Theresa Delaney's Story

THERESA DELANEY'S STORY

Theresa was born near Aylmer, Ontario. In July, 1882 she married six-foot-plus, two hundred and ten-pound John Delaney. He was foreman for lumber firms in the Ottawa Valley, a man "gifted to command." In 1879 he had been appointed Indian instructor for the Northwest. He spent his first winter at Onion Lake, as there were no buildings at Frog Lake.

For two summers at Frog Lake the Delaneys raised wheat, which was judged as good as the best ever grown in Ontario. The land was fertile, easy to clear, and compara­tively level, with room for countless people. Frog Lake was quite large, about twelve miles long. There was a large, ever­green covered island in the center of the lake. The name Frog Lake suggest a lake abounding in frogs, but she never did see too many. She did not know how Onion Lake got its name. Their district was known as Ai-ee-kese-gahan.

They arrived at their home, a house with a shed, garden and warehouse. Later Quinn built a home and a storehouse. The Gowanlock mill was two miles away. John had a saw­mill, and was getting timbers ready for the grist mill when he was killed. The settlement also included the priest's house, the schoolhouse, and a small, neat church. The cross over the priests' grave was placed there by the 90th Battalion in later years.

Mrs. Delaney instructed the Indian women in household duties. As they learned, the women came to like it as well as the men did agriculture. Judging by Frog Lake, the gov­ernment was overly good to restless bands.

There were two governing parties - the Hudson Bay Company and the Dominion Government. Their interests were directly opposed. The Bay made its profit from the fur trade. If Indians were being taught farming, then they were not out trapping. And, if the government gave them rations, there was no trade at the Hudson Bay Company stores. This company asked two buffaloes for a glass of "whiskey", which was one-third highwines and two-thirds water. They charged exorbitant prices and made no effort to civilize or Christianize the people.

As to the causes of the unrest - there were others involv­ed besides the half-breeds and Big Bear's men. There was "a wheel within a wheel in the Northwest troubles." The troubles of the Northwest prove no land is free from the dangers of internal revolt.

The Indian may become expert at agricultural ways, but, given the chance, would return to the hunt. They are sub­missive and grateful, but improvident. As long as there is enough for today, let tomorrow take care of itself.

When Mr. Delaney first came, there were five bands to care for. The Chippewayans were given to Mr. John Fitz­patrick, but he was transferred, and the reserve came back under Delaney's jurisdiction. The other four were Oneepe­whayous, Mistoo-Kooceawsis, Puskeakeewins, and later, Big Bear's men. Even they admitted that "but for Mr. Delaney, we would have starved."

On March 30, 1885, two letters were received. One was from Captain Dickens of Fort Pitt, saying that all whites should go to Battleford. Mr. Rae, from Battleford, told of the Duck Lake battle, and said to keep the Indians at Frog Lake from joining Poundmaker.

At the council on April 1 were Aimasis, (the Kingbird), Big Bear's son, and Wandering Spirit. The Indians said the half-breeds would come and take the horses. At 4:30 Johnny Pritchard and Aimasis came to the house to report the horses taken. They said they'd danced all night, then slept while the theft took place. It all sounded suspicious.

Twenty Indians came to the house, and later more of them. The Whites were all asked to go to the church. Father Fafard warned the Indians to stop and go home. The

For two summers at Frog Lake the Delaneys raised wheat, which was judged as good as the best ever grown in Ontario. The land was fertile, easy to clear, and compara­tively level, with room for countless people. Frog Lake was quite large, about twelve miles long. There was a large, ever­green covered island in the center of the lake. The name Frog Lake suggest a lake abounding in frogs, but she never did see too many. She did not know how Onion Lake got its name. Their district was known as Ai-ee-kese-gahan.

They arrived at their home, a house with a shed, garden and warehouse. Later Quinn built a home and a storehouse. The Gowanlock mill was two miles away. John had a saw­mill, and was getting timbers ready for the grist mill when he was killed. The settlement also included the priest's house, the schoolhouse, and a small, neat church. The cross over the priests' grave was placed there by the 90th Battalion in later years.

