Friday, December 30, 2016

Major James M. Walsh Plaque

In Brockville, Ontario, 207 King Street East on the south side of the street between Bennett Street and Murray Street stands the former residence of Major James M. Walsh. A plaque in front of the house commemorates him.

Residence from 1884 to 1905 of
Superintendent of the North-West Mounted Police
Major James Morrow Walsh was a Canadian hero and a figure of national prominence in the second half of the nineteenth century. With his experience in the local volunteer militia of the time, he was appointed by Sir John A. MacDonald as one of the ten original officers to form the North-West Mounted Police. He proceeded with the force to the Canadian North=West in 1874.

After Chief Sitting Bull and other Chiefs defeated General George A. Custer at the Battle of the Little Big Horn in 1876, they fled with their bands to Canada. They crossed the border near Fort Walsh in the Cypress Hills (south-western Saskatchewan) where they remained for four years. Walsh was instrumental in controlling a violent situation. More than any one man, Walsh prevented warfare in its most violent form from spreading across the prairies. He became known as Sitting Bull's Boss.

Walsh purchased his home here in 1884, and named it Indian Cliff, in recognition of a large outcropping of rock which he had used as an orientation point in the difficult Cypress Hills territory.

In 1897, Major Walsh was appointed the first Commissioner of the Yukon Territory by the Canadian Government and was also Superintendent of the North-West Mounted Police Force in the Yukon, thus he was able to bring law and order out of chaos during the Klondike Gold Ruch. Retiring in 1898, he retained his political interests in Canadian affairs until his death in this house on July 25, 1905, at the age of 65. Prior to his death he had entertained Sitting Bull at Indian Cliff. His wife, Mary, and only daughter, Cora, remained in the house for many years thereafter.

Erected by: Heritage Brockville