Okanogan Smith: Father of the Commercial Apple Industry

Hiram F. "Okanogan" Smith

Hiram F. "Okanogan" Smith, the father of the commercial apple industry in Washington State, made his home here in Oroville. A true innovator, he originally worked in the newspaper world, type-setting and later working with the likes of Horace Greeley. Intrigued by the possibilities of the 1849 gold rush, he followed the "Go west, young man, go west" manifest destiny slogan and tried his hand at mining in California, later traveling to the Oregon Territory and into Canada. On the banks of Lake Osoyoos he ran a trading post, freighted mail, started the first apple orchard, and raised other soft fruit and vegetables as well. An entrepreneur, he had a hand in many early businesses, continued to be involved in mining, early electrical power ventures and other commercial interests. He became a territorial and later a state legislator.