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HOOK NINE RANCH

Located in the Arbuckle Mountains region, the Hook Nine Ranch incorporated a distinctive brand that consisted of a nine with the hook pointing up and circling behind the hipbone of the cow. In 1890 F. D. Hendrix and C. E. Royer, both of whom were apparently white intruders, founded the ranch in the Chickasaw Nation. They used a preexisting cabin on Honey Creek, probably Mazeppa Turner's, as ranch headquarters. Turner was the namesake for Turner Falls, which was two miles downstream.

Ranch camp Hook Nine near Turner Falls

Hendrix and Royer used miles of blackjack or post-oak posts strung with barbed wire to fence their entire range. They did little else to improve the land, using the most primitive of structures to house their eight hired hands. The uncertain status of white cattle owners using Chickasaw Nation land prohibited them from investing in valuable improvements or even farming. Royer and Hendrix bought cottonseed from the cotton gins in nearby towns, including Berwyn, Davis, Woodford, Springer, Hoxbar, Hennepin, and Cornish. They fed the cottonseed to the cattle from mid-November until the grass matured in the spring. The Hook Nine usually began shipping the animals by rail to the Kansas City market in early August. The animals gained weight more rapidly because of the cottonseed, giving Hendrix and Royer an advantage over other area ranchers. The Hook Nine handled approximately two thousand head of cattle every year.

No evidence exists that the Chickasaw government approved, or was even aware, of Royer and Hendrix's operations in the region. In an article about the Hook Nine historian Ellsworth Collings claimed that the ranch's account books never recorded any payments for lease, tribute, or tax for the land or cattle. However, by law, noncitizens had to purchase a permit to live in the Chickasaw Nation, and the nation required a tax on cattle owned by intruders. By 1898 it became clear that the Chickasaw land would be subjected to allotment. Royer and Hendrix decided to divide their eight years of profits and separate. They split $200,000, and two years later Royer sold Hugh Moore the improvements and what was left of the ranch.

SEE ALSO: CATTLE INDUSTRY, INTRUDERS, RANCHING–AMERICAN INDIAN.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Ellsworth Collings, "The Hook Nine Ranch in the Indian Territory," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 33 (Winter 1955-56). Opal Hartsell Brown, "Area Ranches," in Murray County Oklahoma: The Heart of Eden, Vol. 2 (N.p.: Arbuckle Historical Societies of Sulphur and Davis, 1988).

Larry O'Dell

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