At some point, most of us want to, or think we can, write a book. A fair number actually do write something, but only a small percentage of those actually have their book published.
Tim Ehrhardt, who writes a column on history of the area for The Rim Review, is one of those few. He has 1,000 copies of his "Zane Grey's Forgotten Ranch -- Tales from the Boles Homestead" available from Git A Rope! Publishing, Inc.
Ehrhardt started his book in 2005. A look at the contents page and a total of four different appendix and an index is an indication of the hours of research that went into the book.
It was more than seat-of-the-pants research. Ehrhardt wore out some shoe leather (or rubber soles as the case may be) getting photographs of the land he writes about -- the places where the people in his book once called home and traversed.
"The book came out of the fact that my parents have had a second home in (the Collins Ranch (development) all my life," Ehrhardt said.
"I'd always heard Zane Grey owned land (where the family's second home was), but no one knew about the Boles connection. Elam Boles is tied to a lot of old families."
He said another reason he wrote the book is because there are a lot of unsung people who had a hand in creating the larger community of the Rim Country. He wanted to tell their stories before they were lost.
In the contents of Ehrhardt's book, readers will find these stories: Pendletons and a Man Named Roberts, Sampson Elam Boles, Ida Adeline Simmons, Zane Grey Comes to Arizona and Grey Learns about the Pleasant Valley War, The Meads and Mead Ranch, 1961 Roberts Mesa Fire and One Angry Dude.
Ehrhardt works in the real estate industry with Century 21 Metro Alliance and has two bachelor's of science degrees from Arizona State University, one in finance, the other in management.
But he said this about writing history, "I was born to do this stuff. My dad's aunts did the Ehrhardt family history in the 1960s, putting it in a nice, neatly written book and then publishing an update in the 1970s. It definitely runs in the family."
Ehrhardt said his best source for his book was Betty Garrels. She has done the Garrels genealogy for the past 20 years. Her late husband, Ernest, was a stepson of Elam Boles, so she has a wealth of knowledge about Boles, his family, the people and land he knew.
Ehrhardt admits to getting the "writing bug" from his great aunts, this tidbit he shared shows that bug was encouraged along the way.
"The most influential ‘history' person in my life has to be Larry Campbell. Campbell was my history teacher my junior year at Tempe Corona del Sol High School.
"Now, I'd always had an interest in history ... but the project that Mr. Campbell made us do was one-of-a-kind, and one I can't believe isn't in every school in this state. He believed that the best way to learn history was from those who had lived history. So we had to write an autobiography, weaving in historic events ... Next we had to interview a parent. Then we had to interview a grandparent. I spent valuable time with my grandfather, who's now 96, because of that project. The great thing on that, was my grandfather then published his autobiography a few years after that."
The cover of Ehrhardt's book features a beautiful painting by C. M. Scott called, "Under the Apple Tree" depicting the heart of the Boles Homestead as it was during the 1920s. Ehrhardt asked that this article include information about the artist.
"Scotty's a real unique guy," Ehrhardt said.
Scott was born in Colorado and came to Arizona at the age of 14 and went to work as a ranch hand, occasionally dabbling in painting. During the 1980s he spent eight straight years living outside while rounding up cattle for the state of Arizona.
He is retired from ranching and now actively paints, drawing from his experiences on the range.
Ehrhardt said there are plenty of flaws that can be found in Scott, but he has some outstanding finer qualities.
"One, he's a gentleman. He knows how to treat a lady and that's why they've flocked to him over the years.
"Two, he's honest. He's good to his word and only wants his fair share.
"I can gain more wisdom from talking with him for 15 minutes at the bar than I can in two hours with a lot of people."
Ehrhardt's "Zane Grey's Forgotten Ranch -- Tales from the Boles Homestead" may be purchased at Western Village, 1104 S. Beeline, Payson, Rim Country Museum, 700 S. Green Valley Parkway, Payson and the Double "D" Bar, Store & Cafe in Tonto Village, or from Ehrhardt. He can be reached at email@example.com.