St. Joachim, December 9, 1910, Memories:

Contact:bl.gif (1311 octets)Michel Lopez

"This is taken from a photocopy of a journal. The journal was written by
the priest, the Reverend Father, Lestanc. It was written in 1910 but it
is his memoirs, circa 1870 and prior to this. It begins when he was
still in what is now the area of Winnipeg, Manitoba. This area was known originally as the "Red River Settlement". I obtained the copy of the document from Mr. Dollard Bissonnette of St. Victor, Sask. Canada. Mr. Bissonnette maintains a small museum in this town. He knew a lot of the old people and he has built exact replicas of the "Red River Carts" and has a camp set up with some of the things used by the Metis in theirevery day life.
Forgive all the mistakes you may find in grammar or composition. I am no scholar as you can readily see.
Respectfully; "

Melvin D. Beaudry


The book," History of Willow Bunch" by, Rondeau Chabot, tells of 40 or so families that had left the "Red River Settleement" for the final time, to settle in the west, after all the troubles being caused by politics, new immigrants from Ontario and other eastern provinces, plus protestantism versus catholcism , These people were the progeny of the original founders of the"Red River Settlement".

My grandmother, Marie(McGillis) Beaudry, was born at Wood Mountain, April 2, 1872 and was baptized by Father Lestanc. I have a newspaper clipping from a paper which states that at the Diamond Jubilee held in Glasgow , Montana, Mr. Alexander McGillis, who was Maries brother and also known as "Catchou" was the oldest pioneer there, he had been in the area in which Glasgow now sits in the year of his birth which had been in 1863.

At several places along the Milk River there are gravel deposits that had been left there by the glaciers of the ice age. These were the places the buffalo chose to cross the river lest they would mire in the clay bottom of the river, thus a death by drowning or easy prey for the wolves that followed the herds in the yearly migration north and then back south in the fall.

My great- grandmother, Mrs. Angus (née Isabelle Fayant, or at times spelled Fagnant) McGillis, tells in Chapter 7 of the book "These Are The Prairies" tells of having to wait at one such crossing on the Milk River for over three days for the buffalo to pass as the number of them were that vast.

Isn't it ironic that Isabelles son "Catchou " would be ,according to a newspaper article I have in my possession, as being the person to kill the last free buffalo on the Canadian Prairies?, "Catchou" (Catchou, incidently means "Little Man" in the Cree Indian language) was 18 when he did this, which would make it the year 1881.

Amazing and sad of the few years it took to destroy so many.

But, I have heard that the legions of Passenger Pidgeons were so vast that they would block the sun out for several hours as they flew over, and it will soon be a hundred years ago that they became totally extinct. How long will it go on and what species is next?

Isabelle McGillis had as her god mother, Marie Gaboury. Marie Gaboury along with her husband Baptiste Lajimoiere were the grandparents of Louis Riel. Marie Gaboury was also the first full blooded white women in the Northwest (She is written about in "Strange Empire")

The Metis had traveled through this area for a good many years, some of them had been employed at the fueling stations along the Missouri River to cut wood for the Steam Boats that could go as far as Fort Benton. They used to travel from Red River as far west as to be able to see the Rocky Mountains while hunting the buffalo, this far in a single season.

Glasgow is not all that far from St. Victor or Woody Mountain.

Located near Glasgow, Montana is "Tiger Butte", this is a high hill that the native people would climb to watch for the buffalo.

According to a newspaper article that I have, concerning my grandfather, Charles Malaterre, my grandfather met the famous Sioux Chief, Sitting Bull, at this place and he met him again near Black Butte near the present day, Havre, Montana.

After the battle at the Little Big Horn River, in southeast Montana, Sitting Bull and some of his people sought asylum at Woody Mountain in Canada. While they were there he became friends with some of the Metis.

"Catchou" McGillis met and brcame friendly with him while Chief Sitting Bull remained in Canada. I had met "Catchou" when he would come to Glasgow to visit.

I would shake his hand when we met, thus I was able to shake the hand that shook the hand of Sitting Bull,

This same book goes into great detail on who Father Lestanc was and also in the buielding of the first church at Coulee Chapelle, which lies a mile or so of what later became, St, Victor Sask. it also mentions a lot of the names of the Metis in this area at the time, the progeny of these people have since spread all over the, U. S., and Canada and indeed the world for that matter.

Father Lestanc is also written about on page 168 and again on page 184 of the book "Strange Empire".




















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St. Joachim, December 9, 1910


The winter of 1869-1870 was for me a succession of continual problems, obstacles and complication of every sort as well as anguish The country was in a state of turmoil. Every day we received terrible news and every day we heard about news that was even worse yet.

It is absolutely a miracle, and an immense miracle at that, that there were not more trials and tribulations to lament during that time.The English part of the population was fortunate enough to not take up arms against the French speaking Metis in spite of all the efforts of Schultz, MacDougall and Dennis. This is what in the end saved the country.

However, another danger presented itself in the form of the Hudson Bay Company that attempted to create division among the Metis. At any given moment the Company had an influential and large faction due to its money and power. Thanks be to God, Reil sent me to the Bishop's rectory once during the night and another time during the day and both times I was successful in bringing Donald Smith's renegades to hear reason, thereby keeping the peace among the bands of Metis.

Finally Monsignor arrived. How many happy I was to return this office back to him. The thanks I felt to God for having granted me this relief cannot be imagined as I had my first meeting with the Monsignor in his room. No one can imagine it. I will describe it anyway.He stared at me severely and said. "It is you. You are the cause of all these problems." What a compliment! What thanks! This is the gracious way he thanked me for this winter filled with trial and tribulations How could I respond to such a compliment?

No, Monsignor, I responded. It is not me, but rather you who has brought this all about.The problems started before your departure for the council.While passing through Ottawa you believed that you could communicate you concerns with Sir John McDonald and Sir George Cartier.You knew that the volcano was growing larger and that a disastrous eruption was in the imminent future. You should have requested permission from the Pope to remain in your diocese to face the ensuing storm and you would have undoubtedly received this permission.

But instead of following common sense, you left without leaving an administrator or granting the slightest semblance of authority to the man who was attempting to be the administrator, without giving him any instruction or direction. What can I say? If you did have confidence in me, you should have given the position to someone in who you did and you should have left an administrator.

This explanation quieted him and he did not speak to me further about this topic. the conduct of Monsignor Tache appeared to contradict all rules of what is just and prudent. What would have befallen him, if he had not gone to the Council? I am convinced that MacDougall would have entered the country

with his government of fanatic men from Ontario who would have maltreated the Metis and the Indians. They would have be given their full rights and the ensuing problems would have forced the country into a crisis which would continued of years.

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