imeline... 1700 - 1799

The World

1783: The United States of America gain independence from Britain after a long military struggle.


1759: The Battle of the Plains of Abraham effectively gives Britain control of the territory of New France. A treaty in 1763 formally cedes the territory.


1760: Exploration of southern Manitoba is undertaken by both the Hudson Bay Co. and the Northwest Co. with the beginnings of Fur Trade Posts near Souris Mouth and Hartney beginning in the 1760 - 90’s.

Hartney and the R.M. of Cameron


La Verendrye passes through the region

“On October 18, 1738 he left Fort La Reine traveling southwest along 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.  From this 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 River.  He taught the Assiniboines to say prayers.  Forty years later French and 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 northward and fought several battles with the Assiniboines just south of present day Melita.


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 the 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 operations.  


David Monin conducts an expedition down the Souris River.  He trades with the Assiniboines and spends the winter trapping on the river.  

 David Monin, acting for the Northwest Company leads an expedition down the river.  He establishes a fort in the Dakotas but on the return trip 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 elsewhere in 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. 24.  It was evidently in operation for only two years.  In the winter of 1797 the explorer David Thompson says, “We find ourselves about three miles below Ash House where people resided two years ago”.

The Sioux attack McDonnell’s House and Brandon House #1 at the mouth of the Souris.  One year later they advanced up the river to attack the 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 southwest, skirting the Moose Head or Brandon Hills on the south.  On November 29 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 turned south following the Elgin Creek and then turned south west reaching a point somewhat to the west of Regent.  He then turned north west back to the river which he reached near present day Hartney and continued up stream.  His guide, Jursomme, now led him south west along the river and shortly after they were joined by two Canadian trappers.  It began 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 some protection from the storm and they made camp.  The next day, December 6, they rested as it was still storming, and hunted for provisions.  An entry in Thompson’s diary at this point reads, “We find ourselves about three miles below the Old House”.  They were obviously referring to Fort Ash (or Ash House) which by this time was abandoned, and this would put their camp about one mile north east of Hartney, Manitoba.  On December 7, Thompson continued south west along the river.  At a point south west of Lauder, Manitoba, he crossed the river and turned toward the Turtle Mountains, which he reached on December 12.  He now hired an Assiniboine Indian to guide him to the Mandan villages on the Missouri River, where he spent about three weeks.”

* The Souris Plains