Back to profile

Stan Brown

Stories by Stan

The Story of Payson, Arizona

Chapter 26: A sun dial and a women’s club

In the year 1920 Payson’s first civic organization was created and it was all about a sundial.

The Story of Payson, Arizona


On Jan. 17, 1920 Payson was on the threshold of an economic boom. That was the day the 18th Amendment to America’s Constitution went into effect, and the National Prohibition Act became law.

The Story of Payson, Arizona


The year 1918 was a pivotal time for Payson, because that was the year Zane Grey discovered the Rim Country, and began to write descriptions of its beauty that captured the hearts of readers.

The Story of Payson, Arizona

Chapter 22: When trucks replaced mule trains

When Grady Harrison was born Aug. 25, 1891 no one could have guessed he would be the first to bring supplies to Payson in a motorized vehicle. It was 1918, and this enterprising citizen was 27 years old when he began hauling freight from Globe to Payson, ending decades of isolation when the only deliveries were made by pack trains of mules or horses.

The Story of Payson, Arizona

Chapter 21: The teacher who became a legend

The town of Payson abounds in legends associated with haunted buildings, saloons, murders and characters whose stories run the gamut of human emotions. One such personage was Payson’s favorite schoolteacher, Julia Randall.

The Story of Payson, Arizona

Chapter 20: Payson gets a full-time doctor

In the early decades of the Payson community, medical care was limited to folk remedies or the occasional presence of a part-time doctor hired by the nearby mining companies.

The Story of Payson, Arizona

Chapter 19: The telephone came in 1908

In gleaning the memories of “old timers,” a seeker of facts soon faces a dilemma: memories are not all the same.

The Story of Payson, Arizona

Chapter 17: National Forests Established

In 1905 an event took place that profoundly affected the life of settlers in Payson and the surrounding Rim Country: President Theodore Roosevelt created the U.S. Forest Service.

The Story of Payson, Arizona

Chapter 16: a school is built in Payson

Grade school classes were held in Payson 11 years before there was a dedicated schoolhouse.

The story of Payson, Arizona

Chapter 15: A new century dawned on Payson

The turning of the new century caused the hearts of settlers in the Payson area to swell with hope and enthusiasm for the years just ahead.

The Story of Payson, Arizona

Chapter 14: Supplies came by burro train

As the settlement of Payson grew, more mercantile stores were established and there was an increasing demand for supplies. The very thing that had protected the Tonto Apache people for so long, the isolation of the Rim Country from the rest of the world, now made supplying the settlers extremely difficult.

The story of Payson, Arizona

Chapter 13:Payson’s first developers

The first persons to earn a living from real estate in Payson were August and Wilhelmina Pieper. Their story begins with Mrs. Pieper’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Boske, who fled Germany’s tyrannical government in 1880 and came to America.

The Story of Payson, Arizona

Chapter 12: Politics burned brightly

After Globe had become the county seat for Payson voters, politicians began to look at the northern wing of the county with and an eye to the future. Two of those up and coming politicos were John W. Wentworth and George W. P. Hunt. Both of them would marry Rim Country girls.

The story of Payson, Arizona

Chapter 11: Payson joins Gila County

The early days of Gila County it earned the distinction of being among the West’s most violent counties. The many shootings in and around Payson contributed to that dubious distinction.

The story of Payson, Arizona

As the newly settled town of Payson grew, so did the services it provided.

The Story of Payson, Arizona


In the spring of 1886, a settler named Frank Alkire came through Payson on his way to lay claim to Indian Gardens along Tonto Creek. Years later he recalled how the town appeared.

The Story of Payson, Arizona

founded by miners, built by ranchers: the story of payson, arizona - Chapter 8: PAYSON BEGAN AN AUGUST TRADITION

The excitement and terror of Apache raids in the Rim Country had culminated on July 17, 1882 at the Battle of Big Dry Wash. Daily life was becoming less anxious, and settlers could get down to the real business of cattle raising and prospecting.

The Story of Payson, Arizona

Founded by miners, built by ranchers: the story of payson, arizona - Chapter 7: A POST OFFICE NAMED PAYSON

By the year 1884 the village of Union Park was growing along the crossroads that came from Ox Bow Hill on the south, the mines around Marysville to the west, Pine to the north, and settlers under the Rim to the east. Businesses and homes intermingled as residents claimed the tillable properties on the meadow by the springs. The wash came to be called The American Gulch, named after the American Mine at its mouth on the East Verde River.

The Story of Payson, Arizona

In 1883, the news broke throughout Union Park that eastern financiers, including magnates of the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad, were sponsoring a railroad line that would come from Flagstaff down through the Tonto Basin, passing near Union Park.

The Story of Payson, Arizona


Early in 1882, Henry Sidles, who still maintained his ranch at Flowing Springs, was living in his poured-mud adobe house in Green Valley. Across from his “mud house” he built the community’s first mercantile store and saloon.

The Story of Payson, Arizona

Before Green Valley became a village, a mining camp almost took the honors in 1881 three miles to the west. A cluster of miners’ tents mushroomed beside the military road established more than a decade earlier by the army. The road from Tonto Basin followed Wild Rye Creek to its headwaters, and then continued to the mouth of Pine Creek.


