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Southesk River

The Southesk River flows into the Brazeau River about 90 kilometres southeast of Jasper. According to historian Merrily Aubrey, the river was named in 1907 after one of Alberta's earliest and most eccentric travellers, James Carnegie, the ninth earl of Southesk.

In the spring of 1859, Carnegie, at the ripe old age of 32, left England for Rupert's Land in British North America in an attempt to help his ailing health.

He wasn't feeling well, so I guess he thought: "there's nothing like a vigorous jaunt in the Rocky Mountains through uncharted territory to build up the strength…"

He was a literate person, and he spent his evenings after a long day on the trail reading Shakespeare and writing in his journal. Carnegie was not known for
travelling light. His entourage included trained guides, trackers, horses, dogs, and guns.

And he also employed an Iroquois cook, Toma, for whom Carnegie had much regard. Toma had also done some work for Sir George Simpson as well. He was especially appreciated for his mastery of making Saskatoon jelly. Carnegie did not leave home without some other creature comforts, including a portable table and camp stove and his Indian Rubber Bath.

During that summer in 1859, the Earl of Southesk travelled in the same vicinity as the Palliser Expedition, but his troop never actually met up with the famous crew of explorers.

After the extensive exploration of the Rockies and foothills areas, his party returned to Fort Edmonton on October 12th. And it was here that he drafted "Saskatchewan and the Rocky Mountains", describing his travels along the mighty river to the mountains.

However, it was another sixteen years before Carnegie, the ninth Earl of Southesk, published his travelogue. And as for his ailing health, the rugged adventure through the Wild West must have been just the cure he needed, because he lived another 46 years.

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Southesk River Near Jasper