Ranch in the Slocan : A Biography of a Kootenay Farm, 1896–2017

Ranch in the Slocan: A Biography of a Kootenay Farm, 1896–2017

Cole Harris
$24.95

 


In 1888, a prosperous industrial family in Calne, Wiltshire, sent one of its younger sons, a lad judged to have no head for business, to Guelph Agricultural College in Ontario to learn to be a farmer.

Joseph Colebrook Harris, the author’s grandfather, didn’t take to Ontario and after visiting a friend on Salt Spring Island, fell in love with BC. Eventually fetching up on the shores of the Slocan Lake, Joe bought 270 acres of hilly land in the Slocan Valley, less than thirty acres of which was really fit for farming, and began clearing the forest to build a ranch. Here is the story of Harris’s life and the next 120 years of the ranch’s, including the discovery of a silver–lead mine on the property, a period as a Japanese internment camp, brushes with American counterculture and the back-to-the-land movement, family conflicts, and an uncertain future.

In detail, Ranch in the Slocan is a very particular story, but its elements have repeated themselves across Canada. Settlers lived within bounded space, of which the Harris ranch is an extreme example, and adapted to cultural and social changes. Drawing from letters, diaries, family stories and recollections, photographs, as well as official records, Harris offers a case study in the history of homesteading, and a portrait of his family’s experiences in the Slocan Valley. The Harris ranch produced a little income now and then but was not, and never has been, a commercial success. Its yield was not so much measured by the market as by the more intangible pleasures of living within a diverse local economy in a remarkable place.


 

“The story of the ranch and the area is told with the help of a deep family archive of letters, renderings and photos…It is through this familial lens that Harris offers not only a history of his family, but also a history of pioneering. This is one of those times that history is brought to life.”

–Dana Gee, Vancouver Sun

“Harris’s great skill in this book is to show how the Bosun Ranch passes through the Harris family as much as it surrounds it, and how it is inside much else that Harris has written. To my mind, the experience of dwelling has never been far from what Cole Harris has sought to understand, and this concern is by no means confined to either rural dwelling or the North American past. It is a basic part of human existence and has a profound stake in who we are and what and where we want to be. The idea of dwelling is integral to the handle he has on the world, and it is explored in this book with great tenderness and wisdom.”

–Daniel Clayton, The Ormsby Review

“Ranch in the Slocan is a charming and engaging book that weaves together excerpts from J. C. Harris’ memoir plus diaries, letters, family recollections, and personal anecdotes including an admission that there was turmoil within the family concerning J. C. Harris’ ‘awkward will,’ which was finally probated in 1964. Many photographs from the Harris family’s collection complement the text. Ranch in the Slocan definitely captures the spirit of three Harris generations who have occupied a seductive and challenging property for over 120 years.”

–Ron Welwood, Canadian Literature

Ranch in the Slocan is a warm, candid and thoughtful account of a family, who, like so many others along the rugged canyons and hills left by the last Ice Age, came to put down roots in an unfamiliar land…Remarkable people and a remarkable land—themes that resonate deeply and are so well described by Harris in this excellent, heartfelt account, family history at its finest.

–Alexander C. McGregor, Pacific Northwest Quarterly

 


Harbour Publishing
ISBN: 9781550178234
Paperback / softback
6.0 in x 9.0 in - 288 pp
Publication Date: 19/05/2018
BISAC Subject(s):: HIS052000-HISTORY / Historical Geography,BIO026000-BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Personal Memoirs,HIS006020-HISTORY / Canada / Post-Confederation (1867-) 
:

Description


In 1888, a prosperous industrial family in Calne, Wiltshire, sent one of its younger sons, a lad judged to have no head for business, to Guelph Agricultural College in Ontario to learn to be a farmer.

Joseph Colebrook Harris, the author’s grandfather, didn’t take to Ontario and after visiting a friend on Salt Spring Island, fell in love with BC. Eventually fetching up on the shores of the Slocan Lake, Joe bought 270 acres of hilly land in the Slocan Valley, less than thirty acres of which was really fit for farming, and began clearing the forest to build a ranch. Here is the story of Harris’s life and the next 120 years of the ranch’s, including the discovery of a silver–lead mine on the property, a period as a Japanese internment camp, brushes with American counterculture and the back-to-the-land movement, family conflicts, and an uncertain future.

In detail, Ranch in the Slocan is a very particular story, but its elements have repeated themselves across Canada. Settlers lived within bounded space, of which the Harris ranch is an extreme example, and adapted to cultural and social changes. Drawing from letters, diaries, family stories and recollections, photographs, as well as official records, Harris offers a case study in the history of homesteading, and a portrait of his family’s experiences in the Slocan Valley. The Harris ranch produced a little income now and then but was not, and never has been, a commercial success. Its yield was not so much measured by the market as by the more intangible pleasures of living within a diverse local economy in a remarkable place.


 

“The story of the ranch and the area is told with the help of a deep family archive of letters, renderings and photos…It is through this familial lens that Harris offers not only a history of his family, but also a history of pioneering. This is one of those times that history is brought to life.”

–Dana Gee, Vancouver Sun

“Harris’s great skill in this book is to show how the Bosun Ranch passes through the Harris family as much as it surrounds it, and how it is inside much else that Harris has written. To my mind, the experience of dwelling has never been far from what Cole Harris has sought to understand, and this concern is by no means confined to either rural dwelling or the North American past. It is a basic part of human existence and has a profound stake in who we are and what and where we want to be. The idea of dwelling is integral to the handle he has on the world, and it is explored in this book with great tenderness and wisdom.”

–Daniel Clayton, The Ormsby Review

“Ranch in the Slocan is a charming and engaging book that weaves together excerpts from J. C. Harris’ memoir plus diaries, letters, family recollections, and personal anecdotes including an admission that there was turmoil within the family concerning J. C. Harris’ ‘awkward will,’ which was finally probated in 1964. Many photographs from the Harris family’s collection complement the text. Ranch in the Slocan definitely captures the spirit of three Harris generations who have occupied a seductive and challenging property for over 120 years.”

–Ron Welwood, Canadian Literature

Ranch in the Slocan is a warm, candid and thoughtful account of a family, who, like so many others along the rugged canyons and hills left by the last Ice Age, came to put down roots in an unfamiliar land…Remarkable people and a remarkable land—themes that resonate deeply and are so well described by Harris in this excellent, heartfelt account, family history at its finest.

–Alexander C. McGregor, Pacific Northwest Quarterly

 

Details


Harbour Publishing
ISBN: 9781550178234
Paperback / softback
6.0 in x 9.0 in - 288 pp
Publication Date: 19/05/2018
BISAC Subject(s):: HIS052000-HISTORY / Historical Geography,BIO026000-BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Personal Memoirs,HIS006020-HISTORY / Canada / Post-Confederation (1867-) 
: