The Royal North-West Mounted Police
Chapter X


INCREASE OF STRENGTH AND DUTIES

The Establishment Raised to 1000 Men.—L. W. Herchmer, Commissioner.—More Vice-Regal Visits.—Extension of the Sphere of Operations Northward to the Athabaska and Peace River Districts and into the Yukon.—The Fight to Suitress the Illicit Liquor Trade. —The Force Loses a Good Friend in Sir John Macdonald but Gains Another in Sir Wilfrid Laurier.—The "Almighty Voice" Tragedy.—Rapid Extension of the Yukon Duties.

THE end of the rebellion left the Mounted Police with greatly increased responsibilities, first, there was the pacification of the half-breed settlements and the Indian tribes which had been in revolt. Secondly, the sense of security hitherto enjoyed throughout the white settlements had to be restored and its uninterrupted continuance provided for, and in accomplishing this, a decided spirit of disaffection and defiance manifested by some of the most powerful tribes, which had not participated in the Rebellion had to be coped with. Thirdly, provision had to be made for the rigid enforcement of the law in new settlements and mushroom frontier villages, which sprang into existence as if by magic as a result of the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway.

It was realized that a very considerable increase of the strength of the Mounted Police was necessary, and without delay steps were taken to recruit additional men and to rearrange the distribution of the force. Officers and men were in the very midst of much strenuous work when the North-West was visited by the then Governor General, Lord Lansdowne, the visit doing much to alia v excitement and to emphasise the fact that law and order had been reestablished throughout the Territories.

On the arrival of His Excellency at Indian Head, on the 21st September, he was received by a strong escort of 100 men. A small mounted escort, by His Excellency's desire, accompanied him from Indian Head via Katepwa to Fort Qu'Appelle, thence to Qu'Appelle station, where he embarked for Regina, a train escort of one officer and twenty-four men accompanying him thither. The usual guard of honour received him at the Territorial Capital. On the evening of the 23rd September, with the same escort, His Excellency left Regina for Dunniore, thence proceeding to Lethbridge, where he arrived on the afternoon of the 24th, and was received by a guard of honour from Fort Macleod. On the 25th, a mounted escort accompanied His Excellency from Lethbridge via Fort Kipp to the Blood Reserve, about eight miles from winch place he was met by the Indian agent, and a party of Indians on horseback. His Excellency had a long interview with the Bloods, and camped for the night on the opposite side of the Belh River. On the 20th, his Excellency visited the Cochrane ranche, and Fort Macleod on the following Bav, remaining for the night in the police barracks.

Oil the 2Sth, His Excellency started for Calgary, camping for the night at Mosquito Creek, 50 miles north of fort Macleod, and reaching Calgary about 0 {).m, next day. A guard of honour at the railway station was there furnished from "E" Division, and the 20th was spent n visiting the Indians at the Blackfoot crossing, the Vice-Regal party and escort

taking train from Calgary to Cluny, where His Honor the Lieutenant Governor was in waiting. Arrived at the agency at the Blackfoot crossing, His Excellency had a long interview with the Blackfeet, and subsequentlv returned to Calgary, whence a small train escort accompanied him to Donald, B.C.

His Excellency was pleased to express his approbation of the smartness of the men and horses composing the various escorts, and of the state of their barracks.

In October and November, in consequence of the accession of strength to 1,000 rank and file, five new divisions were created, making ten in all, each having an establishment of 100 non-commissioned officers


Lieut.-Col. Lawrence \V. Herchmer, Fourth Commissioner.

and men, the former numbering fifteen. These divisions were numbered A, B, C, D, E, E, G, H, K, and the Depot Division. This last was designed to be permanently stationed at headquarters, and to it all recruits on joining were to be attached, being drafted therefrom as vacancies occurred in the other divisions. The headquarters staff were deducted from the Depot Division.

Between the 1st J Alary, and 31st December, 1S85, 608 recruits joined the force, and underwent such training as circumstances permitted from time to time. The physique of the new men, enrolled at the time of this big increase of the establishment, as a rule, was much above the average. Too large a proportion, however, were unable to ride, and unaccustomed to horses.

The distribution state at the end of the year gave the strength and stations of the various divisions as follows:—

Depot Division, Regina, total strength, 121.

"A"—Maple Creek, with detachments at Medicine Hat, and Swift Current, 102.

"B"—Regina, with detachments at Fort Qu'Appelle, Broadview, Moose Jaw, Moosomin, Moose Mountain, Shoal Lake, Whitewood, and on the mail service, 103.

"C"—Fort Macleod, with detachments at Stand Off. St. Mary's, Pincher Creek, Lethbridge, the Piegan Reserve, 112.

"D"—Battleford, 94.

"E"—Calgary, 101.

"F"—Prince Albert, 96.

"G"—Edmonton, with a detachment at Fort Saskatchewan, 99.

"H"—Fort Macleod, with detachments at Chief Mountain, Lethbridge, Old Fort Macleod, 104.

"K"—Battleford, 107.

Total, 1 Commissioner, 1 Assistant Commissioner, 10 Superintendents, 24 Inspectors, 1 Surgeon, 4 Assistant Surgeons, 32 Staff-Sergeants, 48 Sergeants, 51 Corporals, 867 Constables. Grand total, 1,039.

Notwithstanding the accession of 500 additional men to the strength of the force, up to the end of the year, no provision had been made for their accommodation, with the exception of one large room built at Regina for prison purposes, which, after the delivery of sentenced prisoners, was subsequently converted into a barrack room.

At Regina the barrack rooms were over-crowded so much so as to effect the men's health, and it had been necessary to send recruits away to outposts before they were properly trained. Half of the Quartermaster's store was at the end of the year full of men, to the great inconvenience and prejudice of the Quartermaster's department.

Great cart; was shown by the officers and men of the force at this time in their dealings with the half-breeds and Indians, and with marked success, the rapid healing of the scars of the rebellion speaking volumes for the successful diplomacy of the police. Writing at the end of 1885 from Prince Albert, which had been the centre of the disaffected district, and where, since his promotion, he commanded, Superintendent A. Bowen Perry reported:—

"The half-breed population is quiet, and the feeling amongst them, to a great extent, appears to be one of regret for the past troubles. Very few will acknowledge that they took up arms of their own free will, claiming that they were persuaded and forced into the trouble.

"They are now entirely, dependent on freighting and government assistance.

"I have seen the priests of the different half-breed missions, and they all tell a piteous tale of starvation and want among their people.

"Inspector Cuthbert, who recently visited the half-breed settlements, reports that the half-breeds are in want, and will require a great deal of assistance. No trouble need be feared from them.

"The Indians are very quiet and peaceable. Some danger has been apprehended from the Indians at Duck Lake, who were engaged in the recent outbreak. These Indians were not paid their treaty money and, I believe, are not receiving much assistance, as will be seen in Inspector Cuthbert's report. This officer says, under date the 18th November:—'From the Indians of Beardy's reserve, who were rebels, and whom I saw, I learned that they were having very hard times. I could learn nothing from the Indians themselves or from settlers in the vicinity in confirmation of current reports of brewing trouble. No alarm is felt as to their raiding on freighters or settlers, and no communication is held by them with Indians in the Battleford district.'"

While this encouraging improvement was being reported .n the district which had been the scene of the revolt, keen anxiety was developing as to the attitude of the Indian tribes in the south.

In a report of the 26th of October, Superintendent Cotton drew attention to the objectionable changes that had come about it the general bearing and feeling of the Indians in the southern section of the Territories. "I now express it as my positive opinion", he wrote, "that the feeling of the Blood Indians towards the Government and white men generally s at this present moment very far from one of a friendly character. In this respect the past year has brought a marked change, particularly among the young men, who plainly show that a spirit of unrest and disquiet is not dormant within them".

Alluding to the Rebellion and its suppression, Supt. Cotton wrote:—"It must be remembered that the accounts of the various scenes enacted in the north are received by the Indians more from an Indian point of view than from facts. The loss of the troops was magnified and that of the Indians minimized. This is what they still believe and 1 think it shows that an Indian can be influenced and his sympathy aroused by another Indian much more thoroughly and forcibly than by any white man. The chiefs and old men having greater arid more varied experience, are much more- prone to form correct and logical conclusions; and they, though certainly not without their aboriginal prejudices, are, for the most part, aware of and ready to admit the universally honorable, humane, and even markedly generous treatment they have at all times had at the hands of the Government. Still, their influence does not appear strong enough to successfully inoculate the younger men with such a train of thought, and it must not be forgotten that the younger men played the most important part in this rebellion.

