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Short, James “Timous, (Little Dog)”.1 (b.

1834)
James “Timous” Short also called James Mass, was the son of Jacques Short (b. 1810) and
Marie Charlotte Gladu. His parents James (Jacques) Short and Charlotte Gladu (1806-1847)
were married on November 27, 1832 in St. Boniface. Charlotte was the daughter of Charles
Gladu and Marguerite Ross.
James married Mathilde McGillis (b. 1842) the daughter of Alexandre Giroux dit McGillis
and Marguerite Mindemoyien Potino Bottineau, on September 13, 1861 at St. François Xavier.
James had HBC lot 1484 before moving west. They lived at Lot 9 (T45-1-3) in the St. Laurent
Settlement on the South Saskatchewan River.
In 1859, James Short was one of the guides with the Earl of Southesk. Southesk says that
Short drove their cart on the trip from Crow Wing to Fort Garry, under the supervision of their
guide James McKay, a cousin. From Fort Garry westward, Short’s cousin John McKay was the
head guide. James Short was the party's best hunter, “a perfect shot with either gun, arrow, stick,
or stone.” Short, with his “showy dashing air,” impressed Southesk as “ready to do aught that
might become a man.”2 Southesk describes James Short: “Then Short, formed like a Greek
statue, strong and very active, but of not great height, wearing a handsome pouch of leather,
ornamented with blue and white beads.” (p. 203)3
James was Captain of one of the 19 Companies led by Gabriel Dumont during the 1885
Northwest Resistance. He was sentenced to seven years in prison for these activities. This family
relocated to Montana along with the Parenteaus and Dumonts after the Resistance.

Children of James Short Jr, and Mathilde McGillis:


 Justine, born September 27, 1862. She married Ambroise Dumont, the son of Jean “Petit”
Dumont and Domtilde Gravelle.
 James, born December 23, 1863 at SFX, died 1866.
 Marie Mattilde, born 1865 St. François Xavier, married Charles Emond Ouellette the son
of Pierre Ouelette and Marguerite Gingras.
 David, born August 24, 1867. He married Sarah Ross, the daughter of Daniel Ross and
Catherine Delorme.
 Modeste, born 1869, died 1873.
 Bernard, born circa 1872 at Prince Albert, he married Madeleine Parenteau on March 31,
1902 in Malta, Montana. She was the daughter of Elie Parenteau and Marguerite
Lafournaise born at Big Timber, Montana.
 Joseph Andre, born March 23, 1873, at St. Laurent, died May 3, 1886.

1
A signator to the November 19th, 1883, William Bremner petition from St. Louis de Langevin for a survey and
patents to their land.
2
At the age of 32, James Carnegie, the 9th Earl of Southesk, travelled to Canada from his native Scotland in 1859,
after being advised that it would improve his health that had deteriorated following the death of his wife. He wrote
that the reason for his journey was to, "travel in some part of the world where good sport could be met with among
the larger animals, and where, at the same time, I might recruit my health by an active open-air life in a healthy
climate." The Earl travelled though the United States to St. Paul, Minnesota and crossed the prairies, hunting buffalo
along the way.
3
Southesk, James Carneigie. Saskatchewan and the Rocky Mountains: A diary and narrative of travel, sport, and
adventure during a journey through the Hudson's Bay Company's territories, in 1859 and 1860. Edinburgh:
Edmonston and Douglas, 1874.

1
 Isabelle, born August 3, 1874 at La Petite Ville (Fish Creek). She married Cap Costello,
then Jean Sansregret in 1903 at Malta Montana. Jean was the son of Pierre Sansregret dit
Beaubrillant and Caroline Parenteau.
 Joseph, born 1876 at Batoche. He married Hélène Ducharme on July 28, 1902 in Malta,
Montana.
 Marie Marguerite, born 1877 at Batoche. She married Peter Taylor Sr. the son of Herbert
Taylor and Mary Anne McDonald,
 Veronique, born September 28, 1879 at Duck Lake, she married Joseph Daunais (Doney)
on April 14, 1903 in Malta, Montana. He was the son of Joseph Daunais and Marie
Angelique Morin.
 Jean Baptiste, born August 30, 1883 at Batoche. He married Delia Allary on February 7,
1910 in Malta, Montana. She was the daughter of andre Allery Jr. and Marie Marcellais.
 George Alcide, born 1884, at St. Louis, Saskatchewan.

