The Cochrane Ranche Company Ltd. was founded by Senator Matthew Henry Cochrane in 1881. The ranch was originally located on a 109,000 acre 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.
Frank White’s Diary: A diary history of the early Cochrane Ranche
Notes and comments by Alex McTavish
‘March 6th, 1883.
Glenn’s. Cloudy and stormy, fierce blizzard blew for about an hour but soon cleared up. Rode Jenny to Govt. Farm and she got away from me, caught her at the farm. Another Hereford bull died of inflammation of the lungs. Doyle in trouble. Stallions taken to farm. Called at Glenn’s on the way from back the farm. P.M. Saw Messrs. Stinson, Denny and Pocklington. Pollinger took hayrack to farm. Shorty and Long commencing work.’
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