and the R.M.
La Verendrye passes through the region
“On October 18, 1738 he left Fort La Reine traveling southwest
the Souris River. When he reached the Turtle Mountains, on the
insistence of his Indian guides he turned northwest until he reached
the Souris River. Here he met 102 lodges of Assiniboines.
point he followed the Souris River southwest until he reached the
Mandan Indian villages on the Missouri River.”
* The Souris Plains
La Verendrye brings a priest, Father Coquart, to the Souris
taught the Assiniboines to say prayers. Forty years later French
English traders were astounded to hear the Assiniboine Indians reciting
prayers they had memorized years
The Dakota Sioux travel up the Souris River to attack Fort La Reine.
The Assiniboines gain mobility on the plains when they obtain horses.
From 1770 to 1778 the Assiniboines often carry corn and furs from the
Mandan Country up the Souris River to Fort La Reine, although they had
been expressly warned by the Sioux not to traffic with the Whiteman.
A trading alliance between the Mandans and the Assiniboines comes to an
end. Spurred on by the Sioux, the Mandan war parties moved
and fought several battles with the Assiniboines just south of present
In the last half of the 18th century the Sioux, armed with Hudson Bay
Company muskets roamed the Souris River attacking Assiniboines and
traders alike. In 1781 they combine with the Mandans to attack
Assiniboine villages in the Turtle Mountains and continue these attacks
along the Souris in 1786 and 1793.
According to Northwest Company records, there were several explorations
of the Souris in 1780 and in succeeding years. These explorations
after 1785 came from Pine Fort situated on the Assiniboine River just
west of Fort La Reine.
Assiniboines living along the Souris River suffer a great smallpox
epidemic, but by 1784 they had recovered enough to resume trading
David Monin conducts an expedition down the Souris River. He
with the Assiniboines and spends the winter trapping on the river.
David Monin, acting for the Northwest Company leads an expedition
the river. He establishes a fort in the Dakotas but on the return
in the spring of 1794, with a load of furs, they are all killed by the
Sioux. The Sioux continued to be active on the Souris and
Manitoba. From 1785 to 1860 they made a determined effort to stop
traders from entering the Souris-Missouri country
The Northwest Company builds Fort Ash on the Souris about two miles
south west of Hartney. Its location was Sec. 12, Tp. 6, Rge.
was evidently in operation for only two years. In the winter of
the explorer David Thompson says, “We find ourselves about three
below Ash House where people resided two years ago”.
The Sioux attack McDonnell’s House and Brandon House #1 at the
the Souris. One year later they advanced up the river to attack
Assiniboines who had established a village near present day Lauder.
On November 26, 1797, David Thompson, the great explorer, begins his
journey down the Souris River.
“Leaving McDonnell’s House near the Souris mouth, he headed
skirting the Moose Head or Brandon Hills on the south. On
it became so cold and stormy they made camp, probably along the river
south of Nesbitt, Manitoba. On December 4, Thompson continued his
journey crossing to the south side of the river and pitching camp near
the present day town of Souris. The next day, December 5, he
south following the Elgin Creek and then turned south west reaching a
point somewhat to the west of Regent. He then turned north west
to the river which he reached near present day Hartney and continued up
stream. His guide, Jursomme, now led him south west along the
and shortly after they were joined by two Canadian trappers. It
to storm at this point but they kept on walking along the south bank of
the river, reaching a wooded area at 7:00 p.m. This gave them
protection from the storm and they made camp. The next day,
6, they rested as it was still storming, and hunted for
entry in Thompson’s diary at this point reads, “We find
three miles below the Old House”. They were obviously
Fort Ash (or Ash House) which by this time was abandoned, and this
would put their camp about one mile north east of Hartney,
On December 7, Thompson continued south west along the river. At
point south west of Lauder, Manitoba, he crossed the river and turned
toward the Turtle Mountains, which he reached on December 12. He
hired an Assiniboine Indian to guide him to the Mandan villages on the
Missouri River, where he spent about three weeks.”
* The Souris Plains