top of page


The Oral Histories of Gila County Families and Ranchers captures 5-7 generations of stories from pioneers and early settlers in Arizona, some arriving shortly after the Civil War. Not only did these families come early, but they also remain in place, or nearby, to this very day. Their stories provide a unique and fluid account of how this segment of Arizona's culture has adapted to pressures and influences brought about by environmental and political events. Some of the natural challenges in carving out ranches in the remote wilderness under the Mogollon Rim, in the Tonto Basin or between the Salt and Gila Rivers might have been the presence of hostile Indians off the reservations, wild animals, droughts, floods and accidents. Other pressures spanned from settling in the midst of reservation-forming Indian wars, mining town booms and busts, lawless range wars, cattle rustlers, fugitive outlaws, and family feuds to national and international disruptions such as the Great Depression, two world wars, the Roosevelt Dam engulfing their land and ever-increasing Forest Service and/or Bureau of Indian Affairs restrictions from distant Washington D.C. These accounts tell how such conditions carved out the unique rancher of Gila County, who is still recognized by his/her characteristic independence, love of ranching, round-ups, rodeos and all things horses. They define their social traditions and family values that linger to this day.


Armer and Griffin Family History

Edgar Armer tells the story of his ancestor, Charles Clifford Griffin, a proper Easterner who was deaf, coming alone as a young man by train and stage coach to Globe, Arizona.


Bacon Family History

Pete Bacon, Ed's great grandfather, moved his family to the Roosevelt Lake Basin in the 1880s from parts unknown in search of the opportunity to grow cattle and for the mines.

1-oralhistory_Banicevich Family Oral His

 Banicevich Family History

Frank tells how he and his parents came to America from Yugoslavia (now Croatia) and operated a restaurant in Globe called the El Monte. Frank grew up in Globe, graduated from Globe High in the Great Depression, worked in the local mines until Pearl Harbor, and enlisted in World War II. Afterward he faithfully served as aide to Senator Carl Hayden through his life.

2-oralhistory_Barela Family Oral History

 Barela Family History

Gil Barela and his sister Margaret Lopez tell of their family's history and migration to Globe in 1920. Their father became a delivery man for Solomon Wickershaw during the Great Depression. Gil and Margaret tell of growing up in the ethnic melting pot of Globe. They were the second generation to go to school in Globe, where Gil excelled in both academics and sports. As an electrical lineman, Gil brought electricity to the area. He has an exciting story to tell of being electrocuted and miraculously surviving.


Blumer Family History

Eddie Dale tells of his Swiss and German ancestors emigrating to America, meeting and marrying in New Jersey. His grandfather worked for railroads, then eventually moved west. Rudy Blumer, Eddie Dale's father, was born in Globe, AZ and likewise Eddie Dale.


Bixby Family History

Keep your clients up to date with what's happening. To make this content your own, just add your images, text and links, or connect to data from your collection.


Bohme Family History

Eula Belle tells of her husband's grandmother Laura Neal and son Lewis William Bohme, emigrating from Texas after divorcing her husband. She settled in Gila County near other Neals and raised goats on a mining claim in Webster Gulch, in the mountains hidden behind the copper mines of Miami.


Bryne Family History

Bill and Dot remember their families' histories of migrating to Arizona before the days of Statehood. Dot's family eventually came to Claypool and retailed lumber. Bill's family came from Texas during the Great Depression and ranched.


Chapman Family History

Eddie Dale tells of his Swiss and German ancestors emigrating to America, meeting and marrying in New Jersey. His grandfather worked for railroads, then eventually moved west. Rudy Blumer, Eddie Dale's father, was born in Globe, AZ and likewise Eddie Dale.

