Bonneau Pascal SR (1840-1902)* ref.98

Source : Photo dePascalBonneau, du livre ‘’La Montagne de bois'

Année et lieu de naissance :5 décembre 1840

Tel que mentionné dans l’extrait du registre de baptême : Le 7 décembre 1840, nous prêtre soussigné avons baptisé sous conditions Pascal né la surveille en cette… du légitime mariage de Étienne Bonneau cultivateur et de Ursule Desnoyers de cette paroisse parrain ? Bazinet marraine ? Bonneau, avec le père non pu signer….

Année et lieu du décès : 1902 à Marieville, Ste-Marie-du-Monnoir, Qc

Nom du père : Bonneau Étienne

Nom de la mère : Desnoyers Ursule

Profession : Marchand - commerçants, travaille pour la ligne de chemin de fer de Waterloo et est aussi rancher

1 ère Épouse : Messier Célina ( -1887)

Mariage : 21 novembre 1859

Enfants avec épouse : 

Bonneau Joseph (1872-1948)

Bonneau Albina

Bonneau Osite

Bonneau Marie

Bonneau Cyprien

Bonneau Marcelline

Bonneau François

Bonneau Victoria

2 ième Épouse : Bertrand Délima (Veuve de Joseph L’Heureux)

Mariage : 30 janvier 1899, Ste-Angèle du Monnoir co. Rouville, QC

 Photo Pascal Bonneau SR, fond du Ralliements des Familles Bonneau

Célina Messier et Pascal Bonneau

Célina Messier

PHOTO RETROUVÉ DANS LES ARCHIVES DES RALLIEMENTS DES FAMILLES BONNEAU

Pascal Bonneau, est originaire de St-Philippe de la Prairie au Québec. Pascal Bonneau est un Bonneau qui a fait particulièrement parler de lui. Il fut le premier entrepreneur français à construire une section du chemin de fer du Canadien Pacifique. Il fut ensuite le premier marchant à s'établir à Régina.

Au printemps 1878 après la naissance de son 7e enfant, il part avec sa famille s’établir provisoirement dans un camp de fortune à Kénora, ON, travaillant comme contremaître sur la construction du tronçon de chemin de fer: Kénora-Winnipeg. Rendu à Winnipeg, il poursuit son travail sur le tronçon Winnipeg-Régina qui sera complété en 1882. Il décide alors de s’établir à Régina et il devient un des premiers hommes d’affaires Canadien-français à Régina. Sa maison devient vite un rendez-vous important des colons venus du Québec dans l’espoir de s’établir sur ces terres de l’Ouest jugées des plus fertiles. Pascal Bonneau et sa famille ont été des témoins privilégiés à l’automne 1885 de la révolte des Métis à Batoche.Selon monsieur Louis-Philippe Bonneau, Pascal ce rendit célèbre pour avoir organisé une tentative d'évasion au profit de Louis Riel pendant l'emprisonnement de celui-ci. Mais leurs plans n’ont pas pu être mis en action. C’est cette révolte qui a conduit à la pendaison de Louis Riel le 16 novembre 1885. L’épouse et la mère de Riel y firent leurs adieux juste avant son exécution. Après la mort de Riel, Pascal père et son fils Pascal reçurent le corps de Riel et ils le placèrent dans un cercueil sous le plancher de la chapelle catholique de Régina (Saint-Mary’s) et ils le gardèrent plusieurs jours avec leurs fusils craignant que «les Orangistes» hostiles à Riel, viennent lui faire des sévices. Ces mêmes personnes s’occupèrent également de transporter la dépouille de Riel par train à St-Boniface au Manitoba, pour redonner le corp à sa mère.

Par la suite, Pascal Bonneau et sa famille se sont établis à «WoodMountain» dans la vallée de la rivière Muddy située au sud de la Saskatchewan où Pascal devint un «rancher» très prospère et influent. Ses fils s’établiront par la suite à Bonneauville petite localité aujourd’hui disparue et située à quelques kilomètres de Willow Bunch. Aujourd’hui, plusieurs descendants de ce couple de pionniers se retrouvent dispersés dans les prairies de l’Ouest canadien principalement aux environs de Régina et de Willow Bunch.

Photo prise dans les archives du Soleil, Louis Riel vers 1884

C’est vraiment tout un personnage, ainsi que ses fils: Pascal,Trefflé et Joseph. Très impressionnant. Je vous invite à aller lire les textes sur ce site internet. Ils ont fait vraiment beaucoup ces Bonneau en Saskatchewan. Voici celui sur Pascal Bonneau père en lien Musée Virtuel Francophone de la Saskatchewan.Mais il y a en a beaucoup d’autres.

