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Gosselin, Francois (1817-1907)

Francois was a Sub-Leader of the 49th Rangers of the Boundary Commission. In 1872 the
formal survey of the border between Canada and the United States began. The Commission
surveyed from the Northwest Angle of the Lake of the Woods to the Red River over the winter of
1872-73. They used Metis guides and Chippewa men to assist them with this task. Maxime
Marion, was employed as a guide for this part of the survey. During 1873 and 1874 the
Commission surveyed from Pembina to the Rocky Mountains. The British Commission
employed William Hallett and 30 armed Metis guides and scouts.
Franois Gosselin was born in 1817, the son of Michel Gosselin and Marguerite
Duroleaux (Assiniboine). Franois would thus have spoken his mothers Nakota language. He
married Suzanne Lafournaise, the daughter of Joseph Lafournaise and Suzanne LeClair dit
Allard before 1842. His sister Marie was married to Joseph Charette. These were all families
who lived at St. Norbert. His brother-in-law Pierre St. Germain 1 was a member of the Rangers as
was brother-in-law Gabriel Lafournaise. His son Guillaume and nephews William Lafournaise 2
and William Charette3 also served with the 49th Rangers. Later, Ranger John Belanger would
marry his daughter Marie Josephine.
Children of Franois Gosselin and Suzanne Lafournaise:
Marguerite, born October 29, 1842 at St. Norbert. She married Louis Marion.
Helene, born August 24, 1843 at St. Norbert. She married Isaie Ladouceur, then married
John Desmarais.
Elizabeth, born April 25, 1852. she married Onesime Gauthier.
Guillaume, born September 1854 at St. Norbert
Isidore, born circa 1858. He married Marie Rose Fontaine, then married Julie Lambert.
Marie, born August 15, 1859 at St. Norbert, and died on August 17, 1859.
Marie Josephine, born August 24, 1860 at St. Norbert. She married John Belanger.
Joseph, born August 18, 1864 at St. Norbert. He married Marie Nault.
In the mid-summer of 1848 a large Chippewa-Metis and Dakota battle took place at
OBriens Coule4 near present day Olga, North Dakota. The Chippewa-Metis hunting camp was
made up of 800 Metis men and 200 Chippewa Indian men. They had their families, horses and
over 1,000 Red River carts. The Chippewa were led by Old Red Bear and Little Shell II. The
Metis were led by Jean Baptiste Wilkie whose mother was a full-blood Chippewa. Franois

1 Married to his sister Genevieve.

2.Son of his sister Susanne Gosselin.
3 A nephew, son of his sister Marie Gosselin.
4 So called because OBrien lived at this location some 35 years after the event. It is a short distance west of Olga, N.D. Olga is between one
branch of the Pembina River to the north and the Tongue River to the south.

Corvin Gosselin who along with William Gaddy who would later be a sub-leaders of the 49 th
Rangers attached to the British Boundary Commission were also at this battle.5
Scrip affidavit for Gosselin, Franois; born: 1817; father: Michel Gosselin (French
Canadian); mother: Marguerite (Indian); claim no: 1819; scrip no: 10816; date of issue:
September 20, 1876.

5 Libby Papers, A85, Box 36, Notebook #14. August 4, 1910 interview with Little Duck, Dominion City, MB, interpreter Roger St. Pierre. This
paper was given to me by Louis Garcia, historian for the Mni Wakan Oyate.

Compiled by Lawrence Barkwell

Coordinator of Metis Heritage and History Research
Louis Riel Institute