Throwback Thursday – Cattle Drives

No, these cowpokes aren’t headed to the Surf Lodge. They’re hot to trot to Deep Hollow Ranch instead  ̶  after meeting up with some ­livestock about to arrive on the Long Island Rail Road.

Cattle drives were an enduring part of Montauk’s history starting in the 17th century. Its grazing pastures were used to bulk up cattle, sheep, and horses owned by East Hampton’s early proprietors, and the first, second, and third houses in town were built for livestock keepers and their families. First House burned down in 1909 (train sparks from the railroad were blamed), but Second House and Third House (or versions thereof) today stand as museums.  Second House is run by the Montauk Historical Society, while Third House, now a part of Montauk County Park, is operated by the Suffolk County Parks system.

Montauk’s cattle drives drew to a close more than 300 years later in 1925, but Frank Dickinson revived them in 1936 and they were re-revived after World War II. Toward the end they involved transporting about 160 head of cattle some 2,500 miles, from Texas to Montauk, then on to what must have been the exhilarating sport of herding them about four miles from the Montauk train station to the ranch.

Many noteworthy Montauk residents took part in these dramatic expeditions. Among them was Craig Tuthill, whose family donated the photo collection that includes this snapshot from the 1950s. Mr. Tuthill was a dedicated volunteer with the Montauk Fire Department and other organizations, and his ancestors included Capt. Edwin Baker Tuthill, who developed a fishing operation on Fort Pond Bay sold in 1931 to Perry B. Duryea Sr.

Pictured in this photo, in addition to Craig Tuthill, are Phin Dickinson, Judy Smith King, Dick White, John Lycke, Al Holden, Arthur Wiggins, Nancy Dickinson, Jimmy Hewitt, Frank Tillinghast, Robbie Wilson, Judy Schellinger, Frank Dickinson, Barbara Dickinson, Bettie Duryea, Stanley Mort, Barbara Borth, and Bill Nichols.

Can you spot them?

By Virginia Garrison


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