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Memorable Manitobans: Georges Klyne (1828-1906)

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Georges Klyne
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Farmer, MLA (1871-74).

Born at Riviere Arthabaska, North West Territories on 13 August 1828, son of Michel Klyne of the Hudson’s Bay Company and Suzanne LaFrance, a member of a prominent Metis family. The family surname has many variant spellings, including Klein, Cline, Kline, and Klyne, even in HBC account books. The family spoke French, German, and English as well as several Aboriginal languages.

Klyne was educated at St. Boniface. In 1859 and 1860, he accompanied James Carnegie, Earl of Southesk, on his trek through the HBC territories. In his diary, Southesk described Klyne as “... wiry and active, riding Lane – that fine old white mountain-horse, which few but he could capture when loose on the plains, made a gay and cheerful show; his broad-brimmed white hat, with its wavy blue ribbon streamers, perched upon curly black hair, and shading a clever, well-bearded face; his chest surmounted by belts of silver and red brocade.”

Politically active at the Red River Settlement in 1869-1870, he was one of the Metis who opposed Louis Riel and supported John Schultz and his faction. Taken prisoner by Riel, after his release Klyne was one of twenty members elected to the French side of the “Convention of 40” representing Pointe a Grouette (later Ste. Agathe). He was elected to the First Legislative Assembly of Manitoba and served from 1871-1874 as the representative for Ste. Agathe.

On 13 January 1863, he married Monique Berthelet dit Savoyard, daughter of Joseph Berthelet dit Savoyard and Marguerite Dubois at St-Norbert. They had fourteen children, of whom nine lived to maturity: Alexandre Klyne (b 1864), Adam Michael Klyne (b 1865), Marie Rose Klyne (b 1867), Rosalie Klyne (b 1868), Marguerite Helena Klyne (b 1870), Clarisse Klyne (b 1873), Marie Elise Klyne (b 1880), John J. Klyne (b 1885), and Julia Klyne (b 1889).

A respected and successful farmer at Ste. Agathe, Klyne had difficulties with claim and title to his farmland. He left Manitoba to look for opportunities at Pembina, North Dakota and later in the North West Territories (now Saskatchewan). At the time of the 1906 Canada census, he was a rancher at Wolseley.

He died on 23 December 1906 and is thought to be buried near Wolseley, Saskatchewan.

Sources:

Saskatchewan and the Rocky Mountains, A Diary and Narrative of Travel Sport and Adventure During a Journey Through the Hudson’s Bay Company’s Territories in 1859 and 1860 by James Carnegie, The Earl of Southesk, 1875.

“George Klyne,” Metis scrip record, 7 December 1875.

Probate file, Supreme Court of The North West Territories Judicial District of Western Assiniboia, 1907.

“Mrs. Bellegrade, 103, dies at File Hills Reserve,” Winnipeg Free Press, 27 June 1934, page 3.

Exile in the Wilderness: The Life of Chief Factor Archibald McDonald, 1790-1853 by Jean Murray Cole, University of Washington Press, 1979.

The Genealogy of the First Metis Nation: The Development and Dispersal of the Red River Settlement 1820-1900 compiled by D. N. Sprague and R. P. Frye, Pemmican Publications, 1983.

“The dissolution of a Métis community: Pointe à Grouette, 1860-1885” by Nicole J. M. St-Onge, Studies in Political Economy, No. 18 (Autumn 1985), pages 149-172.

This page was prepared by Shae Griffith and Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 21 July 2014

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