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Andy Russell
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Louis Riel
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Paddy Cripps

Mary Wynn Johnson was on a visit home to Dublin, Ireland when daughter Paddy was born March 28, 1907. Paddy grew up on the ranges of the Alkali Lake Ranch and spent every spare moment on horseback.

As a teen, she was not happy about being sent to school in Vernon. Her heart was always on the ranch with the horses and cattle. During her late teens when her mother became very sick Paddy promptly quit school and came home where she always wanted to be. She was respected as a top hand and showed great skill not only with horses and cattle, but was an expert at hunting and fishing. She married Pack Harris in 1929 and they had a son, Jim, and a daughter Cherie. When the Alkali Lake Ranch was sold in 1939, Paddy and Pack bought the Big Lake Ranch including the general store, post office and the filling station. Pack passed away not long after they moved to Big Lake. Paddy then married Harold Cripps in 1941 and they had three children; Julie, Clint and Wade.

Paddy and Harold sold the Big Lake Ranch around 1956 and bought the Fishback Ranch near Prince George, re-naming it the Chilako Ranch.

It didn’t take Paddy long to get involved in the community. She held positions in the Prince George Cattlemen’s Association, and she started the Rancher’s Community 4H Club. She sold the Chilako and bought the Hideaway Ranch and lived there until 1983.

A pioneer rancher and working cowgirl, Paddy Cripps was respected for her ability with cattle, horses, a gun and a fishing rod. Her ranch remains in the family to this day.

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