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Memorable Manitobans: William Dease (1827-1913)

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William Dease
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Councillor.

He was a prominent Francophone Roman Catholic mixed-blood with connections in the Anglophone community. He lived at Pointe Coupée, near present-day Ste. Agathe. As a member of the Council of Assiniboia, he was one of the principal Métis opponents of Louis Riel in 1869-1870. He was the leading spirit behind a meeting held at the courthouse in Winnipeg on 29 July that demanded Canadian recognition of Aboriginal rights, advocating the use of force if necessary. The Francophone Métis suspected that Dease was a henchman of John Christian Schultz, and he never had much following in the community. In the confusing events of February 1870, Riel made an attempt to arrest Dease, who was in communication with the dissidents of Portage la Prairie. After escaping through a window of his house, Dease agreed to subscribe to an oath of allegiance. He was an unsuccessful candidate in the March 1871 by-election at which Manitoba’s first Members of Parliament were elected, and was defeatd again in the 1874 general election. In his later years, he lived at Grafton, North Dakota.

Sources:

“He was here before Canada,” Manitoba Free Press, 20 June 1908, page 42.

Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 21 October 2018

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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