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The People of Scottish Ancestry

Who Brought Manitoba into Confederation


People of Scottish ancestry played several leadership roles in the events of 1869-70 in the
District of Assiniboia and in the shaping of Canada as we know it today. Many of these
people were Scots Metis, others were married to Metis women.
Donald Alexander Smith, Lord Strathcona. (1820-1914) Donald Smith was a
Hudsons Bay Company officer1, businessman, politician, diplomat, and philanthropist,
builder of the Canadian Pacific Railway and developer of the West. He was born on
August 6, 1820, in Forres, Scotland, the son of Alexander Smith and Barbara Stuart.
On December 27, 1869, Donald Smith arrived at Upper Fort Garry with his brother-inlaw, Richard Charles Hardisty (Metis) as a special commissioner from the government of
Canada to the provisional government established by Louis Riel. At noon on January 19,
1870 Donald A. Smith and Louis Riel addressed over 1,000 residents of Red River at an
open-air gathering in the courtyard of Upper Fort Garry. Thomas Bunn chaired this
meeting and Judge John Black acted as secretary. Smith read his letter of appointment
from the Governor-General of Canada. At a meeting held the next day Smith read several
more letters assuring the inhabitants of Red River as to the honourable intentions of
Canada and he agreed to carry their wishes back to the government of Canada. After this
meeting Louis Riel, seconded by A.G.B. Bannatyne, moved that 20 representatives of the
English speaking population and 20 representatives of the French speaking population
should meet on January 25th at the Court House of Upper Fort Garry to consider Smiths
commission and what actions would be in their best interest.
Donald Smiths efforts at settlement of the issues at Red River were hampered by the fact
that he was not empowered to negotiate. However, his actions did enable Riel to argue for
the formation of the Convention of Forty uniting the English and French speaking
peoples. This assembly in turn gave way to a truly representative body, the Legislative
Assembly of Assiniboia, the elected group which voted for the territorys entry into the
Canadian confederation. This group represented what was then the HBCs District of
Assiniboia and area which was about 100-120 miles square, subsequently called
Manitoba.
Donald Smith married Isabella Sophia Hardisty (Scottish Metisse), the daughter of
Richard Hardisty, an HBC Chief Trader and Marguerite Sutherland (Metis) and the sister

1868 - 1869 Chief Factor of the district Montreal including Labrador. On December 10, 1869, Donald A.
Smith was appointed by the Canadian Government as Dominion Commissioner to inquire into the North
West Rebellion. From 1870 - 1871 President of Northern Fort Garry Northern Department.1871 - 1872
Commissioner, and 1872 - 1874 Chief Commissioner; 1874 - 1879 Land Commissioner. 1883 1889,
H.B.C. Canadian Sub-Committee, 1888 - 1889 H.B.C. Deputy Governor.1889-1914, H.B.C. Governor.

of Richard Charles2 and William Lucas Hardisty3. Interestingly, William Lucas Hardisty
was the great grandfather of (Edgar) Peter Lougheed, the first person of Metis ancestry to
become Premier of the Province of Alberta (1971).
Isabella Hardisty lived with Smith la faon du pays, and gave birth to their daughter,
Margaret Charlotte, on January 17, 1854. Isabella, whose mother Marguerite Sutherland
was of Metis and Scottish parentage, had married James Grant, according to the custom
of the country in July 1851. She had given birth to a son, James Hardisty Grant, in
July 1852, but the couple had separated soon after, apparently by mutual consent.
The circumstances of Smiths marriage proved to be a lifelong embarrassment to him. His
wifes first alliance, la faon du pays, and its termination had no legal standing. Thus
Smith was compelled to have his union solemnized on several occasions.
Donald Smith served as an MP from Selkirk Manitoba 1870 to 1873, as an MLA 1872 to
1874 and again as an MP from 1874 to 1882. He then served as an MP from Montreal
West from 1887 to 1896 when he retired to become Canadian High Commissioner in
London. Donald Smith was a founder and first president of the St. Andrews Society of
Winnipeg serving from 1871 to 1872.
Governor William Mactavish was HBC governor and governor of Assiniboia. He was
born on March 29, 1815 in Edinburgh, Scotland, eldest son of Dugald Mactavish, a
lawyer, and Letitia Lockhart. Shortly after coming to Red River, Mactavish married Mary
Sarah McDermot, the Scottish Metis Catholic daughter of businessman Andrew
McDermot. His brother-in-law Andrew Bannatyne served on Mactavishs Council of
Assiniboia and was later elected to the Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia led by Louis
Riel
Mactavish was governor of Ruperts Land and governor of Assiniboia during the Red
River Resistance of 186970. His health was quite fragile during this time period, he
travelled to England in May of 1870 where he died on July 23, 1870, one month after the
Legislative Assembly voted to join Confederation. During this time his sympathies lay
with the older inhabitants of Red River, the Mtis, the HBC people, and the descendants
of the colonists brought by Selkirk, all of whom, he argued, should have had a voice in
the transfer of Ruperts Land. While attempting to obtain the aid of the Catholic clergy in
persuading the Mtis to wait for a legal settlement, he reported to the HBC in London in
2

