Above paintings courtesy of Réal Bérard.


The Story Behind St-Pierre-Jolys' Name

The post office opened in 1879 and was briefly called Rat River. Its name changed to Joly in 1883, then to Laurier in 1897 and finally to St. Pierre later that year. The post office became St. Pierre Jolys in 1922. St. Pierre is the common community name. In 1870, Mr. Ritchot, Mr. Joseph Dubuc and others went to Rivière aux Rats to take possession of land for a church settlement. The expedition took place during the eight days of the feast of St. Peter and St. Paul (June 29). Accordingly, Father Lestang suggested the name St. Pierre for the future settlement. Father J. M. Jolys, a priest from France, became the first resident priest and the community's real founder. His name was added to St. Pierre about 1922. The name of the village was officially changed from St. Pierre-Jolys to St-Pierre-Jolys in 1977 at the request of the council of the Village of St-Pierre-Jolys.

The History of St-Pierre-Jolys, Manitoba

Father Jean-Marie Jolys
Saint-Pierre was founded in 1877. Father Noel Ritchot of St-Norbert guided a group of Metis men to come and claim land in the eastern border of the Red River Valley. The Red River Resistance of 1870, with Louis Riel at the helm had negotiated the province into confederation. Father Ritchot and the Metis wanted to claim the land before the Canadian government send their surveyors to claim the land.

They were convinced this land along the Rat River was extremely fertile. Father Ritchot organized an expedition in early July of 1872 to come and measure and claim parcels of land. The trek was held during the week of the religious day of Saint-Peter, therefore the diocese administrator named the new mission Saint-Pierre.

This first group was comprised of eight families that claimed land and built rudimentary houses in the area. As time went by many more Metis and French Canadian families moved to the area.

The first priest Father Jean-Marie Jolys encouraged many Quebec families to move to his new parish. The parish prospered, a church and schools were built and businesses started to flourish.

The name Jolys was added to Saint-Pierre in honor of Father Jolys, who had helped in the development of the town.

The town was incorporated in 1947.

The eight founding families were:
Elemond, EdouardRacette, Elise
Gladu, JosephLafournaise, Adele
Lafournaise, GabrielCollin, Suzanne
Lariviere, LouisNault, Melanie
Nault, BonifaceLandry, Christine
Roy, MarcelVenne, Ursule
Tourond, IsidoreVermette, Anne
Vermette, ToussaintTourond, Elise