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Cochrane Ranche Company Ltd. fonds


Physical Description:
9 cm of textual records. -- 30 photographs

The Cochrane Ranche Company Ltd. was founded by Senator Matthew Henry Cochrane in 1881. The ranch was originally located on a 109,000 acre (43,600 ha) land lease at Big Hill (now Cochrane, Alberta). The ranch was stocked with cattle from Montana, USA, brought in two large drives in 1881 and 1882. The second drive was plagued with snowstorms enroute and most of the herd starved during the winter of 1882-1883. In the summer of 1883 the ranch operations and the remaining herd were moved to a new site on the Belly River, southwest of Fort Macleod, Alberta. The Big Hill site was transferred to the British American Ranch Company Ltd. in February 1884. The ranch at Big Hill was managed by Major James Walker, 1881-1882, and W.D. Kerfoot, 1882-1884. Frank White was treasurer of the Big Hill ranch, 1882-1883, and manager of the Belly River ranch, 1883-1884. In 1885 William F. Cochrane, the senator's son, took over as manager. The ranch was sold to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon) in 1905 and the land opened for settlement.

Custodial History:
The W.F. Cochrane diary and letterbook probably came into the hands of the V.A. Wood family when the ranch was sold to the LDS Church. The Woods are prominent Mormons.

Scope and Content:
The fonds consists of Frank White's ranch notebook (1881-1882) recording livestock inventories, livestock brands, Kerfoot's employment contract, beef sales contracts, and cattle purchase contracts; W.F. Cochrane's diary (1885) and ranch business letterbooks (1884-1885); and photographs of Senator Cochrane and the British American Ranch Co. (1882-1892).
RECORDS RELATED TO THE FOLLOWING SUBJECTS ARE ALSO IN THIS FONDS. SEE INVENTORY FOR DETAILS: H. Bleeker, Kootenai Brown, J.M. Browning, Phillip Carr, Hugh S. Cayley, J.H. Christie, James Cochrane, Supt. John Cotton, Cecil Denny, J.G. Dunlop, W. Farthorn, G.G. Fitzgerald, M. Gallagher, G.C. King and Co., S. Goltman, H.H. Heiser, I.G. Baker and Co., Charles Kettle, Sam Livingston, W.B. McArthur, K Murchion, George Murdoch, Frederick Pace, William Pocklington, S.A. Ramsay, John Rathwell, Riel Rebellion (1885), D.C. Robertson, Rocky Mountain Rangers, North-West Mounted Police (NWMP) posts, Frederick S. Stimson, Capt. John Stewart, Maj. James Walker, Godfrey Weir, Western Stock Growers' Association, Lieut. Col. Whitehead, and Robert Whitney.

Source of Acquisition:
Gifts of V.A. Wood and anonymous donor, 1957-1970.

The material is in English.

The letterbook is restricted due to fragile condition. A photocopy is available for research purposes.

Finding Aids:
Inventory available. Please consult before requesting material.

View finding aid / scanned documents:

Frank White's diaries as a Cochrane Ranch employee are in the Frank White fonds at Glenbow.

Call Numbers:
(M=manuscript; N&P=photos; R=sound recordings; S=slides; F=films)
M-234, M-1303, NA-239, NA-1743

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