Richard Charles Hardisty (March 3, 1831 October 18, 1889), was educated at the Red River Academy,
he was a politician from the Northwest Territories. He married Eliza McDougall on Sept 21, 1866 while he
was a Hudson's Bay Company employee. Richard ran as an Independent Conservative in the 1887
Canadian federal election and finished a close second in the Alberta District. Richard was appointed to the
Canadian Senate on the advice of Sir. John A. Macdonald on February 23, 1888. He died just a year later
while still holding his Senate seat on October 18, 1889.
3
Peter Lougheed was born on July 26, 1928, the son of Edgar Donald Lougheed (1893-1951) and Edna
Alexandria Bauld. His grandmother was Isabella Clark Hardisty (1864-1936), the Metis daughter of
William Lucas Hardisty (Metis) and Mary Ann Allen (Metis). His grandfather was Senator James
Alexander Loughheed, who married Isabella Hardisty on September 16, 1884 in Calgary. (Written with
contributions and personal communications from Robert Lougheed, Isabellas Hardistys great-grandson.)

1868 and 1869 his objections to the Canadian claims and to the surveys which preceded
the legal transfer. Mactavish placed the blame for the unrest mainly on the Canadian
party and to a lesser extent on the Canadian government. Some historians report that he
had sent a message to Riel indicating he should form a government to quiet the unrest at
Red River.4
Judge John Black (1817 - 1879)
John Black was born on March 11, 1817, at St. Andrews, County Fife, Scotland. He
arrived at Red River Settlement in 1839 and soon entered Hudsons Bay Company
service as a clerk. In 1845 he married Margaret Christie (Mtis), the daughter of
Alexander Christie of Scotland, a governor of Assiniboia, and Anne Thomas (Mtis). His
wife died in 1853 and he moved to Australia. Upon his return to Red River in 1861 he
was named president of the General Quarterly Court of Assiniboia, a position he held for
eight years.
As one of the representatives named by the Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia to defend
the interests of the Red River colony, Judge John Black was called to play a major role in
the events of 1869-1870 which led to Manitobas entry into Confederation.
On 23 October 1869 Black presided over the interview during which John Bruce and
Louis Riel explained, to members of the Council, why prospective Lieutenant Governor
William McDougall had been prevented from crossing into Ruperts Land from Pembina.
In 1869-1870, John Black was acting governor and, as such, on 23 October 1869 called
upon John Bruce and Louis Riel to appear before the Council of Assiniboia and explain
the refusal to allow Lieutenant-Governor designate McDougall to enter the Red River
colony. On 19 January 1870 Black served as secretary to the outdoor meeting at which
Donald A. Smith, Commissioner from Canada, addressed the people of the settlement.
John Black was also secretary, then chairman, of the Convention of Forty that led to the
formation of the Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia. He represented the parish of St.
Andrews on the Convention of Forty. His participation was motivated by a desire for a
peaceful resolution of the Manitoba question.
Black was elected as a delegate of the Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia to negotiate
terms of confederation with Canada, together with Father Ritchot and Alfred H. Scott. It
was Mgr. Tach who convinced him to be the spokesperson for the Anglophone
population in the colony. Ottawa, Black attended no less than fifteen meetings, from 21
April to 18. On completion of the negotiations Black returned to Scotland.
Andrew G. Bannatyne (1829-1899): Andrew Bannatyne was born on the island of
South Ronaldshay, Orkney in Scotland. He was appointed magistrate in 1861 and became
a member of the Council of Assiniboia in 1868.

