In 1891 Jack Cunningham, from Scotland, pre-empted land on the southwest side of Loch Lomond near 70 Mile House, BC. He married Margaret Clark in 1896. Jack and Margaret had four children, ran a successful roadhouse, and developed a large cattle herd. Reita, Jack and Margaret’s oldest daughter, was born at the 74 in 1901. At the age of 10, with the loss of her older brother and father, she and her surviving brother Norman took over ranch chores. Reita is best known for horse racing and horsemanship. Norman married Mary (Molly) Wilkinson in 1930 and they continued to live at the 74. They had four sons, Kenneth, William (Bill), Gordon and Earl. Norman died in 1975, passing the ranch on to son, Bill. Margaret, Jack and Margaret’s youngest child, was born in 1905. Margaret was an accomplished horsewomen and spent much of her time riding. Margaret married Len Sadler-Brown, in 1929. They had two daughters, Rita and Pat.
Norman and Molly’s children Bill, Gordon, and Earl were all involved in the ranch when they were growing up, but it was Bill that carried on with the ranching way of life at the 74 Mile Ranch. At the age of 20, Bill worked breaking horses at the Flying U Guest Ranch where he met Olga Rust. They were married two years later, in 1954, and had six children; Bryan, David, Lee, Keith, Ross, and Heather. When Norman passed away in 1975 Bill took over ranch.
Bill and his sons and grandsons continue to raise cattle at the 74 Mile Ranch, and some of his children have their own cattle. His sons and grandsons have all competed in rodeo over the years. His grandson Wade was the 2010 BC Rodeo Association Saddle Bronc champion.
The Cunninghams are a resourceful, united, family, who manage to keep ranching through all the ups and downs with the cattle industry. The family has “cattle in their blood” and they have the stamina and courage of their Scottish forefathers who pre-empted the 74 Mile Ranch property back in 1891.