The site of Lloydminster was originally decided by Isaac M. Barr, and called the Barr Settlement. It was on the present day Saskatchewan, Alberta border. George Lloyd led the expedition to start the colony.
Both men had visions of a good, solid English settlement rather than the many settlements being created by other European countries, mainly German and Ukrainian. Unfortunately the settlement was doomed for failure. Unlike the European immigration who were farmers escaping for religious and political reasons, the English farmers were content and not about to leave their homes in pursuit of the harsh Canadian west. So, consequently most the settlers were from the streets of London, people escaping poverty. There weren’t many farmers. It is said that most had to be taught how to harness a horse and had little idea of what farming involved.
The unrest in the area culminated into the Frog Lake Massacre, where eight people were killed. The Frog Lake Massacre was headed by Big Bear and Wandering Spirit and part of the 1885 Riel Rebellion. Most settlers sold their lands and moved elsewhere.
In my story Paradise on the Horizon, I have my hero and heroine go to the Barr Settlement to escape their pasts – a Russian princess and soldier.
In the south, near the border, in a bleak setting of dry, prairie grasses and high winds, a few men discovered a way to make money. It was a dangerous mission, not for the faint of heart.
Moving north in search of gold, prospectors from Montana realized there are different ways to make money. They set up a fort, a Whiskey Trading Fort, Fort Whoop-up, in the hills of present day Lethbridge, Alberta. But the Blackfoot Nation was a powerful nation who didn’t like settlers on their lands. It was truly ‘No Man’s Land’, and with no one to stop them once they assured the natives they weren’t interested in destroying the land, men from Fort Benton, in Montana, started a lucrative trade with the Blackfoot. In return for furs, the natives were highly encouraged to exchange for booze, many succumbed.
Finally in 1874 Canada’s Eastern Government sent out a group of soldiers to bring law and order. The Northwest Mounted Police (now the RCMP) set up their first fort in Fort MacLeod, a short distance from Fort Whoop up.
In the east, the government watched the lawless west unfold and thought of ways to stop the chaos. Fort Whoop-Up threatened the stability of the western plains, and the growing American presence worried Canada’s government.
For many natives especially, it was too late. By now some avoided Fort Whoop-up, calling it Many Ghosts, for all the natives who perished there. Whiskey and repeating rifles were a dangerous combination. Smallpox and whiskey decimated the population, and the repeating rifles rained death on hundreds of Cree and their allies at the great “Battle of the Belly River,” yards away from Fort Whoop-Up.
I have written a historical in rough called ‘Moonbeam’, about a Metis girl (mixed blood) caught in the trap of troubles plaguing the area at this time. I hope to have it polished and edited soon.
St. Joseph’s Colony is a huge part of Saskatchewan. The settlers were predominantly German. Unlike the east, which is predominantly English and French as settlers, Saskatchewan’s two largest groups of people were the German and the Cree (Natives) in Saskatchewan. St. Joseph’s Colony followed Prime Minister McDonald’s dream of an organized grid of square land plots. Two miles long and one mile wide, then broken into four quarter section plots. The roads, often dirt and sometimes gravel, made for many roads and it was hard to get lost.
If you could build a house (often sod in the southern part), dig a well and cultivate 10 acres, the land became yours. I grew up after the area was settled. Most farmers around now owned at least a section of land. But it was still wild, still isolated. It was my ‘Little House on the Prairie’ upbringing. Fortunately, our house in the northern part of St. Joseph’s Colony, was not a sod home. My grandmother, however, didn’t have my good fortune. With a family of nine kids, she lived and raised her children in a sod hut. When my mother was born, they finally moved into a wooden house. I have seen a sod hut at Heritage Park in Calgary, and I cringe to imagine living in one. I doubt many people could actually do it today.
Life Changing Days, follows my ancestry on my father’s side. It was an eye-opening experience to know the hardships they faced. I will always be proud of my ancestor’s, tough, ambition and determination as they helped create the west we have today. They were only happy to escape the religious persecution and the uprising communist regime taking place in Russia at the time.
The Metis (part white and part native) were a group of people who started the first settlements in Western Canada. They combined both cultures very efficiently. They farmed and they hunted as well. Again, like most settlers in the west, history books don’t often tell of their part in settling the west.
Their villages, like other settlements consisted of shops, homes and churches. Set along the picturesque slopes of the North Saskatchewan River, the village is set in the park-lands area of Saskatchewan, not the flat south most people are familiar with.
Batoche stands out as where The Riel Rebellion of 1885 took place. Batoche is the site Louis Riel chose to set up the ‘Provisional Government of Saskatchewan’.
