In recent years, a short, handwritten diary of Arthur Talmadge, written in 1903, was given to Bill Garrett by John Grady, both of Plainfield, New Jersey.
Not long after graduating from Harvard, Arthur was sent to Arizona in order to recover from an episode of pulmonary bleeding. The diary was written upon his arrival. For the most part, he speaks as an observer. His writings periodically reveal his elitism and racism, encouraged, in the years preceding, by his educators at Harvard, and during the writing of this diary, by a new group of reckless peers he finds himself among. Arthur appreciates the beauty that surrounds him, reports the depravity that is abundant, and seems to be one of the most sensitive of the motley bunch.
Perhaps it is Arthur’s boredom, naiveté or lack of choice that leads him to venture into a wild and hot desert with careless and egotistical men. While the dry air of Arizona may have relieved some of Arthur’s physical discomfort, the lack of protection from the elements, the jostling of his fragile body on horse rides over rough terrain, and the violent and immature behavior of those surrounding Arthur surely hindered his healing.
In my transcription of the diary, to bring ease to the reader, I have made punctuation and spelling corrections. The reader should note that, nearing the end of his diary, Arthur begins referring to himself in the third person as “Tally.”
Diary of Arthur Talmadge
Thursday, January 1, 1903
At Castle Creek Hot Springs, there was a fancy dress ball last night at which everyone saw the New Year in. Unfortunately, I was not able to attend as I had a touch of pleurisy and thought I had better remain in my room. All day today, the festivities continued. The horse races, including a ring spearing tournament and ending in a grand melée, was the event of the day. Mr. Higginson, who weighs two hundred and is clumsy, was thrown from his horse, Blue Peter, to the great excitement of the gallery. Fortunately, no damage was done, though Mr. Higginson, who is not much of a horseman, I think was pretty well frightened. Mr. Wood caused much amusement as his pony, which going at full speed, suddenly began bucking most seriously and uttering the most peculiar sounds. The grand malée was the best and the “reds,” of which Harry was captain, finally defeated the “yellows,” Jay Lippincott’s team. My pleurisy kept me and Bronco Nell, my pony, out of that also, and I retired last, while a small but select party gathered in Mrs. Williams sitting room for punch and song.
Friday, January 2, 1903
This morning we had an early breakfast and drove to Phoenix. Edward McVitty, a Philadelphia fellow, rode my little roan pony and Harry and I drove in a wagon. It was a beautiful day and we made remarkable time driving the fifty-one miles in six and one-half hours. Mr. Calhoun was up to see us off and offered to do anything he could, as usual. Dr. Keane, Mr. and Mrs. Williams and Miss Willis were also there to see us off and Jay Lippincott shouted to us from his window, as he was not attired to appear in public.
We spent the afternoon and evening around the stores doing a little shopping and looking for something to do. There is nothing going on in this place in the way of amusement, except the saloons with the gambling.
Most of the people are invalids and the surroundings here are very depressing.
Saturday, January 3, 1903
This day was a dull day. None of us had much to do and we wandered about the streets waiting for it to be time for each one of us to depart. Harry left in the afternoon for New York. McVitty was undecided whether to go to California or buy a horse and ride back to Castle Creek. I hoped to get on my way to Cave Creek, which is thirty miles from Phoenix, a little northeast and in the foothills. Charles Henderson, however, could not get away until Monday, the day we planned to go, so I had to wait.
During this morning, I met Mr. Field, to whose ranch I am going at Cave Creek. In New York, his costume would have stamped him as a chief sport. I was disappointed and neither Mr. McVitty or I could take a very favorable view of our new friend, especially as the little I had heard about him testified to the fact that he was a so called “sport.” In justice to him, I must say here that my opinion has changed, on knowing him, greatly in his favor. Eliot Lee, Charles Henderson, Edward McVitty and I went during the morning to the Phoenix Golf Club. In the afternoon, I put Bronco Nell in a breaking cart and found the drive splendidly.
Sunday, January 4, 1903
Today was very monotonous. McVitty went to church this morning and I read Francis Marion Crawford’s “Cecilia,” which is a book that does not appeal to me at all. In the afternoon, Charles Henderson drove in from Dr. Stone’s, bringing me an invitation “to come out there with him for afternoon tea,” the invitation coming from Miss Caroline Lee. As I had no presentable clothes with me, I begged to be excused, though I appreciated the kindness. This evening, McVitty and I took a last stroll together and ended up by going to a Baptist religious revival. This church had been destroyed by fire, so the meeting was held in a large hall over the business of a butcher store and the meeting of some other religious society. The address of Dr. Cairns seemed to me uninspiring and commonplace. He was a heavy man and inspired himself so much that he jumped about the platform until it went through with him. He then made a witty remark about the platform not being used to supporting such weighty preachers. This remark struck me as singularly out of place. While there was a polite titter, I felt the congregation audience was as out of sympathy as I and I went to my hotel disappointed.
Monday, January 5, 1903
McVitty remained in Phoenix until this afternoon, when he was to start for California, but I did not see him again after returning from the Baptist revival yesterday, as I left for Cave Creek at daylight. I was sorry to part with him, as he appealed to me strongly and I admired him for his frank, intelligent simplicity.
As our wagon came for me, stopped again for Mr. Field and again for Charley Henderson, each time taking on lots of baggage, it was late before we got off. I rode Bronco Nell until we came to the desert and Eliot Lee rode with me.
There we watered the horses, for the last time, in the Arizona Canal. Mr. Field, the driver, and the baggage went ahead in the wagon. Charley and I followed in his little wagon, alternately driving and leading his pony “Sister” and Bronco Nell. As our day carriage was very light, when we came to a steep wash, we drove out into the desert to find a more gradual slope across. We were unfortunate in not finding what we wanted, we lost our way, had to get out and lead our horses and, on me gaining the road, came to a fork. I put faith in the left hand road. Charley, who had been on the road last year, was sure it was the right hand one.
Finally, I saw a cloud of dust on the road I was traveling some five miles away. Knowing that must be our other wagon, we started in pursuit. It was the right road and we reached Cave Creek about 3 p.m. The other road led to Fort McDowell, about 25 miles east of Cave Creek. The drive was very tiresome and we both lay down all afternoon and returned to our beds immediately after supper.
Tuesday, January 6, 1903
Cave Creek has a flourishing store where everything is sold that a native of Arizona will buy. It has three rooms. One has a bar and tables with a supply of poker chips. The middle room is a supply room where nails, horseshoes, and bags of potatoes are kept and where Shorty sleeps at night on a bag of potatoes. Shorty is the stage driver. He is well under five feet, has bright red hair and complexion, together with the air of a taciturn rooster and a continual gag. Shorty often has companions to share his bedroom, as this seems to be as far as many of the natives can get after visiting the bar. In the third room of this combination store, you can buy anything – from canned sardines and chewing tobacco to blankets and overalls. Just before reaching the store, there are four or five tents occupied by consumptives or those suffering from tuberculosis. Mr. Hank, who owns the store and is a small-eyed, mean looking, elderly native, has a house, existing of several one room shanties attached together, a short distance beyond the store. He takes borders at 25 cents a night in a tent and has a cooking stove outside his front door. Far be it from me, though, to say that Mr. Hank is not one of the most worthy, respectable inhabitants. My desire is simply to paint these scenes as seen by the majority present or, I might say, according to public opinion.
We must have a steady population of about 25 inhabitants which, during the sheep sheering period, must run up to at least one hundred.
The post office department, if not the most paying, is the most interesting of Cave Creek. Everything about it has an “air.” Shorty brings us the mail three times a week from Phoenix. Shorty has an “air” – the air of a taciturn rooster. He got into an altercation with Linville, a goat herder, who is several inches over 6 feet. Linville wanted Shorty to carry his mail to Phoenix as a favor. “And what’s the matter with the mail,” says Shorty, according to himself. But Mr. Linville had taken exception to something about Shorty. “I never insult a gentleman, and I want the exact words I used, Mr. Linville.” Mr. Linville was doubtful but thought Shorty had insulted him. Shorty, feeling he now had the advantage, repeated his demand, “I want my exact words, Mr. Linville, but if it’s a fight you want,” says Shorty, stepping up so that his nose nearly touched the middle button of Mr. Linville’s shirt. “I don’t crack pistols but I’ll fight you with my fists.” Why Mr. Linville smiled and did not fight the native, I cannot explain, for it is known that he had had a disagreement with the postmaster to spit, whom often had vowed not to mail his letters at Cave Creek. What happens to his mail that comes to Cave Creek, I do not know.
As this is a fourth class post office, the government supplies neither a post office nor a salary for the postmaster but allows the postmaster the value of all of the stamps he cancels on outgoing articles for his expenses and services. A postmaster was appointed but he had no means of providing a post office and the people were not disposed to contribute toward a general subscription. This was a dilemma. Fortunately, Cave Creek has a Mr. Hank! When the inhabitants were discouraged of ever having a post office, it seems a certain gentleman of ill repute owed Mr. Hank some money. There was also a mine not far away. That is, someone had claimed it was a mine, sold shares to his friends, and did just enough development work to satisfy every one that there was nothing there and then abandoned it. Now the unnamed gentleman who owed Hank money happened to pass by this mine and seeing some lumber, which is valuable in this country, he possessed himself of it. He brought it up to Mr. Hank’s store and asked Mr. Hank to keep an eye on it for him a few days while he went to town and instructed Hank to tell anyone that asked questions that it belonged to an unnamed individual. As soon as he was out of sight, Mr. Hank decided he could never collect his debt unless he improved his chances, so he moved the lumber up to his house and piously credited it as past payment by the unnamed gentleman. But rumor reached him that the lumber did not belong to the man he had taken it from, and he became uneasy as to what the original possessors might do, should they find it in his possession. What could he do with it? He could not keep it. It was not safe. No one would buy it. He could not return it, for it would look as though he had been cognizant of the original theft, to say nothing of the present almost theft by himself. Besides, whatever he proved, the Cave Creekites were jealous of his seeming greater prosperity and would do all in their power to convict him of anything.
