One of the neat items available online through the Arizona Memory Project is a brand book from 1908. This book has brands from all around the state and covers brands recorded from April 28, 1897 to July 13, 1908. Here’s a look back at some of those brands and a brief look at the people who had them.
John Delar Fletcher Beard, best known as just J.D.F. Beard, was by many accounts the first forest ranger in this part of the Tonto National Forest. It should be noted that there is some dispute on this, with Sebird Henderson also a possibility. Beard was born in Mississippi in 1872 and was in Rim Country by the 1890s. He married Nellie Pyle, the daughter of Elwood Pyle and had four children with her before passing away in 1913.
Katherine Houston Wentworth was one of the most notable ladies in Rim Country history. She was sister to the Houston brothers, who had come to Rim Country from Visalia, Calif. in the late 1870s. She later joined them and married J.W. Wentworth, who was clerk of Gila County Superior Court for a long time, beginning in 1886. Wentworth was a notable lady in the early days of Arizona and one who definitely left her mark on Payson and the surrounding area.
David Harer was amongst the first settlers in the region, having arrived in Greenback Valley south of Payson in 1875, according to “Rim Country History.” Many members of old families have a line that can be traced back to Harer, making him and his brand quite noteworthy.
Louis and William Naegelin were early pioneers who located between today’s Christopher Creek and Young. Naegelin Rim and Naegelin Canyon are named for these early pioneers.
Elizabeth Bissig is a name that few will recognize and rightfully, though somewhat ashamedly so. She was married to Frank Bissig for a time in the 1880s, appeared to divorce him in the late 1880s, but nevertheless seemed to be involved in business interests with him after that. Frank Bissig brewed with August Pieper in Globe and was involved with Pieper in a variety of business entities in Gila County. There is a funny thing about this brand entry. By the time the brand book was published in 1908, Elizabeth Bissig was long residing elsewhere; she died in 1902. The same brand can also be found with the Bonacker Brothers, who may have gotten it after her passing.
Walker Moore may be a recognizable name to some, but likely less because of what he did than what happened in a place that now bears his name. Moore was an early settler out toward Bonita Creek and it was in the canyon named for him that six firefighters perished during the 1990 Dude Fire.
The Barnhart Trail is a popular one south of Payson. It is named for a man who ranched there with his partner Marts beginning in the late 1800s. Unfortunately, not a whole lot is known about Barnhart or Marts, but at least there is a record of their brand.
“Papa” Sam Haught is one of the most legendary people in Rim Country history. He came here in the 1880s, first settling up by today’s Washington Park, where the Arizona Mineral Belt railroad was slated to go through. After the railroad fell apart, Haught moved south to the Rye and Gisela area where he became a cattle baron. In addition to ranching, he spent time in the Arizona Territorial Legislature.
A.G. Pendleton wasn’t so much a local Payson person, but nevertheless was one of interest for this area. He was based out of Globe with a ranch on Cherry Creek. He was a very noted surveyor who worked on surveying the Arizona Mineral Belt Railroad as well as a number of early plat maps for Gila County. He died in 1904, but his brother-in-law continued in the cattle business.
The Arizona Memory Project can be found online at azmemory.lib.az.us. It’s a wonderful collection of Arizona historical items that’s gradually being added to.
Please do not forget to support your local history organizations. The Northern Gila County Genealogical Society and Northern Gila County Historical Society can always use your help and your donations. The genealogy society is a great place to research your family history or even local history. They have a terrific collection of the Payson Roundup going back to the late 1950s and some wonderful volunteers who are always eager to help you.
You can contact the genealogy society at (928) 474-2139 and the historical society at (928) 474-3483.