Fort Steele was established in 1887 by Superintendent Sam Steele of the North West Mounted Police. The presence of the NWMP in the area was deemed necessary due to the tensions caused by the increasing liquor traffic and the land claims by Chief Isadore and the Ktunaya people. Superintendent Steele regarded Chief Isadore as the most influential Chief he had ever know, even more powerful than Chief Crowfoot of the Blackfoot.
In 1888, the name of the surrounding settlement (which pre-dated the NWMP fort) was also changed to "Fort Steele" in honour of the man who had peacefully negotiated the settlement with Chief Isadore. In 1888, the railway bypassed Fort Steele and the mining boom it had been experiencing came to an end.
Fort Steele is now a British Columbia provincial historic site containing original, restored and reconstructed buildings from the town on their original sites. Staff are in costume and in character. Visit the historic site before you go to the cemetery. This way you can look for the graves of the people you have learned at the historic site
The cemetery is located a short distance north of the historic site on British Columbia Highway #93. Turn right at the gas station onto Cemetery Road.
The cemetery contains a combination of well kept graves and forgotten old graves. Some areas of the cemetery are reminiscent of graveyards seen in wild West hollywood movies. Some of the best kept graves are also the oldest; the graves of the mounties who died in the Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever epidemic of 1895.
The cemetery also contains many charming modern graves with hand made markers with very personal touches (like the bull rider's grave shown below). Many graves are barely visible and the wooden markers are very fragile, so do not touch and be careful where you walk.