Pedley Pass, Mount Pedley, Pedley Creek, Peddley [sic] Road, Pedley Heights Drive
The origins of the name “Pedley” aren’t recorded, however circumstances suggest that the name came from a man on the run from the law. When a warrant was issued for the arrest of Alfred Pedley he left his family, fled for the hills, and stayed hidden out in the mountains for nearly a year before turning himself in.
Alfred Ernest Pedley
Alfred Pedley was born in Staffordshire, England as the second eldest of at least four brothers. He left England sometime between 1881 and 1891, reappearing in Canada in 1892-1893 when he was paid for horse hire between Fort Steele and Canal Flats.1 In 1898 he married Eleanor Morigeau at St Eugene’s Mission near Cranbrook.2 Joining Alfred in Canada was at least one of his brothers (Dave). The two did prospecting in the Kootenay Valley in 1899 on what was known then as Ice Creek (likely now Ice River flowing into the Beaverfoot).3
Alfred and his wife, Lenore, had three children, one of whom (Mary) died as a baby. In 1901, shortly after the birth of her son, Lenore brought her husband before the local magistrate on a charge of non-support. Alfred was let off on a suspended sentence after the judge “[gave] him some good advice,” and warned him to look after his family better in the future.4
On the bottom of the birth certificate of Alfred and Lenore’s third and final child, Mary Louise, there is a curious note. At the turn of the century, it was expected that the father of a child born in British Columbia had to report the birth to authorities, and a reason had to be given if he didn’t. In July 1903, when Lenore went to report the birth of her daughter, she explained that the reason for Alfred’s unavailability was because he was, “absent in Kootenay River Country.”5
On the Run
Alfred wasn’t simply absent: he was on the run from the law. Nine months before the birth of Mary Louise, in September 1902, a headline in the local newspaper reported, “A. Pedley supplied liquor to Indians and is Hiding in the mountains.” The text of this report is ridiculously faded, but from what can be made out the local police constable made “a roundup” of First Nations people and charged them with being drunk and disorderly. A warrant was issued for the arrest of Alfred Pedley for supplying the liquor.6
With a warrant out for his arrest, Alfred loaded two pack horses and made for the hills. The police officer in the Valley alerted all points, but didn’t give chase.7
Nine months later and Alfred was still in the mountains. It should probably be noted that there is no guarantee that he stayed strictly in the mountains. The Valley was fairly sparsely populated, and Pedley’s ranch was located alongside the Rocky Mountains, so he may have returned to his ranch in secret. Then again, he may not have.
Regardless, it was nearly a year after first setting out into the mountains when, in August 1903, two months after his daughter’s birth, Alfred finally surrendered himself to authorities at the Wilmer Court House. The newspaper report insists that, “Officers were not worrying as they knew he could not stand exile forever.” Pedley plead guilty and was fined $50 plus $1.50 costs, however the reporter believed that, “His long exile in the mountains has been punishment enough in itself.”8
Pedley would die just two years later in Golden, leaving behind two children (Joseph and Mary Louise) as well as his wife, Lenora.9 Lenora went on to live a very long life, dying just short of her 93rd birthday.10
There is certainly no proof beyond coincidence that the name Pedley was attached to geographic features in reference to Alfred Pedley (Pedley Pass, Mount Pedley, Pedley Creek). Alfred had at least one brother in Canada, not to mention a son and other descendants. Personally, I think that credit should go to Lenore for raising two children largely on her own, not to mention running a ranch while pregnant while her husband was on the run.
If anyone out there has further information to add to the story, please let me know!
Further Biographical Information
- Alfred Ernest Pedley
Born: 15 April 1868, Walsall Wood, Staffordshire England
Died: 30 September 1905 in Golden
- Married: 14 June 1898 to Eleonore (Lenora/Lena) Morigeau
Born: 5 September 1875 in Windermere
Died: 5 September 1968, Vernon
- Daughter: Mary Pedley
Born: 28 April 1899, Windermere
Died: 19 Jan 1902, Windermere
- Son: Joseph Bernard Pedley
Born: 29 May 1901, Windermere
Married Elsie Olive Raine
Died: 4 November 1986, Golden
- Daughter: Mary Louise Pedley,
Born: 21 June 1903, Windermere
Married: 28 March 1925, Golden, to Samuel Lawlor
- Daughter: Mary Pedley