Cornelius O'keefe

History of Okanogan rancher



The late origin of cattle ranching was formed because of the shortage of food for the miners. The miners were getting sick and dying because there was not a significant amount of food. The cattle could fix that though, with the cattle they can grow relatively quick produce a lot of food an nutrients and can be traveled in large amounts ex. heard


During the late 1800's there was a huge need for cattle for food reasons because of the shortage of food. During the winter of 1879-1880 the weather was so cold and dangerous it killed thousands of cattle, That was not only a bad thing for the ranchers but it was bad for the settlers and the cattle. It was a bad thing for the ranchers because they had lost a lot of money from the cattle deaths, it was bad for the settlers because there was another shortage in food for that year, and it was also bad for the cattle because for the cattle that survived but got injured they had also gotten a disease which could pass to the people.

Role of the okanagan fur brigade trail

The reason why the fur brigade trail was so significant was because it helped the stalk (cows) travel around and sell them to ranchers. Without the trail there would be almost no way that you could transport that amount of cattle from one end of B.C to the other as safe as on the fur brigade trail. This trail was also able to feed the cows as well, they way it could feed them was by taking them to the side of the trail were there was grass, assorted brush and berries and they could eat that rather than packing grass barrels along with you.

Cornelius O'keefe

Early history

Before Cornelius had become a rancher he was a cattle driver which took him to the ranching lifestyle. Being a cattle driver Cornelius was able to know how to navigate through the fur brigade trail and find a great place to settle down and become a rancher. Later on in his life he was becoming a post master at a post office.

Reasons for settlement

For Cornelius the first reason why he had come out here was because of the gold rush that we had in the Okanagan, he was wanting to attempt "striking it rich" and he was unable to when he had come out here so he hat changed his route to the cattle/ posting business.

Early accomplishments

At one point Cornelius was able to have just about 12000 acres of land but later on he had sold most of land for a " fortune and a half". Cornelius was also able to become a postmaster.

Legacy today

Cornelius O'Keefe has his legacy preserved on his land, he is recognized on a plaque in the memorial/ tourist attraction known a the O'Keefe ranch, and some of his direct family members still occupy that land as well. This ranch shows the community how the people in the late 1800's lived and thrived in the Okanagan Valley.

Interesting facts

One of the interesting facts about Cornelius is that he had bought his first head of cattle in the year of 1867, and that is what helped him in his career of the ranching business. He had also helped build the 115 mile ranch in the Okanagan.

How did the early Europeans impact the groath and developement of the okanogan velley

With out the help of the Early Europeans the Okanagan Valley would not be known as the valley it is today. They had brought new assortments of trees and vines, made evidence of there being gold in the lakes rivers and caves. They had brought cattle ranching and stores to Kelowna and also butcher shops. They had just helped this land thrive to the pace it is today. Without the Europeans the city of Kelowna, Vernon would not be known as those places because those names came from the Europeans one way or another.