Rim Country History

LEONA FUEL and her Payson correspondent columns of 1929

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The year 1929 was the end of the Roaring ’20s and also the end of Zane Grey’s time in Rim Country. During that time the Arizona Republican (today’s Arizona Republic) ran weekly correspondent columns from around the state. Payson’s column was written by Leona Fuel, a Payson schoolteacher. This week, we look at bits and pieces of the Payson scene as written by Fuel.

The Payson rodeo was a topic of Fuel’s column in her July 18, 1929 edition, as these two clips show.

“Payson is planning a large celebration, August 23, 24 and 25. There is to be all kinds of cowboy sports staged with a dance each night. Prizes totaling $4,000 are to be divided between the winners of the various sports. Adequate camping facilities are offered at Payson for visitors to the celebration ...

“Chester Cooper, of Roosevelt, is here getting his race horse in trim for the races that are to be part of the coming celebration. One race is to be between Cooper’s horse and an automobile belonging to Mr. Murry, of the Tonto Basin garage.”

A later column by Fuel, reveals that there was more than just the rodeo happening in Payson on Aug. 23, 24 and 25. The Gila County Fair was also in Payson at that time, according to her Aug. 8, 1929 column.

“Mrs. C.B. Collom returned to Payson Tuesday from Globe where she has been visiting in the interest of the Gila county fair which is to be held in Payson August 23, 24 and 25.”

The card game, bridge, was quite an affair in Payson in those days, as reflected in Fuel’s Sept. 5 column.

“Mrs. Elmer Pieper entertained the Payson Bridge Club last Thursday afternoon at her home in the Pieper addition. Guests were: Mrs. France Cooper, Mrs. Ernest Pieper, Mrs. John Sanders, Mrs. Floyd Miller, Mrs. Fred Croxin, Mrs. Paul Ruth, Mrs. William Hilligas, Mrs. L.P. Williams, Mrs. Edward Fuel, Mrs. Phaught and Mrs. Peters, Tucson.

Payson’s Womans Club was gearing up as fall arrived according to Fuel’s Sept. 26 column.

“The Payson Woman’s Club held its first fall meeting Saturday afternoon at Mrs. Grants. Mrs. Jess Chilson gave a talk on “Plotting and Planning of Yards.

“Others on the program were Katherine Rebelin, Marjorie Cline, Julia Randall and Mrs. Wash Gibson.”

Car accidents occurred in those days too, and made their way into Fuel’s columns.

Oct. 3, 1929: “Fritz Taylor’s car was wrecked in an accident on the Buckhead hill road between Payson and Pine Friday night.”

Oct. 17, 1929: “Jim Cline overturned in his car Friday afternoon near Pat Welch’s camp at the top of Ox Bow hill. He was uninjured.”

Ultimately, correspondent columns prove very valuable in the long run. This is something that I hope today’s Roundup neighborhood correspondents like Mikey Marazza, Janet Snyder and Kay Foster realize. The events of the past give us perspective for today and correspondent columns give us a different view on things.

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