4-oralhistory_Cline Family History.jpg

 Cline Family History

Bessie tells of her family moving to Arizona and to Pleasant Valley in the 1920s. Her father was a homesteader, a farmer, who grew all sorts of fruit and vegetables and made sorghum to sell. She tells of growing up in the little community of Young, AZ, where she met and married her neighbor, Nelson Turner, the son of the local Justice of the Peace. Bessie made of career of working in Cotton in administration and her husband was a test driver, testing tires for many years before retiring and returning to Young. Bessie substituted at the school whenever needed. Nelson was active in building the community center, the library and the medical center.


Cline Family History

The first to immigrant to Arizona was Christian Cline, an English former bondservant from Pennsylvania. The family first immigrated to California during the gold rush. They panned enough gold to purchase a small herd of cattle in San Diego, and moved them to the future Roosevelt Dam basin on the Salt River sometime before or during the Civil War.


Cooper Family History

Dwight's great grandfather first settled in the Roosevelt area, the original ranch, the Hay Hook Ranch, was just 3 miles from where the dam was built in 1911. He tells of early ranching practices and of how ranchers related to each other.

5-oralhistory_Cox Family Oral

 Cox Family History

Hazel Cox remembers her family's immigration from Cornwall, England to work in the copper mines in Globe. She talks of the early days, the customs of the immigrant mining town, early families and how they survived the Great Depression. She also gives history of Gila County's ranchers and ranching culture.


Ellison Family History

Following the Civil War, Colonel Jess Ellison moved to Texas. Feeling crowded there, he then drove a huge herd of cattle to the open spaces of the Tonto Basin and Rim Country of Arizona in the mid 1880s


John Griffin Family

John Griffin was Gila County Rancher of the Year in 2006. His family's earliest ancestors, the Romeros, came to America in the 1700s, settling on a Spanish Land Grant. They brought some of the first sheep into Arizona Territory.


Haught Family History

Austin tells of his uncle Fred, his father, Samuel Ache Haught, and grandfather coming from Texas to Tonto Basin in the mid-1880s, bringing two large herds of cattle with them. They settled in Rye originally, then later moved to Walnut Creek in Pleasant Valley.


Hicks Family History

B.C. Hicks and his wife came to Texas from Tennessee and settled for awhile before moving on to Arizona Territory in an emigrant train. They first stayed in Casa Grande. Then they moved to Gila County crossing over Pioneer Pass.


Holder Family History

Kendrick's grandparents John and Sarah Holder and brother brought Angora goats to Arizona from New Mexico. He started several post offices in New Mexico and Arizona and consequently named several towns. They lived in the Prescott and Payson areas.


Mitch Holder, Family

Mitch Holder, is the adopted son of Kendrick Holder and the son of Frank and Laura Mae Clark Haught. Frank Haught died of horse accident when Mitch was a baby and when he was 4 years old Kendrick and Laura Mae married.


Jones Family History

Beno's grandmother was Louzora Neal, whose family of women came from Texas and settled in Globe, Pleasant Valley and the Tonto Basin. She had several husbands, and Bud Jones was one of them. Bud Jones also a Texan, came driving a large herd of cattle with the Ellisons and Hazelwood.


Lewis Family History

Ray Lewis tells of his grandfather, James Lewis, coming to America from Wales, working in mines and finally arriving in the Arizona Territory in the 1870's or '80's. While working in the Stonewall Jackson Mine in McMinnville, north of Globe, he and a partner started a horse ranch on the Horseshoe Bend of Salt River.

6-Culver-Sullivan Family.jpg

 Culver-Sullivan Family History

In this oral history, Kip Culver speaks about the Culver-Sullivan family and gives a detailed account of their history in Arizona. He also talks about the history behind some of Globe's historic buildings and of our past colorful and influential residents that formed Globe-Miami's unique mining culture. This interview was conducted by Joyce McBride.


Mounce Family History

The Mounce family came to Globe in 1876 with an enormous herd of cattle. The original ranch ran cattle from the Salt River to the Gila River. Another Mounce family ranch was located in Geronimo, AZ. The family's ranching lifestyle continues today, now skirting the San Carlos Indian Reservation east of Globe on Hwy 60.


