What a turkey!

Posted November 6, 2019 at 5:47 am by

Time for the Novem­ber his­to­ry col­umn from the San Juan His­tor­i­cal Soci­ety and Museum…

This month’s sto­ry was inspired by the small­est of items in the Novem­ber 26, 1909 issue of the San Juan Islander news­pa­per. It was just 33 words.

“The largest turkey raised on the islands this sea­son was on exhi­bi­tion on Wednes­day evening at G.A. Tulloch’s store. The turkey weighed 31 pounds dressed, and was raised on the Breedlove ranch.”

For 1909 stan­dards, that was a real­ly huge turkey. We sure wish we had a pho­to­graph of this par­tic­u­lar turkey, but in search­ing for it we did find some inter­est­ing pho­tos of island turkeys in the dig­i­tal images col­lec­tion of the San Juan His­tor­i­cal Soci­ety and Museum.

Here, in this undat­ed pho­to, we present some Val­ley View Farm turkeys – too many to count – sur­round­ing Roy Guard. Roy was born in Kansas in 1886, just a few years before he and his extend­ed fam­i­ly relo­cat­ed to San Juan Island.

Last month the large, mul­ti-gen­er­a­tional Guard fam­i­ly gath­ered at Brick­works to cel­e­brate 130 years of being on the island. But going back to that big turkey of 1909, the small news arti­cle pro­vid­ed some names to research and so we did.

G.A. Tulloch’s store which dis­played the gob­bler was locat­ed in a cou­ple of dif­fer­ent loca­tions on Spring Street over the years. Orig­i­nal­ly a gen­er­al store, it evolved into fea­tur­ing pri­mar­i­ly gro­ceries while own­er Glen’s broth­er Ross had the oth­er Tul­loch store, bet­ter known for its hard­ware and house­wares selection.

The prize turkey was raised on the Breedlove ranch, owned by Albert Breedlove. Archived issues of local news­pa­pers pro­vide a few inter­est­ing glimpses into his life on the island. Those famil­iar with rab­bit his­to­ry on the island may remem­ber that it was Albert Breedlove who intro­duced sev­er­al domes­tic rab­bit breeds here in 1903. Lat­er, in 1908, he was elect­ed the first Mas­ter of the new­ly formed Fri­day Har­bor Grange. In 1911, his young son Elmer was arrest­ed by “War­den Guard” for hunt­ing with­out a license. We don’t know what he was hunt­ing, but that game war­den was Roy Guard, pic­tured here with his turkeys.

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Categories: History, People

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