Steele Collection MS 2008.

circa 1911-1915

Murder of an NWMP office scene, Manuscript C, pages 281-282. Manuscript C is typed and has no handwritten emendations, though there are what look like eraser marks throughout the draft.


The account of the capture of Star Child is very similar to what Paterson himself describes in his letter. The portion of the manuscript that has been transcribed here is the section that ties back to Paterson’s letter.


Crozier, Cotton, and Kennedy were playing tennis in front of the post and when they saw the escape followed the fugitives. I sent the first men who turned out mounted and headed by Constable Hooley they caught up to the Indians about half a mile distant and unheeding their levelled [sic] rifles rode at them and they were soon in their old guard room. Their attempt to escape having failed the two asked to see Crozier at midnight in his quarters, and after the windows had been covered with blankets so that no light could be seen from the outside they gave him the name, description and full particulars of the Indian who had murdered Grayburn. 

A despatch was then sent to Colonel Macleod who was in Benton, to the effect that the murderer was lurking in the fastness of the Bear Paw Mountains, and he asked the American authorities in legal form for his arrest but unless he could pay at once five thousand dollars in cash the sheriff would not make the attempt. He was in consequence obliged to wait until the accused would return back into Canada when we might have an opportunity to capture him. This did not present itself until 1887 when Sergeant Patterson of C. division at MacLeod learned that he was in the Blood camp, and under orders from Lt. Col. Jarvis, Superintendent commanding proceeded there accompanied by Jerry Potts and two constables. They arrived at dawn and went to the lodge in which the murderer, Star Child by name, was concealed, the intention being to take him without alarming the camp which it was believed was hostile. The Indian came out at dawn, and fully armed, covered Patterson with his rifle telling him that he would shoot if he moved hand or foot but the Sergeant as a ruse, spoke as if he were addressing someone behind Star Child, causing him to turn his head, whereupon Patterson threw himself upon him and in the struggle the rifle went off, rousing the whole camp, and the Indians turned out in hundreds. In the mean time Patterson had the murderer beneath him, half-choked, and finally handcuffed him while Jerry Potts, Chief Red Crow, Strangling Wolf, One Spot and Constable Wilson, by threats and exhortations kept the remainder at bay. The Sergeant then took Star Child to Macleod at the full speed of his horse, supported by Potts and the Constables and followed by the majority of the band as far as the fort where they were forced to halt and turn back.

Star Child confessed to the murder and there was correlative evidence but in spite of it all the jury disagreed and he was set free, to be arrested for horse stealing a few years later and sent to the penitentiary for five years. There is no doubt that the jurymen who were acquitted were afraid that the conviction would bring on an Indian war, or cause the Bloods to kill their stock out of revenge.


“Steele Collection MS 2008.,” Bruce Peel Special Collections Library Online Exhibits, accessed September 25, 2021,