Okanagan Explosion

Alexis Van

History of Cattle Ranching in the Okanagan


Old Hudson's Bay men and drovers who knew the area of Okanagan Valley began pre-empting the ranges along the Thompson river in the early 1860's and began settling in the area. Cattle then began over wintering in the abundant bunch grass ranges along the Thompson river. Most of those who settled around the mission area were substance farmers though some also ran herds of cattle on the bunch grass hillside and sold their stock to miners passing through the area. A man named Cornelius O'keefe decided he could make more money raising cattle instead of driving them from Oregon. Thomas Ellis and J.C Haynes, a customs officer who took payment in the cattle when the drovers didn't have the cash accumulated even larger acreages in the south Okanagan. In addition to feeding the construction crews ranchers could use the rail line to deliver cattle to the caribou and the kootenays. When the caribou's gold was mined out the demand for beef and other provisions disappeared . In the winter of 1879-80thouands of cattle were starved to death and ranchers realized they needed to start growing hay to prevent this from happening. The once abundant grass ranges became grazed and some cattle ranchers were forced to become substance farmers .

Importance of Cattle Ranching

cattle ranching provided beef to feed people. Ranching was the main food source for people building the pacific railway which also led to the first local butcher shop. Lots of cash came out of the cattle ranching business, which attracted more permanent settlers.

Role of the Okanagan Fur Brigade Trail in the development of Cattle Ranching

The Okanagan Fur Brigade trail was a vital link between north and south British Columbia. It was used by the aboriginals up until 1815 when the Hudsons Bay Company started using it as a transportation route which then became the key to the development of Cattle Ranching. It was used by cattle drivers to transport their cattle to and from the valley.

Early European Profile: A.B Knox

Early History

A.B Knox arrived in the Okanagan valley in late 1874. He purchased 4,000 acres of land on the valley bottom, that was adjacent to the soon to be surveyed town site of Kelowna. through a town grant A.B Knox acquired the land from Manhattan beach along the lakeshore to the Okanagan center and Winfield also including the mountain that still bears his name.

Reasons for settlement in the Okanagan Valley

Aurthur Booth Knox came to the Okanagan valley as an entrepreneur looking to expand his cattle ranching business

Early acomplishment ( In europe or other places in North America)

donated lots of land, Was president of the prestigious agricultural and trades association, He owned land that had a mountain on it which is now named after him.

Acomplishments in Okanagan Valley

Knox impacted the growth of Okanagan Valley because he owned a lot of land which is now a huge part of the Okanagan Valley including land on the valley bottom which was soon to be surveyed town site of Kelowna. He also acquired the land from Manhattan and Winfield also including the mountain which still bears his name. Knox donated land to Presbyterian church on the corner or Bernard avenue and Richter street which is now the first united. In 1896 five years after he got out of jail he was elected president of the prestigious agricultural and trades association.

Legacy Today

He now has a well known mountain named after him. He donated lots of land to the presbyterian church on the corner of Bernard avenue and Richter street which is now the first united.

Interesting Facts

  • He was sent to jail for burning tom Ellis' hay
  • He immigrated from Scotland
  • The mountain he used to own is the largest contiguous park space within the city of Kelowna limits