This page is a text version of the Beckoning Hills History Book. This is the story of the Turtle Mountain Area of Manitoba. You can get a PDF copy of the book on our full version page. The PDF copy is an exact page by page representation of the original book. This text version has been reformated for the web and contains text recognition mistakes. These mistakes do not appear in the full version. The full version also includes each image in the original book.

Page Index of Beckoning Hills History Book

Previous - Page 203 or Next - Page 205

The winter and spring of 1885 was a time of tension in the West, with Riel stirring the Indians and Metis up to rebel against the whites. The government was calling for volunteers and offering good wages for teamsters to haul supplies to Middleton's troops in Saskatchewan. Father decided that fighting Indians wasn't for him but Charlie Hicks did make one trip as a teamster as far west as Qu'Appelle.

Father was always on good terms with the Indians and half­ breeds but they were in an ugly mood those days and he kept the door of his shack well barred at night. Late one evening, after he had gone to bed, there came a terrific pounding on the door. Again he asked who was there and again the only reply was pounding on the door. So father grabbed his Winchester, which was kept close at hand, levered a shell into the barrel and, with proper emphasis, said he would make whoever it was talk. Whereupon a slightly quavering voice sputtered out, "That is-Harry-don't shoot." Need­ less to say McCutcheon didn't get into father's shack that night.

On another occasion he was just finishing his supper on a March evening, that was being stirred up by a late winter storm, when the door of the shanty was shoved open and in walked two squaws, a towering buck Indian and several children. With his tongue in his cheek father bade them welcome and indicated to them to make themselves at home; which they did. They cooked some meat for their supper; found room on the floor and went to sleep. Next morning, to father's immense relief, the sun was shining and after having breakfast his visitors departed down the trail in the direction of the mountain. But not until after the squaws had tidied up the shack and left him a piece of pemmican-like meat that he thought was made of rabbit meat. He was grateful for their kindness but was very glad to see the last of them and the end of a crowded and slightly odoriferous night.

In his bachelor days father was good friends with an old half­ breed named John Thorne who lived a nomadic life in the Turtle Mountains and around Whitewater Lake. Thorne told father that in his youth he had crossed the lake in the summer with dry moccasins. At that time it seemed impossible that Whitewater had ever been dry. But recent years have proved that it was possible.

After the troubled days of the North-West Rebellion were over homesteaders started to move into the district again and in spite of the fact that almost as many were quitting their claims and leaving the country, because of the loneliness and hardships of pioneer life, the southwestern part of the province was gradually becoming settled. New determination to stick it out was fanned by the news that the railroad would be through within a year or so.

One day in the summer of eighty-five a young fellow came along the trail to father's shack. He was tired, and asked father if he could stay with him a few days. Father liked his looks and told