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PW1 06 graves 1The Nile Expedition of 1884–85 was a British mission to relieve Major-General Charles George Gordon at Khartoum, Sudan, who was besieged by the forces of the Mahdi. Many references to the Nile Expedition mention the almost 400 Canadian Voyageurs who paddled the canoes on the Nile. While most of the Voyageurs were First Nations people and loggers from eastern Canada, there were also First Nations Voyageurs from Manitoba.

On a personal trip to Manitoba some years ago, a friend took me to the town of Selkirk on the Red River downstream from Winnipeg, to see the graves of four of the Voyageurs. These men were members of the Saulteaux (Ojibway) First Nation that had migrated westward from Ontario earlier in the 19th century to create an agricultural community. Under the leadership of the well-known Chief Peguis, they had helped the early Scottish immigrants who came to the Red River Settlement.

The graves in the picture are those of Adam Cochrane (left) and his brother, Alexander (right). The inscription on Alexander's grave reads: "BOATMAN ALEXANDER COCHRANE / 1815-1887 / EGYPTIAN EXPED. FORCE 1884-85 / LEST WE FORGET". The Red River can be seen in the background.

They are buried in the churchyard of the parish of St. Peter, Dynevor, shown in the picture below, which was built before 1870 and is still in use seasonally. Chief Peguis is also buried in the cemetery.

PW1 06 church

Submitted by Mike Street, Ancaster, Ontario

 

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