In ‘Hawk’s Gift‘ – a western romance, – I go into depth as to the causes that both the Metis and Natives felt as a need to separate from Canada. Even to this day Canada’s west is often overpowered by rules and regulations made in the East. And by people who sometimes don’t understand Canadian Western people.
Originally posted on Rosie Amber:
Welcome to a Rosie’s Avid Reader Post, here we feature books read by readers who love reading and want to tell us about a book they’ve just read.
The Last Hours Of Ancient Sunlight by Thom Hartmann.
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Settling Canada’s West:
The largest migration to Canada at one time, (8,000 people) the Doukhobors have been a little known factor in the settling of the west in Canada. When you read and research Canadian history you will discover mainly Anglo-Franco activities that are documented.
The Doukhobors were considered a pacifist group. But they challenged the Czar and the Orthodox Church In Russia and Russia appeared to be happy to let the troublemakers go. Canada opened their doors. But it wasn’t all kindness on Canada’s part. The Doukhobors were great farmers and well able to handle the harshness of cold winters and isolation better than most.
Yet the question is – why did many Doukhobors start marching across the western prairies? In 1902, 2000 or so Doukhobors – many naked, calling themselves - The Sons of Freedom marched across the cold prairies. They were searching for Utopia – the land of milk and honey. The Canadian government reports they marched in protest against having to sign allegiance to Canada (something their religion didn’t believe should be done). And they were ordered to stake claim to square sections of land – privately owned, rather than share communal lands. It was probably a reason but why naked? Many Doukhobors, who didn’t win against the government, moved to British Columbia, where the laws didn’t say they must own the land in individual square parcels.
In Paradise on the Horizon my heroine escapes Russia, by joining the Doukhobors migration.
Settling Canada’s West:
Two rivers, the Assiniboine and the Red River meet at the spot presently known as Winnipeg in Manitoba. In the early 1800′s, British aristocrat Thomas Selkirk tried to create a new colony in Canada’s harsh mid-west. He bought land from the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1811 to begin settlement.
There were many factors that caused its’ demise. Harsh winters and settlers, ill-equipped to handle the cold caused starvation to become a reality. The Hudson’s Bay Company was still fighting with the Northwest Fur Trading Company for dominance. The Métis and various native tribes also felt this colony would lead to losing their hunting and fishing grounds.
There was much fighting including the Seven Oaks Massacre of 1816 when a group of Métis killed 21 men when both parties intercepted each other accidentally. It was the first time Canadians heard of Louis Riel. At that time he was a young man. This was a massacre that was the result of rivalry between the British-owned Hudson’s Bay Company and Canada’s North West Company. The settlers abandoned the site and the land was sold back to the Hudson’s Bay Company.
In 1869 the Federal Government of Canada bought the lands. They started settling Canada’s vast western land. Once the Canadian Pacific Railroad was built it opened the doors to mass migration to Canada’s west. Winnipeg was born. In 1870 Manitoba became a province.
With my sister visiting from England after many years and the weather so nice and warm, everyone wanted to have BBQ’s for them. Great Alberta Beef (world renowned) was on the menu.
The British said they were having too many hamburgers so my niece, Chandra decided to do BBQ steak. Oddly enough I guess we were all so excited we forgot to take pictures. It was another beautiful day and the most exquisite of meals. The steak was perfection.
On Saturday we gathered for food and a wonderful time of ‘catch-up’, good food and lively conversations. Most of my cousins I hadn’t seen since I was in my teens. It was amazing to see how we’d aged. I had a picture in my mind of each and every one of my cousins who attended – all as teens.As children we often visited Aunt Mary (dad’s sister) and Uncle Emil (mom’s brother) on Sundays. Aunt Mary was a fantastic cook. We were double cousins – but the best part was they had a child to match every one of me and my siblings. We always had playmates and things to do when we visited back and forth. It was so enjoyable to reunite with them.
The food served was reminiscent of the old day when families gathered on Sundays to enjoy our day of rest.
Come and join the fun. Win prizes, gifts and especially discover new authors and new exciting books. Fall into Love – The Romance Reviews September party.
Answer the question correctly today for a chance to win a free e-book of Hawk’s Gift. (Western Historical Romance).
Roberta Taylor, an aggressive, wealthy and reporter goes to the west to find a reason why there is such unrest. She meets enigmatic Damien Larocque and tricks him into taking her to Big Bear’s camp in Montana.
Roberta stands for everything Damien dislikes in a woman. She is arrogant and believes she is always right. Why does she fascinate him so much?
This is an intense love story, a roller coaster of love, hate, lust, distrust and hope.
Roberta is a heroine I love and Damien, well, he’s dangerous but oh, so addicting.…. I envy your ability to write unforgettable characters ….Rachelle Ayala – author of Michal’s Window, Historical Romance.