"It should, I think, be borne in mind that our experience during the past summer has furnished us with what I may term data, from which we may with safety assume that had any serious reverse happened to the troops serving in the north, an almost simultaneous outbreak would have occurred in the south. Even as I write, I cannot but call to mind the far from peaceable effect produced here when the news of the fight at Fish Creek became known."

After adverting to the hereditary enmity between the Blackfeet and Crees, and expressing his belief that these tribes would, notwithstanding this, make common cause against the white men, Superintendent Cotton continued with reference to the despatch of some war parties on horse stealing expeditions:— "This horse stealing on the part of the younger men is doing an incalculable amount of harm throughout the camps. Setting aside the complications it may at any time give rise to with the United States Government, it unsettles them greatly. If one man succeeds in evading arrest, the others are thus prompted to copy him and their so doing is considered a signal of personal bravery that invariably meets with universal approbation. Thus, a large number of our Blood Indians are becoming professional horse-thieves, and though their operations are carried on, for the greater part, south of the international boundary line, il cannot be said to be universally the case, and war parties often visit distant portions of our Territories, solely for the purpose of horse stealing. That our Indians can, with the utmost ease, procure strong alcoholic drink in the United States, is unquestionably the fact. This proves a powerful incentive towards the continuance of these southern migrations, as does also the fact that they receive aid, most willingly proffered, in their criminal practises from their blood relations, the South Piegans (also of the Blackfoot Nation). The last mentioned Indians dare not themselves steal American horses, but thev gladly accept horses from our Indians in payment for help and information afforded

While the Indians iu the Southern part of the Territories were thus causing anxiety, the Mounted Police were called upon to extend their sphere of operations eastward into Manitoba. On the 28th of July, 1885, Inspector Sanders, one non-commissioned officer and twenty-four constables, with twenty-six horses, proceeded to Southern Manitoba for the prevention of horse stealing in a district stretching along the frontier from the eastern boundary of the municipality of Louise to the western boundary of the Province. A request for this protection had been made, on behalf of the settlers, by the Attorney-General, at Winnipeg, and the Right Honorable the President of the Privy Council, in sanctioning "for the present and until a local force is formed" the employment of a small detachment of police, reminded


Superintendent G. E. Sanders, D.S.O.

the Attorney-General "that it is not the duty of the Mounted Police to enforce the laws in Manitoba."

April 1st, 1886, a change took place in the command of the force, the Commissioner, Lieut-Colonel A. G. Irvine retiring with a gratuity and being succeeded by Lawrence W. Herchmer, Esq., at the time holding a responsible position in the North-West under the Indian Department. The new Commissioner, who was a brother of Superintendent Win. Herchmer, had served as a subaltern in the British Army and had acquired considerable experience of field service in the North-West as a Commissariat Officer on the staff of the International Boundary Commission.

As a matter of record, it is interesting to know that at this period the government entered into negotiations with Major Hutton, whose name was at the time identified with the mounted infantry movement in the regular service, with the object of securing his services as commissioner of the Mounted Police. Major Hutton agreed to accept the proffered appointment on certain conditions, and his advice was even asked on matters affecting the arming, equipment and training of the force, but it was later decided to select an officer of Canadian experience. Some years later, as Major General, Major Hutton commanded the Canadian Militia, and, still later, as a brigade commander in South Africa, he had a battalion composed largely of officers and men of the N.W.M.P. under his command.

Superintendent L. W. F. Crozier, Assistant Commissioner, retired with gratuity June 30, 1886, Superintendent W. M. Herchmer, with the title of " Inspecting Superintendent," taking over most of his duties. Supt. Antrobus took over the command of " E" Division at Calgary from Supt. Herchmer on April 7.

During the summer, "E" Division and the headquarters of "G" Division, consisting of one officer and 50 men, were camped on the Bow River, at Calgary, and remained there for about six weeks. This had an excellent effect, and gave a good opportunity of perfecting the men and horses in drill and camp work. Supt. Herchmer suggested that the following summer a larger camp be formed there, it being a very central place for the western divisions to meet, and he thought 200 men could easily be massed from "E", "G",' "H", and "D" Divisions,

From the new .Commissioner's report for the year 1886 it appears that target practice had been carried on in all the Divisions, but while many of the men had made excellent shooting, a considerable number did poorly. This, it was hoped to remedy the following season by careful overhauling of the carbines, and by more instruction in preliminary drill.

Revised Standing Orders for the force were prepared during the year, and in December, were ready for the printer, and a short and concise drill book was being prepared, to which instructions in Police duties and simple rules of Veterinary practice were to be attached, which it was thought would place in each Constable's possession a complete explanation of all his various duties.

The physique of the force was very fine, and improving all the time, the trouble being to get clothing large enough; but as it had been arranged, in future to have the clothing generally made in Canada with proper size rolls, it was hoped there would he no difficulty in guarding against this mistake.

Up to this year the police had erected most of their barracks and other buildings themselves, and even in the ease of some of the larger barracks built by contract, the Work had been supervised by the officers of the force. In 1886 the work in connection with the erection and repairs of barracks was handed over to the Department of Public Works.

The most serious crimes of the year were the robberies of the Royal Mail stages between Qu'Appelle and Prince Albert, and between Calgary and Edmonton. The former of these, in July, near Humboldt, was the first attempt at highway robbery in the territories since the advent of the police, although such events, with various ghastly settings, were of almost weekly occurrence in the adjoining territories of the United States. The news of the Humboldt robbery caused great excitement, it being assumed that desperadoes from Missouri and other western states were seeking fresh fields in Canada. If they succeeded n getting away free it was felt that this would-be the fore-runner of a series of stage and train robberies such as had made the western States notorious. Throughout all ranks of the Mounted Police it was felt to be imperative that the perpetrators of the robberies be discovered. The capture of the robbers (there were first supposed to be six masked men engaged in the robbery, although investigations on the spot showed it to have been the work of a single highwayman) was entrusted to'£F" Division, then at Regina, commanded by Supt, A. Bowen Perry. A detachment of eight proceeded east by rail to Broadview, a similar one under Inspector Begin, westward to Moosejaw. The remainder of the division under Supt. Perry, proceeded north, direct from Regina, the detachments at Broadview and Moosejaw moving in the same direction at the same time. In this way the whole country through which the robbers were considered likely to attempt to escape was carefully covered. Had the robbery been the work of a gang of United States highwaymen, they would doubtless have been headed off. but it transpired that the robber was a resident of the north, and he was arrested by the Mounted Police, in Prinoe Albert in August, tried in Regina n October, and sentenced to fourteen years imprisonment in the penitentiary.

The robbers of the Edmonton stage were not caught, although the country was scoured by the police n all directions. The mails on the route between Calgary and Edmonton, Swift Current- and Battleford, and Qu'Appelle and Prince Albert were constantly escorted by Police after the first robbery until the cold weather removed the necessity, and after that, outposts were established at points along the roads for the winter, but patrolling was resumed as soon as it was considered advisable in the spring.

During the years immediately succeeding the rebellion, there was a marked development of the patrol system of the Mounted Police. During 1SS7, log buildings with stables and corrals were built at convenient places along the frontier, particularly along the base of the Cypress Hills; to afford shelter to the men in bad weather, and enable the patrols to go out earlier and stay later in the season than they otherwise could. The following season other shelters were built at convenient situations all along the frontier, the labor being done by the Police, and by putting up hay at these posts, a great saving of horseflesh resulted.

A new element in the police patrols in 1SS7 was introduced in the engagement of some full-blooded Indians as scouts, who were attached to the patrols, and did very good service, being invaluable as trailers, and able and willing to travel excessive distances in an almost incredible space of time. On several occasions during the summer of 1887, these scouts arrested members of their own tribes. Their tendency at first was to serve a short time and then return home, which was not always convenient, Their pay was $25 per month and rations, anil they horsed themselves, the Police furnishing arms and saddles.

All the mam trails in the Territories were at this period watched by police patrols, and at convenient places along them, parties were stationed. The outposts along the line of the Canadian Pacific Railway were increased during 1SS0, and it was found necessary as soon as the Manitoba and North-Western Railway entered the Territories, to establish a post at Langenburg on that road. This party patrolled the Fort Pelly and the York Colony districts, which were remote from the headquarters of police Divisions.

