MacDonell, Miles

Miles MacDonell, soldier, governor of Assiniboia (b in Scot c 1767; d at Pte-Fortune, LC 28 June 1828). Immigrating with his family to New York in 1773, Miles eventually followed them to Upper Canada, where he began farming. He was appointed a captain in the Royal Canadian Volunteers in 1796, but after the corps' disbandment in 1802, he came to Lord SELKIRK's attention in 1804. Selkirk supported his unsuccessful efforts in 1806-07 to raise a force of Glengarry Fencibles and backed his ultimate appointment as sheriff of the Home District in 1807. Called to England by Selkirk in 1810, he was appointed first governor of ASSINIBOIA in 1811, and led the initial party of settlers to the RED RIVER COLONY in 1812. His belligerent attitude exacerbated conflict between the colony and the NORTH WEST CO, and he suffered severe emotional instability. Arrested and sent to Montréal in 1815 by the Nor'Westers, he was back in Assiniboia as governor in 1817, but soon returned to Montréal. His last years were spent in semiretirement on his farm near Osnaburgh, UC.