Two old Cline families helped settle Gila County -- the Clines of Tonto Basin, who arrived in 1876, and the Clines of Pleasant Valley, who arrived 50 years later, in 1926.
This is the history of the latter. Looking back on genealogy files, we can't see that the two families are related, but if we went back a few more generations, who knows? Regardless, both families have earned a rightful place in Gila County history.
Before writing this history, I visited with Raymond Cline of Star Valley and his sisters, Bessie Cline Turner and Lucille Cline Breeden, both of Pleasant Valley. Raymond, Bessie, and Lucille are the remaining three children born to Milton Harold Cline and Mary Emily Kastler Cline. The oldest son, Martin Cline, married my dad's aunt, Elizabeth Griffin, daughter of Al Griffin of Pleasant Valley, so I'm a cousin to some of the Clines. They are all good people.
Milton Harold Cline and Mary Emily Kastler Cline and their 10 children: Martin, Albert, Earl, Ernest, Pearl, Clifford, Bessie, Francis, Raymond, and Lucille, arrived in Pleasant Valley (Young) in 1926. Raymond, Bessie, and Lucille will tell their story:
"Our dad, Milton Harold Cline, the son of Roseberry Cline and Catherine Little, was born May 18, 1881 in West Virginia and raised in Missouri," said Raymond. "After Dad was grown, he moved to Kansas where he went to work on a farm for Charles August Kastler -- the man who would become my maternal grandfather. Dad belonged to an anti-horse-thief association and was a deputy of some kind."
"Our mother, Mary Emily Kastler Cline, was born September 13, 1882 in a French Colony in Iowa," said Bessie. "Later she moved to Kansas with her family. Mother's parents, Charles August Kastler and Mary Louise Loux, immigrated to the United States from Alsace-Lorraine, France. Mother spoke French at home and she learned to speak English so she could go to school. Her dad never learned to speak English, but her mother did. The Kastlers had six boys and six girls."
"Dad trained work-horses and he was good at it," said Raymond. "When he was growing up in Joplin, Mo., he had a business of his own, while he was still in school. He had a cart and horses and delivered goods to the different stores."
"After Mom and Dad were married, on March 23, 1904 in Edna, Kan., they began farming," said youngest daughter, Lucille, who has their marriage license framed and hanging on her wall. "They grew pinto beans, corn, hegari, and other crops."
How did the Clines get to Arizona?
"Our dad had two brothers, Sam and Arthur. Sam had miner's consumption or TB and the doctors told him he needed to move to a dry climate," Raymond recalls. "So in 1914, he left Oklahoma and came to Phoenix by train. He hocked his gold watch and bought a burro, a camp outfit, and a little bit of chuck. He left Phoenix afoot, leading the burro, then he broke it so he could ride.
"The next time I have any record of Uncle Sam was here in Star Valley. My wife's granddad, Pete Haught, had a place here. Sam came by driving that burro and Pete hollered at him to come in and visit. Sam stopped. He was getting a little better from the TB. He wouldn't sleep in anybody's house, but he would go in to visit. He stayed with the Pete Haught family for about a month. That was in the summertime, so he slept outside. My wife's dad, Walter Haught, was about 14 years old. He remembered my Uncle Sam and told me quite a bit about him.
"Before fall, Uncle Sam went to Gordon Canyon and stayed with the Hunts. Ray Hunt later told me that when Uncle Sam got there, he had two burros. He was driving one and leading one. He helped the Hunt family gather their crops. The Hunts had come to Gordon Canyon that same year (1914). The Hunts consisted of Buford, Ted, Ray, Flora (Haught), Maggie (Powers), Elizabeth (Steele), and half-brother Leonard Hubbard. They built Sam a one-room cabin and talked him into staying for the winter. He got sick and Kate Bowman, a neighbor, took care of him. She wasn't afraid of the TB. In the spring, he helped the Hunts get their crops planted, then he took his two burros and went over the hill by the OWs. He leased the Nail Ranch and was farming it when my oldest brother, Martin Cline, came and stayed with him."
"Martin came to Arizona to visit Uncle Sam," chimed in Bessie. "Uncle Sam kept telling dad how much better he felt in Arizona. Plus, Papa had a younger brother, Arthur, who also had TB and was living at the Veteran's hospital in Tucson. He was gassed in World War I."
