St. Joseph's Mission in Williams Lake

St. Joseph's Mission in Williams Lake

(The first church, an Indian Residential School 1886-1957
and the first area cemetery)

This chronology was put together by Wanda Story.

1860 - Oblate of Mary Immaculate, Roman Catholic priest, and educational administrator, pre-empted land in the valley of the San Jose River at the head of Williams Lake.    The word "oblate" indicates one who is "dedicated to God".  

1866 - August 1866 Louis-Joseph d’Herbomez*, Oblate superior in British Columbia,  assigned Father James Maria McGuckin, at age 25 years,  to the Cariboo–Williams Lake mission district under a veteran missionary, François Jayol. The tasks of founding St Joseph Mission, which initially covered the entire western and northern interior of British Columbia, were McGuckins.  It was McGuckin who selected a location in the San Jose River valley at the head of Williams Lake as a centre, and the choice proved wise. The site was convenient for gatherings of Shuswap and neighbouring bands, yet not too close to white settlements. He later bought 320 acres from the Pomeroys.  Nearby lands could be used for a school and a farming village. The "Oblate Brothers of St. Joseph" would farm the ranch land as a means of support and income.  Local men were also hired at 50 cents per day to help on the ranch.    The purpose of the small ranch was to educate natives and teach Christianity. The motto of the Oblates has ever remained:   "He has sent me to preach the Gospel to the poor". The road into the ranch would become known as Mission Road.  Church services were held at the Mission and the first area cemetery was created.  The Mission became responsible for recording births and deaths for the area.   

1867 - The St. Joseph's Mission was established on July 5th, to serve the Shuswap and other local natives as well as neighboring miners.  The first burials were made in the St. Joseph Mission's cemetery.

1871 - Father Charles Grandidier was the Mission Superior.  Father Norbert Blanchet took up the task of building a boys school on the mission.  The lumber was bought from Soda Creek for 6 cents a foot.

1872 - The first year the school opened, 11 boys were enrolled.  The school served both white and half white children and the "Sisters of the Child Jesus" served as the teachers.  Father McGuckin officially became the Mission Superior and would stay until 1882.  

1873 - Amadeus Isnardy married Julienne Wilmatkwa on December 16th at St. Joseph's Mission then in the Clinton District.  (BC Marriage Reg. Number: 1873-09-175372 or B.C. Archives Microfilm Number: B11387)  The marriage record at St. Joseph's mission lists Julienne's parents as  Zolihatkwa (mother) and Torospolor or Togholspologh (father).

1876 - OTHELLO BAILEY married LUCY HATSANASNAN on February 20th at St. Joseph's mission. (BC Marriage 1876-09-175253, or BC Archives Microfilm Number: B11387).   The "Sisters of St. Anne" opened a girls school and would teach there for 20 years.  

1878 - The Mission schools had 42 boys enrolled and 33 girls.

1882- Father Adrian Gabriel Morice took over from Father Charles McGuckin, now 47 years old.  Father Morice was noted for his ethnologic and philologic contributions, including the invention of the Dene Indian syllabary.

1884 - A.G. Morice was a minister at St. Joseph's.  Alice Hance, daughter of Tom Hance and Annie Tlilkwa, was baptised on June 20th.

1886 - The St. Joseph's Mission became an Indian Residential School and white children were required to attend others schools in Williams Lake.  The Oblate Brothers and the Catholic church,  ran most of Canada's residential schools.   Pablo Tresierra married Hortense Isnardy at St. Joseph's.

1895 - William (Billy) Felix Pinchbeck and Matilda Isnardy married at the St. Joseph's Mission.

1896 - After 20 years, the "Sisters of St. Anne" were forced to leave due to hard times as the gold rush died down.  The "Order of Sisters of the Child Jesus" came from France and took up the teaching duties at the mission.

1897 - Indian children began being excepted into the school programs.

