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Isidore Boucherie of Rutland and Westbank

In 1864, Isidore Boucherie (1815-1894) left his village of Jegonzas, near Montpellier, France to take up farming and ranching in what is now West Kelowna as well as the Rutland area of Kelowna. He is remembered as being hard to get along with and having fallen out with the Church – in other words, he was a character.

On Christmas day 1869 at Father Pandosy’s nearby mission, Isidore married Jenitit-k (baptised Marianne, 1845-?), of Penticton, the daughter of Oldary Jevrim-t. They had no children. Isidore was 54 when he married; she was 30 years his junior. Such a difference in age between husband and wife was not out of the ordinary.

Group of older men

“Old-timers” of the Okanagan. Isidore Boucherie is seated second from the right, circa 1890-1894


On his pre-empted land, Boucherie stirred the historical community when he found the decayed ruins of a large log structure, potentially associated with undocumented Spanish explorers prior to the 1820s. The full story of this mysterious site remains to be told.

In 1889, Boucherie, aged 74, was on a nearby ranch when a long-horned bull charged at him. To save him, Gaston Lequime, the son of rancher Éli Lequime, jumped his horse into the path of the bull to divert the charge, but the jar was so violent that it dislocated a vertebra of Gaston’s spine, and he died within a few hours. The elderly Boucherie survived the incident. To this day, ranching remains dangerous work.

Prairie with mountain at back

Mount Boucherie, in West Kelowna

The mountain where Boucherie held part of his ranch now bears his name: Mount Boucherie. A private, though unrelated, winery on the mountain — called Mount Boucherie Estate Winery — unwittingly perpetuates the family name.