The North Clare Historical Society commences its new lecture season Monday 29th January At 8pm with a talk on John George “Kootenai Brown (1839 – 1916) – THE MAN! – THE LEGEND! by local man John Egan.
John George Brown was born in Ennistymon, the son of John Brown and Ellen Finucane. Tragedy, however, struck the family and he was orphaned at an early age. Raised by his grandmother, he enlisted in the army but only served for four uneventful years. He discovered that his wild disposition wasn’t suited to regimental life so he set sail for North America and joined the thousands of gold-seekers in Canada. He never struck real paydirt, but the Wild West with its whiskey, cards and opportunity for adventure soon had Brown on his way to a helter skelter, rollercoaster career.
First he was a British Columbia policeman, a year later he was on the prairie where he was attacked by Blackfoot Indians and wounded by an arrow. He then headed south and became a Pony Express rider. Later, while a U.S. Army dispatch rider, he and a companion were captured by Chief Sitting Bull. Brown returned to Canada and settled at Waterton Lakes in what is today south-western Alberta. He left only once – to serve as Head Scout in the Rocky Mountain Rangers.
When he returned to Waterton he began a campaign to protect the area’s wilderness and wildlife. He was appointed a Fisheries Officer then, at 71, a Civil Servant. In summer he rode up to 200 miles a month on patrol. At 74 he was still active, one day snowshoeing 20 miles in -32°F weather. He died aged 76 and is buried in Waterton Lakes National Park among his beloved lakes and snow-clad mountains.
Edwin Knox from Waterton National Park, Alberta is travelling to Ennistymon to attend the talk. He lives in Pincher Creek close to the Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village. Kootenai’s great-granddaughter Gail visited Ennistymon with her husband Mike Harper last August. They were delighted to hear that the society had scheduled a talk on Kootenai.
John Egan is from Ballyvraneen near Ennistymon. He is a graduate of NUIG in History and Archaeology. John has spoken to the North Clare Historical Society previously- once on Irish words which survive in the North Clare area, then on the English language as we speak it in North Clare and most recently on the printing of the Easter 1916 Proclamation and the flags associated with the Easter Rising.
The talk will take place at the Courthouse Gallery, Ennistymon at 8 pm. All are welcome.