History of Early Agriculture

By: Grace DeJong


In the early days of agriculture a man named Hiram F. Smith was the first of many to plant fruit trees in the okanagan in 1857. Later following him in 1869, Tom Ellis planted apple trees on his ranch in penticton, followed my many more. In 1886, Charles Ora Card was travelling through the okanagan valley and decided he liked it here. In the late 1890's and early 1900's were the booming days on the fruit belt. That was when the Aberdeen family started an orchard in the valley, and had great success. The agriculture was now booming and rapidly becoming more and more popular.

Role of Fur Brigade trail

Without the fur brigade trail, the okanagan would not have become so well known and popular. As settlers travelled through they realized what a great place it is to settle. It has all the necessities. Beautiful weather, fertile, rich soil, and the fur brigade trail was nice and close for trading purposes. It was an ideal place to settle.

Early European Profile

Lord Aberdeen owned a good portion of land in the Okanagan. The Aberdeen family owned 480 acres of land on shores of the okanagan, and 200 acres in cold-stream, Vernon. Later, in the 1900's the Aberdeen's bought 13,000 acres of land at the north end of the valley, without seeing it first. Then they started planting fruit trees, and building their orchards. The Aberdeen family wanted to settle in the valley because they was rich fertile soil, and lots of land. The Fraser valley was to expensive for the family to settle so they came to the okanagan. They hoped to one day surprise the world with its products. They were proud of their orchard ranch in Vernon and the Guisachan. The Aberdeen's were one of the first fruit industries, and planted lots of fruit trees. They also started the naming of Gordon.

Aberdeen Legacy

The Aberdeen's left behind the business of apple orcharding, and the Guisachan name. The Aberdeen's named their farm "Guisachan Farm," after Lady Aberdeen's family back in Scotland. Lord Aberdeen would sell the fruit to other settlers in the area. He spent lots of time and money encouraging others to also start fruit farming in the valley. With the Aberdeen's success they divided their coldstream ranch and sold it for commercial orchards. Today, the Guisachan name still lives on. The original land still has he name and there is a Guisachan road as well. The Aberdeen family was very successful and their name still carries on to prove that. Thanks to them we have fruit and orchards!

Driving Question

The Aberdeen's first came to the valley in the summer of 1830 and fell in love. In october 1891, the Aberdeen's purchased the Forbes Vernon ranch of 2000 cattle, 19 work horses, 43 range horses, 70 hogs, 70 sheep, 50 head of poultry and everything movable for 10,000 pounds down and another 40,000 pounds to be paid over two years at 6% interest. The family renamed their cold stream ranch, and the newspaper hailed the sale to the Aberdeen's as the best advertisement the valley has ever had. The Aberdeen's were now officially known by people. They had a new canadian estate that was named after a family estate in Scotland. Their ranch became the site of the first large scale planting of fruit trees in the okanagan. The Aberdeen family also important government roles and really lived up to the name they were creating for themselves.

Interesting Facts

  1. The Guisachan Farm is now a restaurant
  2. The Aberdeen family had many responsible government positions
  3. The returned to Scotland 2 times while still managing their farm in the okanagan
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