N. J. Goosen, William Mactavish, in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography, Vol. IX.


http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/mactavish_william_9E.html

During the Red River Resistance in 1869. Bannatyne agreed to serve as postmaster in
Louis Riels provisional government representing the parish of St. Johns, on the
condition that they seek terms with the Dominion of Canada. In 1870, Bannatyne was
elected to the Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia. He was elected to the House of
Commons in Provencher by acclamation on March 31, 1875 after Riel was prevented
from taking his seat in Parliament. Bannatyne was married to Annie McDermott an Irish
Metisse. Annes older sister Mary Sarah was the wife of HBC Governor William
MacTavish, and was resident at Upper Fort Garry during 1869 1870.
After Manitoba was created as a province in 1870 the first session of the Manitoba
Legislature was held in four rooms of Bannatyne's Winnipeg house.
Andrew Graham Bannatyne was the 2nd president of the St. Andrews Society of Winnipeg
serving from 1872-74, and 1875-82.
William Garrioch Jr.: William was born 4 July 1828 to William Garrioch of Orkney,
Scotland, and Nancy Cook (Mtis), a daughter of William Hemmings Cook of London,
England and Kahnawpawmakan (Cree). In about 1851, Garrioch Jr. married Mary
Brown, daughter of Henry Brown (of Orkney) and his wife Elizabeth or Isabella (of
Ruperts Land).
On March 1, 1870 Garrioch Jr. was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia as
representative of the parish of St. Marys Laprairie (now Portage la Prairie).
It appears that initially Garrioch Jr. and wife Mary held an allotment of land near
St. Peters parish that had been granted by Chief Peguis. As early as 1853, however, they
had joined a group of settlers who moved further to the west to establish a new church
and parish at St. Marys la Prairie. In 1862 Garrioch Jr. sold the St. Peters property and
concentrated on growing grain at la Prairie, where his brother, John Garrioch, also farmed
and taught school. The new parish was formalized on April 9, 1866, and William
Garrioch Jr. was named a member of the vestry of St. Marys. On March 1, 1870
Garrioch Jr. was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia as representative of
the parish of Laprarie.
Approximately a year after the creation of Manitoba, Garrioch Jr. sold property
identified as the certain lot of land No. 1352, of six-chains frontage, on the north side of
the Assiniboine River, between Headingley Church and the house of John Taylor to John
H. McTavish, in conformance with the custom of the country prior to the transfer.
John Lazarus Norquay Sr.: John was born on 19 April 1837, the son of Henry Norquay
(Mtis), and Henrys second wife, Mary Polly Anderson (Mtis). John Lazarus Norquay
was the grandson of Oman Omie Norquay, of South Ronaldshay, Orkney, Scotland, who
had settled at Red River with his wife Jean Morwick (Mtis).
On March 1, 1870, Norquay Sr. was elected by public meeting of the parishioners of St.
Margarets to the Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia. However in the first election in

