Mr. O. Fred Arthur started as a Forest Guard on the Prescott National Forest in 1907, and retired as Supervisor of the Cibola National Forest in 1945. His well-written autobiography entitled, "Then: 1907, to 1945: Now, In the United States Forest Service," is in the Library of the Museum at the Continental Divide Training Center [now located at Sharlott Hall Museum, Prescott, Arizona]. Every student of the history of the Forest Service would enjoy the informative and exciting incidents related by Mr. Arthur. Space limitations prohibit the inclusion of his entire manuscript in the record. One incident, from his Chapter X, however, is quoted verbatim:
THE SHOEMAKER FIRE
There were many noteworthy occurrences during these years such as the shutdown of the Sacramento Mountain Lumber Company operation, which included the logging trains, etc., because of the company's failure to observe requirements of the government: the Shoemaker incendiary fire which resulted in the killing of Shoemaker and Executive Assistant W.C. White; Ranger Galt's performance in moving Ed Pfingston, (fatally injured in a rock slide en route to a fire) from White Mountain through rough and inaccessible country. Galt's action which required three days of effort was rewarded by a letter of commendation from the Forester.
The story of the Shoemaker fire which occurred in 1927 may best be related by quoting my report to the Regional Forester:
In further connection with this case, reference is made to 'O-Fire-Lincoln, Capitan Pass Fire,' and 'O-Fire-Lincoln, Dry Canyon Fire.
On the evening of March 15, another fire occurred in the immediate vicinity of these two cases. Mr. Strickland left for it the following morning, reaching Capitan about 6:00 a.m. Later on that morning I received a telephone communication from Mr. J. A. Brubaker, formerly a Forest Ranger, to the effect that there had been shots fired, supposedly by T. H. Shoemaker, at certain fire fighter engaged in taking tools out of a car which was left near his house: that a little evidence had been collected already identifying Shoemaker with this fire. I then called Mr. French, Assistant Solicitor at Albuquerque, and told him in a general way what had happened and requested that he come down and assist in the collection of additional evidence and prosecution of the case in the event such action proved warranted.
Later I decided to go to the fire and left about 1:00 p.m. in the government truck, taking with me Executive Assistant, W. C. White, in order that he might assist in time and expense records and perhaps with incidental work on the fireline itself. Mr. White had previously served as Ranger on that District and knew the conditions and country thoroughly. We reached Capitan about 5:00 p.m. and met Mr. Stickland who gave us further particulars as regards the shot fired at fire fighters. The circumstances were as follows:
Ranger Bond had left the Baca Ranger Station with Mr. A. R. Dean, and Lloyd Taylor, a son-in-law of Mr. Dean's, and foreman of the Block Cattle Company, whose range was on the north side of the mountains, and extended over the fire area. In addition to chuck and fire tools, it appears that Ranger Bond had taken his rifle and Mr. Dean a six shooter which he borrowed in Capitan. They drove Mr. Dean's car. They met Ranger Beall in Capitan in his car, also loaded with supplies and some men. They drove together and left the main highway, taking a side road up to the fire area. After leaving the main highway and traveling a short distance they stopped on account of a closed gate, which I believed they noticed to be directly in front of T. H. Shoemaker's house. They left the cars standing and went on across the hills to the fire. Later, I presume about 2:00 a.m., Ranger Bond went down and moved Ranger Beall's car to the point where the fire camp was established, about two miles to east. Toward morning Lloyd Taylor, Charles Pepper and Apoliano Romero were sent to the remaining car to get some supplies. Pepper carried a lantern and was standing at the rear of the car: Taylor was engaged in getting some things from the front seat, when two shots were fired from the vicinity of the Shoemaker house. Pepper was hit in the back of the neck by a sliver from a rock struck by one of the bullets. He dashed out the lantern and they all went for the brush. Taylor afterward coming back and getting what equipment they needed and then returned to the fire.
Mr. White returned to the fire with Mr. Strickland and I remained in Capitan to await the arrival of Mr. French, who showed up about 11:00 p.m. We remained at the hotel until 5:00 a.m. (the 17th) when we pulled out to the fire area in Mr. French's car. We went over the fire lines and interviewed a number of parties. Evidence was insufficient in material information for a government case. We also learned that the guns which had been left in Mr. Dean's car had been taken, this being discovered by Mr. Dean shortly after daylight when he and Lloyd Taylor returned to move his car to the fire camp. About this time it was found that the shots fired the night the fire occurred had struck the car, one entering through the right front curtain, passing out at the rear end through the back cushions: the other hitting the running board and damaging the wiring directly underneath the car. They apparently missed Lloyd Taylor just a few inches above and below his body. There was considerable talk to the effect that the Government should do something. So far as a government case went, justifying immediate action, we were in rather a helpless position.
Mr. French and I decided that in the event complaints were made and search warrant issued for the stolen firearms, the matter could be turned over to the local authorities, which would provide sufficient time for the Government to go ahead in the collection of evidence. We approached Charley Pepper in the matter and he refused to take any action. While we secured the testimony of Romero we did not ask his views in regard to the complaints. Lloyd Taylor, the remaining member, we thought was at the Block Ranch Headquarters. Ranger Bond said he was anxious to recover his rifle, and stated that on his own responsibility he would make complaint and request a search of Shoemaker's premises. We, therefore, left with him and drove to the Block Headquarters, where upon inquiry we learned that Lloyd Taylor was thirty miles away engaged in repair of a windmill and would not likely return for three or four days. We drove on into Carrizozo, reaching there about 6:00 p.m. and talked the matter over with the Justice of the Peace and the Sheriff, Sam Kelsey. Ranger Bond made complaint and a search warrant was issued which Mr. Kelsey said would be served the following day, (the 18th).
As we were about to leave the Sheriff's office and return to Capitan, I received a telephone communication from Mr. A. R. Dean, who stated that he, Lloyd Taylor and Charley Pepper were coming to Carrizozo, that they meant business, and for us to await their arrival. It appears that upon Mr. Dean's return to the fire camp from the fire the damage to his car was pointed out to him. Lloyd Taylor had also unexpectedly returned from the fire. Mr. Dean immediately approached them on the matter of the search warrant with the result that they decided to take action on their own initiative and make the necessary complaints. This was the reason for their hurried trip to Carrizozo. This latter phase was discussed with the Justice of the Peace, A. H. Harvey, and Sheriff Kelsey. Mr. Taylor also conferred with Mr. T. A. Spencer, Manager of the Block Company, with whom I had conversed that afternoon relative to the whole situation. The Block Cattle Company was not a disinterested party, since they had received many threats from Shoemaker, culminating apparently in the shots directed the previous day at their foreman. Complaints were made, and warrant for arrest was secured on the charge of Assault with Deadly Weapons. We returned to Capitan after receiving assurance from Sheriff Kelsey that he and his Deputy would arrive in Capitan around 8:00 a.m. the next morning. Before leaving he stated that the Forest Service was an interested party to this whole affair and that he would want our assistance.
The following morning, March 18th, Mr. Kelsey and his Deputy, Pete Johnson, arrived in Capitan. General plans were discussed and action started on the following basis:
Kelsey and A. R. Dean were to go to the Dixon Ranch on the opposite side of the mountain from where Shoemaker lived. (Dixon was supposed to be on friendly terms with Shoemaker) and this trip was to be made with the object of having Dixon intercede and have Shoemaker give himself up to the officers. Newt Kemp and Lloyd Taylor were to place themselves in the vicinity of the Hipp Ranch about one mile north of the Shoemaker place. Deputy Sheriff Pete Johnson, an ex-service man, with someone I was to select, was to be stationed near the Koprian Ranch. At this time I requested information from Sheriff Kelsey as to the extent of assistance he desired from the Forest Service. I wished to learn also the status of our men before engaging in any program. Kelsey replied, 'I'm deputizing you right now.' I stated that this was satisfactory to me, and he again informed me that so far as any of our other men were concerned he would leave the matter in my hands: that he thought there should be some assignments made for patrol of the country between the fire and the Shoemaker Ranch. In addition to the above, Deputy Sheriff, Billie Sevier, was to be stationed at the Fire Camp and keep familiar with our movements and to give out information as to our whereabouts. This program was outlined with the various men concerned with the definite understanding, however, that the primary objective would be to determine the whereabouts of Shoemaker. Once this was accomplished, and if Dixon failed to give material assistance, Kelsey and Dean were to return to the vicinity and make the arrest. The only conceivable deviation from the general scheme was in the event the opportunity presented itself and could not be overlooked for the immediate arrest of Shoemaker by some other member of the party. In other words, should any of the deputized parties see him or run into him, an arrest was to be made. We immediately proceeded to enter upon our assignments. French and I, with Deputies Sevier ad Johnson, together with Reuben Boone, a Ranger on annual leave from the Manzano visiting his mother in Capitan, drove to the fire camp.
The previous night when we returned from Carrizozo, Ranger Bond proceeded on to the fire, with instructions from French and myself to have Mr. Strickland, then in charge, assign two men at daylight to overlook the Shoemaker Ranch and determine whether or not he was at home. Shortly after we reached the fire camp, Strickland and White came in, stating that they had been watching Shoemaker from a distance, that he was at home.
I told Deputy Sheriff Johnson that if a Forest Officer was to accompany him, I would do it myself, but rather than walk two miles across country to our station near the Koprian ranch, it might be best to take the Government car and drive around, about four or five miles. In the meantime, arrangements had been made that Messrs. French, Strickland and Ranger Boone would patrol the country between the fire line and the Shoemaker ranch, to be on the lookout against additional incendiary fires and at the same time provide for locating Shoemaker should he leave the ranch for the mountains.
As we were getting ready to leave, I noticed White coming from the cook shack, having just finished his breakfast. I asked him if he had any sleep during the night, and he replied that he had. I said, 'How would you like to go along to the Koprian Ranch?' He said, 'All right. fine!' I said, 'Well, come go with us, get in the Ford and drive us around.' We left the camp, White driving, and Deputy Sheriff Johnson at his side. I sat in the truck on an extra tire. Johnson gave me his coat to sit on in which he said his six-shooter was wrapped. I took a rifle which I had borrowed in Capitan and which contained five or six cartridges, but none in the barrel. I laid it down at my side. The other men had their rifles on the front seat. Reaching the highway about a mile and a half away we turned west toward Encinosa. As we rode down a hill, at the bottom of which a side road leads down from the Shoemaker Ranch and passing the Hipp Ranch joins the highway, I looked ahead and saw two horses at the mail box, on one of which was a woman. I do not recall seeing anyone else, but the thought occurred to me that possibly the other horse belonged to Shoemaker. Because of their position and, also, because of mine in the rear of the car, we drove past them I before I noticed the other party, who proved to be Shoemaker. He was standing alongside of his horse, near the butt end of his rifle which was in a scabbard banging on the left side of the saddle, the butt in a forward position. Going about 100 or 150 feet, the car stopped and Johnson got out and started walking back on my left side: my back being toward the front end of the car. My attention was concentrated on Shoemaker to see that he did not make any movement. I cannot say exactly how far Johnson had gotten when Shoemaker reached for his rifle. Johnson whirled and started back. I then noticed that he carried no firearms. He said, 'Look out, he is going to shoot.' My gun was on the bottom of the car at my side. I grabbed it and jumped out on the right hand side and ran around in front of the car. White remained in the seat. Shoemaker started shooting. I fired also. Johnson grabbed his rifle quickly, took his position on his knee in front and at the left hand side of the car. I recall his saying, 'Throw up your hands, Shoemaker.' Johnson was directly in my line of fire at Shoemaker. I could not do much shooting without exposing my entire person, while Johnson remained in a way protected. I did not fire over three shots if that many. Shoemaker was firing rapidly. My time was spent trying to shoot from underneath the car. During this time my attention was distracted from our main purpose twice: once seeing White slip down into the seat and it occurred to me that he was shot. Immediately afterward I decided that he was slipping down out of the way of the bullets; the other time was when he pitched forward on his face in the rut of the road directly in front of the car. I further noticed during that time that the woman on horseback had pulled out to the north side of the road, sitting on her horse and viewing the entire scene. The firing stopped and I saw Shoemaker laying face downward on the ground. Johnson started toward him. I returned to White. Immediately upon going back I saw Shoemaker crawling for his rifle. Johnson hurried back and asked if I had any shells left in my gun. I replied there was, he said, 'Give it to me', which I did.
He ran back and when about half way, Shoemaker was within five or six inches of his rifle and reaching for it. Johnson fired a shot which ended Shoemaker's life. The saddle horse had been shot and was staggering around on the north side of the road. Johnson went over and finished him.
Johnson came back and we gave our attention to White. His face was terribly mutilated, and I saw no hopes for him. Johnson said we would load him in the truck and rush him to Ft. Stanton, 25 miles distant. I replied that there was no use, that the radiator had been shot to pieces and that we could not go over a mile, but for him to remain there and I would rush back to camp and get another car. Before leaving I want over to the woman and asked her to please ride to the Hipp Ranch and tell them to come down. I got out and started running to camp when I met French and Strickland and others who had not left the camp. We got French's car and went to the shooting and found that Johnson had left with White in the mail car which had passed along directly after I left. Newt Kemp was at the scene. We let out one or two parties and Strickland, Boone, French and I drove on. They drove immediately to Ft. Stanton: I got out at Camptan and telephoned District Forester Pooler and asked him to send someone or come himself at once. An inquest was held over Shoemaker's body, at which time the woman's testimony was secured. She proved to be the wife of Mr. Guy Hix, a Block cowpuncher. I was not present at this hearing, but my testimony and that of Mr. Johnson was taken that night before the coroner's jury.
In closing I might add that the guns covered by the search warrant were afterwards found in the Shoemaker house. Further that Kemp and Taylor, stationed at the Hipp place, had seen Shoemaker pass on his way to the mail box, too late to intercept him, but with the agreement that they would meet him on his return."
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From the Use Book, 1906: "The Secretary of Agriculture has authority to permit, regulate, or prohibit grazing in the forest reserves."
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Mr. Leon F. Kneipp was appointed Forest Ranger on the Prescott Forest Reserve in 1900. He was transferred to Santa Fe in 1904, and by 1907 was in the Washington Office where he held many important positions and contributed significantly to the development of Forest Service grazing policies and procedures. He had a most distinguished career. The following is quoted directly from a letter written in 1963 by Mr. Kneipp to a friend:
I never was in charge of the Crown King District. What happened was that early in 1902 my salary was raised from $60 to $90 per month, which put me right next to the Supervisor and by tacit consent I became somewhat of a head ranger whose duties extended over all parts of the Reserve. One job was to take the novices out and show them the districts they were to supervise and inculcate in them some comprehension of their duties and how they were to be performed.