Early in the spring of 1SS7. the Bloods caused a good deal of trouble. A number of their young men. tired of the reserve, and anxious to distinguish themselves, made a dash on Medicine Hat and vicinity and on U. S. Territory, stealing a number of horses. During the summer too, the police had occasional trouble with them. Occasionally, cattle were killed in the neighborhood of their reserves, but the arrest, speedy trial and punishment of "Good Rider", a Blood, stopped this practice.

November 27, having been informed that several Blood Indians, camped at the Lower Agency, had whisl v in their possession, and that one of their minor chiefs. "Calf Shut", had brought it in from Montana, and had stated to his band that if the

in accordance with applications from the Customs and Interior Departments, were extended into Manitoba, and the detachment under Inspector MeGibbon, the first- year, was able to render valuable service in the suppression of smugglers and timber tiuevos n the Pembina Mountain country.

In all quarters of the Territories, except in the south-west, the Indians according to the Commissioner's report were making rapid strides towards self-support. All they required were more cattle, and a cash market for their produce, to encourage them.

During the year 1888, 55 men, whose terms of service had expired, immediately re-engaged. 10 who took their discharge, afterwards re-engaged, among them a sergeant, who re-engaged as constable; two who purchased their discharge enlisted in the ranks again, and several others offered to re-join. In his report for the year, the Commissioner remarked

"With your permission, I hope to make this force very hard to enter and very easy to get out of, both by purchase and dismissal". That has continued to be the principle governing enlistment and discharge.

A drill book for the force was printed on the police press at Regina, during the. year 1888. The drill was of the simplest kind, and conflicted in no way with the Mounted Infantry Regulations, but contained much information respecting details and movements absolutely required in the force which were not laid down in the Mounted Infantry Manual.

During the year 1880, there were several events of special interest, to the Mounted Police. Lord Stanley of Preston (now the Karl of Derby) then Governor General, visited the North-West, making an extended tour. In addition to the usual duty patrols, escorts accompanied His Excellency n his visits to the various parts of the Territories, and all the transport required was necessarily thrown on the regular patrols who were required to do more mileage, owing to the temporary absence of their comrades.

His Excellency was pleased to express his gratification at the appearance and efficiency of the different detachments that came under his immediate observation.

During September, the Honourable ^Mackenzie Powell, the Minister of Customs, was driven, in Police transport, along the line of patrols on the frontier. These patrols extended from Gretna, 2S miles east of the Red River, to the Rocky Mountains, a distance of about S00 miles, and most of the Customs Department work on this immense line was done by the Mounted Police.

The force sent into Manitoba in 18SS for frontier duty, in connection with the Department of Customs and the Interior, was considerably augmented in 1880 and remained under the command of Inspector Metbbon. The issue of wood planks was almost entirely in the hands of the police and between their various vocations they certainly had plenty to do.

With the exception of the service during the rebellion, and a few exceptional cases, the services of the Mounted Polio had up to this time been pretty well contained to the portion of the territories south of the line of the North Saskatchewan. Rut the extension of railway systems and the expansion of settlement began to attract attention to the north. And, as was the ease with the immigration west ward, so with the movement northward, the Mounted Police have


Inspector Hegin.

been the pioneers. The Canadian police has been to provide protection for life and property and the means of enforcing the law, ahead of settlement, and therein, not forgetting the traditional respect of British peoples for equitable laws, lies the secret of the peaceful settlement of the Canadian West.

During 1880, for the first tune, police were sent into Keewatin at the request of the Lieutenant Governors of Manitoba, and the North-West Territories, A party under Inspector Begin, proceeded to Grand Rapids on the first boat, and remained in the vicinity part of the summer with tin Mew of preventing the importation of liquor into the northern portions of the North-West Territories, via the Saskatchewan, without permits. The low state of the water in the river, however, prevented the steamers from running, and the party was withdrawn. While in the north, Inspector Begin collected a great deal of information which the Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba acknowledged.

During the summer of 1889,40 men of "F" Division from Prince Albert and the same number of "C" Division from Battleford patrolled to Regina and back, remaining during the greater part of the month of September under canvas at Regina. The two parties, on the way south, effected a junction at Saskatoon.

An extraordinary drought all over the country was excessively hard on the horses, and the "C" and "F" patrols, under Supt. Perry, had to travel on one day, 40 miles, and on the next, 42 miles, without water. This was bad enough for picked horses and a flying patrol, but when it is considered that there were eighty men mounted, without spare horses, and twelve heavily loaded teams, the distances are enormous. Great credit was considered by the Commissioner to be due Superintendent Perry and all ranks, for the splendid condition of the horses on arrival at Regina, every horse in work had an entire absence of sore backs and shoulders. The patrol proceeded south, via Saskatoon and Moosejaw, a distance of 300 miles in twelve days, and returned via the route of the Long Lake Railway and Saskatoon, 350 miles, in ten days.

During 1889, great interest was taken in rifle shooting, and the Commissioner suggested the sending a team to Ottawa for the Dominion matches the following year. He also recommended that the best shot in each division, and the best in the force, should receive extra pay.

In June, a rifle competition took place at Saskatoon, between teams of 16 non-commissioned officers and men of "C" and "F" Divisions for "The Hudson Bay Cup", "F" Division proving the winners. The cup was presented by the officials of the Hudson Bay Company, and was to be won two years in succession.

During the year 1890, in addition to the regular patrols, small patrols, under the command of an officer, frequently travelled through the various districts and proved in a most conclusive manner that the regular patrols had done their duty entirely to the satisfaction of the law-abiding settlers.

The police outposts were becoming more numerous every year, and the detachments were rapidly improving the buildings, thereby better ensuring the comfort of the men, who had to undergo very severe hardships at times on patrol.

During the summer of 1890, the energetic Minister of Customs, the Hon. Mackenzie Bowell, with a party of police under Sergeant Waite, went through the Crow's Nest Pass with pack-horses, on a tour of inspection, and visited the Kootenay country.

The patrol party was again, on the opening of navigation, sent north to the Lake Winnipeg district, and was considerably increased in size; a great deal of efficient work being done by Inspector Begin and his command. This officer, in 1890, went as far north as York Factory.

During the early summer, H.R.H. the Duke of Connaught passed through the country, on his way home to England on completion of a command m India, and wherever he stopped in the North-West, escorts were provided, and transport was ready, if required.

Assistant Commissioner Herchmer reported to His Royal Highness at Banff, and accompanied him beyond the eastern limits of the Territories. His Royal Highness expressed himself as much pleased with the Mounted Police and the services performed for him by them.

The Assistant Commissioner also accompanied Colonel Fane of the British Army in a tour of the ranching country to ascertain its capabilities in the way of supplying remounts for the army.

The same year (1890) the officers of the force gave even more than the usual attention to the suppression of prairie fires, and parties were specially sent out in some of the districts which had suffered in former years, with instructions to look sharp after all parties starting fires, and in all districts the outposts were particularly instructed in this direction. The result was most satisfactory.

Perhaps the most important event in the history of the Mounted Police, as in that of the Dominion, during the year 1891, was the death of Sir John A. Macdonald on June 6th. Sir John had always manifested the keenest personal interest in the force, and never allowed anything to interfere with his ambition to have it maintained as a sensible, practical police force and at the same time to have it kept up to a high state of smartness and military efficiency as a veritable corps d'elite. Whatever portfolios the veteran premier held, he retained the administration of the Mounted Police in his own hands up to the very last. In the new government formed after Sir John's death, the premier, Hon. Sir J. J. C. Abbott, as President of the Council, retained control of the Mounted Police.

As to the personal of the force in 1891 the Commissioner reported the average height as about 5 feet, inches and chest measurement about 38* inches. There was some difficulty in securing enough suitable horses, as not a single eastern horse had been bought for several years. The western horses were reported to be improving every year, and with the progeny of imported horses coming into the market the following spring, a further marked improvement was expected.

The Commissioner in his annual report for 1S91 appeared gratified to state:—"Canteens are now working at Regina, Macleod. Lethbridge and Calgary, and are found to be a great convenience and saving to the men. The profits reduce the cost of messing, and afford the men recreation which they could not otherwise enjoy. I find that there has been a sensible decrease of crime and in the number of breaches of discipline at those posts where canteens have been established; and that these posts compare favourably in this respect with those where no canteens exist".