He finally struck this happy solution. He would give the lumber to build a post office. Two days later, the one room shanty (6 x 12 feet) was built. Mr. Hank was the most important person in Cave Creek. The company appeared and recognized their lumber. The unknown gentleman arrived and recognized his lumber, but neither dared face the Cave Creek population and demand its return, so Cave Creek has a post office. The grateful postmaster, who is also the correspondent for the Arizona Republican, wrote to that paper a eulogy of Mr. Hank and Mr. Hank smiled.
The postmaster, who besides being correspondent for the Arizona Republican and postmaster of Cave Creek, bears the titles of Captain and Judge and considers himself of some importance and intellectually superior to Mr. Hank. “Mr. Hank may have everybody’s money in Cave Creek, but Postmaster, Correspondent, Captain and Judge McCormick has their respect.” “Judge” is the favorite of Mr. McCormick’s many titles, probably because it is the latest one.
An old proprietor died some time ago of colic. Among his belongings was found a bottle of some lady’s patent colic cure. By an unexplainable circumstance, the judge tasted the contents. He has been tasting this same patent colic cure ever since, though much to the detriment of his mental capacity.
The other circumstance so unfortunate for the judge was the appearance of a nice Confederate officer at Cave Creek, who told tales out of school. Everyone knew that Judge McCormick had been a Union soldier in the Civil War, but as the captain was quite reticent as to how he got his military title, his war record had remained a mystery. However, rumors had gotten about and a significant word here and there by the captain had given the people of Cave Creek to understand that his was no ordinary career. In certain weather he was sure to be deaf (his ears had been injured by the close booming of the canon) and one would have to repeat everything you said to him. His five wounds gave him trouble, which intimated that he had been very brave. Those who disliked the captain got a good deal of pleasure out of the fact that the only wound of which there still remained a scar was one in his back.
But the real blow came with the arrival of the Confederate, for the southern sympathizer remembered the present judge only too well and the judge knew he could not work a bluff if not recognizing his old enemy. Just how the news first spread, I don’t know, but before the once confederate had been in town many hours, everyone knew the news and was discussing it. That is, everyone except the judge. As far as I can learn, the judge retired to his tent, pulled down the flaps and, as far as anyone knows, did not emerge for several days. In the meantime, the town of Cave Creek was out of a Justice of the Peace to keep order, a postmaster to distribute the mail, a newspaper correspondent to cover the town and a military commander to grace its memory. But should these people seem rough and brutal to some, those who know them know they will go a long way to help a friend in trouble. So while the story was enjoyed, no one complained that his mail was not sorted, and put up with the other inconveniences inflicted by the absence of all the town officers.
And when the post office was again opened three days later, though everybody’s mind was full of how a certain Confederate officer had appeared in Ohio, raised a body of troops to fight for the Union, made Mr. McCormick captain, and placing himself at the head, had marched those brave fellows into a Confederate prison. Though their minds were buzzing with this, each one, as he stepped up for his mail, greeted the judge with a most respectful, “Good morning, judge,” as though nothing had occurred. The judge, on his part, at first was a bit doubtful, but soon became haughty and reserved, receiving the salutations like those of naughty boys who want to do penance.
I started out to describe Cave Creek and, in introducing Mr. Hank, Shorty, and Judge McCormick, I have given almost a detailed account of it. The rest of us are mere citizens and do not amount to much compared with these three great characters. If it were not for the fact that Mr. Field was a comparative new comer, I am sure he would be added to this important trio in the minds of Cave Creekers. Mr. Field came here for his health and a little over a year ago bought Jeff Morris’ ranch, which is half a mile beyond the post office.
The ranch is really a very attractive spot. There are about 12 acres of sloping land, which is enough higher than the rest of the desert to get a view of the magnificent mountains, buttes, mesas and the canyon, through which Cave Creek passes ten miles north of here. There is also a spring on the property large enough to irrigate a small vegetable patch and pasture for the one cow.
I think Mr. Field first won the hearts of the natives by “never squealing.” After Jeff Morris had sold his ranch for $500 (Mr. Morris had no legal title to it, but just owned it) he proceeded to sell Mr. Field each individual thing on the ranch, beginning with the fences.
Jeff Morris’ cousin, Budd Burrier, was a cattle man. His half-starved steers could be seen hungry-eyed, slinking about Cave Creek and mad to eat anything you left unprotected. They took great delight in breaking into Mr. Fields corral and eating all his hay. After this had occurred several times, each time Mr. Field building his corral differently and trying to hit on some device to keep them out, he formed a determination to shoot the next cow that broke into his corral. He did not have to wait long. Charley Henderson went with him. They took a shotgun and attacked the cattle. Mr. Field had just emptied his first barrel into the hind quarters of a cow when Budd stepped out from behind a tree and came silently toward them with a foreboding countenance. Mr. Field and Charley, who would be termed tender-foots at that time, are excused for feeling uneasy, as this half-breed Indian advanced with his Winchester and disagreeable expression. Mr. Field, with great presence of mind, whispered to Charley to pretend they had been shooting at chickens and to look around in the brush. They crept about like theatrical Indians, peering into the brush, until Mr. Burrier came to a halt and asked in cold tones why they were shooting his cows.
Unfortunately, at this juncture, Mr. Fields’ nerve gave out and, abandoning his chicken scheme, he looked foolish, coughed several times, stammered some apologies and, after explaining how the cattle had broken into his coral continually, he assured Mr. Burrier that it really didn’t matter about the corral. He said, “You really did mind my shooting your cow, did you?” As Mr. Burrier was silent and looked as though he did mind, Mr. Field continued with a nervous rapidity of speech that he just happened to think his pasture was very green just then and that he would be glad to pasture some of Mr. Burrier’s cattle for free. This seemed to appeal to Budd, whose features relaxed some of their sternness while he accepted the offer.
George Burrier, Budd’s brother, was engaged by Mr. Field to do some work. George made out a bill that was three, and possibly four times, too much. Mr. Field never complained. He said he paid it just to show George how mean he was and that every time he met the fellow he would have the satisfaction of knowing that the man must feel his own meanness.
Next Entry, Date Not Noted
This day is like most other Cave Creek days. We breakfast at 8 a.m., read and write all morning, sitting in the sun, we drive from 12 to 1 o’clock, take a nap in the open air, unless too cold, and either go for the mail, if it is Monday, Wednesday or Friday, or take a horse back ride or drive, if any other day. We have supper anytime from 5:30 to 6 p.m. and very seldom sit up later than 8 o’clock.
There are several other invalids at the ranch here and by the first of February, those who are in town (Phoenix) and one new arrival who is expected will swell our party to the total of nine, not including Jimmy and Joe, our Japanese cook and gardener, respectively. The party will consist as follows: Mr. Field, our host, originally of Philadelphia; Mr. and Mrs. Murphy of Chicago; Mr. Neal Galipolis; Mr. Bradley of Boston; Mr. Williams and Mr. Wansky, who have been in Phoenix about five or six years, I believe, and; Charley Henderson and myself from New York. Mrs. Murphy alone is not here for her health and, though young and attractive, shows great devotion to her husband and doesn’t seem discontented or lonely.
Next Entry, Date Not Noted
Though today is Sunday, such a fact makes little difference in Cave Creek. Shorty spends the day in Phoenix so that there is no mail going or coming, but everyone else works or loafs as he would any other day. I think Judge McCormick must set aside this day to write his articles to the Arizona Republican on Cave Creek and its gold mines. The judge always wants Cave Creek to show up well to the rest of the world. Everyone comes to Mr. Field when he wishes to borrow, beg or steal assistance, so the judge prevailed on him to present the town of Cave Creek with a sign for the post office. This sign is one foot by two feet and is painted blue with white lettering. The judge declared he believed it the finest post office sign in the United States and wrote an account of it to the Arizona Republican.
Mr. Lewis and Mr. McKay, two proprietors, live just outside our fence in two tents. Of their past, I know little. John Lewis was a cattle man for twelve years and I think lives on what he made then. He must be a proprietor of at least ten years, during which time I do not believe he ever realized a cent. Of McKay, I know even less. He is a shrewd looking typical American with a slight limp. About fifteen years ago, he was cornered in a house in New Mexico by some famous Indian chief, who, together with his braves, filled McKay with bullets. I spent yesterday afternoon having a long talk with them about their various “prospects”.
Charley and I are studying Spanish. We are also playing piquet so that we have some new diversion.
As I said further back, Postmaster McCormick’s salary is the equivalent of the value of stamps he cancels for outgoing mail. Charley took a rawhide lasso down to him this morning to mail to his sister Nathalie. The judge found it would cost Charley fourteen cents to send it with just a tag on it and two cents more if he wrapped it in heavy brown paper. He advised Charley to do the latter, as it might get “roughly handled” in the mail. Charley had some other mail that finally amounted to twenty-five cents and he gave the judge half a dollar. As the judge could only find twenty cents change, he characteristically offered to owe Charley the five cents. Charley said, “No.” If he did not have the change, Charley would just as soon take his money in stamps and the judge, with Arizona shrewdness, asked “twenty cents worth?” As Charlie disappointed him by saying, “No. Twenty-five,” the judge made his last diplomatic move, by “just thinking!” that is would be a wise precaution for Charley to register the lasso.
Since I have been out here, my friends have been very kind in writing to me and I have received letters from a number that I hardly expected to hear from. It certainly is very pleasant to get such letters. The very fact that they are unexpected is a pleasure.
We are expecting a new arrival at the ranch – A Mrs. Clark, who was here the day I arrived but who left the next morning. Mrs. Clark is a widow. Her husband shot himself last November while at Dr. Stone’s just out of Phoenix. They both came west for their health, met in Phoenix, and were married about a year ago. It seemed to have been against the wishes of Mr. Clark’s family. They, shortly after, found they were not suited to each other and I believe the situation became miserable.
