Okanagan Explosion


Miners Origins/Dates

In 1833, the first miner to discover gold in the Okanagan Valley was David Douglas.

It became harder to find gold and mining became more technical and costly in other countries.

Gold was first found in the creeks near Kamloops, then Bear Creek on the west side of Okanagan Lake, and then in Mission Creek, Rock Creek and Fraser River.

By 1858, over thirty thousand miners had moved to British territory.

In 1859, William Peon discovered gold near the Northwest shore of Sugar Lake.

In 1862, there was a gold rush on Cherry Creek in the Monashee Mountains, promoted by gold commissioner.

Importance of Miners

It was an attraction to other people to come to the Okanagan.

The chaos also brought opportunity as the newcomers needed to be fed and supplied.

It helped to develop the Okanagan Fur Brigade Trail.

Miners brought over wagons, cattle and horses, so they could pan for gold.

Role of the Okanagan Fur Brigade Trail

Transportation was very important in history for miners because they would need to trek with many supplies over big mountains to pan for gold. Luckily for the Okanagan Fur Brigade Trail was easy access to British Columbia. Not only was it easy to bring across wagons but the route was a popular attraction to ranchers, missionaries and farmers. The Okanagan Fur Brigade Trail was also close to the creeks. It impacted miners because they could pan for gold surrounded by many creeks.

William Peon

Early History

William Peon was born in around 1806. His family adopted the name "Kalamalka" meaning "round hill at the head of the lake."

In 1828, William had joined the Hudson's Bay Company and started working along the lines as a fur trader. His career successfully spanned the fur trade.

After the fur trade came to an end, William wanted to embark the business as a guide, packer and linguist. He decided to explore what people were starting to talk about, the gold rush.

Reasons for Settlement

In 1858, William became a packer for miners and in July of that year escaped with his life in an attack at McLaughlin Canyon in Washington Territory. After getting a serious injury. The following year, William headed to the Okanagan. I believe he was looking for a fresh start. After the fur trade, I think he wanted to explore new territory. Becoming a guide gave opportunity to come to the Okanagan.

Early Accomplishments

From 1842-1843, William Peon became a settler in the Willamette River Valley.

In 1852, William settled a claim of 319 acres in Walla Walla, Washington.

William's Legacy Today

The guide, packer and linguist for Father Pandosy and his group of settlers when they walked into the Okanagan Valley.

William Peon also sparked a gold rush and fur trade.

Interesting Fact

In 1862, William Peon's house in Cherry Creek was burned down after possibly ripping the scalp of an Indian, was outlawed from the area. He went south, leaving the deed with a neighbour. When he returned, the deed had been stolen and other people were living on his land. William never could prove his claim again.

What was the impact of William Peon on the growth and development of the Okanagan?

Driving Question

The impact William Peon had on the growth and the development of the Okanagan Valley was becoming a guide, packer and linguist. This knowledge made him discover gold in Cherry Creek. When his discoveries found to be very rich land. It attracted many people along the Fur Brigade Trail and into the Okanagan. This sparked a gold rush in developing the Okanagan. Secondly, if William stayed in the fur trade, he would have never explored the Okanagan. When he took on the job as a guide, he was able to help Father Pandosy from getting lost and successfully staking claims.
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Map of original Okanagan Valley

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Map of Today

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William Peon