To the editor:
I am a great-grandson of David Erskine Gellatly, so I suppose it is reasonable that with all the publicity surrounding Goat’s Peak, above the Gellatly Flats in West Kelowna, that I would be asked so many questions about the Gellatly’s and Goats Peak, etc.
David Erskine Gellatly the owner of the Gellatly farms on the Westside of Okanagan Lake was born in Montrose Scotland. His middle name is the result of being related to The ( Erskine) family name of Scottish Royalty and close relations to the Scottish Kings the (Stewart) of Scotland. Scottish History is rich with the Erskine and Stewart names spreading out to many parts of the world including our own Okanagan Valley.
David Erskine set out from Scotland in 1883 arriving in North Bay Ontario Canada. David was encouraged to seek opportunity in the Wild West and set out for Vernon B.C. 1893, where he worked as one of the three carpenters in Vernon B.C. In 1896, he felt a real opportunity may await him when the Shorts Point Farm (later known as Fintry) became available for lease and with the intent to possibly purchase the land.
While in the Shorts Creek region, David Gellatly extended his hunting trips to the Central Westside of Okanagan Lake and made many friends within the native community and in his own words found them very friendly towards him and new settlers arriving in the area. (A relationship I still enjoy to this day with many). This eventually convinced him to move down and take over the abandoned Billy Powers preemption in 1900. This then became known as the Gellatly Flats or community of Gellatly.
The trek down the Westside of Okanagan Lake from the Shorts Point Farm was an exciting challenge with cattle, horses, many other farm animals and the Gellatly famed herd of Angora goats that the family used for wool and mutton. As a person who at one time had some Angora goats and seeing the Gellatly picture of their Angora goats I can see the Angora goats then were about two to maybe three times the size of the little short legged Angora goats of today. These animals had the size to defend themselves as the old Gellatlys told me against a coyote or sometimes a wild dog although it is well known they did occasionally fall victim to other predators, some predators were even known to be on horse back.
When the Gellatly family arrived to what became known as Gellatly on many old maps to this day, (long before the big clay Bluffs of the Lindly area on the reserve known by Father Pandozi as the Westbank and latter transferring the name to the community now known as Westbank). they would turn their livestock loose to graze and often fend for themselves. Goats by nature love to explore and heights are their greatest inbred challenge. This is the reason; Goats Peak got its name and still called the same to this day. My Great Uncle Jack, Great Uncle Art, and Great uncle Bill all told me of the wonders of the Angora Goats, they would often appear on the Bluff (now known as Goats Peak) as if to say to the Gellatly?s all is well for another day and then reappear at the Gellatly family house and barn in the evenings where they were safe and secure.
Chuck Jean, West Kelowna