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.
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.
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.
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…