Bragg Creek/Redwood Meadows Lifestyle

Bragg Creek Historical Society Notes – Apr 2021

The Mysterious Disappearance of John A. McIntosh: Part 2

In Part 1, on December 9th, 1915, John A. McIntosh left with his team and a wagonload of wood from his homestead in Bragg Creek. The team and wagon arrived back in Calgary, but no McIntosh.

From the police accounts, locals learned that two men who were known to have had a disagreement with McIntosh were questioned numerous times. We also know that homestead deeds were highly coveted, and research has found that prior to McIntosh’s disappearance, cancellation proceedings for quarter section SW 1⁄4 12 had been instituted by another aspiring homesteader from Calgary. As a result, in April 1914, the Department of the Interior had informed McIntosh by letter that he had until July 15 to “perform the requisite residence and cultivation,” or “prove up” to get title to the land.

By March 1916, the Crown Timber Inspector in Calgary also had an eye on this land, citing the availability of 200,000 feet of merchantable spruce and pine. He noted there had been no improvements on the land, with exception of a small log shack and stable, and because the land was unsuited for agricultural purposes should be placed in a reserve for timber purposes. As well, the homesteader McIntosh “has suddenly disappeared from this land and has not been since heard of.” McIntosh’s entry was thus cancelled by September 1916 and the land reserved for timber.

Over the years, skeletons and skulls have been discovered and the story of Old Mac resurfaces. In 1974, local writer Joan Merryfield, while researching the mystery for the book Our Foothills, wrote to the Alberta Attorney General asking if there had been any closure. The response was disappointing: no record of Mr. McIntosh appeared in the available archive files and the R.C.M. P. could not substantiate anything, due to the time lapsed. The R.C.M.P. only noted that they had spoken with a Mr. Stanley Fullerton (younger brother of Jake) who saw Calgary bachelor McIntosh leaving Bragg Creek with a load of firewood headed towards Calgary at approximately 9:00 a.m. So back full circle, whatever happened to John A. McIntosh that fateful December morning?

by Michele McDonald

Homestead Records, 1870-1030, Acc.1970.313 – Film 2443 – File 3090365,, (via Alberta Genealogical Society); Purmal, Freda l, “The Mysterious Disappearance of John A. McIntosh”, Our Foothills, pg. 420; “Fear John M’Intosh Has Had Accident”, Calgary Herald, Pg. 1, December 10, 1915; J.E. Mos correspondence to Joan Merryfield, Alberta Attorney General, Criminal Justice Section Crown Counsel, April 26, 1974.

*Royal North West Mounted Police

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