December of 1870, it was his cousin John Norquay Jr. who was elected to represent High
Bluff in the Manitoba Legislature.
George Gunn: George was born on December 11, 1833, the son of Donald Gunn of
Falkirk, Caithness-shire, Scotland, and Margaret Swain (Mtis). Margaret was the
daughter of HBC Trader and Writer, James Swain (of London, England), and an unknown
Aboriginal woman of the York Factory district. George Gunns parents were married on
January 17, 1826.
Both George Gunn and his father Donald Gunn were among the English-speaking
members who attended the Convention of Twenty-four held in the Court House,
adjoining Fort Garry on November 16, 1869. George Gunn participated as elected
representative for St. Annes, and Donald Gunn for St. Andrews. George Gunn Jr. was
also present, in the same capacity, at the Convention of Forty. On February 23, 1870, the
people of St. Annes parish declared him their choice for representation in the Legislative
Assembly of Assiniboia. Gunn, however, objected to the informality of this proceeding
and insisted on another election. On 28 February, therefore, after receiving the majority
of votes taken at the St. Annes schoolhouse he was re-elected.
After the creation of Manitoba, Gunn ran as candidate for Poplar Point in the first general
election for the province on December 27, 1870. He lost however. Subsequently
Lieutenant Governor Archibald appointed him as one of the Justices of the Peace for the
County Marquette in 1871. The same year he was elected school trustee for Poplar Point.
The Gunn family historical accounts say that George Gunn of Red River apparently sold
his property at Poplar Point and relocated to the Swift Current district. Once there, he
apparently married Eliza Julia Lissa Winchild (Winechild/Otterskin, Mtis), originally
of the Fort QuAppelle District. Reportedly, he died in 1901 at Swift Current, while his
wife died in 1917 at Shaunovan, Saskatchewan. There is currently no documentary
evidence to confirm this account.
Scrip affidavit for Gunn, Margaret Deceased wife of Donald Gunn; born: April 2,
1802; father: James Swain (English); mother: Indian; died: November 28, 1870;
heirs: her children: James; John; Alexander; George, Donald; William, who died:
May 1842; Matilda, wife of John Atkinson; Margaret, wife of John Drane; Janet,
wife of A.M. Mickle; grandchildren of her son William through his daughter who
married Frank Hunt; said grandchildren being Wm. Hunt & Winnifred Hunt;
claim no: 3039; date of issue:
Gunn, George; heir to his deceased daughter, Eliza MargareGunn; claim no. 957;
born: 1 April, 1879 at Dark Sand Hills; died: Aug., 1883 at Red Deer River;
address: Swift Current; father: George Gunn (Mtis & deponent); mother: Eliza
Winchild (Mtis); scrip cert.: form D, no. 936.
Application for patent for Lot 86, Parish of Poplar Point - Gunn, George.

James McKay: James was born circa 1827 at Edmonton House, the son of James Big
Jim Mckay, born circa 1797, in Sutherlandshire Scotland and Marguerite Gladu a Metis
from Cumberland House. James was an elected member of the Legislative Assembly of
Assiniboia representing the parish of St. James. He also served as Commissioner of
Indian Affairs.
William Fraser: William was born on June 17, 1832, the son of James Fraser born at the
Isle of Alva, Scotland, and Anne Bannerman also born in Scotland. William is a
descendant of Selkirk Settlers. William served as an HBC Councillor of Assiniboia
(1868-1870). He was then elected to represent the parish of Kildonan in the Legislative
Assembly of Assiniboia.
Scrip affidavit for Fraser, William; born: 1832; father: James Fraser, an original
white settler from Scotland settled in Red River Country in 1816.
Scrip affidavit for Fraser, Annie, wife of William Fraser; father: John McBeath, an
original white settler from Scotland settled in Red River Country in 1813; born:
1833
James Ross: Ross, also Metis was born in 1834, the son of Alexander Ross born at
Nairnshire, Scotland and his Okanagan wife, Sally. At the Convention of Forty in 1870 he
was elected to represent the parish of St. Johns. James Ross was the Chief Justice of the
Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia.
John Sinclair. John was born in 1835, the son of James Sinclair and elected in 1870 from
the parish of St. Peters (the Indian Settlement) to the Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia.
Johns Scottish lineage is unclear.
Thomas Sinclair Sr. Thomas was born in 1809, the son of Chief Factor William Sinclair
born in 1766 at Harra, Orkney, Scotland and Nahoway (Margaret) Holden, the Metis
daughter of George Holden an HBC officer at York Factory and his Cree wife. Thomas
was elected from the parish of St. Andrews to the Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia.
He died on March 23, 1870 and his son was appointed to replace him.
Thomas Sinclair Jr. Thomas was born in 1841, the son of Thomas Sinclair Sr. and
Hanna Cummings a Metisse. The Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia made a motion of
condolences to the family on March 26, 1870 and indicated that Thomas Sinclair Jr. was
to continue with the offices held by his father.
John Sutherland. (1821-1899)
John Sutherland was another descendant of Selkirk Settlers. He was born at Point
Douglas on 21 August 1821, the only son of Alexander Sutherland and Catherine