Crown King was a hardship job because it was completely isolated from all centers of production or distribution. Horses had to be fed hay and rolled barley which sometimes soared to $30 per ton and $2.75 per 70 lb. sack. There were lots of vacant mining shacks but all other items were high, so a $60 per month Ranger salary, which had to keep a horse as well as the Ranger, had no attraction for men who could get $3.00 per 8 hour day, minus $1 per day for board and $1 per month for the contract doctor. Accordingly, the Rangers changed with considerable frequency.
The District embraced the entire southern end of the Prescott Reserve as it then existed; the Bradshaw Range, extending from Minnehaha Flat easterly toward the town of Mayer. The next gulch south of Crown King had a couple of good-sized mining operations and the Horsethief country had quite a stand of Pine. There was quite a little grazing, to which little attention was given, but mining operations were the principal problems of the Ranger.
The two Rangers who were on the Prescott Reserve when I was appointed in April 1900, both made their headquarters in the town of Prescott and I doubt whether either had ever visited Crown King. The first man I remember thee was named Howd, who had been a desk clerk in a Denver Hotel but had been advised by his doctor to get outside work in a warmer climate than Denver. He was a good man, who knew how to meet and deal with people, had a sense of responsibility, kept a good saddle horse and worked. But when he regained his health he yielded to the allure of a more attractive job.
The other names that occur to me were Newbold, Blackburn, Bushnell, Gaines, Roach, Cokely, et al. The most important was Frank C. W. Pooler, whose first assignment was to Crown King. When I returned early in 1904 from a temporary detail to the Pecos River Reserve in N. M. during the suspension of the Supervisor, I was detailed to accompany Lou Barrett in his inspection of the Prescott Reserve and when we got to Crown King we found Pooler in charge. He had spent some months at the old Grand Canyon hotel, then through Senator Proctor had been offered the Ranger job on the Prescott. I recall, we were standing on a timber sale area when Barrett discovered a rattlesnake right near his foot, so he stamped on its head with his heel and killed it. Evidently it was a new experience for Pooler and he were visibly alarmed. But he was too good a man to stay long at Crown King. Another star was Roscoe G. Willson who was at the King for a year or two. Roach went berserk, killed a man, was sentenced to be hanged, but committed suicide.
Cokely was the most picturesque. He claimed a sponsor who knew where some of the residue of the Government camel herd was still running loose and had hired him to corral them. Meanwhile he was willing to take a job as Ranger. He was a superb horse-breaker and rider, so instead of buying horses he talked local ranches into turning some of their young horses over to him, later to be returned as well broken and gentle, which they were. However, he thought he saw the need for a hotel, so he built one of board and batten type with sackcloth walls between the rooms. He also instituted a hauling service. All of a sudden he disappeared, leaving nothing but debts to mark his memory.
When introduced to Cokely, Lou Barrett said, 'Hello Cokely, remember me?' Cokely looked at him suspiciously, so Barrett added, 'Gut-robber, Troop B.' Then Cokely lost his caution, 'Why Lou Barrett, you such-and-such so-and-so!' He didn't try to fool Barrett or me, but made a frank statement of all his machinations. He and Barrett had soldiered together in the Philippines, chasing Auguinaldo.
In the good old days, whenever a considerable number of virile males was brought together by a new mining development or railroad or reservoir construction a coterie of feminine charm was soon in nearby residence. When asked by what right they were occupying the area, the stock reply was, 'Come out and I'll show you my mining location and discovery shaft.' The case would then be reported to the General Land Office in Washington and the consistent result was instruction to serve a notice for the vacation of the area in ten days. When nothing had happened following such service the G.L.O. was so advised and the usual instruction was to serve another ten-day notice. Some of the places had three or four such notices pasted on the bar mirrors.
When the railroad was constructed to Crown King, Bernice Schwanbeeck established such a place half-way between the King and Mayer. In due time Cokely was ordered to serve another ten-day notice on her. The talk was pretty rough but Cokely could be about as vitriolic as any, so that he didn't mind. However, something happened to upset him. He was riding a half-broken bronco and he was somewhat careless in mounting him, so the horse dumped him headfirst in a rainwater barrel at the corner of the building. According to an eyewitness, he was upended in the water and one of the male habitues declared: 'He got in by himself, let the s.o.b, get out by himself.' But Bernice declared she didn't want a charge of murder added to her other complications and made them haul Cokely out."
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Mr. Richard H. Hanna (early forest officer in Santa Fe, now a prominent Albuquerque attorney) prepared the following write-up in December 1941:
by Richard H. Hanna
Santa Fe was headquarters for the superintendent of all the forest reserves in New Mexico and Arizona in 1900. I arrived on June 30 of that year after having served a year as ranger on the old Prescott Forest Reserve in Arizona.
In those days, forest officers were not, as a rule, trained men, but were usually selected because of political considerations. In my case, appointment resulted through friendship of my father, the late I. B. Henna, with the late Congressman, "Uncle Joe" Cannon of Illinois, then chairman of the powerful committee on appropriations. Our family home was in Kankakee, Ill.
When I started as ranger, the superintendent of forest reserves in the Southwest was William B. Buntin. In May 1900 he was succeeded by my father, who called me into Santa Fe as he thought I might be of some help to him because of my year's experience as ranger. I stayed six months and then left to go to law school.
The Pecos River Forest Reserve had only recently been established, and was in charge of Supervisor McClure, a Kentuckian. It was mainly undeveloped then. Access was largely by trails. The town of Pecos was old, even then.
The practice was to appoint rangers for the summer, when fire hazard was present, and lay them off in October, except for one or two officers who stayed on through winter. During summer months, as many as 400 men were employed on the Southwestern forest reserves. Among them, as I recall, were Mariano Sans, brother of the Jose E. Sans in Santa Fe who was for so many years Clerk of the Supreme Court; James J. Goutchey, now Federal Building custodian; and John W. Kerr, a very efficient officer who started on the Pecos and later became chief of range management in the Southwestern region.
Fire fighting was the most responsible work of the early forest officers. Forest fires seemed to be unusually prevalent. We used to think people set them purposely. Sheep and cattle growers were fighting a good deal over livestock range, and when one of them was routed from an area, he perhaps would be careless about his fires.
Fires would sometimes burn over large areas and require hundreds of men to fight them. I recall one in the summer of 1900 that extended over 40,000 acres. Then there is the big burn still noticeable on the mountains near Santa Fe, resulting from a fire that started before the forest reserves were created. People in Santa Fe tell me that fire burned for weeks and was just allowed to burn itself out. That was a terrible waste of natural resources.
Little value was attached to forest resources then. Generally, however, when we asked people in the neighborhood of a fire to help us, they would cooperative effectively. Lots of times they would put out a fire before notifying us. Sometimes those who helped us were paid, and sometimes they weren't.
Among our duties was the regulating of grazing and logging, for which permits were issued. The only serious opposition I recall was from contractors undertaking to supply timber needed by the larger mining companies for fuel and mine timbers. They had been accustomed to cut large quantities where they pleased, without payment. When the forest reserves were created, the contractors didn't even attempt to get permits or purchase the timber from the Government, but would help themselves. That kept my father and the rest of us busy.
Rangers of that time built no roads, but worked a lot on trails. For a long time they had no power to make arrests in cases of grazing or logging trespass, although that power was received later on.
They had to be self-reliant, and self-sustaining when they traveled wild forest land and endless mesas, often far from any habitation. My father had a painful and almost tragic experience once, on a field trip from Santa Fe. He was riding by buckboard from Flagstaff to Lee's Ferry. He hobbled his team at night, but they slipped their hobbles and got away. He was still 30 miles from Lee's Ferry, but started there on foot. Father had a bad knee, resulting from a baseball injury in younger days, and after ten miles of walking, the pain in his knee became unbearable.
He crawled the remaining 20 miles on his hands and knees. It was summertime, and he ran out of water, but had a few cans of tomatoes that kept him going. When he finally reached Lee's Ferry at night, the ferry boat was tied up across the river: his shouts failed to arouse the people over there. He emptied his revolver before they heard and came after him.
Father remained superintendent of the reserves until he died in office in January 1905. He had gone up on the Pecos River Forest Reserve and contracted a bad cold which developed into pneumonia.
In the years since I returned to New Mexico to practice law, I have witnesses marked improvement in the efficiency of forest officers and their work. Among other things, I have observed that political considerations do not enter into forest work at the present time, as they did in the early days.
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Tom Stewart, "Mr. Pecos" to oldtimers in the Forest Service, related the following story to Bob Kelleher in March 1942:
BLAZING TRAIL ON THE PECOS
By Tom Stewart, as told to Bob Kelleher
The notice that arrived by mail at Windsor's ranch on the Upper Pecos River, telling me I was appointed a ranger on the old Pecos River Forest Reserve, was accompanied by a map, some stationery and a letter which ended with the order, "Get busy."
It only took a few hours to learn that the order was superfluous. When I rode to the top of the mountains that day to look at my district, the first thing I saw was smoke from two forest fires. One was on Sapello Creek and the other on Agua Negra. I scratched my head and cussed and decided to handle them one at a time. For help on the Sapello fire I rode fast to Rociada. Ranchers there were already gathering tools when I arrived, so we hit for the Sapello and had the fire controlled by next morning. I left a few men to finish the job.
Without any sleep, I rode to the Agua Negra fire, sized it up, went to Agua Negra placita two miles away, and asked the alcalde (Justice of the Peace) to help me get men. At first he curtly said, "I don't give a d__n if the whole forest burns up." I found out they had known the fire was burning for four or five days. But having learned to speak Spanish fluently, I convinced him that he and other people around there were forest users and it was their duty to help put out the fire. The alcalde gave in, got on his horse, and in no time we had 15 or 20 men. We worked from about 3 p.m. to 3 a.m., and got that fire under control. The alcalde agreed to stay in charge. After that he was the best cooperator I had on my district, to the day of his death.
That first day as a ranger (It was May 1, 1902) had stretched into two days and nights without sleep. My bay horse, "Borrego," had carried me 45 miles. My district covered about 150,000 acres. There were only three other rangers on the Reserve then, and when winter came we were laid off temporarily except for Supervisor McClure and Ranger R. J. Ewing.
Salary was $60 a month (in the months you worked), and out of that you had to furnish two horses, subsistence for yourself and horses, and your own tools for trail building and other work. Men you hired to fight fires had to bring their saws and shovels.
I can distinctly remember receiving a munificent allotment of $20 to build a cabin. I cut the logs by myself, skidded them to the cabin site with a reata tied to my saddle horn, and hired a man for $5 to help lay up the logs. The balance was spent for roofing, nails, etc. Even so, the Supervisor wrote me later, asking how I could have spent all that money on a cabin, and asking for an itemized account.
Forest rangers today have a lot more responsibility, and more fires and other work resulting from heavier use of the forests, and they earn their $150 to $200 a month, but I can't help envying them with their good cabins and barns, pick-up trucks and horse-trailers, and other modern equipment to work with.
Some of the supervisors I worked under during the first years were political appointees, without practical experience. One had been a bandmaster, another a school teacher. The last two I worked under were practical men. One was Don Johnston, now president of a big lumber company down South. The other. L. F. Kneipp, is now a high official in the U. S. Forest Service at Washington, D. C. After the Forest Service was created in 1905 and we went under Civil Service, and with men like Kneipp and Johnston, we commenced to get somewhere.
I put in the rest of the summer of 1902 chasing trespassing herds of livestock off the forest, fighting several small fires, trying to establish some sort of boundary on the west side of my district (that side had never been surveyed), and getting acquainted with the district and the people in or near it. There were homesteads and other private land inside the forest, just as there are today.
To know whether logging or grazing trespass was occurring inside the eastern boundary, I finally bought a pocket compass and ran my own line over the rough country. It wouldn't stand in court, but it helped me find and report many trespass cases.
Boundary disputes and political influence kept all but two of the cases from standing up in court. That embarrassed me, and at times I felt discouraged to the extent of giving up the job. But I liked the work and determined to stick.
Figuring I couldn't do anything through the courts, I used an educational plan of my own. Eighty per cent of the people in that locality were Spanish-Americans. I had a knack of making friends of them, so I attended their fiestas and dances, held meetings when the chance allowed, and explained the purpose of the forest reserves. Before long I had the better and influential element seeing the light, and from then on my job was somewhat easier.
That did not stop all the trespass, of course. One case I found out about involved the taking of considerable un-purchased timber from the reserve, by a prominent politician who had a small sawmill on the upper Gallinas River, north of Las Vegas. I'll call him Don Carlos though that isn't his name. He claimed title to the land, but through my Supervisor I obtained General Land Office records, checked section lines on the ground, and determined the timber land involved was inside the forest reserve. I offered Don Carlos a chance to pay the Government for the timber he had out. He got mad and refused, but stopped cutting in the reserve. Despite his influence he was brought to trial in Federal Court at Las Vegas. He finally settled, paying something over $1,000.
One of the worst fires I ever fought came up while the case of Don Carlos was still in court at Las Vegas and I was there as witness. A freighter going through town looked me up and told me a fire had been burning two or three days on the Tres Ritos. That was in early November 1902. The season was dry and windy, and when I rode up to the fire I saw it was spreading rapidly through an area with considerable dead timber on the ground. I got about 50 men and their tools from nearby settlements, made my plan of attack and we got busy in late afternoon. The wind had died down, and by daylight next morning the blaze seemed well under control. But the wind came up strong in the morning and embers from some burning snags flew across the fireline we had cleared. Now we had several small fires to contend with. It went on that way for seven whole days and nights. Under control, then break out again. All the men in the valley were on that fire. We were about done in, when the weather clouded up and in a few hours snow began falling. That ended the danger, and at daylight next morning we hit the trail for our homes.
We were the sorriest looking mess you ever saw. Those seven days and nights I never took off my clothes, and at the end I had few left to take off. The only sleep I had was when I could go no longer: then I would go to camp, wrap up and snooze a few hours, and start fighting fire again. Many of us came away with clothes and shoes half-burned, and all of us blacker then the ace of spades.
After two big fires in 1904, in the Rio Pueblo and Rio LaCasa Districts, I was promoted from third-class ranger to second-class ranger with pay of $75 a month. It wasn't a lot, but a dollar bought more in those days.
As long as rangers had no power to make arrests, our trouble with sheep herders trespassing (grazing their herds on the forest without permits) kept up. Some herders were bad hombres, and the life of a ranger driving them off the forest was not too safe. Whenever it would take several days to drive a band of sheep out to the boundary, I would pitch my camp at night two or three miles from the herders' camp, and just to make sure they wouldn't try sticking a knife in me while I slept, I would sleep several hundred yards away from my camp.
