Adventures Of The Haught Family



Tonto Creek Adventures, Chapter 4

On Roberts Mesa there was a spring that fed a shallow well, and it had never run dry. That is until the Henry Haught family occupied the old Boles' place.

The story of upper Tonto Creek can never be told without meeting the large family named Haught.

A local joke around Payson, Tonto Creek, Pleasant Valley and Tonto Basin refers to this prolific family. "It looks like the ants and the Haughts are going to take over Payson," was a common saying among old-time locals. [1]

Fred Haught was the first of the clan to arrive in the Rim Country. He was a bachelor and former Texas Ranger who, in alleged self-defense, had killed men in Texas and Colorado.

He fell in love with the Rim Country, and built cabins near springs in several of the canyons under the Rim. At his urging, his brothers and nephews began to join him, and he gave to each of them one of his cabins.[2]

In 1897 Henry and Sarah Bell Haught arrived with their children Samuel, Ida Bell, Mary Margaret and Columbus, and their widowed mother Mary Ann. The fifth child of Henry and Sarah Bell was born in their covered wagon just over the border of Arizona Territory.

The baby was named Million Champion Haught, after a magazine article her mother had been reading about a millionaire woman named Champion.

The Henry Haught family began their ranching career on Ellison Creek, a spread Fred had purchased from settler Jesse Ellison. When Fred sold the place in November of 1902, the Henry Haughts had to move, and they took up residence on Elam Boles' ranch at Tonto Creek.

There they built a log house that had a dirt floor and no windows. Henry entered the lumber business and established a sawmill on a homestead claim that would later be called Tonto Village. [3]

By 1909 the water in the spring had given out, and Henry set off a dynamite blast hoping to renew the flow but only made matters worse. Without water the family had to move from the Boles' place.

They purchased their own land straddling Tonto Creek, the homestead of Dick Williams. Today it includes Tonto Creek Estates and the Baptist campground. Henry had become serious about raising cattle, and in the census of 1910, he lists himself as a stockman. However, that did not bring enough income to support the family so he went to work as a blacksmith at the Childs' power plant on Fossil Creek. [4]

Henry and Sarah came to be known as "Pappy" and "Mammy" Haught. In the summer of 1911, they traded 100 yearling heifers for the squatter's rights in Little Green Valley, where they gained a patent to the land in 1919. This ranch became the headquarters for their growing family while their 22-year-old son Sam took over the Tonto Creek property.

The original Haught log cabin overlooking Tonto Creek carried a story of its own. The Henry Haught family had brought it log by log from the Boles place to the Dick Williams homestead.

When their son Sam took over the ranch the small 10- by 18-foot cabin became a storage room and was used for hanging and drying meat.

In 1999 that building was still standing and the owner desired to have it removed to expand their other buildings. It was offered to the Northern Gila County Historical Society. Volunteers dismantled it piece by piece, numbering each one and making detailed sketches to assure its accurate reassembling.

That historic cabin was rebuilt next to the Rim Country Museum in Payson's Green Valley Park and can be seen by visitors as a piece of living history.

Henry "Pappy" Haught of Tonto Creek became famous throughout the Rim Country for his fiddle playing at local dances. Mammy was remembered for her straightforwardness for telling things like they were, for using snuff, and for wearing a full apron made of denim from old Levi's. She never wasted anything, including scraps of material and tin, and she became famous for saving string.

She would hang trinkets on string from the ceiling of her home. When she had something she could not use, but did not want to throw away, she would hang it up on a string.

After the living room was full, the collection extended onto the front porch. Friends and family would study the objects hanging on string in Mammy's house as one would browse in a museum. After retiring and moving into town in the 1930s, Mammy continued her saving practice. During World War II the mementos displayed on-string included items sent to her by her grandsons from the war.

Pappy died in 1953 and Mammy in 1959 at the ages of 86 and 87 respectively. They are buried in the Payson Pioneer Cemetery where the name Haught marks more graves than any other

Another Haught tale on Tonto Creek surrounds the famous guide of Zane Grey, an Anderson Lee Haught, known as "Babe." In 1897 Babe and his brother John Haught arrived by stagecoach in the desert town of Maricopa. After purchasing some supplies, the two brothers set out on foot for the Rim Country.

Finding the Verde River flooded, Babe carried the smaller John across on his back while John held their supplies above the water.

They stayed a few days with their cousin Sam Ache Haught Jr. on Rye Creek, discussing the Rim Country and especially the hunting, which was excellent for bear, elk and deer around Tonto Creek. It took the two brothers six days to explore the area, and John decided to settle near Spring Creek in the Sierra Ancha. [5] Babe moved on to Tonto Creek.

After the cousins helped each other build their cabins, they sent for their wives in the spring. Babe's wife Ella and their new son Edd Rowe Haught, arrived in Globe after traveling in a caboose. They brought with them Babe's mother, Susan Ann Haught. [6]

Ella Hunnicutt Haught was a beautiful woman who had been a socialite in Texas. Her family had forced her to marry the young Anderson Lee Haught after she sat up all night with him at a wake. Love would have to come later. Ella had been a Sunday school teacher in the Southern Baptist Church and upon arriving on Tonto Creek, discovered there was no church to attend, so she conducted a Sunday school class for her children and those of her neighbors in the family's dogtrot cabin. [7]

Ella also taught the children to read. Her father sent her books and a pump organ from Texas. Now there was music for the Sunday services on Tonto Creek.

One year Babe and Ella's son George developed tuberculosis of the bone, and his parents had to take him to Los Angeles for an operation. They asked Ella's sister Carrie Hunnicutt Martin to come out and take care of the other children while they were gone.

Her husband was a gambler and an alcoholic and this was the excuse she needed to leave him. Bringing her two children, and pregnant with her third, she took the train to Winslow. She waited there for two weeks before her nephew Edd Haught could get a wagon through the snow for her and the children. Babe and Ella's trip to Los Angeles with George and his subsequent surgery was successful, but Carrie stayed on. She got a job waiting tables in Payson at Boardman's hotel, and one day met Babe's uncle Sam Haught Jr. in the post office.

The family story tells that Sam was immediately attracted to her. He quickly discovered she was the sister-in-law of his nephew, and had come to care for the A. L. Haught children. When they compared notes on how they each got to the Rim Country, the couple further discovered they had something very special in common. It seems that while Sam Jr. was driving his herd from Texas to Arizona, the first camp on the trail was at the ranch of Will and Julia Glover. The owners visited with the cowboys around their campfire as Mrs. Glover carried two baby girls in her arms. One was hers and the other, she explained, was the daughter of her husband's deceased sister. That night Sam held those two babies in his arms, admiring them. He and Carrie now realized that she was the baby he had held twenty-five years earlier. It seemed providential that they should meet like this, and after a year-long courtship they were married. The wedding took place at the Henry Haught ranch in Little Green Valley, and the couple settled down to raise Carrie's three children and have seven on their own. The couple became known as Papa and Momma Sam.

Notes: [1] Peter Haught came from Alsace-Lorraine in Germany, arriving in Pennsylvania with William Penn, by way of Holland. Peter fought at Valley Forge with General Washington, bought land in Virginia, followed the opening western frontier through Ohio to Illinois, and there he died in 1843. The sons of Peter and Sarah Haught took their families and migrated in response to an offer of large land grants to the area that would become Dallas, Texas. If they had stayed they would have become millionaires because their homesteads later included downtown Dallas and "Six Flags Over Texas." As it was they ventured to Arizona in the latter part of the 19th century.

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