St. James author Don Montgomery, 82, lives across the street from a replica of Cuthbert Grant’s flour mill on Sturgeon Creek — a physical reminder of his great-great-great-great grandfather’s legacy.
Grant, a respected early Métis leader, is the subject of one of Montgomery’s books, which could be termed historical fiction. Cuthbert Grant of Grant’s Old Mill tells the story of Grant’s life as the founder of St. Francois Xavier, a sheriff and magistrate.
Montgomery recalls visits with French-speaking relatives living near Dauphin many years ago, and his mother telling him that they were discussing their famous ancestor.
"That didn’t mean anything to me at the time," he said.
After he retired, he got a computer and began researching his family’s history in Canada, Scotland and Ireland.
"I went back as far as the Vikings," he said.
His research led to the book on Grant, published in 2010. He recently joined other Grant descendants at a ceremony in St. Francois Xavier where a memorial marker was placed in the Roman Catholic Church’s cemetery to honour Grant.
His first book, entitled Blanco Diablo: A White Andalusian Horse Story, recounts the legend of White Horse Plains. Montgomery said he often drove past the White Horse Monument, located near the intersection of the Trans-Canada Highway and Highway 26, while working as a salesman.
He also used information gathered through online research to create this novel.
He confesses to using poetic license in writing both books.
"I’ve got a great imagination," he said.
His books are available at amazon.ca