Things changed when rangers finally received arrest power, and I got sweet vengeance. A band of sheep which belonged to somewhat of a politician in Rio Arriba County had been trespassing regularly in the Santa Barbara vicinity in the Forest. It had got to be a joke among the herders because I would chase them off and in a few days I would find them back again. As soon as we got power to make arrests, I sent to Las Vegas for handcuffs and a padlock and ten feet of chain and started making tracks for the Santa Barbara country. Sure enough, I found three herders (two men and a boy) with sheep and no permit. They gave me the horse laugh, but I disclosed the joke was on then this time. I arrested the men and sent the boy home on a burro to get other herders.
Camping for the night, I handcuffed the prisoners to a tree. I felt certain their case would be dismissed in Santa Fe, so I decided they should get their justice on the way. After the new herders arrived and I gave the prisoners breakfast, I handcuffed each of the two, got on my horse and marched them 25 miles on foot to Windsor's ranch. From there we traveled by buckboard and train to Santa Fe. Their case was dismissed but it was soon rumored around that rangers had police powers, and the trespass troubles became less numerous.
Shortly after this, I was promoted to first-class ranger at $90 a month. In 1907 the forest reserve became the Pecos National Forest and I was boosted to deputy supervisor. In 1909 I was promoted to forest supervisor. After five years, I resigned to go into private business in Santa Fe, where my wife and I still live.
Now the old Pecos River Forest Reserve is the Pecos division of the Santa Fe National Forest. The original area of about 300,000 acres has grown to about 625,000 acres as the result of additions made to include land of high value for the protection of watershed and forest resources.
In the old days I wondered if there would be anything left of the forest, what with fires and trespassing going on right and left, but the good Lord and the forest rangers have got things under control. The Lord saw to it that the rugged and remote nature of much of this area made roads impractical except for a few necessary routes, and the men of the U. S. Forest Service are doing the rest.
Boundaries are well marked now, range allotments have been fenced, and grazing and logging under permit seem to be well in hand. The old wagon road along the Pecos River, up into the Forest, has been developed into a good gravel highway for use of fire crews and forest users, but it still stops at Windsor's ranch, now the settlement known as Cowles. Here and there you find a fire lookout tower or a fire telephone line, but the trails we blazed forty years ago are still being used in an improved condition. By and large, the forest is still wilderness.
I am proud to say that I was one of the pioneers and blazed the way for others to follow.
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Mr. Frank E. Andrews, a pioneer Forest Ranger on the Gila Forest Reserve, later an official in the District Office, was for many years the Supervisor of the Santa Fe National Forest. He prepared the following paper in 1942 while on the Santa Fe:
By Frank E. Andrews, Supervisor
New Mexico has right to be proud of having the first forest reserve in the Southwest, one of the first few established in the United States the Pecos River Forest Reserve, now the Pecos division of the Santa Fe National Forest.
Establishment of this reserve on January 11, 1892 was part of America's answer to the question of dwindling forest resources. It resulted from a movement growing out of decades of agitation throughout the nation. In the last century, logging was universally a "cut out and get out" business, and no thought was given to selective cutting or leaving reserve stand to produce future crops of timber.
The lumberjack had devastated the forests of New England: he had decimated the great forests of the Lake States, and moved on to the virgin forests of the West. An early "voice crying in the wilderness" against desolation of the forests was Dr. Franklin B. Hough, and when Congress established a forestry agency in the Department of Agriculture in 1876. Dr. Hough was appointed Commissioner of Forestry. His work, however, was only investigative; forested lands remained part of the public domain, without special supervision.
To preserve the great beauty of the Yellowstone country in Wyoming, President Harrison established the first forest reserve the Yellowstone Park Timber Land Reserve on March 30, 1891. On October 16 of the same year he established the White River Plateau Timber Land Reserve in Colorado. The Pecos River Forest Reserve, established in the following January, was the third in the nation. The Grand Canyon Forest Reserve in Arizona was established in 1893.
There was a lag until 1901, when President Theodore Roosevelt, lover of the West and friend of conservation, began to make the dirt fly. Between 1901 and 1909 he set aside over 148,000,000 acres of National Forests, as they are now known.
Forestry work was consolidated by an Act of Congress on February 1, 1905; forest reserves were transferred from the Department of the Interior to the Department of Agriculture and were given the name of national forests; the U.S. Forest Service was launched on its long career.
Watershed and forest values of the Pecos River forest area were recognized from the very first, being cited in the Presidential proclamation which established the first reserve. The areas covered approximately 300,000 acres, mostly in the drainage of the Pecos River.
Various adjustments in boundaries since then to include other land with high watershed and timber values, have increased the area of the Pecos division to approximately 625,000 acres.
It is notable for including the Truchas Peaks, whose elevation of 13,306 feet make them the highest mountains in New Mexico; and the Sangre de Cristo Range, which forms the headwaters of the Pecos River and a portion of headwaters of the Rio Grande and the Red River.
While the timber, grazing and recreational values are all important, the watershed value stands out supreme. Protection of the Pecos division against fire, destructive logging or overgrazing is important to farmers hundreds of miles away in irrigation areas along the lower Pecos River and the Rio Grande.
The Pecos division provides excellent summer range for 3,500 head of cattle and horses, and 4,000 sheep and goats. Livestock in actual use by local residents, not exceeding 10 head, is allowed to graze under free permit.
The great forested mountains have a stand of timber capable of sustaining a cut of 2,000,000 feet of sawtimber a year, or the equivalent in mine props, railroad ties or similar products. In place of the "cut out and get out" logging of early days, timber of commercial value in the National Forests is harvested under close supervision. Away from areas of important scenic or recreational value, mature timber that would decay if left to stand is marked by forest officers and advertised for sale on competitive bids. The Forest Service marking and supervision assure that a reserve stand of young, healthy and fast-growing trees is left to keep the forest productive.
Recreation values of the Pecos division are well known to the people of New Mexico, but if we sometimes take them for granted, visitors drawn to it from many other States show its drawing power. The Pecos area ranks high among the attractions supporting the tourist industry, which has been one of the leading industries of New Mexico.
The great appeal of the Pecos division lies in its high, rugged mountain country, magnificent forests, numerous permanent streams and great scenic beauty. No wonder this is Mecca for the fishermen, the hunter, the camper or hiker, or the "dude" who seeks repose, away from a world at war.
Those who can afford it have the dude ranches to choose from. For people of modest means the Forest Service has developed eight free forest campgrounds. And away from the campgrounds the forest offers myriad natural campsites.
The Pecos forest area has changed little with the passing of years, even though many changes have come about in forest administration. True, here and there is a fire lookout tower, or a Forest Service telephone line. The old wagon road up Pecos Canyon has been improved by the Forest Service into a good motor highway. The forest ranger of today has a sturdy pickup truck for travel where roads are available. But he still needs a trailer behind the truck, to carry his horse and equipment for riding on after the road ends.
The roads do not extend much farther today than they did when Tom Stewart and other pioneers traveled their arduous way. The Pecos highway, in fact, still ends at Cowles. The trails that Stewart and other early rangers blazed have been improved. but they mainly follow the same routes.
There is still practically as much wilderness land here as in the early days. Part of this is in the Pecos Wilderness, formally set aside by the Forest Service in order to perpetuate natural conditions. The wilderness area covers 137,000 acres.
Fifty years of protection against fire and abuse of the resources have given Nature an opportunity to work unhampered in its mission of making the Pecos forest area fruitful for this and coming generations.
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Mr. Roscoe G. Willson, a pioneer in the Forest Service in the Southwest, tells his story in an interview at his home in Phoenix:
I was born in Minnesota, southwestern Minnesota, in a little town named Granite Falls. When I was two years old my family moved to Grand Forks, North Dakota, in 1881, and in '83 we moved up near the Canadian line on the Great Northern Railroad which had just been built through to Winnepeg, and stopped at a little town named Bathgate. There my father went into the agricultural machinery business and later into the newspaper business. I was raised there, and there in my father's office I learned the printing trade and developed what writing sense I have.
When I was about 15 I got the idea of picking up the farmers' cattle and taking them back into the Pembina Mountains and herding them during the summer. I did that for two succeeding summers. I would take 100 or 150 of the local cattle and would take them out for the summer and herd them up there in the Pembina Mountains and bring them back in the fall. I had three Indian ponies to use in the herding, and I had another man helping me.
In 1898 I went to Minneapolis and spent a year there: worked part time in the Minneapolis Tribune office and part of the time in my uncle's job printing business. Then I went back to Dakota and rented my father's paper for a year. The lease expired on that in late September 1899. I had these horses left over from my former cattle business and I questioned whether to start out on them going to Mexico. I wanted to go south and than to the Latin-American countries. I finally decided the horse would be too slow and too much trouble, so I turned them over to my younger brothers.
I started out on my bicycle and I rode it clear down to Monterey, Mexico. that fall. I reached Monterey in late October 1899. I spent three years in Old Mexico on various jobs, railroad construction, worked on a coffee and rubber plantation and made a side trip into Guatemala. I bought a horse on the Isthmus and made this side trip on the west coast into Guatemala and came back along the top of the mountain range to the place where I had started, and then sold my horse there.
I went to the City of Mexico and while I was there I met a man who was to be Chief Engineer for a Boston firm who had a contract to put in a water and sewage system in the City of Tampico, on the Gulf. And he had with him an engineer who had been with him in Cuba, cleaning up Havana, cleaning it up in a sanitary way, to get rid of mosquitos, and all that. They had come together here to take this job at Tampico for the Mexican Government. Well, we waited there a couple of months and finally the job was ready and we went down to Tampico and I spent the winter there. I had charge . . . well, first I had a gang digging ditches and filling in, and later I had charge of pipe-laying, sewer pipe. We spent the winter there.
Along in the spring we had torn up old cesspools, Spanish cesspools, we had run into them and they flooded out down the streets, and caused yellow Fever so badly that by the time we could get our business closed in the spring there were over 3,000 cases of yellow Fever in Tampico. They put on a quarantine. And of course we wanted to get out: the Americans wanted to get out.
It happened that I knew the conductor on the train that ran from Monterey down to Tampico, so I asked him if we walked out about two or three miles from town to a bridge on the Tamesi River, if he would slow the train down and let us on. He said he would, so the three of us walked before daylight and were waiting when the train came along and Old Butler stopped it and we all jumped on and went up to Monterey.
We found that in Monterey they had yellow Fever also. I thought, well, one of the men that I had worked with was an Arizona miner or had been a miner in Arizona and he kept talkin' about Arizona all the time. So I said, "Well. we've got to get out of here; I'm goin' to Arizona."
I came up through El Paso and into Albuquerque and I worked on some little jobs there: I worked in the roundhouse at Albuquerque, the railroad roundhouse. And then I came over here and went right to the Crown King Mine. I really came over on a labor ticket to work on building the railroad into Crown King. I worked just one day and started to work the next day and the boss bawled me out and I threw down my pick and walked away and never asked for my money. I caught a man with an extra horse going up to the Crown King Mine and he let me take the horse and go on up there. I spent nearly five years in the Crown King Mine industry, prospecting and mining.
I went into the Forest Service through Frank C. W. Pooler who, as you know, was District Forester up to the time, or shortly prior to the time, of his death. Frank and I were very good friends. His brother and I roomed together in the Tiger Gold Company's warehouse. Frank brought his family out from Vermont. He was a protege of Senator Proctor of Vermont. I had been knocking around in mining and prospecting and I just decided I wasn't getting anywhere and that I'd better get into something that had a future in it. Frank Pooler suggested that I take a job first as Guard, and then take the examination. So I did, and went on in December 1905 late December 1905 and in the spring of 1906 I took the examination, ranger examination, and passed it, under Frank C. W. Pooler, out at Thumb Butte.
Frank was detailed back to Washington in a short time, and while he was back there a demand developed for Supervisor material for different newly created Forests. The man in the office with me, who had been left there as Acting Supervisor, Cad Henderer, was sent to the Alamo in New Mexico, and I became Deputy, or Acting Supervisor, on the Prescott for about two or three months. Then an opening came on the Border Forest that they called the Sneeze-Cough Forest. It was composed of the Huachuca, the Tumacacori, and the Baboquivari and that is where they got the "Sneeze-Cough" name. That was in May of 1907 that I went down there. There is where I met my wife, who had just come down from Canada at the same time.
That was in May 1907 and, by the way, it was there that I first met Will C. Barnes. He came down there to make an inspection of the Forest and among other things I took him out to the old Tumacacori Mission. He became interested, and it was through him that they sent me an engineer to go out and survey ten acres around the Mission to have it withdrawn as a National Monument. That was in 1908, early in 1908.
Then in the fall, somehow or other they got to thinkin' I was quite a fellow. I guess, and they asked me to come back to Washington to cram for a job in the new District office. I think it was actually through Barnes that I was recommended for that. So I went back there in November 1908. Spent a month there, and then came to Albuquerque and helped open the District office, in the old Luna Building.
Ringland was District Forester; they called him "Ring." I was made Assistant Chief of Operations with A. O. Waha. But I was essentially an outdoors man; always had been, knocked around all my life. After having spent the winter there, and wanting to be out. I asked for a Forest, to go back and be stationed on a Forest, and they gave me the Tonto.
In the meantime, in January, I had gone back to Nogales and married, and took my wife to Albuquerque and she spent the winter there with me. We had a home there in Albuquerque, out near the University. In fact, I used to go to the University grounds and play tennis once in a while. Then, as I say, I had asked for a Forest and they gave me the Tonto.
So I went to the Tonto. I think it was in May of 1909. Took over from Johnny Farmer who was Acting Supervisor at the time. It was a little unpleasant there for me at that time because Farmer had been hoping for and expecting to be made Supervisor himself. He was assigned to special range work, and they gave me the supervisorship. I stayed on the Tonto for four years until the spring of 1913.
After four years, in the spring of 1913, I got the idea that I wanted to get into publication, writing, etc. So I came down to Phoenix and bought The Southwestern Stockman and Farmer, and it broke me very quickly. There just wasn't enough circulation; that kind of paper wasn't well enough thought of in the country to be made a success of. So I closed out in late July and went down to Nogales, where we'd been married, and stayed about a month and then got back into the Forest Service.
I was assigned as Deputy Supervisor on the Clearwater, with headquarters at Orofino, Idaho. I spent the winter there. Then in the spring, they needed a man on the Madison Forest and someway both Potter and Barnes recommended me. So I was sent to the Madison in March of 1914 and I stayed there until the fall of 1918 four years and then I quit the Forest. I resigned and went into the livestock Commission business and real estate dealing in ranches and cattle and sheep, and also as a wool buyer for a Boston firm.
