetsam of humanity—Pie-a-pot and his numerous tribe had pitched their tents, and brusquely announced that they intended to remain there.

Now Pie-a-pot and his band had not just then that wholesome respect for the law of "The Big White Woman" and the red-coated guardians thereof which a few months additional acquaintance were to confer. Moreover it is as true with the aborigines as with other people that "Evil communications corrupt good manners." and in spite of the efforts of the police, Pie-a-pot's band, or individual members thereof, had been just enough ii) communication with the railway construct ion camps to be decidedly corrupted. The craze for the whiteman's money and whisky raged within the numerous tepees of Pie-a-pot's camp. In fact, just then Pie-a-pot's band fairly deserved the appellation of "Bad Indians," and even the possibility of the massacre of some of the advanced parties engaged in the railway work was darkly suggested As the army of navvies advanced towards the Indian camp, and the latter remained sullen and defiant, the railway officials appealed to t he Lieutenant-Governor for protection. His Honour promptly turned the appeal over to the Mounted Police, and, with just as much promptitude, means w ere taken to remove the difficulty. Pie-a-pot had hundreds of well-armed braves spoiling for a fight, with him, but it is not the custom in the North-West Mounted Police to count numbers when law and duty are on their side. Soon after the order from headquarters ticked over the wires, two smart, red-coated members of the force, their pill-box forage caps hanging jauntily on the traditional three hairs, rode smartly into Pie-a-pot's camp, and did not draw rein until in front of the chief's tent.

Two men entrusted with the task of bringing a camp of several hundred savages to reason! It appeared like tempting Providence—the very height of rashness.

Even the stolid Indians appeared impressed with the absurdity of the thing, and gathering near the representatives of the Dominion's authority, began jeering at them. One of the two wore on his arm the triple chevron of a sergeant, and without any preliminary parley he produced a written order and proceeded to read and explain it to Pie-a-pot and those about him. The Indians were without delay to break camp and take the trail for the north, well out of the sphere of railway operations. Pie-a-pot simply demurred and turned away.

The young bucks laughed outright at first, and soon ventured upon threats. But it did not disconcert the two redcoats. They knew their duty, and that the written order in the sergeant's possession represented an authority which could not be defied by all the Indians in the North-West. The sergeant quietly gave Pie-a-pot warning that he would give him exactly a quarter of an hour to comply with the order to move camp, and to show the Indian that he meant, to be quite exact with his count, he took out his watch.

Again Pie-a-pot sullenly expressed his intention to defy t he order, and again the young braves jeered. They entered their tepees, and when they returned they had rifles in their hands. The reports of discharged lire-arms sounded through the camp, a species of Indian bravado. Some turbulent characters of the tribe mounted 'heir ponies and tried to jostle the mounts of the two redcoats as they calmly held their positions in front of Pie-a-pot's tepee, some young bucks firing off their rifles right under the noses of the police horses. Men, women and even children, gathered about jeering and threatening the representatives of law and order.

They knew that the two men could not retaliate. Pie-a-pot even indulged in some coarse abuse at the expense of his unwelcome visitors, but they sat their horses with apparent indifference, the sergeant taking an occasional glance at his watch.

When the fifteen minutes was up he coolly dismounted, and throwing the reins to the constable, walked over to Pie-a-pot's tepee. The coverings of these Indian tents are spread over a number of poles tied together near the top, and these poles are so arranged that the removal of a particular one. called the " key-pole." brings the whole structure down. The sergeant did not say anything, but with impressive deliberation kicked out the foot of the key-pole of Pie-a-pot's tepee, bringing the grimy structure down without further ceremony. A howl of rage at once rose from the camp, and even the older and quieter Indians made a general rush for their arms.

The least sign of weakness or even anxiety on the part of the two policemen, or a motion by Pie-a-pot. would have resulted in the speedy death of both men, but the latter were, apparently, as calm as ever, and Pie-a-pot was doing some deep thinking.

The sergeant had his plan of operations mapped out, and with characteristic sang-froid proceeded to execute it. From the collapsed canvas of Pie-a-pot's tepee he proceeded to the nearest tent, kicked out the key-pole as before, and proceeded to methodically kick out the key-poles all through the camp.

As W. A. Fraser, the brilliant Canadian novelist, writing of this remarkable incident, put it, Pie-a-pot had either got to kill the sergeant—stick his knife into the heart of the whole British nation by the murder of this unruffled soldier—or give in and move away. He chose the latter course, for Pie-a-pot had brains."

During the month of December, 1883, a very serious strike occurred on the Canadian Pacific Railway line, the engineers and firemen refusing to sign such articles of agreement as were proposed and submitted to them by the railway authorities; these workmen making demands for increased rate of pay, which, being refused by the Company, led to the cessation of work by engineers and firemen all along the line. It at once became apparent that the feeling between the Company and their employees was a bitter one. This being the case, and the Company further finding that in addition to its being deprived of skilled mechanical labour, and also that secret and criminal attempts were being made to destroy most valuable property, the services of the N.W.M.P. were called into demand.