1900- JEFF HOUGH married SUZANN MICHEAL on May 25th . (BC Marriage Reg. Number 1900-09-172897 or BC Archives Microfilm Number: B11387)

1901 - In the 1901 Census of Williams Lake, the Mission lists 82 persons, 58 of which are native pupils of the Shuswap Tribe.  George Blanche, a French Roman Catholic Priest is listed as the head of the school.  Eleven assistants are listed. JOHN WILLIAM EAGLE married CECILE M M BOITANO on November 25th. (BC Marriage Registration Number 1901-09-172887 or BC Archives Microfilm Number: B11387)

1902 - JAMES C. JOHNSON married ELLEN DUSSAULT on January 9th. (BC Marriage Registration Number 1902-09-172902 or BC Archives Microfilm Number: B11387)

1906 - WILLIAM MOFFIT married AGNES SAPPA on June 5th. (BC Marriage Registration 1906-09-172918 or BC Archives Microfilm Number: B11387)  S. E. MOSTYN HOOPS married JENNIE ELIZABETH DUNLEVY on December 25th, Christmas Day. (BC Marriage Registration Number 1906-09-172899 or BC Archives Microfilm Number: B11387)

1907 - HENRY LEDUKE married LOUISA RYAN on June 27th. (BC Marriage registration number 1907-09-172884 or BC Archives Microfilm Number: B11387)

1908 - GEORGE WILLIAM J. MOORE married Mary Peters on December 23rd. (BC Marriage Registration Number 1908-09-172919 or BC Archives Microfilm Number: B11387)

1911 - GARNET WOLSEY J. JOHNSON married MAGGIE M. J. TRESSIERE on June 27th. (BC Marriage Registration Number 1911-09-172904 or BC Archives Microfilm Number: B11387).   ROBERT GRESIERA married CELESTINE ENGLISH on November 20th. (BC Marriage Registration Number 1911-09-139287 or BC Archives Microfilm Number: B11384)

1912 - DESIDERATUS TURCOTTE married AURELIA SOREL on June 15th. (BC Marriage Registration Number 1912-09-139533 or BC Archives Microfilm Number: B11384)

1918 - CHARLES MANUEL CASTELLAN married SUSAN ISNARDY on May 7th. (BC Marriage Registration Number 1918-09-192325 or BC Archives Microfilm Number: B11389).   CHARLES NEDEL married ELLA BOITANIO on June 17th. (BC Marriage Registration Number 1918-09-192327 or BC Archives Microfilm Number: B11389)

1919 - JOHN MOFFATT OGDEN married WILHELMINA BOITANO on September 16th. (BC Marriage Registration Number 1919-09-204228 or BC Archives Microfilm Number: B11390)

1920 - Williams Lake became an official town and the Mission was relieved of its duties to record births and deaths.

1924 - Harry Clarke, a BC Provincial Policeman,  married Nora Weetman at the Mission.

1935 - St. Joseph's Mission donated a box of clothes to the Lee family when their house burned down at Sunnyside Ranch.

1950 - The federal government finally saw fit to provide a budget for the mission school.  About 300 students were enrolled in the school, about 180 students were below grade 5.

1950s - A large parish hall was built at the mission. 

1957 - The school burned down.  The land was donated to the the Department of Indian Affairs.  The "Oblate Brothers of St. Joseph" gave up their roles as teachers and became counselors, social workers and recreation facilitators.  A swimming pool was opened at the mission.

1964 - The Onward Ranch, a neighboring farm, was purchased and added to St. Joseph's Mission property.

1966 - A new church and rectory were built at the mission.

1967 - Native students were integrated into the public school system.

1968 - A new gym was opened at St. Joseph's.

1973 - The Cariboo Student Residential school has 272 students enrolled.

1981 - The St. Joseph's Mission school is re-opened as the "Cariboo Indian Education and Training Centre".

Teachers and Staff associated with St. Joseph's Mission and residential school.

Pre 1963 - Father H. D. McIntee,  Indian Missionary

Students known to have attended St. Joseph's Residential School

Joseph Clement Kalalest

The St. Joseph's Cemetery:

This is the oldest cemetery in the Williams Lake area.  It was in general use from around 1867 to the 1920s when the Williams Lake Cemetery was started. Only special circumstance burials are excepted in the St. Joseph's cemetery at the present time. The cemetery is currently not tended, the grasses and shrubs are waist high and many gravestones are toppled or broken.  Many of the gravemarkers were also made with wood and have deteriorated.  There is a newer section that appears to have become more of   a native cemetery that is still in use today.  St. Joseph's Mission, church and cemetery is currently on the Sugar Cane Native land reserve.

