Kamloops. B.C. 20 Jun 1885 Marcus Smith Letter to his wife cf Riel
Lot 86 in our auction Saturday 10th December 2022
Kamloops B.C June 20/85
My dear Nannie
I leave by steamboat tomorrow morning for Eagle Pass where I shall see Tom and return here in about a week – I am afraid you will not have the boys home from the Northwest for some time as I see Gen. Middleton was not successful in trying to find Big Bear and returned to Fort Pitt on the 13th inst. However he has sent several companies of mounted men after him but it is a very difficult country
From Fort North westward to Lac la Biche is a very pretty country – wooded hills and prairie alternating. The Frog Lake trail leaves the main trail on this route about 35 miles from Battleford and runs northeast to Beaver River – about 10 miles this trail reaches Frog Lake and the whole distance to Beaver River is about 70 miles – all to the north east of this trail is comparatively flat – heavily timbered with numerous lakes and morasses which cannot easily be travelled with horses except on trails only Known to Indians. It is in this country that Big Bear but as he has cattle and women with him he cannot travel fast – –
we made an exploration of all that country in
(1879 I think) Mr. Eberts had charge of the party – we have a good map of it in the office not however shewing Indian trails but only the courses travelled by the party – which they had to chop out –
When Big Bear’s cattle are all consumed he will have to live on fish and small game but he will probably (when he finds points on Beaver River occupied by troops) strike north eastward for Green Lake on the main Hudson Bay Company’s brigade trail to the north – Green Lake (the north end of it) is near a bend of Beaver River about 140 miles from Carleton – to which troops will probably be sent if they don’t catch Big Bear before – I think it is a mistake they did not send Col. Otter with his brigade to catch Big Bear as that brigade seems best fitted for Indian warfare from their rapid marching – but I dare say you would sooner see the boys home – then chasing Indians though it appears they are disappointed in not being allowed to go.
I suppose your “Soldiers” Aid Association is now wound up – There was a long column in one of the “Citizens” you sent shewing all receipts and disbursements – it must have given you a great deal of labour – Who helped you? – I suppose Lettie for if I remember right she is quick at figures – The weather has been cloudy and sultry for the past week with several thunder showers. the first we have had this year – and they have laid the dust some – What is Clarice doing?
Love to all
Transcribed as written