Brands: An Important Part Of Western History, Part Ii



I've had a request for more information on cattle brands in this area, so I will continue. For those of you who didn't read my column two weeks ago, I wrote about cattle branding and cattle brands in the Rim Country/Tonto Basin area.

This practice of burning an identifying mark on the hide of the animal goes back thousands of years to the ancient Egyptians. Even the Bible suggests that Jacob branded his stock. We believe that Cortez brought the first cattle brand to the western hemisphere. He branded Three Crosses.

Going to a smaller scale, we still wonder who brought the first cattle brand to the Tonto Basin, which runs from the Mogollon Rim to Roosevelt Lake. Because most early ranchers did not register their brands in 1881, when Gila County was created, we have to depend on family histories.

At this point, we believe that the first cattle brands belonged to Florence Packard of Greenback (1874), the Clines of lower Tonto Basin (1876), Henry Hardt on Hardt Creek (1881), W.C. Watkins on Slate Creek (1882), the Houston brothers in Star Valley (1876), the early Mormon families in Gisela and Mazatzal City (1879), Paul Craig, Bill Vogel, William Burch, John Meadows, Andrew Pyeatt, and Henry Siddles in Payson (prior to 1880).

The first cattle in Gisela came with the John Sanders family in 1879. These early Mormon settlers drove the cattle from St. George, Utah. John Sanders, Sr. branded 16; John F. Sanders, Jr. branded 69; and Thomas A. Sanders' brand was simply a T. William F. Sanders branded H Cross, often called H4. This brand should not be confused with W.C. Watkins H4 brand.

Continuing with some of the first brands in Gisela, Joseph Gibson (great-grandfather to Rockin' Ron Gibson and his twin, Don) branded the Cross. I'll bet he didn't brand it for very long. I'm sure this good man soon discovered he had moved into "outlaw" territory and the Cross could easily be changed into many other brands. In 1881, Joseph Gibson moved to what is now Round Valley and established a ranch there. He worked as a freighter, mail carrier, and of course, rancher. He was instrumental in establishing a mail service to Gisela and was the first mail carrier to that area. In 1892, Joseph died in Globe due to a crushed leg. His wife, Ruth, sold the ranch at Round Valley to Bill and Harvey Colcord in 1904. Her son, Wash Gibson, later bought it back. Then even later on, Wash's son, Randall Gibson, owned the ranch. Randall branded U Lazy Y.

The earliest brands in Pine came with the early Mormons who settled there in about 1881. Some of the people had first settled at Mazatzal City, then moved into Pine due to raiding Apaches. In 1956, Walter J. Randall of Pine wrote a letter which tells of the early brands. He states: "In 1878, my father A. J. Randall, W. D., Revilo, and Cornelius Fuller, brought cattle and horses from southern Utah and placed them on the East Verde about 12 miles south of Pine. My father branded Muleshoe X, W. D. Fuller branded F, Revilo Fuller branded RF, and Cornelius Fuller branded IF. Alma Hunt branded Bar A, J. H. Fuller branded FU Bar, D. A. Fuller branded FU, and Henry See branded X Bar X. He also adds that on the East Verde, N. B. Chilson was branding NB, Judge Lawler was branding Cross Triangle (we know this as the Doll Baby), and John Gilliland was branding the Hat.

John Gilliland, who ranched on the East Verde in the early days, was the first man shot in the Pleasant Valley War. He did not die from the wound, but he was the first man shot.

His brother, Dan Gilliland married Anne Packard in 1886. They lived in Rye before moving to Gisela in 1897 and buying the John Robbins Ranch. Dan branded JI Bar. Half-brothers to John and Dan Gilliland were George, Oscar and Ben Felton, all of whom ranched in the Tonto Basin. Ben branded the Bar L Bar. This brand was later owned by Randall and Rowe Gibson, then finally Tom and Nellie Gene Connolly acquired it in 1955. They branded it in Gisela for about 40 years. Keith Withycombe of Gisela owns it today.

Paul Vogel and Bill Craig, some of the first settlers in Payson, founded the Spade Ranch, located on the Upper East Verde. They came here as miners, then like everyone else who stayed, they ended up ranchers. Walt Clure later owned the Spade Ranch and brand. He sold the ranch, but retained the brand. When he retired in the Salt River Valley, he built a swimming pool in the shape of a spade. Clure also owned Camp Geronimo and had the cattle permit attached to it instead of the Vogel place, according to Raymond Cline. Clure sold Camp Geronimo to Bill Miller who sold it to the Boy Scouts.

