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Thomas Ellis  (1844-1918)

ellis

Thomas Ellis, pioneer rancher of the Okanagan Valley, arrived in Osoyoos in 1865.  Ellis’s initiation into cattle ranching occurred on the day of his arrival, when he acquired seven heifers from a drover who was unable to pay duty at Canadian Customs.  Ellis built his ranch between the Okanagan and Skaha Lakes.  He laid out a small townsite on the flats, which became known as Penticton.  Here, Ellis continued to live and prosper for the next forty years.

From 1870 to 1890, Ellis acquired land as it became available at the price of one dollar per acre.  In 1895, he purchased the vast Haynes estate comprising nearly 21,000 acres and 1400 head of breeding stock.  This made Ellis the largest landholder in the Southern Okanagan Valley, with approximately 30,000 acres and 3,750 head of cattle under his control.  With his wife Wilhelmina, whom he married in 1872, Ellis made a home and created a vast estate as well as raising and educating a family of nine children under often-harsh pioneer conditions.

 

In 1905, Mr. and Mrs. Ellis retired to Victoria, B.C.