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 60 or Next - Page 62


Since the time of Mr. Boddy, up until recent times, Riel was considered a villain by most historians. Prejudicial accounts of his activities imbedded an impression of justice being done when he was hanged in Regina in the manner of a common criminal. However, many modern men, studying events of those times, see him as a leader and protector of the rights of the Metis and Indians in the old Mani­ toba settlement of Red River. Senator George Ross of Alberta said, "When prejudice vanishes, writers will, no doubt, place him in the front rank among the most eminent of Canadian statesmen."

At the time of this writing the above prediction is beginning to prove correct. Statues are being erected perpetuating his memory and giving him an honorable place in history.


According to R. B. Hill; "The growth and progress of Portage Ia Prairie up to the year 1871 was slow. Its beginning may be said to originate with the house built by John Hudson on the bank of the slough, at the south extremity of what is now known as Joseph or Garland Street. From this point it began to grow north and west­ ward." (We have mentioned previously about the Hudson's Bay Company and the settlement in the west end.)

"The east end comprised Anderson and Wallace's hotel, Ander­ son's house on the bank of the slough, Schultz and Lessee's store, Andrew McLaren's tin shop, Joe Moule's saloon, Frank Otton's saloon, Farquhar McLean's house, Charlie House's store, William Hudson's house with the windmill close by, also Fred Bird's resi­ dence and store.

Stretching westward along Slough Road were the homes of William Gaddy, John McLean, Peter Garrioch, Mr. King, Mr. Demarais, Gavin Garrioch, William Garrioch, Mr. Franks, John Douga!d McKay, Davy Halcro, Alexander Gaddy, J. J. Setter, Mal­ colm Cummings, and the English Church mission farm and school.

In 1871 Charles House was appointed postmaster and a regular mail service was established between Portage 1a Prairie and Winni­ peg. In December of that year, J. J. Setter was appointed sheriff of the Central Judicial District, an office he held until 1890.

Dr. James Cowan and William Lyon erected the first sawmill in the settlement in 1871, near Pratt's Landing. In the same year,