Lucille adds that her dad had arthritis and knew the dryer climate of Arizona would be better for him.
With two brothers beckoning, arthritis flaring up, and his oldest son, Martin, telling him how great Arizona was, Milton Cline decided to make the move.
"We had a wheat farm in Indian Territory, Oklahoma," said Bessie "We sold the farm, the horses, the equipment, I mean everything, and we bought two brand new 1925 Model T Fords. There was Dad, Mother, and 10 of us kids. It took two cars to get us here. We brought nothing except our clothes with us.
"I was eight years old in September 1925 and everyone was so busy that they paid no attention to my birthday," continued Bessie. "Then as we were coming out of El Paso, my mother bought me a china doll. The first one I ever had in my life. It was the most beautiful doll. I will always remember it."
"Yes, we left home in Oklahoma in 1925 in two new Model T Fords and headed for Arizona," said Raymond. "I was three years old. We went down through southern Oklahoma where we visited our dad's sister, and then on to Texas. We arrived in Arizona in January, 1926.
Lucille turned two on December 7, 1925, about a month before the family arrived in Arizona. Of course, she can't recall the trip, but her brothers and sisters have told her the stories many times.
The Clines first went to Tucson and rented two cabins where they stayed until their Uncle Arthur died in January 1926. Then they went to Phoenix and rented a place.
"All of the older boys wanted to move to Pleasant Valley, but my dad wanted to buy a farm in the Salt River Valley," said Raymond. "He was a farmer. Dad and the boys had an argument going all the time. Finally, they flipped a two-bit piece to settle it."
"Dad said, ‘Heads we go to Pleasant Valley, tails we stay in Phoenix.' It was heads so we moved to Pleasant Valley," Bessie recalled.
"When we first arrived in Pleasant Valley, we camped out near Jack McKenzie's house," recalled Raymond. "While we were there, Pecos McFadden came by. He knew our Uncle Sam. He visited with us, then he sent Dick Robinson back with a hind quarter of beef for us."
"We sold one of our Model T cars and bought a place from Judge Milton Thompson," said Bessie.
"And we got the brand, too," added Raymond. "The MT (M with an upside down T)."
Bessie recalls that their new place had a two-story log house on 150 acres, with a 60-head cattle permit. "That wasn't many cattle compared to the big outfits, but we rode and took care of them."
"We farmed every inch of that land. Of gosh, did I hoe weeds," said Raymond.
Bessie said her dad raised pinto beans and sold them for three cents a pound. "We pulled those beans by hand. Dad would take three rows, I would take a row, and Raymond and Frances together took a row. We would race dad and he kept us busy pulling beans all day long. I pulled a lot of beans."
"Then we would go get the wagon and shuck corn," said Raymond. "We shucked a lot of corn, too. We had a big bunch of hogs and a smoke house. We herded the hogs from one place to another to eat acorns, but when the Indians came to gather acorns, we penned the hogs up. There was a good orchard on the place when we bought it, but we planted a lot more trees."
"I remember dad trading apples and beans for flour and sugar," said Lucille. "In the summer when there wasn't enough rain for the orchard, Dad would draw water, fill up a barrel, and pull the barrel by horse and sled out to the orchard to water the trees.
"Also," said Lucille, "I remember that Dad took a walk the first thing every morning. He would pick up pine knots and drop them at the foot of each apple tree. Then in the spring when he thought there might be a freeze, he would go out and light those pine knots to save the apple blossoms. We always had a good crop of apples."
Watch for part two of the Cline Family story next week.
Jayne Peace-Pyle, Arizona Historian, has released her first novel, "Muanami -- Sister of the Moon." The story relates the trials and struggles of a Comanche medicine woman and shows that motherhood transcends all cultures and times. Cost of the book is $15. Other books by Jayne Peace-Pyle and Jinx Pyle: "Looking Through the Smoke," "Mountain Cowboys," "History of Gisela," "Rodeo 101- the History of the Payson Rodeo," "Blue Fox," and "Calf Fries and Cow Pies." The books can be purchased at Art and Antique Corral in Payson.