Today, we were surprised when the stage arrived that neither Mr. Wansky nor Mr. and Mrs. Murphy were aboard. Mr. Wasky went to Phoenix for a week on January 6th and Mr. and Mrs. Murphy went a week ago yesterday. Mr. Wansky, whom we have expected for over a week, we fear is kept in Phoenix by the attractions of the widow, whom I mentioned above. It is through his intervention that Mr. Field has finally decided to let Mrs. Clark join the ranch party.
We were greatly surprised about five o’clock when a wagon drove up with Mr. & Mrs. Murphy. Mr. Wansky and a young lady and gentleman I did not know. The young lady, who arrived yesterday, seemed somewhat frightened. It seems she met Mrs. Murphy yesterday in Phoenix and got in the wagon to drive out a short ways to a place where Mr. and Mrs. Murphy were going to pick up Mr. Wansky. He met them with a friend whose name was much like “Hagar” and intended to bring him out to spend the night with him at Cave Creek. Mrs. Murphy then urged the young lady, whose name I have forgotten, to come. Not realizing how far it was, she accepted and, passing someone she knew on horseback, she sent word back to her sister not to expect her home until the next day. She had just come from the east and the day drive appealed to her. If there had been any possible way of returning, I am sure she would have gone back to Phoenix that night. As it was, we amused ourselves by telling her all the possible improbabilities that might happen in Cave Creek. I think she was only too glad the next morning when it was time for her to start back.
When anybody new to this country, like our visitors of the night before last, arrive, everybody immediately feels it his duty to recount all the horrible things that have ever happened within a hundred miles and, having got a good start, he will tell you just as many improbable lies as possible. It is such a well known fact in all parts of Arizona that it is considered a joke. They say when you have drunk water from the Hassayampa (a creek) that you will always lie. All that seems necessary is to be in Arizona a month for one to take the greatest delight in inventing all sorts of improbable stories for the benefit of our guests. The water had been dammed up all night and in the morning the gardener was just beginning to irrigate and there was enough of a stream to fill a six inch pipe. Of course, we told Mr. Hagar that the spring gave us water like that all the time. He was greatly impressed with so much water in this otherwise arid land and thought the property must be very valuable. We also spoke of the coyotes, bobtailed wildcats, scorpions, tarantulas, hela monsters and rattle snakes killed on the ranch but did not mention that, in this season, they were nearly all torpid.
As I have already mentioned, Charley and I are studying Spanish and I am surprised how easy it seems to learn. I have read a good deal since I have been here, but the only book that made much of an impression on me was the autobiography of Booker T. Washington. This interested me very much, especially as I have met him and as President Roosevelt is taking such a bold position in regard to defending their rights. I think this is one of the greatest problems of our country, if not the greatest. The only solution seems to be the education and civilization of the Negro, especially in the industrial arts, just as I believe Mr. Washington is trying to accomplish.
Charley and I took a drive this afternoon and a couple of miles above Budd Burrier’s ranch, we met a large flock of sheep. The flocks are beginning to come in and we see the campfires of the herders sparkling each night on the mountainsides.
The sheep are brought into Cave Creek every year about this season from all over the territory, many coming from as far as Flagstaff, which must be nearly two hundred miles. As many as a hundred thousand sheep are sheered here every year. Before it has always been done by hand, but this year they are going to use machinery. Every day, sheep herders or their camp rustlers pass by on burrows generally, and often driving pack burrows or donkeys ahead of them. They come in to get provisions and go back in the hills to their herds to wait for it to be time for the sheering. They are the roughest, wildest looking men I ever saw. In the Palace, a low gambling house in Phoenix, I saw probably the most vile and depraved human beings I ever remember having seen, but these men were different. I did not have that same feeling of disgust when I looked at these sheep herders. They seem more like some wild, ferocious animals than human beings. They seem to be all nationalities. I have seen Americans, Mexicans, Indians, one Frenchman and lots of mixed or half-breeds among them.
I believe most of the sheep herders are Mexicans or half-breeds and are considered very low and bad men. In fact, I have been told they are the worst class here and all cow men look down on sheep men with great scorn. I had a talk with one sheep herder whom I picked out as I considered him the worst looking and I was very greatly surprised. He was a large man over six feet tall. He wore a black beard and long black hair. His complexion was almost as dark as a Negro’s and his features were those of a Jew. He was very dirty and entirely unkempt in appearance, so much so in fact that, though I wanted to go up to him and ask if I could take his picture, for a long time I did not dare. It was only after I had seen him hanging around Hank’s saloon and store several times that I took courage and one day went up and spoke to him. He seemed pleased I had spoken to him and was as bashful as any child could be about having his picture taken. I talked to him about his sheep and he told me he had a herd of two thousand that he took care of all alone. I asked him how he could manage it and he told me the dogs did the whole thing for him. He had bought his flock all the way from Flagstaff and I found I had passed him a month before at Frog Tanks while riding from Phoenix to Castle Creek on horseback. While he was talking, I had a good change to look at him carefully. I was surprised to find what a pleasant smile and simple way of talking he had. Of what nationality he was, I did not know nor would I even guess, but I am very glad that I had a talk with him for, behind all his uncouth appearance, I felt I had discovered a naturally agreeable personality.
I am sure I should prefer this wild man for a friend than one of Hank’s sons. While I do not doubt the sheep herder would kill you in anger without hesitation, I should rather trust him than one of these boys who enjoy a somewhat superior position among the natives on account of their father, but who seem to me some of the most slovenly, sullen, foul mouthed rascals I have had the pleasure of meeting.
Perhaps I ought to justify what I have just said of the Hank boys. There are three of them, aged, I should say, 8, 14 and 18 years. Tom, the oldest, who acts as clerk in his father’s store, stole all the money from the cash draw when his father was away a short time ago and ran away. He was arrested and locked up two weeks in jail. I believe that it was only due to the intervention of Mrs. Hank that Mr. Hank did not prosecute him. That happened several months ago. Mose, the second son, who now runs the bar, ran the stage for his father to Phoenix a number of times. One time, he borrowed all the money in the cash draw and when he got to Phoenix, blew it all at some gambling joint. By using his father’s name, he then borrowed enough money in Phoenix to go to California, as he did not dare return to Cave Creek. Tom, who was in rather strained relations at home, accompanied him, but hearing that their father was making a determined effort to trace them, he wrote home that he had only gone along to keep an eye on Mose. He told where they were and added he would keep Mose with him until their father could come and take charge of him.
Little Jimmy Hank, who I hear is only six years old but who I think must be at least eight, I know mostly by his bad reputation for making trouble. All I can say of him is that at this tender age, I have heard him curse as foully as any grown up Arizonian I have met.
Curious! Everyone in this territory, unless they are here for their health, seems to have had a past history full of exciting events, most of which the owner is very reticent about. For instance, Mr. McCann, one of our distinguished citizens of Cave Creek, once was working over at Fort McDowell. Mr. McCann no longer works if he can keep body and soul together without doing so. While he was at work, five horsemen rode up and opened fire on him. Their object seems to have been to frighten him out of the country for some reason never explained and all their shots went high or only grazed his arms and legs. Mr. McCann, however, with great presence of mind, picked up his Winchester, shot one through the chest, shot the horse from under a second, and wounded a third before the remainder took to their heels. Mr. McCann enjoys a reputation for great bravery and no one has ever desired to investigate the subject further.
Bronco Nell has been turned out in the pasture since Sunday and I have taken practically no exercise since then. Why I should feel worse yesterday and today than at anytime since that hemorrhage last October, I cannot understand. If I am ever going to get well, it will be leading just such a life as this, I believe, and it was very discouraging to have a set back under what seem the most favorable circumstances.
They began to sheer the sheep yesterday afternoon, but I do not dare to walk as far as that yet feeling as I do. With the spyglass, we can see large herds of sheep wandering over the barren mountainsides.
The scenery here is really magnificent and I shall make an attempt to describe it. The mountains are absolutely bare earth and rock, except for scattered cacti, while in the valley there is considerable brush such as mesquite and a sort of sagebrush. We are about two thousand feet high, the country rising gradually, nearly a thousand feet all the way from Phoenix. In our south are a number of mountains close by so that we cannot look out across the desert unless we get on a high spot between them. Black Mountain, the highest, is a single pile of black slate and rock about a thousand feet high from its base. It is very impressive. In the west, the mountains are a little further from us – about a mile. They rise in a series of peaks and blend together in the distance so that they seem to form a wall, but on approaching, what seemed to be a crevice or shadow is a pass into one of innumerable valleys that separate these mountains. Our finest view is north – it is magnificent. Cave Creek runs from the north and enters a canyon about eight miles from here. As we look to the north we see over a desert five or ten miles and up the mouth of this canyon. The walls of the canyon must be two thousand feet high and a mile apart. They are formed of New River Mesa on the west and Skull Mesa on the east. We also get the view of the southern sides of these two mesas, which is magnificent. Their rims are fully two thousand feet above us and we can often see snow on top and part way down the sides. When the sun shines on the various colored strata, it is wonderful. The effect is the same as at the Grand Canyon of the Colorado – the colors and shadows continually changing as the sun and clouds move. To the east, the desert rises gradually until it seems to go off into space. Here and there, you can see the faint blue peak of a mountain and from the tops of hills nearby, you can see the Four Peaks. They must be sixty to seventy miles east of here and have been covered in snow whenever I have seen them. I also saw them from Castle Creek, which is thirty or forty miles northwest of here.
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Saturday, I took my Kodak and went down to watch them sheer the sheep. I did not feel well but was nervous and had to do something. On Friday, they had sheered 1700, working twenty-five sheers and, as the men got used to using the machines, they expected to sheer more. One man there has a record of something over three hundred sheep sheered in one day. He could sheer a sheep in two and a half minutes. It seemed to me they cut the sheep a good many times and a flock that had been sheered were a very bloody sight, but they told me it was nothing compared to what they were when sheered by hand – then they take out pieces as big as your fist. I was interested and disgusted watching some Mexicans load a freight wagon with bags of wool. They moved about so slowly that it seemed as though it must be an effort not to go faster. When they had a heavy bag half on the wagon, they stopped to joke. During the laughter, someone let go his hold, the bag fell and I was sure one would be killed. They repeated this performance continually like children, standing about laughing each time the bag rolled off. I could not understand why they were so wasteful. If they would work seriously and continuously until they had put the bag safely in the wagon, they would not have used up so much of their strength and they would have had more time in the end to do their laughing.
