Fonds - WX Ranch fonds

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WX Ranch fonds

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  • 1934-1979 (Creation)
    WX Ranch

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Physical description

6.5 cm of textual records

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Administrative history

In 1906 Virden Manitoba resident William James Wilcox [1854-1934] purchased 132 acres of land on the east side of Shuswap Lake, three miles from Salmon Arm. An asthmatic, he had decided to give up his various enterprises in Virden for health reasons. His doctor encouraged him to move to a milder climate. In 1907, the couple moved to Salmon Arm with two of their nine children, Ruth and Jack , living in the Tetlock house on the property.

According to son JC Wilcox, the senior Wilcox was an active farmer. At the age of 53, he supervised the land clearing for orchards and pastures. Trees were felled and hauled by horse to the lake, where they were boomed and sold to the mill at Kualt across the lake. A true entrepreneur, Wilcox purchased more land. He had success with small fruits in Virden. Applying his farming knowledge, he successfully grew strawberries, vegetables for the house, sugar beets, and mangolds for the cows and horses. Other plantings on the Tetlock property included red raspberries, yellow raspberries, blackcaps and three species of black berries. The WX Ranch was also known for its grape production.

The Great Depression hit the Wilcox family in 1929 as WJ found it difficult to sell fruit to his established prairie market. Fruit had become an expensive luxury. In addition to his marketing problems, Salmon Arm was suffering from a three-year drought. Irrigation was not possible on Wilcox farmlands. The seventy-five year old lost thousands of dollars. He could not pay the taxes on his outlying properties and he could not sell them. The municipality responded by auctioning the properties.

Tragically, a train hit WJ Wilcox in 1934, while he was trying to cross the railway tracks to attend to a neighbours chimney fire. Son-in-law Don Raven eventually took over the entire management of the farm and purchased his father-in-laws interest.

Donald Raven [b. Feb. 21, 1903 d. November 14, 1987] was born at Plumas, Manitoba. He married Ruth Wilcox [1894-1991] in 1927 and moved to Salmon Arm in 1930, working as the manager of the Wilcox Ranch. The couple had three children, Jim, Rosemary and David.

Ruth Wilcox [b. Nov. 8, 1894 d. Feb. 23, 1991], daughter of WJ and Mary Wilcox, taught school at Sunnybrae, Deep Creek, and Balmoral. She was a member of the I.O.D.E., a provincial representative of the Shuswap Lake Hospital Board and belonged to the Womens Auxiliary. At the age of 95 she published Walking, But Not Alone.

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Scope and content

The fonds consists of cash sales books and account books for the farm and other properties (including Sinclair, Canoe and Lakeshore) under the management of Don Raven.

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BCAUL control number: SAM-3392

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