Text found in the ARCHIVES DES RALLIEMENTS DES FAMILLES BONNEAU

Pascal Bonneau Senior and Célina M. Messier

By: Gilles A. Bonneau

Reference Information:Willow Bunch, Sask.

Word of mouth

Newspaper clippings

Books:

The are the prairies by Zachary Hamilton and Albina Bonneau-Hamilton

The History of Willow Bunch by Rev. C. Rondeau and Rev. A Chabot

Pascal Bonneau Sr. and Célina Messier were two of the more bold and adventurous people who came West. They were filled with self confidence and self reliance, enough so to leave warmth and safety of their home in Ste-Brigide d’Iberville (Québec), and head out towards the great unknown territories of the Canadian West !

However, as one delves into their past and considers their accomplishments (amazing as they are), one is ultimately left the province of Québec. Their daughter, Albina Bonneau-Hamilton, mentions in one of her writings that she left Ste-Brigide d’Iberville (Qué), with «nine» older brothers and sisters on the trek West. Therefore, though no known records exist regarding ten children, there is reasonable cause for one to assume that three other children, besides the seven previously identified, were born to Pascal and Célina.

In fact, there was some verbal knowledge among the elder Bonneau relatives of there having been one other daughter (she also would have been an elder sister to Albina and Victoria), but there is no knowledge of the likelihood of to other children !

And, exactly what was the fate of these three missing / mystery children, thought to be a girl and two boys, God only knows and He isn’t telling ! If ever they existed, it appears they may have died while on the trek West, possibly of Small Pox ! It would have been nice to have known their namrs, however, other then those children listed previously, no other names are known to us at this time.

As it is, the eldest daughter, Célina, is reputed to have married T. Vaudry while the family was still in Québec, and to have died there of Small Pox shortly after the family’s departure for the West. They had one daugther, Ernestine Vaudry ; nothing more is known of them.

Another daugther, Angelina, died in Regina, Sask., in 1883. It is not known if she was married or not ; she would have been about seventeen years old.

For the remaining children, see their individual stories which follow.

The main focal point of this narrative, (though the efforts of their children are equally important) is Pascal Bonneau Sr. and Célina M. Messier, two people who can only be described as an inspiration to all their descendants.

In the early days, prior to their departure west, Pascal Sr. and Célina were reputed to have had an apple or fruit orchard from which they sold fruit locally. Apparently the previous decade had been quite difficult for many people in rural Québec and many had found it hard to make ends meet and to provide, for the traditional large French-Canadian family, on their limited acres of farm land. There had been considerable immigration of the younger generations to the neighbouring States of the American Union and to manufacturing centres of New England where many secured industrial employment.

As for Pascal Sr. and Célina, they saw little future for their growing family in the province of Québec. Pascal Sr. had been looking around for an opportunity to improve his position, but he had no desire to leave Canada. Then, early in 1878, he obtained a small contract on the Waterloo Railway. In the spring of that year, Pascal Sr. moved his wife and family closer to his camp and for a time they resided in Kenora, Ontario. All the while, during the construction of the railroad, Pascal Sr.’s family lived in tents (within town limits) along the steel right-of-way. Morever, evening family prayers after the day’s work was a tradition. 

Pascal Sr. was an active man with the pioneering instinct strong in him, and when the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway offered a wider field, he siezed the opportunity. He worked for about two and half years as foreman on the Kenora-Winnipeg section of the C.P. Railway. At some point during the year of 1879, he moved his wife and family closer once again, and they resided by the banks of the Red River at St-Boniface, Manitoba. In 1881 the railroad reached St-Boniface, and by then Pascal Sr. had gained sufficient experience in railroad construction so that he and a partner (Frank Labelle) were able to secure a sub-contract for building the first Winnipeg to Regina rail-line.

In the early spring of 1882, work was pushed rapidly westward from the end of steel, then at Flat Creek near the present Manitoba village of Oak Lake. The speed with which grading was done and steel laid across the level plains was almost incredible. As a matter of fact, four hundred and eighty miles of roadbed was constructed that summer. In August of 1882, the Pacific Railway reached «Pile of Bones» presently known as Regina, Sask. Since Pascal Sr. was an experienced farmer, his better instincts were aroused by the rich and fertile soil in the area. Wonder-struck by the promise of the new frontier, he sold his interest in the Railroad Contracting Firm and decided to establish residence there.

