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           Here Mrs Gowanlock told me of [her] recent experience.40 They had obeyed the orders of the Indians to go to the camp. She and Mr Gowanlock with Mr and Mrs Delan[e]y walked with the other white people of the community towards the camp on the hill. Firing began without a word from anyone, and one by one all of the white men were killed41 excepting W.H. Cameron42 of the Hudson’s Bay staff, who was allowed to escape. Mrs Gowanlock and Mrs Delaney each sat beside the prostrate form of her husband until dragged away by Indians. They were taken to the outskirts of the camp and left alone, each in a separate tent. The day was cold and wet and here they remained wit[h]out food, until late in the afternoon when John Pritchard,43 the half-breed interpreter for the Indian Department took them to his tent. Only the night before he had advised them that there was nothing to fear … Mrs Delaney performed the work of the camp. Mrs Gowanlock nursed the Pritchard baby of a few months, and also sewed and knitted for the family, sometimes being given her own material to work with which had been looted from her home before it was burned …
         Mrs Gowanlock had come to Frog Lake as a bride a few months before her husband was murdered. Hers was a tragic story as we listened sympathetically to all she had to tell. One tale in particular impressed us because of the touch of what seemed to be supernatural in it. She told how in the evening as the Indian women were preparing the supper on their campfires their attention was attracted by the strange and pretentious appearance of the clouds. To the Indians it seemed as if the little church which had been burnt on the morning of the massacre stood out clearly in the sky. As they gaze in superstitious awe, pointing out the resemblance to each other, the cloud formation changed (as clouds do) and they saw a rider whom they identified as Father Fafard,44 one of th
e massacred priests, approach the church, dismount and enter, turning in the doorway to wa[ve] his hand to them. The evening clouds dispersed but the consternation in the camp increased. Old women wailed their imprecations on the men for the disaster that had overtaken them. Old men upbraided the young braves for their impetuosity on that fatal April morning, when all they wanted was more rations. They had no wish to shed blood. Feig[n]ing indifference the young bucks galloped around to the terror of the women and the general confusion. Bedlam broke loose in the camp that night and no one slept, all believing that the “Great Spirit” had sent them an omen of their defeat.
         After we left for the East the rest of the family moved back to the old home on the hillside which had been badly wrecked. While we were still in the barracks my father45 had made such repairs. He obtained a couple of bedsteads and filled the mattresses from the haystack in the barracks. A blanket tacked firmly on a frame did duty as a door and cotton similarly stretched served as glass in the window frames. The piano, our special pride and delight, had been ruthlessly pounded by the rebel invaders. On more than one evening before Colonel Otter arrived, the sentry near the barracks had heard the strange wild “music” ... It was our sole surviving household possession. Our loss had been severe. Still there was no time for repining …
         My father lost no time in restoring the Saskatchewan Herald46 to publication after the relief of the Fort. In fact the files show that the continuity was never seriously interrupted. The issue of April 3rd already mentioned, told the grim story of the rising, and on May 3rd the regular record was resumed. The leading article of the seige opened with the words: “One short month ago the fairest field in Canada was the Saskatchewan country; today it is most desolate …”
         The first issue was a single sheet, leading off with the caption: “Poundmaker-invites a conflict and gets it. The editorial article is headed “It might have been worse” and closes with the brief but eloquent paragraph “The garrison is relieved, the people safe. Thank God.”

 
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University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. 2006. E-mail me