Manitoba Historical Society
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Recollections of a Journey

Manitoba Pageant, Summer 1978, Volume 23, Number 4

This article was published originally in Manitoba Pageant by the Manitoba Historical Society on the above date. We make this online version available as a free, public service. As an historical document, the article may contain language and views that are no longer in common use and may be culturally sensitive in nature.

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Fort Garry, Feb. 20, 1872.

Dear Frank,

Your very kind and welcome letter came to hand on the 5th of the present month. You know it takes a long time to find its way to Winnipeg P.O. Now Frank I will have to tell you about our long journey through water, land, snow and ice. Well, here goes. We all embarked on board the steamer Chicona on the 21st. of October at Collingwood, and had a splendid sail through the Bay Sault St. Marie and Lake Superior, landed at Thunder Bay Oct. 24. Then came a march of 47 long miles on the Dawson Road. It was performed in two days through a very heavy snow storm and at night it would freeze our clothes stiff and you can fancy sleeping in wet clothes outside. But it would not do to growl, only up and try it again. About 6 P.M. on the second day we reached Lake Shebandowan very tired. Here we got our clothes dried and took to the boats next day, and .t night stick up our tents, build a big fire, cook supper, soften our "hard tack", turn in, and we were asleep without rocking. Next morning the programme was resumed. Sometimes the sun would shine, but seldom. On the Portages the men had to work very hard to get the stuff all over ... On Loon River we had to get out and lift our boats through. We were in the water for five hours at a time. At another Lake we had to cut our way through ice an inch thick, but our boys kept up their spirits wonderfully well.

On the Lake of the Woods we were almost lost. The wind was so high, Captain Scott gave orders to run into the lea of an island, and we remained there for a day. Next day we had a fine sail over the lake until we came to within twelve miles of the north west angle, when ice again stopped our proceeding. We attempted to cut it, but it was too thick, so we had to get out and march up the ice at the angle. There were horses, oxen, waggons, sleighs, carts, and in fact every description of conveyance you could imagine. The 110 miles of prairie we made in 4 days, arriving in Fort Garry on the 18th of November, a rather quick trip considering the time of the year, and dear Frank, I am safe and sound in Fort Garry. We have some fine times in the Barracks when not on duty. I am very sorry that Mother and Allie got up a dinner for the folks in Perth because I don't think they deserved it. Hope you made that turkey look sick. I know I should have done so if I had been in the vicinity of Burgess Mills about that time. Thanking you for your kind letter, I will bring this to a close. Give my love to Father, Mother, and all inquiring friends, from,

Yours truly, affectionate
Uncle Bill.

Contributed by Mrs. Iris Allan, Edmonton, Alta.
The identity of the writer is unknown.

Page revised: 20 July 2009

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