McDougall Orphanage and Morley Indian Residential School Timeline


Methodist missionaries establish a settlement at Morleyville, Alberta, on the north
side of the Bow River, and open a day school there.


Treaty No. 7 establishes the Stoney Indian Reserve, the eastern border of which is 7 km west of Morleyville. The reserve straddles the Bow River, with the Wesley band concentrated on the north side of the river, and the Chiniki and Bearspaw bands on the south.


Some 43 children attend the day school; because of the river, children from Bearspaw and Chiniki can only attend during the summer.

Missionary John McDougall begins to board schoolchildren in his home.


From 1882 to 1887, the Women’s Missionary Society provides grants to the “orphanage.”


The McDougall Orphanage and Training School, administered by the Methodist Missionary Society, opens in September with 15 children in residence.

Boarders attend classes at the day school.


A second day school is opened on the south side of the river in the home of the Bearspaw chief.

The government begins financing the orphanage.


The government provides the Methodist Society with a grant of 1,170 acres of land for the exclusive use of the orphanage.

Girls at the orphanage learn housework, sewing, cooking, and baking; boys garden, put in fences, herd cattle, milk cows, and split wood.

The children learn to play the organ.


The government provides the first per capita grant to the orphanage: $60 per student to a maximum of 50 students.

The orphanage is moved into a log building on the Missionary Society’s land grant, about 8 km west of its original location.

Eighteen children are in residence; they no longer attend the day school.

No crops have been raised, but the land has been broken for farming.


The orphanage is overcrowded and strapped for cash.

A permanent schoolhouse on the south side of the river is under construction for the Bearspaw day students.


A new, larger orphanage building, owned by the Missionary Society, is erected with hot-air heating and accommodation for 40 students.

The WMS contributes to the new building and continues to make occasional grants in support of the residence.

The old orphanage building is used as a carpentry workshop for the boys.

The children raise food crops and hay and tend to 33 head of cattle and four oxen.


Children at the orphanage put in 38 acres of oats but the crop fails. They raise two acres of potatoes and 20 tons of hay. The garden is destroyed by gophers.

In addition to 52 head of cattle and oxen, they tend to four cows, six sheep and their lambs, and 12 horses and colts.

There are 38 children in residence.


The children raise 32.5 acres of oats, two of potatoes, turnips and gardens, and they break 40 acres of new land.

The kitchen is enlarged, and a laundry and pantry are added; a new schoolhouse is erected behind the orphanage.

Classes are suspended for six weeks because of “whooping cough, chicken pox and inflammation of the lungs”; the schoolhouse is converted into a hospital.

There are 31 children enrolled; the per capita grant is $60 for up to 35 students.


Some 100 children on the reserve attend school—at one of the two day schools or in the orphanage.

The crop fails because of drought.

A blacksmith is brought in to train the boys in that trade.

A well is sunk 90 metres from the residence; previously water was brought from a well 1.6 km away. There is not, however, enough water to put out a fire.


The per capita grant is raised to $72 for up to 40 students; 39 are enrolled.

The orphanage is becoming overcrowded.

The two day schools are practically closed.


A new two-storey wing, with basement, is added to the orphanage.

The orphanage can now accommodate 45 students and eight staff.

Heating is now by wood stove.


Forty acres are under cultivation: 30 of oats, nine of wheat and one of brome grass; in addition the children grow one acre of potatoes, one of turnips, half an acre of carrots and half an acre of small seeds, but most of the vegetables are damaged by severe frost.

Boys are taught ranching: teaming, ploughing, fencing, mowing, milking, and the care of stock; girls are taught housekeeping, sewing, knitting, mending, cooking and laundry work.


Swings are erected for the girls’ recreation.

The day school at Morleyville reopens but closes within the year.


For the first time, water is piped into the residence, with taps in the kitchen and the laundry.

The Methodists want to enlarge the orphanage but the DIA refuses.

All the children are under 14.


An audit of the orphanage shows that it is deeply in debt; the principal is removed for mismanagement.


Parents refuse to send their children to the orphanage in response to the removal of the principal, who had allowed the children weekly overnight visits home. There is also friction among the staff.

The water system is completed, with flush toilets and pipes supplying hot and cold water throughout the residence.

There are 70 head of cattle.

Stoney community members petition the DIA to have the two day schools reopened.


Thirty-nine students are enrolled, but truancy is a problem.

The Indian Agent reports that he has trouble inducing parents to send their
children to the orphanage.


Pigs are added to the farm animals; the orphanage no longer raises sheep.

The water pipes are not working properly and the furnaces have broken down.

The McDougall Orphanage closes on Nov. 10.

A day school on the north side of the Bow River is opened.


The DIA adopts a policy of improving and promoting day schools on the reserve.

When the Department tries to change the school teacher and move the school into the hospital at Morley, Stoney parents refuse to send their children.


