Item 2008.1.1.3.1.2 - Diary of Lt. Col. Griffiths Wainwright, 1870

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Diary of Lt. Col. Griffiths Wainwright, 1870

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2008.1.1.3.1.2

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Date(s)

  • 1870 - [1871], 1910 (Creation)

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Name of creator

Biographical history

Samuel Benfield Steele was born at Purbrook, Medonte, County Simcoe, Ontario on 5 January 1848 to Captain Elmes Steele and Anne MacIan Macdonald. His father served under Nelson and other Admirals in the Napoleonic Wars, moving to Canada in 1832, with his first wife and family. After the death of his first wife, Captain Steele married Sam's mother, and they had six childre, Sam being the eldest.

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Biographical history

Griffiths Wainwright was a member of the Ontario Rifles, and he participated with Colonel Macleod on the Red River Expedition of 1870. He served as a major on the Expedition, and was discharged after the Expedition Force returned to Toronto. His next service was as adjutant of the North-West Mounted Police, when he accompanied the Force on the march to the Rocky Mountains in 1874. He served with the Force until August 1876, and then retired to live in Vancouver, B.C. Sam Steele writes that in 1910: "he still lives hale and hearty ... a prominant figure at all veteran banquets and meetings."

Custodial history

The diary and maps, which were folded inside the diary, were given to Sam Steele by Major Wainwright in 1910, probably to use as reference for his memoirs "Forty Years in Canada".

Scope and content

Consists of a diary kept by Major Griffiths Wainwright, 1870-1871, during his service with the Red River Expedition of 1870, and two maps. The diary entries are short, and also include entries about number of portages made, supplies and rations required, and various notes and reports. A two page entry at the back of the diary was written in 1910 by Sam Steele, explaining that the diary was given to him, and filling the reader in on what Major Wainwright did once the Expedition was completed. A list of Detachment rules printed at the front of the diary have been briefly annotated by [Sam Steele?]. The maps, hand-drawn and annotated, depict the route from Rat Portage to Fort Alexander, and from Fort William to Fort Francis.

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  • English

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Finding aids

Annotation on wrapper reads: "The diary of Lt. Col. Wainwright of the Red River Expedition 1870. Includes two detailed maps. The diary was given to Sir Sam Steele who served on the Expedition."

Associated materials

The two maps which were originally folded inside the diary have been removed, conserved, assigned a map number and stored separately from the diary.

Loose textual items found in the diary have been placed in the folder behind the diary; they include a card for the Veterans' Association of Vancouver, B.C. (1905), and a Nova Scotia Historical Society meeting notice card, announcing a talk by Colonel Wainewright (sic), (1888).

See personal letters to Steele from Griffiths Wainwright in General Correspondence and 'Memoirs' correspondence.

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Physical storage

  • Text Box: 20
  • Folder: 2