This is NOT a complete list.  Names found in the Cemetery include:

?, Lucille - died 3 March 1937
Agnew, Maida: 1888 - 1931 (wife of Francis Vere Agnew)
Alphonse, Celestine: 29 June 1906 - 6 Jan 1972
Alphonse, Isadore: 1 Nov 1930 - 23 Apr 1957
Alphonse, Tommy: 26 May 1900 - 6 Jun 1954
Anderson, Melvin E. : 1947 - 1984
Bellmond, Garnet E.: 7 Feb 1928 - 6 Jan 1945
Bellmond, Rosa Maria: Oct 1911 - Jan 1970
Bellmond, Victor Joseph: 31 Mar 1930-6 Jun 1930
Bellmond, William Ernie:  1897-1967
Birthood, Anthony W.: 1969-1971
Blanchet,  H. P. George: died 16 Nov 1906 (aged 88 years)
Bob, Joe: 1896 - 1944
Bob, Joseph Anthony: 2 Mar 1928 - 31 May 1967
Bob, Felix
Chiappini, J.D.: died 16 Jul 1912 (aged 56 years)
Conroy, Elizabeth M.: died 6 Dec 1881 (29 years)
Dussault, Felix:  7 Sep1886 -10  Apr 1925
Eagle, Agnes: 16 Apr 1884 - 16 Sep 1884
Eagle, Anna (nee Tatqua): died 16 Sep 1887 (40 years)
Eagle, George Barimo: 26 Oct 1837 - 17 Jan 1890 (a native of Pennsylvania)
Eagle, Ida May: 15 May 1887 -28  Feb 1888
Eagle, Julia:  5 Mar 1880 - 8 Jan 1882
Eagle, Lilia : died 1 Nov 1885 (aged 1 hour)
Ehalt,  Joseph:  31 Oct 1864 - 13 Mar 1932
Farries, Elmer Isaac: 25 Feb 1915 - 10 Jun 1923 (son of Rose and Walter Farries)
Felker, Antonette (nee Budde): 27 Nov 1829 (Hanover, Germany) - 25 Nov 1903
Felker, George Henry: 27 Nov 1849 (St. Louis, USA) - 23 May 1923
Felker, He? :  ? - 1949?
Felker, Henry: 1 Feb 1828 (Hanover, Germany) - 3 Jun 1894
Felker, Henry George Joseph: 6 Mar 1895 - 17 Dec 1973
Felker, Henry Patrick: 21 Jun 1860 (Fort Yale, BC) - 10 May 1937
Felker, Josephine Mary : 26 Nov 1926 - 26 Nov 1926
Felker, Mary: 7 Feb 1800 (Native of Hanover, Germany) - 18 Dec 1885
Felker, Mary Rhoda : 20 April 1874 - 30 Nov 1921
Felker, William Philip : 5 May 1866 (Walla Walla) - 14 Dec 1902
Felker, William Richard : 10 Feb 1899 - 4 Jul 1900
Felker, Thomas Joseph : 31 Dec 1906 - 7 Jan 1981
Gilbert, Alex
Gilbert, Andrew : born 14 August 1900, died 22 Feb 1973
Gilbert, Jeffery Christopher:  born 30 Jan 1971, died 29 April 1976
Gilbert, Rosie : born July 9, died February 21, 1973
Grouse, Jimmie
Prouse, Peter : 1912-1975
Guy, Francois: 1827- 1898?
Hamilton, Colin P.: died 10 Aug 1917 (aged 10 months)
Holloman, William: 1878-1953
Huston, Violet M. : 1900-1934
Huston, Dick
Isnardy, Frank: 1 April 1866 - Jan 29, 1917 (aged 49)
Isnardy, Augustine:  11 Apr 1874 - 8 Oct 1891
Isnardy, Andrew:  Dec 9, 1883 - Oct 1, 1891
Isnardy, Mrs. Amy: died 15 Aug 1932, age 67
Isnardy, Amadee : 1840 - 8 May 1907 (native if Nice, Italy)
Isnardy, Julienne:  died 17 March 1918 (age 79 years)
Jakel, Mabel: 18 Jan 1889 - 18 Jul 1928 (wife of C.W. Jakel, daughter of Mr & Mrs.J. E. Moore)
Johnny, Christine
King, William Herman: 14 July 1856 - 16 Dec 1929
Kobelt, Hans Willi: 1927 - 1980
Lajoie, George: died 1 Jul 1936 (aged 68 years)
