In the northern part of Payson is 142.85 acres that were patented in 1920 by Andrew T. Hammons. The bulk of this land was later turned into the Payson Ranchos subdivision. Here’s a look at this piece of land as well as Hammons.
This parcel is a little over two miles from the historic heart of Payson, Main Street and McLane. Even when it was turned into a subdivision in the late 1950s it was touted as being “just two miles north of Payson on the Pine Highway.”
During the 1910s it definitely would have felt further out given that horses were still the primary form of transportation in the area and were roads were primitive by today’s standards.
Andrew T. Hammons was profiled in a variety of Who’s Who in Arizona books during the 1910s and 1920s. The 1913 Who’s Who in Arizona, compiled and published by Jo Conners, said the following of Hammons, “As a business man Mr. Hammons has been a thorough success from every viewpoint and is held in highest esteem among the public with whom he has dealt for more than twenty years, having by his integrity, veracity and firmness won their implicit confidence.”
Hammons was born in Angelina County, Texas in 1868. He came to Globe in 1900 where he first went to work in the Old Dominion Mine as a miner before working in the company bank. There he worked under George W.P. Hunt, who would later become Arizona’s first governor.
He became involved in a variety of business interests in Globe including some mining ventures. He moved to Payson around 1915, working as cashier at Payson Commercial & Trust, Payson’s first bank. He was also one of the incorporators of this company.
After his time in Payson, he was appointed to a variety of state positions by Governor Hunt, including Superintendent of Banks. After his time in state positions, he settled down in the Phoenix area in the citrus business. He died in 1954.
It appears that prior to Hammons patenting the 142.85 acres, Charles McFarland had made an effort to patent it. The Homestead Entry Survey for the property, H.E.S. 123 was done at the time of McFarland’s application. McFarland was born in Mississippi in the early 1860s and moved to Texas at a young age before moving to Arizona. His sister, Susan, who married George Gladden, was involved in one of the significant events in the Pleasant Valley War. She was in the Blevins house in Holbrook when Sheriff Commodore Perry Owens busted through the door, killing the Blevins boys. McFarland had a variety of mining interests in the region and also served as Justice of the Peace. It appears though that he spent more of his time in Pleasant Valley, which may be why he did not patent this property.
According to the homestead paperwork, Hammons established residence on the property in February of 1917. There was a house on the land when he came to it, but he expanded the house. He grew some corn, wheat, and Sudan grass on the property. Ralph Hubert, Mart McDonald, James Barger, and Charles E. Chilson served as witnesses for him.
Beginning in the late 1950s this land was gradually turned into the Payson Ranchos subdivision. At first it was just an area east of today’s McLane Road (known as Pine Drive on the initial Payson Ranchos plat map). The first plat map was filed Aug. 1, 1956. Maddock & Associates did the engineering work. An ad in The Arizona Republic on the same day that the first plat map was filed included the following description of the subdivision: “Payson Ranchos are offering 134 lots, where you can build the cottage of your choice and design. There are both wooded and meadow lots, located just two miles north of Payson on the Pine Highway.” The larger parts of the subdivision that sits west of McLane Road were not developed until the late 1960s. Eventually after Payson grew northward the plot of land that was originally two miles north of Payson became part of Payson and was first emphasized as a place for a “cool summer retreat” became home to many full time residents.