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The People


George McDougall began his mission work for the Methodist Church in northern Ontario. With this experience he was “imprinted for life with the conviction of the natives’ helplessness, before the rapacity, treachery of unprincipled and thoughtless whites and the demonstrated indifference of government.” (Susan Jackel) Concern for the welfare of the indigenous peoples of Western Canada became the motivation for his life’s work.

After two years at Rossville Mission in Manitoba, George was chosen to be Superintendent of all the Northwestern Methodist Missions. In 1862 he established a Mission called Victoria beside the North Saskatchewan River. This Mission thrived until a smallpox epidemic devastated both the native encampments and the McDougall family. They resettled at Fort Edmonton. There George built the first church outside of the Fort in 1872. Also in 1872 he scouted the Morleyville location.


In 1876 George was at Morleyville helping his son John hunt buffalo to supply food for the mission. After the hunt he did not arrive back at the camp. A cairn now marks the Nose Creek location where his body was found, two weeks later. His funeral was at the Morleyville Mission Church; he is buried in the nearby Wesley Cemetery.


John was the oldest son of the McDougall family. He spent his earliest years among the natives of his father’s missions. He spoke Cree before he spoke English and was proficient in other languages as well. He often acted as interpreter for his father George. 


John was adept in a wide range of frontier skills. This put him in good stead with the native people; he often hunted with them and shared their campfires. In 1865, he married Abigail Steinhauer, daughter of Cree missionary Rev. Henry Bird Steinhauer. Many natives trusted John, at a time of tension between natives and non-natives.


In 1871, hearing John’s assurances of fair treatment by the incoming Canadian authorities, Chief Sweetgrass is said to have replied: “We believe you, John. You belong to us…. we have listened to you because of what you said, but more because of the way you have spoken even in our own language and as one of our selves.”


John was ordained in 1872. After his father’s death in 1876, he succeeded him as Superintendent of Methodist Missions for the District. At his funeral in 1917, Jonas Big Stoney said: “We always found him faithfully doing his duty. He was our friend and brother, and we had faith in him and his teachings”.



John’s younger brother, David, was a “free trader” who originally worked for the Hudson’s Bay Company. He led the Oxcart Brigade used to transport goods between Fort Garry (Winnipeg) and Fort Edmonton. 


In 1874, David brought his family, provisions, horses and cattle to Morleyville. These were the first cattle to arrive in the area. This was important as the buffalo herds were dwindling, and the land was more suitable for cattle than for cultivation. David became a rancher. He also established a trading post just east of the Mission at Morleyville and organized the supply route to Fort Benton in Montana.

David also helped other families move to Morleyville. Howard Sibbald describes his experience: “After all was ready we pulled out in regular order on our journey across the prairies. Our friend, Mr. David McDougall was our captain, pilot and engineer and sometimes fireman, too, and he fired us up pretty lively at times. He whooped and hollered and gave us the war cry and on we went, day after day and week after week – every night pitching our tent a day’s march nearer home. In this way we walked a remarkable two-thirds of the trip.”


At the invitation of Reverend George McDougall, in 1875, Andrew Sibbald and his family left Ontario for Morleyville. Originally trained as a carpenter, Andrew had lost his hand in an accident, and retrained as a teacher. He used both skill sets at the Mission. For many years, he taught in the school and Sunday School.


Andrew’s portable sawmill was the first in the district. He not only assisted with the building of the Morley church, he also helped supply lumber for the first church to be built in Calgary, floating it down the Bow to its destination. He died in 1943 at the age of 101. He is buried in the Stoney Cemetery at Morley.



Elizabeth Chantler was raised a Quaker in England. She met her future husband, George McDougall, at a Wesleyan Methodist Revival Meeting in eastern Canada. She married George in 1842 and became a strong supporter of his work with native peoples. Often alone but not easily discouraged, she carried on in spite of great hardship and isolation. 

During the smallpox epidemic in the 1870s, Elizabeth lost two daughters, her adopted daughter and a daughter-in-law. She remained in Morleyville after her husband’s death and lived with her youngest son, George. Shortly after, George Jr. went to Montana to purchase cattle. He was not heard from for many months; finally word came he had succumbed to pneumonia. 


