Memorable Manitobans: Georges Antoine Belcourt (1803-1874)
Born in Lower Canada (now Quebec) and educated at the Collège de Nicolet, in 1831 he came to western Canada as a missionary and stayed until 1858, returning east in 1859. He was a supporter of the Métis and their land claims, drawing up a petition to London in French in 1846. He thereafter withdrew to Pembina (North Dakota), where from he advised the Métis in the Sayer trial of 1849.
After his enforced departure from the Red River Valley, he was sent to Rustico on Prince Edward Island, where he helped found the Farmers’ Bank of Rustico in 1864, perhaps the smallest bank ever chartered in Canada. He drove the first steam-driven vehicle on the island.
He was the author of Principles de la langue dessauvagés appeles Sauteux (1839), Itineraire de Lac des Deux-Montagnes a laRivière-Rouge in Bulletin de la Societe Historique de SaintBoniface, V.IV (1913), and Dictionnaire Sauteux (no date).
Belcourt died in New Brunswick on 31 May 1874 and was buried in the cemetery of the Saint-Thomas Parish in Memramcook, New Brunswick. He is commemorated by Belcourt Bay in Winnipeg.
Pioneers and Early Citizens of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Manitoba Library Association, 1971.
Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.
We thank Gerard LeBlanc (La Société historique de la Vallée de Memramcook) and Lyle Brennen for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 7 September 2022