To get back to that "Cough-Sneeze" group of Forests, the headquarters was at Nogalas. At first there was no one name for the group; the individual Forests were the Huachuca Mountains, the Patagonia Mountains, the Tumacacori Mountains, and the Baboquivari Mountains. I met with the Chamber of Commerce in Nogales and told them that we wanted a name for the Forest: wanted something that applied to the history of the region. Well, one of them suggested Padre Garces, a missionary who had been in that region quite a good deal. I recommended that it be called the Garces National Forest, and that was done. It was called the Garces. This Father Garces was the first missionary to come into the Arizona or Southwest region after Father Kenoe [Kino].
Father Kenoe came to the Arizona region and had little missions at Tumacacori and at Tucson, where the Tucson Mission is now San Xavier. Garces was the first man after him, to come into Arizona. He was killed over at Yuma by the Indians. He established a couple of missions there and for some reason he aroused antagonism among the Indians and they killed him and a number of Spanish soldiers with him. It was from that missionary that the Forest derived its name.
As Supervisor of those areas of course we had the office to keep open and records to maintain. At first I was alone. There had been one of the rangers they had temporarily put in rangers and a man by the name of Rogers was in charge. He had rented a building for an office and he had correspondence and what records there were scattered all around on the floor. I got permission to buy some office equipment; filing cabinets, desks, a typewriter and things like that, and also permission to hire a clerk for half time. He put in half time in the office there with me, but later on the work became so heavy they had to have a permanent man.
Now, my having been in Mexico, you see, for three years, I had learned Spanish. I could speak it quite well and could write what was necessary. That was one reason they assigned me to the border Forest; we had a great deal to do with Spanish-speaking people, Mexicans along the border there. A number of them were in the cattle business on the American side and they were, in general, forest users, wood-cutters, and so on.
* * * * * * * * * *
From the Use Book, 1906: "All timber on forest reserves which can be cut safely and for which there is actual need is for sale."
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Among our first cases was an immense trespass against one of the big mining companies. They had been cutting thousands of cords of wood. At the time I went there they had long stacks of it, several hundred cords piled up. I was instructed to start trespass proceedings against them to collect damages. It was nice live oak wood that they used in the mill in the boilers. So I started suit against them, and they settled without going to Court.
Another case I had there that was of considerable interest was that of the San Rafael Land Grant which was owned by a brother of Senator Cameron of Pennsylvania. His name was Colen Cameron. The grant called for six square leagues. He interpreted this to mean six leagues square, which made a vast difference. The cattlemen there told me that he had run his fences way outside the grant, taking in a lot of land which now was included within the forest. So it was up to me to do something about it.
I went to Mr. Cameron and got him up to the office and talked it over with him. All I could get out of Cameron was the threat that he would take my job away from me. I told him, "Well, all right, go ahead and get my job, but you're going to have to take your fence down and put it back on the real lines of the grant, which calls for six square leagues, not six leagues square."
Well, he was going to fight it by law. He didn't do anything and finally I went out there and I told him, I said, "Now. Mr. Cameron, if you haven't started to take that fence down by Monday I'm going to come out with the rangers and we're going to take it down." Well, I went out on Monday and I saw he had a crew of men taking the fence down and putting it back on the line. I had a man named Fred Crater who had run the boundary and had marked it, so he was putting his fence back on the true line of the San Rafael grant. That was one of the most interesting things that happened while I was down there on the border.
What was the attitude of the livestock people toward establishment of the forest down there? [Note: Hereafter, questions asked by Mr. Tucker during the interviews are left-justified and underlined to clearly distinguish then from the narrative.]
They were "agin'" it very much. Very much against it, and this Cameron was a very influential man and was head of the State Livestock Board, too.
I would like to drop the Nogales section and go to the Tonto. After I had been on the Tonto a while I found that the cattlemen were not applying for anywhere near the number of cattle that they owned. The rangers I had there were mostly local boys, men, and they knew the situation pretty well. They knew about what each individual had. I tried to raise the permits when it came time to make the grazing applications and I didn't do very well. I couldn't get much increase out of them so I started in and organized cattle associations in each ranger district.
I got the cattlemen a little interested in getting to the meetings and I told them, I said, "Now, you fellows get together among yourselves and decide how many cattle each of you is going to apply for." "Well," they said, "darn it, there's the County tax assessor's records: we don't want to show up too many cattle at tax time." I said, "Of course that's true, but you are going to have to pay the grazing fee on approximately the number of cattle you have here." Well, they were in a great stew over that, having to pay the County tax fee on that basis, but I did manage to get a little raise out of them. I couldn't get them to agree to talk it over among themselves and put down how many each one would apply for. They would look at each other and say, "Hell, I'm not going to tell how many John's got, and he's not going to tell how many I've got." So there was not a great deal of increase, although I did get some. But it was a good try; by organizing those cattle associations.
I think I can be credited with making the first recommendation for fencing individual ranges or combinations of small owners; fencing areas so the cattle could be handled to better advantage. I recommended that, I think, in my first year on the Tonto. Nothing came of it at that time but I do know now that has been adopted everywhere to have individual or cooperative ranges fenced. It made the individual allotment, with drift fencing or total fencing or some in combination of the smaller owners; you couldn't make an allotment for everybody. A man with only a hundred head of cattle could't be allowed an exact area; he would have to go in with somebody else.
Sheep were an item on the Tonto. They had a great deal of trouble, too. As you know, there were in the neighborhood of 100,000 sheep that came down from the mountains in the fall and went out onto the desert. They came down here to lamb and to shear, then went back over the trail. My predecessor there, Reed, (I have forgotten his initials) had laid out a sort of trail. He and his rangers had put posts along, laying it out, but they hadn't marked the sides or anything, and hadn't gone into it very thoroughly. One of my first jobs on the Tonto was to go out with the boys and lay out this sheep trail. One reason that it was advisable was that the year before I went there a cowman had killed a sheep man.
There was a great deal of disturbance on the Tonto and the cowboys were constantly threatening the sheep herders. In fact, I remember George Scott taking his sheep down through Johnny Tillson's ranch. A couple of men came out to stop him. Scott had his rifle across his saddle. He just turned his horse sideways so that the rifle would point right at Johnny Tillson's belly and he said: "Now Johnny, you know we don't want to eat anymore of your range than we possibly have to. I'll get the sheep out of here just as quick as we can but we've got to get through here and there's no use in saying anything more." Johnny looked at the rifle pointing at his belly and he said, "All right George, you get out as quick as you can."
We had some trespass cases which nowadays they don't have because everything is clearly marked out and time apportionment on the forest is decided and everything. The Babbitt Brothers were among the biggest sheep owners in Arizona at that time. I don't think they have any today. They leased out a good many of their sheep to other people, some Basques and others. Anyway, one of their outfits had been out on the desert during the winter and came back into the forest near the Superstition Mountains and just spread out and started lambing, you know they break them up into little bunches and get extra herders when they're lambing to take care of each bunch. They put up little tents and put the lambs in with their mothers when they won't recognize each other.
Well, a cattleman came to me right away and said, "Here, they are camped on my range and are eating up my feed and what are you going to do about it?" "Well," I said, "I don't suppose I can move them if they are lambing now, but I'll go down there and try to give them a lesson anyway." So I got Jim Girdner (Jim is dead now) and we went down there. I consulted the United States Attorney and he told me what to do. So Jim and I went down there and we arrested three or four different herders. We didn't take enough men away to leave the sheep neglected, you understand, so that they could not possible bring suit for allowing their sheep to be destroyed. We took the herders down to Phoenix and had a trial in the U. S. Court.
Babbitt Brothers came down there. Dave and George. The first man that was brought in was the foreman, Avilla, a Basque. Judge Knave, I think it was, fined him $400. We had five or six other men under arrest. I was standing at the back with Dave Babbitt and he said, "My God. are you going to soak all those fellows like that?" I said, "Well, I don't know. That's strictly up to the Judge." The others were just common herders, you know, and the Judge just fined them a dollar and gave them a good talking to. He told them they must pay the dollar and said that their desires couldn't come ahead of Government regulations; that they couldn't do as they pleased on the National Forest. The Babbitt's were greatly relieved when they found that the other fellows were fined only a dollar each.
I remember in 1910 we had a fire up under the Mogollon Rim above Pleasant Valley. It was at the time that Halley's Comet was showing clear in the sky. I went up there from Roosevelt and got the boys. We got some cowboys too. It was mostly a ground fire. We never had any top fires in there. There wasn't heavy enough timber that could be ignited and carried by the wind. Fires were practically all in the duff, you know. I remember fighting the fire there with the boys. They were keeping it under control. I took an old quilt and rolled up and laid down there. I looked up and could see this Halley's Comet just as plain; it was streaking the whole sky.
While I was on the Tonto the forest headquarters was at Roosevelt Dam. We had free electricity, free water, and free ice. We had an icebox. The Forest Service office was then in the Reclamation Service Building, which had been built while Roosevelt Dam was being constructed. After the dam was completed, this big office building was practically vacant, so we took over what room we needed. After I left there, they built a couple of extra houses. They had the house that my wife and I lived in, then they built a couple more, one for the local ranger and another with two rooms for the girl clerks. They had two girl clerks. Charley Jennings was the Deputy Supervisor and he later became Forest Supervisor on the Sitgreaves.
There was a spirit among the early-day Forest Service boys; all they thought about was the Forest Service. You could get three or four of us together and all we could talk about was the Service. Free uses and special uses, how to handle the cattle, grazing permits, how to treat the permittees, and all that. I don't know whether that same feeling exists today as warmly as it did in those earlier days.
I can recall an incident that occurred while I was at Nogales. Gifford Pinchot came out to Tucson. The cattlemen had written in to him complaining about Forest Service conditions along the border on the border Forests and on the Coronado, which headquartered at Tucson. No, the headquarters was in Benson at that time. So Pinchot arranged to come out to Tucson and meet the cattlemen. They had a banquet in the Santa Rita Hotel there I've forgotten the exact date but I think it was in the fall of 1908. The cattlemen came from all over and the Supervisors were called in, too. As the cattlemen brought up questions that Pinchot couldn't answer, he referred them to local Supervisors.
We had one oldtimer down there, a good old fellow but kind of hot-headed, George Atkinson. They called him the dynamiter. George got up and made a big ruckus about the Forest Service letting other people's cattle come in and use the water that he had developed. Mr. Pinchot turned to me and asked me what I knew about it, and I said, "Well, I don't know too much about it except that it seems to be the common practice in the country there; the cattle all mix, you can't keep them away from one watering place any more than another when they are mixed." "Well," he said, "Mr. Atkinson, does that answer your question?" And Mr. Atkinson said, "Hell no, I want those cattle kept away from my water." He kind of dropped it then and went on to something else, but he was a very fine man, Pinchot was, I liked him immensely. He was a completely dedicated man.
By the way, I met Teddy Roosevelt back in Washington and also when he came out to dedicate the dam at Roosevelt. He came into my office while he was there. That was on March 18, 1911. That's when the dam was dedicated and we were there. I lived there during the last two years of the work on the dam.
One time three of us went up into the Huachuca Mountains and the boys had forgotten to pack most of the food. All we had was a sack of flour and some salt. We stopped to camp in Ramsey Canyon. We made some dough gobs with this flour. Well, they were just terrible. They clung to your hand and they clung to your teeth and you could hardly eat them.
The next morning we woke up and our beds were covered with snow. One of the boys I think it was Arthur Moody said, "Well, I'm going to make some real biscuits." He went over to the sack of flour and put the water in and put the salt in and stirred them up. He took a couple of tin pans, tin dishes, you know, and put the two of them together and put the biscuits in them and put two more tins inverted on the top and put them on the coals and heaped more coals on the top. He said, "Now we will have some biscuits." In about 10 minutes he took a stick and poked the top off and there were the prettiest biscuits you ever saw. He didn't have anything to make them rise, nothing except salt you know. We joshed the other fellow about his gummy biscuits that nobody could chew.
When we were on the Border we used to contact the U. S. Customs Service people there, the Border Riders, as we called them. We were in contact with them all of the time, back and forth: not only myself, but the rangers as well. If we were on the Border we would often stop and stay overnight with these Border Riders. At that time they just had horses.
I remember one night I started out from Nogales late. I was going to Oro Blanco about 25 miles west. I didn't get away from town until close to dark but I didn't mind riding in the night. I started out and came to what was called Bear Valley, about 20 miles from town. It was getting pretty well into the night by that time. There was a spring there and an old adobe house they called the smugglers' haven. As I came down the hill, which was very steep, I got off the horse and led him. I was kicking rocks and making quite a noise. When we got down there I took the bridle off his head and the bit out of his mouth and hung it over his head and let the horse drink, and I got myself a drink too. As I got up I saw something white coming out from under a walnut tree there up off the ground about four feet high perfectly white, and it kept coming toward me. I thought, well that's the nearest thing to a ghost that I ever saw. I started wiggling sideways up off the ground. I couldn't imagine what in the Devil it was. My horse snorted and pulled back and knocked rocks all over the place.
Then I heard the click of a gun and I said. "Hi, who is that?" And a man said, "Who are you?" I said, "I am Willson from the Forest Service: who are you?" He said, "I'm George Sears, a line rider camping here for the night." I said, "Damn you George, you scared the hell out of me! I'm going to come over and bunk with you for the night." "All right," he said, "come right up." So I stayed all night and he fixed up a breakfast in the morning, and I went on. Oh, we had a lot of incidents like that.
I was one of the pioneers in the Forest Service, going in in late 1905 and I can emphasize that everybody in the Service was taken up entirely with it. They devoted their whole life to the Forest Service and to Forest Service work. I never saw such an enthusiastic bunch of men as the men in the early-day Forest Service. Later on I think it became more matter of fact to the personnel, as it became more established. But everything was new to us.
* * * * * * * * * *
Mr. Henry L. Benham, who started work for the Forest Service on the Black Mesa National Forest, relates some of his early-day experiences, in an interview at his home in Williams, Arizona.
Mr. Benham, when did you start on your ranger job?
I went to work in Pinedale, Arizona, in November 1907. I went in as a Forest Guard, and until I took the examination I was classified as a Forest Guard. I took my examination I forget just when it was, but I think it was in 1908, in Denver. I had been riding for Will C. Barnes until he sold out and moved away from New Mexico. Mr. Barnes went into the Forest Service and he wrote and asked me why I didn't apply for a job. I did and was sent to Pinedale.
