This page is a text version of the History of Portage la Praire and Surrounding District. 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 A History of Portage la Praire

Previous - Page 58 or Next - Page 60

tion, were marched to Fort Garry, a distance of about 114 mile, where they were searched and imprisoned (a bou t 40 of them).

The men were held in close confinement for a long time, they with difficulty could keep healthy. The course adopted to keep fit was in the shape of gymnastics. Stump speeches, comic speakers, imitations, all sorts of amusements were invented. But while they were in this state, other parts of the settlement were not idle for they soon got a move on foot to liberate them from their confine­ men t, and in the prison a scheme was concocted and executed for the escape of the prisoners. On the night of the Lord's Day 6th of January 1870 a number of them made their escape, twelve I believe. A few got their liberty from this time. However some of those that did escape were retaken. The other movement mentioned still kept growing, till an attempt at liberation by a number from the Portage, so on Feb. 10th they started with an avowed intention not to stop until those were liberated. In the meantime other influences were brought to bear on the French. Each parish sent delegates to secure their liberation and urged strongly that if the raid from Portage had not upset their liberation, they would be successful. However, they from the Portage went down past the fort and down to the Scottish settlement, thought they would assist them, but when they arrived they found that the Scotch would not join them. However, they were successful in their object for all the prisoners were liberated. But still a great calamity befell them, for in passing the fort the French came out and took them all prisoners except a few that had left for their homes through the night. The number taken was about 50, and after passing one month all but one day, they were liberated on the 16th of March, but the most doleful of all, their work of destruction and aggravation (I might say) despoilation, yes murder, for one of Canada's bravest sons, a generous and open hearted man, was taken, courtmartialed by a drunken, debauched mob of half-breeds, shot by 5 or 6 bullets, but not fatal enough to produce instant death. He was taken inside the fort walls, inside a small course box, thrust into one of the bastions, still living and conscious, he was heard to speak of his God. The Clergyman who a ttended him to the end Mr. George Young, a young Weslyion Methodist, but only in broken sentences, was also heard to say "Take me out of this place for I am freezing. For God's sake kill me." About 12 o'clock at night relief came and only in a fiendlish passion. Some parties entering the fort by order of the keeper and that without challenge of the guards, for on that night Riel giving orders to his guards that parties, men with horses and cutters and sleighs would enter, but they were not to meddle with them. The guard thought it somewhat strange such extraordi-