The construction of the Calgary and Edmonton and the Calgary and Macleod railways was closely watched during 1S91 by the police, and every assistance was given the contractors in enforcing the absence of liquor from the camps. Several arrests were made for illegally leaving employment, but, on the whole, the best of order was maintained all through. One officer was in charge of constables on railway construction all the time.

During this year a strict liquor license law was introduced, which has tended to greatly reduce the very objectionable duties the Mounted Police had hitherto been called upon to discharge in enforcing the laws respecting liquor. Up to this date a prohibitory law was in force, it being an offence to have even lager beer 11 possession except covered by a permit obtained personally, and only on payment of a heavy fee, from the Lieutenant Governor. When one remembers the large Indian population and the crude state of society n the pioneer days, the object is easily understood. Rut, as the country opened up, and towns, villages and settlements multiplied, it became impossible, to enforce the law, for public opinion was against it. If people could not get liquor honestly, why, they would simply get it dishonestly. Where wholesome liquors could not be obtained, the poisonous product of the illicit still found its way in. The Mounted Police seized liquor by the waggon load and destroyed it only to have to go through the same operation the following day. The smugglers and holders of llicit liquor were arrested and re-arrested, only to bring down upon the police the enmity of the prisoners and their friends. All kinds of subterfuges were resorted to to smuggle beer and liquor into the territories. Piano cases were fined with tin and filled with liquor. Metal receptacles containing spirits were concealed wit-ten the covers of bogus Bibles and hymn-books. Brandy and whisky were imported in medicine bottles labelled as containing acid, perfumery, etc.—Barrels of coal oil would have a keg of whisky floating in the oil. Some genius invented a celluloid egg shell which was filled with whisky, and for a time it proved a safe receptacle. But, eventually, the Mounted Police discovered the hoax, as they did the others. The preventive service in connection with this liquor trade was simply detested by the Mounted Police for it was continually embroiling them in trouble, and without any thanks, for the miscalled prohibitory liquor law soon became very unpopular with everybody, including the clergy.

Commissioner after Commissioner of the force complained of the difficulty of enforcing the act. For instance, in his report for 1885, Lieut.-Col. Irvine wrote:—

"The traffic in illicit liquor cannot, I regret to say, be said to be on the decline. The ingenuity which is devoted to encompass the transgression of the prohibitory law is worthy of a better cause. Books (that is, zinc cases made up in the shape of books), sardine tins, oyster cans, coal oil cans and barrels, and many other receptacles, including trunks, are used to import liquor. The last mentioned, checked through as passenger's baggage, were much in vogue during the early part of the year, and in connection therewith a very plausible complaint was made to Ottawa of the high handed action of the police, which, however, the complainants, did not substantiate by avowing themselves the owners of the checks in question. Details of the several seizures made have been already reported periodically. I may safely say that the majority of the people living in the North-West do not respect and do not hesitate to break the. prohibitory liquor law. It is the unceasing and faithful endeavour to enforce the provisions of this law, in the face of a rapidly increasing population, and much greater facilities for evading it, to which the police owe most of the adverse criticism to which they have been subjected. Men who were law-abiding citizens m the old provinces think it no crime to evade the liquor laws and do so on every opportunity. If such men are not caught, then the police come in for abuse from temperance, quarters. If on the other hand, arrests are made, conviction becomes a conception, which eventually gives birth to most unsparing abuse, not of the law, but of those whose duty it is to enforce it."

In his report at the end of 1887, Commissioner Herchmer wrote:—"The enforcement of the North-West prohibitory law is more difficult than ever, the sympathy of many of the settlers being generally against us in this matter. Large quantities of liquor have been seized and spilt, but a great deal more illicit liquor has undoubtedly been used under the cloak of the permit system. Liquor is run into the country in every conceivable manner, in -barrels of sugar, salt, and as ginger ale, and even in neatly constructed imitation eggs, and respectable people, who otherwise are honest, will resort to every device to evade the liquor laws, and when caught they have generally the quantity covered by their permits. It is really curious the extraordinary length of time some holders of permits can keep their liquor. The permit system should be done away with in the first place if the law is to be enforced, and the law itself should be cleared of the technicalities that have end of that year, the Commissioner wrote:—"The liquor question is still in a very unsatisfactory condition, and while the importation of beer has, I think, lowered the demand for stronger liquor, the ruling of the court that liquor once admitted under permit can be held by anyone, and the fact that counterfoils of permits belonging to other people can protect liquor, almost completely kills the enforcement of the North-West Act, in spite of the efforts of the Lieutenant Governor of the North-West Territories to prevent the transfer of permits, and places the police in a most unfortunate position. In fact, as at


"No Complaints." A Settler signing a Policeman's Patrol Sheet. (From one or a series of Pictures painted for the Dominion Department of Agriculture by Paul Wiekson).

enabled so many to escape punishment this last year. The importation and manufacture of a good article of lager beer, under stringent Inland Revenue regulations would, iii my opinion greatly assist the satisfactory settlement of this vexed question. Nearly all the opprobrium that has been cast upon the Police generally, and my management in particular, can be directly traced to public sentiment on the attempt to enforce this law."

In 1889, the law was amended to permit of the importation of beer, and this relieved the situation, somewhat, but not altogether. In his report at the present interpreted, it is impossible to enforce the Act." It is not to be wondered at that the introduction of a license system was hailed with satisfaction in the Mounted Police, but there was a direct disadvantage therefrom too, for m his annual report at the end of 1892 the Commissioner ascribed an increase of drunkenness in the force to the introduction of the License Act.

December 5, 1892, the Mounted Police again lost its administrative head, Sir John J.J.C. Abbott resigning and being succeeded as Premier by the Hon. Sir John Thompson. In the Thompson Cabinet", December 5, 1892 to December 12, 1894, the Hon. W. R. Ives, as President of the Council, had the Mounted Police department under his charge.

During the year 1892 a great increase in the settlement of the North-West was reported, particularly in the Edmonton district, which was filling up very rapidly, and as the crops had been good, a very large influx was expected the following year. Large numbers of settlers came n from the United States, particularly from Washington and Dakota, and all appeared quite satisfied with their prospects.

The Mormons, who had established a settlement in Alberta, were increasing ifl numbers and importing a number of sheep. They were also preparing to irrigate their land in the near future. They, in 1892, supplied most of the. butter and eggs used at Macleod and Lethbridge, and were, so far as the police could judge, good, law-abiding settlers.

Every possible assistance was at this period rendered incoming settlers by the force, even as far as driving them over the most desirable districts for settlement, and they repeatedly expressed their appreciation of the serv ces so freely rendered. All the new settlements were regularly visited by patrols, and each settler specifically asked to report in writing if he had any complaints or not.

The steady extension of the active sphere of operations of the Mounted Police northward took a marked step forward in 1892.

Early in the season the advisability of establishing a permanent outpost at Cumberland House (which is situated about 220 miles below Prince Albert, on the Saskatchewan River) was considered. Supt. Cotton, commanding at Prince Albert, furnished the Commissioner with a detailed report on the subject, the result being that a small detachment consisting of one non-commissioned officer and one constable, was stationed there in July. The establishment of this detachment embraced an important section of country not previously under police surveillance. One of the most important duties devolving upon this detachment was the prevention of illicit liquor being supplied to Indians. In August, the Commissioner received a communication from R. Macfarlane, Esq., chief factor of the Hudson's Bay Company,

Cumberland district, in which lie wrote:--"During the past month, the party (police detachment) has been travelling with Mr. Agent Readei on his yearly annuity payment tour to the different Indian reserves of the Pas. Agency, Treaty Xo. 5. It is very satisfactory to be able to state that their presence had a most tranquilizing effect, on the Indians, some of whom had on previous occasions made themselves anything but agreeable to their agent, and they certainly intended giving trouble this season, while it should be borne in mind that if the police had been absent, petty traders would probably have introduced liquor among the natives."

A limited number of settlers moved into the Prince Albert district in 1892 and many delegates from the United States and the eastern provinces visited Prince Albert and the surrounding country with a view of making reports as to the quality of the land and the general prospects of intending settlers. In many cases the Dominion Immigration Department and the local Boards of Trade requested police assistance in driving such delegates from point to point. Whenever practicable, assistance was rendered.

During the year 1893 the force lost by death three officers and four men, the heaviest death rate for many years.

