IN the meantime father was
delighted with what he saw.
Here in the wilderness was
the beginning of Christian civilization. Mr. Steinhauer had built a mission
house and school-house, and also assisted quite a number of Indians to build
comfortable houses. Quite a settlement had sprung up, and this mission
seemed to have a bright future.
Of course, the bulk of all
effort had rested on the missionary, but he proved equal to his work.
Preacher, judge, doctor, carpenter, sawyer, timber- man, fisherman, hunter,
and besides this a great deal of travel in that country of long distances.
Mr. Steinhauer had his time fully occupied.
Here we met Benjamin
Sinclair, who had come into the Saskatchewan country as assistant to the
Rev. Robert Rundel, who was the first missionary of any church to the tribes
of this western country.
Benjamin was a swampy
half-breed from the Hudson's Bay region. Big, strong and honest, and a
mighty hunter, was old Ben Sinclair. In his use of English he made "r" "n,"
and "t" 'd," and used "he" for "she." For instance (introducing us to his
wife), he said, "He very fine woman, my Mangened" (Margaret being his wife's
He had settled close to the
Mission, and was a great help to the missionary. Side by side these worthies
labored, and side by side sorrowing families and a sorrowing people some
years later laid them to rest.
A few hours after our
arrival, "the Hawk" and a few of the Indians whose families we had passed at
Saddle Lake came in.
They had returned from their
hunt and had been successful, and brought Mr. Steinhauer some of the meat.
They had been attacked by a crowd of Indians, who turned out to be friends
from Maskepetoon's camp, and thus they brought us word of the whereabouts of
the chief and his people, whom father was most anxious to see before he
returned to Norway House.
Accordingly it was arranged
that we should meet some fifteen or twenty days later on the plains
"somewhere." This was very indefinite, but as near as you could plan under
the conditions of the time.
Mr. Steinhauer would go with
his people, and joining those at Saddle Lake, cross the Saskatchewan and on
to the plains and buffalo; and we would go to Smoking Lake, and finding Mr.
Woolsey, would then strike out also for the plains and buffalo, and there we
hoped to meet in a large gathering before long.