James Short was the Metis hero of the fighting at Tourond’s Coulee (Fish Creek). His heroics
resulted in reporter Barry Fay writing an account of the battle for the Irish Canadian newspaper.
The sub-title to this article was “James Short and not Gabriel Dumont, the Hero of the Hour.”4

On the day of the fight at Fish Creek Dumont led a detachment of about 180 men up the
river on a reconnoitering expedition. This force was resting on the bank of the creek, and a
portion of them were dismounted, when the advance guard of Middleton’s troops and
artillery came in sight and commenced firing. The rebels returned the fire; and the main
body of the troops soon coming into action, the mounted rebels, with Gabriel Dumont at
their head, rode away, deserting those who were on foot. These later, 62 in number, ran into
a ravine, and during the whole day resisted the Government troops. This little force was
commanded by James Short, now in the Manitoba penitentiary; and it was he, and not
Gabriel who was plainly heard all day shouting: “Courage, mes enfans. Tres bien, mes
braves.” The mounted men under Dumont halted two miles from where the fight was raging,
killed a steer, and had diner. I may here say that n the early part of the fight Short began the
rosary; and his men, while busily “plying their rifles,” piously shouted the responses.
Finding after a time that this praying aloud drew the fire of the troops they desisted. It will
be remembered that in the first newspaper reports of this fight it was stated that the rebels in
the beginning were shouting to each other, but soon ceased and fought in silence. This
explains the incident. Meanwhile some one rode to Batoche, where the reports of the cannon
fire where plainly heard, and told the inhabitants that Dumont’s force was surrounded and
would inevitably be cut to pieces or captured. Riel on this ordered them all to join in prayer;
but he told it was not the time for prayer; that aid should be at once sent to their men at the
front. The women whose husbands and sons were away were especially clamorous. 5
4
Barry Fay, The Irish Canadian, Vol. XXIII –No. 41, October 8, 1888, page 1. I am grateful to David Shortt of
North Battleford, Saskatchewan for giving me this reference.
5
In Marguerite Caron’s account: Caron’s wife had heard the shooting like the others. Her husband and her sons
were at the coulee. She came to the houses to get the news, and when they arrived ‘How come you are here?’ She
asks of Riel. ‘Do you have news?’ – ‘No news- Are you going to get some?—They aren’t all dead since we can hear
them firing. Aren’t you going to see!’ Another soldier arrived, Maxime Poitras—‘Where are your people? Are they
coming? Oh no! They are surrounded like that in the coulee (making a circle with her thumb and index finger)
‘What are you picking up here?—Ammunition?’ She said to Riel: ‘Why aren’t you going to see? Who will bring
them ammunition? Not just one young man. What are you all doing here?— A gang who passes their time looking

2
Dumont’s sister bared her arms, seized a hunting knife, and declared she would lead the
women to the rescue if Riel and the men were cowards. Stung by her words 80 men mounted
their horses and rode off to battle. These met Dumont’s force returning, and were told by
Gabriel that it was no use in going further; but he was not heeded, and the whole force
united and went on to Fish Creek.6 About half past six Short and his little baody of rebels
were exhausted with hunger and cold. It began to snow, and they were all day standing in
water up to their knees, and had decided to make a rush out of the ravine into the woods,
when they heard a report of a gun in their rear. This was followed by three other reports,
and they knew help was coming. Short then ordered his men to extend and shout, so as to
give the appearance ofaq large force. The men who came to their assistance dismounted and
rushed into the ravine, also shouting and the troops made a sudden retreat – so sudden that
B battery left one of their guns and rode away without it.

Father Cloutier’s journal has the following entry with regard to Short’s particpation at Duck
Lake:

La lère fois j'ai vu Tom Mackay, c'est le seul que j'ai vu - Il y avait trop de bruit; déjà les
autres s'en retournaient et j'ai dit: Tom Mackay, arrête donc. Je veux te parler. Il n'a pas
arrêté - Je le poursuis à cheval pour lui parler et les soldats pointent leur fusil sur moi - Ne
tirez pas, que je dis - Arrête donc, qu'on te parle - Tom Mackay se sauve toujours et dit: tu
vas savoir tout à l'heure, et il s'est sauvé de même –

Sur cela Gabriel Dumont arrive - Je dis à Gabriel ne tire pas; un coup part en l'air - On a
arrêté là; on craignait qu'en allant trop loin ils nous prendraient-Patrice Fleury était là - Ils
s'en sont allés chercher la force, les canons, et sont revenus - Sont agreyés (i.e. lui et Dumont
vont chercher) le monde pour aller les rencontrer - Les polices s'arrêtent en voyant les
cavaliers métis éclaireurs. Les jeunes gens (16 cavaliers partis à cheval) partent en avant à la
course et arrivent - Il était un de ces cavaliers - Les cavaliers s'arrêtent à quelques 100 pas de
la clôture, en voyant les polices déjà dételés et se répandant déjà sur le terrain – et les Métis
courent dans un petit bas-fond -

