Siskiyou County Once Had an Annual Hog Drive

Nov 1, 2013

Motorists still might encounter cattle being driven along the roads of Siskiyou County, Calif., but they’re unlikely to spot a drove of pigs. There was a time, between the late 1800s and 1916, when the Bennett Company of Forks of Salmon had an annual hog drive, usually in November.  The practice ended when roads were established into the Salmon River back country.

The Bennett Company bought the hogs from valley ranches, and when 100 hogs had been gathered at the company corral in Etna, the drive over the mountain got underway.The drive, sometimes in stormy weather, usually took seven days to cover 42 miles.  About a half dozen men accompanied the animals, camping with them at night, while a pack train delivered feed. Cold weather was easiest on the animals and protected them from developing sore feet.  A wagon carried those too crippled to walk.There were hog fights, but pigs from different ranches bedded down together.The herdsmen, fortified by company-provided whiskey, killed the hogs the day after the drive ended. Completion of the job was cause for celebration and the company provided free food and more whiskey.

Source: Bigelow, Tom. "The Salmon River Hog Drive." Siskiyou Pioneer 4.1 (1968): 37-38.