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The Hoziers


by Katie Lacey


With the passing of Leonard Hozier in St. Martin's Hospital Oliver, B.C. on Dec. 24, 1962, another link with the pioneer past of the Southern Interior was broken.  Leonard Hozier was born at Vernon, then Priest's Valley, 77 years ago. At that time, C. W. Hozier, his father, was head cattleman at the Coldstream Ranch. A brother, the eldest child in the family, died in July, 1885 and was the first interment in the old Vernon Cemetery. The ground was donated by Luc Gerouard, and E. J. Tronson collected the money from local settlers to fence it. About 1894 or '95, C. W. Hozier pre-empted the ranch that is now the F. Lawson ranch about 11 or 12 miles from Camp McKinney on the old stage road between the Okanagan and the Boundary country at that time. Over this road the freight teams and wagons and passenger stages travelled and the Hoziers became a "stopping place."

In August, 1896, the famous "Gold Brick Robbery" took place when G. B. McAuley was robbed of three gold bricks just above the Hozier place. He drove on to the Hoziers and young Leonard who was 11 at the time was sent to the Camp to report the robbery while McAuley continued on to Spokane.

Leonard and his two sisters went to stay with relatives at Kelowna for what schooling was available at that time. The school at Camp McKinney being only intermittent.

After Camp McKinney folded Hozier sold his ranch to Bevan Gore and moved over to the Fairview district. Here Leonard made his home. He was an experienced trapper and prospector, a good neighbor and a good friend to those he liked, no doubt inheriting his keen instincts and quiet unassuming was from his Indian forbears. Few of his kind are left now and another colorful era is drawing to a close.


Published in the Okanagan Historical Society's Twenty-Seventh Report (1963), p. 143.