He then brought the remaining members of his family from St-Boniface, that is to say, the women folk and young Joseph, for it is understood that Pascal Jr. And Trèfflé were already in Regina with their father, as they had worked with the railroad construction crews all summer. Pascal Sr. then began preparations to build a house, though building material was rather scarce at the time, and also to establish a mercantile business, for which a tent would have to suffice for the moment. As for Pascal Jr., he left the safety of the family that fall of 1882, to go and seek his own fortune in the Willow Bunch / Wood Mountain areas. But as for Trèfflé, the second eldest son who was 18 years of age at the time, his younger brother Joseph, and the two girls, Victoria and Albina, they remained in the safety of the family, in Regina.

Building went on with feverish activity that fall, as everyone was anxious to raise a shelter against the cold. Célina’s first house on the prairies was rather small by today’s standards, eighteen feet by fourteen feet, but it was home ! It was also the only known French speaking residence in Regina at that time. By contrast their store (construction the following summer, the first built in Regina) was somewhat larger and was a two story affair.

Pascal Sr. first opened his General Store in a large tent which they erected the fall 1882, in what is now a downtown section of Regina. At the time Regina could well have been called «The City of Tents», since most of those spending the winter there had no other home ! Initially the greater part of the store’s trade was carried on by the Indians who traded their pemmican and furs for goods of all sorts. In fact, for the winter of 1882-83 it was the Indians who, through trade, supplied Pascal Sr.’s store with provisions for the general population of Regina.

In the spring of 1883, when railway transportation was again available, Pascal Sr. imported lumber and commenced the erection of his store on Broad Street, which was supposed to have possibilities as one of the future main thoroughfares in Regina. The same year, he succeeded in getting a supply of goods from Eastern Wholesalers to stock the store. At that timealso, Pascal Sr. took on a contract to grade the streets of Regina. To accomplish this feat he called on the Métis from Willow Bunch, with their horses. Soon one could see seventy Métis tents scattered around the outskirts of the town with their hobbled horses grazing peacefully nearby. Thefts were frequent at the time ; imagine their suprise to discover one morning that American cowboys had stolen 100 of their horses. Trèfflé Bonneau took an active role in this venture, as foreman of the road gradind and construction crews. In the fall of the year, as the buffalo hunt was exceedingly rewarding, Pascal Sr. and Trèfflé decided to try their hand at canning. An expert was brought in from Montréal, but to no avail, and due to a peculiar problem in the canning process all was lost ! In June 1884, Pascal Sr. and Célina were instrumental in the building of St-Mary’s Church, the first Catholic Church in Regina.

Pascal Bonneau Sr and the Métis leader, Louis Riel !

The Metis people…

…Nowithstanding the interdiction made to the Hudson Bay Compagny (the latter having been awarded, on May 2nd 1670, by Charles II, King of England, a treaty awarding them an immense Territory in North America for the purpose of fur trading) to allow any liaison of their male personnel with Amerindian women, the Compagny, at the end of the 18th century, had to remove this interdiction in the face of the changing situation…indeed there was an appreciable population of Amerindo-europeans called « the mixed bloods» …in the same manner, mixed marriages were taking place in increasing number in the French fur trading posts…the offsprings of these marriages will later be designated as: «The Metis of the Canadian West» …

About Louis Riel and the Metis …a summary of the History!

Louis Riel who many historians consider as the main architect of the creation of the Province of Manitoba and its admission in the Canadian Confederation, on July15th,1870, remain and will no doubt remain, a controversial figure in the history of Canada having originated many attempts to emancipate «his compatriots»: The Metis of the Western Plain. He was born in St-Boniface (Manitoba) in 1844 from a French-Canadian mother and a Franco-chipewyan, as a father, working in a grain mills in St-Boniface. He studied, very successfully, in Montreal until 1865 and then moved to St-Paul, Minnesota (USA). Affable, eloquent and a leader of men, he accepted, at the age of 25, the leadership of the Metis community and made all efforts to channel their general discontent .

 The Fort Gary (Winnipeg) revolt of 1869, under the command of Louis Riel, came to an end by the adoption, by the House of Commons in Ottawa, of «The Manitoba Act» on May 12th ,1870. As a result, however, Riel came out of this, somewhat wounded. Indeed, on February 21st, of the same year, as a result of successful negotiations with the Government of Ottawa, Riel started to release prisoners (mostly Anglo-

Canadians born in the West) whom he was holding hostage in Fort Gary believing that peace and order were about to be achieved. The Canadian party starts to be restless again and decided to advance fully armed towards Fort Gary with their objective of capturing it and encircling the Metis. The Metis captured 48 Canadians who were walking towards Fort Gary and Louis Riel is exasperated at the Canadians gestures and believe that only the force will impose the authority of his government. Beside, when the prisoner Thomas Scott, aggressive and over excited, refused to recognize the provisional government and started to encourage his companions to revolt, Riel brought him up in front of a court martial who, on March 4th, sentenced him to be executed by a firing squad.

