"Time To Say Goodbye" is the name of a beautiful song, and that is a phrase we all have used at various times in our lives. Saying "goodbye" is usually a bittersweet time.
Now comes the time for me to use that same phrase in regard to these essays, published each week in both the Roundup and The Review. Today and tomorrow will be my last.
I began this column for Carroll Cox in The Backbone newspaper in January of 1995. More than 118 articles appeared in those pages until March 1999 when The Backbone ceased publication.
The editor of the Roundup, Katy Whitehouse, contacted me about writing for The Rim Review, and immediately, in April 1999, these articles began to appear there.
Later, editor Jerry Thebado asked me to expand to two articles a week, one in The Review and one in the Tuesday edition of the Roundup.
In these past five years I have written a total of 328 articles for this newspaper as well as a number of special assignments. Each has sought to document some facet of Rim country history. My overall goal in this endeavor has been to establish a documented base for our local history.
Previous accounts of given incidents often have proved to be in error. Family traditions can become altered over the years. The oft-told stories can be based more on perception than on fact, and more than once I was caught repeating misinformation when taken in good faith from oral histories or family descendants. I sincerely tried to make corrections when subsequent research showed different facts, and while not all changes got into print I have kept detailed notes of those corrections in my files.
The sources for my research have included public records such as the county's Great Register, the U.S. Census, obituaries, school and cemetery records, as well as many oral histories and my own field work.
Also I have relied on the work of other local historians such as Fred Croxen, Ralph Fisher, Jayne Peace, Carroll Cox, and the writers of the "Rim Country History" published by the Northern Gila County Historical Society.
In addition, there are the invaluable records held by the local genealogical society, the archives of local newspapers, and my own extensive collection of local history gleaned from museums and libraries across the entire state.
In seeking to assemble the history of this wonderful central Arizona territory, I have spent the past 12 years intensively gathering documents, photos, oral histories and the like, which are now deposited in the archives of the Marguerite Noble Research Library at the Rim Country Museum.
My recent heart attack brought changes that required me to resign from several community responsibilities, such as being the Town Historian. It has been an exciting task to have several calls each week for historical information referred to me. Each inquiry gave me opportunity to guide the caller to the answer or sent me on a treasure hunt to discover the answer. Many of those "treasure hunts" resulted in the articles published in this newspaper.
The other task I reluctantly give up is that of historian and archivist for the Northern Gila County Historical Society and its Rim Country Museum.
Here is my plea to you, dear readers: would any of you be willing to be the archivist and librarian for the Rim Country Museum? We have a profound need for someone to volunteer for that task who has an interest in preserving the history of this fascinating area. I will personally train and guide that person, in the collection, filing, and preserving of records, photos, documents and what have you that I have gathered together over the past 12 years.
Here is a second request. I am disposing of my extensive library of books covering the Rim country, its history, the Apache War, Native Americans, and many other subjects relating to Arizona. Anyone who is interested in looking these over for possible purchases is invited to phone me for an appointment, at (928) 474-8535.
I cannot say enough to thank the countless people who have given me such joy in this project over the years. In addition to my wife and help-mate both for her expert editing and advice and her infinite patience, there is the staff of the Roundup. They have always been helpful and encouraging.
There are many members of the community who have made the endless inquiries resulting in continuing research, and those who have generously contributed the documents and information to enrich our collection at the museum. My heart-felt appreciation to all.
Tomorrow's (Oct. 29) Rim Review will carry my final historical essay, the last chapter in Stories From the East Verde River.