Sidles House Older Than Reported

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Editor:

The old mud house, known as Payson's oldest standing structure, is even older than you give it credit for in your Aug. 11 issue. By the picture of the mud house you say it was "built in 1886." I suggest you try the year 1879.

It was the spring of 1879 when Indians attacked Henry Sidles' ranch at Flowing Springs, and burned it down. The raiders also shot at ranchers, drove off cattle, and killed eight of the Houston brother's horses as they grazed on the Houston Mesa. You will find this documented in a report made by George Hance of Green Valley (Payson) to the Prescott Miner.

Henry Sidles immediately hired Paul Vogel to build the mud house along the wash. His idea was that mud could not be burned. The mud house then become the "safe house" where local folk "forted up" when rumors of another Indian raid reached them.

C. P. Wingfield wrote in the January 1931 Arizona Historical Review, "When the people of Payson and vicinity heard of the Indian attack, they forted up at the Sidle place, an adobe house now owned by August Pieper. The married men and families held the fort while the single men did scout duty."

The Piepers bought the mud house from Sidle, who then went to California. They lived in it while their "mansion" was being built next door. So, the old mud house is older than you knew.

By all means, let's save it; perhaps move it to the Rim Country Museum grounds to add to the cluster of historic buildings there.

Stan Brown, Prescott (formerly of Payson)

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