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Further Fairview Osoyoos Chronicles

 

by Katie Lacey

(as published in the Okanagan Historical Society's 22nd Report, 1958, pp. 67-72)


On August 27th, 1892, the first newspaper, the Madre D'Oro, was published in Oro, Wash. (later, Oroville, Wash.), J. M. Hagerty, editor and manager; E. W. Dugan, associate editor; J. M. Hagerty and Co., publishers. The printing office was in a tent.  In the issue of Aug. 27, 1892, the following articles are noted in a copy of this first edition.

NEW CAPITAL FOR FAIRVIEW

George Atwood, a mining engineer of London, England, Edmund Reynolds, and W. T. Thompson, capitalists, of the same place, have been in Fairview the past ten days and have bought the Rattler mine and mill. They are also examining several other properties with a view to purchasing.

They left London May 4th, and have been all through the Slocan and Kootenai districts before coming here and are very favorably impressed with this country.

They have unlimited means at their command for legitimate mining investments and intend to make further purchases.

FAIRVIEW CAMP, B.C.

Another promising camp in the Okanagan country is Fairview Camp, in British Columbia, eighteen miles north of Oro, close to the Okanagan River. Gold was discovered there first about four years ago but little was done toward development.

The first mine to bring the Camp into prominence was the Rattler, discovered by Hank Mankin, and for a long time the only means of support he had was to take the quartz and grind it to pulp between two large stones, and then wash the gold out in a pan.

He finally interested some Spokane people in the property, and they put in a five-stamp mill about four months ago. After the mill was built disagreements arose between the owners. The creditors came in and levied on the mine and the mill, but before it came to a sale new parties came in and purchased it from the owners. They will at once proceed to add more machinery and develop the property.

There are nine more mines located on the same ledge with the Rattler, there being three parallel ledges on the same claims and the ledges are from three to sixteen feet wide.

All have been worked more or less. The Wide West was sold about sixty days ago for $15,000, and has a 250 foot tunnel. The Brown Bear has a shaft sixty foot deep, and they have crosscut on the ledges twenty-five feet. The Silver Crown was sold about ninety days ago to Wardner, Andrews and Patrick, and they have just completed a tunnel 220 feet long. They started in just above the east ledge, and have gone through the middle one which is ten feet wide. They are sixty feet below the surface here and the ledge makes, a fine showing, and assays "way up." This property carries both gold and silver, but gold predominates, as it does in all the others. They expect to build a twenty-stamp mill in the near future.

One of the wonders of the Camp is the Joe Dandy, which lies east of and nearer the river than any of the others, and has been a paying proposition from the grass roots. The present owners bought it sixty days ago and hired a six stamp sampling mill to test the rock, and it paid so well they have kept it running night and day ever since. It has not only paid working expenses, but paid back the original cost of the property in the first five weeks' run. They will put in at least a ten-stamp mill as soon as possible.

The other properties on this mountain are the Stem Winder, the Ontario, and the Wynn M.

This Camp is in the same gold belt we are on, and proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is the most extensive mineral belt in the known world. The miners there are at least nine-tenths of them Americans.

MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION INTO
THE OKANAGAN COUNTRY

At the present time there are only two routes by which the traveller can get into this country by public conveyance.

The oldest route is by way of the Washington Central R.R. to Coulee City, where you are turned over to J. E. Hetley's stage lines (of which the obliging Mr. Graham is superintendent), which has branches out to Waterville, Wenatchee, and Ellensburg, and another line to the Okanagan country via Port Columbia and Ruby City to Conconully. You are sure of good treatment too, from the time you take the stage until you leave it, as Mr. Hetley, his agents and drivers, do all in their power to make the trip pleasant for you.

At Conconully there is an independent line to Loomis, entirely too independent for the comfort and convenience of the travelling public. But we understand Mr. Hetley will shortly extend his line to Loomis.

