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.
As the newly settled town of Payson grew, so did the services it provided.
Chapter 9: FIRST STORES AND SALOONS
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.
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.
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.
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.
Chapter 5: THE SETTLEMENT BECOMES A VILLAGE
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
PIONEERS SELDOM DIED OF OLD AGE - Chapter 12
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
In this series we are exploring the stories behind isolated graves that can be found along roads and trails in the Rim Country.
Leaving the cemetery in Strawberry we return to the highway and head up the Mogollon Rim on State Routes 87/260.
We continue our investigation of a number of mysterious and isolated graves found around the Rim Country.
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.
When the Tonto Apaches returned to their homeland in the Payson area, they made camps at locations used by their forefathers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As the winter of 1871-1872 clutched the Rim Country in its grip, Tonto Apache chiefs began to bring their families to the several reservations.
The decade of the 1870's was the time of devastation for the Tonto Apache bands. By the end of the decade, their land had been wrested from them and their identity as a unique people all but extinguished.
The White Mountain Apaches had made peace with the American Army and agreed to the establishment of a post in the midst of their territory in exchange for food to feed their hungry people.
Early in March 1870, the Army introduced someone into the Arizona scene who would not only come to know the Tonto Apaches well, but play a large role in diminishing their tribe.
In the early months of 1870, attacks on supply trains south of the Tonto territory grew fiercer. Pinal Apaches, Yavapai, and perhaps some marauding bands of Tontos, carried them out.
The Rim Country is graced with striking natural wonders, impressive ancient ruins and important historic locations.
As word went out across Arizona about the ranching and prospecting possibilities in the central mountains and basins, pressure increased on the government to provide protection for settlers.
Major Alexander returned from his trip to San Francisco, seeking permission to establish a reservation, and immediately his enthusiasm for Del-che-ae cooled.
Lt. Chilson, the officer in charge of Camp Reno, had enough good will among the Apaches that he was able to have long conversations with Del-che-ae.
As the winter of 1869 progressed, desperate hunger among the Apaches and Yavapai created an outburst of raids and killings throughout the territory.
When the Army commanders decided an outpost in Green Valley would stretch their supply line too far, they established the post on Reno Wash as a more permanent location.
In the spring of 1868, construction on the military road resumed, with a plan to develop it all the way to Green Valley.
In early April 1868 Chief Del-che-ae shouted a declaration of war as the Army invaded his stronghold in the Sierra Ancha.