Near Christopher Creek sits the Hunter Creek Ranch subdivision. This gated community has its own water and sewer system, and a certified 100-year water supply.
But how did it get its name? Here’s a look at it, including a look at one of the forgotten early settlers of this region.
A survey was done in 1905 of some of the Christopher Creek area. Isadore Christopher can be found where the heart of the Christopher Creek area is today, but when looking at where Hunter Creek Ranch is located one finds the Williamson name.
This is a name that is not familiar and research has shown an incomplete picture of this family. It appears that it was the home of Nicholas C Williamson, who was born in Illinois in the early 1860s and who would die in Globe on Feb. 24, 1930. Williamson can be found on the 1900, 1910, and 1920 censuses in this area. 1900 is particularly telling, as Christopher is on the next line. Clearly this gentleman was in the Christopher Creek area at that point. He appears to have been single and not gotten married until the decade before his death. There are a couple of other Williamsons, Dan and Al, that can be found mentioned in newspaper clippings in this same era, but it does not appear that they are related to Nicholas.
At the time the creek that runs through Hunter Creek Ranch was named Williamson Creek on the 1905 map. Yet it also ran by the place of another early settler — Josine Roxwell Hunter. Hunter would go on to patent land at the junction of today’s Highway 260 and the Colcord Mountain Road, though the land is no longer privately held. This is for whom Hunter Creek Ranch is ultimately named, as the creek would become known as Hunter Creek.
Josine Hunter was born March 24, 1865 in Pennsylvania. He first shows up in this region when he voted in 1896 and it is assumed that he was out in the Christopher Creek area at that time, though on his homestead paperwork he states that he settled on the land he would patent in July of 1897. He applied for this patent on Feb. 13, 1908 and received it March 6, 1911. His four witnesses for his patent were William McFadden (for whom McFadden Peak south of Young is named), William Voris, John Henry Thompson and John Wentworth. All four of these gentlemen were notable people during that time.
According to his homestead paperwork, he had been absent from his property once since he settled it — for a year-and-a-half during the Spanish-American War. He stated that he was employed as a packer in Puerto Rico during that time, but had someone there to manage the ranch for him.
He grew corn, cane and a “little garden truck” on this property, which he lived on with his wife. At the time of his patent, he also held a grazing permit for 240 cattle and owned about six horses and 100 chickens according to the paperwork. Assistant Forest Ranger Claud B. Delbridge recommended his claim for approval on Oct. 18, 1910. Hunter would die on July 28, 1922 in Winslow, Ariz.
As for the land on which Hunter Creek Ranch actually sits, it would be patented on Sept. 8, 1925 by William H. Eubank, who was born in Texas and had settled on the land on March 3, 1920 according to his homestead paperwork. Lewis Kohl, Buford Hunt, Lewis Bowman and Charles Allenbaugh were his witnesses.
The house that he lived in was on the land at the time he settled there. He grew beans, hay, corn, and some alfalfa in addition to having a garden.
Much thanks to the Arizona Heritage Research Foundation for usage of the homestead paperwork that was a source for much of this article. These documents, available for a fee from the National Archives in Washington D.C., provide invaluable information about patented land.