Remembering Everett Jackson

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Photo courtesy of Jinx and Jayne Pyle

Jim Deming, Everett Jackson and Richard Taylor.

The Rim Country area lost another great old-timer recently when Everett Jackson passed away. While folks get used to seeing old-timers pass and historians bemoan their loss, Everett wasn’t just an ordinary loss — this was a man who was extremely valuable to the community over his 96 years in this world. There was no flashy funeral for Everett — that was the way he wanted it; just a burial. It says a lot about the man and when you take a closer look at what he did in this region, you realize why this article just had to be written about him.

Everett was born Aug. 6, 1913 in Como, Texas and moved to Payson in the 1930s. A June 30, 1935 Arizona Republic article mentions Everett.

“R.D. Jackson, deputy sheriff, has built a new home. His son, Everett Jackson, is starting another house.”

Everett became very well known by those in the business, for his work building houses. On the day that I found out that he had passed on, I was in Pioneer Title talking to Mikie Halenar, whose dad, Dick Henry, built some great homes here too. When I mentioned Everett’s passing, she immediately paused and told me that Everett had done quite a few deals over the years through Pioneer Title and that everyone around there knew him. My real estate boss, Cliff Potts, had a similar reaction. He mentioned to me that at one point in time, Jackson had built one out of every seven houses in Payson. It would not surprise me if that number was quite higher for a long time as well. In an interview done by Stan Brown with Everett a few years ago, he talked about his terrific building resume.

“When you talked to me about an address I think this last deal was 34 places that I had sold. Bought and sold. So that’s 60 something transactions. Transactions are a lot different now than what it was when I started out. I was telling the girls over there, they were having a little hassle about some of the papers when we were signing out and I said things is not like they use to be.

“I said one time Lena Hampton owned all the money in this country and she financed me from the day one and she was a great person. I bought a place from a fellow, he was working for Boardman, he come to me and said to me I want to sell that place. I said well what do want for it? I had bought another place just before that with what little money I had, and I didn’t have no money so I went to Lena and told her Willard wants $800.00 for that place down there and I’m strapped out. Is there any chance you could loan me money enough that I would like to buy? She said yeah. I’ll loan it to you.

“We went up to Bill Haley. He was the only man in town that had a stamp, a notary public, so he was making out the papers, what little papers they was, just one sheet, to transfer it from him to me, he signed it and I signed it and that was it. He looked at it and said Lena, I’ll need $800.00 and she said all right I’ll make a check out. She was setting there and making the check out. And he said Lena do you know you’re paying for all of this? She said I’m writing a check, ain’t I? He said Willard never told me how much to get for this. Well I said its $800.00 and he and I are good friends so its $800.00 and I owe him $10.00 for some stuff I bought off of him so I laid a ten dollar bill down on that check for $800.00 and that completed the deal.

“It’s the house behind where Nan Pyle had all that stuff built. We built that for her, Me and Whitenburg. It was Whitenburg’s job. We was kind of partners but if he got the job he was the boss, if I got the job I was the boss. Now that’s the way our partnership worked and it lasted 15 years until he got a little old and decided he wanted to quit. Ernie Whitenburg, greatest guy you ever knew. He was German and in World One and got his knee shot out for the Americans. He stayed in the hospital a year. His old leg was bent like that. He finally got disgusted with them, they couldn’t do nothing with it so he stayed in the hospital a year and told them the hell with it, and he walked out. I knew every time he picked up a heavy board, I just knew that knee was going to break out from under him but it never did. He was a tough old bird. We got along great.”

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Photo courtesy of Jinx and Jayne Pyle

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Jackson also had a grocery store in Payson in the 1950s where he worked as a butcher. According to Everett’s oral history interview with Stan Brown, he started the store to provide a little extra income for his parents, at which time it took off.

“They had a comfortable income but they couldn’t do quite what they wanted. I thought, well hell, like I said I tried to give them a hundred dollars and I might as well slapped them in the face. So I figured out I could put that little store in and pay her a little and she could sit around out there and she could visit with the people who’d come in and I didn’t do her a favor at all or either one of them.

“That damn store made money every day. It amazed the bankers … I put $1800 worth of stock in there, it was 16 by 24, that was what I built for. I figured she could sit around and enjoy the public. Well that damn near stocked it. I come up in a week or so and she said honey I need so much more stuff. Can you put a little more money in? I said yeah, I’ll put another thousand in. So finally I ran it up to about $2200. That was about all she had room for. And she would turn that complete stock every 22 days. Now if a big store could do that, God, you couldn’t believe the profit that made. Even the banker told me, he said, ‘Jackson, that’s an unheard of thing to turn the complete stock around.’”

Everett was quite a man and was said to be quite sharp yet in his later years. At the time he passed, I had been looking to talk to him and ask him some more questions. Stan Brown’s oral history interview is a great base but Everett was so rich in stories that it would have been great to have gotten more out of him before he passed on. Unfortunately, historians struggle to get to everyone who needs to be interviewed and we do lose people who are rich in stories and knowledge about the area.

If you have any stories to share about Everett or any others in this area whose story you think needs to be told, please email me at timothy@zanegrey.net. If you are willing to help in any way in getting history documented, you can reach me at the same address.

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