I went out from Holbrook to Snowflake on a buckboard that carried the mail. Had to sit on a trunk in the back and it was a pretty dusty ride. The next day I caught the side route to Pinedale. From Holbrook it was the Holbrook to Fort Apache mail route. They carried passengers too once in a while, when they had room.
A. J. McCool was the Supervisor. They sent him down to open up the San Francisco Peaks Forest Reserve. They sent him to Show Low, but he stayed in Pinedale a couple of weeks before heading for his headquarters at Show Low. I had a district that ran from about 13 miles east of Pinedale, west to Heber, and over into the Chevelon and Wildcat Canyons, and down to the Mogollon Rim. I spent the bigger part of the winter looking after the cattle and sheep, going up and down the trail trying to get control of the grazing.
Now, before we get into that, tell us about the examination: how they handled Forest Ranger examinations then.
Well, we had a little written test to find out what you knew about surveying, if anything, and mining. It wasn't too big a test. What they wanted to know mostly was whether a man was able to ride the range and see that the cowmen and the sheep men stayed on their own allotments. They gave you a paper about the duties of a Forest Ranger, and it was a pretty good description. You had to ride and be able to take care of yourself out in the open in all kinds of weather.
How did they test for that?
After they gave me the written test I had to saddle a horse and ride out a certain distance in a walk, then trot over to another station that they had set up there, and then lope your horse back to the starting point. After punching cows for six years, didn't have any trouble qualifying.
Then they tested to see what you knew about handling a gun, so you didn't go out and shoot somebody with it the first day. And you had to put a pack on a horse, a bunch of cooking utensils, bedding, bedrolls, and a tarp to cover it with, and a rope to tie it on with. I'd learned all that before I went into the Forest Service. I didn't have much trouble. Some of the boys had an awful time, winding their ropes under the horse and around his belly.
What kind of men were taking the examination in those days?
Well, in this class in Denver they were mostly right out of college. I remember one boy didn't get through the written examination before he walked out. In the olden days they wanted cowpunchers, or men who were used to being out of doors and knew they could get along in the open. Another kind of job they had was to locate section points. There were few maps. When I came to Williams there was a very poor map of this Forest here. Lloyd Sevier was the Ranger with me, and he and I spent days and days just riding around through the Forest to see if everything was going all right.
If we saw a monument we'd check to see if there was a circle on it and if there was we'd follow it up until we found section points and then we'd set up the old monument if it was torn down, and make a rough sketch of it, and some of our sketches were pretty rough, sure enough. And then we'd locate springs with water in them and find a section corner and step it off and see what direction it was. We'd take a compass and sight across to the spring and step it off and see how far it was from that section point, and put that down on our Proclamation maps.
When you came back from Denver, did you come back to Pinedale?
No, I came in to Flagstaff and I ran into a fire there the first thing. It was a fire up in Schultz Pass on San Francisco Peak, and Acting Supervisor Willard Drake asked me if I could find that fire. I told him I thought I could. So he said, "Go over to the livery stable and get a horse, go to the fire and report to Ranger Tom Dusick." That was about the first of June 1909. So I left and rode up into Schultz Pass and found the fire, and I stayed there the rest of that afternoon and all night, and got back to Flagstaff the next afternoon. I figured I'd spent about 28 hours or better on that fire.
I went to Schultz Pass and after I got there the fire had broken out, and I rode down to Fritch to the railroad. The foreman and a laborer came up with a wagon and team. I worked those Mexican section hands all night on the fire, and the next morning they had to go back to work on the railroad. In the meantime we had got the fire pretty well under control.
As I understand it, you were the first ranger on the old Tusayan?
I was one of them. There was Lloyd Sevier, Bert Stratton, Ed Kirby, Lou Banger at Ash Fork, the Supervisor, and myself. Sevier and I were here, Stratton at Chalender, and Ben Doak was in Ash Fork.
Did you have a regular, permanent station?
Yes, at Camp Clover, two miles west of Williams. It was a two-room log cabin. There was another log cabin about 10 feet from the back door and it was our kitchen. We had to go outdoors to get from the living room to the kitchen. We had to carry water in buckets from almost down at the railroad tracks, about 600 yards away. So we didn't waste much water.
We had a district of 14 townships, from the Colorado River on the north boundary of the Tusayan, to about four miles south of town.
Now, was that your individual district. or did you both work it?
Sevier and I; there were the two of us. Stratton was on the Chalender District, which covered all east of Sycamore and Gartand Prairie and that country, and south of Allen Lake up north. Ben Doak had the Ash Fork District that took in all out under the Rim west of Williams.
Was there a Supervisor there at that time?
Well, Stanton G. Smith was Supervisor, and Gordon Backus was the Deputy, and they had one clerk. That was the personnel on the Forest at that time.
What was the work like when you first started?
It was mostly grazing here at that time, although the Saginaw Mountains Lumber Company was here and they were cutting around 150,000 board feet a day, net.
Was that on private land, or Government?
Government and private.
Did you have any timber marking?
Well, they had a man come in here to do the marking, sent from the Albuquerque office. Most of our work was in grazing.
What was the situation in grazing at that time?
Well, the sheepmen and the cowmen were pretty mad at each other. The sheep would get over on the cow range; they had to do it once in a while, to get some of the other fellow's water. We had sheep outside of the Forest, and some moved in on the Forest to get water. They would slip in to Garland Lake from out north of the Forest, if we weren't watching, and get water. Or sheep would come in on another sheep rancher's territory and get water from their stock tanks or water holes.
Was there any actual violence?
Yes, there was a little bit. A cowman just out north I won't mention any names I remember he shot and killed a rancher out there, or a sheepherder I should say. He come in and kept threatening and warning the sheepherder away from the water hole. He went down to the water hole and there was a sheepherder there and the sheepherder took a shot at him. He had his rifle and he fired back and killed the herder. And another man was known for his activities in getting in on the Forest when he knew it wasn't allowed. We had a few arguments with him once in a while, but no shooting. As a rule they were pretty peaceful.
Nothing like a real range war?
No, nothing like that. We had a few arguments and scraps once in a while, but on the whole we had a pretty nice bunch of permittees. I found the sheepmen and the cowmen both very cooperative. One of the cowmen that we had heard we would have trouble with turned out to be one of the best friends we had. He'd come in and talk to you, and say, "Now I'll ask you for what I want and if you can't give it too me, say so, and I'll go over your head and ask the Supervisor. I come to you first because I think I should have it." I never had him ask for anything that I thought was unreasonable.
You never got into a shooting scrape yourself then?
Did you carry a six-gun?
I carried a six-shooter and a rifle both most of the time when I was out, a .30 Remington.
Tell us something about your life as a ranger.
Well, I came out here in June, and in October Mrs. Benham and I were married. We rode this country from the Grand Canyon to the Mogollon Rim and sometimes her old school friends would come and stay with us all summer and the four of us would ride over this whole country here. I'd take the spring wagon and team and we'd ride until we found someplace to camp, and then we'd camp. We would ride out from camp until we had covered the country, then move camp. We'd put our horses out at night.
You mention a spring wagon; now what is that, Mr. Benham.
Well, it was a wagon that had springs under the bed, instead of having the bed directly on the axles, and you'd jolt when you went over these rocks. This was a light delivery type, and as light as a pick-up; really just a light delivery wagon like they used to deliver groceries. It had one seat up front, and another in the back that you could take out and make it into something like a pick-up truck. It didn't have any cover over it.
Could one horse pull it?
No, two horses.
How many horses did you need for your personal use?
Well, at the ranger station I kept two, but I could ride either one of them, use them for the wagon, or I could pack one and ride the other. My wife had a pony. Then I had a top saddle horse that I used when I had hard riding to do; I rode him most of the time. When we were going out with the wagon and team, I'd drive the team and my wife would ride her pony. I kept from three to five horses all the time.
And you owned them yourself?
Yes. Well, we raised them at Camp Clover. A man was homesteading right across the railroad tracks from us, and we made a deal with him to farm the Camp Clover farming land and raise oats and hay. He was to get two-thirds and we'd get a third. We would furnish the seed and he'd do all the work. We got a third and that helped out a lot on our horse feed.
What about subsistence for yourself; did the Government allow you any?
No, you fed yourself and your horses on $75 a month. When I was in Denver I was working out of the Washington Office and I got all my expenses paid there because I was traveling all the time and stopping in hotels, and renting horses, and going into Forest offices but I haven't told you what I was up there for. I was in charge of poisoning prairie dogs. I mixed the poisons and put them out. And of course on that job I got my expenses.
What country did you work in Colorado?
I worked in the Pike Forest, up on the Leadville Forest, and down the Forest boundary to Monte Vista, Durango, and over in that section, and I shipped poison all over the country from there. Then in the spring of 1909 I came down to Albuquerque and mixed a lot of poison food there. Five Rangers from different Forests came in and helped me, and we shipped it to all the Forests in New Mexico and Arizona, and the Rangers took charge of putting it out. Spent the whole summer well, in the spring of 1908 we did most of our work up in Colorado, and then that summer, after the first of June I started out and rode all over, on the train, going from one Forest to another, and when I'd get to a Forest they'd send me out to a Ranger, "there's a dog town out here 19 miles, in such-and-such direction: go out and estimate that." I'd go around to different Forests and look over their dog towns and then go to Denver and mix the poison and ship it out from there. In 1909 we shipped it out to New Mexico and Arizona. And then the Biological Survey said that was their business, so I was out of a job, so I came back to the Ranger Station. That's when I came to Williams.
Well, now, in your recollection, how are the range conditions now; how do they compare in 1909 with what they are today?
Well, I think the range was in better condition then than it is now. Of course the sheep would range over part of it for a while and then they'd change it, and the range would put on some growth when the sheep were moved around. They moved the sheep around, and the sheep ate more weeds than did grass, I think, or maybe I didn't notice. I think range grass and weeds became established, and better cattle feed would come up where the sheep had been, rotating, just like they do farm crops.
Then there weren't any fences in those days?
No fences, except a few homesteaders. Some drift fences. The cowmen would put in these drift fences, when they could work out a place to put them. At the time I came here the cattle just ranged all over, all together. They would have different wagons, of course, the Bar-Cross wagon, or the Bar-Heart wagon, and then over on the west side where the Greenway Ranch is now was the big Smith outfit. They kept two herds out north. They all had their wagons and the cowpunchers from the different outfits would always come in with the wagons and ride all the open range round up strays and drive 'em home.
I can see then that you had a job keeping a division between the cows and the sheep.
Well, the sheep were all trailed to the Salt River Valley in the winter. They didn't ship them; they trailed 'em down in the fall and back in the spring. And the Ranger had to keep track of them. I camped down at Bear Springs on the sheep trail when the sheep were going down, and When they were coming back, they were supposed to stay on that two-mile strip, but they'd get over the edge once in a while.
One time Joe Casper here ran a few cattle on the Bar Cross Range, and his sheep ranged north mostly, and when he started down with the sheep they started to cut across his cattle range. I happened to be riding over in there that afternoon and I heard bells and I tracked 'em down and got over into May Tanks, and here was Old Casper's herders. They were makin' camp there and I said, "Boys, what are you doin' over here." He said, "I'm lost." I said, "Lost? You know where you are, don't you?" He said. "I think this is May Tanks." I said. "Yes, you know you're off the range." But it was almost dark then and I knew they couldn't move 'em out then. "Well, you let me go down through here and I'll get out as soon as I can get across this bench." I said. "No, if I let you go through there, others will come along with their 10 or 12 bands and there will be others, and I'd have to let all of them go through there too. And further, you know your cattle range on this feed; you're stealing your own feed. I'll be over about daylight and show you were you can cross this ridge, right above here." "Young man," he said. "I know this country better than you do." "Oh, I thought you said you were lost!" "I am, but I go back." The next morning I was over that way to make sure he wasn't around the old Dan Burroughs Ranch. I guess when he thought about all those other sheep going through on his cow range he thought he'd better go back.
How did they handle sheep in those days? What size band did they have?
About a thousand to a band. They had two herders with each band, and four or five sheep dogs, and it was wonderful to watch those dogs work.
Did they use wagons for the grub?
No, they used burros; packed it all on burros.
Did they have camp tenders?
They had caporals, and he had a herder to take care of the camp, packing for each band. The caporal had charge of three or four bands, and he'd ride from one band to the other to see that everything was taken care of. They had five or six or seven burros apiece to look after. They'd ride right along with the sheep until time to make camp then they'd go on a little ahead and make camp.
When the sheep came up on the Forest in the spring it was my job to count them as they came onto the Forest. I took my wagon and team one year and went down to Summit Springs and camped just west of Summit Springs, at Summit Mountain. The old Saginaw Railroad ran through there, and I picked up a lot of ties and made a rail fence out of those ties, just two big long wings tied to two trees that were pretty close together just far enough apart to let a couple of sheep go through at a time.
The wings went out at an angle from those two trees, and as the sheep came up they would drive 'em between those wings and they'd come into that opening and the caporal would stand behind one tree and I'd stand behind the other, and we'd get almost an absolutely correct count. One of the sheepmen told me that was the best counting pen they had ever been through.
They were under permit?
Yes, under permit. I had to count them and give the herder a card to carry showing brand and number of sheep, who they belonged to, and what the herder's name was. That was his identification card.
Did you have to count them again in the fall?
No, they had to count 'em as they were going off the Forest. We didn't care how many went down to the Salt River Valley. We had to keep 'em on the trail though.
I was wondering about the losses; how much death loss they'd have during the summer.
Well, I don't know; I don't think they had too much. Once in a while they'd get into some poison weeds and have some loss. They'd have a little loss coming up the trail and lose a bunch of them here and there. I've picked up many a stray. I'd come across one or two; hold them until they had another band comin' through, and we'd push them in with that band. If not, I'd try to find another band, somebody else's sheep, and put 'em in with them.
Predatory animals weren't too much of a problem?
Well, we had quite a few of them. Coyotes and wolves followed the sheep. I was up on top of Summit Mountain were I had my camp, and one morning I saw a nice-looking sheep coming along the trail right toward my camp, and I thought, "There's a good piece of meat." Just one alone; that was anybodys' meat. I was getting short of meat, so I got my trusty rifle and killed Mr. Ram right there. Skinned him out, and as I started down the trail, just along where I had killed the ram, there were great big wolf tracks in the brush along the trail. If I had waited a few minutes longer I'd have gotten the wolf, too.
Were there quite a few wolves in here in those days?
Yes, there were quite a few of them.
How about bear?
There were a few bear. I think though that there are about as many bears now as there were then.
And mountain lion? I guess you had them?
