Wood End Museum

Estevan, Saskatchewan, Canada

The Sign Outside the Museum

A Municipal Heritage Property at 118, 4th St. Estevan SK

The building on display today, in Estevan SK., is the oldest remaining NWMP Post in Saskatchewan

The building has been moved a few times from it's original location
It was located in the valley, in the valley of Long Creek, eight miles south of Estevan,
Just north of the American Border.
It was supposedly established in 1886 on the site of the Boundary Commission Depot 1873-74

When it was first opened, in 1886, it was a tent detachment, set up by Inspector McGibbon, from Regina. (see bio below)
In 1887 he had 2 sod houses built.

The original Wood End Post was in the Long Creek valley, but due to flooding was moved up in 1891.

The Wood End Post was used as a Livestock Quarantine Station from 1893, until 1897.

At one point some of Sitting Bull's Braves supposedly surprised the one lone policeman at the post, and ran off with 6 horses.

The building was bought in 1916, by Robert Andrist (Sr.), from the father of a Crosby ND man.
The Andrist Family used it as a farm house.

The building was bought from the Andrist family in 1957 by SPC, when Boundary Dam was constructed, and later the area was flooded

This building as a Centennial project in 1967, of the Lions Club,
Was moved to the Woodlawn Park Entrance road area, which was off of Highway 47 at that time.

Original building and Cairn at Woodlawn Park

Article below from the Leader Post, Aug 5, 1963, on the moving and history of the building

I know my dad, Phil Gent, was interested in seeing the building saved, from natural destruction from the elements.
It opened as a museum there, but vandalism was high.

Today it is located next to the Estevan Exhibition Centre, on the East end of Estevan on Highway 39,
and owned by the Estevan Historical Society

Pictures were taken July 2000 by Bonnie Frank, Nee Thompson
who lived in Estevan and attended Hillside and ECI Schools

1888 Map Showing Police Stations and Patrols of the NWMP

Closeup of map showing Wood End Detachment, 1888

Notice it was Assiniboia not Saskatchewan in 1888

Inside View of the Museum

Proclamation on the wall was a $500.00 reward poster For the arrest of the Cree Indian leader,
“Kah-Kee-say-mane-too-wayo” meaning “Voice of the Great Spirit”,
“Kitchi-Manito-Waya” also known as “Jean-Baptiste”,
also known as “Almighty Voice”,
b- 1874,
d- May 30, 1897
buried on the One Arrow Reserve
He grew up on the One Arrow Reserve near Batoche
After being arrested Oct 22, 1895, for killing a Government owned cow,
(which at the time was illegal for a native to do, without an Indian Agent's permission)
He claimed it was his father's cow.
He escaped from the Duck Lake jail that same night.
He was jokingly told by the jailer, he was to be hanged for the crime.
When he was being re-arrested, thinking he would be hanged,
he shot and killed his arresting NWMP Officer, near Kinistino, NWT
named Sergeant Colin Campbell Colebrook
NWMP Regimental #605,
b- Feb 25, 1862 in London England (1891 census says Belgium)
d- Oct 29, 1895, age 33
buried in the Police plot, St. Mary's Anglican Cemetery, Prince Albert SK
One book says he emigrated to Canada in 1883, but again years of service and date of death, don't add up.
He was a member of the force for 14 years, engaged in the force, Oct 16, 1881.
He served in the Riel Rebellion.
married, wife Ida Colebrook, b- ca 1870 in ON
He had a 5 year old son, ca June 29,1894, when he moved his family
from Battleford to Batoche NWT, later SK. 1891 both in Battleford NWT.

Almighty Voice was killed by cannon fire after 100 NWMP cornered him, and 2 relatives, in a poplar bluff,
in the Minichinas Hills, near Batoche NWT.
They killed 2 more NWMP officers, plus the Duck Lake Postmaster, in a 3 day standoff.

Colebrook Place, Depot Division RCMP, Regina, SK, is named in honour of Sergeant Colebrook

Also involved in this incident, Inspector Wilson, (see below) He brought men from Duck Lake.

The Poster on the door shows a Uniform the NWMP used at one point.

Present Day RCMP Uniform, Red Surge, formal RCMP Uniform on display

Part of my Dad's 1927 map of the area, showing Wood End School, in the same location as the Detachment.

