On My Bookshelf


With Christmas coming, I thought it might be a nice time to go through some of the books that I keep readily at hand. Perhaps you have someone in the family who loves history and are looking for some ideas. Here’s a sampling of what’s on my shelf.

The basic books

There are some basic history books on this area that I think everyone should have on their shelf and that I certainly have on mine. They are:

“Rim Country History,” published in 1984 by the Northern Gila County Historical Society — A great overview of the area with a lot of individual family histories. The committee of historians behind this book did a great job utilizing what they had and there is a lot of great information in here. A must-have if you love area history.

“Pioneer Women of Gila County, Arizona, Volumes 1-3” — Sometimes we forget just what great work the Daughters of Gila County Pioneers have done and these volumes are a prime example. I can’t think of another county in this state, much less the west that has such a great compilation of women’s history.

“Zane Grey’s Arizona” by Candace Kant — Here’s another book out of the 1980s that has held up really well over time. If you want a great summary read of Zane Grey’s time in Arizona, this is it.

“Rodeo 101,” by Jinx Pyle and Jayne Peace — Payson has the world’s oldest continuous rodeo and this is the definitive book on it. If I have a rodeo question, this is what I consult. Lots of really great photos in this book too, which it makes it one that visitors enjoy looking at.

“People of the Tonto Rim” by Charles L. Redman — If you are into arrowheads and archaeology, this book is for you. This is the premier book on Payson area prehistoric peoples. The next time you visit Shoofly, you’ll have a much deeper understanding.

Some others

“History of Gisela, Arizona” by Jayne Peace — I must admit, I need to spend more time going through this book. Gisela was once a much more happening spot than it is today and its role in area history is important. This is another book with a lot of great pictures in it too.

“The History of Globe, Arizona” by Donna Anderson — Published in 2007, this is a nice overview history on Globe with information on a lot of different families. In my opinion, this is the most definitive book on Globe history that is out there.

“Mountain Cowboys” by Jinx Pyle — There are pictures galore in this book and a lot of good cowboy tales. If you already have this one, check out Jinx’s “Tonto Lingo,” which is basically the sequel to it.

Zane Grey

Everybody seems to have their favorite Zane Grey books and writings. Here are some of mine.

Anything non-fiction of his — I think his non-fiction pieces really shine. His “Book of Camps & Trails” is filled with tales of this area and I think it’s Grey at his purest because he’s not transforming the scenery through fictional characters, but through the actual people. (Side note, I tend to prefer non-fiction books over fiction.) Check out some of his magazine pieces too. He was quite prolific and there’s some good stuff out there. Remember too, that he wrote about far more than just this area. He was a tremendous deep-sea fisherman as well.

“Under the Tonto Rim” — Originally published as “The Bee Hunter,” this book is all about the Babe Haught family. Perhaps not the most exciting of his books, but you can’t help but recognize the scenery if you’ve spent any time up by Tonto Fish Hatchery.

“Code of the West” — In my opinion this is more about the Pappy Haught family and I still think of Little Green Valley when the sorghum race occurs. Since I drive by Little Green Valley just about every day, I am inherently fond of this book.

Books about the Pleasant Valley War

There have been a great number of books written about the Pleasant Valley War. The most recent is Jinx Pyle’s “Pleasant Valley War.” It seems to me that most writers have taken the Tewksbury side. If you want a little bit of a different view, look to Leland Hanchett’s books. “They Shot Billy Today” is an excellent book. Don’t forget about Don Dedera’s “A Little War of Our Own,” as it is a work that has stood the test of time.

Some ‘hidden’ pieces

Not everything that I keep around is published with a firm spine. Some of my favorite reference items are reports that Desert Archaeology Inc. have done. Over the past couple of decades they’ve been doing the archaeological work in the area on various highway sections. It’s going to be more technical, but there’s a lot of good, somewhat more recent history in these reports as well. Check out the store at www.cdarc.org for these reports.

Another example is an old piece out of the 1980s on Babe Haught’s place up by Tonto Fish Hatchery. It appears to have been its nomination for the National Register of Historic Places. Pieces like that are really useful for historians, but are also just interesting reads. A lot of great research goes into things like that. Looking for ideas of the kind of reports out there like this? Check out the reference section at the Payson Public Library.


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