ORO AND PENTICTON

The other route is a comparatively new one, only having been in operation about sixty days, but has jumped into public favor at once, as it is a much shorter stage route and gives a change of scenery and combines steamboat, railroad and stage, also putting the passenger into St. Paul or the Sound cities one day, sooner than by any other way.

This route runs from Loomis to Penticton via Oro and is owned and managed by S. T. Stanton of Oro, who has been a successful stage manager in Montana and Arizona before coming here. He is running four horse stock on his stages, but has ordered new six-horse coaches, to keep up with the travel as he has had to run extras nearly every day in August.

He will also put on a line to Marcus as soon as the road is completed through from Oro to Marcus.


 An ad read as follows—

ORO AND PENTICTON STAGE LINE
S.T. STANTON, PROPRIETOR
——Through in eight hours.——

OKANAGAN LAKE
AND THE GOLD BELT.
Stages leave Loomis
Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, via—
——ORO——
Arriving in Penticton the same day
And connects with steamers and C.P.R. for all points East and West.
A day and a half saved as well as money to St. Paul or the Sound.
For full particulars apply of Moore, Ish and Co., Loomis;
S. T. Stanton, Oro., or any Agent C.P.R.


OSOYOOS CHRONICLES

Following the death of Leslie Hill in 1916, the Hill estate was leased by G. J. Fraser and E. A. Helps.  The Dr. G. S. Jermyn (Customs) and Wm. Richter families were the only other families in the district. There were now five children of school age, but 10 were necessary before the Dept. of Education would supply a teacher. Fortunately, that summer the E. Hobbs family with 10 children, five of school age, moved down from Richter Mountain to Richter Pass.

Arrangements were made with them to fix the old Government building and jail as school and living quarters for the five Hobbs children. Homemade desks and seats that had been in use in the closed school on Richter Mountain, were put in until suitable desks could be purchased. A teacher was advertised for, and 67 applications were received. Miss Dorothy Evans of Kelowna was the first teacher, and for the first week she found it necessary to keep her desk across the doorway, to keep inquisitive cattle out until a door was fitted.

In 1919 the Osoyoos Orchards' Ltd., was formed, the first directors being D. P. Burpee, C. L. Carless, Rev. J. Ferguson Millar, A. McMeans of Penticton, W. T. Hunter, R. M. Helmer of Summerland, Leopold Haves of Kelowna, and G. J. Fraser, R. H. Plaskett of Osoyoos. They purchased the Hill estate and sub-divided it

In 1919 the Provincial Government purchased the Shatford holdings, 22,000 acres, for $300,000.00. A concrete dam was built across the Okanagan River, south of Vaseux Lake and a concrete ditch with gravity flow was built to the American border, crossing, the valley, where the town of Oliver now is, by a stave pipe 3600 ft. long and 78 inches inside diameter and altogether 25 miles of concrete and zinc canal were built to serve 8000 acres of land.

With these two projects started, it was not long before a community came into being in Osoyoos. Early in 1920 R. D. Fraser of Veteran, Alberta, opened a general store opposite the Customs House on land supposedly belonging to Wm. Richter.  F. X. Richter had purchased the H.B.C. land from the Kruger Estate following the death of T. Kruger, and at Richter's death it had been willed to his second son, William.  A survey the next year showed Fraser was on Government land which he continued to hold under "squatter's rights." Kruger had closed his trading post in 1897 as he couldn't be bothered with figuring the nickels and dimes that came into use about that time, and the post office closed at his death. Thus Fraser's store was the first since Kruger had closed his, and immediately the settlers pressed for a post office again; mail at that time was received either at Fairview or at Oroville, Wash. All supplies came in by freight teams and gasoline was worth 85c a gal. in 4 gal. cans, butter $1.00 lb., eggs $1.00 per doz., strawberry jam $1.50 per 4 lb. can, sugar $16.00 per 100 lbs., and flour $11.00 per 100 lbs.