So far I can't find a detailed map of the location of this depot.
I know it was originally on the Boundary Commission Trail,
and it was originally in the Valley on Long Creek.
Estevan History book says the Andrist family bought south half of section 15, and moved the building
and also another article says 2 miles from the border, so somewhere in the rectangle was the depot.
Interesting enough this is the location of the subdivision on Boundary Dam where my Mom and dad owned a cottage,
on the end closest to the spot in the valley, where this depot might have been.
This might also explain why my dad was worried that the building was going to be ruined, after SPC
bought the land and building. It sat close to our cabin, Until the Lions moved it to Woodlawn Park.
Now the road that became the boat ramp, was it there to go down into Long Creek Valley? This explains my dad's interest in the building for sure.
see below for Wayne Wagner's description.

Pictures below from Wayne Wagner, taken Feb 11, 2014

Woodend Cairn and Cairn Description
located about 2 city blocks south of the boat ramp
In between the boat ramp and the cairn is a gully which would have been used by the NWMP in 1874.

Photo taken at the Outlook, South End of Boundary Dam, now (2014) a bird sanctuary.

Below is Wayne's notes, on an aerial view, where this station was located, and photos above were taken.

Above is Wayne's map of the NWMP travels in 1874, and below is notes from him.
Note- they followed the Boundary Commission Trail, for the most part, until at Woodend, where the NWMP had to stay on the Canadian side of the border. He tells me from Commissioner French's diary, they had approx.100 red river carts, and around 100 wagons, so they had to stay to the flat ground, and crossing creeks, had to be done on a sloping bank angle, not a cliff. the boundary commission did not cross Long Creek here, but they went south into the States, and crossed back into Canada just south of Torquay.

History of NWMP in this area, written about in this book
Trooper in the Far North-West Recollections of Life in the North-West Mounted Police, Canada, 1884-1888.

by John George Donkin,
Photo credit- Library and Archives Canada / e008128839
Photographer David H. MacPherson,(see below) after 1888

An Englishman, who became a NWMP member.
Sad to say he returned to England and died a pauper.
1887, He describes a beaver dam at the bend, creating a pool where they bathed.
It had a wooden pier built to the center of the pond created.
A large square tent for Stores, Sergeant's tent,
Mess Room, with kitchen, built of poles and a roof of hatch.
When Donkin arrived the detachment was building a sod house 30 x 18 ft.
to be used as a Barrack room. It was completed in August, 1887.
Nearest house to the west, was at Willow Bunch, 200 miles away.
Patrols would leave on Monday, and return on Saturday,
travelling 90 miles to a mid point called Buffalo Head.
a Colonel William Macauley Herchmer, Assistant Commissioner, visited in September 1887.
He was the brother of the 4th Commissioner Lawrence W. Herchmer.
Their father Rev William Macauley Herchmer, was a friend and schoolmate of Sir John A. MacDonald.
Donkin left this depot in November and went to live with the Hugh Hassard family,
At the station there, with one Constable under him.

In 1892 the detachment was moved from Wood End to Estevan,
as the new Village was growing rapidly, law and order was needed quickly

1888, reports were made there were 2 deserters from this Depot.
So not everyone was happy here.
Here it is recorded the Depot was a couple miles from the Boundary

Aug 16, 1892
Detachment of Mounted Police are coming

Aug 20, 1892
NWMP Inspector, David Hamilton MacPherson
Moved the NWMP Detachment from Wood End to Estevan

My web page for this member of the force
Insp. David Hamilton MacPherson

July 1890
Situated on Long Creek, 15 miles west of the Souris Coal Fields (a little less than that, I think)
Headquarters of a large detachment of NWMP, under command of Inspector Frederick Drayner.
They had 2 Vegetable gardens, one called the Officer's Garden, the other the Men's Garden.
Everything was clean and neat, the men erected a good barrack, with detailed Dormitories, and mess room,
some were plastered with sand and lime. The whole camp was in the form of a square.

Inspector Frederick “Fred” Drayner
(also seen Frederic as first name)
b- Nov 13, 1863, in Cuttack, Province of Orissa, Bengal, India
d- Aug 17, 1902, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
buried in Quebec City
Officer # 0.53
Joined NWMP, appointed Inspector- Oct 15, 1884, resigned July 15, 1892
1878, Educated at the Upper Canada College, Toronto, ON
Graduate of Royal Military College #2987, Kingston, ON
J. P., Aide-de-Camp (A.D.C.) to Lieutenant Governor NWT, Regina
A.D.C. to Commissioner of NWMP during Riel Rebellion 1885
received a medal for this service.

