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Early Settlements on Kruger and Richter Mountains
by Ed Lacey, Doug Fraser, Dorothy Fraser

anderson barn1 sep


Introduction

Those who have driven the wandering roads of Kruger Mountain and noted the remains of many old homesteads must have wondered about two things. How did twenty or so homesteaders hope to make a living from the limited agricultural land? Much of it is open range, but the amount of arable land even on which to grow hay for winter feed is very limited indeed.

The other thing one wonders about, from the perspective of the 1980's, is the hardship and discomfort these early settlers faced. The nearest towns were Oroville and Fairview, each a day's round trip away by team and wagon. No doubt their lives were lightened by a sense of common hardship and neighbourliness, even though often neighbours were miles apart.

It is difficult now to explore some of the eroded roads of the homesteaders except with four-wheel drive vehicles. The buildings which showed how the homesteaders of 1904 and 1905 lived are fewer now since senseless vandals burned down the Lacey house at Kilpoola, and that of Cyrilla Jane McKenzie, one of the mountain's colourful pioneers. In 1985, the Tom Anderson buildings (see photos) were burned in a brush fire.

Our booklet is an attempt to set down what is known of the Kruger Mountain settlement, with locations of homesteads and photographs of some pioneer buildings before too many years go by, and the evidence of those days disappears completely.

Ed Lacey, who spent his boyhood years on the mountain, has located on the map the homesteads of the settlers who took up the land, mainly in 1904 and 1905. Apparently they were drawn to the mountain by the magnet of free land. Most were Americans,

Written material consists of the account of the Kruger Mountain settlement by G. J. Fraser in his book "The Story of Osoyoos." He had become acquainted with the area in 1910, and knew many of the settlers after he moved to Osoyoos in 1917.

There follow some memories of Ed Lacey and Doug Fraser of early days on the mountain.

From accounts in reports of the Okanagan Historical Society by Harvey Boone and Katie Lacey, we have quoted excerpts about a smaller and short-lived settlement on the south slope of Mount Kobau.

"Deserted Houses" by Dorothy Fraser is an imaginative sketch of the human side of early settlements.

We are grateful to Ed Lacey and Bill Jillitt for the photographs.


Ed Lacey,
Doug Fraser.

November 1985


The manuscript of this booklet, which contains the original photos, is on file in the Osoyoos Museum (1989.8.1).  Those photos are the basis of the cover and interior designs executed here by Ellen Fraser.  We wish also to acknowledge the work of Peggy Driver in typing the original manuscript.