 The execution of Scott arouse a protest of anger without precedent in Ontario and among many Anglo-Canadians. The conservative government of John A. Macdonald is shaken and very much embarrassed by this situation : from that point on, he cannot ignore this feeling of merciless vengeance among the Orangist of Ontario. Riel must run away to the United States leaving the Metis in a state of anxiety. Many of them began to move further to the West with the view to establish themselves at the head of the North and South Saskatchewan rivers where eventually the towns of Prince-Albert, Batoche and St-Laurent were founded. 

 The Metis have always been people not too well understood and despised by Anglo-Canadians. They were desperately sticking to the hunt of bison’s and agriculture for subsistence, a traditional way of life for their society. However, the colonization getting more and more accessible for them in the Western Territories, thanks to the development of the railway, completely perturbed their way of life. Moreover, the bison’s living mostly in the American territory were systematically decimated with the complicity of the American government who wish to weaken the Indians. The Indian chief, Sitting Bull , having taken refuge in the Canadian territory, watched powerless the killing of herds of bison, by the American troops as well as the destruction by fire of the Canadians prairies in an attempt to stop the reproduction of bison’s. 

 In the spring of 1884, the life was not very easy for the Metis and the Indians on these territories, the control of which were escaping them more and more . Left to themselves, the Metis decided to renew their action. They delegated Gabriel Dumont, a well respected Metis in his community and an excellent military strategist, to meet with Riel who was living in St-Pierre, Montana (USA), married and working as a teacher. Riel, after some hesitation, finally accepted, as he thought, to help his brothers living in dire poverty. Following the events of 1869 -1870 at Fort Gary, Riel is bitter and disillusioned beside giving the impression of a man obsessed with the thought of a mission....

 On July 1rst, 1884, now 40 years old, Riel moved to St-Laurent organizing the resistance of his compatriots. He published a manifest, the revendications of which indisposed the Canadian government, the catholic clergy and above, all most of the settlers and the Metis of english language who are not prepared to follow him in his action. Everything was playing against him: the Mounted police already established in the prairies, the Canadian government having gained its rights in the West, a railway fairly advanced in its construction which would allow the rapid crossing of the prairies and the Americans playing indifference. Riel, mislead, is incapable to coldly analyze the situation with a realistic point of view. In an effort to reduce the influence of the priests on the population, Riel present himself as the«Prophet of the NewWorld» and found his religion.

 Riel captured Batoche during the night of 18 /19 march, 1885 and formed a provisional government appointing himself as the religious head and Gabriel Dumont responsible for the military power. The federal government started to worry about this turn of event and as a result dispatched on March 22, 800 men under the command of General Frederick Middleton. In the mean time, while waiting for the troops, the Metis started to strengthen Batoche. Middleton and his men arrived in Saskatchewan in the beginning of April and began to head towards Batoche in three formations. On May 9th, two of the formations joined together in front of the village of Batoche strongly reinforced by a series of ditches and individual holes. The fight lasted three days and the Metis succumbed under the number and the lack of munitions. The chiefs run away but Riel gave himself as a prisoner to Middleton who transferred him to Regina where he was judged on July 20th. Found guilty of trahison, he was hanged on November 16, 1885.

 The news of the death sentence of Riel shook the western population a great deal and araise a fury in Quebec who were considering Riel as the spiritual heir of the 1837 patriots. The French Canadians were very suspicious of the Ontarians who were demanding, the death of Riel as a revenge for the execution of the Orangist, Thomas Scott. Quebec went into mourning on November 16, 1885 and almost 50,000 partisans to the cause of Riel manifested on the Champ-de-Mars in Montreal, on November 22th, 1885.

There was a good deal of excitement in Regina during the Rebellion Trials, in the late summer of 1885. Several Métis leaders were being held for trial, charged with varying offenses, while Louis Riel was placed on trial for his life! As it was, Riel had surrendered to the late Tom Hourie who was a government scout during the rebellion. Tom Hourie was a brother of Harry Hourie, the Wood Mountain rancher who, in the summer of 1932, staged a stampede and rodeo in Moose Jaw. The rebel leader was brought down under escort from the north and put on a train at Moose Jaw and taken to Regina.