McPherson. In 1847 he married Janet Mac Beth. They had thirteen children, among
whom was lawyer and politician Alexander Sutherland and daughter Catherine who
married William Black. Johns father, Alexander Sutherland, was a Selkirk Settler who
came to Canada at age 24 on the Prince of Wales in 1813. In 1817 Lord Selkirk
assigned him Lot 10 of the 24 lots surveyed by Peter Fidler.
John was educated at St. Johns College. Following the flood of 1852 he moved to
Lot 86, East Kildonan, where he farmed and operated a general store. He entered public
life in 1866 as a member of the Council of Assiniboia and attended twelve meetings
before the Council was dissolved. During the Red River Resistance of 1869-70 he
became one of the leading representatives of the Loyalist party and served as delegate
from Kildonan at the Council of Forty meeting in 1870. Norbert Parisien killed his son
Hugh Sutherland in February 1870. That same month, the Provisional Government chose
John as Collector of Customs, and when the Province entered Confederation (15 July
1870) he was appointed the first High Sheriff of Manitoba. He held this office until 13
December 1871, when he was appointed to the Canadian Senate, a position he held until
his death. He helped found Manitoba College. He died at his residence Bellevue House,
Kildonan, on April 27, 1899.
Scrip affidavit for Sutherland, John; born: December 23, 1837; father: Alexander
Sutherland, original white settler from Scotland, entered Red River country in 1823;
mother: Flora Polson; children: Christiana, born: Dec. 22, 1863; John Wm., born:
Jan. 3, 1866; Ann Jane, born: Nov. 5, 1867; Alexander H., born: Dec. 1, 1870; Janet,
born: Sept. 27, 1873
Scrip affidavit for Sutherland, Wm. R.; father: Hon. John Sutherland, son of
Alexander Sutherland, original white settler from Scotland, entered Red River
Country in 1815; mother: Janet (McBeath) Sutherland; children: Wm. Robert, born:
Nov. 24, 18 57; Christiana Ellen, born: July 18, 1859; Roderick Ross, born: July 21,
1862; James McPherson, born: Jan. 1, 1861; Mary Annabella, born: Nov. 15, 1865 .
Scrip affidavit for Sutherland, Donald; born: December 12, 1847; father and mother:
Scottish; father: John Sutherland, son of Alexander Sutherland, original white settler
from Scotland, entered Red River country in 1815; wife: Christy Sutherland; child:
John Hugh, born: Oct. 3, 1872.
Scrip affidavit for Sutherland, Margaret (nee Tait); wife of John Sutherland;
concerning the claims of her children: Margaret Sutherland, born: September 27,
1859; Sarah Ann Sutherland, born: John Sutherland (Scottish); Harriet Sutherland,
born: December 2, 1866
William Auld Tait: William was born at Headingley in 1826, the son of William Tait Sr.
of Orkney, Scotland and Mary Auld, the daughter of William Auld and a Cree woman.
Her father William, was at one time the HBC Governor. He was born in Edinburgh,
Scotland. William Auld Tait Jr. married Johanna Gunn the daughter of John Gunn and
Ann Sutherland. Tait was elected from the parish of Headingley to the Legislative
Assembly of Assiniboia on February 22, 1870.

Scrip affidavit for Tait, William; born: December 9, 1826; father: Wm. Tait (Scot);
mother: Mary Auld (Mtis); claim no: 1596; scrip no: 10505; date of issue:
September 20, 1876; amount: $160.
Those interested in the history and culture of the early Scottish settlers at Red River can
view the exhibits at the St. Andrews Heritage Centre which houses a wide selection of
artifacts, clothing, and memorabilia from the 1800s and early 1900s. The displays also
feature maps of the early river lots along the Red River in St. Andrews parish. The St.
Andrews Heritage Centre is now located at the St. Andrews Rectory National Historic
site, a rectory completed in 1854, located at 374 River Road, St. Andrews, Manitoba. The
Manitoba Museum in Winnipeg also has a significant number of artifacts from this time
period.
References:
Hall, Norma, Clifford P. Hall and Erin Verrier. A History of the Legislative Assembly of
Assiniboia. Winnipeg: Manitoba, Aboriginal and Northern Affairs, 2012.
Hall, Norma. The Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia at
http://hallnjean2.wordpress.com/chronology-the-resistance-during-1870-marchjuly/the-legislative-assembly-of-assiniboia/

Compiled by Lawrence Barkwell5


Coordinator of Metis Heritage and History Research
Louis Riel Institute

Lawrence is the grandson of Janet Nesbitt Stewart, daughter of Peter Stewart and Agnes Sproul of
Parkhead, Glasgow, Scotland.