around. Go find them. You would do better to go yelling on the other side—you would get strength.’ Riel said—‘Do
not get angry without reason; you would do better to pray for them—go up to the chapel and pray.’ She answered: ‘I
don’t want to pray the way I am now, I‘m too angry.’ The people from the Council were there—she said to them,
‘Get dressed to go help them. You were more ready to charge ahead and loot stores than going to help our people
that are in risk there. If you don’t want to go, tell me, I will go to see if they are alive, yes or no.’
Jean Dumont’s wife (Domitilde Gravelle) offered her wagon to Jean Caron’s wife and also offered to
accompany her.
Old Pierre Parenteau said: ‘Go home—I will go see, me.’ … and many went to the rescue of those surrounded in the
coulee.
6
In Edouard Dumont’s account: “After traveling for a while they meet 60 men on horseback who had happened to
be on the left bank. (In the morning, no one had been willing to leave with him). Again Gabriel says it is useless for
them to go. But an Indian by the name of Yellow Blanket says to Gabriel:
“Uncle, when one wants to go and rescue his friends, he does not wait for the next day.”
Edouard [Dumont] agrees:
“Yes I wanted to go to their rescue; we must go.”
Gabriel agrees. They return to Fish Creek and they say:
“This time, no one will run away.” Gabriel, Edouard and Yellow Blanket walk behind to prevent anyone
from deserting.”

3
Il encourage ses gens à ne pas tirer les premiers - Le sauvage, arrivant en arrière, il
fonce en suivant la clôture, démonte, et veut piller un fusil - Les Anglais ont tiré (rien qu'un
coup; Joe Mackay, on dit) i.e. on dit que c'était Jos Mackay - Ensuite décharge générale et
/coup de/ canon - quand leur décharge /fut/ finie, on a tiré à notre tour - Tirer pas longtemps,
la ½ d'une pipe (i.e. le temps de fumer une demi-pipe) - et déjà les soldats se sauvent - On
commence à courir après eux - Laissez-les, laissez-les, dit Riel- Pendant la bataille, Riel
criait pour le Bon Dieu et tenait sa croix en l'air - On a foncé sur le monde qu'on a tué pour
empêcher les sauvages de les piller - Le lendemain, on a envoyé une lettre pour leur
demander de venir chercher leurs gens - Ils ne sont pas venus tout de suite - Alors on a été
les ramasser nous autres - et on les a mis dans une maison - Une a parti leur dire de venir les
chercher et il l'ont (i.e. les ont/ venu chercher).
Après ça, il y en a qui ont été à Carlton, au bout de quelques jours et ils disent au retour:
ils se sont tous sauvés et ont brûlé le lard et la farine - Nous sommes partis pour Batoche - Et
ceux, revenant de Carlton, ont brûlé les 6 maison à Stobart Post Office (Fort Stobart) -
Riel portait, dans la bataille du Lac des Canards, la croix de l'autel de l'Eglise de la
localité - Au retour elle était brisée - On disait qu'une balle avait frappé le haut de la croix et
avait cassé l'arbre - Riel lui-même disait au P. Fourmond: La croix n'a pas été frappée par
une balle - Le choc et le mouvement dans le transport avait détaché le Christ. Alors à Fish
Creek, ils ne portaient que le Christ, le tenant par les pieds.
James Short, de St-Louis-de-Langevin, passe à 5hs. a.m. chez le Père Fourmond, le 19
mars, et demande où sont nos gens? Ils sont rendus à Batoche - Que veut-tu faire? - Il y a
trop longtemps qu'ils nous en font, il faut que cela finisse et il part pour les rejoindre -
A la bataille du Lac Canard, aux premiers coups de feu, Charles Nolin rebrousse chemin
et court en arrière - Où vas-tu? lui demande quelqu'un - Je vais chercher le SS.-Sacrement et
il file.7

During the battle of Tourond’s Coulee the Metis were handicapped by wet powder; James
Short reported: “The rain stopped the guns from firing; only the guns with bullets would shoot
and not too many had these.”8
Isidore Dumas tells a story about James fighting at Tourond’s Coulee:

James Short advanced in a cow path at the top of the hill, in the morning at the start of
the battle. He placed his hat on a rock to the side and laid flat on his stomach in the cavity.
Shots on his hat were numerous; the hat danced on the rock. Gilbert Breland told Isidore
Dumas: ‘Look at the hat of Jim Mass,’ and he saw it dancing on the rock.
Isidore thinks that James Mass killed the cannon operator because someone said –
‘James Mass is ravaging the cannon operators.’ It was the cannon operators on the other side
of the coulee, not those near them.9

At the coulee, Lepine reported: “I had fun to watch James Short and Salomon Boucher
firing: they fired like they were sighting pheasants—taking their time.”10

7
Cloutier, Vol. 1, pp.93-95.
8
Journal of Abbé Cloutier typescript. Vol. 2, page 13, translation by Rose-Marie Carey, Parks Canada, Batoche
Historic Site.
9
Cloutier, op cit, Vol. 2: 12.
10
Cloutier, op cit Vol. 2, p. 19.