Pascal Sr. and his family knew the Louis Riel family from St-Boniface, Man. and quite naturally were concerned. Even Pascal Jr. had come from his home in Southern Saskatchewan to attend the trial. Trèfflé, however, was at that time working out in British Columbia and Washington State, and was not present for any of the happenings which took place during the Riel trial or thereafter! (These 

facts are verifiable in notes of a personal interview which Trèfflé Bonneau gave on January 16, 1933, and was published in the Moose Times Herald on May 6, 1963.)

Albeit, Louis Riel was tried, convicted, and sent to prison to await the day of his hanging. Actually, there was a fair number of people in Regina who felt strongly that the death penalty was too severe. Among them was Pascal Sr., his family, and Lt. Governor Edgar Dewdney. A few nights before Riel was to be hanged, an officer from the Mounted Police came to the home of Pascal Sr. with a message from Governor Dewdney. The letter asked for an interview with Pascal Sr. The meeting took place and Pascal Sr. was instructed to organize a mission (and in fact did plot) to free Riel from prison. Swift horses were to be posted every ten miles between Regina and the American Border in order to help Riel in his flight. He would have crossed the American Border as a political refugee.

As it was, Pascal Sr. hired a number of (what were considered) reliable Métis from Willow Bunch, but a certain well meaning half breed quite innocently spoke of the plan to someone with not as friendly feelings towards Riel, and the plot failed. 

Following this tragic failure, Louis Riel's wife and parents spent a day and night at Pascal Sr.'s home before taking their last leave of the ill-fated rebel leader, just before his execution on November 16, 1885. Riel’s courage never wavered, not even when his hands were bound, and the hangman placed the rope around his neck. When all was ready, the executioner requested that Riel recite the Lord’s Prayer. And as the Métis leader intoned the line, «deliver us from evil,» the trap was sprung.

Dozens had gathered outside the gallows compound, and the morning was so still, they could hear the whispered rush of the trap falling open. Sheriff S.E. Chapleau was a court appointed official who had been in constant contact with Riel since his incarceration. He had come to admire and respect the Métis leader and was determined Riel would receive a proper burial.Immediately after the hanging, Riel’s body was viewed by a coroner’s jury, then placed in a coffin and locked in an enclosure beneath the gallows. And despite repeated requests from Chapleau, Col. Irving of the N.W.M.P. refused him permission to move the corpse.

Rumour-mongers began circulating stories that Riel’s corpse had been mutilated. Feelings ran high among the Métis, and the only way for Irving to put an end to the speculation was to open Riel’s coffin in front of witnesses. And as luck would have it, one of those commissioned to be present was Pascal Bonneau Sr., who had been a staunch supporter of Riel.The viewing proved to everyone’s satisfaction that no desecration had occurred. The coffin was resealed, and then before anyone in authority could react, Pascal Sr. took possession of the plain pine box, and transported it from the police barracks to St. Mary’s Church. (The original church was located on what is now the 1800 block of Cornwall Street.) Once Pascal Sr. had Riel’s body in the church, a proper funeral mass was conducted. The coffin was then place in a shallow grave, beneath the floorboards of the chapel. (The Catholic Church had granted Riel sanctuary.)

For 22 days, Riel’s body remained at St. Mary’s. Guarding of the body was entrusted to Pascal Sr. and his son, Pascal Jr. It was a dangerous responsibility, as Riel's enemies had sworn that his body would be treated as that of a base murderer. They kept watch on the body day and night, and it was not a useless task, for many a time after dark they noticed prowlers peering through the Chapel's windows and trying to force the doors open. In those instances, they lay down behind the benches, as they were afraid they might be shot at. Finally, Governor Dewdney sent word to Pascal Sr. that a box-car, to convey Riel's body to his people on the Red River in Manitoba, had been placed on a railroad siding on the outskirts of Regina. In the predawn darkness of December 9, 1885 (heavy snow had fallen and was drifting before a rising wind, diminishing visibility), Riel’s frozen body was disinterred and Pascal Jr. accompanied by his father, carried it through the snow and darkness to a safe

distance where a sleigh containing a rough coffin-shaped box was waiting (To have brought a conveyance directly to the Church might have attracted some unwanted attention). They placed the body in the box and drove their burden to the siding where, with assistance, it was loaded on the box-car, which was then locked and sealed.

 Although both Pascal Sr. and Pascal Jr. climbed on board the train to escort Riel's body for a certain distance out of Regina, it was to be Pascal Jr. who accompanied the body all the way to St. Vital, Man., where the deceased was delivered to waiting relatives and friends. Then on December 12, 1885, Riel's body was finally buried in a beautiful spot in the cemetery before the Cathedral at St-Boniface, Man. He was laid to rest beside the body of his wife who had passed away shortly after her husband's execution. His grave is marked by a modest but dignified monument bearing the simple inscription "Riel". As for Pascal Jr., after the funeral he returned to his home in Southern Sask., in the Willow Bunch/Wood Mountain area.

