Pilons of Canada's Northwest Territories

When Pilon voyageurs left Pointe-Claire, on the Island of Montréal, for the Pays d'en haut, they left a very European society to enter a land that had different ways and a myriad of different cultures very much unlike their own.  Some of these voyageurs were to spend long winter months at distant posts from which it was impossible to return in the same season.  During these prolongued stays, they naturally established friendships with local people who might have lived in the areas surrounding the posts or whom they had met when the people came to the post to trade.  Whatever the case, relationships were sometimes established that went beyond mere friendship and resulted in marriages à la façon du pays.  Unfortunately, this often meant that families were left behind when the voyageur eventually returned to the Saint-Lawrence Valley.  They gave rise to Métis, a people of mixed European-Native parentage.  It is difficult, and perhaps unfair, to sit in judgement of these people from our world of instant communications and ease of travel to fully understand the decisions that were taken more than two centuries ago.

The information presented here was obtained from the records of people claiming a right to scrip, a payment to people of native ancestry in the Northwest Territories of Canada in the 19th century.  The family of four children all give the same mother, one Josephte Pilon, said to be a métisse.  As her oldest child was born in 1796, we must presume that Josephte herself might have been perhaps 20 or 25 years old when this birth occurred.  She would thus have been born sometime around 1770-1775.  Her eldest child was born in the area of Lesser Slave Lake in present day northern Alberta.  What Pilon might have found himself in that area at that time.  Once again, we might presume that this Pilon would have been perhaps 20-25 years old at the time he found himself in the Lesser Slave Lake area.  Thus, he would have been born sometime around 1740-1750.  Can he be tentatively identified?  Did he stay in the pays d'en haut and never return to Pointe-Claire?

Josephte Pilon - Jacques L'Hyrondelle

Their children:

Catherine L'Hyrondelle
b. 1793 Lesser Slave Lake
m. 1808 Joseph Belcourt

Joseph L'Hyrondelle
b. 1814
m. 1842 Marguerite Nipissing

Angélique L'Hyrondelle
b. 1822
m. 1843 Olivier Ladéroute, Lac Ste-Anne, Alberta

Rosalie L'Hyrondelle
b. 1829
m. 1847 John Cunningham, Lac Ste-Anne, Alberta

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