In 1921 a new survey was made over Anarchist Mountain road and contracts let for construction of same. Fraser sold his store to P. Salvis, of Spokane, Wash., one of the contractors who served the public and the camps from his store. Claughton Bros., of Penticton, built a poolroom and also a garage which was almost immediately sold to Harold Emerick of Wenatchee, Wash. Louis Provost opened a bakery. The same year Jack McLean of Rock Creek built and opened a second general store which he sold right away to Patterson and Montgomery, two returned men. McLean bought land at the mouth of Testlinda Creek which he farmed until his death.

At this time there was much activity in and around Osoyoos and both legal and illegal sale of liquor, as the U.S.A. had voted for prohibition, and some of the local businesses were just "cover ups" for a liquid sideline.

J. Brown of Princeton, in association with D. Rearden and J. S. Heales of Penticton, leased the Richter house (Kruger Hotel) from Wm. Richter, who built himself a house a short distance west. Brown operated a hotel and licensed premises until the place burned down in 1923. Wm. Richter died June 5, 1921.

Joe Murphy, one time prospector and rancher of Anarchist Mountain, had a cabin in Osoyoos and ran a large herd of horses on the nearby range. Joe was a well known character during the prohibition era on both sides of the line.

Upon completion of the road contracts Salvis sold his store to J. DeRosiers of Greenwood; the store burned down shortly after, together with the poolroom and garage. The store and garage were rebuilt and DeRosiers sold to R. M. Lewis of Kelowna, who in turn sold six years later to Geo. Carlson. of Star City, Sask.

Emerick sold the garage to Tan Brown of Fairview, who sold to Bob Lawrence of Oliver, and he sold to Albert English of Wenatchee. Patterson and Montgomery had sold their stock out; English purchased their building and winched it over next to the garage in which he opened the first cafe and confectionery in Osoyoos.

The South Okanagan Land Project ditch was completed and first water served in 1927. First to take up land was A. W. Hanbury, followed soon after by D. Barnes (ditch rider), Adam Cumine, E. Bucher, Craig orchards, A. Ure, W. Arnott, H. Hulten, S. Field, H. Emerick (run by A. Simms), and sold to R. Purdy and R. Kerr, J. Calderbank, H. Price, J. F. Worthington, Max Kohler arid Graf Bros. On the east side of the lake F. L. Goodman, E. R. Dawson, W. McConnachie, Martin, and Mrs. Hearle had settled from 1921 on.  Young orchards were planted, but much attention was given to ground crops— early tomatoes, cucumbers, cantaloupes and watermelon. Extensive experiments were carried out during, the first years in the growing of tobacco and large sheds were built from the border to Oliver for the curing of it.

The site of the village of Osoyoos at this time was such that with the death of William Richter that land was left in estate and could not he sold. The government controlled the rest and would not sell so no title was available. The S.O.L.P. was pressed for the laying out of a townsite, the site having been previously set aside in the original survey, about 1/4 mile north of the bridge.

The first church services were held in 1917 by a Mr. Borthwick, lay preacher whose district was from Okanagan Falls, south to Osoyoos and over Anarchist Mountain to the Kettle Valley, which he covered on a bicycle, pushing it much of the way over the steep grades. He was followed by a Mr. Warren, whose district took in from Okanagan Falls to Osoyoos, including the Camps at Oliver, where the first sections of the S.O.L.P. were getting under way. This man secured a horse and buggy, but knew nothing about horses and the horse apparently recognizing it, did much as it pleased. The good man was having difficulty getting to his meetings on time, so, in desperation, he wrote to Henry Ford, outlining his difficulties while doing the Lord's work. Soon after, the Ford dealer in Penticton received authorization to sell Mr. Warren a Ford on easy terms which he did and to the surprise of every one he got along with it quite well.

On one of his visits to the camps, Mr. Warren found himself without one single person in attendance, but as he had advertised the meeting he felt he was compelled to hold it and so he preached his sermon to an empty hall.