Following the completion of the railroad, a great many farmers came to settle around the town of Regina. Pascal Sr., being a good business man, saw a need and formed the "Saskatchewan Land Company", in which he became successful in the purchase and sale of property. He often advanced credit to the incoming farmers, in order that they might purchase the necessities of life. There seemed no end to his success as a business man in this up and coming town. Life was certainly looking real good for Pascal Sr. and Célina!

Then came the onset of the great drought of 1885-1895 which left the prairie soil sterile, and Pascal Sr.'s good fortune took a turn for the worse! The farmers in the area could not raise any crops, and therefore had no money to spend, or to pay their bills with! Consequently the agriculturally-based Saskatchewan economy slowed to a crawl.

An even greater disaster lay in wait for Pascal Sr., for in the late summer of 1886 his once prosperous store burned to the ground. One can only imagine how devastating that would be as there was no fire insurance in those days, and Pascal Sr., who had known success along with his creditors, became bankrupt. This was not much of a present for a couple who were then celebrating their 25th Wedding Anniversary.

Shortly thereafter, Pascal Sr. (though he retained a square block of land in down-town Regina) left with his family to seek his fortune elsewhere. Thus at the end of the year 1886, he was to be found 18 miles East/Southeast from the present day Willow Bunch, in a spot called "Coulee of Rabbits", which is located in the Big Muddy Valley. There he established a ranch which was later named "Spring Meadow", probably by his daughter Albina! (She was the literary one of the family.) The area had previously been occupied by Jean Louis Légaré, who had then moved his ranch to a site just north of Moose Pond (now know as the Willow Bunch Lake), in the Verwood area. Pascal Sr.'s ranch had a rather meagre beginning with only four cows and four horses, but the will to survive was there.

At that time Célina was the only white woman in all the south country. She must have had a quality near to heroism to put up with the isolation! She was well on in middle age and her health was anything but the best when, after the reverses of the Regina business, at a time of life when she might have expected some rest and comfort, she again took up the burdens of pioneer life. And with undimmed courage, she made splendid contributions to Pascal Sr.'s ultimate success in his efforts to develop the West.

The first ranch buildings were constructed of logs, hewn and mortised by Pascal Sr.'s own axe, and placed in position with the help of some Métis residents whose services he had engaged. Later a better wooden house was built, the lumber for which was freighted over the long trail from Regina.

The nearby Métis settlement of the Willow Bunch district, consisted of peaceful people who had moved there in the early 1870s to escape the Riel Rebellion in the Red River Valley in Manitoba. Albina, Pascal Sr.'s youngest daughter, once described them, saying, "They could have made life very unpleasant for us, but they were kindness itself." In fact, it was with the Métis that the Bonneau family often lodged overnight, on their trips to church near their settlement.

There were times on the ranch when life for Pascal Sr.'s children was enlivened by the presence of a young Métis giant who worked for him. His name was Edouard Beaupré, and he was eight feet two inches tall. He was a slender lad who weighed some 380 pounds, wore size 26 shoes, and boasted a hand span of 13 inches. When he grew to full height, his feet dragged on the ground while he was on horse back. This odd predicament led to an accident, wherein Edouard was unceremoniously thrown to the ground, while at full gallop, and he subsequently gave up riding, for a buggy.

Later Edouard decided to follow the fairs, and his last engagement was at the World’s Fair which took place in 1904 at St. Louis, Mo. As can be expected, it was a sad day for the Bonneau family when word came of his untimely death from tuberculosis in that same year. (A few more details about the disposal of Edouard's body are found in Pascal Jr.'s write-up.) In 1991 Edouard's cremated remains were buried on the grounds of the old Sacred Heart Convent in Willow Bunch, at the foot of a life size statue of himself. It is expected that his likeness will long stand in front of the convent (now a historic museum) as a memorial to his life, and to his giant stature.

Pascal Sr. was a man of many accomplishments, not the least of which is the following little known fact; he was a notable gardener who could raise almost anything the country could produce. On his ranch "Spring Meadow", he led water from the hillside springs to his cultivated garden patch, and it is said the growth in that sunny location was nothing short of marvellous. It has often been said that Pascal Sr.'s greatest pleasure and relaxation was to dig and work in his garden patch and no wonder, with such success! Good fortune began to smile on him again and soon his cattle herds were thriving and increasing by leaps and bounds. He and Célina were soon well on their way back to a modest prosperity. In fact, in 1896 Pascal Sr. found the time to served as the area's post master at Bonneauville, from August 1, 1896 - November 8, 1897.