Peace Family History

Seven generations ago, Jayne's great-great grandparents Cornelius and Parmelia Jackson and her great grandparents, Texas Ranger Will and Ellen Jackson Neal, and her father Neely Jackson and family left Texas in the late 1880s looking for good cattle country and a fresh start in a hurry.


Pyle Family History

David Harer drove a herd of hogs into Greenback Valley in 1874 and set up a hog ranch, thus earning the credit of being the first white man to build a house in the Tonto Basin. He and his son-in-law, Florence Packard raised hogs for market in Globe, but they also subsistence farmed. The family was not molested by the Indians because David Harer was considered supernatural.


Reece Family History

Duane Reece is a cattleman, and also a gifted cowboy poet. He begins with a poem skillfully describing his life as a young cowhand. Duane grew up in the Great Depression on ranches along the Gila River that bordered the San Carlos Indian Reservation in Southern Gila County.


Seeley Family History

John's father came to the Rim Country in 1914, working as a cowhand for the OW Ranch. He went to France during WWI. He was a partner on the 3E Ranch when he met Emma Joy Mingus. They married in 1925 and bought the land adjoining John's present home and the sheep trail.


Stewart and Tucker Family History

Velma Stewart Tucker tells the history of the Stewart family. Her father, Bill Stewart, was born in Payson the son of Sam and Margaret Stewart, before statehood. Her mother was born in Pima, a Cluff, an old Mormon family who came to Arizona in the 1880s. Velma's parents met in Rye, in the Tonto Basin, where her sister Velma Cluff lived. They married and settled in Globe.


Sheppard Family History

Lynn tells of his family's fleeing Texas with a posse chasing them, and coming to Pleasant Valley. They then moved to Roosevelt to work on the construction of the dam. Lynn grew up, his father punching cows and breaking horses for Zee Hayes and other ranches. He remembers his nurse horse that babysat him while his parents were riding, and his first day at school.


Tucker Family History

Leroy tells his mother's grandparents, David and Josephine Bean Harer, the first white family to settle in Greenback Valley and the Tonto Basin in the mid 1870s. His mother was a Conroy. His father, Gabriel Kendrick Tucker, came to Globe with his parents circa 1900s. He first worked as miner, then as a cowhand at various ranches.


Wheeler Family History

Terry Wheeler talks about the history of his great grandparents, Irish emigrants, who came to Arizona working on the railroad in the late 1800s. Terry's mother told him stories about Pancho Villa and of seeing Geronimo, captured and waiting for transport on the railroad.


Mann Family History

Tom first tells of his mother's Zacharie family coming from Denmark to America, working their way west to Gila County, Arizona in the cattle business. Tom's grandfather, young Fred Zacharie, came from New Mexico to the Pleasant Valley area in pursuit of stolen horses. He abandoned the search and got a job working on a ranch.

3-oralhistory_Bates, Josephine.jpg

 Josephine Bates Family History

Josephine Bates remembers her first career as an educator in Globe and Miami and her second administrative career working for the Arizona Education Association as the teachers' ombudsman handling various teachers grievances in four counties, teaching school law, school finance and school budgets.

7-oralhistory_DalMolin Family Oral Histo

 DalMolin Family History

Frank DalMolin tells of his family's immigration from Italy to America and then to Globe to work in the Old Dominion copper mine. He and Betty tell stories of early ethnic cultures merging and mingling within the immigrant mining town and how they adapted during the Great Depression. He talks of his father working in the mines and then for the Arizona Eastern Railroad and then he himself working for the mines, the railroad and eventually running an excavation company to subsidize his ranching passion.

8-oralhistory_Dempster Family

 Dempster Family History

Tom was born in Coolidge, AZ during the Great Depression, but he spent his childhood living on the San Carlos Indian Reservation where his father was responsible for the operations of Coolidge Dam. After graduating from NAU, he went back and devoted his career as a teacher in the San Carlos Reservation and at the Boarding School at Whiteriver, AZ. Tom tells what he learned immersed in the Apache and Navajo culture.

