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Kruger Mountain

from The Story of Osoyoos
by George J. Fraser


In striking contrast with the story of development in Osoyoos Valley is the history of Kruger Mountain and Richter Pass district, to the west of Osoyoos.

 British Columbia has many ghost towns—where prosperous mining camps—had once been but it would probably be difficult to find a rural area paralleling that of Kruger Mountain and Richter Pass where abandoned homes and deserted fields are mute evidence of a one time well settled agricultural area having reverted to a cattle range.

Settlement on the mountain dates back to the late nineties, when Fairview and Camp McKinney were centres of a great mining activity. These were real boom time camps and there the settlers found a ready market for all the produce they could grow. A total of over forty people located on Kruger and about a dozen in the Pass. Today there is no one living in either area.

Among the Kruger Mountain settlers whose names can be recalled were the Lacey families of Nick, Tom and Bill. The Ed. Lacey family now resident in Osoyoos; Phil and Felix Darragh; Dad Phelps; John Walker who built his cabin round a stump which he used for a table; Tom Anderson; Joe and Ed Shea with their dad; Mrs. L. Taylor and her sons Denny, Mike and Ike, all of whom preempted land; Kit Carr. Curt Hoover and Knudt Knudtson, the latter now living in Osoyoos; Claude House who had the reputation of being a notorious horse rustler; Alex McKenzie with his sister Miss C. J. McKenzie and an uncle named Clark; Mrs. Verdier and the boisterous rancherette Mrs. Mary Parker who could swing a four horse team over the narrow mountain trails with the best of them; the John Murphy family, the Downeys, the Birds, the Martins, the Mabees and the Dignans.

Among those locating in the Pass were Ike Dalrymple, F. Wilmot, John Henry Davis, Joe Johnson, Jim Ferguson, Jerry Jarvis who was shot by a freighter following a heated argument round a camp fire, Tom Conifer, a man named Verner and the Hobbs and Allan families.

The old settlers tell of the wonderful knee high bunch grass and the splendid grain crops of the early years that had been the big incentive to locating on the mountain. Then came a cycle of dry years with consequent discouragement, even the grasshoppers went hungry one old timer remarked.

In the course of time the odd settler answered the call of the grim reaper and the others one by one left Kruger and the Pass to search for green pastures elsewhere.

The bulk of that area now belongs to Val Haynes, the pioneer Osoyoos rancher and thus has that one time well settled district reverted to what it had been and always should have been, a cattle range.

"The Story of Osoyoos", pp. 115-116.