Assistant Surgeon Dodd, an officer of great medical experience, died very suddenly on the 1st of January, while in medical charge of Maple Creek. He was buried in the police cemetery at Regina. Inspector Piercy, an officer who served in the force for many years, both in the ranks, and afterwards as a commissioned officer, died at Edmonton on the I3th of March, and was buried there. Inspector Huot, who had been in command at Duck Lake for several years, and who had been suffering for some tune, died at Duck Lake on the 23rd of March. He was a great favourite with his comrades and very popular in his district, having always displayed great tact in dealing with the natives. He was buried at Prince Albert.

On numerous occasions transport was placed at the disposal of agricultural delegates, who visited various sections of the territories this year. Upon one of these occasions the visitors were a party of Germans, 'who arrived in Macleod in April, and who represented several hundred families, who had commissioned them to examine and report upon the North-West, with a view to settlement therein. These gentlemen visited Kootcnay, Rig Rend, Puicher Creek, and Stand Off.

During 1894, the system of patrols carried out during the preceding few years was continued; the new settlements, particularly in the Edmonton district, being well looked after. The total withdrawal of all the detachments in Manitoba, early 1 i the spring, placed sufficient men and horses at the Commissioner's disposal to meet new responsibilities. Tin vigilance of these patrols continued to have a good effect, as very little serious ei me had occurred in the Territories without detection. As usual, there was a total absence of train and highway robberies, so very prevalent during this particular year on the other side of the boundary line. The deterrent effect of the Force in this direction was repeatedly noticed in the public press of Canada and the United States during the year.

The most important capture made by the .Mounted Police patrols in 1S94 was that of three half-breeds, near Writing-on-Stone detachment, in the Lethbridge police into Canada under arrest, and consequently were not fugitives from justiee under the Act.

A reduction of the force having been determined upon, no recruits were engaged after the early part of the year, and only the very best of the time-expired men were re-engaged. Every opportunity was taken to keep the men up to the mark and the whole force was well drilled.

His Excellency the Governor General, the Earl of Aberdeen, visited the Territories during the summer,

Ins. Scarth Ins. G. Brown Supt. Belcher Vet.-Surg. Burnett
Ins. J. Constantino Supt. A. B. Perry Ins. Strickland


Officers of the X. W. M. P. on Duty at Regina 1895.
Ins. Baker Commissioner Herchmer Ins. Irwin
Asst.-Com. iMcIlree Ins. C. Starnes Surgeon Bell
 

district. These breeds were more or less implicated in the 1885 rebellion, and fled to the United States, taking up Their residence, with some 40 others, in the Sweet Grass Hills, where they lived without work, killing, it is believed, a great many cattle. They were surprised in the act by Corporal Dickson, arrested and tried, but got off, as it was found by survey that the actual killing took place just over the line, in United States territory, and it was held that they could not be extradited, as they were brought by entailing the usual amount of additional escort and guard duties upon the force. His Excellency was pleased to express his satisfaction at the smartness and high state of discipline evinced by all ranks.

In his annual report, this year, Supt. Steele, commanding the Macleod district, commenting on the success of the Mounted Police in enforcing respect for the law, compared with the very generally extended epidemic of lawlessness in some of the western States, wrote:—"To properly appreciate this, one should take into consideration all the influences that usually bear against law and order and which are found in their most developed state in the western frontier settlements. In spite of these drawbacks, it is a fact that there is no place in the Dominion where life and property are more respected than in the North-West Territories. The policy of establishing the means of obtaining law and order, before settlement, has been most beneficial to the country at large, and makes 'vigilant committees.' 'White caps' and 'lynching gangs' impossible. By such committees, gross injustices have, and always w ill be perpetrated, and many innocent persons shot and hanged."

During the summer, a detachment of the Mounted Police was sent north to the Athabasca River Country.

December 12, 1894, the Thompson Ministry was dissolved by the sudden death of the Premier, the Hon. Sir John S.D. Thompson, at Windsor Castle. December 21, the Hon. Sir Mackenzie Bowell, formed his cabinet, and as Premier and President of the Council, was the administrative head of the Mounted Police Department until April 27, 1890, when he resigned. During the short time he was at the head of the Department Sir Mackenzie showed a markedly intelligent and useful interest in the corps.

The continued reduction of the force in the spring of 1895 necessitated the amalgamation of "D" and "H" Divisions at Macleod, and "B" and the Depot Divisions at Regina, and the superannuation of two superintendents and two inspectors. While this entailed considerable extra work on the officers remaining. the work was performed satisfactorily.

But very few men were recruited during the year, and a new system, of trying all recruits for two months before permanent enlistment, was instituted.

Notwithstanding the very considerably reduced strength of the force, the patrols were increased, and all the territory requiring it was visited by them. Patrols this year called on all settlers on their route, taking particulars of any complaints they may have had. and making inquiries concerning suspicious characters seer in the vicinity, whether any stray animals had been seen, and whether any animals were diseased. All along their route they rode through any herds of cattle, or bands of horses, and looked them over. They made inquiries re any breach of the fishery and game regulations, and any possible evasions of the customs. All camps of Indians were visited, and inquiries made, and the Indian passes examined, and, in the season, a sharp lookout \\a< kept for prairie fires. This routine continues to be fallowed.

The taking of the census in April, was entrusted to the Mounted Police, and occasioned a house-to-house visit, which was very advantageous as it brought all the settlers under the immediate observation of the police. The following was the result of the census as taken by the police, exclusive of Indians:-

Assiniboia, 1892" white, 807 half-breed, 34,843 horses, 99,575 cattle, 70.804 sheep; \lberta, 20.18") white people, 2,598 half-breed, 42.257 horses, 108.508 cattle, 45,810 sheep; Saskatchewan. 5,7ti3 white people, 4,108 half-breeds, 0,541 horses, 20,014 cattle, 6,422 sheep.

The Hon. Sir Mackenzie Bowell, Prime Minister, and responsible head of the Mounted Police Department, made an extended tour of the Xorth-West during the summer, inspecting many of the chief posts and detachments, and announced lihmelf well pleased with the efficiency and zeal of the force.


Typical Police Camp on the Trail.

A detachment was sent this summer, (1805) for duty on the Athabasca River to prevent liquor going in, without permit, but the detachment being placed under command of St a if-Sergeant Hetheringon who had had two years experience in the district.

The Commissioner's instructions from the Comptroller were to the effect that a party of twenty, including officers, was to be despatched to the Upper Yukon for duty there. Inspector Constantine, an officer of great determination and ability, who had been in the far north country the previous year, was selected to command, the other officers being Inspector Strickland and Assistant Surgeon Wills. All ranks were carefully selected for physique and fitness for the work. They left Seattle, Wash, by steamer, on the 5th of June, and arrived at their destination, Fort Cudahy, on the 24th July, some 4,800 miles, where, they lost no time in completing barracks. They got out all the timber some 60 miles up the river, ran it down, and conveyed it to the local saw mill, where they squared the timber to a convenient size; the slabs and boards thus obtained saving the necessity of purchasing very expensive lumber. The ground selected as the site had to be striped of moss before building on it, which involved a great deal of hard work as this accumulation of northern vegetation was about two feet thick and had to be thrown into the river. The buildings were of logs, squared, eaeh log being dropped on a layer of moss, which being thus compressed as the building went up, became quite air-tight, the roofs being slabs, moss and earth.

Great progress was reported as being made by the Indians during the year 1895. Although in some districts their crops were a failure, the means of earning money placed the industrious ones above want, even when there had been little huntings With the exception of the Bloods, Peigans, Sarcees and Blackfeet (and even these were then acquiring cattle) all reserves in the territories had large bands of excellent cattle, the quality of which would compare more than favourably with those of their white neighbours. All the beef required in these bands for the sick and destitute, etc., had been purchased direct from the Indians themselves, and particularly in the north, a considerable number of steers had been sold to drovers, many of them for English markets.

During the year, on two occasions, Indians fired at the police when attempting their arrest. In one case, "Night Gun," a Blood, who had been followed for several days by Corporal Carter, fired once, and attempted to fire a second time, rather than be arrested for horse stealing, and later in the year, " Almighty Voice," a Cree, deliberately shot dead Sergeant Cole-brook near Kinistino, while attempting his arrest for cattle killing and breaking jail. These were the only two occasions on which Indians fired at the police at close quarters, but while attempting to arrest " Scraping High," a Blackfoot, for the murder of Mr. Skynner, ration issuer, to the reserve, the Indian fired frequently at both police and Indians before he was shot by a constable. It appears that this Indian had a child sick in the school conducted by the Rev. Mr. Tims, on the reserve, and on the child dying, after being taken home, he became more or less crazy, and after threatening several officials, finally shot Mr. Skynner, with whom he had some difficulty about obtaining beef for his sick child.

