Submitted by Alex Morgotch
As boys grow up they generally give up their dreams of cowboys and outlaws, the old west and the adventures of the frontier days. Some lucky few, however find ways to live their dreams. One such person, local writer Elmer McInnes, continues to chase his fancies through his articles and books about real life characters of the early days of the west.
McInnes, who works at Coles Book Store in Yorkton, has completed his third non-fiction book recounting the lives of real people. He suggests that sometimes real life can be more riveting and interesting than fictional accounts.
The third book, chronicling the life of a prominent, notorious Canadian North West Mounted Policeman, swindler and con man, Walter Ross, has a close, personal connection to McInnes.
He first heard of Ross in stories related by his grandmother who knew Ross personally when he boarded at her home in London, England after fleeing Canada. Those accounts, McInnes suggests, may have spurred his interest in the outlaws of the old west.
“I’ve lived with this story almost all my life from when I was a kid,” he states. His grand mother’s stories made him want to find out more about Ross and who he was.
The book begins with Ross serving as a NWMP officer in Yorkton and area. A major part of the book concerns Ross’s life after he left the force. His activities eventually led to his escape to England where he was arrested by Scotland Yard and returned to Canada.
Following his return to Canada, Ross continued to operate outside the law and perpetrated one of the biggest Canadian hoaxes, involving a fake oil well, in McInnes’s opinion.
McInnes suggests because of his grandmother’s stories, he has been involved with research of the Walter Ross story all his life. Writing bits and pieces of the narrative between his other books, McInnes estimates he wrote the book over 25 to 30 years.
The Yorkton area, including Sheho, Otthon, Melville, Grayson are all mentioned in the book as places where Ross conducted his activities.
The book is available at Coles in Yorkton, through Amazon Books, by contacting the publisher in Calgary at smokeridgebooks.ca or by contacting McInnes himself at elmer.mcin...@gmail.com.
Coles will host a book signing Saturday, October 13 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, October 27 the Yorkton Public Library will also host a book signing from 3 p.m to 5 p.m. Anyone who enjoys western non-fiction is invited to come to meet the author and have their first edition copy of the book signed by McInnes. “I would be happy to sign the book for anyone who wants it signed or personalized. Just come down, check out the book and see what it’s like,” he urges.
He’s not done. McInnes is currently working on a pair of books about Nevada gunfighters. As well, he continues to research other American outlaws from Missouri, Utah, and Oregon. “I’ve got a lot of projects I hope to live long enough to complete,” he quips.
As mentioned earlier, his grandmother’s story of Walter Ross got him interested in researching and writing these books. “Walter Ross was the genesis of the whole thing,” McInnes closes.