on-line book icon

table of contents

Field Division of Education
History of Glacier National Park
NPS logo

The Cattle Industry

As in Montana, cattle ranching was an early industry in Alberta. In 1872 the first herd of range cattle was brought in by the McDougall brothers, but it was not until some years later that ranching actually began. In 1875 the first dairy ranch was established near McCleod. In 1877 the first cattle were turned loose on the range by Fred Kanouse. The earliest cattle were brought in from Montana and were chiefly of Texas and Mexican strains. By 1884 forty-one companies and private individuals held leased lands in addition to many cattlemen who ran their stock on the open range.

In 1881 there were only 5,690 cattle in all the northwestern territories. By 1885 the Calgary and McCleod districts alone had about 75,000. In 1892 Southern Alberta, south of the Canadian Pacific line, was estimated to have about 200,000 head of beef cattle. In 1901 the number had risen to over 300,000.

Sheep and horse ranching developed almost simultaneously with the cattle industry. In the year 1881, when the number of cattle was only 5,690 in all the Northwest, the number of sheep was 346. Three years later 80,000 pounds of wool were exported. The rivalry of the cattlemen and a series of misfortunes beset the sheep men, however, and by 1903 the sheep industry on a large scale had practically disappeared.

Although there had been some agriculture in the Canadian region for many years, it was not until, the turn of the century that it began to rival cattle raising as a business seriously.

The development of representative governmental institutions and the economic history of the region to the north of Glacier National Park are all parts of modern history. It has not seemed necessary to go into this part of the story, which is in the period since the beginning of the present century. (This entire section is summarized from MacInness's excellent book, In the Shadow of the Rockies. Further details may be secured from various works in the bibliography if desired.)

Previous Next

top of page

History  |   Links to the Past  |   National Park Service  |   Search  |   Contact

Last Modified: Sat, Feb 9 2002 10:00:00 am PDT

ParkNet Home