October 23, 2023
7:00 PM

Event Details

Speaker: Connor Thompson

Have you ever wondered how love was expressed in the 19th century? Find out with The Engagement Letters of Sam Steele and Marie Harwood.

Sam Steele is one of the best-known figures in western Canadian history. A Superintendent in the North-West Mounted Police at the time of this correspondence, Steele met Marie de Lotbinière Harwood in the summer of 1888 following his return to Fort Macleod from the Kootenay Valley. They fell in love and became engaged in October. Harwood came from a highly respected Quebec political and business family that could trace its roots to seigneurial families of New France; in December, she returned to Vaudreuil, QC to prepare for their marriage.

In this talk, Connor Thompson will discuss the first months of their correspondence that Thompson transcribed and edited for publication. The letters offer insight into the personal side of Sam Steele. As Steele and Harwood prepare for their marriage and future life at Fort Macleod, they discuss their families, their family business interests, politics and religious considerations, the social and political life within the NWMP, and the life and society of Fort Macleod, their intended home. Steele writes about the dances, dinner parties, social activities, and gossip at Fort Macleod. Harwood talks about her family’s perspectives on the NWMP, on her perception of life at Fort Macleod, and on their potential life together. At the same time, they discuss the potential for promotion with the NWMP, the political issues of the era such as the Jesuit Estates controversy, and business opportunities. The letter collection will be invaluable to researchers, but it is also exciting and entertaining to just read these intimate, private, and enlightening love notes.

Connor J. Thompson is a PhD Candidate in History at the University of Alberta, where he was awarded the President’s Doctoral Prize of Distinction and the Joan Shore Memorial Scholarship. Thompson received his MA from the University of Regina and BA (Honors) from the University of Alberta, graduating with First Class Honors.

Free presentation – donations accepted.

Doors open at 7:00pm, Talk begins at 7:30 pm.

Copies of The Engagement Letters of Marie Harwood and Sam Steele will be available for purchase for $60. Please bring cash!

Light Refreshments will be provided.

Registration is required. Please click on the Eventbright link below to register.


Location & Contact Information




Pioneers Cabin


9430 99 Street (Scona Rd) NW