All in all, one can be certain that life on the frontiers of Saskatchewan in the 1880s and 1890s was rough and tough and not for the faint-hearted. Nevertheless, for those who lived through that turbulent era, when an empire was being carved from the wilderness, there were happy times too.

In the fall of 1896, winter came early and the first snows were plentiful. Yet, though the weather during the last week of November turned bitterly cold, Pascal Sr. and his family nevertheless felt quite snug on the ranch, set amid deeply wooded coulees near the Montana border. In the comfortable ranch house, Célina was preparing for a Christmas which was to be a Noël in the Québec tradition. Due to the distance and the cold there would be no member of Pascal Sr.'s family able to attend Midnight Mass at St. Victor or Willow Bunch. But, one of the priests from Regina or St-Boniface, who ministered to these lonely missions, which included Wood Mountain, was expected around the end of the week, and there would be confession and Mass at their house.

Célina had laboured long over her stove, and had produced countless Québec-style pork pies, better known as tourtières. There were Christmas cakes and casks of rich, red chokecherry wine in the basement. In the ice house, in addition to the pies, there were plentiful supplies of pork, beef and venison (wild meat), as well as ducks, prairie chickens and geese. And because supplies could only be freighted in twice a year from the railhead at Regina, there was also a veritable store of staples, such as flour, sugar, and salt, etc.

This was to be Pascal Sr. and Célina's 10th Christmas on the ranch, and so preparations went ahead for a grand celebration. Those present at the ranch included Victoria, the eldest of their two remaining daughters, and her husband, Henry Girard; the eldest son, Pascal Jr. and his wife, Eugénie and her father, Dr. Bellehumeur; two other sons, Trèfflé and Joseph, and the youngest daughter, Albina, then a girl of 17.

Christmas of 1897 came and went. During the week that followed, blizzard like conditions existed every day and the only event of note during that time was the arrival of the weekly Northwest Mounted Police patrol from Wood Mountain. The patrol travelled slowly because of the intense cold, the almost impassable trails and the blowing snow.

But the main festival was yet to come, and it was to be according to the French-Canadian custom «le Jour de l'An» (New Year's Day) when gifts were exchanged. As it was, Célina had been ailing all winter, but her spirits seemed to revive that New Year's Eve with all her family brood about her. And she spoke cheerfully of the trip she and Pascal Sr. had planned back to the parish of Ste-Brigide, in Québec's Iberville County, during the coming summer.

In the evening the young people left to continue their celebration at Pascal Jr.'s ranch, a few miles distant, where there was to be a dance to bring in the New Year. Some of the Métis who rode for the Bonneau ranches were to be there with their families, and there were some who could coax a tune from any violin.

The next morning, members of the party at breakfast saw their father struggling through the swirling snow near the house. His bowed head and shoulders seemed to presage some tragedy. Pascal Jr. met him by the gate and the women in the party saw the two men clasp hands and then come on to the house with the old man stumbling along, supported by the younger. With haggard eyes and a drawn and strained voice he told his story. Célina, their mother, had passed away! She had died during the night at age 60.

Dr. Bellehumeur had by then returned to his son's home and would have to be summoned. Pascal Jr. drove the saddened company to the home ranch, then left to get the doctor. There was no need to hurry, for Dr. Bellehumeur was old and frail, and there was nothing he could have done. While Pascal Jr. was gone, Victoria and her three small children, and Albina, and their near-prostrated father kept the sorrowful vigil.

During the preceding night the weather had turned bad again, and the wind had increased its strength. When the dawn of January 2, 1897 arrived, a full-fledged blizzard was raging and outside the house there was only a sea of swirling snow.

The next day Métis neighbours arrived to express their condolences, as did friends from the settlements at Willow Bunch and Wood Mountain. The celebration that had started so happily had ended in tragedy. A few days later, Pascal Sr.'s wife, Célina M. Messier, was buried in the Catholic cemetery at Bonneauville, Sask. It was the last time that all members of the family were ever together again.

In the fall of the year 1898, some members of the Bonneau family regrouped and Pascal Sr., along with Albina, Pascal Jr., and Trèfflé's wife and young family went to the Province of Québec for the winter. It was during that winter, that Pascal Sr. met his second wife, a childhood acquaintance by the name of Délima Bertrand. They were married on January 30, 1899, in Ste.-Angèle-de-Monnoir, and in the following spring he took his wife back West to see the ranch. However, by then Pascal Sr. was in failing health and the decision was made to rent the ranch to a Mr. Octave Hallé, who later bought the ranch and went on to make his own fortune. That same year, 1900, Pascal Sr. and his wife returned to Ste-Angèle-de-Monnoir, Québec, to spend their closing years.