There were a few mountain lion, and bobcats and foxes.
Did you get into any kind of eradication program on predators?
No, I didn't. I don't think they ever got into that here; they might have someplace else. The Game Department took care of that pretty well. They had a few lion trappers out.
What about the death loss from the weather?
They would have quite a big loss here sometimes in winter when the snow would get deep on the north slopes if the cattle hadn't gotten off the range. The old-time cattle weren't like the cattle today, though. These cattle today are so gentle. Looks to me like they'd have to guide them off the mountain instead of letting them drift out.
Now, about the fire work. Did you have to spend quite a little time on fires?
Yes, we didn't have too many lookouts when I first came, only on Bill Williams Mountain. Sevier and I took turns in riding from Camp Clover up the north trail on Bill Williams. We had an old spruce tree up there that we cut the top off of and built a little platform about three feet square. I think it's still there. We'd take our glass up there and look over the country for signs of smoke, and if we saw smoke anywhere we'd head for Camp Clover and get a fresh horse, get a partner and the two of us would ride back to find the fire. Sometimes we never found it: it had burned out before we got there. Mostly they were little lightning fires. In the three years I quit the Service in 1912 and went into homesteading out south of town but in the three years I was here we didn't have any disastrous fires on the Forest, either lightning or man-made.
How did you happen to quit the Forest Service?
Well, I told Supervisor Smith that I was going to homestead out south of town. He said, "You can't do it" I asked him why not. He said, "Well, I won't let you live on it" So I said, "Well, all right then, take your job." And I quit. And the first time Will Barnes was out here after that he came to see me and he asked me why I had quit and I told him. He said, "Why didn't you wire me?" I said, "I didn't need a job that bad." It was pretty hard scrapings to homestead out there, but we got by and I've still got my place out there. I stayed out there last night, and I'm going again tonight.
That was under the old June 11, 1906 Act?
Now did you have quite a bit of work under that Act?
Yes, that was one of our jobs, surveying, going and finding out where the place was when a fellow came in and said, "I've got a piece of land over here..." We had to find the section corner. As I say, do a lot of rough survey work to find out where it was. We'd finally find a section corner and run it from that.
What was the usual size, or average size, of a homestead?
They ran from around . . . I think the smallest one I ever laid out was around 47 acres, on up to 160.
What was the criterion used in determining whether a man should homestead here, or whether he shouldn't?
The Ranger would go out and make a rough map of it and give his idea as to whether it was more valuable for agricultural purposes than it was for timber or other Forest uses. That report would go in to the Albuquerque office and then from there to the Washington Office, and they would send en inspector out. T. S. Groves was one of their inspectors. I remember that name well.
He'd come out and you would have to show him where it was, go out and go over it with him. He'd make an inspection and decide whether it was more valuable for agriculture than as Forest land. If not, he would veto it. I know he came out after I applied for mine.
There was one piece I had to argue with him on. I had some potatoes growing there. This beautiful crop of potatoes was on one side of the fence, and the land on the other side had a few trees on it. So I had quite a talk with him about it and I said, "This is the same soil as that on the other side of the fence. Do you see how many trees are growing on that piece of ground that you could cut? There are about 30 acres of it. You couldn't get 50 sawlogs off of that 30 acres. How much would that be worth? I can get a dollar a hundred for these potatoes, and that would run $35 or $40 an acre and that's every year. It takes about 200 years to grow a tree here, so I figure it is more valuable for agriculture than it is for Forest purposes. If that land hasn't grown more than these few trees since the world began. I think I've got the best argument." He finally said. "All right, I'll okay it."
Were there many contests that the Government made on people homesteading?
Not too many. I think the men they sent out were pretty fair.
Did you enjoy your work the four or five years you were in the Service?
Yes I did enjoy it. Of course I loved to ride. I'd still like to ride if I had a real good horse, but I haven't ridden much in the last few years since I lost my good old saddle horse. He lived to be 36 years old, a little over 36. He was one of the best horses I ever rode, and I've ridden ever since I was a boy and rode a pony at my grandfather's place in Ohio. Then I came out West and rode ponies and horses.
You grew up in Ohio how did you ever happen to get way out here?
Well, in 1898 I went to Chicago to work in an office. My health broke there and they gave me two months to live. I came out to Las Vegas, New Mexico, and laid around there until I got to feeling better and then I went to riding for Will Barnes. I'm on my third month now that was in 1900!
For the purpose of the records, let's locate the headquarters of the Will Barnes ranch.
It was eight miles west of Dorset, New Mexico, and 18 miles southwest of Raton. I think the town of Kobler is located there now, right where the home was.
How big a ranch did he have?
He had 60,000 acres leased from the Maxwell Land Grant Company, four great big pastures.
Did he run a petty good grade of cattle?
He ran a pretty good grade. He bred them up quite a bit. Ever now and then he'd buy up some stock from down in the desert. I think one year he got a bunch of cattle that were starving up around Boulder, and shipped them up. I think he got them for about $15 a head with a calf at their side. I've known Barnes to butcher beef up there and sell it to a sawmill, twos and yearlings, as calves, hog-dress them well, not hog-dress, but skinned 'em and cut the carcass in half, and sell it for 8 cents a pound, at the sawmill. It was really good meat too. You don't get that kind of beef now.
May I ask you, Mr. Benham, how old you are?
I was 85 the second of last January.
Eighty-five, well you certainly get around!
Well, I hope I can keep it up until my number comes up. I'm gonna try to.
You have seen the Fores Service from the beginning. What do you think of its policy in the way the Forests have been handled?
Well, I don't like their lumbering operations at all. They destroy more timber, more lumber, with the machinery they use, in one day than was destroyed in a year when they logged with horses. I can show you places that will back me up in that statement. They cut a tree the forester had marked to a formula, and take a great big cat in there to get those one or two logs, maybe three or four, and they knock down everything in sight. They go in there and drag it out to the loading area, and around that loading area they destroy all the young saplings. To me, that is waste. The Saginaw Lumber Company, when they were logging out here, would go in there and cut a roadway. And each one of those trees they'd load they'd go in there with a wagon and haul it out. You wouldn't find them knocking down the trees. Of course if I go out and cut a couple of fence posts without a permit, I'd be liable to prosecution, but I can show you where they push over hundreds of trees, oak and everything, to get them out of the way of bulldozers. In my opinion, the lumbering operations are very destructive.
And have you noticed much soil disturbance from logging operations?
They are tearing it up; the bulldozers are tearing it up. They have to make a road to get the logging crews in there and they get their roads all over. Of course, they help in fighting fires maybe a little bit, but not too much.
Now, what about range? You were here when there were no fences, and now it is all fenced up. Do you think that has contributed to the range being in poorer condition now?
I think in a way it has. If sheep could pass over the range, graze through, once or twice, say in a year, grazing the sheep herds through there and then follow with cattle, it would help the range. I don't know how they could work it, but they could take one allotment like the Greenway outfit that has control over all west of the Bill Williams. Well, now they run cattle all over on the west side of the mountain. They'll move their cattle some time this month or early next month, and use that for a summer range, and in the fall they move the cattle over to the west side and feed that until spring, and then come over here for the summer and go back there in the fall, and that would put them down on the winter range for the winter. So for a while in the spring, if they'd run sheep up through that Bar-Heart Range and get some of those weeds there's an awful lot of weeds on the range in the spring, and a lot of them are just rough weeds the sheep would clean them off.
Then you propose some sort of an exchange of allotments where they'd run cattle a while and run sheep a while?
If they could work out some plan like that I think it would improve the range. What makes me think that is that the deer come into my cornfield and they don't touch my corn, but they'll eat the small weeds, what we call rough weeds, when they're real small, they'll eat those and they'll eat the wild morning glory, but they don't touch my corn. I'd see the deer in there in bunches of eight or ten; that was when deer were a lot more plentiful than they are now. I thought at first they were just gnawing my corn, and I went to see what damage they'd done, and I could see where they had stepped on some of it, but they hadn't eaten any of the corn. And they're the same type; they'll graze more on weeds and browse than they will on grass, and sheep are the same way. I imagine sheep would clean my cornfield out. I don't want them drivin' sheep through there, but I believe they'd clean out the weeds.
Most of the cow outfits never locked their doors back in those days. It was a law of the country for you to go into a cow camp and if there wasn't anyone there you go ahead and feed yourself and your horse, wash your dishes and leave the camp clean, and leave some wood for the next fellow. It was about the same way out at the ranches. Anywhere you went you were welcome and the cowboys, all of them, would stop by at our ranch when they were going in to town, stop and have dinner with us. And if we were going anywhere out in the ranch country, we'd be treated the same way.
One of the cowmen would call up and say, "I butchered a beef last night and there is more than we can eat. Come on down and get a quarter in the morning. It's hangin' in the barn here. If there's no one at home, just come on in and help yourself to a front quarter." And I'd drive down and get a front quarter of beef.
Well Mr. Benham, you were here at the beginning of the Tusayan; has there been much change in the attitude of the people toward the Forest Service?
Well, I don't think so.
There wasn't too much antagonism at first?
No. Well now, there was in some places where, for instance, they'd get some Ranger that would come in and be unreasonable with them about things. It was a case of give and take. One of the cowmen down here would say he needed some corral posts and his permit only allowed so many poles, and then he'd find he needed a few more. Well, one day there was a fellow in town from Pine Flats, which is about 20 or 25 miles out, and I was in town, and was talking to the Supervisor at the same time, and this fellow said, Benham, I want to get a half dozen corral poles to repair a hole in that corral down at the water hole." So I said, "All right Jim, where do you want to cut 'em?" He said, "There's a little clump of trees in the northeast corner of my pasture and there's some nice poles in there, and they're pretty thick." I told him, "Go in there and get what you want of them, and don' cut 'em all in a group. Scatter around in through there and pick out the nice ones, and don't cut too many in one spot." "All right," he said.
Well when he'd gone the Supervisor jumped down my throat. "You know you're supposed to go down there and mark those trees for him to cut. They'll go in there and cut down that whole bunch." I said, "You may be a good forester, but you don't know a cowpuncher. Any time you find a cowpuncher that will cut one more tree than he has to you've found a freak of nature. When I'm down that way, if you want me to, I'll go and stamp U.S. on the stumps of those trees they've cut, but they won't cut any more than they can use to repair that corral." And that was the last I heard of that.
Now I couldn't see I'd have had a 50-mile ride to go down there and back to the Ranger station to put "U.S." on six trees, and maybe they'd make a mistake and cut the other trees anyhow. Well, now, there was the big difference. Maybe if I'd have been the other kind of Ranger I'd have said, "Well, I can't get down there for at least a week now and you fellows will have to wait to cut 'em until I get down there." Now that's the way a lot of 'em did. I was probably busy on something else and knew I couldn't get down there for a while. Now, I violated the rules, but I think I did the right thing.
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Mr. Elliott S. Barker was an early pioneer in the Forest Service in Northern New Mexico. Leaving the Service to become a rancher, he later served for many years as the New Mexico State Game Warden. He has been active in movements relative to the conservation of natural resources throughout the West. As the author of books and other publications, Mr. Barker has contributed to the knowledge of the Southwest and to conservation in general. Some of his reminiscences follow:
To start at the beginning. I was born in Shackleford County, Texas, on December 25, believe it or not, in 1886 some Christmas present, I'd say! When I was three, my family moved to New Mexico, overland in covered wagons. Of the 11 children of us finally, two were born in New Mexico. We were six weeks on the road, and we settled in the mountain country about 25 miles northwest of Las Vegas and there I was mountain-raised or, in the vernacular, hillbilly-raised.
I had very little opportunity in the early part of my life for schooling. We had a little country school for a couple of years, that lasted only two or three months, out at the ranch, but my mother and my older sisters taught me more than I learned at those little schools. At the age of 11, we were able to have my mother and us kids move to Las Vegas so that we could have a little advantage in schooling. At the age of 13 I was in the third grade in the public school at Las Vegas, the first year I made the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth grades; the second year I made the seventh, and eighth grades, and then I finished high school in three years. That is all the formal education I got. I graduated in 1905.
I worked for about a year on ranch work, helping my father, hunting, and guiding parties back into what is now the Pecos Wilderness Area. I say hunting: it was hunting mainly for predatory animals upon which there was a bounty in those days. For instance, there was a $2 bounty on coyotes, $2 on bobcats, $20 on bears, and $20 on mountain lions. In those days they considered bear as a predator, and with a $20 bounty and something for the fur, a country boy could make pretty good wages for a time in the spring of the year while the fur was still good. I spent a good deal of time hunting.
Then in the spring of 1906 I got the idea that I wanted to be a photographer. I went to Effingham, Illinois, and took a six-months course in portrait photography; I came back and worked for about a year at Texaco, New Mexico, which is about nine miles east of Clovis. There was no Clovis there at that time, not a single house. I worked with my brother-in-law in the photography business for about a year but got so homesick for the mountains, for my dogs and my horses, that I finally went in and turned over everything I had in the partnership to my brother-in-law and came back to my mountain country.
I worked for a time hunting and guiding parties into the Pecos country. Then in the spring of 1908 I took the examination for U.S. Forest Ranger. That seemed to have an appeal to me as being a job that I could do and still be in my mountains and enjoy my horses and dogs and a certain amount of hunting. I passed the ranger examination in April and in early December I was offered a job as Forester, or rather they called it Assistant Forest Ranger, in the Magdalena country. I was about to take it when the Deputy Supervisor, Tom Stewart, learned about it. He asked me if I would just as lieve take a job on the Jemez. He was Deputy Supervisor on the Carson, the Jemez, and the Pecos Forests, at that time. They were three separate units but under one Supervisor. The Supervisor's headquarters was here at Santa Fe. Ross McMillan was Supervisor, and Tom Stewart was his Deputy. So I took the job here on the Jemez because I was in a country that I was better acquainted with then elsewhere. My assignment was to begin the first day of January 1909, and I was to headquarter at the town of Cuba in Sandoval County on the west side of the Jemez Forest.
That was pretty rugged country in those days: I mean the people were pretty rough. There had been two Rangers I don't recall their first names but Brennan and Thomas, ex-Philippine campaign soldiers, had been sent over there in April, right after they had taken the examination. They had gotten into serious trouble and really got the very dickens beat out of them there one night at a saloon, where they shouldn't have been. So they quit: they had had enough. I was sent over there with A. W. Sypher, a mountain man from Arkansas, I believe it was, or maybe it was Tennessee, who knew his way around in that company. The two of us were sent. I was just a big overgrown 22-year-old kid; didn't have sense enough to be afraid of anything, so we went over there together.