As we had showers all day Sunday, they could not sheer the sheep, for the wool has to be dry when they pack it. The result was that sheep herders and sheerers gathered at Hank’s and spent the day drinking and gambling. A number of us walked down to take a look at them and it was very interesting to me. I enjoyed watching these wild looking fellows and listening to their conversation when I could understand it. The sheerers were an entirely different class of men. They have seen a good deal of civilization but profited little by it and their faces were only too plainly stamped with signs of viciousness.
Yesterday and today, it has rained most of the time and the rest of the time it has been very cold so that we could not sit outside.
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As the storm still keeps up and the weather is cold and wet, we have had to remain in our tents or the ranch house, which is used as a sitting room. Once or twice during very heavy rain, our tent has leaked and one night, I had to sleep under a rubber blanket. We have spent most of the time playing poker and, unless the rain stops soon, we will all get sick of each other’s company in such crowded quarters. Poker is good fun and passes the time, but I have already had enough of it, for the present, and would like to quit. No one trusts anyone else out here. They play as though they expected you to cheat, if you got the chance, and are always on the lookout for something underhanded. So much so that you begin to wonder whether they may not be cheating you. To play in such a spirit is no fun – only disgusting to me.
Charley and I lent our horses last Sunday to Mrs. Murphy and “Count” Wansky, as we call them for a kick, except for that the horses have not been out since a week ago Sunday. As it cleared up a short time this afternoon, we rode our horses, at a walk, down for the mail.
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Last night, the storm turned colder and this morning, there was snow on the ground. While there is often snow up on the mountains, it is very unusual to have it down in the desert. I believe they had not had it here for seven years. The water in our tent was frozen and you can’t imagine how cold we were, unless you have spent a winter in Arizona. I suppose it must be the tremendous change in the temperature – from very warm in the day to very cold at night – that we feel so much, for at no time does the thermometer register below 20˚ or 25˚ F.
I think it is just as well for Mr. Williams’ reputation that he has lost so much at poker. At first, he refused all invitations on the grounds that he did not play or know how even. He sat behind me while I was playing, and when I took a jackpot into which no one had come, I laid down my hand saying “queens over,” meaning I had a pair of queens and a smaller pair. Mr. Williams asked if that meant I had kept the queens over from the last deal. It was a good joke, for he evidently knew nothing of the game. You can imagine my surprise when this morning, he and Count Wansky suggested I join them in a game of poker. He must have learned very quickly, for he played all day and it looks as though he liked it so much, he would never miss a game in the future.
As the storm still continues, we have to keep indoors. This is very disagreeable, for there is no comfortable place to sit. We either have to be near the stove in our tent or the fire in the ranch house. The ranch house is the one-room cabin that was on the place when Mr. Field bought it. It has a ceiling made of sacking, but when the sun shines, it comes in the roof cracks and through the sacking, just as the wind and rain do. The walls are papered with newspapers and under the floor, which has large cracks, snakes, rats and cats have their abode. This is a curious combination, but a true one and I might add that the sack ceiling, which is very dirty, is full of wasps’ nests.
As Mr. Field had the roof extend about eight feet so as to make a shady place to sit, the two windows let in very little light. It is so dark in the daytime that you strain your eyes to read in the dim light. To say that it is gloomy puts it mildly. Several of the people here are very ill and show the ravages of the disease a good deal. When they sit huddled around the fire, coughing deeply on a cold windy night, with the wind whistling through the cracks, the rag ceiling rising and falling in waves as the currents of air move it and we stronger ones playing poker by the only dim lamp, the room is certainly a sight to see. I have seldom felt anything more pitiful than the feeling I get from the sight of that bare, gloomy room, when the wind is whistling through the creeks and the thin emaciated invalids are huddled about the fire, joking about their apparent afflictions.
I think I forgot to mention that Mrs. Clark arrived yesterday. Today, the sun came out and the snowcovered mountains, partly shaded by heavy clouds, were beautiful. It was very cold, but I took a ride and Charley did not feel well, so I went alone.
I did my washing yesterday, which was the first good chance I had had for two weeks, on account of the weather. I left my things on the line to dry overnight and this morning, they were covered with frost and frozen stiff. It is raining hard again and I spent the whole day today in my tent reading and writing in this book. The thermometer has been about 20˚ to 25˚ F for several mornings. This is the coldest spell they have had here in a number of years and I don’t think I have ever felt the cold more. The effect of the cold on some of the very large and probably older cacti is evidence of the extreme cold for this area. Cacti are very largely composed of water. The cold seems to have frozen them and some very large and handsome ones, of the prickly pair variety, have frozen and broken off at the joints. Each morning, we have found some more large branches broken off.
This weather must be very hard on the sheep. Those which have been sheered must suffer a good deal and I know the sheerers have had to stop work because of the wool being wet and heavy and some have gone astray.
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The storm is over, I think, but it is still cold. I had a short ride by myself today and walked down for the mail with Charley, who has been taking about no exercise. I had a letter from Mother saying the girls had finally sailed for Italy on The Lahn with the Misses Grinell. They had nice state rooms, liked the ship and found some very agreeable people aboard whom they knew. I also had another letter from Mrs. Harvey Williams at Castle Creek regarding the Whipsaw mining project. I have undertaken to try and negotiate a sale of this for Mr. J. Henry Smith of New York, but I now believe he thinks he might like to keep it.
According to Mrs. Clarke, she had rather an exciting drive here from Phoenix Friday. It was cold and rainy all the way across the desert. She was seated behind, on two kegs of dynamite, with a miner, while Shorty drove up front. Shorty and the miner drank most of the way out and insisted that she join them. During an argument, Shorty and the miner lost their tempers and decided to fight it out. They stopped, lashed the horses to a cactus, asked Mrs. Clark to hold their valuables, which consisted of two watches and a gold eagle, and prepared to fight. I guess Mrs. Clark got very much frightened, for they decided to postpone their fight and continue the journey.
Today, Mr. Field left for Phoenix to meet his father, who is coming to see the ranch. As we hear that his ideas of propriety are very strict, we have been amusing ourselves, planning breezy receptions for the “Honorable John”.
Five miles north of here, half way up the side of a mesa, lived Uncle Flemming. He arrived about twenty-five years ago, then aged about fifty and suffering from lung trouble. He prospected about, found some gold half way up this mesa, staked out a claim and has lived there ever since. He dug a cave in the side of the mountains, developed a little spring there and has lived in his cave all alone ever since. By making a little mill turn by the water power of his spring, he has been able to produce enough gold to keep himself in provisions ever since. Just how much he made I do not know, but he evidently did not lay aside anything and living expenses are not heavy in this country.
In fact, Jeff Morris Jones, whom Mr. Field bought this ranch, is known to have lived here at the rate of four dollars a month and he was quite a personage. Messrs. McKay and Lewis, prospectors who I have already mentioned as our nearest neighbors, are estimated as spending from five to seven dollars a month, but they are somewhat extravagant.
To return to Uncle Flemming, during the twenty-five years he has lived on the hill, he has done a good deal of work and has a place worth several hundred dollars possibly. Well, during this last storm, Uncle Flemming stopped coming in for provisions as he used to do. As the inhabitants of Cave Creek are a charitable people and also, as I hear, a number of them have openly expressed a desire to own old Flemming’s place, they sent out rescuers after the elapse of a very sufficient length of time. The old man was found nearly dead. He had fallen sick, run out of food and nearly froze to death in the storm. The good people brought him back to Cave Creek and are filling him so full of medicine that each day they are surprised to find him alive. The truth is, each person is trying to get a bigger lean on his property than the next persons by rendering him some service. A crisis has arrived, for if much more is done for the old man, he will revive and get well. What is to be done?
More excitement in Cave Creek. Tom and Mose Hank have had a fight. Tom, they say, began the trouble by hurling something at his young brother, cutting a large gash in back of Mose’s head. Mose returned the complement with a club, I believe, and Tom was laid up in bed. He will recover.
The sheep sheering and dipping still continues and Mr. McKay, we suspect, has become a “caffer” for Hank’s saloon. That is, he gets the sheep herders and sheerers started drinking and gambling and generally helps along the business any way he can.
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The sheep owners have been coming in to keep an eye on their sheep, as this is also the lambing season. They spend the greater part of their time (the sheep owners) riding through the mountains following their various herds. Some are just as rough and wild looking as the herders, though they are much more intelligent. Many of them are supposed to be very well off, as Mr. Noble, who they say is worth a hundred thousand dollars. Whether he is worth only half as much or not, I do not know, but he is surely very well off, for he owns a great many sheep and in spite of the fact he leads a wild rough life without half the comforts of an eastern laborer.
Mr. Field has made Mr. Wansky manager of the ranch, as he does not care to run it himself. As Jimmy, our Japanese cook, left on a vacation Tuesday, between the new cook and new management, the guests have suffered. There has not been enough food and what there was we could not eat.
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We received news yesterday saying that Mr. Richard Field would return today accompanied by his father, the Honorable John. What brushing up and cleaning up! Mr. Wansky, who feels his important position of trust, rushes about calling out his orders in an imperative voice to Martin or the Mexican boy who won’t work, or to Joe the Japanese gardener, who can’t understand. But Wansky has no time to notice this as he rushes on, kicking doors open and slamming doors shut, or if he does, he pauses just long enough to strike an attitude fit only for Wansky or the gods and says over his shoulder in tones of deep disgust “Gee-Zuss-chri-st.” In any other person, this would be profanity, but in Wansky, it is simply an exclamation of disgust.
Well the Honorable John arrived enveloped in an inch of dust and, like most people, is happily surprised, for after one has driven or jolted over the hot dusty desert, the smallest spot of fresh green seems a godsend.
