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ARCHIVED - " Without Fear, Favour or Affection:" The Men of the North West Mounted Police

Further Research

Library and Archives Canada, Royal Canadian Mounted Police Records

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) transfer historical records to the custody of Library and Archives Canada (LAC) on a regular basis. Unfortunately, the earliest records of the North West Mounted Police (NWMP) were destroyed by a fire in the West Block in 1897. For the late 1880s and 1890s and the last years of the NWMP, however, the files are abundant. They include correspondence and reports on a vast array of topics, some internal to the administration and operations of the NWMP, as well as crime files, investigations and so on.

Records created in the Commissioner's Office include letterbooks of correspondence with the comptroller in Ottawa from about 1881 on. These include letterbooks for interim Commissioner William Osborne Smith (1873-74) and Commissioners George French (1874-76) and Lawrence Herchmer (1886-1900). The series also includes subject files, and some crime indexes and reports dating from the early 1880s.

Surviving records of the Office of the Comptroller consist of letterbooks from 1883 to 1904, and official correspondence, some dating from the 1870s, although most of the records postdate the mid-1880s. A series of Headquarters central registry files dating from 1883 to well beyond 1904 includes files on administrative and operational matters, including crime reports.

Some NWMP Divisional records are also available for research, including daily journals of patrols, local orders, weekly reports to the Commissioner's Office, letterbooks and related correspondence. These records, most dating from the mid-1880s to the late 1890s, are extant for the following divisions:

  • Depot (Regina)
  • "C" (Battleford)
  • "D" (Fort Macleod and Fort Steele)
  • "E" (Calgary)
  • "F" (Prince Albert)
  • "G" (Fort Saskatchewan).

Similar records are available for "B" Division (Dawson) and for the Vancouver Office of the NWMP, which was responsible for supplying the Yukon between 1898 and 1901.

General Orders (GOs), issued on a near daily basis by the Commissioner, are available for the NWMP on the prairies and in the Yukon. The GOs record personnel movements, including new recruits, discipline, changes in regulations, and so on.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Quarterly, published since 1933, contains historical articles and news about the Mounted Police, including obituaries of individual members. The Quarterly for many years carried an "Old Timer's Column" and news and stories about members of the NWMP were regularly featured.

Annual Reports of the North West Mounted Police, 1874-1904

The published annual reports of the NWMP contain much information about the administration, policies, and operations of the Mounted Police from the mid-1870s to 1904. The reports include a summary report by the commissioner and individual reports from every division, and from Mounted Police doctors and veterinarians.

Commanding officers of divisions were required to report annually on a number of subjects, including the general state of the district, crops and ranches, roads and bridges. They listed patrols, and crime statistics. They detailed the help given to federal departments (Customs, Indian Affairs), railway companies, settlers and immigrants. They gave information on the men in their command -- recruits, physique, discipline and conduct, training, health, kit and clothing, arms and accoutrements, desertions, barracks, canteens, water supply and so on. They also detailed the division's horses, saddlery and harness, wagons, forage, stables, and equipment.

The reports are comprehensive often exceeding 350 pages in length. They are a testament to the care with which the Mounted Police involved themselves in the communities they served, and to the men and horses that made it possible. While individual members are not always named in the annual reports, they are an important source of information for understanding the work of the NWMP from 1873 to 1904.

The reports also include a list of divisions and the location of each division's detachments. They list the cases tried in the Territories, an excellent summary of the kinds of crime faced by the NWMP in their day-to-day work.

Bibliography

General

Atkin, Ron. Maintain the Right: The Early History of the North West Mounted Police, 1873-1900. Toronto: Macmillan, 1973.

Baker, William M. Pioneer Policing in Southern Alberta: Deane of the Mounties, 1888-1914. Calgary: Historical Society of Alberta, 1993.

Baker, William M., ed. The Mounted Police and Prairie Society, 1873-1919. Regina: Canadian Plains Research Center, 1998.

Beahen, William, and Stan Horrall. Red Coats on the Prairies: The North-West Mounted Police, 1886-1900. Regina: Centax Books, 1998.

Chambers, Ernest J. The Royal North West Mounted Police: A Corps History. Montreal: Mortimer Press, 1906.

