A Drive for the Birds Herding turkeys across the Sierras helped build Henry Hooker's Arizona ranch.

photo henry c hooker hat bowtie
Rancher Henry C. Hooker.

Henry Hooker is best known as a major cattleman in Southeast Arizona during the Earp-Cow-boy times.  But before that, he tried a different venture.

In 1865, while living in northern California, Hooker needed money to rebuild a hardware business. So he purchased a flock of 500 turkeys and drove them—yes, like cattle—from Hangtown (now Placerville) to Carson City, NV. The enterprise made it and he sold the birds for $5 each.  But instead of rebuilding his store, Hooker used the proceeds to start his Arizona cattle operation.

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Mark Boardman

Mark Boardman is the features editor for True West Magazine as well as the editor of The Tombstone Epitaph. He also serves as pastor for Poplar Grove United Methodist Church in Indiana.