Elliott, Moses (1854-1939)

Hub Elkin.
Saskatchewan Archives Board R-PS57-459-01

Moses Elliott, a prominent ranching pioneer in the Maple Creek area, was born in Carleton County and later lived at St. Marys, Ontario, where as a young man he worked as a clerk in Timothy Eaton's original store. By 1881 Moses Elliott was managing a hotel at Little Saskatchewan in the Manitoba Extension. With a solid understanding of Cree he joined the Indian Affairs Department as an interpreter, accompanying various officials on their travels across the prairies. In January 1888, while working as a farming instructor at the Duck Lake Indian Agency, he was fired over a misunderstanding over his weekend use of the government horse and sleigh to attend his wedding. Elliott and his wife then moved to Maple Creek, where his father Andrew had preceded them. At Maple Creek Moses and Emily began ranching and raised a family of one son and three daughters. The family then moved out to the sandhills at Cross, northeast of Maple Creek, where he continued to raise cattle and horses. There he served on the local school board, and in 1914 obtained the position of postmaster, which he held until he disappeared in 1939. When neighbours and relatives noticed the 85-year-old was missing from the post office, they became suspicious of a drifter named John Zalenko, whom Moses had taken in. Nephew Vernal Elliott called in the RCMP; when questioned, Zalenko claimed that Moses had hanged himself. After Zalenko showed them where he had buried the body, he was charged and later convicted of murdering Moses with an axe. Declared insane, Zalenko spent the rest of his days in the Weyburn Mental Hospital.

David R. Elliott