July 13, 1896, the Hon. Sir Charles Tupper's government (formed May 1st, the same year) having been defeated at the polls, the Honourable Wilfrid Laurier formed his first cabinet, as President of the Council, taking under his personal charge the administration of the Mounted Police Department, which he still retains. Sir Wilfriid Laurier has always shown the same personal interest in and keen regard for the welfare of the North-West Mounted Police as were manifested by Sir John A. Macdonald, and the result has been most beneficial for the force as a whole and for the officers and men individually.

During 1896 the force began to feel the crippling effects of the recent reduction in the establishment. At the end of the year there were 750 men on the pay roll, but 70 of these were Indians, half-breeds and white men who had been taken on as ""specials".

The reduction in numerical strength alone did not altogether represent the total reduced efficiency of the force, for in his report for the year the Commissioner wrote:—"The Force, generally, is not as well drilled as formerly, and while every opportunity has been taken, the police and other duties have been so arduous that it was impossible to find time to drill, and in many cases the detachments have only had arm drill and target practice, as we had no men available to relieve them while they came to headquarters. This has had a bad effect, and I have no hesitation in reporting that a lowering of our standard from a disciplinary point is imminent, and is impossible to avert, unless the men are well drilled, as continual detachment work is very trying to the best men."

Inspector Constantine and his little garrison of 20 men were reported to be doing good work in the Yukon. Some miners, in a camp of about 300, about eighty miles from the North-West Mounted Police post, undertook to run the settlement according to the miners' code, and when remonstrated with, declined to alter their proceedings. But immediately on the arrival of Inspector Strikland and ten Constables, they desisted from their high handed actions, and afterwards behaved remarkably well.

On the 14th July, 1896, Interpreter Jerry Potts, died of consumption after 22 years of faithful service. He had joined the force at Fort Benton, ill 1874, and guided the late Colonel Macleod's command from the

Sweet Grass Hills to where the first police post in the North-West was established, old Fort Macleod. From that time, for many years, there were few trips or expeditions that were not guided over the vast western plains by Jerry Potts, who, as a guide, had 110 equal in the Xorth-West or Montana. Whether in the heat of summer or in the depth of winter, with him as guide ail concerned were perfectly safe and quite certain that they would arrive safely at their destination. His influence with the Indians was such that his presence 011 many occasions prevented bloodshed, and he could always be depended upon in cases of difficulty, danger, or emergency.

The force also lost this year a splendid hon-commissioned officer in Reg. No. 857, Sergeant Wilde, who was shot dead in effecting the arrest of an Indian murderer named "Charcoal". Sergeant Wilde was in every respect one of the finest men who ever served in the force, brave to a degree, and most useful in every capacity. The. citizens of Pincher Creek section, where he had been stationed for several years, have erected a monument to his memory. Although in the prime of life, Sergeant Wilde had served seven years in the Royal Irish Dragoon Guards, three years n the 2nd Life Guards, and 14 years in the North-West Mounted Police.

With characteristic doggedness the Mounted Police kept on the trail of Sergeant Wilde's murderer until he was hunted down, and after a fair trial, "Charcoal" paid the penalty of his crime with his life, in the presence of the chief of his tribe, in the precincts of Fort Macleod, March 16, 1897.

1897 will always be memorable throughout the British Empire as "Jubilee. Year," famous for the celebration of the sixtieth anniversary of the accession of Victoria the Good to the throne of Britain. In London, the Capital of the Empire, the main pageant —a magnificently regal affair—partook altogether of an Imperial character. It was a tremendous tribute rendered to the person of a dearly beloved sovereign by tfie peoples of a proud, world-wide Empire whose unification, prosperity and Imperial pride had been largely the product of her beneficent reign. All of the widely scattered countries of the world which together form that wonderful fabric which we know as the British Empire—the greatest empire the world has ever seen—were represented in the splendid pageants in London, by their leading statesmen and by representative detachments of their armed force, and, in fitting recognition of the distinguished services rendered by the force in extending and upholding the authority of the British law in the north-western quarter of North America, t was decided t«> send a representative detachment of the North-West Mounted Police to London for the occasion, along with a strong contingent picked from the active Militia. The detachment consisted of one Superintendent, one Inspector, thirty non-comnussioned officers and men and 27 horses. Superintendent Perry and Inspector Belcher were the officers selected, and the force and the Dominion had every reason to be proud of the detachment, their physique, appearance, discipline and drill being very generally admired, and they being considered by prominent officers quite equal to the best troops present. The horses, which suffered greatly on the passage over, were in very good condition on the day of the great procession. They were afterwards presented to the Imperial Government.


Sergeants of "C" Division, 1896.
A Typicial Seclon of "The Backbone of the Force."

All the horses sent over were bred in the west and, with one exception, ranged the prairie until four years old.

Shortly before the embarkation of this party for England occurred the. final stirring act of the "Almighty Voice" tragedy.

Mention has been already made of the escape, late in the autumn of 1895. of a Cree Indian named " A1 mighty Voice" from the custody of the Mounted Police at Duck Lake. He was pursued and tracked for three days by Sergeant Colebrook, who had arrested him in the first place for cattle killing. On the morning of the fourth day the Sergeant and a half-breed scout named Dumont came upon him suddenly, he being accompanied by a 14-vear old squaw with whom he had eloped, and, rather than be captured, he deliberately shot Sergeant Colebrook dead.

The death of Colebrook was as clearly a case of self-sacrifice on the altar of stern, manly duty as any recorded in the pages of history. A bold bearing, amounting even to rashness, was, and is, always shown by the Mounted Police in their dealings with the Indians. The very rashness of their daring in the execution of duty has brought them, as if by miraculous intervention, safely out of many and many a tight hole. There was no such intervention in poor Colebrook's case, and he paid the penalty.

Colebrook and the scout, riding hard on a hot trail, heard a gun shot- nearby, and proceeded in the direction from which the shot came. A short distance brought the sergeant and his companion face to face with the outlaw, who had just shot a prairie chicken. "Almighty Voice" making some threats, Colebrook instructed his companion to tell the Cree that they had come to arrest him and that he must return at once to Duck Lake.

Without hesitation came the Cree's reply:—"Tell him if he advances I will kill him."

At once the half-breed brought his carbine to his shoulder and covered the Indian, but Colebrook promptly ordered him to desist. Their duty was to arrest the Indian, not to kill him. "Tell him to lay down his rifle," commanded the sergeant, as, without as much as undoing the holster of his revolver, he rode deliberately forward, right upon the muzzle of the Cree's aimed rifle. No Mounted Policeman had ever yet desisted from the execution of his duty at the bidding of an armed Indian or any other man, and Colebrook had no intention of breaking that splendid tradition of the force. Really bad Indian as he was, "Almighty Voice" hesitated about taking the life of so chivalrous a man, and again warned him against advancing. But warning or no warning, life or death, the sergeant's duty was to advance, and a man docs not serve long enough in the Mounted Police to win the three-barred chevron without acquiring a sense of duty fairly idolatrous in its intensity. It was not one of the days of miraculous interventions, the Indian pulled his trigger, and the bullet, true to its mark, pierced the Sergeant's heart.

On poor Colebrook falling dead off his horse, the half-breed, who was of course not a member of the force, went off for assistance, and although Colebrook's comrades, disregarding sleepless nights and inclement weather, thoroughly patrolled the country for several weeks, it was impossible to recapture the Indian. The affair happened at a very bad season, as the Indians on the various reserves in the vicinity had just scattered out for their autumn hunt over a very large extent of broken country, and as all were more or less related to the murderer, it was very difficult to locate him. Two detachments, thoroughly outfitted for the winter, were placed out on either side of the hunting grounds; and throughout the length and breadth of the great North-West, the red-coated comrades of Sergeant Colebrook, rode and drove and watched, in their untiring efforts to capture the murderer. Officers, non-commissioned officers and men were determined that they would not be baulked, but weeks lengthened into months, and still "Almighty Voice" retained his liberty. But the hunt was not abandoned. Not only had the law been flagrantly outraged, but the prestige of the force was at stake. Throughout the whole year 1896 frequent patrols were kept moving all over the country in which "Almighty Voice" was supposed to be in hiding, but although every effort was made to get information of the fugitive, nothing was heard of him, and neither Indians or half-breeds appeared to know anything about him. But still the work of scouring the country in all directions was never for one moment relaxed.

