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Leslie Hill  (1847-1916)

 Leslie Hill was the first to experiment in orchard development on a commercial scale in the Osoyoos area.

 

In 1906, Hill acquired 1100 acres of land on the east side of Osoyoos Lake on Anarchist Mountain.  In 1907, he planted 30 acres of orchard with the objective of making it a model plantation.  He planted an assorted variety of cherries, apricots, plums, peaches, pears, nectarines, and apples.  The orchard developed and was a real show place.

 

Leslie Hill passed away in 1916 before his dream orchard reached full bearing.  In 1919 the Hill estate was bought and subdivided by a group headed by George J. Fraser.  A private joint stock company formed and was named “Osoyoos Orchards Ltd” for the development of the property.

 

The following is written by Douglas Fraser, son of George J. Fraser:

 

“The house built by Haynes on the lake shore a mile north of the orchard was headquarters for the Hill ranch, and summer residence for Hill and his three daughters.  Hill combined supervision of his orchard with the life of an English country gentleman.  There was a light team and buggy for trips to Oroville.  A boat house protected a motor launch named “Nanoya” and a four-oared clinker-built varnished row boat.  When the daughters came to Osoyoos in 1916 to gather up family possessions following Hill’s death in 1916, I was presented with their father’s fishing tackle.  Of the three fly-rods, only a Hardy split bamboo is left, and none of a dozen fly and trolling rods.

 

The following excerpt from my father’s Story of Osoyoos shows Leslie Hill as “a man of great determination, self-reliance and stubbornness.”

 

On one of Mr. Hill’s visits to the ranch, he found that his foreman, Mr. Helps, had failed to carry out some work according to the instructions given to him.  Mr. Helps said, “The way you wanted it done was not the right way, and I am not going to do it the wrong way.”

 

“Mr. Helps,” said Mr. Hill, “this is my ranch, and I want things done my way, whether it is the right way or the wrong way,” and forthwith Mr. Helps was given thirty days’ notice.