9-oralhistory_DeRose Family Oral History

 DeRose Family History

Eunice Bradley DeRose talks of her family's and the DeRose family's migrations to Globe and early memories of growing up in a copper mining town through the Great Depression. She tells of marrying her childhood friend Barry DeRose and the events of their life together. Barry DeRose was Gila County Attorney 1949-55 and presiding judge of Gila County Superior Court 1975-1987 and Eunice worked with him.

10-oralhistory_Duber Family Oral History

 Duber Family History

Robert Duber, Sr. tells his family history and recalls his youth in the boomtown mining culture of Globe-Miami area of Gila County in the 1930s - 1940s. He talks about soldiers guarding the mines and Roosevelt Dam and government workers keeping the mines producing during World War II. He worked in various careers in Miami as movie projectionist, stage driver and the sheriff's office and then later at the AZ Highway Dept. He also drove trucks for his father's manganese mine while working for Carlota.

11-oralhistory_Gibson Family Oral Histor

 Gibson Family History

Stanley and Janet tell stories of Gila County when their parents came to Globe, of taking over his father's business and some of his achievements in his political career as Mayor and City Councilman of Globe. He describes the history of Globe's political infrastructure, changing businesses and how the mines and growth in the Maricopa Valley affect the City's economy and landscape. They also talk proudly about their son Mark and his wife and grandchildren in India.

12-oralhistory_Lewis and Hughes Family H

 Lewis & Hughes Family History

Woody tells of his family, miners who first came to McMillanville and Copper Hills, mining towns near Globe that no longer exist. The subsequent generation were ranchers around Globe. Woody grew up in Globe, except when his father took them to Jerome. Camille tells of her family, the Hughes family, who immigrated to early Globe when the Old Dominion mine was running. Camille and Woody met in college in Flagstaff, but their lives went separate ways. Woody made his career in the military and Camille was a school teacher. They were finally reconnected and married in their late 80s.

13-oralhistory_Lewis Family Mining Histo

 Lewis Family History

Ray Lewis tells of his grandfather, James Lewis, coming to America from Wales, arriving in Arizona between the 1870's and '80's to work in the mining operations of the Stonewall Jackson Mine in McMinnville, north of Globe, AZ Territory. Since then, the Lewis family has ranched and mined in Gila County for four generations. Ray describes the mining culture, relating stories from his career and of local miners he and/or his father worked alongside through the past many decades.

14-oralhistory_Loew Family and the First

 Loew Family History

Edmund Loew first tells the 100+ years of history of the First Presbyterian Church in Globe, how it started, how it is unique from other congregations because of its flexibility and subsequently, how it has uniquely contributed to the community. He relates how the church struggled and survived the various political and economic upheavals of American history, such as WWI, the mine and bank closures during the Great Depression and WWII. Mr. Loew follows his grandfather in the ministry, so he has deep roots in the Presbyterian faith. He was the pastor of First Presbyterian Church for 38 years from the mid-60s to 2000.

15-oralhistory_Lopez Family History.jpg

 Lopez Family History

Arthur (Johnny) Lopez tells of his grandfather immigrating from Mexico, of meeting his grandmother, who was a young Apache Indian girl rescued by the Padre at San Xavier Mission and planning to be a nun. They married and moved to Globe, where the Manuel Lopez worked as a woodsman in the Pinal Mountains, then later a shoemaker. Johnny relates stories of his parents, Chato and Maria, how they met, and he remembers growing up in a little house on Euclid Avenue among his extended family. This is a story rich with Mexican American culture in the early Globe mining community. He tells of cousins did their part in honoring the family name in the various wars.

16-oralhistory_Marin, Christine.jpg

 Christine Marin Family History

In this oral history, Christine Marin shares the history of her family, including her family’s immigration to Arizona from Mexico, the challenges they faced, the racial discrimination existing in Globe, Arizona where they resided, and how it was to grow up in such a setting. This interview was conducted by Joyce McBride.

