Who Was James Bond Steele?

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James Bond Steele (second from right, top row) in 1889 in front of Belmont School. Photo from Provincial Archives of Alberta.

Who was James Bond Steele? And why are we publishing his diaries?

James came to the Northwest Territories in 1885, following his older brothers Richard, Godfrey, and the infamous Sam Steele.

Sam Steele

James’ older and more famous brother, Sam Steele. Image from Dictionary of Canadian Biography (online).

Sam was the leader of Steele’s Scouts during the Northwest Rebellion, and James wanted to join up. That was not to be his destiny, however. Instead, after many fits and starts, he became a respected schoolteacher who taught the children of well known early Edmonton families such as Griesbach, Kirkness, Gullion, Fraser and Borwick.


Fort Saskatchewan in 1899. Image from http://www.priarie-towns.com

Like his older brother Sam, James kept a daily diary in which he documented his adventures in the Wild West starting with his experiences in Fort Saskatchewan.

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James Bond Steele Diary Page July 1891. Image from Provincial Archives.

For six years, he taught at Belmont School, which served a large area northeast of the Edmonton townsite, including the river lots on which present day Highlands, Bellevue and Virginia Park are built.

James’ daily life is detailed in his diaries which are featured in the book we are launching at our 30th Anniversary Gala on October 11th. You won’t want to miss this special celebration and the opportunity to be among the first to learn about James’ life during the 6 years he taught at Belmont School.

To answer the question, why are we publishing his diaries? Why are they important? From James’ diaries we glean much of what life was like for the early settlers during and following the Northwest Rebellion of 1885: their fears, feuds and frustrations. Despite the hardships of settlement life, James and his neighbours experience joyful times too.

Experience life in the Edmonton Settlement between 1885 and 1891 through the diaries of James Bond Steele, schoolteacher, author, farmer, brother, friend and husband.

For more information about our event click here.

Get your tickets soon. Seating is limited!

  1 comment for “Who Was James Bond Steele?

  1. Jim Gendron
    September 10, 2018 at 3:18 pm

    Thanks for the blog. Looking forward to the event.


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