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As Mr. Richard Field was very much exhausted by his trip yesterday, he immediately retired and left the Honorable John, who, though sixty five years old, felt the better for his trip, to the kind attentions of his guests or boarders. Big Dan Murphy was the first to corral the Honorable John. Murphy is a character worth knowing. Four months ago, he weighed 137 pounds. Now, he weighs 167 and the difference has been added chiefly to his paunch. His curly black hair, which he wears very long, covers the back and sides of his head, but not the top, so that he reminds one of William J. Bryan in caricature, especially when he wears his black felt slouch hat and looks at you out of his protruding cock eye. No wonder that the Honorable John assured him in his first sentence that he had thought it advisable to leave all his valuables in Phoenix. This started with fun, for no one appreciated a joke better than Dan Murphy, who enjoys fun almost as much as he does whiskey and a little game of poker. They told the Honorable John all the legends of the country, as we sat around him that night in subdued respect. The old gentleman was deeply impressed with the history of old man Flemming, who has lived alone so long up in the hills and was much distressed that the natives sheered sheep on Sunday. The assembled company were behaving too well to hold out and chose Mrs. Murphy as the first victim. They made all kinds of allusion and asked questions in a most innocent way concerning the money she had won from me at Fan Tan. Mrs. Murphy was greatly embarrassed, but as she is pretty and very attractive, the Honorable John refused to believe the implied slander.
Yesterday morning, the Honorable John asked Mr. Field to invite the “boys” to join in a service. Richard Field, who pretends to be an atheist, drew his father aside and had a heated argument with him, declaring we were all sports of the type that did not want service. Most of the camp was indignant that they should ever be asked to attend service and the rest felt it only consistent with their dignity to appear so. Some took horses for a ride, some sauntered down to Hank’s saloon and the rest stayed behind and grumbled. But the Honorable John held his ground. He waited five minutes after the appointed time and then sent Bradley and Nick to the worst gamblers to announce to everyone that church service was about to begin. Everyone had returned from riding and Hank’s saloon, thinking they had a bully excuse in being just too late and when they found they were not, no one had the nerve to stay away. Of the rest of us, Mr. Field Jr. refused to join the assembly and Mr. Murphy sent word he did not feel well. For myself, I should have preferred no service but was perfectly willing to attend out of courtesy for the Honorable John. I took my satisfaction out of Mr. Bradley, who came to me before and cursing the fact that the Honorable John expected us all to attend the service. This was too good a chance for me to lose. I knew at the bottom of his heart, Mr. Bradley really preferred to have the service, so I sailed in and told him he ought to be ashamed of himself, etc. for expressing such an opinion and I think he was ashamed.
Sunday night, the Honorable John told us about some of his experiences as postmaster of Philadelphia. I found him very interesting and admired him very much, but I noticed the majority were greatly bored. We went to bed later than usual, that is the Honorable John, Charley and I. How many others retired, I don’t know, but enough stayed up and got drunk to make a good deal of noise. I think they sort of felt they were getting even with the old gentlemen, but they had chosen a poor way. I even felt ashamed for them.
Monday, the Honorable John returned home by way of Phoenix. The two ladies, Mrs. Murphy and Mrs. Clark, also went into Phoenix with him, Mr. Hacker driving.
The mail stage was very late Monday. I rode down to meet it a short way, took the mail bags on my horse and brought them to the post office so that we should get our mail more quickly. The judge was a bit troubled by this “irregular procedure” but said he guessed even though I hadn’t taken the oath, that I would uphold the Constitution of the U.S., and so let it go.
Monday night, Mr. Murphy sent for Mr. Williams to come over to his shack. As, the next day, Mr. Williams was very needy and Mr. Murphy did not even have any food until supper. We suspect that they improved the absence of Mrs. Murphy by over indulging. Mrs. Murphy did not return today, as expected, and I think unfortunately for her husband. They are very fond of each other and she has a great influence over him.
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Today was spent like most days in Cave Creek – doing almost nothing. The weather is getting magnificent and I bake in the sun all morning or, in fact, all day except for a short horseback ride. On my rides, I must say I scarcely ever take the horse off a walk.
Great excitement at Cave Creek! And the signal for general jollification was the unexpected nature of Mrs. Murphy at suppertime. Mr. Hacker drove her out together with Mrs. Clark and the two Miss Derrys. Food and beds are at a premium, but everything is finally arranged. The two Miss Derrys occupying Mr. Field’s shack, and Mrs. Clark occupying Mr. Wansky’s tent, while Mr. Field, Mr. Hacker and Mr. Wansky were put up in the ranch house or sitting room.
Mr. Williams invited everyone to come to his tent. I suspected the result and did not want to go, but accepted, as they already think Charley and I are too reserved. I was not mistaken and, with thirteen people in a 10 feet x 14 feet tent, using whiskey and tobacco freely, the atmosphere was not agreeable. Had I stayed away, I would certainly have missed a very funny evening. Mr. Williams, partially intoxicated, was very bright and funny, making love to Mrs. Murphy, while Mr. Murphy, sitting on a trunk and singing Irish songs in a strong Irish accent, was very amusing. The rest, seated on the floor or cot, were extremely funny, though unintentionally. It was a very peculiar assembly. Every one seemed to enjoy themselves, but there was more laughing at each other than with each other. I was only too glad to withdraw at the first opportunity, especially as I did not drink or smoke. My chance came when Mr. Murphy, thinking that the flirtation between his wife and Mr. Williams had gone far enough, began paying marked attention to the elder Miss Derry. His manner was spicy and exceedingly funny. It also worked like a charm on his wife. She changed her seat, refused to have anything to do with Mr. Williams and, as Mr. Murphy continued to enjoy the situation, she finally went over and put her arms around his neck, whispering something about it being time to go home. That brought peace at once and gave me a change to retire. Most of the others, however, followed the Murphy’s to their shack, where the fun continued late into the night and I fear several of the gentlemen were very much the worse for it today. The Miss Derrys were horrified at finding a shotgun in their bed that night. Today, I felt the effect of sitting in that stuffy tent last night and kept out of excitement, sleeping in the sun most of the day and, at night, excusing myself on the plea that I had letters to write. I was certainly lucky to escape. I retired at 8:30 p.m. but scarcely slept at all until after 1 a.m., for if they enjoyed themselves Thursday night, the excitement last night had no bounds, that is if noise is any criterion. As I was not present, all I can say is that there was much singing and laughing. The empty bottles and lack of appetites this morning pointed to the consumption of much whiskey. Toward the end it was very hilarious. The ladies had retired but the men, who were exceedingly intoxicated, went from tent to tent serenading with hilarious songs, with speeches and with gun shooting. When they left our tent, some one suggested, in a loud voice, it was time to serenade the Miss Derrys. As the assembly proceeded noisily and unsteadily in that direction, the Miss Derrys must have thought there last day had come. Their screams could be heard half a mile. Mrs. Clark admitted this morning that she barricaded the door of her tent. The two Miss Derrys and Mr. Hacker returned to Phoenix today, taking Mr. Wansky with them. The amount of whisky these invalids consume is appalling. That it is a shame is only too clearly demonstrated by the result of this last week.
Monday, March 2, 1903
Today, I rode Bronco Nell up to the Ben-Hur gold mine, which is on the top of a mountain, several mines west of Cave Creek. It is really only a prospect, but the ride offered beautiful scenery. The mountains are magnificent and on the east, I had a fine view of the Four Peaks, which are one hundred and thirty miles away. I am expecting Eliot Lee almost any day from Phoenix. He is going the ride with me over to Castle Creek. Our plan is to ride around the southern end of these mountains, cross the desert to the Black Canyon road and spend the first night at the New River Station, which must be just west of here. From there we strike due west to Frog Tanks on the Aqua Fria and spend the second night here. On the third day, we follow the Agua Fria north, branch off into Castle Creek and follow up the bed of the creek to the hot springs.
This is a pretty rough section and there have been a great many murders along the New River. At the station on New River, where the road from Phoenix to Castle Creek crosses it, two young fellows were murdered two years ago. They came west for their health and started this station, which they had only run three or four months, when a freight wagon coming along found one dead in the doorway and the other dead in front of the stove. The object had evidently been robbery. One had been shot while cooking and the other while trying to escape out of doors. A couple of Mexicans or greasers were suspected of the crime but were never caught.
Several weeks ago, a horrible tragedy occurred twelve miles above the station I hope to strike. It is the next station north. On Sunday night, Mr. Stoddard, who runs the station, was eating supper with his wife, a nephew, a traveler and his hired man. Two Mexicans walked in and asked for supper. Mr. Stoddard told them to wait until he was through with his supper. They answered, “Bueno” and put their hands in their pockets. The witnesses say everyone thought the object was to show they had money. But they drew forth revolvers and began shooting. The hired man was killed. Mr. Stoddard was shot and died before morning. The light went out and the others got separated so no one knew how many had been injured. Mrs. Stoddard tried to notify the sheep herders, who were camped on the hills, and tried to crawl out, but someone in the brush fired at her so that she had to retreat and did not dare to light a light. She found her husband, however, and got his dying description of the men. The object seems to have been robbery. So far, the men have not been caught and the people who keep stations along the Black Canyon road are getting frightened out. No one yet has been found to like Stoddard’s place and I hear other station keepers have closed up and left. I hope we will find someone where we expect to stop.
Yesterday, I rode up to old man Flemming’s place, with the thought that I might buy it in case I have to live out in this country some time. It was very lonely and I was not very pleasantly impressed. Moreover, I hear this morning that, due to the kindesses referred to further back of the people of Cave Creek, that old man Flemming is reviving and will recover.
Eliot Lee arrived this afternoon and we are expecting to leave for Castle Creek on Friday. As I am writing this on March 2nd, it is unnecessary to say more about today and tomorrow, which were like most Cave Creek days, except that we had Eliot with us. Before leaving Cave Creek for good, I should like to say that I think they use guns there very carelessly, especially the “tender feet.” One member of our ranch succeeded, not long ago, in shooting Sam Taylor, a prospector, in the face and there have been no end of narrow escapes. Someone shot from the brush three shots that passed so close to me that I could hear the bullets sing as they passed. No wonder lots of people are shot! I have not yet the slightest idea who did it or whether he knew how close he came to me.
