Memorable Manitobans: Charles Arkoll Boulton (1841-1899)

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Charles Arkoll Boulton
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Surveyor, soldier, politician, Senator.

Born at Cobourg, Upper Canada [now Ontario], the son of Lieutenant-Colonel D’Arcy Boulton and Emily Heath, Charles Boulton was educated at Upper Canada College. In 1858, he obtained a commission with the Royal Canadian Regiment in Gibraltar and Wales before his appointment as a member of the Canadian survey party in Red River.

On retiring from the army in 1868 he was appointed Major in the 46th Battalion,Volunteer Militia. In July 1869 he came to the Red River Settlement with the Canadian surveying party under J. S. Dennis. Boulton attempted to organize military support for Governor McDougall in December 1869 and reluctantly led an armed party from Portage la Prairie in its attempt to free prisoners held by Louis Riel in February 1870. He was imprisoned, condemned to death, but later released. His reprieve was a major quid pro quo in the complex negotiations between Riel and Canadian envoy Donald A. Smith. Boulton returned to Lakefield, Ontario, where he engaged in the lumbering business and served as Reeve. His business ultimately failed, and he returned with his family to the Shellmouth region of Manitoba in 1880.

He held the office of Warden of the County of Russell for three years and was Chairman of the Board of the Western Judicial District. He was an unsuccessful candidate in the constituency of Birtle in a provincial by-election in November 1881 and in the constituency of Marquette in the federal election of 1887. He was the Returning Officer for Birtle in an 1882 provincial by-election and the 1883 general election. In 1888 he was elected Vice-President of the Manitoba Dairy Association and President in 1890 and 1891.

In 1885 he organized and led a Corps known as “Boulton’s Scouts” who fought at Fish Creek and Batoche during the North West Rebellion. After the uprising was suppressed, he immediately returned home, hired a stenographer, and dictated his best-selling Reminiscences of the North-West Rebellion (Toronto, 1886) which led directly to his appointment as senator from Manitoba in 1889. He also wrote a number of articles on free trade, and the resources and development of Manitoba.

He married Augusta Latter (c1851-1938), with whom he had seven children. Three sons served with the Canadian Expeditionary Force in the First World War: Darcy Everard Boulton (1876-?), Lawrence Charles Boulton (1878-?), and Russell Heath Boulton (1884-1918). His daughter Ellen Mary Boulton (1875-1955, wife of Angus Lorne Bonnycastle) edited the newspaper Russell Chronicle and organized the first Chapter of the Daughters of Empire (Batoche Chapter). Other children included Heather Boulton (1879-1963), George Cartwright Boulton (1881-1965), and ? Boulton (wife of Alfred Gattey).

He died at Shellmouth on 18 May 1899 and was buried in the Russell Memorial Garden. He was commemorated by the Rural Municipality of Boulton. His manuscript of reminiscences and those of his wife are in the Archives of Manitoba.

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Boulton Manor (322 Memorial Avenue South, Russell)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Boulton Scouts Monument (219 Westbourne Street East, Russell)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Crerar Plaque (Main Street, Russell)

Charles Arkoll Boulton by Keith Wilson (1984).

I Fought Riel: A Military Memoir by Charles A. Boulton, edited by Heather Robertson (1985).

Charles Arkoll Boulton, Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online


Pioneers and Prominent People of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Canadian Publicity Company, 1925.

Obituary [Heather Boulton], Winnipeg Tribune, 30 December 1963.

Death registration [George Cartwright Boulton], British Columbia Vital Statistics.

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.

Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.

For the names of First World War casualities from Manitoba who do not appear on any physical monument in the province, see the Manitoba Historical Society War Memorial. If you know of a name that is omitted from this list, please contact the MHS War Memorial Researcher Darryl Toews (

Soldiers of the First World War - Canadian Expeditionary Force, Library and Archives Canada.

Canadian Virtual War Memorial, Veterans Affairs Canada.

Financial support for research reported on this page was provided by the Manitoba Heritage Grants Program (2015-2016).

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 2 October 2023

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society. We acknowledge that the collection contains both reputable and disreputable people. All are worth remembering as a lesson to future generations.

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