The history of Sanborn Lake Ranch

Situated in Darfield, B.C., this working ranch has been in operation since 1904

One of the old tractors that Lloyd Bowden used.

One of the old tractors that Lloyd Bowden used.

By Hayden Loewen

Sanborn Lake Ranch has been in my family for more than one hundred years.  It is 320 acres of beautiful farm land and has two lakes.  It is in Darfield, B.C.

My dad and his two brothers run the farm together.  There are 30 head of cattle and three miniature ponies.

Arthur Howard Sanborn, my great great grandfather, was born April 23, 1872.

His parents were GB and Susan Sanborn, and he was born in Groton, New Hampshire, USA.

In 1903, Arthur traveled from Bolton, Massachusetts, to Ballard, Washington, with his wife Maud, mother Susan, and step-father Tom J. Howard.

In the spring of 1904 they traveled up to the North Thompson Valley looking for farm land.  He bought the last available plots of land in Darlington, now known as Darfield.

The plots consisted of a large island in the North Thompson River, which they named Sanborn Island.  Arthur and Maud lived there, and Susan and Tom owned the 320 acres above the river.

They all worked together to clear their newly bought land, using horses and blasting powder.  Once cleared, they built two log homes on their property.

Between the two places they raised horses, cattle, and sheep.  Maud and Susan milked the cows, had a large vegetable garden and raised poultry and meat rabbits.  Some of this was hauled across the river to the railroad, which was taken to Kamloops and sold.

Arthur and Maud met a man named Richard Bowden in 1924, a widower with four children.  He was having a very hard time looking after all the children.  Richard and Maud, who had remained childless, decided to take the youngest child, a six year old named Lloyd.

Together, Arthur, Maud, Susan and Tom worked both farms.

Arthur died in the fall of 1939 in a haying accident, and  Maud passed away in Kamloops hospital in April 1944, leaving both places to Lloyd.

Lloyd married Ada MacDougal on Valentine’s Day, 1936, in Clearwater where they lived.  They lived there until Arthur’s death, and then came back to help run the ranch.

Lloyd sold the island property in 1946 to TD Mitchell.  The family worked the farm for 10 years.

In 1954 they pastured out the animals and left for the next 20 years.

In 1970, Ada and Lloyd moved back to the ranch.  They bought a hereford-cross heifer, and her offspring is still on the farm today.

Elsie (Lloyd’s youngest daughter), her husband Wayne, and children came from Prince George to help Ada run the farm.  They worked together until Wayne’s death in 2003.

Then Elsie and Wayne’s three sons Dwane, Geno and Sheldon (my father) took over running the farm.

Elsie passed away January 2, 2011, and  Ada passed in 2012.

Today, the brothers share in watching over 30 head of cattle, and together bring up the hay in the summer.

Hayden Loewen wrote the above article as his 2012 Heritage Fair School project when he was in Mrs. Matthews’ Grade 4 class at Barriere Elementary School.