—— By Cameron Bridge
Frank W. Jackson was born in January of 1862 in County Cavan, Ireland. At the age of eight his parents moved from Ireland and came to Canada, eventually settling in Grey County, Ontario (Northwest of Toronto).
The land that they lived on was operated by the Moore and Lauder families.
In the early 1880’s, Frank decided to come out West, taking the train to Calgary where he worked for the Canadian Pacific Railway for a few months during the winter.
When spring came around, himself and Malcom MacInnis walked west intending to come to the Nicola Valley where Frank’s brother had recently arrived.
The two young men walked, largely through trails that the first nations people had carved out since time immemorial, going through Grand Prairie and eventually making their way to the Nicola Valley, just as winter set in.
Jackson found work for the winter at the Napier Lake Ranch where he took his wages in horses. When the winter cleared, he took his first proper job in the Nicola Valley working on the Beaver Ranch, owned by the Moore Family who Jackson had known since he was young.
He spent two years working at Beaver Ranch, helping the Moores run their 1000 head of cattle before starting to work at Douglas Lake where he would stay for the next seven years, working along side J.B. Greaves.
Around 1896, Frank would leave Douglas Lake and take up the management of Triangle Ranch, which was owned by the B.C. Cattle Company, for the next 16 years.
It would also be around this time that Frank met and married Ellis Bulman of Victoria in 1902. The couple would have one daughter, Mary Jackson. Frank’s abilities to manage a large herd of cattle and ensure that they were kept in good condition made him a very respected man in the Nicola Valley, and even a potential target.
Reportedly, in 1896, during a trial before the Justice of the Peace, a man named Felix was accused of planning to shoot J.B. Greaves and stealing a Douglas Lake Horse Brand. During the course of the trial, it was revealed that Johnny McLean had originally asked Felix to shoot Frank Jackson instead.
In 1911 the Triangle Ranch was sold to Joseph Guichon Sr., Frank remained at the ranch for another year before eventually leaving for Kamloops where he worked in the fur and hide business until he passed away on March 29, 1939.
The Nicola Valley Museum & Archives is open from Tuesday until Saturday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., if you have any questions about the history of Merritt or the Nicola Valley please stop on by, give us a phone call, or send us an email.