Christopher Creek’s pioneer family, the Bowmans, spent many years on the CI Ranch they had patented in 1917. Along the way, son Lewis met one of the Belluzzi girls, who were raised on a homestead near the headwaters of the East Verde River. Lewis fell hard.
Meanwhile, just up the Gordon Canyon wagon trail a few miles was the Thirteen Ranch owned by Hook Larsen, a Hash Knife cowboy at one time. Lewis intended to marry Sue and heard that Larsen had the Thirteen for sale. He went to John and asked for the money. Lewis had a legitimate argument having worked the ranch many years and had a part of the ranch they had sold in Texas. John wouldn’t see it. The price was too high, he said. Lewis went back to Hook to negotiate — to no avail.
My old friends Sally Mystrom and Myrtle Haught Branstetter told and wrote about John Bowman’s proclivity to cuss. Babe Haught believed that Bowman never drew a breath without cuss words coming back out. One can imagine the argument when Lewis returned to demand that they mortgage the CI Ranch for him to buy the Thirteen. John’s wife, Kate, sided with Lewis and after hours of heated discussion John gave in, declaring the deal would bust them.
After John met Sue, his anger dissipated somewhat. Lewis married Sue and moved onto the Thirteen. As the years passed, two babies were born, but Sue died from a third pregnancy. Kate moved to the Thirteen to help raise her grandchildren and stayed on there until she passed in 1946.
Lewis was keen on buying an adjacent ranch and although the mortgage on the CI was nearly paid, he borrowed again for more land. The Bowman father and son worked the CI and Thirteen ranches through dry years and a failing cattle market. Then along comes The Great Depression. The note was overdue and when it was near to foreclosure, a decision was made to sell the ranch on Christopher Creek, along with the ranch adjacent to the Thirteen.
We spent some time recently with local Realtor Susan Keown and learned she was able to obtain copies of the sale of the Bowman ranch in the Creek. Details in the transaction tell us that on the 27th day of June 1938, John, Kate and Lewis Bowman did convey by Quit Claim and by Warranty Deed their property in the Christopher Creek. Proceeds from the sale paid off the note and saved the Thirteen Ranch.
John lived out his life on the Thirteen until he passed in 1941. Six-year-old Sally was mightily impressed with her “Uncle John.” He taught her all the things a little girl should know — how to cuss, spit, and ride a horse. Lewis died in 1964. That deed also tells us the CI ranch property was sold to a Paul and Polly Ashby. That is where we will take up next time.
Last week we received better than six-tenths of an inch of rain coming in a couple of showers. This helped to bring down a lot of the leaves, but the trees are not yet bare. Temperatures remained in the high 60s throughout the week making the afternoons delightful.
There are but a few apples remaining from a fair to poor crop this year.
The neighbors across the road celebrated the long Veterans Day weekend hosting family from California. Dee Dee’s parents, Bill and Sherrie Scott were there, along with sister Lindsay and her husband Eddie. Dee Dee’s nephew, Clayton, is soon to be 6. They all raked leaves, burned leaves, helped Ivory hang Christmas decorations and sat around campfires all weekend. Lindsay and Eddie got in a little hiking. When they ran out of wood for the campfire, Blake loaded up the wheelbarrow with pine rounds and brought them over to the splitter. Dee Dee’s 12-year-old, Christian, and his young cousin, Clayton, were there to load wood coming from the splitter. Then Christian was called on to operate the controls on the machine. He did great, but he is bigger than his cousin, so he went back to loading. Up next, we got Clayton to operate the hydraulics. Did we mention he is almost 6, sports a handsome pair of glasses, and he’s from California? His saucer-sized eyes behind those glasses fixated on my hand-signals for his entire time behind the controls. Priceless.
CCHOA president John Turtchin is inviting everyone for muffins Saturday morning, Nov. 16. Of course, he expects you to pitch in and help with the figurines and the lighting along the Loop. Christmas decorations are a long-standing tradition here in the Creek. Be there at 10 a.m. or you will miss out on all the fun!
Chief Lockhart informs us that the firefighters assigned to California returned safely on Monday ... and that’s another week in the Creek.