Our trip to Castle Creek, which began on February 27, I found full of interest.
On passing the Cave Creek saloon, we met a gentleman whose name was Beasley, as it turned out. He was a freighter by profession, but was interested in sheep and is best classed as a sheep man. As he was going to a sheep camp near New River, where we were planning to spend the night, we went along together.
He had never been over the road but claimed to know the country. I think he felt we were tender feet and wanted to show off a bit, for he assumed the lead and we, taking it for granted that he knew as much as we did at least, willingly fell inline.
I had a general idea of the country and, coming to a fork, he wanted to go to the left and I held out for the right hand road. As we saw a horseman going over his road, I gave in to the suggestion that we could question this traveler. He was another sheep man, did not know where the New River was, but was quite sure we were on the wrong road. So we cut across the desert to the road I had favored and after several miles, Beasley regained his prestige by assuring us we had made a mistake. He recognized mountains on our left, explained that both roads went to the same place, and that in taking the road I favored, we had simply taken the longer. I could not recognize mountains and argue the question, but stuck to my decision. Beasley, therefore, found occasion to joke at my expense, on the assumption I was necessarily wrong. The road gradually turned to the right and north, losing sight of his recognized landmarks. He admitted his mistake, but immediately recognized new landmarks, about which he even told us a tale, so we willingly followed him when he wished to take a short cut through the hills. He succeeded in leading us through some of the roughest country I have seen. The cacti were so thick that our horses could not avoid them and we continually had to stop to remove thorns from their legs. He admitted that his short cut took longer but claimed to have shortened the journey several miles.
While crossing the desert, a band of horses came rushing toward us. Beasley explained they were wild horses simply coming to take a look at us. As they came nearer, we saw a cowboy chasing them. Beasley explained the cowboy was trying to herd them into the road and, calling to us to come on, started out in hot pursuit. Our horses were so excited we could not have refused to follow if we had wanted to. In spite of the fact that Bronco Nell was carrying a pack of 50 lbs. beside me, she started across the desert in record breaking time and soon passed Beasley, who had a head start. The way she picked her way among gopher holes and cacti was wonderful. Why we did not both break our necks I cannot explain.
As it was, Beasley started us on the chase so he stopped it when his horse had fallen in the rear. The band of horses had passed out of sight and the cowboy was well in our rear. Beasley admitted he had made a mistake and that we had driven the band the wrong direction. He added with, a chuckle, “how that cowboy is probably cursing those damn tender feet.”
Beasley had much to say about the murder of Stoddard and in expressing his disgust for Jack Gibson, popularly called King of the Cowboys, and his gang. I fear he was only too just. Gibson, with five other cowboys, went rounding up cattle and came into New River Station only three hours after the murderers had passed by. It had rained the night before the trail was distinct and the cowboys could have ridden after the murderers and gotten a look at them to identify them later without raising the suspicion of the felons or running any risk to their own safety. Although there were six cowboys and only two murderers, these notoriously brave fellows preferred to remain indoors. Washington Street Cowboys is what Beasley called them. Washington Street is the Broadway of Phoenix. The cowboys’ excuse was that they did not have guns. Beasley remarked that everyone knew Jack and Jim Gibson never left bed without a revolver and then, enumerating the other guns and revolvers belonged to the party, found there were several extra guns while the murderers only had revolvers.
Beasley laid great stress on the fact that only one cowboy, Sears, showed any willingness to pursue and that the only one who did pursue was his brother, Frank Beasley. He forgot to say only he had not joined his brother.
The murderers have not been identified yet and there is little chance they will be caught now.
New River Station is the remains of a ranch house built thirty or forty years ago. There were no railroads in the west then and the timber was hand worked and hauled there directly from the pine forests of northern Arizona. The wood is the roughest material and has been handled entirely by unskilled labor. Had anyone attempted to sweep the floor ever, the cracks are so large that the dirt would have fallen through before reaching a door or window.
The walls had once been papered with pictures from the Phoenix Gazette, but these had been partly torn off and the portion of the pictures left were stained from rain leaking though the roof and the spitting of tobacco juice against them.
As we approached, two huge dogs came barking toward us and the front door was slightly opened, a gun and part of a man protruding therefrom. After surveying us carefully, he seemed satisfied with our appearance, came out and greeted us cautiously, eying us all the time. We invited Beasley to share our lunch and Doc, the lone keeper of the station, invited us all into the dining room to eat it. The dining room was without a window and very dark, as the door let into another room. A few streaks of sunlight came through holes in the roof, chickens and dogs walked over the dirty floor and the legs of the table were set in old tomato cans, I suppose to keep poisonous insects from climbing up into the food.
Beasley spent most of lunchtime damning the cowardly cowboys while Doc stood up for them, saying he didn’t blame anyone for not wanting to get in the way of the murderers. What would happen to these greasers if caught? Someone made a remark about a tablecloth, prompting Beasley to tell a story of a cowboy who worked for him over in New Mexico. This fellow went to town on a spree. He was very lucky and won a large sum in a gambling joint. So he decided to give up cowboy life and become a professional gambler, which suited his tastes better. He bought a flashy suit of clothes and an outfit, but before he had been in business long, was arrested for cheating some fellow. It happened there were two other fellows in the lock up – a horse thief and another fellow. A gang of cowboys broke into the jail to lynch the horse thief and, not knowing what the other two fellows were in for, decided to take them along anyway and after they had finished with the horse thief, they whipped the other two fellows nearly to death. Well, the would be gambler escaped more dead than alive and returned to Beasley’s ranch, where they undertook to heal up his wounds. The poor rascals back was perfectly raw but they opened a can of sardines and put the oil on his wounds. Then they needed something to bind him up in. A young fellow happened to be working on the ranch who had just come from his home in the east. His mother had put in his bundles an old tablecloth, which she thought might be of use to him somehow. This was just the thing needed and the young fellow hauled it out and they wrapped up the wounded man. Beasley said he never heard anyone mention a tablecloth but he thought of that story.
After lunch, we went out to look after the horses. Doc stopped to get his gun. He said he never left the house these days without a gun. Beasley found his sheep camp had moved twenty five miles north, so he decided to ride as far as Stoddard’s, where he would spend the night, but before he went, he had time to tell several mores stories. His chief topic was the sheep. He did not believe a worse lot of men existed than sheep sheerers. It seems that a band decided to work for themselves, so they formed a cooperative. After they worked together several months, they were so anxious to find out how much they had made, they shut down business, though the season was not half over, and returned to Phoenix to count their profits. Beasley had a bill against them for freighting, which he presented to their elected bookkeeper. The bookkeeper told Beasley the boys refused to let him pay Beasley and that Beasley better talk it over with them. Beasley replied he would do no such thing and that, unless the bookkeeper handed him over his money, he would double his rates and collect on that basis through law. The bookkeeper told him that he agreed with him but added, “You see how they have me. I can’t do anything.” Beasley replied, “Well, if I was you, I wouldn’t let a lot of damn sheep sheerers put it over me.” “And I won’t let them neither,” replied the bookkeeper, who forthwith paid Mr. Beasley and altered the accounts to conceal his deed. “And he was a good bookkeeper,” says Beasley. “How he could handle those accounts! Why he made those account balances just perfect and you couldn’t see a mistake, yet he took everything those fellows made above wages, so that when they came to divide, there was just two dollars and sixty cents over. Yes, it’s a good thing. It will keep these fellows from getting to swelled headed. Two dollars and sixty-five cents divided among the lot isn’t enough extra profit to spoil them.” “Of course you understand,” added Beasley, “When I suggested to him that I wouldn’t let those fellows put it over me, I didn’t intend to suggest that he change the accounts.”
Beasley’s main abiding place is Flagstaff. His brother’s sheep had remained there until the day after elections, November 5th, and then started south for the winter. The object in remaining north so late was to give the herder a chance to vote before starting off into the mountains. Beasley had followed shortly after with his teams in order to do the hauling connected with the sheep sheering business during the winter. Their sheering was now finished and by the end of March, when the herding season is over, they will start north again.
While in Phoenix, Beasley had visited the Indian school. I was pleased and interested to hear his glowing report. He said they offered him a guide, but he refused, telling them he wanted to walk in and mix with them and could handle it himself. He was very enthusiastic and thought the school was accomplishing a great work. Doc disagreed with him, saying that as soon as they went back to their own people that they fell right back into their old ways. Beasley answered this by saying all processes were slow, but as proof that a change for the good was being evoked, he told how once he was sort of arrested by a young Indian for poaching on a reserve. As he and the Indian rode along together, it turned out from their conversation that the Indian had been educated and in fact he was the first one from his tribe. Beasley asked him if he thought education had done him or his tribe any good and what changes, if any, he noticed. The Indian told him that education was doing them lots of good, though it might not show much yet. He said the old Indians ran the tribe and that many of the younger Indians, who had been educated, preferred many civilized customs to their old modes of living but the public feeling of sentiment in the tribe forced them to continue in their olds ways. However, as a larger proportion became educated and the old, uneducated and strongly prejudiced members died off, small points were being given in to, and very gradually, though slowly, he thought all the Indians would come over to the white man’s way of living. Of course, this process must be the work of generations and not a few years or tens of years. He spoke of the mode of courtship which, in his time, had undergone probably the greatest change. Embracing and kissing, he claimed, was initially peculiar to the white man and had only been introduced during his memory.
When he had returned as a young, educated Indian to his tribe, he was much looked down on and only regained their respect after he had beaten every uneducated buck of his age. This he found easy, however, for he had obtained a few ideas on the theory of fighting from his white brothers, who were expert in the art.
In finishing his argument, Beasley recalled what a good for nothing lot of rascals these Indians were a few years ago. “Why all they could do was to skulk about the desert outside Phoenix and hold up every traveler for “two bits” (25 cents). “Well,” growled Doc, “the only difference I see is that now they hold you up for four bits” (50 cents).
