He worked for a short time on the trail being built from Yale to Boston Bar, then he started packing mail to the Cariboo. In 1862, he was awarded the government postal contract. He bought a small mule, loaded the mail and express on its back, and led it up the trail to the Cariboo – the beginning of Barnard’s Express.” From here the stage line operated as Barnard’s Express, or “The BX”, and grew to service routes covering nearly the entire interior of British Columbia. By 1864, Barnard’s “wagons and stages covered 110,600 miles, he employed thirty-eight men, and used one hundred sixty horses.” The company continued to grow and in 1871, Barnard has a bill passed in legislature for the company to be called “The BC Express Company”.
This became “the first established land transportation system west of the Rockies, and eventually, with routes covering over a thousand miles, second in size only to the legendary Wells Fargo. The stage coach trip from Yale to Soda Creek, which took from forty-eight to fifty-two hours was made twice a week, and never a trip was missed in all the years that this route was in operation.
The BC Express owned and operated a famous 6,000 acre horse ranch, called “The BX Ranch” at Priest Valley, which later became known as Vernon. “This was the age when the horse was still regarded as king and the “BX” made every effort, regardless of expense, to obtain the finest horses for its Cariboo service…In 1868 about 400 head of breeding stock was purchased in California and Mexico and driven north to the Vernon ranch. This ranch for many years provided the Company with a large part of their best stock.”