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Cochrane Ranch

Cochrane purchased his first herd of 6,700 cattle in Montana, but the long drive up to the Cochrane range site, and the harsh winter, left the herd significantly diminished. In addition, the hair brands - made by scraping off a pattern of hair from the animal with a knife - had disappeared by the spring of 1882, and the ranch manager, Col. James Walker, decided that all the cattle in the area should be rounded up and properly identified - with his own brand. Neighbouring ranchers understandably disagreed with the process, and responded by branding many Cochrane cattle as their own. Another considerable loss of animals was endured the following year, when a purchase of 5,000 cattle was driven northward, under Cochrane's orders, through heavy snows. Walker, frustrated with the company's directors, resigned in 1882, and his place was taken by Frank White, treasurer and general manager, and William Kerfoot as range manager.

Despite setbacks, the Cochrane Ranch prospered, and a new acreage was purchased in 1896. When Senator Cochrane died in 1903, however, so did its driving force, and the ranch was sold in 1905. It had been the first great ranch, and the largest of its time.

For more information on Ranching in Alberta click here.

Stacking Hay

Stacking Hay

Senator Matthew Henry Cochrane

Senator Matthew Henry Cochrane