Dempsey, Hugh, ed. Men in Scarlet. Calgary: McClelland and Stewart West, 1974.

Macleod, R.C. The North West Mounted Police and Law Enforcement, 1873-1905. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1976.

Stewart, Robert. Sam Steele: Lion of the Frontier. Regina: Centax Books, 1999.

Turner, John Peter. The North West Mounted Police, 1873-1893. 2 vols. Ottawa: King's Printer, 1950.

Walden Keith. Visions of Order: The Canadian Mounties in Symbol and Myth. Toronto: Butterworth, 1982.

Wallace, Jim. A Double Duty: The Decisive First Decade of the North-West Mounted Police. Winnipeg: Bunker to Bunker Books, 1997.

Published Reminiscences and Memoirs:

Dempsey, Hugh A. William Parker: Mounted Policeman. Calgary: Glenbow-Alberta Institute, 1973.

D'Artigue, Jean. Six Years in the Canadian North-West. Toronto: Hunter, 1882.

Deane, R. Burton. Mounted Police Life in Canada: A Record of Thirty-one Years' Service.

Denny, Cecil. The Law Marches West. Toronto: J.M. Dent, 1972.

Donkin, John C. Trooper and Redskin in the Far North West: recollections of life in the North-West Mounted Police, Canada, 1884-1888. London: Sampson, Low, Marston, Searle and Rivington, 1889.

Dwight, Charles P. Life in the North-West Mounted Police and Other Sketches. Toronto: National Publishing Company, 1892.

Fitzpatrick, F.J.E. Sergeant 331: Personal Recollections of a Member of the Canadian Northwest Mounted Police from 1879-1885. New York: the author, 1921.

Haultain, Henrietta D. With the Mounties in the Boot and Saddle Days: An Original Account of Life in the Early West. Fort Macleod: Riders of the Plains Commemorative Association, 2005.

Nevitt, R.B. A Winter at Fort Macleod. Edited by Hugh Dempsey. Calgary: Glenbow-Alberta Institute, 1974.

Steele, Samuel B. Forty Years in Canada: Reminiscences of the Great North-West with Some Account of His Service in South Africa. Winnipeg: R. Lang, 1915.

NWMP in the Rebellion

Brown, Wayne F. Steele's Scouts: Samuel Benfield Steele and the North-West Rebellion. Surrey, B.C.: Heritage House Publishing, 2001.

Stonechild, Blair, and Bill Waiser. Loyal Till Death: Indians and the North-West Rebellion, Calgary: Fifth House, 1997.

Wallace, Jim. A Trying Time: The North-West Mounted Police in the 1885 Rebellion. Winnipeg: Bunker to Bunker Books, 1998.

NWMP in the Yukon

Coates, Ken, and William R. Morrison. Strange Things Done: Murder in Yukon History. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2004.

Dobrowolsky, Helene. Law of the Yukon: The Pictorial History of the Mounted Police in the Yukon. Whitehorse: Lost Moose, 1995.

Morrison, William R. Showing the Flag: The Mounted Police and Canadian Sovereignty in the North, 1894-1925. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1985.

Wallace, Jim. Forty Mile to Bonanza: The North-West Mounted Police in the Klondike Gold Rush. Calgary: Bunker to Bunker Publishing, 2000.

NWMP in South Africa

Miller, Carman. Painting the Map Red: Canada and the South African War, 1899-1902. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1993.

Wallace, Jim. No Colours, No Drums: Canadians in the South African Constabulary. Calgary: Bunker to Bunker Publishing, 2003.

Uniforms, Arms and Accoutrements

Boulton, James J. Head-Dress of the Canadian Mounted Police, 1873-2000. Calgary: Bunker to Bunker Publishing, 2000.

Boulton, James J. Uniforms of the Canadian Mounted Police. North Battleford: Turner-Warwick Publications, 1990.

Phillips, R., and Donald J. Klancher. Arms & Accoutrements of the Mounted Police, 1873-1973. Bloomfield: Museum Restoration Service, 1982.

Horses

Kelly, William and Nora. The Horses of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police: A Pictorial History. Toronto: Doubleday, 1984.