Early Settlers

Some of the early settlers in St. Albert led lives that read like the pages of a boy’s adventure book.


Take, as an example, the early years of ADOLPHE PERRAULT. Adolphe Perrault was born in France about the year 1846. He made his own way to Canada when he was probably still in his teen years. He did this in the adventure-story way by stowing away on a boat heading to Canada. Some days into his adventure hunger and thirst forced him to surrender to the ship’s crew. A young priest on board became his guarantor for the rest of the passage.


In Canada he learned carpentry from the Oblates, and in 1868 when he was about 22 years old, he found himself one of fourteen men who came west with Bishop Grandin. As a lay brother he worked at the St. Albert Mission for a number of years. He very likely helped build St. Albert’s second church at the Mission in 1870.


Adolphe Perrault married Julie Berard in 1871, a union that produced twelve children. He took a farm on River Lot 16 but continued his work at the Mission. He worked on the structure of the present church but never saw its completion. He died from typhoid fever in 1906. Six of his children also died of the typhoid. All are buried in St. Albert Cemetery.


JOSEPH PAQUETTE was born in Belgium about 1837. When he came to Canada he came to Montreal where he was recruited by the Hudson’s Bay Company. He came west as a Bay man, a voyageur, one of those sturdy men who paddled the freight canoes and toted the Company’s goods across the portages.


He married Madeline Durocher of St. Albert and took a homestead near St. Albert, a half-section at 19-54-25-W4. There they raised ten children. Eventually the farm was sold and Joseph and Madeline ‘retired’ to live with their daughter in the Peace River area.


Joseph Paquette died in Peace River in 1925 and was buried there. His widow, Madeline, moved back home to St. Albert and lived with Bertha and Edouard Perrault. She died in 1927 and is buried in St. Albert Cemetery.


JEAN BAPTISTE COURTEPATTE reflects life as it was in St. Albert/ Lac Ste Anne at this time better than any other. He married Josephte Bellecourt of Lesser Slave Lake in 1833. They settled on River Lot 3 in St. Albert Settlement where they operated a ‘stopping house’. He took part in the annual community buffalo hunts around Buffalo Lake. He was also a voyageur and made at least a dozen trips between Fort William and Fort Edmonton for the Company. He knew the chansons of the voyageur and often sang the hymns at church. He died at the age of 89, a victim of the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918. He is buried at Lac Ste Anne.


Reference: The Black Robe’s Vision. Volume 1,1985

St. Albert Historical Society, Arlene Borgstede, Editor


Reprinted from The Echoes, Vol. XXVI, No. 2, February, 2008; St. Albert Historical Society