Finding Fred: 2 of 4
Research on Fred Bagley's very early life begins not on the prairie but on Vancouver Island with my mother's half brother and his wife—Dale and Penny Bent. Penny has been researching Fred pre-Mountie; my mother, brother, and I post-Mountie. So I got onto the ferry in Tswaassen for the 2-hour trip across Georgia Straight to Nanaimo to see what information she might have of Fred's mother and father and his childood. Below deck and parked, I got a binder of my research from the jeep, hoofed it up three flights of stairs, and hunted down the cafeteria where I began reacquainting myself with what material I had while eating some very bad scrambled eggs and not very good sausage.
Finding Fred: 1 of 4
MY GREAT-GRANDFATHER, Major Frederick Augustus Bagley, was one of Canada's original Mounties in 1874--and her youngest. He lied about his age to get in, got caught, but in the end was allowed to sign up "for six months." Fifteen-year-old Fred didn't go home for years. He became their bugle boy in the historic trek west to save the Canadian First Nations from American whiskey traders and to squash any bright ideas the United States might have of annexation.
"Finding Fred" in four parts tells the story of my initial search for my missing grandmother Leona Bagley Goodfellow and stumbling on her father, my great-grandfather, one of Canada's most famous Mounties. Grandfather, however, was not just famous for his policing but for his music as well, for he started bands all over the prairies, making the Mounties synonymous with brass bands and symphonies.
I write about finding him because DNA calls us all, asking to be discovered so that we can better understand ourselves.