I was going through some old Payson Roundups out of the 1960s recently when I came across the mention of a few locals in a biographical encyclopedia that came out in 1967. It’s an interesting mix of people, some of whom are so comparatively modern that they got forgotten about. Let’s take a look and learn a little bit more.
This was the name that caught my eye the most. During the 1950s and 1960s, Steve and his wife Lucy were amongst the most influential people in this area. He had a real estate company, did some development and was also heavily involved in airport and hospital efforts.
Hathaway was born in Milwaukee, Wis. on Sept. 11, 1898. Eventually he headed west and became a pilot. When World War II struck he was in Oregon and soon came to Mesa to train pilots at Falcon Field. After the war he came to Payson, The American Biographical Encyclopedia Profiles of Prominent Personalities describes it this way.
“Hathaway could see great opportunities in Payson in 1946, and he bought up a number of properties for subdividing. He built a motel, too, and looked forward to the day when the Beeline Highway would be finished and tourists would come in increasing numbers. With Preston Dooley and T.L. Meredith, he organized a water company to serve his subdivisions. Hathaway Addition, Rim View and other developments followed.”
Lewis Pyle and Nan Pyle
Lewis and Nan are featured on pages facing each other in this book. They were a contrast in many ways. Lewis was from an old Payson family, a true cowboy at heart, while Nan was the outsider, heiress to a fortune, yet someone who was often misunderstood. They had a great impact though. Lewis had been one of Zane Grey’s guides and Nan did a great deal for this area, including helping with the hospital and an art center. They certainly deserved mention in the 1960s as essentially part of a “who’s who” of Payson and the west in general.
When you look for Payson legends, it’s not hard to come across Howard Childers. This was a man who had a great impact. He was born in Oklahoma in 1903 and came to Payson with his family in the year that Arizona became a state, 1912. He married Rose McDonald in 1926 and did some ranching after that. Eventually though, he went into law enforcement and that’s how a lot of people remember him. Childers loved the outdoors and was a co-founder of the Tonto Rim Riders, a trail riding group that was formed in 1958. He died in 1977 and an estimated 500 people attended his funeral, according to a Payson Roundup article published just after the funeral.
Charles was born in the Payson area on Jan. 2, 1894 to John and Emily Chilson. He was a rancher pretty much his whole life. He had the Bar S and H Bar outfits at various times and was very well known and respected in the region. This was a rare man who saw many of the changes that occurred in this region as we went from a territory to a state to much more modern times. Chilson died in 1976.
Mikol owned and ran Kohl’s Ranch for a long time, owning it from the 1950s until he sold it in the early 1980s. Mikol was born Michael Mikolajczyk at Castrop-Rauxel near Dortmund, Germany. He was of Polish ancestry, but was an unwilling draftee into the German Army during World War I. He migrated to Argentina and then onto America during the 1920s, first settling in Wisconsin before coming west.
Kohl’s Ranch was not the only commercial entity that he owned in Arizona. Mikol also had the Rose Bowl and Lazy A Motels in Phoenix. Sometimes you will see ads for Kohl’s Ranch mixed with ads for the Rose Bowl and Lazy A.
Mikol enjoyed singing and was a member of the Phoenix Orpheus Club, a men’s chorus who often made trips to this area (surely because of the Mikol tie) during the 1960s. During the pivotal growth era in this region of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, Mikol played a large role as he built up Kohl’s Ranch.
Walter J. Randall and Glen L. Randall
Both of these great men had unfortunately passed away by the time that this biographical book came out. Walter was Glen’s father and both had a significant impact on the region.
Walter was born in Harrisburg, Utah on Oct. 8, 1875. His father, Alfred Randall, came to Pine in the early 1880s amongst a small group of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who were settling in the area. Walter grew up in Pine and married Martha Fuller in 1897. They had nine children, including Glen.
Glen was born in Pine on July 5, 1912. He moved with his family to Mesa during the 1920s when they invested in cotton land in that area. He moved back with them to Pine after the cotton market busted. Glen became a lawyer and was heavily involved in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He practiced law in the Phoenix area, but continued his ties to the region, coming up often to tend to the Tonto Natural Bridge, which he owned.
Walter passed away on March 10, 1967, just five days after his son Glen had died.
If you know of someone else who history seems to be leaving out, please let me know. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m also always on the lookout for old photos and you’d be surprised of the dearth of photos from the 1950s, 60s and 70s, that seem to be around.
I’d like to send condolences to the Pyle and Warter families on the passing of Jack Warter.