Beasley continued his journey about the middle of the afternoon. I took up the cleanest place, which was the piazza floor, and took a nap while Eliot and Doc lounged about.
That night, some Mexicans came along on foot. As the nearest town in the direction they came from is a hundred miles over the roughest country, Doc treated them very courteously and we all slept that night with some weapon close by. The Mexicans exchanged a suit of clothes for some food and retired to the brush in the riverbed where they spent the night.
Saturday, February 28th, we continued our journey with six eggs, some bitter chocolate and water for provisions. It was very hot and, except for a herd of wild burros, we saw no living object. We ate the eggs for lunch but the chocolate had melted and run over everything in the pack, making about as disagreeable a mess as you can imagine.
We reached the hot springs that night. We did not expect to get there until Sunday, but we preferred to make the longer trip and avoid spending another such night as last night.
Tuesday, June 2, 1903
The Camping Trip
The party consists of:
Kenneth M. Avery of Detroit, Michigan
Arnold B. Chase of Providence, Rhode Island
Edward G. Chase of Providence, Rhode Island
Walter O. Smith of Detroit, Michigan
Arthur W. Talmadge of Netherwood, New Jersey
C. M. Sturgis, guide of Phoenix, Arizona
Charles E. Kinney, guide of Phoenix, Arizona
On May 31st, Sturgis and Kinney were to leave Phoenix with a four horse team and five saddled ponies to drive to Turkey Creek, about 90 miles where the rest of the party were to meet them with all the provisions. Tally (Talmadge) intended to accompany Sturgis and Kinney from Phoenix but the weather turned so warm - 108˚ in the shade, that he went to Prescott with Jack Hanlon on May 30th. Waddie (E.G. Chase) and Toon (A.B. Chase) came from Santa Barbara California, arriving the same day and Sunday, Walter Smith and Kenneth Avery arrived from Detroit, Michigan.
Sturgis expected to reach Turkey Creek Tuesday and was to telephone us at once. Having bought all our provisions and outfit Monday, June 1st, we waited all day Tuesday, but received no word from Sturgis. However, through the courtesies of Jack Hanlon, brother in-law to Governor Brodie, and a fellow almost as well known in Arizona as he is popular, we were not idle. He did everything. He did everything that could be done to make our stay pleasant, introducing us too all the most agreeable people, helping us make up our outfit and thinking of interesting things to do.
Saturday night, Talmadge had dined with the Wiltbanks and Dr. Hewetson, who have a very attractive camp just outside of Prescott. Sunday night, A.B. Chase dined with them. Monday night Jack Hanlon, Avery and Talmadge went to the desert while the others remained at the Hotel Burke, conversing with old and new acquaintances. And after, there was an impromptu dance and then the ladies were escorted home.
On this occasion, Avery distinguished himself by asking a bride of seven months whether any of the youthful singers were her children. After some confusion, instead of turning him down, the lady beamed on Kenneth more than ever. Thus, Kenneth, we see, is a real lady killer, for with a speech that would have killed us other males, he secures favor and partiality.
Returning to the hotel, we met the rest of the party, who desired to see the town. As Prescott is a “wide open town” this was not difficult, so we walked down Whiskey Row and through the “Bad Lands,” stopping in a number of gambling houses where they had dancing girls and music and liquor. Here, A.B. Chase discovered himself to be the host of the party. At first, he was respected by every member of our party, but he ruined his good reputation by being caught flirting with a dancing girl over a glass of seltzer water.
Tuesday night, Hanlon had to return to Phoenix so, after a farewell dinner, we all accompanied him to the station.
Wednesday, June 3, 1903
Supposing that Sturgis, though evidently delayed, would reach Turkey Creek on Wednesday, we arose early and took the daily train, which is a combination freight and passenger. We had one thousand pounds of provisions and five hundred of bedding, guns, ammunition, etc., and when Avery boarded the train in high boots and a red leather coat carrying an armful of gun cases and bundles, some woman began speculating on “what he was.” She was sure he must be “one of those English fellers” while another thought he was a “surveyor man.”
That afternoon, our 1500 pounds of trunk was dumped on the platform, which did duty as station in Turkey Creek. Two one roomed buildings, a saloon and a store included the whole town. There was no sign of Sturgis and as we had been warned to beware the Jew inhabitants, who would not hesitate to remove our belongings, we did not dare seek the only shade, that in the store and saloon, but stood guard in a sun that must have registered very high. When we could stand it no longer, we crawled underneath the platform. We sent out expeditions for Sturgis and water, but the only result was an offer of a gallon of water for “two bits” (25 cents) at the saloon. This was served in a kerosene can that gave it a strong flavor. It was most acceptable though for it was the only supply and was imported at that.
Toward evening, we had a telephone message from Sturgis who was at Meyer. He had been delayed by bad road and finally found it impossible to get to Turkey Creek. There was no way of getting from Turkey Creek to Meyer or visa versa until Thursday afternoon by the daily train. Our cook and cooking utensils at Meyer and we and the food at Turkey Creek with ten impassible miles of mountain between! Toward evening, we succeeded in negotiating for a frying pan, in which Avery cooked us a steak while we were forced to eat with our fingers. That night, two slept guard over the provisions on the platform, while the others slept on the slope of the other side of the railroad track.
Thursday, June 4, 1903
Thursday, the terrific heat drove us to the sheltering shade of the saloon. This was nearer than the store to our pile of provisions. There, we stretched out in the shack on the ground in front of the door and listened to an old prospector, Bill Williams, deliver a tirade against President Roosevelt. His main objection was that Teddy wore glasses and Bill thought there were plenty of good men in the country without weak eyes. He considered the President physically imperfect and therefore unfit for his position. Tally spent the morning playing cribbage with the saloon owner for drinks. The others claimed the games were short and the drinks long. When the daily train arrived, the crew took pleasure in finding us where they left us the day before and jeered lustily. They also brought a Prescott newspaper describing us as a party of college students on an extended camping trip. The saloonkeeper, storekeeper and prospectors were much interested in the article, for they said they had been trying to guess just what we were. In this country, it is not proper etiquette to inquire what brings a man there and it is often dangerous to ask too leading questions, as most people are here because they cannot be somewhere else. I may say here that everywhere we met people, we were taken for a surveying party. Such an outfit is looked upon much as a big steam yacht that is anchored off a small fishing village on the Atlantic coast. It is a mark of luxury and good living.
We reached Meyer at 5 p.m. In an hour, we were packed and started on the trip. But the roads were rough and we were “soft” so that it was 10 p.m. before we pitched camp and had supper, though we only traveled 10 miles.
We were up at 6 a.m., stiff and tired, but about to have our hardest days ride. We filled our water barrels at the ranch near which we camped and traveled until 8:30 p.m., halting at noon two hours to feed and rest the horses. There was no shade and the glaring heat of the desert did not increase ones appetite for canned sardines. Toward evening, we dropped over the edge of the mesa into the Verde Valley. We descended by Copper Canyon and dropped 2000 feet in about three miles of winding road. Coming down that beautiful mountain trail into the green alfalfa fields after the blistering glare of the desert was very soothing to the senses.
The trip was only about 25 miles, but we were all done. Avery fell asleep while Kinney was cooking supper. Tally was just able to eat his supper and crawl into bed while Toon, who had taken to the wagon soon after lunch, sat perched on the high seat, wrapped in a comforter, worrying lest he should not get the best location for his bed. Waddie, nearly dead with fatigue, his own bedding untouched, but faithfully obeying the orders of his elder brother, dragged Toon’s bed half across the valley, setting it up and taking it down at least three times but patiently “obeying.” The slumber boat finally found a resting place, though Toon took the injured air that we others had seized all the good places before he had a chance. I don’t think there was much choice of position. It was all bad. A stony hillside without shade from the early sun with cattle and burros wandering about you does not make a comfortable or secure resting place.
We saddled the horses and rode three miles up the valley to the prehistoric dwellings, called Montezuma’s Castle, where we had our photos taken in pleasing attitude. The Montezuma Castle consists of cliff dwellings built with adobe and reeds in crevices of the cliffs. There is no possible approach except by ladder to these semi-cave huts.
Toon did not accompany us to the dwellings, but remained in camp, nursing his bowels and receiving the sympathy of the doctor’s wife from old Camp Verde. The village is the remains of an old government fort used in the Apache Indian wars, but deserted some twenty-five years ago. The barracks are now used as stables and the officer’s quarters by the well-to-do as homes. Thus, the doctors’, storekeepers’, etc. excuse for existence is to distribute mail and provisions to the ranches through the valley.
To return to cliff dwellings, this valley has many relics of this race of cliff dwellers. The best preserved monument to their civilization is this cliff settlement, called Montezuma’s Castle. The name, Montezuma, has no connection with cliff dwellers, being the name of a famous Aztec chief, I believe, and a historical person. This settlement is 150 feet above head of the arroyo, the wall being perpendicular and partly overhanging. The shelf strata is used for floor and roof. There are four stories including about 40 rooms. Above is an overhanging wall nearly 100 feet and almost perpendicular to the upper level of the surrounding country.
We moved camp thirteen miles northeast to the Soda Springs. Tally and Kenneth Avery developed a game of poker on horseback. Tally won three dollars from Avery, though they say it was a fair game.
Just before reaching the Soda Springs, we passed Montezuma’s Well. This is a circular hill the center of which is hollow. The hollow, or well, is about 100 yards in diameter and there are several hundred feet of perpendicular wall to the water level. The water is supposed to be very good. There are some cliff dwellings on the walls and at the waters edge is a cave, which winds back into the side of the hill. In one place, there is water and the entrance is through one of the cliff dwellings. In places, it is so narrow that one has to crawl on the stomach to get through.
On the east, this hill has a perpendicular wall both inside and out so that the water from the well is held back by a rock wall 20 feet thick. When looking at it, this does not seem very strange.
We visited the well and crawled through the cave as far as possible, about 200 yards. Toon did not join us but remained in camp with the big blue bottle the Camp Verde doctor gave him.
