Nam Sing's Ranch

Nam Sing& Children, Ranch, Sue Cook

Chew Nam Sing was born in China in 1835.  It is believed that he spent time in the California goldfields before arriving in BC about 1858. He was among the very first Chinese miners in the Cariboo.  Initially he took up land on the west side of the Fraser River 4 miles North of Quesnel.  In addition to placer mining he began clearing a garden.  By the 1870s, he had acquired the present property on the east side of the Fraser River just north of Quesnel (Cariboo District lots 85 & 502).   He built an extensive ditch system diverting Barlow Creek to irrigate his crops.   In 1880, his young wife, Sue Cook, arrived from China.  During the next 30 years, she gave birth to 12 children.  The farm became the largest and most prosperous in the region, raising cattle, horses, pigs and garden produce. 

Nam Sing's Freight wagon

Two sons (Kong and Him Sing) operated a successful freighting business, hauling their produce to Quesnel and Barkerville, where they owned a store. In 1910, when Nam Sing died, the household included a Chinese teacher, a domestic servant and four labourers.  Sue Cook and the children continued to operate the ranch, although sadly many of the children died of tuberculosis during the following decade. 

Yee Sing with horse
Yee Sing (Laura), one of Nam Sing's  daughters.

After WW 1 the southern portion of the property was sold to A.J Wilson and Edward Steer, who continued a very similar farm operation, adding sheep to the mix.  The Quesnel Airport was developed here beginning in 1942.  Much of the landscape retains its original appearance, with the flatlands still covered by hay fields.  His sons continued to operate the home ranch until 1952 when it was sold to the Mufford Family. Until recently it operated as the Mufford Valley Ranch.    

Image
Him Sing in cowboy gear standing with his horse.
Him Sing, one of Nam Sing's sons working on the ranch.