17-oralhistory_Maslovar Family History.j

 Maslovar Family History

George Maslovar tells his family history, and growing up in the early mining days of Miami, AZ. He joined the Army and then the Air Force, and then worked for the US Govt. in many other places around the world before returning to the Globe-Miami area.

18-oralhistory_Maurel Family History.jpg

 Maurel Family History

Milo tells of his French grandparents meeting and marrying in New York, of coming to Globe, AZ in the late 1800s, narrowly escaping an Apache encounter en route. They homesteaded in Globe, and worked as a stone mason building many buildings in Globe. He built a hotel and swimming pool on his property, and also supplied Globe with fruit and vegetables from their garden. Milo's father worked in the mines, on the railroad, etc. His mother was a piano teacher. Milo grew up going to the same schools his father attended, went to Aviation Mechanics School in Globe, then joined the Army just weeks before Pearl Harbor. He talks of his military experiences in the South Pacific and his career in commercial aviation afterward.

19-oralhistory_McGowen Family

 McGowen Family History

In this oral history, Ben McGowan and Carol Lee tell the history of the McGowen family, with each speaker accounting their interpretation of the family’s stories. This interview was conducted by Joyce McBride.

20-oralhistory_McKusick Family Oral Hist

 McKusick Family History

Robert McKusick tells of his family migrating to the Globe-Miami area during the Great Depression. His grandfather was the Presbyterian minister in Miami. His father and brother were local and renowned home builders. Bob tells of his childhood growing up in Globe-Miami, then his training in Ceramic Engineering at the UofA where he met and married Charmion, an ethnozoologist. They moved back to Globe where Robert had a clay mine and produced tiles accurately depicting desert birds and animals for 48 years. Some of their work is now in the Bullion Plaza Museum and cultural Center in Miami, AZ. In the late 1960s the Forest Service and the SRP sprayed the Pinal Mountains with Agent Orange testing for defoliation in the Vietnam War causing great amounts of contamination, cancer and birth defects. McKusick's family and neighbors sued the US Government and eventually stopped the spraying both in Gila County and in South Vietnam. McKusick continued his efforts until the Government replaced polluted wells with public water. As a result, McKusick began studying advanced ceramics and started Biomagnetic Research, Inc.

21-oralhistory_Mercer Family Oral Histor

 Mercer Family History

John tells of how his grandfather, a mining engineer, came to homestead in what became Radium in Wheatfields and discovered what would become the Inspiration Mine. He tells of each succeeding generation staking claims and mining as well. Aside from mining, his father maintained the telephone lines between Globe/Miami, Superior and Winkleman and worked in electricity, designing, but not patenting, refrigeration units seen in grocery stores today. They tell stories of the early 20th Century mining community, early sites and the people who lived there. John tells how his livelihood adapted from mining to excavation for residential subdivisions and then finally to the transportation of mine workers.

22-oralhistory_Miller Family Oral Histor

 Miller Family History

Rocky Miller talks about the Old Miner's Hotel and the Webster House. He candidly remembers local businessmen in the 1950's, his old friends, cultural influences, and the Flood of '54. He talks about his mining endeavors and frustrations with the Government and his livelihood adaptation to Antique sales. He also tells of his involvement with the Boy Scouts of America and the local Food Bank.

23-oralhistory_Moore Family Oral History

Moore Family History

Rusty and his caregiver remember him coming to Tucson, Arizona as a young man to live on a ranch owned by his grandfather. After his grandfather died he went into Law Enforcement. Then during the Great Depression he joined the C.C.C. and relocated to the Grand Canyon. Later he had a career with the U.S. Forest Service in the Pleasant Valley area. After he married they moved to the Globe area and went into the construction business.

24-oralhistory_Rayes Family Oral History

Rayes Family History

Nick Rayes tells how his parents migrated from Lebanon and Syria, met in America, moved to Globe and started a grocery business. He relates how he grew up during the Great Depression working in his father's business, and describes his experiences during WWII. After returning to Globe, he tells of the rest of his life in business and of his children.

