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Amédée Isnardy of Chimney Creek Ranch

Originally from Puget-Theniers, near Nice, France, Amédée Isnardy (1837-1907) and two brothers sailed from France bound for the California gold rush. Around 1859, Amédée followed prospectors into BC and found some success in the gold fields here.

Amédée opened a store in Lillooet. At Sugarcane Reserve on Williams Lake, he married Julianne Waillamalkwa (1838-1918), daughter of Zolihatkwa and Togholspologh (also known as James “Jimmy” Scotchman), Chief of the local Stl’atl’imx First Nation. They had eleven children: Joseph, Frances, Emma, Hortense, Charles Bernard, Augustine, Matilda, James, Andrew, Gabriel, and Simon. French was not spoken in the home, but some Shuswap was spoken by the children. Hortense became a capable midwife, often called upon for her skills.

Painting of wooden buildings and mountains

Painting of the Chimney Creek ranch buildings, by D.M. Wright, n.d.


Jimmy Isnardy and his first wife Christine Bowe had five children. After Christine died, Jimmy married Evelyn Stafford and thirteen more children joined the family! Even then, Evelyn found time to establish an old-age pension program in Williams Lake. While some of their children see themselves as Indigenous, others do not acknowledge that heritage.

Studio photo of three cowboys in gear

Joseph “Joe”, Frances “Frank,” and Charles Bernard “Charlie” Isnardy, sons of Amédée and Julianne Isnardy and Julianne, circa 1885

Seated couple cutting an anniversary cake

Their brother James ”Jimmy” and his second wife Evelyn Stafford at their 1972 50th wedding anniversary celebration









The family held two reunions, gathering over 150 relatives. As well, Isnardys in France found their distant cousins and reunited with them in Williams Lake in 2008, proud to meet descendants of their common ancestor.