Elizabeth had the ability to instill courage in others and was a source of strength to many early pioneer women. She spent the rest of her life in Morleyville, tending to the sick and mothering all in need. She died in 1903. Six Stoney chiefs stepped forward to carry her casket; they carried it into the Mission Church crowded with natives and non-natives waiting to show their



Jacob Goodstoney (Ki-Chi-Pwot) was born in the 1820s near the source of the Brazeau River, close to what is now Jasper National Park. The Reverend Robert Rundle met Jacob during his travels and introduced him to Christianity. When the settlers arrived in Morleyville, Jacob moved there and became good friends with John McDougall. Jacob signed Treaty 7 for his band in 1877, and died in 1885. 


Jacob Goodstoney was the last in a long line of dynastic chiefs, a leader during a time of tremendous change for the Nakoda or Stoney people.


Walking Buffalo (Tatâga Mânî), also know as George McLean, was born in 1871. He attended the school in Morleyville and continued his education in Red Deer, then Winnipeg. He worked for a time as a blacksmith and for the NWMP. 


Walking Buffalo returned to Morley to become a medicine man, councilor and eventually, Chief. He was an actively involved in Banff Indian Days and the Calgary Stampede. Walking Buffalo was known for his skill with people; he was able to relate to people of all ages and races. 


Late in life, as a member of the Moral Re-Armament Movement, he traveled the world to promote peace. John Laurie remembers: “to hear him engage in one of his dissertations made a person ask whether or not one of the ancient philosophers has been reincarnated in this century.” Walking Buffalo died in 1967.

Abigail Steinhauer

John McDougall's first wife, Abigail Steinhauer, was an Ojibwe/Cree woman born in Norway House, Manitoba in 1847. They had three daughters, Flora, Ruth, and Augusta.  Unfortunately, Abigail died in the smallpox epidemic of 1870 at Whitefish Lake, along with three other McDougall family members.

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“Lizzie” married John McDougall in 1872. Travelling from the Red River to the Victoria Mission on the North Saskatchewan, they encountered prairie fire, threatening Sioux, icy rivers, and a fierce blizzard. After their first posting at Pigeon Lake they established the Morley Mission in 1873. Elizabeth and John lived at Morleyville for twenty-five years. Their six children were born there. In 1899 they moved to Calgary. They built a house called Nekenon (Our Home) at 230 6 Ave SW. Here Elizabeth was often visited by her Stoney friends.


“I will never forget that first day. . . The sun was shining brightly as I climbed up another hill a little higher and saw the mountains. I said ‘Oh! What a beautiful place to live.’ Then I thought how lonely for me, so far from my home and loved ones, thousands of miles between us and no way to get to them but by horse. It was different with my husband. He could talk to the Indians in their own language as good as he could talk to me in English. It was then I realized I was a missionary’s wife.” Lizzie McDougall


The daughter of Scottish immigrants, Annie married David McDougall in 1871 in Manitoba. Their honeymoon was a 1,000 mile trip by buckboard to the Victoria Mission on the North Saskatchewan. In 1873 Annie and their first child made the 13 day trip to the Morley Mission in a horse-drawn cariole in weather that often hovered 45 degrees below zero. 


Annie witnessed the last buffalo hunts in the area. She signed Treaty No. 7 at Blackfoot Crossing. She is sometimes described as the first business woman between Fort Garry and the Pacific because she was in charge of her husband’s Morleyville trading post during his long trips away for supplies.



Elizabeth Barrett was a teacher in Ontario when she responded to a call for help in the mission outposts in 1874. Her first assignment was with Rev. Henry Bird Steinhauer at Whitefish Lake Mission, 100 miles northeast of Fort Edmonton, where she learned to speak Cree. She later taught at Morley where she studied the Stoney language and culture. She was one of the official witnesses to Treaty No. 7, signed in 1877. A school in Cochrane is named for her. She is buried with other Morleyville pioneers in the Stoney Cemetery

Information from: The Morleyville Story Document

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