A detachment of police, consisting of two officers and thirty-five men, was placed under orders to proceed to Moose Jaw. On the evening of the 10th December, Mr. Murray of the C.P.lt. reached Regma with an engine and car, and the detachment proceeded forthwith to Moose Jaw, which was the end of a division, and 40 miles west of headquarters. On arrival at Moose Jaw, Superintendent Herchmer, commanding the detachment, placed a guard on the railway round house at that place. From the assistance rendered by the police the railway company was enabled to make up a train, which left for the east on the following morning with passengers and mails. By this train Supt. Herchmer, with nineteen men, proceeded to Broadview, the eastern end of the same rail way division.


Colonel S. B. Steele, C. B., etc., formerly Inspector and later Superintendent in the North-West Mounted Police.

During the year 1884, the progress of the Canadian Pacific Railway construction, then approaching the mountain section from across the prairie, was made as uninterruptedly as heretofore. The large influx of miners and others into the vicinity of the mines in the mountains on the resumption of the train service in the spring (the service wras suspended during the winter), necessitated a material increase in the strength of the Calgary division, the headquarters strength of which it was advisable to diminish as little as possible.

In March, Inspector Steele, who was commanding at Calgary, in the absence of Superintendent Mcllree, on leave, reported that preparations were on foot for the illicit distillation of liquor in the mountains, and in June called attention to the difficulty of checking illegal importations into British Columbia under the narrow latitude imposed by the Peace Preservation Act applying to the vicinity of public works. This latitude was subsequently extended to twenty miles on each side of the railway track. On the 10th of May, in consequence of a message from the manager of construction, anticipating trouble at Holt City and its neighbourhood, Sergt. Fury and ten men were posted there for duty, two being retained at the 27th siding, and a corporal and four men at Silver City, and these men, for the time, maintained order amidst the rowdy element in a highly creditable manner. On the 5th June, Superintendent Herchmer assumed command of the Calgary district, being accompanied from headquarters by a reinforcement for "E" division, of two non-connnissioned officers and 22 men. On the 21st June, a detachment of mounted men was dispatched to the Columbia River, to protect the railway company's property and interests at that point.

A detachment of the force under Inspector Steele, was employed in the maintenance of law and order on that part of the Canadian Pacific Railway under construction in the mountains, during the early part of 1885. The distribution of this detachment was as follows:—Laggan, 3 men; 3rd Siding, 2 men; Golden City, 8 men, 7 horses; 1st Crossing, 4 men, 2 horses; Beaver Creek, 2 men, 1 horse; Summit of Sell.irks, 2 men, 1 horse: 2nd Crossing, 4 men, 2 horses. A little later, as construction proceeded, Golden City was left with three men and one horse, the balance being moved on to Beaver Creek. In the absence of gaol accommodation for the district of Kootenav, cells were constructed at the 3rd Siding, Golden City, 1st Crossing, Beaver Creek, Summit or Selkirks and 2nd Crossing. A mounted escort of four constables was detailed to escort the Canadian Pacific Railway paymaster whenever he required it.

Inspector Steele reported:

"About the first day of April, owing to their wages being in arrears, 1,200 of the workmen employed on the line struck where the end of the track then was, and informed the manager of construction that unless paid up in full at once, and more regularly in future, they would do no more work. They also openly stated their intention of committing acts of violence upon the staff of the road, and to destroy property. I received a deputation of the ringleaders, and assured them that <f they committed any act of violence, and were not orderly, in the strictest sense of the word, 1 would inflict upon the offenders the severest punishment the law would allow me. They saw the manager of construction, who promised to accede to their demands, as far as lay in his power, if they would return to their camps, their board not to cost them anything in the meantime. Some were satisfied with this, and several hundred returned to their camps. The remainder stayed at the Beaver (where there was a population of 700 loose characters), ostensibly waiting for their money. They were apparently very quiet, but one morning word was brought to me that some, of them were ordering the bricklayers to quit work, teamsters freighting supplies to leave their teams, and bridgemen to leave their work. I sent detachments of police to the points threatened, leaving only two men to take charge of the prisoners at my post. I instructed the men in charge of the detachments to use the very severest measures to prevent a cessation of the work of construction.

"On the same afternoon. Constable Kerr, having occasion to go to the town, saw a contractor named Behan, a well known desperado (supposed to be in sympathy with the strike), drunk and disorderly, and attempted to arrest him. The constable was immediately attacked by a large crowd, of strikers and roughs, thrown down and ultimately driven off. He returned to barracks, and on the return of Sergeant Fury, with a party of three men from the end of the track, that non-commissioned officer went with two men to arrest the offending contractor, whom they found in a saloon in the midst of a gang of drunken companions. The two constables took hold of him and brought him out, but a crowd of men, about 200 strong, and all armed, rescued hi ml in spite of the most resolute conduct on the part of the police. The congregated strikers aided in the rescue, and threatened the constables if they persisted in their efforts.

