imeline... 1800 - 1849

The World

1805-06:  Lewis and Clark lead an expedition across North-western United States to the Pacific Ocean.


The War of 1812 – 14.

In what is essentially a war between The United States and Britain, Canada successfully repels and American invasion with the help of native tribes. Many years later Sioux warriors, descends of those who fought, retained medals given for service the British Crown.



 The beginning of agricultural settlement in Manitoba with the arrival of Selkirk Settlers. This would lead to the establishment of Winnipeg as the commercial centre of the region.


Peter Fidler noted the abundance of sturgeon at the intersection of the Souris and Assiniboine Rivers.  In the same year the forts at this intersection were attacked by the Sioux.

Hartney and the R.M. of Cameron
The establishment of a succession of trading posts in the Hartney – Lauder region would eventually spur efforts at agriculture. There is evidence that, in the Hartney – Grande Clairiere district, some people involved in the fur trade made the transition to farming and stayed in the region when the fur trade ended. As an example, in the 1930’s at least two Hartney area families could trace their roots back to Fort Desjarlais.


The Assiniboine are 28,000 strong across Manitoba with more than 10,000 in the Turtle Mountains alone.  The Sioux periodically attack many villages along the Souris River.

A Northwest Company trader, Alexander Henry Jr., makes his first trip down the Souris River from the Northwest Company Fort La Souris at the junction of the Souris and Assiniboine Rivers. He travels down the river to about the present day town of Souris.  From here he traveled across country to Fort La Bosse on the Assiniboine River where he engaged in the buffalo hunt.


After about 1806 it appears that the Northwest Company lost interest in the Souris but their place on that river was soon taken by American traders and Independents.

Alexander Henry Jr. travels across the Souris plains.  

He carried the usual trade goods, tobacco, beads, knives, muskets; and in his case, a good supply of liquor. On July 15th he stopped for the night at the Fort Ash site.  During the trip upriver he mentions passing several Assiniboine camps of about 70 tents and after visiting the Turtle Mountains he estimated the Assiniboine population at about 10,000. While passing along the Souris, Henry was careful to put night guards on the horses as the Assiniboines had the reputation of being the greatest horse thieves on the prairies.  Guards were also necessary as Henry was carrying guns and ammunition to the Missouri River Indians.


Francois Jeanette, is born on the Souris River near the present day city of Bottineau, North Dakota.  His father, a French Canadian, first name Justas, was a trapper on the Souris River and had lost his first wife and son to the Gros Ventre Indians.  He lived and worked in the Souris Valley until 1905.


The American Fort, north of Lauder, is built about 1810.  The site of its chimney mounds indicate that it was in operation for a considerable length of time so we can speculate that it operated until 1828 when Cuthbert Grant was appointed “Warden of the Plains” and instructed by the Hudson’s Bay Company to clear out all opposition trading posts. These American posts were also used as a springboard to the rich Assiniboine and Qu’Appelle River regions and it is known that the Americans traded extensively on the Qu’ Appelle.


An American engineer, searching for a passage north from the Missouri River, finds a large Gros Ventre Indian village at the intersection of the Souris-Antler Rivers.  

The following year Indians from this village scalped Francois Jeannottes’ sister and he and his mother moved to Fort Garry.  However, a few years later, Jeannotte returned to the Souris River and later worked in two trading posts above the 49th parallel.

It was about this time that the buffalo hunts began along the Souris River.  They were small for the first few years, just a few tents, but by 1820 they would be large organized affairs.


The Sioux wipe out the Gros Ventre Nations who were living at this time at the junction of the Souris and South Antler Rivers.  


A Sioux-Assiniboine battle takes place just east of Whitewater Lake.

Maria Grant, daughter of Cuthbert Grant, is born.  She raised a family called Breland who would play an important part in the trading posts on the Souris and later be the first settlers in the Grande Clairiere sand hills.

The first Metis buffalo brigade from Fort Garry cross the Souris River near present day Melita.  


Cuthbert Grant builds Fort Grant on the Souris River in 1824


Cuthbert Grant was appointed “Warden of the Plains” and instructed by the Hudson’s Bay Company to clear out all opposition trading posts.


Cuthbert Grant

By Section, Township & Range, Studies in Prairie Settlement, John Langton Tyman
Brandon University, 1972  P 18
1. C – Saskatchewan Trail – Southern Branch
2. Boundary Commission Trail
3. Yellow Quill Trail
4. Bang’s Trail beyond Millford


The Sioux return an Assiniboine attack moving east down the Souris River into Manitoba.  They turn north where they meet a Metis Buffalo Brigade returning from the Moose Mountains.  

The buffalo hunters, as usual, formed a circle with their cars and held off the attackers.  This attack took place to the west of Oak Lake.  In the same year, Sioux war parties forced the forts at the mouth of the Souris to close.


Warfare occurred once more as the Sioux descended the Souris and Assiniboine Rivers to Fort Garry.  

Here they warred briefly with the Saulteaux Indians.  This battle was stopped by Cuthbert Grant’s Metis who escorted the Sioux south toward the Turtle Mountains.


Fort Desjarlais is built in 1836 by Joseph Desjarlais, located on the north bank of the Souris on Sec. 31, Tp. 5, Rge. 24, to the north west of Lauder.  Downstream about one mile is the location of the older American Fort.

Site of Fort Desjarlais, 1999


The Sioux again move up the Souris and Assiniboine Rivers to attack the settlement at Fort Garry.  The settlement is defended by the Metis from St. Francois Xavier who dig rifle pits to hold off the invaders.  

In the same year smallpox once again struck the Assiniboines who were now reduced in numbers to less than 4,000 from the original 10,000.


The Assiniboine population is greatly reduced by war and smallpox to about 3,000.  A local resident of Hartney, Mrs. De Pevre, whose grandfather worked in the Souris River forts in the 1840’s, states that her grandfather observed two Assiniboine villages in 1842 where everyone was dead of smallpox.


The Metis attack the Sioux during a buffalo hunt in the Souris River area.  Several Sioux are killed and they demand compensation.  

A meeting between the two groups was held on the plains and as a result peace was declared.  It lasted until about 1849.


A Sioux-Assiniboine battle takes place along the river in 1849.  The site of this battle is SE Sec. 36, Tp. 5, Rge. 24.  

In the same year a trading post operated very close to the site of present day Melita.  Madame La Fontaine mentioned this post to G. A. McMorran and it was also mentioned by the Turtle Mountain Indians when they were interviewed by a North Dakota historian.