Our instructions right here in Santa Fe, from Ross McMillan, the Supervisor, were that we were to live together, work together, and were never to step outside of the house without our side arms on and at the ready. We were never to ride alone anywhere and we were never to be out after dark, under any conditions. Those were our definite instructions. We were to stay out of trouble if possible and to try to tame that country.
Now the reason that we had quite a problem was that the leaders over there, particularly a man named Epemanio Miera, who was very powerful politically, resented the Forest Service coming in very, very much. The common people, I don't think did, but their leaders inspired them to all kinds of devilment. The leaders resented the Forest Service coming in prohibiting them from cutting timber how and where and when they pleased, and prohibiting them from running as many cattle or sheep on the Forests as they wanted to. They resented having to pay any grazing fee or to have to submit to any Government regulations. The going was really pretty tough. We stuck it out, though.
Along in the late summer of 1909, Sypher was given another partner and they moved up to the little town of LaJara above Cuba. I was sent over to Bluebird Mesa where I joined up with Ranger W. B. Bletcher who had a little more experience as a Ranger than either Sypher or me. We worked together there until October. I may say that we stayed out of any serious trouble. I never did have to use my gun but there were many, many times that if I hadn't had it I would have been in serious trouble: there is no question about that. But on one or two occasions Bletcher did have to draw his gun but he never did use it.
At any rate. in the fall of 1909 the Carson and the Jemez and the Santa Fe were put under separate Supervisors. Each Forest was given a Supervisor. McMillan took the Carson; Frank Andrews came up from Deputy Supervisor on the Gila to take over the Jemez; and Tom Stewart, an old-time friend of mine, was made Supervisor of the Pecos Forest.
When that happened, Tom asked that I be transferred to the Pecos and Frank Andrews gave his consent. Tom wanted me over here because I had been raised in this country. He knew my capabilities and he thought perhaps I might be of value to him, on his Forest. So in November of 1909 I transferred from the Jemez to the Pecos with headquarters the first winter just above Pecos Town in what we called the old red house. It's no longer there. I batched there that winter. Hugh Calkins had been made Deputy Supervisor, and he and I managed a timber sale in the Willow Creek area. There I got my first training under Hugh Calkins in actual forestry work: that is, timber work. I got some training under a trained forester. Of course, I had worked some in sawmills and knew a little about timber, but there is where I got my start and training in cruising, marking timber, scaling, things of that kind.
In the spring we moved the headquarters up to what is now the Panchuela Ranger Station. We had built did build that spring a couple of new buildings up there. There was one four-room dwelling already there. Tom loved the mountains as much as I did; he liked to be out in the mountains. We got along very well with the Supervisor's headquarters there. The first winter we moved back to Pecos with the Supervisor's headquarters, and the second winter we moved to Santa Fe and I think about the third winter the Supervisor's headquarters up there was abandoned and it was permanently made at Santa Fe.
Then at a later date, I don't recall just when, the Pecos and the Jemez were combined under one Forest, called the Santa Fe.
I think I had better go back just a little. In the early spring, in the spring of 1911, I had married Ethel Arnold, the daughter of a rancher over in Chaperito or Cow Creek country. We were living there during the summer of 1911 at the Panchuela Ranger Station. In the summer of 1912 a man by the name of Starkweather from the Telephone Company, (I believe it was the Bell Telephone Company) came out there to do some experimenting with different methods of stringing telephone wires quickly, to get to forest fires or to make connections. He used very small insulated wire that was supposed to be strung out from a spool attached to the back of a saddle. You know, it looked pretty ridiculous to me and actually it didn't work. It was an experiment that was worthy to be carried out, and I was supposed to work in cooperation with him. Well, at any rate, that kind of thing didn't appeal to me too much and I guess I just didn't cooperate like I should.
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From The Use Book, 1906: "Arrangements will be made as rapidly as possible to construct telephone lines to connect the Supervisor's headquarters with Rangers' headquarters and lookout stations, so that fires may be reported and other business of the reserve managed expeditiously."
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At any rate, I got into trouble with my Supervisor and particularly with the Regional Forester. A, O. Waha was in charge of Personnel - Operation I believe they called it and he insisted on my transfer to the Carson Forest. In fact they talked about firing me, but finally decided to transfer me to the Carson, against my will. I didn't want to go. I didn't want to leave the Pecos Country. However, I consented to go to the Carson and it was the most fortunate move that was ever made by or for me.
It so happened that Aldo Leopold was Supervisor of the Carson National Forest. Even then our avocations more or less coincided. Our thinking on wildlife, the outdoors, recreation, that sort of thing, we just hit it off wonderfully well from the very first time we met right on through. I never had the slightest trouble up there. Leopold put me to work on things I knew how to do and could do, and I did the best I could for him. I think it was the most fortunate thing that ever happened to me to be able to work under a man like Aldo Leopold, who later became perhaps the world's greatest authority on wildlife and wildlife management.
I was Ranger at Servietta that first winter, a little place 12 miles south of Tram Piedras on the D&RG Railroad. We had no water there except what the railroad company hauled down in water cars: they had a tank car and we had to water horses from that.
In the spring of 1913 I was moved to the Cow Creek Ranger Station, eight miles west of Tram Piedras. There we were very happy. Our oldest son was a year old. We had a three-room cabin that was quite comfortable in the summertime, but the chinking wasn't very good and the floor consisted of just 12-inch boards with cracks about a quarter of an inch wide. We got an old carpet to put down on the floor so we could put Roy down and let him crawl around a little bit but when the wind would blow it would hump up like he had an elephant under him. But at any rate we got along. There was no inside plumbing at all. When I had to be gone for several days, as I frequently did on my Ranger District work, my wife had to draw water from the well and carry it to the house. She had to feed the horses, the extra horses, and she had to milk the cow and take care of everything around. Sometimes that country gets really cold, down to around 20 or 30 degrees below zero in the winter time, but we got along fine and had no trouble at all. We were very happy there.
Our big job at that time, in addition to handling two or three timber sales that we had going on, and the usual routine from free use permits and all that sort of thing, was managing the grazing. There was a lot of stock on the Carson Forest at that time, far more than there should have been. As a matter of fact, during 1913 - 14 there was three-tenths of one percent of all the sheep in the United States summered on the Carson Forest for a period of three to four months.
Naturally we were having to initiate programs to put into effect programs of reduction of stock to the carrying capacity of the range. That wasn't easy to do. It caused a lot of resentment from the permittees. While we were there, conditions were not what we could call really rugged or rough, as they had been at Cuba; still there was a pretty salty element to content with. Not only that, but politicians were always on your neck whenever you tried to do anything about it. I think they are to some extent the same today toward the Forest Service when needed reductions are insisted upon. We had the political pressure on us all the way. At any rate, that was the program that Leopold had started. Supervisor Marsh had succeeded him, Raymond C. Marsh succeeded him in, I think it was the latter part of 1913. Leopold had become ill and took a couple of year's leave. We were trying our very best to get the stock reduced down to a lower number and we were making a little headway.
Then in the fall of 1914 I was transferred to the Forest Supervisor's office as a Land Examiner. They had a program then to classify land; Land Classifier perhaps was the title. They had a program then to classify all the National Forest lands as to what was agricultural, or potentially agricultural land, what was timber, and what was grazing. Frank E. Andrews, who had been Supervisor of the Jemez, had been transferred to the Regional Office and put in charge of that work for the northern forests. I worked under him for just about a year on the land classification job on parts of the Amarilla Division and all of the Jicarilla Division on the Carson.
I would like to go back just a little bit and describe briefly the type of men that we had as Rangers in those days. None of them, so far as I know, in that period that I have been describing, were trained foresters. We had some trained foresters on the job, of course, but not as Forest Rangers. Rangers were a combination ranch-and-cowboy type of man, mostly with limited education, but they knew the people and they knew the country, and they were rugged enough to meet the situations that they had to meet. I remember well one Ranger on the Carson who was a very good man to handle the grazing situation, and I think that he learned to scale timber very well. He had perhaps no more than fifth or sixth-grade education; yet he did the job. It was that type of men, believe me, that had to lay the foundation in those rugged conditions in the early days upon which the Forest Service is building now. Without that somebody had to do it, and trained foresters could never have done it.
At any rate, so far as my part is concerned, I came into the headquarters at Taos and took over the land examination job and worked diligently at that for about a year. At the end of that period I was made Deputy Forest Supervisor under Raymond B. Marsh I don't remember the exact date, but the records will show. It wasn't long after I was made Deputy Supervisor until Marsh's father died in the East and left a considerable business that had to be wound up and Raymond took a year's leave of absence to wind up his father's estate.
I was made Acting Forest Supervisor for about a year. I tried to carry out the policies that Marsh had laid down under Paul G. Redington, the Regional Forester. I think we made considerable progress toward reducing livestock and, for those days, a minimum of disturbance. Still, we were way over stocked.
One thing I would like to mention is that I had learned Spanish, and talked the Spanish, or Mexican, as we call it, language, when I was a kid. They were the only neighbors virtually that we had and from my association with them and the people that worked for us on the ranch, I learned to speak Spanish pretty well. Then I studied it when I was in high school. As a matter of fact, the last year I was in high school I taught a Spanish class, the first-year Spanish class, about half the time to relieve the teacher who was overloaded. There I learned far more than I did when I was studying it.
Then during our association on the Jemez, Pecos, and Carson, I would say that four-fifths of our dealings were with Spanish people. Most of them in those days, the greater percent of them, did not talk the English language well enough to be able to do business in it. I found that the very fact that I could speak Spanish perhaps as well as most of them could was a very, very great asset. They would listen to a person who could talk their own language and explain things to them in their own language where if it had to be done in English or through an interpreter you never could put it over at all. I figured that contributed largely to whatever success I had on the Carson and the previous two Forests I had been assigned to.
At any rate, at the end of Marsh's leave he returned to the Carson but stayed, I think, only about 30 days and then was made Supervisor of the Coconino Forest with headquarters at Flagstaff, Arizona. I was made Supervisor of the Carson I believe that was in the latter part of 1916 after having served a year as Acting Supervisor. I continued then as Supervisor, trying to go forward with the work and along came the First World War, in 1917. That disrupted a great many of the plans and programs that we had, and the work generally; took lots of men personnel from the Forestry Department. Many of them went into the Forestry Engineers' Division for overseas duty. I think they called it the 110th Engineers.
I lost several Rangers then, and the worst thing that happened to us was that we got orders from Washington to take care of just as many additional livestock as was applied for to aid the War effort, to produce meat, to produce more meat to aid the War effort. Well, it was a shortsighted policy because it didn't actually aid the War effort. By the time they got around to producing more meat the War was over.
Human nature being what it is, people wanted to take advantage of getting their stock on the Forest and keeping it there. So at the end of the War we had more stock on than we had back when Leopold tried to start to reduce it, and that was a very bad situation. Some of our areas had become badly overgrazed.
The stock market bottom dropped out and there was no market where people could sell their sheep or their cattle. You told them they had to get off the forest and they said, where the heck could they put them, where could they go? Many of them went broke. Henry Jordon at Antonito, Colorado, one of the biggest sheep permittees I had I think he had 23,000 head on the Carson went around back of his newly-built garage and blew his brains out.
The Washour-McClure people, I don't know whether they went bankrupt or not; I know they went broke. They had about the same number of sheep. There were many others, and we caught the blame for a lot of it by having to reduce the number on the Forest, instead of letting them continue.
Well, it went on that way through the War period. We had to do double duty and it was pretty tough going then. We had lots of duties besides that were directly connected with the War effort, for instance the selling of bonds. You know, helping in a financial way and in selling the War, the necessity for the War, to the local people. I traveled a good deal with committees and others that were appointed for that purpose over the county. We'd work all day and travel all night to make speeches and help sell bonds and to reconcile the people to the fact that their sons were being drafted to go to war. It was pretty tough going.
Then the toughest situation that we had came in the fall of 1918 when that terrible epidemic of influenza hit the country. Taos, it was said at that time, was the hardest hit of any community in the United States. In a period of 60 days we buried 10 percent of our population in Taos County. It so happened that I was Chairman of the Red Cross for Taos County and therefore I had shouldered a great deal of work in connection with the influenza epidemic.
We turned the church and the schools into hospitals. We got six doctors and nine nurses from St. Louis to help us out but they were virtually helpless as to what they could do for the people. When the flu hit them it seemed as if it took a big percent of them: it ran into pneumonia with a great many of them. I worked there steadily on a committee with Dr. Fred Muller, a dentist in Taos, a very good friend of ours, and there never was a finer man. There was also Father Gireau, a Catholic priest whom, I may say, we didn't particularly care too much about until this thing happened, but he worked day and night with us unstintingly, with Protestant and Catholic alike, doing what we could to help the local people.
I closed the Forest Office for something over 30 days. We didn't even open the door: we didn't get our mail; we didn't answer any mail. I lost my chief clerk and my janitress and others of my personnel were very ill with the flu. I got by without getting it until November 9. Nearly everyone else either had it and had died, or were getting well and were over it. The epidemic was virtually over. Finally one night I came home about midnight from visiting, trying to help out some of the outlying communities, and at 2 o'clock that morning I woke up as sick as I ever was. I was unconscious for nine days. I didn't know for two weeks afterwards that the Armistice had been signed. They managed to pull me through some way. I was supposed to die, but I didn't and I got through.
Well, that experience left me with a little bit of mental depression, I guess you would call it. I became a little discontent with the Forest Service. No particular thing, but they weren't paying any money to amount to anything. I think as Forest Supervisor I was drawing $2,000 a year. I became discontented and again was homesick for my old home country where I had bought some property. In the spring of 1919, I resigned my position against the advice of Paul Redington, the Regional Forester. I resigned to go back into the ranching business. So that wound up my career as a forestry official.
However, I have worked through the years closely with the Forest Service. While I was on the ranch for 11 years I was kind of a fire warden, with authority to look after the fires and to hire men, and so on, that were needed to put out forest fires in that area. I did help out a little.
I would like to go back, while we are talking about finances, because that was one reason left the Forest Service. I was given to understand that I could make a lot more money ranching than I could on a $2,000 a year salary as Forest Supervisor. When I went to work in 1909 as Assistant Forest Ranger, the salary was $75.00 month and I had to furnish two or three horses. I did furnish three horses; two was the minimum. Of course we had no cars in those days, and no roads to drive them on if we had had one. We had no forage allowance at all in those days. You had to feed yourself, rent your own house and feed your own horses on $75.00 a month.
Well, the first year I was with the Forest Service I had about $500 saved up when I went in. At the end of that year I had less than a hundred dollars. That's what it cost me. Then, beginning a year later, about 1910, they provided a forage allowance which took care of most of the cost of keeping the horses. That was a big boost, because if you got horses you had to feed them and take care of them, so you'd have something fit to use.