"As the sergeant did not desire to use his pistol, except in the most dire necessity, he came to me, (I was on a sick-bed at the tune) and asked for orders. I directed him to go and seek the offender, and shoot any of the crowd who would interfere. He returned, arrested the man, but had to shoot one of the rioters through the shoulders before the crowd would stand back. 1 then requested Mr Johnston, to explain the Riot Act to the mob, and inform them that I would use the strongest measures to prevent any recurrence of the trouble. I had all the men who resisted the police, or aided Behan, arrested next morning, and fined them, together with hnn, S100 each, or six months hard labour.

"The strike collapsed next day. The roughs having had a severe lesson, were quiet. 1 he conduct of the police during this trying occasion was all that could be desired. There were only five at the Beaver at the time, and they faced the powerful mob of armed men with as much resolution as if backed by hundreds.

"While the strike was in progress I received a telegram from His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor of the Xorth-West Territories, directing me to proceed to C'algarv at once with all the men, but in the interests of the public service I was obliged to reply, stating that to obey was impossible until the strike was settled.

"On the 10th day of April the labourers had been all paid, and I forthwith proceeded to Calgary, leaving the men in charge of Sergeant Fury until everything was perfectly satisfactory."

On the 7th of April, this year, a constable found in the Moose Jaw Creek the dead body of a man named Malaski, with a heavy chain attached. The same night Sergeant Fyffe arrested one John Connor on suspicion of being the murderer. An examination of Connor's house showed traces of blood on the walls and floor, an attempt having been made to chip the stains off the latter with an axe, and further examination revealed the track of the body, which had been dragged from the house to the creek.

The murder had evidently been committed with an axe, while the murdered man was lying on the bed, probably asleep, there being three deep wounds on the side of the head. Connor was convicted of the murder before Colonel Richardson, Stipendiary Magistrate, and a jury, on the 2nd May, and was executed at Regina on the 17th July. The prisoner made no statement of any kind with respect to his guilt.

During the construction of the prairie sections of the C. P. R. the duties of railway mail clerks in the North-West were performed by members of the force. During 1884, from Moose Jaw westward, all the mail via the Canadian Pacific Railway was conveyed to and fro in charge of members of the force, their number varying with the alteration in the train service. Three constables from headquarters performed this duty between Moose Jaw and Medicine Hat, two of the Maple Creek division from Medicine Hat to Calgary, and two of the Calgary division from that place to Laggan.

These men were sworn as officials of the Postal Department, and in the absence of aught to the contrary, carried out their duties to the satisfaction, no less of the Postal Department, than of their own officers.

In his annual report for 1884 the Commissioner pointed out the need of a further increase in the number of non-commissioned officers and men in the force, to enable him to comply with the daily increasing requirements of advancing settlement and civilization. Colonel Irvine suggested that 300 additional men should be obtained as soon as possible, these to be recruited in Eastern Canada, and to be men of undeniable physique and character, accustomed to horses, and able to ride. With such men, the Commissioner explained, the necessary training, including a course of instruction in police duties, could be more rapidly completed than if equitation, in addition to the rudiments of foot and arm drill, had to be taught.

We obtain a good idea of the class of men composing the North-West Mounted Police at this time from a very readable and well written book published by Sampson Low & Co., London, 1889, entitled "Trooper and Redskin in the Far North-West; Recollections of Life in the North-West Mounted Police, Canada, from 1884 to 1888," by John G. Donkin, late Corporal X. W. M. P. The author, in a chapter directly concerning the personnel of the Mounted Police wrote: "After having been about two months in the corps, I was able to form some idea of the class of comrades among whom my lot was cast. I discovered that there were truly "all sorts and conditions of men." Many I found, in various troops, were related to English families in good position. There were three men at Regina who held commissions in the British service. There was also an ex-officer of militia, and one of volunteers. There was an ex-midshipman, son of the Governor of one of our small Colonial dependencies. A son of a major-general, an ex-cadet of the Canadian Royal Military College at Kingston, a medical student from Dublin, two ex-troopers of the Scots Greys, a son of a captain in the line, an Oxford B. A., and several of the ubiquitous natives of Scotland, comprised the mixture. In addition, there were many Canadians belonging to families of influence, as well as several from the backwoods, who had never seen the light till their fathers had hewed a way through the bush to a concession road. They were none the worse fellows on that account, though. Several of our men sported medals won in South Africa, Egypt, and Afghanistan. There was one, brother of a Yorkshire baronet, formerly an officer of a certain regiment of foot, who as a contortionist and honcoinique was the best amateur I ever knew. There was only an ex-circus clown from Dublin who could beat him. These two would give gratuitous performances nightly, using the barrack-room furniture as acrobatic properties."

This aggregation of "all sorts and conditions of men," already proved to be efficient in many a tight corner, was about to undergo the supreme test of service in actual warfare.


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