Flowing Springs History


A little bit outside of Payson via Highway 87 and a Forest Service road is the Flowing Springs subdivision. It sits around the East Verde River and is a beautiful spot with a lot of history. Let’s take a closer look at it, including how Arthur Neal patented it in the 1910s.

In the 1880s it was known as the Sidella Place, named for Henry Sidles. He settled there in the late 1870s and the 1881 Yavapai Assessor’s rolls have the following entry for Sidles:

“Possessory right to 160 acres of land and improvements on East fork of Verde Known as H. Sidles ranch; 2 Horses $60.00; 20 Cows $300.00; 20 Calves $80.00.”

Sidles would later move into Payson and the Sept. 2, 1886 Hoof and Horn had the following about him in an article about the future prospects of the area.

“Where the town of Payson now stands, less than five years ago the Apache knew no rival, save in the person of the pioneer settler, Henry Sidles, who could, if he were disposed, tell as well as any man in the Southwest, what the dangers of a pioneer’s life are. Separated by many miles from his nearest neighbor, Mr. Sidles, accompanied by none save a noble wife, held his own against every effort made by the wily Apaches to dispossess him. Burnt out time and again, with all his stock killed and driven off, constant skirmishes with the savages, the firm nature of the man asserted itself until even his murderous foes grew to respect and regard him as a man who would not yield an inch in accomplishing an object he once aimed at. Today the tide of good fortune has set in towards him and if his life is prolonged but a few short years, in wealthy ease he will enjoy the fruits of his privations and self-denying labor.”

Sidles had a hotel in Payson, located where Harrison’s Garage now stands. Meanwhile, Flowing Springs would come to be settled in the late 1890s by the John and Sarah Holder family. Rim Country History, published in 1984 by the Northern Gila County Historical Society, has the following:

“The family arrived in Arizona in 1896, and bought three places on the East Verde. The home place was called Sidella, now known as Flowing Springs. John Holder built a stone and adobe house on the lower part of the place and put in a store and post office. The first name for the post office was Holder, but it was later changed to Angora.”

According to Rim Country History, John Holder sold his places on the East Verde in 1902, with at least one of them being sold to his brother Sidney. It was probably Flowing Springs that was sold to Sidney, as in the paperwork for the Arthur Neal patent there is a Sept. 15, 1907 application from S.J. Holder, as well as a plat map.

A “Ned White Chanley” may have had some of this property around the same time — there is mention of a conflicting claim in the homestead file. This appears to have gotten cleared up by the time Arthur Neal filed on the claim.

According to Arthur Neal’s patent application, he first established residence on the claim around “July or August 1909.” Neal was from Texas, the son of William Neal, whose family had arrived in Gisela in 1891, according to Jayne Peace’s History of Gisela, Arizona. Arthur married Bessie Newnham in 1908 before reportedly buying the Flowing Springs place. Keep in mind that such transactions were technically according to patent law, but did seem to occur at times. According to Neal’s patent application, the house had been on the property 35 years, which would place the house back to 1881 and the time of Henry Sidles. According to his application, he grew “19 or 20 acres every year in alfalfa mostly, but some garden, corn, etc each year. Have had crop ever year. I irrigate 15 acres from Weber creek.”

He received approval on 103.99-acre patent on Oct. 11, 1917. Not long after, they sold the place to Dave Devore. Neal went on to patent 31.3 acres in the Lion Springs Road area of Star Valley in 1922.

Flowing Springs would be developed into a subdivision by J.C. and Alice Murphy and Steve and Lucy Hathaway in the 1960s. Murphy had the Wailing Cow Ranch there at the time.


My understanding is that Angora, where there was a post office and school at one point, was located approximately at the first river crossing in from Highway 87 headed to Flowing Springs.

There is definitely additional information that could be gathered on this and other subdivisions in this region. One of the more interesting areas could be the patents that were applied for but never completed such as S.J. Holder’s. Those specific cases will require research at the National Archives Riverside, California facility. If you have any information and/or old photos that you’d like to share, please contact me at timothy@ zanegrey.net.


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