Mrs. Delaney instructed the Indian women in household duties. As they learned, the women came to like it as well as the men did agriculture. Judging by Frog Lake, the gov­ernment was overly good to restless bands.

There were two governing parties - the Hudson Bay Company and the Dominion Government. Their interests were directly opposed. The Bay made its profit from the fur trade. If Indians were being taught farming, then they were not out trapping. And, if the government gave them rations, there was no trade at the Hudson Bay Company stores. This company asked two buffaloes for a glass of "whiskey", which was one-third highwines and two-thirds water. They charged exorbitant prices and made no effort to civilize or Christianize the people.

As to the causes of the unrest - there were others involv­ed besides the half-breeds and Big Bear's men. There was "a wheel within a wheel in the Northwest troubles." The troubles of the Northwest prove no land is free from the dangers of internal revolt.

The Indian may become expert at agricultural ways, but, given the chance, would return to the hunt. They are sub­missive and grateful, but improvident. As long as there is enough for today, let tomorrow take care of itself.

When Mr. Delaney first came, there were five bands to care for. The Chippewayans were given to Mr. John Fitz­patrick, but he was transferred, and the reserve came back under Delaney's jurisdiction. The other four were Oneepe­whayous, Mistoo-Kooceawsis, Puskeakeewins, and later, Big Bear's men. Even they admitted that "but for Mr. Delaney, we would have starved."

On March 30, 1885, two letters were received. One was from Captain Dickens of Fort Pitt, saying that all whites should go to Battleford. Mr. Rae, from Battleford, told of the Duck Lake battle, and said to keep the Indians at Frog Lake from joining Poundmaker.

At the council on April 1 were Aimasis, (the Kingbird), Big Bear's son, and Wandering Spirit. The Indians said the half-breeds would come and take the horses. At 4:30 Johnny Pritchard and Aimasis came to the house to report the horses taken. They said they'd danced all night, then slept while the theft took place. It all sounded suspicious.

Twenty Indians came to the house, and later more of them. The Whites were all asked to go to the church. Father Fafard warned the Indians to stop and go home. The

Whites went back to the house, and the Indians were given two beefs.

The Whites were being taken to the camp. Delaney and his wife saw Gowanlock fall. Then Delaney said, "I'm shot, too." Father Fafard gave him last rites in French, then he, too, fell dead.

Mrs. Delaney was taken to Pritchard's tent. She asked Johnny to buy her. The price was two horses. Since Johnny had only one, Adolphus Nolin gave the other one.

During their time spent as captives, they were watched closely. After the escape, they dared not make a fire, so they lived on bread and water. When the scouts came, they thought the group was Indian until Mrs. Delaney ran out.

Back at Fort Pitt perhaps five hundred men were there. The band played and marched in drill in the womens' honor. The steamer "Marquis" carried them down the North Saskatchewan to Battleford. From there they travel­led east to Parkdale, Ontario, where Mrs. Delaney said goodbye to Mrs. Gowanlock.

Reverend Leon Adelard Fafard

Father Fafard was born in Quebec in June, 1850, the son of a cultivator. He entered the College of Assumption in 1872 and was ordained on December 8, 1875. He was sent on missions under the direction of an experienced priest. He showed zeal and was tactful. While superior of a district he would work as a hired laborer to lessen expenses of his district. He saw fruits of his labors before his death.

Mr. Dill

This man from Ontario was about thirty-eight at the time of his death. At the age of seventeen he and his bro­ther went into the fur trade on Lake Nipissing, and in 1867 he took over the business. He had a farm on the Ottawa River and a store at Huntsville until 1880. Later he had a hardware at Bracebridge.

Married, with two children, he came to Manitoba in 1882 to work as a Dominion Land Surveyor. In the fall of 1884 he left Battleford for Frog Lake. He was the only trader in the district and well respected.