Father- Astell William Drayner,
b- May 8, 1824, baptized at Hythe, Kent, England
d- Mar 16, 1877 in Vellore, Madras, India, age 52
d- Mar 16, 1877, Vellore, Madras, India
Colonel 14th Regiment Madras Native
Infantry ; Colonel Commandant
married at Walton-on-the-Hill, Surrey, England, June 18, 1857
Mother- Flora Craigie Tapp Fischer
b- ca 1841, Delhi, India
daughter of Frederic Horatio Fischer,
Surgeon, Bengal Army,
and Louise Sophie Desbarats,
daughter of Pierre Edouard Desbarats of Quebec, Canada,
and Mary Josephte Voyer of Quebec
1881 she was in Quebec City, a widow, age 40
They had the 2 sons

Brother- William John Drayner,
b- Feb 21, 1858 in Waltair, Madras, India
William went to Canada in 1876, Officer of Bank of Quebec,
retired 1884, went into lumber operations in Northern Quebec
he married Louise Josephte Harwood, they had one son

1891 Fred Drayer, was in Swift Current area
I don't believe he ever married

Fred's Grandfather- William Drayner,
b- ca 1799, Sandgate, Kent, England
d- Jan 10, 1858, age 59
Grandmother- Jane Slodden Blake

Aug 26, 1892
Actions of the NWMP described

Constable Oscar Alexander Kern
b- bet Jan-Mar 1872, Herne Hill, (birth registered in Lambeth), Surrey, England
d- Apr 27, 1896, age 23
one record says buried in Estevan, but not shown in any cemetery indexes

Living at Champion Hill, Trieste House, Lambeth, Surrey, England in 1881
emigrated between 1883 and 1894

Oct 1893 he left the Deutsche Bank, London England Branch
Hired by them May 1, 1893. he was heading to BC.
His occupation was a Clerk.

enlisted in NWMP, September 10, 1894 in Calgary, age 21 yrs, 9 mo.
Address was Vancouver BC before this.
Regimental #3100
formerly a clerk in London England
not married

Drowned when fording Short Creek, near Roche Percee, Assa, NWT., while on NWMP patrol.
His horse returned to the post, and his body was found 8 days later.

Father- Frederick Kern, born in Trieste, Austria
General Merchant, Champion Hill, Trieste House, Lambeth Surrey, England in 1881
Mother- Emma Kern
Maximilian (Max) Henry Kern- b- bet Oct-Dec 1869, in Herne Hill, Surrey, England

Percival (Percy) Ernest Kern- b- Bet Oct- Dec 1873, in Denmark Hill, Surrey, England
Percy was a member of the 1st Battalion, Railway Pioneer Regiment,
a Colonial unit of the Boer War of 1899-1902, rank CQMS, Reg #193

hunch a Frederick Robert Kern, b- bet Jan-Mar 1868 might be a brother as well.


Inspector James “Jim” Osgood Wilson,
aka- J. O. Wilson
b- Aug 17, 1858, in Dundas, ON
d- Apr 29, 1927 in Victoria BC, age 68

He was in charge of the Estevan Post
Reporting to Superintendent Perry in 1893
father- John Wilson
mother- Margaret Dickie
sister- Ellen Steele Wilson, b- ca1860, in Dundas, ON
married Sept 16, 1890, at Mother's home, at Dundas,
William Henry Dixon, b- ca 1855 in Steeton, England
brother- Gordon Crooks Wilson,
b- Feb 25, 1872 in Wentworth, ON

In 1899 J. O. Wilson was married, living in Fort Macleod, AB
wife- Sarah Adelaide Wilson, nee Thomas,
b- Aug 23, 1861 in Chipawa, ON
d- Aug 31, 1948 in Victoria BC, age 87
daughter of William H. Thomas and Adeline
1901 they were living in Calgary AB, with a daughter
Margaret Dickie,
b- July 16, 1899, in AB
1900 he was commanding the Calgary district.
Became Assistant Commissioner of the RNWMP
nickname “Pie Face Wilson”
Wilson Falls in SK., is named after him
Joined NWMP, June 9, 1872 as Reg #392
left the force after 3 years.
He was appointed Inspector Sept 15, 1885.
1891 they were living in Moose Jaw district
Mar 1, 1903 promoted to Superintendent
1911 he went to England for the Coronation of King George V.
1912 he was in charge of the jail at Lethbridge.
Jan 16, 1915 promoted to Assistant Commissioner
He resigned Apr 13, 1918 and Commissioner Perry, a few days earlier,
to protest the fact the Government didn't send the Unit overseas
in WWI as a complete Unit. Obviously some agreement was made.
But he only stayed for a few more months.
I did find an article which clearly showed he did not go overseas.
He retired on pension, Jan 17, 1919, then moved to Victoria BC.

