Every so often we are contacted by local residents and visitors to the area who are tracing their family genealogy. One such enquiry was received in 1995 from John Caldwell of Prince Rupert. Mr. Caldwell was looking for information about his great, great grandfather Alexander Ross, the first white man to visit the Keremeos area. The notice you see here was posted and any information collected was sent to the Caldwells. Now, many years later we are again asking readers for additional information. Who knows? Perhaps somebody will remember new information or unearth a related artifact.
Alexander Ross (1783-1856) arrived at Fort Okanagan near the mouth of the Columbia River in July of 1811. He spent several years in the area, exploring and trading with local First Nations tribes. In 1811 he married a local Okanagan band member, Sara Twe whee min wiwh (now spelled Timentwa) from the Chelan area.
In 1813 Ross took a trip to the Kamloops area and returned by way of the Similkameen Valley and so became the first white settler to visit the area. At the time the only settlement in the vicinity was a small First Nations campsite where he stayed briefly. After 14 years in the Okanagan, Alexander and Sara Ross moved on to the Red River district in Manitoba where he became sherriff, magistrate and eventually governor of the new jail. He retired in 1851 and died in 1856. His wife Sara lived until 1884 and raised a total of twelve children.
If anyone has any further information on Alexander Ross, his family and descendants please contact the South Similkameen Museum Society and we will pass it on to the Caldwell family.
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