McCarthy, Annie: 8 Jun 1854 - 26 Jul 1893 (wife of M.J. McCarthy)
McCarthy, Michael John: died 16 Sep 1915 (aged 66 years)
McInnes, Anne E. (nee Roddy): died 26 April 1892
McLuckie, Jack:  1867 (Edinborough, Scotland) - 1940
McLuckie, Johnie: 6 Oct 1914 - 7 Sep 1944
McLuckie, Eleanor (nee Meason): 1878 (Dog Creek, BC) - 1921
Moore, ?
Moore, Edgar Stanislas:  1921-1922
Moore, James Wesley: 1894 - 1936
Moore, Joseph: ?-1918
Moore, Mary: 1874 - 1947
Moore, Thomas Allen:  1889-1946
Moore, Thomas Allen:  1915-1949
Moor, Mrs. ? Violet
Murphy, ?: - died 1919
Murphy, Denis: died 6 Dec 1896 (aged 66 years)
Murphy, Ellen: died 13 Jun 1899? (aged 64 years)
Murphy, Fred:  16 Jul 1880 - 20 Nov 1880
Murphy, James Patrick: 1872 - 1921
Ogden,  Isaac: {13 Apr 1862} - 7  Mar 1927 (aged 68)
Ogden, Rose Agnes (nee Eagle): died  Nov 17, 1898 (aged 26 years & 8 months)
O'Donovan, Maureen Jane:  1955 - 1972
Paul, Edward: 1924-1972
Paul, ? F.:  born 9 Mar 1946, died 3 Apr 1977
Pierro, Bernard:  died 6 Jul 1924, age 8
Pinchbeck, Cyrille Frances: 13 Dec 1898 - 20 Apr 1900 (son of Billy and Matilda Pinchbeck)
Pinchbeck, Edward Louis: 6 Aug 1896 - 28 Nov 1899 (son of Billy and Matilda Pinchbeck)
Pinchbeck, Dorothy Mary: 22 Aug 1900 -27 April 1920 (daughter of Billy and Matilda Pinchbeck)
Poelvoorde, Kathleen Teresa: 1916-1966
Salmon, Johnny :  died 10 July 1921, Age 36
Sand, Frank
Seilsohi, Fred Alfred: 2 Oct 192? - 17 Jul 1970
Sellars, Martha:  died 6 June 1992
Sharkey, Thomas:  ? - Aug 1, 1918 (aged 29)
Thomas, Father F. M. (Priest):  1868 - 1957
Thomas, Dick H. : born 26 Nov 1898 - died 4 Sep 1957
Toppage, ? William:  1937, Age 29
Weetman, George Bernard:  died 10 July 1921, Age 40
Williams, Chief William:  born 1868, died 16 Apr 1927
Wright, Mary Jane Cecilia: 1888-1931
Wycotte, Mrs.Julia:  born 13 Oct 1923, died 9 Nov 1948
Wycotte, Tommy:  Aug 20 died June 22, 1972

Obtaining Records from St. Joseph's

From Esther:
I thought I would pass some information on to you . Any one who has been Baptized in a Catholic church in the Cariboo down to Merrit area, can get a certificate of birth for $15.00. I got print outs on certain families (they give you a price on that). Most of mine were recorded at St. Joseph's Mission. They have Marriage records for $15.00 but no deaths. With a print out you get the Parents names. No restrictions involved on how old the records have to be. They are very helpful, in telling you other Churches to get information from if it isn't in their area.  I have phoned them and received what I was looking for.

Phone(250) 376-3351 Fax (250) 376-3363

From Scott, April 2004:
The St. Joseph's archives are now housed at the Kamloops Diocese.


Return to Cariboo-Chilcotin Geographically listed Links Page
Return to the Cariboo-Chilcotin page of links by Record Type

Comments and corrections always welcome !!

Last updated 29 April, 2005