Sunday, March 06, 2011

Troop Socials

A pass was regularly made out for a Non-Com and file to go to Pembina, Dakota, for the mail. Passes were also granted at intervals to exchange visits with the American troops in their new fort, which was built a mile south of the town and named Fort Pembina. Our fellows were well treated by the American soldiers and citizens, except by those who had fled from Fort Garry and were wintering in Pembina. Among these were Colonel Stutsman, Jimmy (McCarthy) from Cork1 (a cranky little Irish-American) and Bob O'Lone2. Stutsman and Jimmy resented the visits of the Volunteers to Pembina. Bob O'Lone a more genial character, and the United States Sheriff, John Lennon, a brother of the late Dennis Lennon, the well-known hotel proprietor in Winnipeg, were always ready to prevent interference with the Canadian soldiers. In December, 1870, Bob O'Lone was killed in a brawl at a half-breed dance on the Pembina River, and the redoubtable Jimmy from Cork suffered death the following summer in a fight with Indians.

From:  Rough Times 1870-1920 by Bugler Joseph F. Tennant (A Souvenir of the 50th Anniversary of the Red River Expedition and the Formation of the Province of Manitoba)

It's interesting to note, that Joseph married a local girl from Emerson, and was an important member of that community for many years...

1 - Most of the year of 1866 was spent by Father Lacombe on the prairies with his Indians. With a few weeks of rest at St. Albert after his eventful trip to the Blackfeet, he set out by dog-train for St. Paul de Cris. His only companion was a quaint little Irish- American called Jimmy-from-Cork, who had drifted into Fort Edmonton and was now anxious to make his way to the Red River. This man Jimmy McCarthy who was to make himself conspicuous at Fort Garry in 1870 had even then a varied and sombre career behind him.

Sam Livingstone and Jimmy Gibbons, the Forty-Niners, standing on the river-bank near Victoria, one day in January, 1866, as Father Lacombe came trotting behind his dog-train, were astounded to find that the little man snugly wrapped in robes in Father Lacombe's dog-cariole was Jimmy-from-Cork!

The hospitable miners called out an invitation to the travellers to share their mid-day meal with them. Father Lacombe his clumsy soutane tucked up about his leather trousers, as it always was when he traveled behind dogs busied himself first with food for the animals. But his genial little companion, Gibbons recalls, stepped out of the cariole and patting the priest on the shoulder, said airily to his hosts, "We ve had a good trip, boys. Father Lacombe is a damn good runner, and he knows that Jimmy-from-Cork's legs are too short to run."

Assuredly fraternal charity and the frontier brings strange bed-fellows together!

From: Father Lacombe, the Black-Robed Voyegeur

Photograph of the Provisional Government
Back row, from left to right: Bonnet Tromage [or Charles Laroque, but
apparently François Guilmette], Pierre de Lorme, Thomas Bunn, Xavier
Page [Pagée], Baptiste Beauchemin [apparently André Beauchemin],
Baptiste Tournond, Joseph [apparently Thomas] Spence.
Middle row, left to right: Pierre Poitras, John Bruce, Louis Riel, John
O’Donoghue [actually his name was William O'Donoghue],
François Dauphinais.
Front row, left to right: Hugh F. "Bob" O'Lone, Paul Proulx.

2 - Another source (the Saint Paul Daily Pioneer) reported it was on March 7, 1871 that Hugh F. "Bob" O'Lone, a former member of the Provisional Government, was killed by a blow to the head from a revolver in early January (at the dance...)  He was sometimes referred to as Robert O'Lone, but one source says that's a misnomer - "there was no Robert O'Lone..."