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, a former managing editor for Western Shooting Horse Magazine and the chief purveyor of ScarletMask Enterprises.