Donald McIntyre was the first person to stake a claim to what became known as the Monashee Mine located in the mountains in the interior of British Columbia. He then coined the word "Monashee" to describe the mountain range in the same area.
The story goes that one day in the 1880's when he was prospecting in the mountains south of present day Cherryville, British Columbia the weather was very unusual, there was lightning, rain, snow and wind. By the evening Donald was cold, wet, extremely tired and somewhat discouraged. Suddenly the wind stopped blowing and the sun appeared casting a pleasant glow on the side of a distant peak. Donald's spirit was immediately lifted and in a poetic mood, used the Gaelic word 'monadh-sith' (pronounced Monashee), meaning mountain of peace to describe his elation.
The name stuck and today represents the Monashee Mountain range. This range stretches for 530 km from north to south and 150 km from east to west. The northern end of the range is at the southern end of the Robson Valley just south of the town of Valemount. The southern extremity of the range is in Washington State, where the Kettle River Range reaches to the confluence of the Kettle River and the Columbia. The eastern limit is the Columbia River and Arrow Lakes, while the western edge is the upper North Thompson River and Interior Plateau.
According to the BC Ministry of Energy and Mines the Monashee deposit is located south of Cherryville, north of McIntyre Lake on the east side of the Monashee Pass.
Development of the Monashee Mine began underground in 1886 as did stockpiling of ore. Silver, Gold, Lead, Zinc, Copper were mined. The Riske, Vernon and McIntyre claims were granted in 1887 by the Crown. The Withrow claim was granted in 1890. A stamp mill was also constructed. The workings comprised of three adits, an upper adit of 1265 metres, driven 91 metres, a middle adit driven 10.7 metres and a lower adit driven 82.3 metres.
In 1900, the Cherry Creek Gold Mining Co. Ltd. acquired the property and the adjoining McPhail property. Drifting and crosscutting were done in the old adits. A 5-stamp mill operated for a short time in 1903. In 1907, the Fire Valley Gold Mining Co. Ltd. acquired the two properties. The old adits were reopened but no work was reported and the company ceased work in 1915. In 1921, the Progressive Mining Co. acquired the McIntyre, Morning Sun and Monashee claims. The adit and open cuts on the McIntyre claim were cleaned out. On the Morning Sun claim a crosscut adit was driven 12 metres. On the Monashee claim the old lower adit was reopened. In the 1920s, New Monashee Mines Ltd. acquired the Withrow, Field, Vernon and Riske claims but no work was reported.
In 1933, Monashee Mines Syndicate Ltd. acquired the Withrow, Vernon, Field and Riske Crown grants and the adjoining McPhail property. The old adits were reopened, a drift adit was extended 230 metres and two new drift adits were completed. A total of 1254 metres of drifting and raising was done by Vidette Gold before work ceased in 1935. In 1939, Monashee Development installed a 50 ton-per-day mill which began operation in October. The mill operated for 55 days before work ceased; all equipment was removed. During 1939-1940, 2193 tonnes of ore were milled producing 11,415 grams of gold, 50,916 grams of silver, 706 kilograms of lead and 190 kilograms of zinc. In 1940, the property was leased to G.M.F. and F.H. Paterson, S. Flodstrom and William McLaren who mined remnants of ore by hand steel methods.
When this work on the claims ceased the properties were left until the 1980’s when Nakusp Resources Ltd conducted sampling and surveys of the claims.
In addition to the McIntyre claim, McIntyre Lake located along Highway 6 is also named for Donald McIntyre.
Donald was born in Scotland in May of 1831, son of Peter and Catherine McIntyre. He came to Canada in 1855, then followed the gold to California in 1859, into the Cariboo in 1860 and then to the Cherry Creek (present day Cherryville) area. In the 1881 Census of Canada, Donald appears making a living as a farmer in the Williams Lake / Canoe Creek area. In 1891 census, he appears in the Priests Valley (later known as Vernon) district. As Cherry Creek was not large enough to be enumerated on its own it was done with Priests Valley. At this time, Donald is working as a Quartz Miner and has A.R. Thompson, John L. Miller and M. Hollingsworth boarding with him.
Donald spent a number of years in the Monashee Mountains prospecting and mining. Rumour has it that he did discover a rich lead but had to leave the area. He was never able to find the lead again. He was convinced that a landslide had altered the area.
Eventually Donald moved closer to the community of Richlands, British Columbia (present day Cherryville), settling along the south fork of Cherry Creek. In the 1901 census he appears as a farmer in the district of Yale East and in 1902 had a house worth $600 and a barn worth $300.
In the 1911 census he appears in the district of Richlands making a living as a farmer.
Donald died of acute pneumonia on February 27, 1917 in the community of Hilton, British Columbia (present day Cherryville) at the age of 85 years, nine months and three days. He was buried in the Pleasant Valley Cemetery in Vernon.