The school teacher is transferred.


The DIA closes the day school, declaring it a failure.

The Stoney repeat that they want two day schools, one on each side of the river.


The day school is reopened, replacing one of two stores on the reserve, but closes within the year because of lack of attendance.


A temporary semi-boarding school is set up by the Methodist Church with government support.


The first teacher arrives in January.

Signs of TB are found in a number of students.


Morely IRS, on the south side of the Bow River, is built by the government and managed by the United Church of Canada. The residence opens in August and the school formally opens Nov. 11 with some 60 pupils—all residential.

The school includes a farm, with barn, henhouse, shed, pigpen, combined ice house–cold storage facility and stock-shed. The school has electricity.


A root cellar and utility building are erected.

A student sets fire to the school but causes little damage; he is strapped and sent to
Edmonton IRS.

Children attend classes in the church building.


A two-room classroom block is opened, with attendance by both residential and day students.


An addition to the barn/stable is built.


Wash basins are installed for students with trachoma.

The school is overcrowded; five girls are housed in the principal’s residence.

The school is quarantined because of a mild outbreak of scarlet fever.


The residence is expanded; a small hospital is erected near the school.


A student tries to set the school on fire but little damage is done.


The Department of Indian Affairs applies to have lands (Lots 8 and part of 7) that had been transferred to the Department of Lands reserved for Morley IRS as pasture land.


A new pump is installed to meet the growing water demand.

The beginning of the school year is postponed because of black measles on the


The stable buildings catch fire. They are not replaced.


The school begins to raise mink on the farm.

Day students are no longer attending Morley.

Girls are taught Native Crafts by local instructors.


The boys are not receiving manual training because there is no instructor. Manual training for the girls is “limited to girls working in large kitchen.”

Native Crafts instruction is suspended.


In September, the David Bearspaw Indian Day School is opened in the old Stoney Agency office.

The school is quarantined because of chicken pox.


The school is quarantined because of a mumps epidemic.


Natural gas is installed.

The beginning of the school year is postponed because of a polio epidemic.


A principal’ s residence is built.

The school no longer raises mink.


The David Bearspaw Indian Day School amalgamates with Morely IRS.

Part of the church is rented for extra classroom space and the Agency office is
used as a teacherage.

The DIA takes over paying the teachers.

Impetigo is reported and blamed on washing at a common trough.

A manual training instructor is hired and manual training for boys begins again.


A four-room classroom block with teachers’ quarters is built to replace use of the Stoney Agency building and the church.


The matron resigns because of mistreatment of the children.


Seven students attend grades 9 and 10 at Cochrane High School, bussed from the residence.


Kindergarten pupils appear for the first time on the quarterly returns.

Terminal classes “for older pupils that were not making a successful academic program” are introduced.

The residence basement is used for extra classroom space off and on until 1969.

The school’s farm is closed; funds from the sale of stock and equipment are remitted to the United Church.


A prefab two-classroom unit is added.


The government enters an agreement with the Cochrane School District, whereby the school district agrees to accept all Morely’s grade 9 students as well as a limited number of elementary school children.

Children from Crooked Lake and Qu’Appelle agencies in Saskatchewan begin to attend Morley.


Nine Morley students are “integrated” into Exshaw school because it is closer to their homes than Morley IRS.

Some high school students from the reserve attend school in Calgary under a “boarding home plan.”

Lands (Lots 8 and part of 7) that Morley IRS had been using as pasturage are added to the Stoney Reserve.

The government cancels all admissions from Saskatchewan.


By March, 20 to 30 children are attending public elementary and high schools.


A few children from Sunchild and Sarcee bands also attend Morley now.

Robert George Pooley, a teacher at Morley IRS from 1962 to 1963, is convicted of
indecent assault on a student there.

The minister in charge of Christian Education and another staff resign because of “goings on” at the school.


The United Church appoints a committee to take over administration of the residence and puts a resident superintendent in charge. The school is now administered separately under its own principal.

The residence is chiefly used for high school students bussing to Bowness and Exshaw.


The old agency building is returned to the Stoney reserve bands.


Pupils are bussed to Cochrane public schools.

A four-classroom addition is made to the classroom block, making eight classrooms in all.

A dentist reports the children’s teeth to be the worst he has seen.


In November, Language Arts instruction is introduced for grades kindergarten through level three.

A teacherage is constructed.


Native Crafts is reintroduced to the curriculum.


The government takes over the residence and closes it sometime between July and October. The school, administered now by the federal government, continues under the name Morley Indian Day School or Morley School until at least 1986.

The residence building is used to serve hot lunches to the day school students until 1973. It is also used for student showers and for various adult classes.


For the next two years at least, the residence building houses the Stoney Cultural Education Program and some band offices.


The residence building is demolished.


The Stoney Tribal Council announces plans to operate their own government- approved school and education program to replace Morley School.