RECORDED FAMILY HISTORY IN GILA COUNTY, ARIZONA

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.

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

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.