Central Ave, Swift Current c1930 Swift Current GenWeb home page

History



First Nations:

Blackfoot would be in this area throughout most of the 1700s and they migrated south and west. The Gros Ventres would be found in this area in the early 1800s who moved southward around 1815 and then there would be Plains Cree in this area.

Before 1850, this area was accessed through the Fort Walsh - Moose Jaw, Boundary Commission Trail, and Fort Walsh - Fort Qu'Appelle Trails. In the late 1800s Fort Walsh - Red Deer Forks, Maple Creek - Red Deer Forks, Fort Benton - Fort Walsh, Red Deer Forks - Swift Current and Fort Walsh - Maple Creek - Swift Current Trails also served this area. The Fort Walsh - Wood Mountain Trail was used at the turn of the century.

The Swift Current Gen Web Region has the unique geographical feature of Cypress Hills which contains the site of Fort Walsh and a rich and colorful history. For years Cypress Hills was a sacred area where peaceful meetings could take place. Around the 1860's, Cypress Hills was known as 'Whoop Up' country.

This was essentially a Blackfoot area, with American traders of Fort Whoop Up, Fort SlideOut, Fort Standoff, Fort Robber's Roost, and Fort Whiskey Gap. Cree, Assiniboine and Mountain Stoneys were also affected with the trade of whisky and rapid fire weapons at this time. "Wolfers" (hunters and trappers) as well as American traders met in this area.

1873 saw M├ętis settling in the hills where a previous Hudson Bay Company fort had been built by Isaac Cowie in 1871. Isaac Cowie is better known for his writings in The Company of Adventurers. This area called Chapel Coulee was later named Chimney Coulee marking the remains of the chimneys of this settlement.

On June 1, 1873, Wolfers from Fort Hamilton following up on horse thieves massacred about 16 Nakoda (Assiniboine) people. This became known as the Cypress Hills Massacre.

By 1876, the only Bison left to sustain the first nation traditional life style were to be found in the Cypress Hill area. Following the Battle of Little Big Horn, Ta-tanka-I-yotank (Sitting Bull) and 4,000 Hunkpapa Sioux refugees headed north to Cypress Hills.

Fort Walsh (built in 1875) gave law enforcement to this area as a base for the Royal Mounted Police in 1878.

(Source: Dickason, Olive Patricia. Canada's First Nations, A History of Founding Peoples from Earlist Times Second Edition. Oxford University Press. Don Mills, Ontario. ISBN 0-19-541358-X PBK 0-19-541227-3 BOUND. 1997)

More Info...

First Nations:
Saskatchewan Genealogy Roots
Jean Louis Legare of Wood Mountain and Willow Bunch

Fort Walsh: [Site 1] [Site 2]
Cypress Hills: [Site 1] [Site 2] [Site 3] [A Virtual Field Trip of Cypress Hills]



Settlement:

The 1863 report of John Palliser that the Great American Desert extended North of the United States border into Canada forming the Palliser triangle discouraged homesteading settlement in this area. Southern Saskatchewan, known as the Provisional District of Assiniboia, North West Territories (Map from the Atlas of Saskatchewan) prior to 1905 is represented by Swift Current, Moose Jaw, and Weyburn GenWeb Regions hosted many American ranchers.

In the late 1800s Americans from Texas, Montana, and Arizona herded cattle to the Cypress Hills, Big Muddy Area. Manitoba Land Investments Corporation was an American land company.

American ranching companies were established in Southern Saskatchewan between 1881 and 1906 after the decline of the buffalo and Canadian leasehold legislation was passed to promote ranching, some of the company names were:
Olivier's Ranch NW 15-41-25 on Fort Qu'Appelle Touchwood Trail,
McKinzies' Ranch near Basin Lake,
Venne Ranch in Menaginous Hills,
Turkey Track (A.J. Tony Day) one of several ranches near Hallonquist, Sk,
the "76" near Swift Current (10 ranches of the "76" between Swift Current and Calgary, Ab of these 10 ranches they were mainly between Maple Creek, Sk and the U.S. Canada border),
Matador Murdo MacKenzie north of Rush Lake,
Gull Lake Ranching Company (of James G. Millar),
Circle Diamond spread in the flat of Frenchman Creek, and
Wayne Ranch (run by Campbell McCutcheon).

American ranches prospered around Swift Current, Medicine Hat, and Maple Creek, supplying horses for the Boer War in 1900 and for the 1896 Klondike Gold Rush. Many Montana Ranchers in the Eastend area left after the devastating winter of 1906-07.

(Source: Richards, J.R., Fung, K.I. Atlas of Saskatchewan. Modern Press, Saskatoon, Sk. 1969)

More Info...

About Eastend
History of Eastend
Saskatchewan and Its People - Cattle Ranching
- The Truth About the Cowboy
- Sheep
- Hogs
- Terrible Losses of a Cattle Company
Shaunavon - History - Boomtown 1913
The History of Ranching in the Great Sand Hills
History Gull Lake
Legend of Badass Jack



Misc. Historical Links:

Doc's Town Heritage Village depicts a small prairie town in the early days of the twentieth century. Several original buildings, thousands of original artifacts and many volunteer staff provide visitors with a fascinating glimpse of "the way it was".

List of Post Offices in the Swift Current GenWeb region and the dates they were established.

Saskatchewan Gen Web - Search Saskatchewan Place Names

National Archives - Archivia Net - Postal Archives
We have striven to ensure the accuracy of all information on this site by exercising due diligence. This Saskatchewan GenWeb - Search Saskatchewan Place Names is not made in affiliation with or with endorsement of the National Archives of Canada. This information is provided for non-commercial purposes and to assist in personal research so it is published here under the guidelines for non-commercial Reproduction.


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