Metis guides for James Carnegie, the Earl of Southesk (1827-1905

At the age of 32, James Carnegie, the 9th Earl of Southesk, travelled to Canada from his
native Scotland in 1859, after being advised that it would improve his health that had
deteriorated following the death of his wife. He wrote that the reason for his journey was
to, "travel in some part of the world where good sport could be met with among the larger
animals, and where, at the same time, I might recruit my health by an active open-air life
in a healthy climate."
The Earl travelled though the United States to St. Paul, Minnesota and crossed the
prairies, hunting buffalo along the way.
In September he began he travelled up the Athabasca River from Fort Edmonton and then
following the McLeod River. He went up the Medicine Tent River, writing that he was
now entering country that, "…no European had ever seen, where bears and wild sheep
were certain to be abundant." They continued their journey over Southesk Pass, and down
Job Creek and Coral Creek to the Kootenay Plains of the Saskatchewan River valley.
Then the party rode up the Siffleur River, over Pipestone Pass, and down the Pipestone
River valley to the Bow River. After camping below Cascade, they continued past the
remains of Old Bow Fort and onto the plains.
James McKay (1828-1879), a Métis, provided guide service from St. Paul to Red River
for the Earl of Southesk,
Head guide John McKay oversaw all aspects of the trip. He set each day's travel
schedule, negotiated the purchase of horses and supplies, and handled diplomatic
discussions with First Nations people. Born at Fort Edmonton, he was the son of James
McKay, a Highland Scot employed on the Hudson's Bay Company York boat brigades,
and his Métis wife Marguerite Gladu. McKay later became an Anglican missionary with
the Mistawasis Cree Nation in Saskatchewan and was a Government interpreter at the
Treaty 6 negotiations in 1876.
Scrip affidavit for McKay, John; born: 1832; father: James McKay; mother:
Margaret Gladu (Métis); claim no: 2868; date of issue: Sept. 5, 1878; scrip no:
McKay’s cousin, James Short, was the party's best hunter, "a perfect shot with either
gun, arrow, stick, or stone". Short, with his "showy dashing air", impressed Southesk as
"ready to do aught that might become a man".
George Klyne belonged to Red River's French Métis community. His father Michael had
served at Fort Edmonton and Jasper House, where George was born. The younger Klyne,
"wiry, active and clever", was an expert handler of horses and dog teams.
Southesk also tapped into the local Scots community. Morrison McBeath's family ran a
York boat freighting business. Donald Matheson had helped guide members of the


Palliser Expedition through the Kootenay Passes the year before. As members of the
Southesk party, they assisted with the hunt, helped manage the horses and carts, and
tended to the equipment.
Their real guide, a Metis named Pierre Numme (Denoummee), joined them at the HBC
post at Fort Ellice on the Assiniboine River, near present-day St. Lazare, Manitoba.
Carnegie described him as “a quaint-looking oldish man, with a dark, bony, FrenchIndian face, and long black hair.” His eyes were so weak that he wore “huge goggles
made of wire and glass, which have a strange effect, throwing a dash of the pedantic into
his rough and hunter-like appearance.”
The group was bolstered by the addition of Mohawk voyageur Thomas Ariwakenha, a
member of HBC Governor George Simpson's elite corps of canoe-men. He drove the
supply wagon and cooked meals.
The final member of the party was Duncan Robertson, game keeper on Southesk's estate.
Klyne (Kline), Georges, M.L.A. (b. 1828)
Georges was the son of Michel Klyne Sr. and Suzanne La France. He married Marie
Ducharme dit McKay in 1847. They had one daughter. In 1863, he married for a second
time to Monique Berthelet dit Savoyard. There were twelve children born to this union.
Georges family was enumerated at Pembina in the 1850 census of the Minnesota
Territory. Georges is also listed in the 1854 Treaty List of the Chippewa Indians of Lake
Superior and the Mississippi. At that time he was living at Scratching River. In 1859,
Georges, along with three other men were selected by James McKay to meet the Earl of
Southesk and George Simpson at St. Paul and escort them to the Red River Settlement. In
1860, he was enumerated in the Dakota Territory census and is shown to be working as a
ferryman at Pembina.
He was imprisoned by Riel in 1869 but escaped. He was a French-speaking delegate to
the Convention of Forty in 1870, representing Pointe à Grouette. Georges was elected to
Manitoba’s first legislature in 1870 to represent the riding of St. Agathe.
John Munro was the son of Hugh Munro and Sinouahaha (Cree). In 1854, at Lac Ste.
Anne, John married Isabelle Francois Lussier born 1828, the daughter of Francois Lussier
and Elizabeth Bruneau. His second marriage in 1884 was to Christina Desjarlais, the
daughter of Francois Peyasis Desjarlais and Euphrosine Auger.
John William Munro was employed with the HBC (1854-1874) on the Saskatchewan
River and was a Blackfoot interpreter (1870-1874) at Rocky Mountain House. He was
then a free trader (1857-1870) likely on the Saskatchewan River.
John Healy of the trading firm Hamilton and Healy came back to Montana in 1863, just
as rumours were circulating about major gold discoveries on the North Saskatchewan