From 1953 to 1959 Raymond Cline and Ivan Wade owned the Spade Ranch cattle permit and cattle, branding 4HK. They bought it from Jude Murphy who had bought it from Howard Childers who had bought it from Walt Clure. Raymond said 4HK was Harry Kinsman's brand on the East Verde. Jude Murphy bought the brand from Kinsman, then Jude sold it to Raymond and Ivan Wade.

Raymond and Pat Cline bought the old Houston Ranch at Star Valley in 1962 from Austin Haught. Raymond branded 7 Open A and TU Bar. Raymond still owns the brands.

The Houston brothers -- Sam, Andrew Jackson, and William -- established a ranch at Star Valley in 1876. They came from California in 1874 because old man Starr had been killed by the Indians and he was some relation to them, according to Raymond Cline. The Houstons brought red, roan, and white Durham cattle to this country and branded the U Bar. Sam accidentally shot himself in the left leg while at the head of Houston Creek in a little box-canyon corral. His horse came home to the ranch at Star Valley with blood on the saddle. His sister, Katherine, and Joe Ezell trailed the horse back and found Sam dead. He had tried to hold the artery in his leg together, but he bled to death. Both Andrew Jackson and William died in the Pioneers' Home at Prescott.

In 1996, Jinx's uncle, Malcolm Pyle gave me his 1963 brand book, which has really been a great help in tracking down brands. Malcolm was a State Livestock Inspector for all of northern Gila County and Young from the 1950s until the 1980s. His daughter, Sarah Pyle Luckie, said Malcolm retired in 1983 on his 65th birthday.

In the 1963 brand book: the old Sam Haught H Bar brand is registered to Fred Chilson, who branded it for many years. Fred also had the T Bar H. Fletcher Beard's old DF brand is registered to M. Pier and children (I think this is Mary Vaughn Rogers), Clarence and E.C. Conway had the Triangle P, Renee Lee Barkdoll and Delsie Dee (Datie) Robbins had the P Bar, Chach Barkley had the Cross J, Joe Bassett had the Bar 11, Lewis Bowman and Katherine M. Brown owned the Muleshoe Bar. They also owned the Cross B and the CI brands (originated by Isadore Christopher), but they let the registration go on the CI and Malcolm picked it up so it would be kept in this part of the country. Jeff Ashby owns it today.

In Pleasant Valley (Young), Arizona, Homer Haught branded the L Horseshoe, now owned by his grandson, Shawn Haught, who keeps it registered as a family heirloom.

Raymond Cline said that in 1939, the Young sisters of Pleasant Valley had the following brands: Miss Ola Young had the Bar A, Miss Betty had the 4 Bar, and Miss Katherine, who married Ed Gilliland, branded the N Cross.

Samuel A. "Papa Sam" Haught branded the Z Lazy V in Young. His son, Alfred Haught, branded the Tilting Hs. Alfred and his son, Joe Haught, branded the Seven Bar, and the K Triangle. The Seven Bar originally belonged to Georgia Bell Baker Grantham, then Alfred and Joe bought it. Now it belongs to Joe's son, Destry Haught. Alfred and Joe got the K Triangle brand from Art Cloudt. Frank Colcord had owned it before Cloudt.

Henrich Frederick Christian Hardt, who settled on Hardt Creek near what is now Jake's Corner, branded the Dutch H. He was the second-great-grandfather of Chuck and Bill Hardt of Payson.

Ralph Duke Hale of Gisela today owns the Hashknife brand. This is not to be confused with the big Hashknife Outfit Northern Arizona. The brands are different. Ralph Duke inherited the brand from his father, Ralph Hale, in 1979. Ralph got the brand from the kinsfolk of Ambrose Booth after Ambrose died in 1958. Ralph and Ralph Duke also branded the R Triangle, which is now owned by Ralph Duke's son, Taylor Hale.

If you have any information of the history of brands in this area, please call us at 474-0380 or write to us at P.O. Box 2099, Payson, AZ 85547.

Town Historians Jayne Peace and Jinx Pyle, owners of Git A Rope! Publishing, Inc. have the following books available: "Looking Through the Smoke," "Blue Fox," "History of Gisela," "Mountain Cowboys," "Rodeo 101 History of the Payson Rodeo," and "Calf Fries and Cow Pies." Look for them at Jackalope Books and Sue Malinski's Art and Antique Corral in Payson and Lorraine Cline in Tonto Basin.

Correction: In the first part of this story, the Houston brand was misidentified. The column referred to the brand as the "U" brand, it was actually the "U bar" brand.

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