4
Jim Short, according to his companions, was fighting like a madman. He was seen on
his knees in the open grass-lands shooting away, unprotected.
Seeing Jerome Henry hit, Isidore Dumas shouted to Jim Short:
“You are exposing yourself too much.”11

During the first evening at Tourond’s Coulee:

Salomon Boucher and James Short were the only ones awake for a long time—during a
certain time before sleeping (some of the men) shot in the air without aiming, while
blocking their ears (and) James Short turned and said to them; ‘My God are you ever
stupid.’12

Father Cloutier’s journal has the following entry with regard to Tourond’s Coulee:

James Short, était dans la baisseur, avec des sauvages. Il avance au sommet seul, et trop
chauffé (i.e. exposé), il retourne et voit les sauvages qui se sauvent. Il veut les retenir, pas de
moyens. Il se loge au haut de la coulée. Les soldats traversent et il faut que je me cache.
Mon beau-frère (Modeste McGillis) se cachait dans un chemin de vache et il était à l'abr. Je
me sauve de là, et va un peu en bas et rencontre une bonne place (2 Sioux et Métis étaient là)
- il voit arriver le canon sur le bord et tire sur les canoniers de l'autre bord. (Il croit que
c'était trop loin pour le tuer.)
Pierre Laverdure a tué le canonier dont il est parlé auparavant. Il n'a pas vu faire les
autres. Il crie tout le temps qu 'ils tiraient sans dessein (i.e. sans réfléchir). Hourie, le soir, est
venue auprès de lui, et dit que nos associés se sont sauvés et il demande comment (i.e.
combien vous êtes? J'ai envie d'aller y voir. - Parle pas; dis pas, disent les associés. Qui
vienne pas, je vais le tuer, s'il vient, dit un de nos associés. Le soleil est couché quasiment.
Tout d'un coup, un coup de fusil - puis des cris de joie - et Hourrah nos gens! - Plusieurs de
nos gens n'ont pas tiré; les uns avaient trop peur. D'autres étaient trop mal placés - et toute la
journée des cris de joie tout le temps - près de la ½ des 45 ne tiraient pas.
Je pensais on passera cette nuit. Je passe, moi. Ils ne garderont pas toute la nuit. La
pluie empêchait les fusils de partir; rien que les fusils de cartouche qui partaient et pas
beaucoup en avaient.
(Salomon Boucher confirme cela)13

At the final battle of Batoche Jean Caron reports:

[When] Joseph Delorme was wounded between the legs. Jim Short carried him on his
shoulders to the open prairie without getting hit. Jim Short’s courage was praised very
highly.

In his testimony of August 13,1885 at the Regina trial Father Alexis Andre says:

11
See the entry under Isidore Dumas.
12
Cloutier, op cit, Vol. 2: 17.
13
Cloutier, Vol. 2, pp.12-13.

5
James Short was always a good and honest man. He was a buffalo hunter, ignorant and
easily led away; Riel made him believe anything he wished. Although an ignorant man, he is
a noble fellow, and incapable of a mean or unmanly action. He was present above Lepine’s
Crossing when the flat boats were sunk in the river with a large quantity of arms and so forth
belonging to the Government, and Captain Gagnon, Superintendent of the North-West
Mounted Police, at Prince Albert, told me that Short saved a large quantity of rifles and
other property for the Government by diving down in twelve feet of water. I beg leave
earnestly to recommend this man to the clemency and mercy of the court, as he has a large
and helpless family of a wife and ten children depending on him for support, and refused to
run away or escape when told to do so, but went to work to make a living for his family and
was made prisoner while freighting. (CSP, 1886, Vol. 13, p. 386)

James Short fought at Duck Lake, Tourond’s Coulee and Batoche under Dumont. Because
of his Resistance activities he was charged with treason-felony. He was arrested on July 11,
1885, found guilty and on August 14, 1885 at Regina was sentenced to seven years
imprisonment.

Scrip affidavit for Short, James; born: Summer, 1834; father: James Short (Métis); mother:
Charlotte Gladu (Métis); claim no: 2945; scrip no: 12461; date of issue: August 8, 1879;
amount: $160.

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7
Compiled by Lawrence Barkwell
Coordinator of Metis Heritage and History Research
Louis Riel Institute

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