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Season 3

Andy Russell
Jack Morton
Father Lacombe
Bill Twan
David Thompson
William Roper Hull
Louis Riel
Jerome and Thaeus Harper
James Gladstone
Bert Sheppard
Harry Hargrave
Paddy Cripps
Pat Burns

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Jerome and Thaeus Harper

The J Lazy J brand of the Harper bothers is still worn by cattle on the ranges north of Kamloops. Harper Mountain towers over the ranges, a busy ski area today and the name behind the mountain and the ranch belongs to two brothers who’s story would make an epic western movie.

Jerome and Thadeus Harper left their home in Virginia in the 1840’s following the gold rush to California, then up the Falser River through B.C.

The were quick to recognize the fact that the horde of gold seekers would somehow have to be fed, and realized they were surrounded by and empire of grass that would become some of the finest ranching country in the world.

Some shrewd business decisions led to them acquiring huge areas of grazing land along the banks of the Fraser and the Thompson river. Among their holdings the enormous Gang Ranch. In 1862 the brothers trailed a huge mixed herd of Longhorns and Herefords from Oregon to the Gang ranch through the Okanagan Valley. It was the first of many legendary long drives that included hazardous crossings of the might Fraser and to destinations as far away as Salt Lake city and San Francisco.

Jerome was forced into retirement when a horse kicked him in the head in 1870. Thadeus carried on in spite of a couple of brutal winters, volatile cattle markets and business setbacks. By 1883 though, he’d rebuilt the herd and his holdings grew to include mining, lumber and flour mills.

In 1884, Thadeus was out checking cattle when he was thrown from his horse and kicked in the face. He was taken to Victoria where he spent 6 weeks partially recovering from the serious injuries. By this time, he was more than a million dollars in debt to the B.C. Land and Investment co. The Gang ranch was put up for sale and Thaddeus Harper retired to Victoria where he died Dec. 10, 1898 at the age of 65.

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