He made a report on Inspection fees, at Estevan
dated Nov 1892 to July 1894, in the Canadian Archives now

In 1895 Inspector J. O. Wilson's Police report states the Dominion Mining Company moved it's operation to Coalfields.

Mar 1896
Inspector Cortlandt Starnes was transferred to the Estevan NWMP post.
My Major- General Cortlandt Starnes page

Bet 1910-1925
Corporal Anthony G. K. “Buzz” Besant
b- ca 1878 in Portsmouth, Hants, England
He came from Portsmouth England, May 10, 1910.
Served in RNWMP for 15 years.
Reg #5153, served in RNWMP in Estevan, date unknown.
in 1949 he lived in Calgary
Chief of Police at Humboldt for 7 yrs.
after resigning from the RNWMP.
He was stationed at Regina, Saskatoon, Willow Bunch,
Weyburn, Filmore, and North Portal, besides Estevan.
Dec 2, 1948 he turned 70.
He served overseas in WWI

I show a George Bishop Reyner Besant enlisting,
b- Dec 2, 1878, Portsmouth, Hants, England
birth registered in Portsea reg dist,
next of kin, his wife Elizabeth Besant.
Sulphur Springs, Provost AB, Apr 29, 1918, when he enlisted in Regina
I believe she was Elizabeth J. Besant, born 1881, and died 1956,
buried in Mountain View Cemetery, Calgary AB
then I found Elizabeth Jane Besant's obit
who died age 75, in General Hospital, Calgary,
b- Ipswich England
she moved to Provost in 1914, in 1916 to Filmore SK,
then to Saskatoon after WWI.
in 1925 moved to Humboldt, where she lived until 1948, returning to Alberta.
She had a son Anthony Besant of Calgary.
so now I think we have 2 Besant's, Anthony the son, was in Estevan
but birthdates are the same for each guy?? still confused?

Inspector J. A. McGibbon is credited with starting the first post at Wood End.
He was in Alameda at the time.
found him in 1881 at the Wood Mountain Post
b- 1858 in ON
shown as age 23, Mounted Police Occupation, Scottish nationality.
James Walker, J. H. Mcillree, and Ed Frechette were the Captains at the time.
He was one of many men stationed there.

also found a John Alexander McGibbon, born Feb 1, 1862 in Montreal Quebec
he became Assistant Commissioner, Regina, and died Mar 28, 1939, in Vancouver BC
He was officer # 0.62, he retired Apr 1, 1920, after 40 years, enlisting in 1880
he was 427th man to join the force.
1883 he was in charge of Regina Station, Same guy?

Mar 1, 1886 he travelled with 10 men to Wood Mountain
to capture a horse thief, they travelled for 3 days through a blizzard.
Most of the men were reported to be more or less frozen.

I know in 1888 he left Winnipeg with 14 mounted police to patrol the Manitoba border.

1901 he is shown in Regina, Inspector RCMP
b- Feb 1, 1860, Quebec, age 41, Scotch,
married May 16, 1890 in Winnipeg MB.,
wife- Anna Bell McGibbon, nee Fraser,
b- Apr 27, 1873, in NS
d- ?
6 children I know of:
Vera McGibbon- b- July 29, 1891, RM of Stanley, MB
Muriel Evelyn McGibbon, b- Nov 24, 1892, RM of Stanley, MB
William Fraser McGibbon, b- May 11, 1895 in RM of Stanley, MB
John Walter McGibbon, b- Mar 6, 1897 in Morden, MB
Hugh M. McGibbon, b- Sept 12, 1898 in Assa, (SK)
Annie Minota McGibbon, b- July 10, 1903, in Morden, MB

Sept 30, 1909
Estevan had one Sergeant, with one horse.
Part of Depot division


  • Last modified: 2018/11/27 11:11
  • by dlgent