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The Patenaudes of Woodjam ranch and 153 Mile ranch

Williams Lake’s Patenaude Drive commemorates Joseph Philippe “J.P.” Patenaude, who came to the Cariboo in 1892 from Lachute, Quebec. He thrived as rancher, storekeeper, postmaster and Justice of the Peace.

His wife, Christina Catherine “Mina” Anderson, from Durham, Ontario, had six children: Herbert Lawrence, Ernest James Joseph, Marie Éveline, Albert Joseph, Orik Robert and Ida Christina. After Mina passed away, his second wife Maria Henrietta Bradshaw, of Ormstown, QC, gave birth to one more son, Spencer Hope. This household created several ranches.

Log house

The Circle U ranch house of Albert (J.P.’s third son) and Annie (née Moore) at Marten Creek, circa 1930s

J.P. takes over the Pinchbeck ranch on the present-day site of the city of Williams Lake. The family later moves close to Horsefly where it pre-empts the Circle U anch at Marten Creek and the Woodjam ranch on the Horsefly River.

Man on horseback, dog and buggy in front of wooden buildings and fences

Frontier architecture in the Cariboo. On horseback, Ernest, second son of J.P., at Harper’s Camp (later renamed Horsefly), 1896

Man, woman and 2 children in front of vintage car

J.P. Patenaude with his daughter-in-law and grandchildren, 1925. From left: Kate (Spencer Hope’s wife) and two of her children, Spencer and Marge


The Patenaudes eventually purchase and improve the 153 Ranch of the Crosina family from Italy. Its heritage buildings today include a large general store and an important early stopping house.

Enjoy this interview with transcript of Rusty (l.) and Roger Patenaude . To view EN or FR subtitles, click on the gear wheel at bottom right of screen while the video is playing.

The 153 Ranch was eventually split between brothers Roger and Rusty, J.P.’s great-grandsons. Roger increased his herd to 1,000 head. In their retirement, Roger and his wife Alison plan to sell a large part of the ranch, and also to transfer the store and its 100 years’ worth of stock to Williams Lake as an educational centre.