MATHER, Ken




Author Tags: Agriculture, History

Ken Mather is the general manager of Historic Hat Creek Ranch, near Cache Creek, BC. He has written numerous articles and reports for organizations such as the Okanagan Historical Society, Canadian Museum of Civilization, BC Museums Association and the Alberta Historic Sites Service. He started out as a researcher for Fort Edmonton Park in 1973. In 1979, he moved to BC to work at Barkerville Historic Park; he became the park’s curator in 1982. From 1984 until 2004 he was the manager/curator of the Historic O’Keefe Ranch near Vernon, BC, where he developed his love of early cowboy history.

"His first book Buckaroos and Mud Pups: The Early Days of Ranching in B.C. (Heritage House, 2006) tells the story of ranching in frontier British Columbia, highlighting the people and events that shaped the industry. Starting in 1858 with the first of the drives that would see more than 22,000 head of cattle brought into the province over the next 10 years, it moves through to 1914, by which time ranching in the B.C. Interior had become big business. These are stories about drovers, ranchers, cowboys and "mud pups" (trainees), about ups and downs, hard work and hard play, as a fledgling industry responded to the events that either helped or hindered its growth. Ken Mather captures the spirit of these times with tales of remarkable drives, famous ranches and legendary characters-people like the flamboyant Harper brothers, drovers who eventually became the biggest landowners in B.C. Buckaroos and Mud Pups is an entertaining look at fascinating times and the men who made them so." -- Heritage House catalogue

Ken Mather's Bronc Busters and Hay Sloops (Heritage 2010) picks up where his first ranching history, Buckaroos and Mud Pups, left off, at the start of the First World War. The characters in the stories include Joe Coutlee, cow boss of the Douglas Lake Ranch, whose booming voice gave him the nickname “Roaring Bill”; Grover Hance, who roped one of his men and tied him to a tree until he sobered up; Florence “Bunch” Trudeau, whose pet moose got a little too big for comfort; Ollie Matheson, one of the only women to ride in the Williams Lake Stampede’s death-defying Mountain Race; and Bill Arnold, who could ride “anything that wore hide.”

Review of the author's work by BC Studies:
Buckaroos and Mud Pups: The Early Days of Ranching in British Columbia
Frontier Cowboys and the Great Divide: Early Ranching in BC and Alberta

BOOKS:

Buckaroos and Mud Pups: The Early Days of Ranching in B.C. (Heritage House, 2006)

Bronc Busters and Hay Sloops: Ranching in the West in the Early 20th Century (Heritage 2010)

Frontier Cowboys and the Great Divide: Early Ranching in BC and Alberta (Heritage House 2013) $19.95 978-1-92752-709-2

[BCBW 2013] "Ranching"