Successful businessman, rancher and Hereford breeder.
1864-1928 | Artist: Robert Wadsworth Grafton (1876-1936)
Impact & Accomplishments
Wisconsin-born A. B. Cook found Montana to be a land of opportunity when he moved there in 1883.
He gained a railroad and civil engineering background working on transportation expansion projects, and he used that experience to land major railroad contracts. His concrete company was also involved in major infrastructure projects as the West grew. Cook started a real estate business in Missoula and established holdings in mining, lumber, banking, and more.
He served as Montana state auditor for one term as well, but A. B. Cook was best known for his extensive Hereford cattle ranches, starting with Flying U Ranch in 1907. He produced grand champions at the International, the American Royal, and the National Western between 1914 and 1927.
Cook was president of the American Hereford Cattle Breeders Association and on the board of the International. After losing a major lawsuit in 1928, A. B. Cook was forced to sell his herd; he died one month later.
Did You Know?
The A.B. Cook Mansion (also known as the "A.B. Cook House" and the "Canyon Ferry Mansion") north of Townsend, Montana. Photo taken by Tim Evanson (https://www.flickr.com/photos/timevanson/albums/72157660768511014/with/23845682440/)
The Flying U Ranch in Montana was made famous by Bertha Muzzy Sinclair best known by her pseudonym B. M. Bower. Bower was an American author who wrote novels, fictional short stories, and screenplays about the American Old West. Her works, featuring cowboys and cows of the Flying U Ranch in Montana, reflected "an interest in ranch life, the use of working cowboys as main characters (even in romantic plots), the occasional appearance of eastern types for the sake of contrast, a sense of western geography as simultaneously harsh and grand, and a good deal of factual attention to such matters as cattle branding and bronc busting.