Of all the historic figures in Manitoba, the most convoluted stories surround Louis Riel, the man who steered Manitoba in Confederation.
For starters, Riel never lived in Riel House, as the River Road building was erected in 1881, eight years after Louis left the area.
The house was built by Louis’s younger brother, Joseph, who used materials from his mother’s home near the Seine River to build on the west end of the Riel Homestead.
Some printed material claims the house was built in 1868 or 1869, which would have been quite a feat for lad of 11 or 12, since Joseph was born in 1857.
While Louis may be the Father of Manitoba, brother Joseph is certainly one of the many Fathers of St. Vital having served as reeve or councillor for 32 years.
Another fact of fiction discovered on a so-called genealogy website managed by "a private person" contains a photo of Joseph as a child. And lists all of Joseph’s so-called children. According to the author, Joseph and Amelia saw the birth of their first son in 1869.
There are two glaring faults in the genealogy, the first of which is that Joseph would have sired his first child at age 11, in Vermont.
In reality, Joseph Riel was married twice. On April 3, 1884, Riel married Eleanore Poitras who passed away on Sept. 3, 1892. Amanda Julienne Perreault became the second, and last, wife of Joseph Riel on April 4, 1894.
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The St. Vital Museum 2015 calendars are now available. The calendars contain facts about St. Vital and highlight the accomplishments of former residents.
Included is a page on the Henteleff Family, who moved to St. Vital in 1927 to open a market garden; E.J. Casey, who ran a successful carnival/midway business from his St. Mary’s Road office; and rocket scientist Yvonne Brill (nee Claeys, who couldn’t study engineering at the University of Manitoba because their was no room for women so the Arden Avenue resident went to the U.S.A. where, in 2011, President Barack Obama awarded her the National medal of Technology and Innovation.
The calendars are available Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Museum, 600 St. Mary’s Rd. The cost is $5 or three for $10.
Bob Holliday is president of the St. Vital Museum and a community correspondent for St. Vital. Email him at email@example.com
St. Vital community correspondent
Bob Holliday is a community correspondent for St. Vital.