Payson is named for Lewis Edwin Payson, an Illinois Congressman. But how did such a small place come to the attention of such a man? The answer is like Hise; as in John Hise and family. Here is a look at this man and his family.
John H. Hise Sr. started off as a newspaper publisher in Ottawa, Ill. in the 1840s. He eventually became involved politics and was mentioned during one of the Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858.
Hise was a legislator in the Illinois State House during the 1870s and this is where he likely encountered Lewis Payson. Given what can be gathered from later newspaper accounts, it seems that Hise was a politically connected man. The March 2, 1876 Decatur Republican provides a little bit of a sense.
“Again, for Auditor, they nominated Mr. Hise, of Chicago, another Democrat, and by his own statement in the convention, of the old school – such as John C. Calhoun, Yancey, Bob. Toombs and Jeff. Davis used to be, now known as Bourbons – who it is said never learned anything and never forgot anything”
Hise had two children, Frank and John H. Jr. By the late 1870s John Jr. had set up shop in Globe in partnership with W.P. Shyrock for a general merchandise store. At some point around 1880 it appears that John Sr. had joined his son in Globe and became involved in a variety of things including as a board member of the Arizona Mineral Belt Railroad.
The Hises moved to Green Valley (Payson) in the early 1880s and set up a store. Frank Hise joined his father and brother and when Green Valley received a post office in 1884, Frank became the postmaster. In the summer of 1885 John Jr. moved with his wife to Flagstaff. They had had an interesting happening on the way as this clip from the Aug. 15, 1885 Arizona Silver Belt tells.
Child Born Under Peculiar Circumstances
On Tuesday last a circumstance occurred when ushered into the world a bright little baby under peculiar surroundings. Mrs. John H. Hise, of Green Valley, Tonto Basin, who was about to be confined started from her home for Flagstaff with her husband’s pack train. When they arrived at what is known as the Potato ranch, about one day’s ride from Flagstaff, she complained of feeling unwell, but concluded to continue her journey, and when about five miles this side of the ranch, was compelled to stop, and gave birth to her child. This occurred in the morning, and all that day and night she remained on the ground with the child, her only attention being from the man in charge of the pack train. The following morning a man came along the road, and the two arranged a littler, upon which they carried their precious burden back to the potato ranch, where she received the care and attention of those of her sex. The mother and child are doing well” -
It should be noted that the Arizona Silver Belt clarified a week later in their August 22 edition that “Mr. and Mrs. Hise drove over from Payson with a buckboard together, the husband and wife being confident they could reach Flagstaff and be near a physician or assistance before the expected arrival of the baby. When about four miles this side of potato ranch the mules attached to the buckboard took fright and ran away, which excitement hastened Mrs. Hise’s sickness, and they were compelled to stop on the road. There were with the party, Mrs. Thistle, Mr. Adams, the head packer, and Mr. Fleming. Mrs. Hise had every care and attention from her husband and those around her, and there were seven in the party who conveyed her back to the ranch. So all the romance is gone from the circumstance, in reference to her being alone with the packer when the birth appeared.”
In 1885 John Sr. was appointed Surveyor General of Arizona. The Nov. 14, 1885 Arizona Champion said that Hise “is highly esteemed as a gentleman of ability and integrity. He is an elderly gentleman, having passed three score and ten and has been a life long Democrat. While it is claimed that he is an Arizonan much of his time has been spent east. The appointment will be generally considered an acceptable one throughout the Territory.”
It appears that Hise had been lobbying for some sort of federal appointment. Just a few months before in their May 30, 1885 issue the Arizona Silver Belt had written that, “J.H. Hise is still in the East using what influence he has to secure the Governorship.”
John Hise Sr. served as Arizona Surveyor General for four years and he died shortly after leaving office. His obituary in the Nov. 26, 1889 Decatur Daily Republican described him as “a man of great ability and high character.”
The Hise family owned Little Green Valley and by the end of 1888 had put it on the market. Here’s a clip from the Dec. 26, 1888 The Weekly Arizona Miner, which it had taken from The Arizonan, about Little Green Valley.
“Mr. Hise has a beautiful and romantic home. Little Green valley has an altitude of about 5,000 feet above sea-level and nestled under the rim rock of the Mogollons, which rise perpendicularly 500 to 1,000 feet above it. It is situate 100 miles from Phenix; the same from Prescott, and 50 miles from Winslow on the Atlantic and Pacific railroad. He has 160 acres under fence, and its water controls a magnificent stock range from 6 to 8 miles in extent. The valley itself, which is principally rolling hills, embraces about all the arable land in that region, and last year produced about 1,000 tons of hay, 10 tons of corn, besides vegetables. That the place is profitable as well as pleasant is thus demonstrated.”
John Hise Jr. and Frank Hise moved to the Los Angeles area. Frank died there in 1894 and John died in 1892. While the Hises were in Gila County a relatively short time, they certainly made an impact.