Steele Collection MS 2008.

circa 1911-1915

Murder of a NWMP officer scene, Manuscript A, 557-559


About the latter end of November one of our men was murdered by an Indian. This young fellow a mere lad, was the son of the late Captain Grayburn of the Marine department Ottawa, and a great favorite. He was one of the men on herd duty under Sergeant Giveen, and had been sent up the valley of the creek to get a picket rope and an axe which had been forgotten at a former camp ground from which the picquet [sic] had been recently moved and not returning when expected a search was made, and no trace of the lad being found a report was sent into the fort from whence a party reinforced by the men at the herd camp searched until a late hour, and patrols circled for trails in the vicinity until darkness compelled them to desist, next morning they were at it again. Colonel Macleod, Sergeants Johnston and Giveen, Constables Manseau and others with Potts at last came on the trail which had been partly covered with snow. The murdered man spoke the Blackfoot language well although he was a recruit of the previous spring and was a great favorite not only with his comrades but with the Indians as well. We learned from the trail that he had been joined by two Indians who had ridden with him between them, no doubt conversing, when one had halted suddenly and fired a shot into the lads back and he had fallen head-foremost, but there would have been no trace of the crime at that place had not Jerry Potts horse kicked up some bloody snow. A further search then revealed Grayburns hat hanging on a bush and in a ravine below it the body was found where it had been thrown by the murderers a short distance from there his horse had been led into the woods tied to a tree and shot dead. From there an attempt was made to track the murderers out on to the prairie, but a chinook wind had sprung up and melted the snow, and the ground being frozen not a trace was left. Patrols and scouts searched every crossing, every hollow where snow might lie, but in vain.

The cause of this outrage was for some time a mystery. No one would believe that the lad had given the least cause for it. He was kindness itself and as he had learnt the language and could talk signs he was often seen conversing with the Indians and learning as much as he could of their manners...


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