THE CALLIOU FAMILY
as told by Tom, Dave and Allan
The original spelling of the family name is "Callioux", which means "little rock". In the St. Albert area the name is written "Calihoo." Our father, Felix Calliou, was raised at St. Albert. He came to St. Paul, having received scrip (see Chapter I - "The History of the West Unfolds"). We lived a mile and a half north of the present Blue Quills School, on a quarter of land formerly owned by Edward Dufresne. Our mother, Vitaline, the daughter of Elzear Poitras, was raised at St. Paul. Her father owned property that is now within the town limits. He operated a store on the Home and Pitfield corner, a hotel, and a livery barn. He also ran horses on the Saddle Lake Reserve, with his brother Bob looking after them.
There were five children in our family: Jeanette, Bella, Tom, Dave, Allan and Ted. We attended Belzil School. In the 1918 'flu only the girls were sick. The following "hard" winter (1919-20) we fed cattle at the Jim Howse place, near Alma Lake in the Norway Valley district. Snowbanks still remained on May 20. Dad pastured cattle and horses at Fishing Lake the summer of 1935. The following year all but Jeanette made the move, to join others who had already settled there. The Colony was started in 1939, with a school built soon after. We bought our supplies from Inglis (Fishing Lake), Scotty McLennan (Frog Lake), or Benny Kates (Heinsburg). Dad always had cattle, and since we boys have been on our own we, too, have raised them. He died in 1940, and our mother, who was quite a bit younger, outlived him by many years.
Jeanette had remained at St. Paul and married Jim Whitford. She has one son, Harvey Whitford, at Fishing Lake, as well as four other children, Roy, Thomas, Vina and Linda Cardinal. Bella, Oliver Parenteau's first wife, died when daughter Gloria was only a few months old. Gloria lives in Northern Alberta, and sister Shirley is in Edmonton. Tom (1920) married Gladys McGillis. Two children are on the Colony, the others in Edmonton. Allan (1925) married Irene Anderson, the former Mrs. Francis Gadwa. They have two adopted children, Brenda and Dean. Ted and wife, Mary Bruneau, had no children. He died January 1, 1975, at the age of forty-eight.
Dave (1922) married Florence Curry, who was raised by Mrs. Ladoucer. They have three daughters and a son at home, and five boys in various parts of Alberta. Kelly, the oldest, was killed in Edmonton in 1974. Dave went into the Army in 1943, spending twenty of his twenty-eight months in the service in Italy. His unit was sent into the American Zone at Ortona, where they battled not only the German and Italian troops (so well dug in that they even had a water supply into the trenches), but also heavy rains and white mud. He was wounded at Mount Casino in 1944, and while recuperating in hospital during the summer, he learned enough Italian to get by. By the time he was sent back to Calgary the war in Europe was over (spring 1945).
Through V.L.A. he has land on the Colony, holding a certificate of occupancy, said to be as good as a ninety-nine year lease, or "yours as long as you want it." In the event of his death the property will go to his heirs, and if none of them want it, it will revert to the Crown. There is really no guarantee as far as the certificate is concerned because, if the Act under which it was given is changed, everything at Fishing Lake could be changed.
At present grazing leases are separate from other property. Land that is not being used and has not been improved can be held indefinitely if the ten dollars a year levy per quarter section is paid. Residents have been looking into mineral rights on the Colony and the possibility of a longer, definite lease period, so they can feel free to make long range plans. Requests can be made for banishment of individuals from the Colony, the final decision resting with the Minister in charge of Social Development.
HISTORICAL NOTE: The following items of interest could give us a little insight into the background of some of the Alias people in this part of Alberta.
Ken Liddell, in his book "Alberta Revisited", states that St. Paul was started as an R.C. Mission in 1866 and abandoned in 1874. Next an Indian Reserve was established. In 1896 it became a Colony, St. Paul - des - Metis, under the leadership of the Oblate Fathers. It began with three families, and boasted mills for flour and lumber. Within two years, 32 families, 300 horses, 700 cattle, 550 pigs, and 200 chickens were counted there. Metis came from as far away as Montana. (The Fayants of Fishing Lake can be traced back to Montana). Then, in 1908, the first French-Canadian settlers, a family with twelve children, arrived at St. Paul. A year later, when the land was opened for homesteading, any Metis wishing to stay were given 80 acres. The land rush was on, and on April 10, 1909 five hundred people were lined up at the Land Office in Edmonton. In the history of St. Paul, 1909-59, by Fr. Drouin, it is stated that Metis came not only from Montana and St. Albert, but also from Battleford, Battle River, and Lac La Biche.
Dave Calliou brought to our attention the existence of a settlement called Little New York. It was situated at the west end of Dufresne Lake, in what is now called the Greenvale district, northwest of Onion Lake. Thanks to Emil Durocher and Helen (Roberton) Coates we have a bit of information to pass on. Names of former residents include Felix and Francis Dufresne, Joe Pratt, Jim Gladue, Pete and Leo Desjarlais, Gib and Jimmy Cardinal. No doubt a number of names have been omitted. Some, like Felix and Francis Dufresne, later moved to Fishing Lake.