Biographies

Biography of Lépine, Ambroise Dydime, 1840-1923

Born in St. Boniface in 1840, Ambroise Lépine was educated at St. Boniface College and began farming on a St. Boniface river lot, supplementing his income with freighting and hunting. Lépine was a loyal supporter of the Métis during the Resistance in 1869-70. In January 1870, he was appointed adjutant general to administer justice in the settlement under Riel’s provisional government. He as also elected to represent St. Boniface the Convention of 40, and was then appointed head of the conventions’ military council. He was instrumental in the arrest of several Canadians, including Thomas Scott, after their plan to capture Upper Fort Garry aborted. As the military leader in the provisional government, Lépine headed the tribunal that tried Scott and found him guilty of rebelling against the government. It was he who declared that Scott should be executed. Fearful for his life after the arrival of Wolseley’s troops in the summer of 1870, Lépine, like Riel, fled to the United States. Although the long-promised amnesty for the leaders of the resistance was not forthcoming, Lépine returned to his farm in the Red River Settlement in May 1873. He was arrested in September and charged with the murder of Scott. His trial was delayed several times, but in November 1874, he was convicted and sentenced to death, but the intervention of Quebec politicians and Governor General, Lord Dufferin, resulted in his sentence being commuted two years in prison and forfeiture of civil rights. In April 1875, offered amnesty on condition that he spend five years in the US, Lépine refused and chose to serve out the remainder of his sentence. Lépine stayed out of Métis politics after the 1870s. His family spent some time in Saskatchewan and Ontario before returning to St. Boniface, where Lépine died in 1923.

Mentioned in:

diaries

  1. Andrew Wilson Graham diary entry dated 7 December 1869
  2. Jean-Baptiste Ladéroute, "Mémoires des troubles du Manitoba 1869-70", extrait, p. 25-30

correspondence

  1. Lettre du 28 octobre 1874 de Alexandre Antonin Taché au Compte Dufferin

records

  1. Louis Schmidt, Mémoires, 1911-12, extrait, p. 81-82
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