Later, sometime in the year 1902, news was relayed to members of the family that Pascal Sr. had passed away while tending to his garden.

As Pascal Bonneau Sr. and his first beloved wife, Célina M. Messier aged and experienced their adventures, they could always take comfort in the knowledge that their children also proved equal to the tasks at hand, as they forged a place for themselves in the domain of pioneers. Today there are many direct descendants of this pioneer couple who still bear the name Bonneau, and many of them live in the Willow Bunch area. There are some too, who bear other names, and speak other tongues, who claim the same descent from Pascal Sr. and Célina. Though they may have lost the French language somewhere along the way, it is hoped none have lost the Christian Faith they were bequeathed!

A one-man church campaign (from Regina Sun, Sunday, June 13, 1999)

 By: Amy Nelson-Mile

The building of Regina’s first Catholic Church is a story about the tolerance and openness of Reginans in general and remarkable dedication of one member of the Catholic congregation in particular.

Catholics in Regina welcomed the Rev. L.N. Larche as their priest in December, 1883. Within a couple of weeks of priest’s arrival, the congregation had begun fund-raising. One man, Pascal Bonneau Sr. was in charge of the subscriptions, and after a week of fund-raising he had collected 1000$. The money came from all denominations.

The fund-raising continued at a brisk pace, and by May it was obvious that building a church was financially possible. And, the Leader reported, «no local contractor being ready to undertake the work Mr. Bonneau came to the front, and shouldered the whole responsability of the erection». Mr. Bonneau persuaded a Mr. Milette to desing the church and build it, and he convinced a Mr. Riddle to paint the windows. Work began in early June, 1884. 

The trustees of the town site had given the church five lots on the corner of Cornwall Street and 12th Avenue. Built facing Victoria Square, the church was 24 feet high, 40 feet long, and 24 feet broad. Within the church, there was room for 200 worshipers on the main floor and 60 in the gallery. The total cost for the building was about 22,000$. The congregation had wanted a steeple, but it did not seem as though this would be immediately possible, as money was scarce. In early July, the matter was debated again. According to the Leader, Mr. Bonneau then said: «I am going out to my farm tomorrow and according as the crop looks we’ll decide».Back he came and committed to build the steeple. The steeple stood 60 feet above the rest of the building. The bell, which came shortly afterwards, cost 125$ and weighed 300 pounds. Its frame was 200 pounds.

The grand opening day for the new church was Sunday, August 3, 1884 (barely two months after construction had began). The congregation planned a lavish day of hospitality for the community. His Grace Archbishop Alexandre-Antoine Taché of St-Boniface was to preside at the morning High Mass, and the St-Boniface band was to come as well. The CPR contributed to the event by offering half-fare rates for the round trip from Winnipeg. The mass was attended by those of all faiths, and the new church was so crowded that a number of people had to stand outside. After the service(where the visiting Rev. Lory had spoken on One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism), over 50$ was taken for the collection. At 3hr.00 afternoon the new bell was christened. Several people from Regina and district stood as its godparents. Later that evening, the church offered a sacred concert. This proved so popular that many people had to be turned away at the door.

Mr.Bonneau worked just as hard at this as he had throughout the whole process, decorated the church, stood during the service to give the official thanks to the trustees and townspeople for their generosity, and later drove the St-Boniface band to Government House, the N.W.M.P. barracks, and the house of Mr.and Mrs. Amédée Forget, secretary to the North West Council.

AUTRE LIENS ET SOURCES

Radiocanalpublié le 26 juillet 2023

https://ici.radio-canada.ca/ohdio/premiere/emissions/pour-faire-un-monde/segments/capsule/450426/pascal-bonneau-complot-rebellion-entrepreneur?isAutoPlay=1


Voir page 17 pour le récit de PascalBonneauet fils

À noter :Les premières pages sont consacrées au géant Beaupré, lui aussi était de Willow Bunch

Article de journal Le Progrès du Saguenay 30 aout 1923

''LaMontagnede Bois''

Article qui parle dun livre sur histoire de Willow Bunch. Il y parle de Pascal Bonneau qui établis le premier magasin général. On y parle de Jean-Louis Légaré , ami de Trefflé Bonneau , le fils de Pascal. La Montagne de Bois, ‘’ Dernier refuge des troupeaux de bisons au Canada.''

Si vous avez le goût de le lire ce livre, voici un lien :https://digitalcollections.ucalgary.ca/archive/La-Montagne-de-Bois-2R3BF1FJT5F76.html

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