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When i visited Fort Laramie, i was suprised just how much area it covered, but most of all it never looked like what i had imagined a fort would look like. No walls or palistrades, but i was sorry that i could stay longer there.
Terry - I too always thought of a fort as a fortress. Here's Ft Nisqually, Tacoma, WA. built by the Hudson's Bay Co. in 1833. It has been maintained it its original form.
A great many forts in Western Canada without pallisades. Several exceptions, including Fort Woop Up built by whisky traders for the trade ... you guessed it, the trade of whisky. It was the Mounties first job when they made it to the Territories, destroy Fort Woop Up.
The other exception is Fort Langley where the walls resisted a three day siege by local natives.
Of course, there area a great many fortied places in the east. But the easteners were always fighting each other and somebody passing by. Probably still trying to protect themselves from Western Canadians. ???
Dave, I had to look up Ol' Ft. Whoop-up because my curiocity got the best of me. A source said the alcohol was called the 'Whoop up whallop' because that was the sensation you got after drinking the illegal alcohol. They also called it 'Forty Rod' because that's how far (about 440 yds) you could walk before it took effect and impeded one's mobility. "One type of alcohol sold by the Whoop-Up bandits was known as 'Whoop-Up Bug Juice', a highly-prized alcohol spiked with ginger, molasses, and red pepper. It was then coloured with black chewing tobacco, watered down, and boiled to make "firewater." I guess the Indians loved drinking the stuff.
Perhaps you saw the movie or read the book, "The Englishman's Boy". It's a fictional story leading up to the massacre in the Cypress Hills of an Indian tribe by a group of horse traders, wolfers, and whiskey traders. (The story, by the way was very well done and the climax battle was very close to the facts). For many reasons the idea of the Mounted Police was simmering away in Ottawa, but the massacre brought the simmer to a boil.
There area several accounts of the "taking" of Ft. Whoop Up, "Jerry Potts, Paladin of the Plains" by B.D. Fardy, "March of the Mounties" by Sir Cecil E. Denny, but the best one I can't find ... I have it somewhere. It was taken from the diaries of the troopers. It's titled something like "The Incredable Journey." Denny's account uses police records which tend to allow the law men to look as good as possible. Since Denny was a Mountie for many years he tends to allow that sentiment from the records to flower and grow.
The "taking" of the Fort was a bit of an anti-climax. The whiskey traders heard they were coming and headed for Great Falls. There was one, some what happy individual left to allow the Mounties through the gates.
By the way, the Mounties managed to keep legal booze out of the North West Territories for many years after it was necessary. There where, however, methods available for intelligent hotel owners to see their patrons could step up to the bar.
Dave, What does your quote 'after it was necessary' mean?
It means the country was becoming settled and the whiskey trader were only a sometimes problem, much as bootleggers can be today. For twenty years the residents and most of the Federal Ministers pushed for a licensing system that would allow the sale of spirits. The only Federal holdout was the Attorney General at the urging of the NWMP Chief Constable (later Chief Inspector).
The whiskey traders were not difficult to identify, aprenhend and jail. However, once that was done, because of the way it had been managed, everyone with a bottle in his pocket was a "whiskey trader." This led to abuse by drinkers who would have been out looking after their farm if they hadn't been "proving a point" to the "high handed copper."
Eventually ale and beer were allowed, but spirits required an individual "permit of ownership." Thus, each customer in a saloon wound up having one in his pocket to make the bottle sitting in front of him legal.
An integral part of becoming a province was control of such things as the sale of alcohol, mostly due to a court case I cover in my "Great Liquor War" novel. Thus, as long as the North West Territories was a federal entity, the federal police (Mounties) ruled. Once the provinces were formed (Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba) they changed the laws. British Columbia didn't experience this because they went directly from being a British Colony to being a Canadian province. They also had their own police force who proved, right from the beginning, that you could allow spirits in the colony and still elliminate the whiskey traders.
You know what I consider the sad part? We in the U S don't study Canadian history in high school. Here on the west coast we are taught nothing about B C. When we cross the border at Blaine, Wa into B C, its like entering another world, a beautiful one.
Sam, you're right about our ignorance down here about Canada.
Anyway, here's something to illustrate yours and Dave's discussions on Ft. Whoop Up. Many years ago I bought a large ceramic figure of a Mountie (mounted, naturally) as a souvenir on my first visit to Canada (Toronto). Eventually, it broke and was discarded. Years later, i saw a miniature version of the same at a flea market, and bought it as a souvenir of a souvenir. Of course, it was made in Japan. Now, it would be China.
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