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The Pigeon brothers: Joseph Pigeon of the Meadow Lake ranch

Older man seated in front of building while holding a stick

Joseph Pigeon, circa 1910-1920


Brothers Moïse “Moses” and Joseph Avéa Napoléon Pigeon were from St. Damase and Roxton Pond, Québec. They were among the first non-Indigenous settlers in the Dog Creek area.



Studio photo of 8 people seated and standing

Pigeon family members, circa 1930. Rear, from l.: Marie Anna Pigeon (Ernest’s second wife), Maria Strangward (daughter of Ernest and his first wife Adélina Cadieux), her child Harry Strangward and husband William Henry Strangward. Front, from l.: Pierre F.-X. Ernest “Peter” Pigeon, Clarence Pigeon (son of Ernest and Marie Anna), patriarch Joseph Pigeon holding Ruth Strangward

In Québec, Joseph married Josephte Arthurine (known in BC as Athénaïse) Blain of Saint-Charles-sur-Richelieu, establishing the European branch of the Pigeon family with five children: Aure (or André) Napoléon, Anna, Pierre François-Xavier Ernest, Léa Léonie Philomène and Wilfred “Willie”. In 1892, Joseph bought the Meadow Lake ranch, north-west of Clinton BC.

Head and shoulders photos of a woman wearting a brooch and a man with moustache

Adélina Cadieux and her husband Pierre François-Xavier Ernest Pigeon


Ernest’s first wife Adélina Cadieux found conditions at Meadow Lake so harsh that she ended her own life. Ernest took their three girls back to Quebec for adoption, but could not part with Rosa, so she returned to BC with him. Later, Maria would rejoin her father as well, but Ernestine refused to leave her adoptive parents.

Men in front of wooden cabin

The house Joseph Pigeon built for his family, circa 1930s

Because Ernest was often away from home prospecting for gold, Ernest’s second wife Marie Anna ran the ranch alone, but she suffered from isolation because of her lack of English. The couple separated, and Marie Anna returned to Granby QC with the children.

Both Ernest and his son Rosaire became hunting guides. Rosaire’s son Clarence, however, lived a much greater adventure away from the ranch…