STAGE COACH DRIVER MAX BROUILETTE
STAGE COACH DRIVER
by Farley Wuth, Curator,
Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village
Copyright, Pincher Creek & District Historical Society
Truly a representative of those bygone days on the Canadian prairie frontier, businessman Max Brouilette operated a stage coach service between the two ranching settlements of Pincher Creek and Fort Macleod. This tri-weekly service he operated for close to a dozen years between 1883 and his passing in April 1895. It was a highly necessary transportation and freight service in those days prior to the construction of the Crowsnest Branch of the C.P.R. in 1897 – 98. He even had the postal delivery contract for several years. Although the terrain was rough and the seasonal weather changeable (many a pioneer arriving in the Pincher Creek area had a harrowing story about the spring floods), Brouilette’s stagecoach service was extremely reliable. His obituary noted that he “hardly ever missed a trip since its start”.
Max Brouilette also ranched in the French Flats and Pincher Creek areas. He resided in the latter community at the time of his passing.
Brouilette was born of French ancestry in Hyacinth, Quebec circa 1841. He resided in Oregon and California before settling in the Pincher Creek area in 1883. His family included his wife Adelaide and their five sons. Adelaide, some four years her husband’s junior, was born circa 1845 in the United States. She was of Irish ancestry. George W. W., their eldest, was born circa 1862 with Henry W. born circa 1873, James P. circa 1876, Charles A. circa 1882, and the youngest Frederick A. circa 1886. The four older children were born in the United States, and were listed in the 1891 Census as already helping on the family ranch. The entire family was affiliated with the Catholic Church.
Max Brouilette passed away on Friday, April 12th, 1895 due to the lingering effects of Bright’s disease. His funeral held from Pincher Creek’s Catholic Church (now the Father Lacombe Hermitage at the Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village) was widely attended with forty rigs and sixty horsemen in the possession. This early French-Canadian was very popular within Pincher Creek’s ranching community.
Sources: Adapted from “An Old Timer Gone”, The Lethbridge News, Vol. X, No. 23, Wednesday, 17th April 1895, p. ; and Dominion of Canada, Census for 1891, Historical Data re the Max and Adelaide Brouilette Family.