Ranchers in the Okanagan

By: Taylor Earl Block: F

History of Ranchers


The reason for the cattle drive was because there was more cattle in Oregon than buyers. When Palmer and Miller went on an expedition north and that encouraged ranchers to also go north. They decided to join Canada in 1871 at the promise of a railroad. Once the railway was built in 1880, the ranchers formed the Douglas lake and the British Columbia cattle companies.


The cattle ranchers were the only way for miners to get beef. They sold there cattle to any miner passing buy. They could use the railway to send their cattle across Canada.

Role of the Okanagan Fur Brigade Trail

The ranchers used the brigade trail to get to the caribou goldfields. The cattle were able to feed on the abundant grass ranges along the trail. The ranchers no longer needed the trail once the railway was built.

Cornelius O'Keefe

Early History

Cornelius was the seventh child of an Irish farmer and a French-Canadian women. He was raised on a family farm in the nepean township and went to public school.

Reason for Settlement

He settled in the Okanagan because he thought he could make more money being a cattle rancher than a cattle driver.


-Constructed the caribou road between Clinton and bridge creek.

-Established a general store on his own land.

-Turned the general store into the first post office in the Okanagan.

-Helped to build the 115 mile ranch, that stretches across the entire valley

-Built theaters in Kamloops and Vernon.

Legacy Today

His ranch is now a historical site that people can tour and experience what it was like to live back then.

Interesting Facts

-O'Keefe's ranch was a gathering spot for newcomers.

-O'Keefe was a postmaster for 40 years.

Driving Question Answered

The impact Cornelius O'Keefe had on the growth and development of the Okanagan valley was that he built theaters in Vernon and Kamloops. He built a road from Clinton to bridge creek. His general store became the first post office in the Okanagan valley. His ranch was so famous that it was the meeting spot for newcomers. That's the impact the Cornelius O'Keefe had on the Okanagan Valley.


Map of the Okanagan During the late 1800's

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map of the okanagan today

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cornelius o'keefe (1838-1919)

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