It is believed the first white residents of the Payson area were miners who, by the nature of their livelihood, were more transient than resident, so the records of their arrival are sketchy.
More concrete documents show claims being filed in the late 1870s, but by then there were businesses in the area providing goods and services to not only the miners, but to the ranchers and farmers who had found the resources under the Mogollon Rim to be plentiful.
So, in 1882 the community's leading citizens set about creating the townsite that became Payson. It was created by John Hise, Surveryor General of Arizona Territory, and the community's blacksmith, James Callaghan, according to Ira Murphy's book, "A Brief History of Payson, Arizona. At the time, it was called Union Park, and on March 3, 1884 it was renamed Payson in honor of an Illinois U.S. Senator who helped the town get its first post office.
The community is celebrating the 125th anniversary of Payson next week. This special publication is a guide to the anniversary events that have been planned during the past year, and a glimpse at some of the history of the area.
Now is the time to get tickets for all the different events -- tickets are available at Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce, Git A Rope and Bootleg Alley.
WEDNESDAY - OCTOBER 3
Brats, Beer and Cheese: 6 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 3 at the Zane Grey Cabin and Rim Country Museum area, Green Valley Park, $25 per person.
THURSDAY - OCTOBER 4
Community Picnic, Box Supper and Pie Extravaganza: 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 4 on Main Street, between Westerly and McLane. Free event.
FRIDAY - OCTOBER 5
125th Golf Outing: 9 a.m., Friday, Oct. 5 at Payson Golf Course, limited to 100 players, $80 per player.
125th Mystery Dinner: 6 p.m., Friday, Oct. 5 at Main Street Grille, limited to 100 guests, $75 per person.
SATURDAY - OCTOBER 6
Mayor's Breakfast: 7:30 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 6 at Main Street Grille, limited to 90 guests, $10 per person.
Timeline Parade: 9 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 6 on Main Street with Lynn and Nancy Shepherd as Grand Marshals and costumed storytellers at various businesses and sites. Free event.
Western Heritage Festival and Art-in-the-Park: 10 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 6 at Green Valley Park. Free event.
Old-Fashioned Cake Walk: 11 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 6 at Payson Womans Club, $2.
Costume judging: Noon, Saturday, Oct. 6 at Pioneer Park. Free event.
Miniature Horses perform: 1:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 6 at Green Valley Park amphitheater. Free event.
Games, Music & Dancing: There will be games, music and dancing all afternoon Saturday, Oct. 6. Free event.
Barbecue Dinner and abbreviated version of the mystery from the Mystery Dinner: 6 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 6 at the Green Valley Park Band Stand, $8 per person in advance, $10 per person at the door.
Lighting of the Lake: Dusk, Saturday, Oct. 6 at Green Valley Park. Free event.
SUNDAY - OCTOBER 7
Western Events: Noon, Sunday, Oct. 7, Payson Event Center, admission is a donation to the Payson Humane Society.
Dutch Oven Dinner: 5:30 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 7 at Payson Event Center, limited to 100 guests, $15 per person.
(Times and locations are subject to change)
The theme of this year's Rim Country Quilt Roundup is a "Heritage Quilt Show" and it will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 6 and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 7 at the historic Rock Building at Julia Randall Elementary School.
Residents from throughout the Rim Country are invited to submit quilts for display and there is no charge to enter quilts, but entries need to be at the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce office by Oct. 3.
Admission to view the quilts is $2 per person, with children under 5 admitted free. No food or drinks (except water) are allowed in the show.
Karen Housner, an American Quilters Society Certified Quilt Appraiser, will give two lectures during the show, free to attendees. The lectures are:
2 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 6 - The Care and Feeding of Treasured Quilts
2 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 7 - Old Quilt Tops: To Quilt or Not
Housner will be available, by appointment, to provide appraisals during the show. Appraisals are $40 each. Please call (928) 474-4515 for an appraisal appointment.