In the afternoon, we visited the Soda Springs. The largest is a pool of water 10 feet in diameter and apparently only two feet deep with a sandy bottom through which bubbles rise. This bottom is false and on stepping upon the sand you sink through it like water until submerged to the chest. Even though one can feel no bottom, it is impossible to sink further. We tried to push each other down but on leaving hold the one pushed down bobbed up like a cork. Besides, there is so much buoyancy, it is impossible to get completely submerged. The bathing is very invigorating and the Indians, when sick, come for miles to this spring, believing it has healing qualities.
Our camp was situated on Beaver Creek, which has a fair flow of water – something very scarce in this country. Even the Verde River is not a continuous stream, but sinks in the sand and, in places, flows entirely underground.
About dusk, we were attracted by the cracking of a twig to the presence of an Indian. He passed almost noiselessly dressed in a pair of underdrawers and a petticoat that did not reach his knees. Though he carried a gun on his shoulder and walked with quiet dignity, the effect was ludicrous.
Sturgis, Kinney, Uncle and Tally rode three miles up Beaver Creek to a red sandstone wall cut out by the stream on which were some hieroglyphics. The designs had the simplicity of a child’s imagination, but were worked out with great care. They covered a space possibly twenty feet long and ten feet high and are mostly above the level of a man’s head when standing. The Indians do not know their meaning or origin and they are attracted to the cliff dwellers, of whose presence there are many indications all through these parts.
When starting home, Sturgis’ horse got away from him and started for camp at his fastest gait. Sturgis had no intention of walking and, with his usual cleverness, induced Kinney to walk and let him have his horse. Kinney, with his usual good hearted easygoing nature, gave up his horse and footed the three miles in a sun that must have registered abut 120˚.
Toon is still hugging his big blue bottle, so we have decided not to move camp until tomorrow. We spent the day washing ourselves and our clothes, for we understand this is the last stream of any size we will see for a long time. Mrs. Finney, the rancher’s wife, was starting for Prescott to spend a few days shopping, so we all wrote letters which she kindly took to post for us. She has a drive of fifty miles. After she crosses the Verde Valley, she has to go through very rough wild mountains, which is slow going. I suppose it will take her at least two days to get there.
We were up at dawn, but did not get started until after seven o’clock. It is wonderful the time it takes to break camp. The horses had to be fed, breakfast cooked, the dishes washed, the bedding to be rolled up and everything packed. Though everyone attends to his own bedding and horse, it generally takes about two hours after we get up to get off.
All morning, we traveled slowly through the sun baked hills and it was a great relief to get up on top of the Black Mesa. The tinge of green made us feel as though we were in God’s country again, when compared with the blistering desert, where the dry heat hardened and cracked your skin and the sun seemed to suck your life’s blood through the cracks.
However, we were soon attacked by myriads of gnats that got into our ears, eyes and hair, biting fiercely. They were so vicious that we had to bind our heads and necks in cloths. The four horses were nearly frantic. At noon, we reached Rattlesnake Tank, where we lunched. This is simply a rocky hollow that holds rainwater. There are several muddy pools of 10-15 feet in diameter. During the morning, we had only traveled twelve miles northeast but had climbed over 2500 feet. A cold storm came up and we ate our lunch standing, the rain splashing in our plates. We were arriving again in an hour but did not reach Stoneman’s Lake until 6 p.m. There was a cold, driving rain. It was all uphill and the wagon often sank to the hubs. As we did not know the way, we had to wait for the wagon, so we would only ride on short distances, then sit down and make a fire. In all that long dreary afternoon, we only traveled 8 miles – but a terrible 8 miles!
Yesterday’s trip was too much for Tally, who caught cold and, during the night, had a slight hemorrhage. We slept in the tent for the first time that night, but the rain got in and between the cold wind and wet bedding, we were nearly frozen. Moreover, we had hobbled the horses and turned them loose and they kept trying to get up alongside the tent to protect themselves from the wind. They were not used to hobbles and were particularly clumsy, so we were in constant fear lest they step through the sides of the tent and on us or stumble over the tent ropes and roll on us, either of which would have been disastrous. Stoneman’s Lake is similar to Montezuma’s Well, in that it has a high precipitous wall around it and spans possibly three hundred feet. However, both sides of this wall are covered with large pine trees and the lake, which is only an immense boggy pool, sometimes dries up. When we saw it, it was probably three quarters of a mile long at its longest. Inside this hollow and just above the lake at the foot of the wall is a ranch owned by Bill Domm and his wife. There was a small spring at the ranch and this was our nearest water, but it was a steep climb over three hundred feet perpendicularly to our camp, so during the morning we continued our upward climb four miles to a deserted ranch where there is an old government spring.
When we awoke, there were no horses in sight and, though hobbled, they had quickly learned how to get over ground implicit of such things, for they had wandered far into the forest and, after hunting all morning, Sturgis and Avery only found seven of the nine. There were continued showers and much lightening. Just before lunch, while watering horses, a lightening bolt struck an immense pine tree a hundred yards up the park. The shock was severe and stampeded the horses. We had no sooner collected ourselves and the horses, when another tree 200 yards in another direction was struck with a terrific crash. Then a third tree not 75 yards from us was struck. I was talking to the cook one minute and the next, I realized there had been a deafening crack, the tree was enveloped in smoke and I was crawling to my feet, dazed and thoroughly startled.
As we were sitting down to lunch, a forest ranger rode into camp driving his pack horses on foot. We invited him to lunch and, as there seemed to be electric storms on all sides, he decided not to venture further and spent the night with us. During the afternoon Fisher, the ranger, helped Sturgis hunt the remaining lost horses, which were found several miles from camp. That evening he spent sitting around an open fire in the one roomed log cabin while the wind whistled between the logs of the wall and the rain filtered in between the cracks in the roof.
The ranger left us this morning on his way to Flagstaff, which he expected to reach in five days and kindly took our letters to be mailed there.
As soon as he had gone, Sturgis and Avery went off for the day to hunt deer. This is the closed season for hunting, but Sturgis is not the man to mind that. However, he got none.
The rest of us loafed about playing chess and cards and shooting wild dove for supper.
The ranch at which we are staying is called the Old Pratt Ranch and is an open meadow or park, as they call it in the forest. The government bought out the Pratt’s and turned the land over to the San Francisco Forest Reserve in which it lies.
Water up here is very scarce but the ranch is lucky, for nearby was a small spring that, at some time past, had been developed by the government for its own use. The water is fresher than any for miles and, though the spring is small, there will be water there after all the natural tanks are dried up during dry season. We had to dig out the pool so that it would be deep enough to get a bucket half full and this water was full of wigglers and diminutive sea serpents about one quarter of an inch long.
Uncle, who was almost as keen a hunter as Kenneth, went off hunting with Sturgis, Charley and Kenneth. Waddie was not feeling well and remained in camp, while Toon and Tally went to Stoneman’s Lake to buy eggs from Mrs. Domm. She was their alone with a watch dog and shotgun, her husband having gone away for several days to search for some stray pigs. Her nearest neighbor was four miles over the mountains and, as they were away on a visit to Flagstaff, she was pretty much alone. She raises chickens and sells the eggs at Flagstaff where she drives all alone once or twice a month.
Toon and Tally brought back seven and a half dozen eggs on horseback, which was a delicate operation, though no eggs were broken.
Waddie cooked lunch and, later in the afternoon, the hunters returned without success and Uncle, the last to arrive, was so tuckered he could only just crawl to his cot. However, he revived at dinnertime when he heard there was honey, which we find is his favorite dish.
Tally began with another slight hemorrhage, but we decided to move camp anyway. We only intended to go ten miles south, so Sturgis and Avery spent the morning hunting as usual without result. As no one in the party had ever been over this part of the road, we decided to have early lunch and get away soon after lunch. Instead of packing up before lunch, Sturgis and Kinney fiddled away time so that we did not get started until quarter to two, though we lunched at eleven-thirty. Tally was furious with Toon. After traveling five miles, we passed a water hole, but supposing this could not be the place, we kept on and on but came to no water. Toon was tired and Tally could hardly sit up in the saddle. We were about to camp without water when Avery, riding in the lead, came upon a muddy pool. Feeling very romantic, instead of telling us, he fired three shots, which he said indicated he had found water. Unfortunately, we were not up on sign language and he had to tell us in unromantic English.
Just as supper was ready, the coffee pot upset, putting out the cooks fire and delaying the meal until long after dark. About the same time, Bobby the dog discovered a skunk, much to our annoyance.
Though a good deal irritated, we controlled our tempers until the next morning in spite of the many petty troubles of the day. A council of war. Maps don’t agree. Country does not agree with either map. We all express wise opinions and the discussion grows heated. The climax came when Avery exclaimed “For God’s sake, Tally. You and Toon ride in the wagon and we will go until we find water no matter how far.” Toon and Tally were delicate and, for that reason, our daily marches were limited. The worst jolting one gets is riding over rough roads in a freight wagon without springs and Tally flared up at this ignorant and foolish command. Later, Avery’s horse went lame, he was forced to ride in the wagon and was made painfully wise
We continued south and met a freighter from Pine who gave us our bearings. Later, Tally saw a herd of deer. Kinney and Avery, after usual preparation, pursued them unsuccessfully. Later, Tally startled a deer not 25 yards away. As he thought it a fawn, he would not shoot. The deer stood dazed. Avery dismounted to shoot. Tally told him it was a fawn, but Avery killed it. Tally refused to eat the meat and there was another breach in camp. Avery, supported by the rest, tried to justify himself, but Tally maintained his position. Coyotes followed most of the afternoon and several times we tried to get shots. Finally, Tally got three pistol shots at an animal that sprang into the open a short distance in front of his horse. At first he thought it a coyote but it turned out to be a timber wolf.
That night, we camped in an open park – Long Valley. As we were sitting down to dinner, a six horse freighter came in sight and camped near us for the night. The driver spent the evening with us and Avery thought “it was all up with him.” He had visions of a $100 fine and a prison cell at Yuma for killing deer out of season. Sturgis gave the freighter a leg of the deer, telling him it was part of a dead sheep we found.