River. Men returning from Fort Edmonton and Rocky Mountain House reported good
colours being found in the river and predicted that a strike would be made. A number
of prospectors, including Healy, got together and engaged John "Piscan" Munro to guide
them through Blackfoot country to the northern river.
Piscan was a son of the famous Plainsman, Hugh Munro, and was well known to both the
British and Americans. In 1859, at Fort Edmonton, the Earl of Southesk engaged Munro
as an interpreter for his expedition. He wanted him for his fluency in the Blackfoot
language as well as his familial relationships to the Blackfoot.
In1869, the trading firm of Hamilton and Healy moved north from Montana into “British
possessions” to establish a fort which was beyond the jurisdiction of American
authorities. Located at the confluence of the Belly and St. Mary rivers, near the present
city of Lethbridge, the post was originally named Fort Hamilton but soon became
notorious as Fort Whoop-Up.
On September 22, 1877 John Munro and other Metis at Blackfoot Crossing presented a
petition (prepared on September 19) to Lieutenant-Governor David Laird Lieutenant
Governor, N.W.T. concerning Metis land claims. Munro was employed as an interpreter
for Treaty Seven, negotiated just days prior to this petition: On Monday afternoon,
September 17, 1877, Commissioners Laird and Macleod met with the chiefs who were in
attendance at the treaty grounds. James Bird, assisted by John Munro and Isidore St.
Duval, handled the interpreting for the government. Jean L'Heureux, who lived in
Crowfoot's camp, acted for the Indians although his services were paid for by the
Felix Munro Felise (Felix) Monroe, Metis, born 1825, died before 1885 son (I)-Hugh
Monroe born 1784 and Mary Piegan; joined HBC (1847-1861) Saskatchewan District,
assigned Rocky Mountain house (1860-1861) Felix Munro Metis born Rupert's Land,
employed HBC (1847-1861) on the Saskatchewan River, stationed Rocky Mountain
house (1860-1861) as interpreter, became a free man in 1861.
Felix Monroe, born 1825, died before 1885 He officially married in 1855 at Lac Ste
Anne, to Louise Seguin dit Laderoute, born 1825, Cumberland, Saskatchewan.
Felix Munro was a Métis plainsman of Piikani (Blackfoot) descent. His father Hugh had
come west from Montreal as an apprentice clerk with the Hudson's Bay Company in
1815. Hugh Munro worked in the Saskatchewan district for seven years before marrying
Senopaakkii, a Piikani woman, and becoming a freeman, or independent hunter and
trapper. Felix, the second of their ten children, was born in 1825 at Rocky Mountain
Although his earliest years were spent with the Piikani, Felix Munro grew up in close
contact with the Saskatchewan fur trade. His father had re-engaged with the HBC from
1832 to 1844, mostly as an interpreter, and Felix Munro took a similar path when he
came of age. The younger Munro worked off and on for the HBC as a "hunter and


interpreter" from 1847 to 1861, when he signed his last contract at Rocky Mountain
Munro's family connections, his knowledge of Blackfoot culture, his fluency in multiple
languages—he spoke Cree, English and French as well as Blackfoot—and his diplomatic
skills made him an invaluable contact for Europeans conducting business in Blackfoot
country. Palliser Expedition naturalist James Hector relied on Munro for protocol advice
when consulting with a party of Blackfoot leaders visiting Rocky Mountain House in
January 1858. Munro proved equally adept at political negotiation during a tense
encounter between Palliser and a Blackfoot war party the following year.
Southesk heard about the event that fall, on his way back from the Rocky Mountains.
"[A]t Edmonton we learned that the Blackfeet have become very hostile, so that Captain
Palliser with difficulty escaped from them owing his safety only to the efforts of Munroe,
his interpreter (brother to my Munroe), who dissuaded them from an intended attack."
Munro's wife, Louise Laderoute dit Seguin, grew up at Fort Edmonton. The two married
in 1850 at the Lac Ste. Anne mission. In the years that followed, Louise Munro traveled
with her husband when possible. She was with him on the 1859 Palliser Expedition, when
she made dried meat provisions for the party.
After becoming a freeman in 1862, Munro settled with his family in St. Albert. He
doubtless participated in communal buffalo hunts held out on the plains and may have
hauled freight or engaged in small-scale farming, like many residents. At the same time,
he kept in touch with his Piikani relatives through visits to Montana and southern Alberta.
In his memoirs, Métis plainsman Peter Erasmus recalled an evening in the early 1870s
when Munro "spent half the night telling us of the many misdeeds" committed against the
Blackfoot by whiskey traders operating in Whoop-Up country.
Felix Munro died in 1875 while on a buffalo hunt in the Red Deer River valley. His
widow and children lived for several years at Buffalo Lake, a buffalo hunters' winter
settlement near present-day Stettler. Several of the Munro children later settled in the
Edmonton area, including son Benjamin and daughters Julie and Philomene.

Compiled and Edited by Lawrence Barkwell
Coordinator of Metis Heritage and History Research
Louis Riel Institute


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