A Snapshot Of A Harrowing Hunting Trip


One of the things that I've been engrossed in related to history lately, has been the transcription of newspaper clips for the Arizona Heritage Research Foundation. I thought that it might be fun to go back in time this week for a snapshot of what happened in 1905.

In 1905, Arizona was still just a territory, though on the path to statehood. At the time, there was discussion of it entering as part of New Mexico, something which most Arizonans strongly opposed. Work on Roosevelt Dam -- or at least things related to dam construction -- was well under way.

Hunting at that time was not limited to specific seasons, which led some Phoenix area folk to head out on a hunting trip in late July. Unfortunately though, the trip quickly went awry when one of its members got shot, as this clip from the August 5, 1905 Arizona Republican explains.


An Accident, Though not Serious, Spoils His Hunting Trip

Dick Arnold who left here a week ago last Monday with a party consisting of Jack Gibson, Dick Newton, J Bentley and several others for a hunting and fishing trip in the White mountains was accidentally shot a few days ago. The news of the accident was brought to the city yesterday in a letter from Dr. Miller, who said that he would leave with the wounded man for Phoenix. The letter contained few details of the affair probably by reason of the fact that the paper was scarce. The letter was written on coarse brown paper such as used in out of the way general stores.

It stated that the shot, probably from a revolver carried by Mr. Arnold entered the calf of the right leg below the knee passed through the fleshy part of the leg and came out above the inner part of the ankle. It was added that Mr. Arnold was getting along well.

The letter was written from Payson. The writer did not say by what route he would bring the wounded man back to Phoenix but it is surmised that they will come by the way of Roosevelt rather than by Globe and the round about railway journey.

It was thought that Mr. Arnold would have done better in a mountain camp along with the party than in Phoenix following the long and rough journey here but it is thought that Dr. Miller urged his return for personal reasons. Before the party got out of the valley he repented of the expedition and began trying to invent excuses for giving it up. The horse back riding was too much for him.

The accident to Mr. Arnold furnished a most admirable excuse.

Yes, even in the early 1900s, accidents happened with firearms. But sadly for Dick Arnold, the pain was just starting. He would soon come down with a case of "blood poisoning," which is another way of saying that he got an infection and things got inflamed. This is discussed in a September 1, 1905 Arizona Republican article in which success of the rest of the hunting party is discussed as well.


The Reckless Slaughter of Bears in the White Mountains

Dick Newton and C.E. Bently, members of the hunting party which went into the Mogollons and the White Mountains about six weeks ago, returned to the city yesterday. Henry Woolpeert and Perry Sears, also members of the party, stopped at their ranches on the way down. Jack Gibson, the leader of the expedition, and Chicken Henry, chef of the expedition, went across the country to the Gibson cattle range on New River, and will probably arrive in the city today. Other members of the party were Dr. Miller, who returned a couple of weeks ago, and Dick Arnold, who is still lying at Payson suffering from a gunshot wound accidentally inflicted by himself soon after leaving Phoenix. The party expected to be joined in the White Mountains by several other hunters from different parts of the territory and also by ex-Champion James J. Jeffries who, however, was detained.

Mr. Newton said yesterday that Arnold, whom they saw on their way back, is in bad shape, though he is improving. He is wasted away to a skeleton. His physician says he will not be able to leave Payson before the middle of the month, and perhaps not so early as that.

Not long after he was shot, a bad case of blood poisoning developed. It became necessary to cut nine holes into his leg and connect them under the skin for the drainage of the wound. This was not all the bad luck the party had. In crossing the Mazatzals a mule fell over a cliff, and on the way back Jack Gibson lost a horse, probably poisoned by a campomoche. At any rate, the animal suddenly stiffened and it was shot to be relieved of its misery.

Otherwise the trip was a very delightful one and a successful one. There is an abundance of game in that part of the country, and all kinds that the law permits to be killed at this season of the year were killed. Included in the bag were three big black bears. The boys have brought the claws back with them in proof of the death of the bears.

Not the least enjoyable incident of the trip was trout fishing. There is a wild abundance of trout in White River. The crowd lingered about the river as long as possible. But it could not stay there forever. A lot of the trout were dried and carried along as a delicacy to be added to such game as might be encountered. Newton, who has been in most parts of the world, says that White River is the most beautiful stream he has ever seen.

Finally by the end of October Dick Arnold was well enough to go home. However, the October 23, 1905 Arizona Republican article refers to him as Dick Fletcher. Why, I'm not sure, but it clearly seems to be the same man, though I'm really not sure which man these articles were truly referring to. Perhaps they'd gotten his name wrong the entire time. Whatever his name, this man also had some nice things to say about Payson.


His Return Saturday Night from His Disastrous Hunting Trip

Dick Fletcher returned to Phoenix, late Saturday night, from a hunting trip to the Mogollons on which he set out last July, in company with a part of well-known Phoenix nimrods. He did not get to the big game country, owing to the fact that on July 30, near Payson, he accidentally shot himself through the calf of his right leg. He has been delayed about two months in getting home, for the reason that he had to stay in bed in Payson about eighty days, nursing a case of blood poisoning that ensued. He still has more leg than he really ought to have, the injured "calf" being as big as a "two-year-old." But it's getting a little better every day, and he can get around considerable with a cane. Paradoxical as it may seem, the bigger and fatter Dick's leg got, the less he weighed, and in a few weeks he dropped from 192 to 182 pounds, but he is now fast recovering his weight. He had deal of quiet fun Saturday night after his arrival. He has always been smooth shaves in Phoenix, with short hair and neat apparel with Derby hat. When he got here Saturday night his hair was almost as long as Buffalo Bill's, there was a leakage of some three or four inches from his whiskers and he was attired in a white sombrero, blue overalls, etc. Furthermore, he had a limp that he had never made public here before. Naturally, nobody knew him, and he spent two or three hours visiting his regular haunts and playing the unkempt mountaineer until he got tired of it. Then he introduced himself and got the glad hand from the bunch who had refused to recognize him all evening. He says Payson has the finest summer climate and the best people in the world, which is a pretty good testimonial from a man who inspected it from what was believed for a time to be his death bed.

The trip to Phoenix was made via Roosevelt and the government road to Phoenix. He met Governor Kibbey and party about noon en route to the dam site.

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