At length, May 27, 1897, word reached the Prince Albert Barracks, over the wire, that "Almighty Voice" had shot and wounded a half-breed named Napoleon Venne, while trying to recover a stolen horse. The bugler of "F" Division was soon sounding "boots and saddle," and in an incredibly short time a small detachment under Inspector Allen was on the trail for the Minnichinas Hills, seventeen miles from Duck Lake, where "Almighty Voice" had been located. All that evening and all the night the wiry troop horses were urged forward, time, even for the despatch of a hasty "snack" of supper, being begrudged party in the morning, from a little hill, three Indians were observed by the keen eyes of the police scampering into a small bluff. Clearly here was their quarry, and with some comrades. The detachment was hastily disposed to prevent escape from 'the bluff, and Allen proceeded towards the clump of poplars to reconnoitre, only to be dropped from his horse by a bullet through his right shoulder. As he lay in the long grass, still half-stunned by the shock of his wound, "Almighty Voice", kneeling at the edge of the bluff and covering him with his rifle, commanded him to throw him his cartridge belt. "If you don't," he added in Cree, "I will kill you". "Never" was the officer's prompt reply, for he realized that the Indian dare not rush out in the open to possess himself of the covetted ammunition. At that very moment, the watching policemen sighted "Almighty Voice" and opened fire on him, with such effect that he hurriedly sought cover in the foliage of the bluff. Friendly arms soon bore the wounded officer and Sergeant Raven, who had also been wounded, to safety, and an attempt was made to fire the bluff, but unsuccessfully. It was felt that there was no use risking life unnecessarily, but the outlaw and the desperadoes with him, who tauntingly kept up a chorus of "coyottes", had to be captured, or killed. It was ''Blood for Blood" now, for the slaying of Colebrook and the morning's events warranted the shooting of '•'Almighty Voice" and those leagued with him. After some desultory fighting, Corporal Hockin with a few-constables and a couple of civilians, who had been attracted to the spot, made a gallant attempt to rush the bluff, with disastrous results, Corporal Hockin, Constable Kerr, and one of the civilians,■Mr. Grundy, postmaster of Duck Lake, being killed. A party to recover the bodies was at once organized but only that of Hockin was taken back, the others being covered by the outlaws from a pit they had excavated m the ground. Shortly after this unfortunate rush Superintendent Gagnon arrived from Prince Albert


Assistant Commissioner J. H. Mcllree.

with a small re-inforeeinent and a seven-pounder gun. A few rounds from the gun were fired at the estimated site of the rifle pit, after which Gagnon disposed his force so as to effectively prevent the escape of the Indians. During the night, which was very dark and cold, considerable desultory firing took place, the Indians firing out of the bluff and the sentries returning the fire.

Early on the morning of the 29th, a party of two officers, 21 non-commissioned oflicers and men, 13 horses and one 9-pounder field gun left Regina In sfiecial tram for the scene of operations. Assistant Commissioner Mrllree commanded, the other officer being Inspector Macdonell. Duck bake, now a railroad station, but which seemed so far away in 1880J was reached at 4.50 P M. and the scene of action at 10 P.M

"Almighty Voice" was still defiant, and about midnight called out in Cree:" Brothers, we've had a good fight to-day. We've worked hard and are hungry. You've plenty of grub; send us in some. To-morrow we'll finish the fight".

When morning broke, there were many spectators, including numerous half-breeds and Indians. Among the 1atter was the old mother of "Almightv Voice", who intoned a weird death song, recounting her son's deeds and predicting that he would die like an Indian brave, killing many more of the police before he fell. But he didn't.

Early in the morning the men surrounding the bluff at close range were withdrawn and a wider circle of mounted men established. Then the two guns systematically shelled the bluff, and the Assistant Commissioner led a rush through it. "Almightv Voice" and one of his companions "Little Salteaux"' had been killed by shell splinters in their rifle pit, the third Indian, "Doubling," having met death from a rifle bullet through his brain.

And so, after many days. Sergeant Colebrook's death had been avenged and the supremacy of the law in the North-West once more asserted. And probably serious trouble with the Indians was averted by the termination of the incident, for the trouble with "Almighty Voice" was much talked over among all the Indians, treaty and non-treaty. The result was not apparent in any overt act on the part of the Indians, but had the swaggering outlaw remained much longer at liberty, it would undoubtedly have unsettled all the Indians in the country.

Meantime the rush to the Yukon had attained such proportions that the force there was gradually augmented, and at the end of 1897 consisted of eight officers and eighty-eight men, including dog drivers, all of whom were under the direct, command of the Administrator of the district, the responsibility of the Commissioner ending as soon as the officers and men drafted from the force in the North-West landed at Skagway. The best men were invariably selected for this duty, and great, care was taken in seeing that all were carefully examined by the doctors before starting. In addition to their possessing physical strength and endurance, it was required that they should have good characters and be good travellers and handy men.

At the date mentioned there were only 070 of all ranks on the pay roll of the force altogether, including ninety specials employed as dog drivers, cooks, artisans, etc.

Besides the service in the Yukon there were parties out this year on duty in the hitherto unknown regions north of the Saskatchewan, and in view of the immediate necessity for police in the Peace River and Athabasca countries, the Commissioner requested an increase of strength of 100 men, which was acceded to.

The far northern service of the force had come to be so important and was so rapidly extended that the supply of dog teams became a matter of anxiety and negotiation, and in his report for the year 1897, after referring as usual to the supply of horse flesh for the force, the Commissioner wrote —

"Great difficulty was experienced in getting suitable dogs for the Yukon and northern patrols, and to enable us to get 130 good dogs we had to buy some


Assistant Commissioner Z. T. Wood, Commanding- R.N.W.M.P. in the Yukon.

15 inferior ones. Seventy-eight dogs have already gone to Skagway, about 35 will follow at once, and the remainder are being used on the northern patrols. Inspector Moodie purchased 33 dogs at Lesser Slave Lake ("said to be very good ones) for his trip to Pelly Banks".

The following year the department purchased 150 team dogs in Labrador, for use in the Yukon service and the northern patrols.

The extent and importance of the duties of the Mounted Police in the Yukon increased so rapidly that at the end of 1898 there were 2 superintendents, 8 inspectors, 2 assistant surgeons, and 254 noncommissioned officers and men doing duty in that district. The officers were as follows:—

Superintendent S. B. Steele, in command; Superintendent Z. T. Wood, commanding Tagish district; Inspector Primose at Bennett; Inspector Starnes at Dawson, acting quarter-master and paymaster; Inspector Harper at Dawson, sheriff; Inspector Scarth, at Dawson; Inspector Strickland at Tagish; Inspector Jarvis at Tagish; Inspector Belcher at Dawson, in charge of the Town Station; Inspector Cartwright at White Pass Post; Assistant Surgeon Fraser at the Dalton Trail Post; Assistant Surgeon Thompson, at Dawson.

Superintendent Steele reporting on these officers, wrote:—

"I have had their cordial support and they are hardworking, capable and highly respected throughout the country. Superintendent Wood, was, on 1st of July, 1898, promoted to his present rank, and given command of the Tagish district, which is very important".

Superintendent Steele was in command of the Macleod district, North-West Territories, until 30th January, 1898. On that date he received a telegram from the Commissioner, directing him to leave by the first train to Vancouver for Yukon duty, written instructions to be received at that place from the Honourable the Minister of the Interior. He left Macleod on the 30th January and arrived at Vancouver about 1 p.m. on the 31st. On his arrival he received a mail from Victoria by Superintendent Perry, which contained his instructions from the Minister.

He arrived at Skagway on the 14th February, and found that Inspector Wood, who was in charge of the, office of the Commissioner of the Yukon at that place, had left for Little Salmon River, to place accounts before the Commissioner for certification.

Supt. Perry, who was in the Yukon on temporary duty, had left on the 10th for Bennett, via the White Pass, had sent Inspector Belcher and party to the CJiilcoot summit by Dyea to establish and take command of a customs' post at that place. Superintendent Perry returned to Skagway on the 16th from Bennett by the Chilcoot and Dyea, and informed Supt. Steele that the posts on the White and Chilcoot Passes had been established. Inspector Strickland in charge of the White, and Inspector Belcher of the Chilcoot, had been provisioned for six months.

