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Owners of the V Bar V Ranch in Oyama: William Furniss

William Furniss, a middle-aged farmer from Vernon, became the second owner of the V Bar V, after the Bovee brothers.  He was born in England on December 5, 1843 (his gravestone says 1844) and according to the 1901 Canada Census immigrated to Canada in 1882, coming to Priest’s Valley (Vernon) sometime after that. He was single and living in a boarding house in Priest’s Valley in June 1891, occupation farmer.  He married a widow, Almira McCluskey on 30 November 1898 and acquired an instant family.

William McCluskey, who was the manager of the BX ranch, died in July 1895 from the effects of a bronc-riding accident, leaving his wife with a family of seven children. Almira and William McCluskey had been married in Argenteuil, Quebec where they had two children, Ernest (b. 9 June 1880) and Herbert (b.1881) and they had migrated across Canada, having one child in the NWT (John Wesley, b. 17 June 1884) and another in Victoria, BC (May, b. 5 October 1886). After arrival in Priest’s Valley (Vernon) in 1887, they had four more children, Maud (b. 20 December 1888), William (b. 27 July 1891), Frank (b. 29 April 1893) and Dorothy (b. 28 April, 1894). William’s death was devastating to Almira.

William Furniss married Almira McCluskey in 1898, about the time that he acquired the pre-emption rights and moved his new family to the V Bar V Ranch. Son, Herbert, died in 1899 from a hunting accident on the ranch. William and the two oldest surviving boys, Ernest and John, were living and working on the V Bar V in 1901 along with their sister, Maud,[1] while Almira Furniss and her younger children lived for some months of the year in Vernon, for schooling purposes. 

Furniss received a Crown Grant for NW ¼ Sec 6 and SW ¼ of Sec 7, Tp. 10 on 9 Sept 1903. He likely paid for his Crown Grant in order to sell the ranch to Joseph Hayton because he moved back to Vernon in 1903, where a number of the older children found work at the S. C. Smith Sash and Door factory. Another son, Frank McCluskey, died in 1911 in a hunting accident on the Commonage and William Furniss died in Vernon in 1912. Most of the surviving McCluskey children settled and worked in the Vernon-Lumby area.

[1] These three McCluskey children were double-counted in the 1901 census, as they were also listed as living with their mother in Vernon.


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