In the 10 years from 1867 through 1876, 60 skirmishes were fought between the Indians and the army in and around Green Valley (Payson) and in the Tonto Basin.


founded by miners, built by ranchers: the story of Payson, Arizona

Green Valley was left to the Apaches for six years following the army's failure to establish a military post there.


founded by miners, built by ranchers: the story of payson, arizona

Green Valley was left to the Apaches for six years following the army’s failure to establish a military post there. In July of 1874 De-che-ae, the last Apache chief to hold out against the white invasion was killed and the remnants of his band surrendered to the Rio Verde Reservation.


Founded by miners, built by ranchers: The Story of Payson, Arizona

For some years I have desired to set down an orderly account of the town of Payson, Arizona, founded by gold miners and established by cattle ranchers in the late 19th century. It is a story that begins in the spring of 1868.

Earthquakes for Payson?

Planet Earth seems to be in revolt against its human occupiers, but we who live in Arizona's central highlands hardly give a thought to tornados, earthquakes, and tsunamis.

A stroll among the pioneer graves - Chapter 17

We conclude our look at the stories of pioneers who are buried in Rim Country graves by returning to our place of beginning, the Payson Pioneer Cemetery.

The bones of Payson

In our search for the isolated graves of Rim Country pioneers, we should not overlook "the ancient ones" -- those people who populated Payson and its surroundings from at least 1000 B.C. until they disappeared around A.D. 1250.

The grave of Davy Gowan

Some of graves of Rim Country pioneers are isolated enough that some good, healthy hiking is required to stand at the spot and recall the dramatic life it represents.

A cemetery called 'The Last Roundup'


In our search for the isolated graves of Rim Country pioneers, we take a drive down Ox Bow Hill on the Beeline Highway, and at the foot of the hill we come to the little community of Rye.

The Starr of Starr Valley


The stories of early settlers buried in isolated graves are often difficult to get straight, because so many conflicting folk stories can surround them. Never was this more true than in our attempt to decipher the story of Mr. Starr, for whom Starr Valley is named.

The cemetery on Colcord Road


Throughout the Rim Country and Tonto Basin lie the remains of brave pioneers who settled this fruitful but isolated section of Arizona during its territorial and early statehood years. These solitary and sometimes family plots conjure up memories of the drama, hardship, glory and excitement that surround the settlement of Arizona's central mountains.

Pioneers seldom died of old age, Chapter 11

Tracking down the lonely graves of pioneers in Arizona's Rim Country can take us to some really isolated places. Three graves, side by side along a trace of the old Crook Trail tell an ugly story of local history. They are the graves of Jamie Stott, Jimmy Scott and Jeff Wilson, who were hanged during what historian James McClintock called "one of bloodiest features of Arizona's history," the Pleasant Valley War.

Pioneers seldom died of old age, Chapter 10

It is a breathtaking view, its beauty in stark contrast to the ugly murder that took place just back across the highway. Nearby is the grave of Al Fulton, and recounting his death gathers up one of the little known sagas of Rim Country history.

Pioneers seldom died of old age

When walking through a cemetery, one cannot help feeling a sense of history, for each grave marker tells the snippet of a human life. I am tempted to wonder about the person buried there, and to imagine the precious life memorialized in stone. But not all interesting graves are in cemeteries.

Pioneers seldom died of old age, Chapter 7

On the Mogollon Rim at East Clear Creek, the 1882 battlefield known at "Big Dry Wash" contains the grave of Private Joseph McLernon, the only white solider killed during the conflict. At its head is an official military marker. But is his body really under this mound of stones?

Pioneers seldom died of old age, Chapter 6

Pvt. Joseph McLernon was the only white soldier killed at the famous 1882 Battle of Big Dry Wash, north of Payson on East Clear Creek.

Chapter 5: Pioneers seldom died of old age

In this series we are exploring the stories behind isolated graves that can be found along roads and trails in the Rim Country.

Pioneers seldom died of old age

Leaving the cemetery in Strawberry we return to the highway and head up the Mogollon Rim on State Routes 87/260.

Pioneers seldom died of old age

We continue our investigation of a number of mysterious and isolated graves found around the Rim Country.

Pioneers seldom died of old age

Life for the early settlers in the Rim Country was seldom a picnic.


The continuing friendship of Mrs. Lewis Pyle with the Tonto Apaches led to an effort to help them become economically independent.


Chapter 48 - The History of the Tonto Apaches

It was simply called "The Camp," located in the Tonto National Forest south of Payson.

East Verde and Indian Hill


When the Tonto Apaches returned to their homeland in the Payson area, they made camps at locations used by their forefathers.

The return home


As the 19th century entered its last decade, military control over the San Carlos Reservation became lax. Tonto and Yavapai families were free to return to the places they called home, and this usually meant returning to the places where their fathers had been born.

Violence and rebellion


In 1881, word was spreading about a mystic of the White Mountain tribe who was preaching a radical philosophy at Cibecue and Carrizo. His name was Nock-ay-del-klinne.

The Tontos' long march


Many of America's native tribes had their "trail of tears" -- a long march forced upon them as they were moved from one territory or another by White armies. The Tontos and Yavapai were no exception.

Life at San Carlos


No sooner had the Tonto Apache and Yavapai bands been rounded up on the San Carlos Reservation, than white homesteaders began staking out the Indian lands for themselves.

The death of Delshay


In March of 1873, Crook's Army, led by the scout C. C. Cooley and his White Mountain Indian company, had captured a Tonto woman and forced her to show them where the Tonto warriors were hiding out.