Athabasca UniversityLois Hole Campus Alberta Digital Library


This collection is a pilot project and currently has two books. More books will be added and the collection will continue to grow.

Four Months Under Arms

Four Months Under Arms: A Reminiscence of Events Prior to, and During the Second Riel Rebellion was written by Hugh Spence Nelson, a carpenter who was hired by the Police to build boats to transport their supplies during the Resistance. The narrative of Four Months provides a quick dip into the past, ( the book is only 20 pages long) colorfully told and with historical context added as needed:

A large number of the French half-breeds located their grants along the South Saskatchewan River at Batoche, and following the plan of the French settlers in Quebec, they staked their claims so that all would have a water frontage. This plan made long, narrow holdings, the back lines were irregular, but it allowed for closer settlement.
The plan of survey was townships six miles square, divided into sections one mile square and quarter sections, and when these lines came in contact with the irregular back lines of the settler's farms, the surveyors would not adjust them, and in many cases that reduced the settler's holding and in some cases eliminated them altogether (4).

Taken at face value, Four Months is a firsthand account documenting important historical events in Canadian History and cannot be faulted for its colonial biases, which are apparent to contemporary readers. Four Months was first published in Nelson, B.C. by the Nelson Daily News Printing Department in 1940 and is broken up into 18 chapters.

You can listen to Fran Holler, the great-granddaughter of H.S. Nelson, read Four Months Under Arms.

The AU Library has made this book available for purchase at

Through the Mackenzie Basin : A narrative of the Athabaska and Peace

Through the Mackenzie Basin is 500 pages, including the index. There are over 60 pages of historical photographs and maps interspersed with the text. The first third of the book is written by Charles Mair and is devoted to the Athabasca and Peace River Treaty Expeditions of 1899. The rest of the book is written by Roderick MacFarlane and is devoted to descriptions of Mammals and Birds encountered in Northern Canada.

Through the Mackenzie Basin is also available through Athabasca University Library's Catalogue.

Library Services - Last Updated January 03, 2019, 10:01:32 MST/MDT