25-oralhistory_Ridenhour, Cappy Joy.jpg

Cappy Ridenhour Family History

Cappy tells of her grandparents' families, the Haughts and Carrie Martin, coming from Texas to Arizona, meeting, marrying and settling on a ranch on Walnut Creek. Her mother, Virgie, grew up, married and remained on her parents' ranch, as did Cappy. She remembers her childhood on the ranch, her neighbors and the nearby community of Young, AZ. She left home for Nurses' Training during WWII and her subsequent military career nursing Korean War vets. Afterward she married one of her former patients, a Marine, and eventually returned to Globe.

26-oralhistory_Salas Family Oral History

Salas Family History

Cruz tells how his family escaped from Mexico during Pancho Villa's Revolution to Globe in the early 1900's. His grandfather worked in the Old Dominion Mine. Cruz's grandfather made the cross that sits on the hill, and Cruz was named after the cross. He talks of the discrimination his siblings grew up with as Mexican Americans in Globe in the '40s and how the culture has now changed. Cruz and his younger brother excelled in sports and so was able to attend college on scholarships. Both he and his brother Carlos were inducted into the NAU Football Hall of Fame. Cruz's subsequent career has been in education, teaching in public schools, Job Corps and in Bureau of Indian Affairs administration. After he retired, he served 12 years on the Board of Supervisors.

27-oralhistory_Schminke, William and Cat

Schminke Family History

William and Catherine tell their family stories of coming to Arizona and settling in Globe. William tells of his experiences in World War II prior to coming. Catherine talks of growing up during the Great Depression without her father on a cotton farm. They tell of how they came to Globe, lived their separate lives, marrying after their spouses had died. William owned and operated Cobre Valley Motors and Catherine worked in the administration at the Globe School District.

28-oralhistory_Sparks Family History.jpg

Sparks Family History

In this oral history, Earl Sparks speaks about his time serving in the military during both WWII and the Korean War. He goes on to speak about his brother, a fellow military officer, and his own time working as a surveyor and engineer in the mining industry. This interview was conducted by Joyce McBride.

29-oralhistory_Sparks Family History.jpg

Sparks Family History

Ola Beth Sparks Beedle tells of her family immigrating from Texas and settling in Young, AZ in 1913. Beth was born in Young and was named after the Young sisters, the first postmistresses. She remembers growing up with her four youngest brothers in the isolated Pleasant Valley through the Great Depression. She tells of other people who lived in the area, the ways they related, how they cooperated with each other and coped to survive as a community. Her father recruited a preacher and was instrumental in organizing the Baptist church. Beth goes on to tell of leaving home, marrying and then later returning to live on her parents' homestead. Her husband, Mr. Beedle, was actively involved in the community, working to get a medical clinic for visiting physicians.

30-oralhistory_Stiles Family History.jpg

Stiles Family History

Jean Woody Stiles talks about her family history in Globe-Miami area of Gila County. Her mother, Clara T. Woody, was inducted in Arizona Women's Hall of Fame for her extensive interviewing of pioneer families in Gila County. Her large collection of research notes, historic data, newspaper and court records has subsequently served as a valuable resource for historians and contributed authenticity to several books. Jean also talks about growing up, making a life and raising her family in a changing mining town culture.

31-oralhistory_Thompson and Zache Family

Thompson & Zache Family History

Elizabeth Zache tells of her family coming to Miami, AZ and describes growing up in a mining community and culture. Her father was a locomotive brakeman, fireman and then engineer working for the mines. She met her husband when he was in the Service during WWI, married and had a son, then waited for him, living in the same Van Winkle Canyon neighborhood while he was in WWII. She describes the impact of the Great Depression and the rationing of WWII on the community and how they coped. She worked for Woolworths, J.C. Penneys, and the WMCA before doing office work for the Mines until he returned from the WWII.

bottom of page