In 1887 the first plow was brought to Ft. St. John. It was brought up the Peace River before there were powered riverboats. The boats had to be pulled and poled up river from Peace River Crossing — ten men to a boat or scow. This was called “tracking”. The men wore harnesses and this job fell mostly to the Indians.
When they brought the 10’ plow in, the Indians asked Mr. Beaton (the HBCo factor) what it was. He told them to put on their harnesses and he would show them. Thirty men pulled the plow and broke the first sod. They broke a garden for the Bay post and planted potatoes, turnips, and any other seed they had.
When Mr. Beaton was the Factor the fort was at the mouth of the Beaton River. Later it was moved to directly south of the present town, and it was across from this site that Mr. R.J. Ogilvie came in 1913. He brought 3 or 4 horses with him over the Edson Trail. He made himself a plow and broke land in the spring of 1914, planting a garden and grain. The grain would be barley and oats.
In 1920 Thor Thoreson brought in the first Sawyer-Massey steam tractor and Yellow Kid threshing machine. He was a wealthy man and did many things for the district. He brought in good cattle, gave the cows out to the farmers to pay as they could (some never did) with the one understanding that they were to milk the cows and make butter. He built a creamery at Grand Haven, but the whole scheme fell through when the government would not grant a permit because he did not have running water on his creamery. The building still stands. In 1921 Herbie Taylor brought in a hand threshing machine to Taylor and in 1920 Fred Hart brought in the first sheep — about a dozen. The Hudson Bay Co. had a herd of horses from 1905 on to sell to the Indians.
In 1918 Vern MacLean brought in the first cattle in a large scale. He started a ranch –horses and cattle. But he lost most of them the first winter for lack of feed.
The first Agriculture fair was held in 1923, southeast of the town of Ft. St. John. It was held for 2 or 3 years there and then moved. Also at that time a stampede was held and continued each year for some time. The settlers came from all around and brought their milk cows with them so they would not have to go home each evening.
In 1954 a seed fair was held for the first time in Ft. St. John. Seed grown in the Peace River Block is shown at this fair which is a yearly event.