At this time there were many thousands of people living at a place called "Sheep Camp" some distance from the summit, in United States Territory. Most were engaged in packing their supplies to the summit, all wore apparently anxious to get through. Chiefly owing to the fact that neither law nor order prevailed in that section, murder, robbery and petty theft were of common occurrence, the "shell game" could be seen at every turn of the trail, operations being pushed with the utmost vigour, so as not to lose the golden opportunity which they would be unable to find to take advantage of on the other side of the line, in British Territory.

Many important events took place in the Yukon during the year. The officers in charge of the summits displayed great ability, using great firmness and tact, and were loyally supported by the noncommissioned officers and constables under their command, who, under circumstances of the most trying character, displayed the greatest fortitude and endurance, amidst the terrific snow storms which raged round their respective camps.

Large numbers of people were packing and hauling their supplies over the passes at this time, the rush of the ^ nkoii being at its height, and the police office at Skagway, maintained in the United States town for the purpose of assisting in forwarding supplies through to Canadian territory, and to afford information to prospectors and others passing that way, was besieged at all hours of the day and night by people seeking information.

The town of Skagway at this time, and for some months later, was little better than a hell upon earth. The desperado commonly called "Soapy Smith" and a numerous gang of ruffians ran the town. Murder and robbery were of daily occurrence, hundreds camo there with plenty of money, and the next morning had not sufficient to buy a meal, having been robbed or cheated out of their money. Men were seen frequently exchanging shots in the streets. On one occasion, half a dozen in the vicinity and around the North-West Mounted Police offices, were firing upon one another, bullets passing through the buildings. There was a United States deputy marshall at Skagway at this time for the purpose of maintaining law and order, but no protection was expected from him.

In his first report from Dawson, Superintendent Steele wrote:—"Prior to my taking command at Dawson, Superintendent Constani'ne was several years in charge of the North-West Mounted Police at Forty Mile and here. The work done and the reputation of the force gained (lining that time must be considered most satisfactory to him particularly and to the force in general.

"Inspector Starnes, who is now performing the duties of quarter master and paymaster, commanded the district from the time Supeimtendent Constanune left, until my arrival in September.

"The great rush to this place through the passes, filling the town and vicinity with large numbers of men of many nationalities, many difficult matters had to be settled, disputes adjusted, law and order maintained. In my opinion the work was done well."

Inspector Moodie, who left Edmonton in August, 1887, to reach the Yukon by the Pelly Banks, his instructions being to explore the Edmonton-Yukon route, arrived with his party at Selkirk on the 27th of October, 1898, after a great many hardships.

Consequent upon the discovery of gold in the Yukon district, the judicial district of Yukon was established


Inspector Robert Helclier, C.M.G.

bv Governor General's proclamation in 1897. The district was separated from the other pro\i^ional districts of the North-West, and constituted a separate territory bv Act of the Canadian Parliament in 1898, being supplied with all the machinery required to enable their own local affairs, through a Commissioner and Council of six appointed by the Governor General in Council. In 1899, provision was made for the election of two reprosentatives on the Council by the people.

In 1898, owing to tin large number of prospectors endeavouring to reach the Yukon by the. Mackenzie River, the northern patrol which started in December '97, went as far as Fort Simpson, carrying mail, and interviewing all the travellers en route. The consideration of the Government in sending this


Fort Graham, B.C. H. B. Co. Post.
N.W.M.P. Pack Train preparing- to start for Sylvester's Landing on Dease River, July, 1898. (From a photograph loaned by the Comptroller).

patrol was very much appreciated, as it enabled the prospectors, not only to receive long expected letters from their friends, but also afforded means, on the return trip of Inspector Routledge, of acquainting the friends of the men met on the trail of their progress and welfare.

While the patrol was in the vicinity of Fort Smith, two hunters were arrested and punished for killing wood buffalo, and the example made was the means of preserving these animals, as hunters were all thereby made aware of their being preserved.

A number of the parties, who started overland for the Yukon, quarrelled among themselves on arrival at Peace River, and by mutual consent, the police were requested to act as arbitrators, which they did, in all cases to the satisfaction of all parties, and this prevented bad blood, and possibly outrage.

On account of the increased establishment, 191 probationers were taken on the force during 189S, out of which number 138 were finally accepted as members of the Force.

At the end of the year there were 830 of all ranks on the strength, including the Yukon.

During 1898, large numbers of settlers took up land in comparatively unexploited districts. The new settlers were chiefly Galiciaus, although a number of Americans and repatriated Canadians also settled in the west. The Galicians located about Egg Lake, near Fort Saskatchewan, Fish ('reek, near Rosthern, and South of Yorkton, all in good country. These settlers generally did well, considering the very small means some of them had on arrival.

Many of the best men, at this time, were being sent out to the Yukon and the northern patrols, and the standard of the force seemed to deteriorate for a time.

During several years, very little training beyond spring setting up and recruit drill could be done, all ranks being so fully employed in police duties. Rut a good class of recruits offered, and at the end of 1899, Commissioner Herchmer reported that the standard of physique was much better. As to discipline, he reported that it, during the year, had been of a very high order, and the men could be trusted anywhere without supervision. The large number of men sent to the Yukon left the officers with many very young and inexperienced constables to police the country, but the Commissioner was proud to report that, although in many instances the men were far away from immediate control, the duties were well done and the prestige of the force fully maintained.

The annual winter patrol to the north in 1899, only went as far as Fort Resolution, returning by Peace River and Lesser Slave Lake.

Superintendent A. Bowen Perry assumed command of the North-West Mounted Police in Yukon Territory, on September 26, 1899, relieving Superintendent S. B. Steele, who vacated the command 011 that date. The following officers were serving in the Yrukon Territory at the end of the year 1899:—

Supt. A. B. Perry, commanding Territory.

"H" Division, Tagish.—Superintendent Z. T. Wood, commanding division, Inspector D'Arcy Strickland, Inspector W. H. Routledge, Inspector A. M. Jarvis, Assistant Surgeon S. M. Fraser. Assistant Surgeon L. A. Pare, Assistant Surgeon J. Madore.

N.W.M.P. Detachment, Farwell, 1899.

"B" Division, Dawson.--Supt. D C. H. Prhnose, commanding division, Inspector C. Starnes, Inspector W. H. Scarth, Inspector P. I. Cartwright, Assistant Surgeon W. E. Thompson.--Total number of officers, 13.

Inspector Harper and Belcher returned from the Yukon to the North-West Territories for duty during the year.

The completion of the railway over the White Pass to Lake Bennett, the headquarters of navigation of the Yukon River, solved the problem of sure and speedy communication to the gold fields during the season of navigation. The earliest date on which a boat which had connected with ocean steamers from Sound ports over arrived at Dawson from St. .Michaels', was the middle of July. During the season of 1899, boats arrived at Dawson from Lower La Barge, in the middle of May, and navigation of the upper river continued until the middle of October.

A conservative estimate of the population of the Yukon Territory, in 1899. placed it at 20,000. Nearly all were men, there being very few women and children in comparison. However, this was then changing rapidly, and many men were taking in their wives and families, finding that the social conditions and a climate though vigorous, still very healthy, were not inimical to their comfort and health.

At the request of the postmaster general, the duty of carrying the mail during the winter of 1898-99, was undertaken by the police, and a very satisfactory service was given. In performing this .service, the men employed travelled 81,012 miles with dog teams. Superintendent Perry recommended that the sum of 89,001.80 be distributed among the men as extra pay for this .service; the distribution to be made according to the number of miles travelled by each man.

The force in the Yukon at the end of 1899, was distributed at two division headquarter posts and thirty detachments, from the Strickine River to Forty Mile, a distance of 800 miles.

The record of the Mounted Police in the Yukon had, up to this date, been as remarkable as that of the force in the old North-West Territories. Lawlessness had been suppressed with a firm hand, and law and order established. Life and property were as safe in the Yukon as in the City of Ottawa.

Truly the usefulness of the Mounted Police to the Dominion of Canada had been abundantly demonstrated in a steadily widening theatre of operations between the date of the organization of the force, and the year 1900. And officers and men of the force were about to prove, by gallant service on the veldts and kopjes of South Africa, that they were capable and ready to perform as useful work for the Empire as they had, for a quarter of a century, been doing for that Empire's premier colony over the prairies and mountains of Canada's far west.


Commanding Officers' Quarters and Officers' Mess Tagish (Yukon)


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