the Okanagan valley
History of miners
Origins, dates and importance.
First of all, the HBC was buying gold from the first nations for many years before the word of gold in the Okanagan Valley had spread. But, David Douglas was the first pioneer to make a discovery of gold. The word of the gold brought many people to BC which helped with the growth of the Okanagan Valley. The places that had the most gold and were most popular were Powers creek, Rock Creek, Bear Creek and Mission Creek. The word of riches even brought people from down south like San Francisco all the way too Kelowna because of the desperate need for the precious rock that could make a man rich. The Okanagan grew from all the people coming to the valley in 1860, and i truly believe that the mining industry was what brought settlers to the Okanagan. the word spread and soon the valley was filling with settlers.
Okanagan Fur Brigade Trail
The Okanagan fur brigade trail was used for miners to travel through here and the Cariboo. without this spectacular trail that was created by aboriginals, miners would have tough times traveling throughout the Okanagan, especially through Powers creek to Bear creek. All the big names of miners used the trails like William Poen, the first man to find gold in the mission. David Douglas, the first man to find gold in the Valley used it for transportation also. It was a huge thing for miners. Without it, it would be hard to find creeks and rivers. Some miners settled in the places and did not move like Eli Lequime. Eli made a successful saloon where miners can come and dine and also buy tools. But the mining life ended for him when the gold ran out in 1861.
Early history, Settlement
Eli Lequime was an old miner who came to the valley with his wife Marie Louise. They followed the gold rush, and sailed to BC from California. The Lequimes settled in Rock Creek and became a popular name around the valley. He settled there and made a saloon for miners. They could drink and buy miner tools from the saloon. Eli and his family were living a good life until the gold ran out in 1861. They became poor and did not have anywhere to go. Then Father Pandosy came in, he and other missionaries were coming through rock creek and the lequimes joined him on his journey to the mission. The Lequimes opened a general store and became rich, they are now a known name in the Okanagan valley.
Eli Lequimes accomplishments, legacy
The Lequimes are a known name around the Mission and Okanagan because of there early history accomplishments. Eli and his family made a saloon in the Rock creek area for miners to dine and by tools. They made money from that. But, when the gold ran out the Lequimes followed Father Pandosy to the Mission area and created a general store. The store was definitely Eli's biggest accomplishment. He became wealthy and every one knew who he was. The location of his store is still known today as the Moo lix ice cream shop. The Lequimes son Bernard has a street named after him also, because of his accomplishments.
The impact Eli Lequime had on the growth and development
The impact Eli Lequime had on the growth and development of the Okanagan Valley was a lot, His settlement in rock creek increased the population of this beautiful valley. Rock creek miners would go to his saloon after the sunset and talk about the there day and the riches they found. Like Eli, settlers from down south came up in search of gold and to make a name of there selves. The Lequimes became a known name around the area, but when the gold ran out they had no where to go. Missionaries including Father Pandosy came and brought the family to the mission. The point is though, the mining industry was a crazy help to colonization to the Okanagan valley. Miners would come and love the weather and settle for long periods of time. Ranchers could make a living selling meat to the miners and could make money, increasing ranches and orchards in the valley. which also increases the development of more food. Miners had family's and the valley grew rapidly because of them. Development of the valley was amazingly rapid because of miners.
Map of today Rock Creek
Map of original area
Some Interesting facts
- David Douglas was the first European to find Gold in the Okanagan
- William Peon was the first man to make a claim on mission creek