his marriage with the Scottish beauty he met on the ship, she also returning home for a visit, but from an edge of high society in New York rather than a charred clearing on a Kootenay mountainside. There is nothing about their first son who died at birth, nothing about their other children, nothing about the planting of a sizeable orchard and life on the Bosun Ranch during the years when English money and hired hands were available. But there is an account of why my grandfather came to the Slocan, of the possible farm sites he investigated, of why he purchased land where he did, and of how he began to develop it.
Embedded in this account is the energy, zest, and enthusiasm that brought a privileged young Englishman to a remote mountain valley in a remote corner of the British Empire. After favourable reports of the opportunities for farming, and after seeing Slocan Lake, my grandfather’s mind was made up. He would leave the Cowichan Valley and settle in the Slocan, and when, among limited options, he found the land he wanted, he probably paid too much for it. Moreover, even in these first years there was evidence, had my grandfather chosen to heed it, that a secure local market for agricultural produce could not be assumed. In a valley opened to the outside world only five years before by a speculative mining rush, the future was particularly uncertain. To establish a sizeable farm in these circumstances was hardly prudent, but when one was twenty-five, brimming with energy, and accustomed to good fortune, enthusiasm easily overrode prudence.
And who is to say that he was wrong? He lived a thoughtful, generous, and happy life on the Bosun Ranch, and his descendants have long thanked him for choosing as he did.
—Cole Harris, Vancouver, B.C.