Who was James Mowat?

Taken from the Fort Saskatchewan Record on June 5, 2009 (article by Tessa Clayton / Record Staff)

James Mowat was of Metis descent and originally from St. Andrews, Manitoba, but travelled to what was then called the North West Territories (today's Alberta) with his father in 1881. He worked on the farm and also delivered messages for the North West Mounted Police (NWMP) in Fort Saskatchewan.

During the time period of the Riel Rebellion - where Natives were displeased with the Canadian government and white settlers - the captain at the NWMP headquarters in the Fort believed that First Nations people in the area were also thinking of joining the fight. He needed to send a message to the Calgary headquarters, asking for more armed reinforcements.

Mowat volunteered to undertake the long, dangerous journey and completed it in an amazing three days, stopping only to change horses.

After delivering his message and reassured that help was on it's way, Mowat again saddled up and trekked back to Fort Saskatchewan in record time. While there never was an uprising in the area, Mowat's bravery and selflessness was recognized in history.

Mowat moved back to Manitoba in the late 1890's where he served with the NWMP and lived out the rest of his life.