Logged in as user  [Login]  |
Return to Search Results Printable Version

Key Number: HS 21238
Site Name: Frog Lake Massacre Site
Other Names:
Site Type: 1315 - Governmental: Monument, Cairn or Statue
1706 - Funerary: Cemetery


ATS Legal Description:
Twp Rge Mer
56 3 4

Address: near Frog Lake
Near Town:


Type Number Date View


Plan Shape:
Superstructure Cover:
Roof Structure:
Roof Cover:
Exterior Codes:
Exterior: N/A
Interior: N/A
Condition: N/A
Alterations: N/A


Construction: Construction Date:
Massacre occurred
Usage: Usage Date:

Owner: Owner Date:

Architect: N/A
Builder: N/A
Craftsman: N/A
History: Text of Cairn: Northwest rebellion. Frog Lake Massacre 'Here on 2nd April, 1885 Rebel Indians under Big Bear massacred Rev. Father Leon Adelard Fafard O.M.I, Frev. Father Felix Marchand O.M.I., Indigna Agent Thomas Quinn, Farm Instructor John Delaney, John Alexander Gowan Lock, William Campbell Gilchrist, George Dill, Charles Gouin, John Willis Croft. They took prisoners Mrs. Theresa Delaney, Mrs. Theresa Gowanlock.
* * *
Heritage Significance:
During the initial stages of the Riel Rebellion 1885 nine people were killed at Frog Lake. These people were: John Delany (farm instructor), Thomas Quinn (sub-Indian agent), George Dill (fur trader), Father Fefard (of Notre Dame du bon Conseil), J. Gowanlock (carpenter at saw and grist mill), Father March (a visiting priest from Onion Lake), William Craft (carpenter at mission). The settlement had apparently not considered itself in great danger despite the warning of Constable Wm. Anderson and several Indians. The preceding day April 1, the NWMP detachment withdrew to Fort Pitt on the advice of the settlement who felt that the presence of the detachment could excite the Indians. Early in the morning of April 2, the white people gave up their arms to the Indians. The eye witness account of Wm. Anderson, Mrs. Delany and Mrs. Gowanlock defeat the erroneously held opinion that Big Bear was the major catalyst in the killing. From these accounts it seems that fewer than twenty braves were inclined to violence. Kahweechetwaymot (the man who speaks our language or man talking to another) Wandering Spirits Ismasis were the most adamant in the group. Seven of the nine people killed are buried in a small cemetery near a historic cairn erected at Frog Lake.
* * *
Text written by 'Publicity Bureau', June 7, 1956:
This old mill wheel is one of the few relics of the frontier village of Frog Lake, burned to the ground by Plains Cree Indians April 2, 1885. They killed all white male residents, excepting only William B.
Cameron, Hudson's Bay trader. They took captive the only white women, Mrs. Delaney and Mrs. Gowanlock, wife of the miller, and fled to the forests south and east of the lake. After two months the ladies were rescued by the Alberta Field Force.
* * *
Frog Lake Massacre
Sign erected on Highway 16, near Kitscoty, 3 November 1976:
On the morning of April 2, 1885, tragedy struck the settlement of Frog Lake, thirty-five miles north of here. Stirred up by news of rebellion some young men in Big Bear's band of Cree Indians attacked the settlement. Within a few minutes two priests and seven employees of the government were dead. After looting the village the Cree moved east and successfully attacked Fort Pitt. The Indians skillfully evaded a pursuing military force and surrendered only after the collapse of the North West Rebellion at Batoche.
* * *
1977 Interpretive Display:
Historical Background
Briefly, the settlement of Frog Lake consisted of a Hudson's Bay Company fur trade post, a Roman Catholic mission of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate and a Government of Canada school of agriculture. On the morning of April 2nd, 1885, Cree warriors from Chief Big Bear's band attacked the white settlement killing nine men and taking two women captive. Although Big Bear was active in the North West Rebellion, the massacre at Frog Lake was carried out against his wishes.
The Frog Lake massacre is the only documented action of the rebellion of 1885 to have occurred within the present boundary of Alberta.
Historically, then, the site must be considered to be of at least provincial, if not national significance.

Existing Use and Facilities
There is no information available regarding the existing use pattern for the site. There are, however, two signs directing the public to the site. Just east of the intersection of Highway 897 and the Sputinow Road, a sign indicates that it is two miles to 'Frog Lake Historical Site.' On Highway 16 at the intersection of Highway 897, the historical point of interest sign states that the massacre site is 35 miles north.
The federal property consists of a page wire fence, eight grave markers and a large cairn. The fence, markers and grounds require some repair and upgrading. Between Massacre Street and the south boundary of the federal property is a small upgraded parking area and turn-off. It has space for five automobiles. A barbed wire fence and two historical site signs from the provincial parks branch are the only visible manmade features on the provincial property an area of 3.84 acres.

* * *
Plaque status: Plaqued in 1924. Administered by Parks Canada.
Site of Cree uprising, Northwest Rebellion 1885.


Status: Status Date:

Designation Status: Designation Date:
Federally Designated
Provincial Historic Resource
Record Information: Record Information Date:
K. Williams 1989/07/17


Alberta Register of Historic Places: 4665-0229
Return to Search Results Printable Version

Freedom to Create. Spirit to Achieve.

Home    Contact Us    Login   Library Search

© 1995 - 2021 Government of Alberta    Copyright and Disclaimer    Privacy    Accessibility