Children of Charles Augustus and Mary Jane (Sissy) Dougherty. (l to r) Beatrice Sawka of Langley

Children of Charles Augustus and Mary Jane (Sissy) Dougherty. (l to r) Beatrice Sawka of Langley

Hundreds gather to celebrate historic Maiden Creek Ranch

Descendants of 1860s pioneer family gather for 150th anniversary reunion.

More than 300 descendants of Edward and Elizabeth Dougherty gathered to enjoy an amazing time of renewal, history, and fun at the historic Maiden Creek Ranch, located about halfway between Cache Creek and Clinton on the west side of Hwy. 97.

Founded in 1862 by Edward Dougherty, the Maiden Creek Ranch is believed to be one of the oldest continuously operating cow/calf ranches in the province.

It’s managed at this time by a fourth generation descendant, Raymond Dougherty, along with his partner Jody.

Descendants of seven generations of Doughertys in Canada came from all over on the weekend of July 27-29. They spread their wide variety of camping units, and themselves, around the full sized closed-in arena which has been added to the ranch in recent years for indoor practice in roping, penning, and barrel racing.

This was the second major reunion for the historic ranch and family. The first one was held in 1982 for the 120th anniversary, and this year’s commemorated the 150th anniversary of the founding of the ranch. The individual families have held numerous reunions over the years, but all who attended this year say the 2012 reunion has topped them all.

Divided into four camps

The original owners of Maiden Creek Ranch, Edward and Elizabeth Dougherty, had nine children, and there are four families of those children still remaining. The descendants were divided into four groups. The red shirts were descendants of Edward II and Christina Stephenson, who had six children, while the yellow shirts were descendants of Jane Beatrice Patrick, who had four children. The blue shirts were descendants of Edith and Fred Peters, who had six children, and the green shirts were descendants of Charles and Mary (Sissie Pollard), who had 10 children.

An official registration took place, mainly to collect a record of who came from where and how many they brought with them. Registration for the big event was managed by Helene (Dougherty) Cade and Pat Ward.

Meals and entertainment took place under the roof of the arena, with music provided on Friday night and part of Saturday night by talented members of the Loon Lake Doughertys. Their parents were Edward and Pearl Dougherty, and the musicians included Kay Gordon and George and Sonny Dougherty, along with members of the Charles Dougherty family (the Amblers and Sawkas).

History is being gathered up

A History Tent adorned with the Dougherty Family crest was set up, and included clippings, pictures, and memorabilia created by Virginia and Sharon Ambler. Visitors were encouraged to drop off their additions to the memories. a historical family tree was created by David Ward and Connie Dougherty.

The family arrived in Canada when Edmund Dougherty from the Isle of Man in Great Britain settled in Ontario in the mid-1800s. His son Edward eventually travelled to British Columbia to establish the Maiden Creek Ranch in 1862.

When he died in 1897 the ranch was managed by his eldest son Edward II, and then by younger sons Thomas and Charlie.

Charlie had married Mary Jane (Sissie) Pollard, and they had nine daughters and one son. When Charlie died in 1968 his only son, Charles II (who had married Helene Charryon in 1956) took over the management of the ranch.

When Charles II died in 1973 Helene continued to manage the ranch with the help of their three sons, Charles III (Chuck), Raymond, and Kenny (and many friends and neighbours) until she married Bud Cade in 1982.

After this marriage she slowly retired and withdrew from ranch responsibilities. Raymond and his son Tyler, along with Raymond’s partner Jody, are the present managers, continuing the Dougherty family heritage.

One of the highlights of the Clinton Cattlemen’s Anniversary celebrations a few years ago was the presentation of a government plaque designating the Maiden Creek Ranch as a “Century Ranch”.

On hand to receive that plaque were Helen (Dougherty) Cade and her four children: Linda Collins (who died in 2010), Ray, Chuck, and Ken Dougherty.

The ranch has been inducted into the BC Cowboy Hall of Fame as the oldest known operating ranch in the province still in the same family.

Ida Makaro

With historical assistance from Kay Gordon, Virginia Ambler, Helene Cade, and Connie Dougherty.