Okanagan Explosion: Final Task

Violet Johannson

The History of Ranchers in the Okanagan Valley

Origins and dates

The first beef cattle movement to British Columbia probably occurred in 1846 when Dr. John McLoughlin, Chief Factor of the Hudson's Bay Company moved cattle and horses from Fort Vancouver at the mouth of the Columbia River by boat to Vancouver Island and then to Fort Kamloops and Fort Alexandria. Small herds of beef and dairy cattle were kept at Fort Kamloops, Fort Alexandria, Fort Victoria, and Fort Langley.

Role of the Okanagan Fur Brigade

From the time that David Stuart and Alex Thompson from Fort Astoria traveled up the Columbia and Okanagan River valleys to Kamloops in 1811, the fur brigade trails had been paving the way for settlement by developing the main travel routes.

Cornelius O'Keefe

Early History

-He was the seventh child of a farmer in the Republic of Ireland

-Cornelius O’Keefe was born in Fallowfield, Upper Canada. His father, Michael O’Keefe was from Kilworth, County Cork, Ireland. He arrived in British Columbia in 1862 along with thousands of other young men attracted to the colony by the lure of gold in the Cariboo region

Reasons for settlement in the Okanagan Valley

-He traveled to British Columbia because word had spread about the discovery of gold in the valley.

-In the spring of 1867, he and a partner traveled to Oregon and purchased a herd of cattle, which they drove north through the Okanagan Valley. Seeing the rich grass ranges and excellent resourses at the north end of the lake, they each took up 160 acres of rich bottom land in June of 1867

Early Accomplishments

-He worked for a time on the construction of the Cariboo wagon road between Clinton and Bridge Creek and also assisted former Hudson’s Bay Company Chief Factor, Archibald McKinley, in the construction of the 115 Mile stopping house at Lac La Hache.

Legacy Today

Cornelius O’Keefe became the Post Master of the Okanagon Post Office, the first in the Okanagan Valley. The post office was located in O’Keefe’s general store at the end of the wagon road into the Okanagan and the BC Express Stage Lines route. The ranch also became the site of St. Ann’s Catholic church, now the oldest church in the Okanagan

Interesting Facts

-He was involved in a variety of community organizations as a director of the BC Cattlemen’s Association and of the Okanagan and Spallumcheen Agricultural Society

Driving Question

How did the early Europeans impact the growth and development of the Okanagan Valley?

Early Europeans settlers played a very large part in the development of the beautiful Okanagan Valley that we now know today. The very first settler who ventured in to the area and where the first white people to set up residence, it wasn't too long after that more people followed. They established the towns, stores and post offices. they intro dused different culture and religion from Europe. Without them we would not even have the city in which we now call home.