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  • Trying to Escape!

    The attached note was located in a file of NWMP correspondence maintained during Sam Steele’s stint in the Yukon. It is a surprisingly detailed note, given the intent of the writer was to arrange some help to break out of a Northern prison. The only date on the note is May 21st. so it could […] ... read full post
  • An Article by Charlotte Gray

    Readers of this blog, interested in reading an excellent article written by noted Canadian author Charlotte Gray, should refer to the October 2010 issue The Walrus magazine. Ms. Gray writes an interesting article about Sam Steele’s life, referencing information found in the Steele diaries located at the Bruce Peel Special Collections Library at the University […] ... read full post
  • A City in the Heart of the Klondike

    After arriving in the Klondike in 1898, Sam Steele was busy setting up and manning posts at the White and Chilkoot Pass summits, and the Lake Bennett tent city, a sort of holding area for miners waiting for spring thaw and further downstream river travel to the Yukon Gold Fields. On July 7th, 1898, Steele […] ... read full post
  • To the Klondike!

    Among the documents in the Steele archives is a telegram sent to Sam in early January 1898 from NWMP Commissioner L.W. Herchmer which reads: “To Superintendent Steele: the following from Ottawa. ‘Order Superintendent Steele to report at Vancouver for duty in Yukon, first train, instructions will be sent him there’. Commissioner Herchmer goes on to […] ... read full post
  • A Wanted Man

    There are fascinating letters in the Sam Steele archives, and among the very interesting are the letters written to and from Sam while he is posted in the Yukon during the tumultuous Klondike Gold Rush years. As Superintendent of the North West Mounted Police force in the Yukon, Sam’s in-basket is filled with letters that run […] ... read full post
  • Captain Jack Crawford

    An interesting file of correspondence in the Steele papers is with Captain Jack Crawford – a sort of “Buffalo Bill” type poet, newspaper reporter and adventurer. He and Sam Steele probably first met during the Klondike Gold Rush where Captain Jack sold all sorts of items to miners from a shack he dubbed the “Wigwam”, […] ... read full post
  • A Concert at Sea

    In this my third reference to the sea voyage taking Sam Steele and the men of Strathcona’s Horse to South Africa for the Boer War, I want to share a concert program prepared by these men for their own entertainment. As is clear from the diary reports and correspondence, the sea crossing was very difficult – […] ... read full post
  • The Sea Crossing Wasn’t All Bad!

    In my last blog entry, I quoted from Sam Steele’s diary about the hardships involved with crossing the ocean from Halifax to South Africa aboard the S.S. Monterey. Granted, it was difficult – sweltering temperatures, a rough sea, dying horses, etc. – but I did come across the following menu which suggests that, at least, […] ... read full post
  • A Crossing at Sea

    On March 17th, 1900 Sam Steele, along with his Strathcona Horse contingent of 540 men and 599 horses, sailed for South Africa aboard the S.S. Monterey of the Elder Dempster Line. While Sam writes almost nothing of this in his published memoirs, his diary entries describe the many hardships the crossing entailed, particularly for the […] ... read full post
  • A Friendship: Father Lacombe and Sam Steele

    Father Albert Lacombe, noted Catholic missionary, established missions at various prairie settlements, including St. Albert, Fort Edmonton, Brosseau and Fort Macleod. He preached to, counselled, and provided medical aid for the nomadic Plains Cree and Blackfoot peoples. Sam Steele and Father Lacombe became friends, and their paths crossed often in their mutual dealings with the 1880’s local […] ... read full post