Then salaries were raised a little bit. Shortly after I went over to the Pecos, after I had been in the Service a little over a year, my salary was raised, I think July 1, 1910, to the magnificent sum of $91.66 a month. Then later, when I was transferred from Cow Creek in to Taos, it was raised to a hundred dollars. But at any rate, the salaries were very low and the work was hard. We thought nothing of the eight-hour day in those days; we worked until the job was done, whatever it was. You couldn't do a job and get in a car and in 30 minutes be home, as you can now. If you got home it was maybe a three or four-hour ride to get there. That was all extra. I just mention this to illustrate some of the differences in conditions then and now. But particularly the men in those days had to be pretty rugged, pretty rugged characters, and men who knew the country, knew the people and could get along with them, and it wasn't an easy job at all.
Well, that about winds up my story. But I might mention our free use permits. We used to write these free use permits anywhere, and the idea was to get the people used to accepting them. To get wood, a load of dead wood, they had to get a free use permit. It was free, but we were trying to get the thing under regulation so they would respect the regulations, and so on.
My handwriting in those days well, it persists that way as far as that's concerned is not too good. But particularly you got those little yellow slips the size of notebook paper, three by six or something like that, to write out a permit on the form where the spaces were a little too small anyway to fill in, and doing it there, using your saddle for a desk. well it wasn't very good writing. We sent a copy of each permit to the Supervisor's office, gave the original to the permittee, and kept a copy.
At any rate, I made out permits and I got one or two back with a little note from the Supervisor attached. Ranger Bletcher and I spent about two hours one night trying to figure out what the note said. Finally we deciphered it, It said; "Illegible. Rewrite and return." I sat down and wrote a note and said, "I am sorry, Mr. McMillan, but somehow I just can't figure out what your note said. If you will please tell me, I will be glad to comply." I never got any more complaints about my handwriting from Ross McMillan!
We had lots of fun in those days. There were lots of funny things happening as well as some pretty serious conflicts.
There was resistance to our orders but, as I said a while ago, I never did have to draw my gun. But there were many, many times when if I hadn't had it, people would not have complied with the instructions and perhaps would have done me considerable bodily harm. I am sure that would have happened, but that old .45 was constantly on my hip and it served a mighty, mighty good purpose.
I say that I never did have to draw my gun; I have to take that back. That applies only to enforcement of Forest regulations. During the First World War, when I was Supervisor, we were acting as Deputy U.S. Marshals to help wherever we could.
There were some deserters; there were some that we called slackers, men that refused to obey the summons in the draft. And there were saboteurs I remember one time I was at the San Antonio Ranger Station, which is some 30 miles north of the Cow Creek Ranger Station, on horseback of course for there was no car travel then. I got a phone call from Santa Fe telling of a man by the name of Nagle, or Nagy, an Austrian who was supposed to be a saboteur. He had reportedly burned some grain silos in Kansas and had done some damage in Estancia Valley. reportedly. We were warned that he was known to be somewhere in our country up there and they thought he was at the old Maupin Ranch, some three or four miles south of the Cow Creek Ranger Station. Well, I was 30 miles from that ranch, a good 30 miles. It was along late in the evening. They asked me to go and check on him and to bring him in if he was there. They warned me that he was armed and could be dangerous. So I took out and rode most of the night and formulated my plan of action, which was to get there just about daylight and to take a stand where I could view the house and the fields and barn from concealment, and to wait until he came out rather than to go to the house. A man right early in the morning is more off-guard than at any other time. So I did that.
Shortly after daylight he and Roy Maupin came out of the house and started down into a nearby oat field where the oat hay was in shock. Well, when they got far enough from the house so I was sure I could intercept them if need be, I got on my horse and rode out of this little canyon down to the fence and called them over to me. They came over and I asked the man who he was and he gave me his name all right and he was the man I was looking for.
So I told him that I had orders to take him in and I showed him my authority as Deputy U. S. Marshal. He made no protest nor any move of any kind. They were both unarmed, but Roy Maupin put in that he just wouldn't let him go, that men were hard to get and he had hired him to help with the hay and he was sure that the fellow was all right. I told him that I wasn't to be the judge of whether he was all right or not; my orders were to take the man in and judge and the court would decide that. Well, he protested vigorously to my taking Nagy and I insisted that I had to. Finally Roy got pretty rough talking and I had to tell him very definitely that if he didn't shut up, leave me alone and let me carry out my orders that I would take him in too; I would take the two of them in right from there. I would have put them in the road ahead of me and walked them on in if I had had to do it. But he finally conceded. He said, "Maybe you're right, maybe that's the authority."
This fellow asked if he might go to the house and get his coat and some other little things that he had there, and I said, "Yes, I will go with you." We went up to the house and went in through the kitchen door and Mrs. Maupin was getting breakfast. She was sitting down at the table peeling potatoes or something. The stairway up to where this fellow slept led off from the kitchen, a very steep stairway, and very narrow to the top and came out on a landing right opposite the door where he had been sleeping.
Naturally when you go into a person's kitchen that way, a woman there, you don't just walk right on past her without saying, "Howdy," and I said, "Good morning Mrs. Maupin, I have a little business with this man here," and followed him on upstairs. By that time Nagy had started on up the stairway and I heard him hurry. I could hear in those days: I wasn't deaf. And I heard him hurrying and that prompted me to hurry, too, but I had on my chaps and spurs and my .45 six-shooter on my chap belt. I hurried as much as I could too.
I got to the top of the landing and the door was open. As I entered the bed was directly across the room from the door the first thing I saw was that with his left hand he threw a coat off the bed and grabbed something with his right hand. I suspected instantly that it was a gun, which proved to be correct. I drew my gun and stuck it right in his kidneys and said, "Drop it you son-of-a-so-and-so, or I'll kill you.
He dropped the .45, half turned around with it cocked. It fell to the floor and didn't go off. But had I been just a little later, whether or not he would have taken my gun away from me or killed me or what, I had no way of knowing. I do know that he meant violence and I was just in the nick of time to be able to get him before he got turned around with that gun. He was just half-way turned around and dropped it by the side of the bed.
That was the only time I have ever had to draw my gun on anybody. I have always had it in the back of my mind that I would never draw my gun unless I had my mind made up to shoot if necessary. Never even used it as a bluff. I'd carry it through if I ever drew it and I certainly would have then.
Did he turn out to be the saboteur they wanted?
Yes, they sent him to the penitentiary. I kept that gun as a souvenir. When he got out after the War, and I was ranching, he wrote me and wanted his gun back. I wrote him back that if he thought he was man enough to come and get it, then I had the darned gun; and I wouldn't have taken a thousand dollars for it: and I had it stolen out of my car here in Santa Fe. I have another one exactly like it, but it isn't that gun.
One thing that I did miss that is of a little importance; Earl W. Loveridge made quite a name for himself in the Forest Service and did get to be one of the very top men. I don't remember whether he was second or third to the Forester, but he was somewhere up there. Anyway, Earl was sent to the Carson Forest as an absolutely green forestry school graduate. Each year we had to take on two or three of those forestry graduates and break them in and try to teach them some of the things they don't learn in school. I had him as lookout on San Antone Mountain for a time, and then as Assistant on a timber sale, then in charge of a timber sale, and then on reconnaissance work on the Jicarilla Apache Reservation, where I had made a land examination some years before, and gave him his start in the Forest Service. The basic Western training that he had to have to build on, we gave it to him on the Carson.
I'll say this about Loveridge, he was the most apt student I have ever seen in that capacity. He realized that there were a great many things he did not know and needed very badly to learn. He set about learning it no matter if sometimes it was a little embarrassing to expose his ignorance. After all, there were a lot of things that he knew and we didn't. He was the hardest worker I ever saw, He would never quit. At night he would work his notes up, or do whatever was to be done, to be ready to go again at daybreak. He worked just as hard as a man could work.
We had some men sent to us that were graduates in forestry that made good, and others that just did not make good. They could not grasp the Western outdoor way of doing things: handling a horse handling a horse was part of your business in those days. It would be just like hiring men today that didn't know how and couldn't learn how to drive an automobile.
Mr. Barker, you had that background in the Forest Service, and ever since then you have been more or less directly connected with conservation work. Do you feel that the Forest service objectives have been sound and that we are on the right track as far as conservation of the natural resources go?
Well, I think so; I think basically they have. I differed at times, and still do, with a few things that the Forest Service is doing or has done, but I have no kick at all. Basically I think you have followed through all of the principles that I learned from Leopold and Marsh and even Frank Andrews and Tom Stewart. I think they have been carried out pretty well. Of course you're changing a lot these days; the increased population, the leisure time and the greater demand, far, far greater demand for recreation, not only just hunting and fishing, that's just a minor part of it perhaps, but general outdoor recreation has changed the direction of the Forest Service to a great extent.
We used to think of the Forest Service as grazing and timber mainly, with recreation completely in the background. Now it's right out in the foreground. And in that area I would say that you haven't carried out the way we were exactly pointed in those days, but you had to change, of course, to meet conditions as they come up. I think you are doing that very well.
The impact of this increase in population is tremendous, and it will become more so.
Yes, I think it is going to get worse. I don't know, it's just a little hard for me to envision what does inevitably lie ahead for the Forest Service. For instance, there are some who foresee the day in the not too far distant future when you will have to regulate the number of visits that an individual may make to the National Forests, or to Wilderness areas, in any one season. I can't quite picture that; still if we figure the increase, for instance, going back to about 1910 or 1911, when I was at the Panchuelo Ranger Station, we estimated that there were fewer than 300 people went into the back country, what is now the Pecos Wilderness area each year on recreation that is, other than stockmen who went in on business. Less than 300. Well, that has increased steadily through the years and when I went on as State Game Warden I think we estimated that was 1921 we estimated it up to about 800. Last year  it was between 15,000 and 20,000. How can anyone tell where we are going to come out? Well, there has to be a limit sometime; a limit somewhere, just as in our national population.
Our population is running away with itself. They say that in 500 years there will be only one square yard of earth for every person on earth. Well, we know that we can't reach that. But what's going to happen between now and then? It's got to stop somewhere. Something's got to happen somewhere or we've got to stop it voluntarily, or, are we going to let it run rampant and let Nature stop it like she does with over population of deer and things like that?
In game management, we argue continually that we must keep the population down to the carrying capacity of the land. If we let them over populate, Mother Nature is going to step in and really reduce them the hard way. Well, are we going to do that ourselves, or are we going to be smart enough to control our own people? We had better be. I think there are a lot of things that we need worse than we need more people!
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Mr. Lewis Pyle, the first Ranger in the field on the Tonto National Forest, has lived under the Mogollon Rim, in or near Payson, Arizona, since 1890. He was a Forest Ranger from 1905 to 1911, and then worked in various positions, mostly in a temporary status, until he retired from the Service in 1947. He tells about his early days on the Tonto:
What were the conditions when you started in 1905, Lewis? What did the people think about the Forest Service?
Well, they didn't take to it too well but still they were very well satisfied. They had to take out grazing permits, which was the first work I did, in December 1905.
I'd been home in Bonita Creek, and I hadn't heard from Reed because he was waterbound over at Black River; had to go horseback, and he was waterbound there for a couple of weeks in this big flood I was telling you about. Then on the 15th of December I got two letters from Reed. They were written the first day of the month and I had to guess which one came first, but I could tell by what he had written.
The first letter I opened, one of those written on December 1, told me to report to Globe at once. He was making his headquarters at the old Dominion Hotel in Globe, as I remember. And in the second letter he sent me a few grazing application blanks. It said that I need not come to Globe now but should help the local cattlemen fill out grazing applications. That suited me better, so I filled out grazing applications the rest of the month.
At the end of the month I picked up the service report blank, which was just a large sheet of paper with 15 days on one side and another 15 or 16 days on the reverse side. So, on the first half of the month, on the first day of December, I wrote, "From the first to the 15th, awaiting orders," and signed it. On the 16th I made out my regular daily report, whose grazing applications I had taken, etc., for the rest of the month. I don't remember too much about it now, but I was taking grazing applications the rest of the month. But about my report, Reed he was Ranger in charge I wrote him a personal letter telling him that I hadn't taken any other work because I was expecting to hear from him any day. So any time we got mail I was expecting to hear that I was to go to work on the Tonto Forest, and I hadn't taken any other work. So when I got my December check, I got full pay for the month of December on the Tonto.
I was the first man on the Tonto. Reed wasn't there on the first of December. So I held the job of Ranger until the last of June 1911.
One time I had to do some carpenter work; helped build the Ranger Station in Payson. The only way they could get the Ranger Station built was to have some of the Rangers do the work. I'd done a little carpenter work around the ranch, and knew something about it. Some of the other men had worked at carpenter work, but I was the only one that could cut rafters on the ground and put them up without having to climb up on the building and take measurements; especially for hip rafters and jack rafters. It was a hip roof, longer than it was wide, or course, and there was a hip at each end and a ridge for several feet through the middle.
One job I had was estimating timber all over the Tonto Forest. I started in over at Fossil Creek, near Fossil Creek, and went across under the Rim. I'd ride back and forth through the timber, trying to pick out a spot that I thought would be about average, and step off a small piece of ground and count the trees on it, and probably measure the diameters of ground and count the trees on it, and probably measure the diameters of them and estimate the amount of timber. I had to classify the timber into 15,000 feet and over; that was one color on the map, dark green, I think; then a little lighter was 10,000 to 15,000: then under 10,000 was another color, I think that's the way it was, but I couldn't be sure those are the exact figures.
I went clear across to Canyon Creek on the east boundary, and then down through the Sierra Anchas and into Roosevelt, which was then the Supervisor's headquarters, Government Hill, they called it, where the engineers for the Roosevelt Dam were stationed. So I told Reed he asked me how I was getting along and I told him that I hadn't touched the Mazatzals yet but I didn't think there was much timber there. So he got some contour maps and told me to fill them in according to elevation and exposure, that I'd found in other parts of the Forest. He wanted that map as soon as he could get it.
So I did, and a year or so later a Ranger by the name of Jennings had made some timber estimates up in the Four Peaks country and when he came in we all called him "Slim" because he was a tall, lanky fellow I said, "Slim, how does my timber estimate up at Four Peaks compare with yours?" He said. "I don't know, Did you estimate it?" I told him, "Yes," and I told him how I had tallied it. He says, "I'll see." So he went to the files and got my report and studied it a few minutes. Then he said, "About five percent difference. So I figured that was pretty good to estimate it that close without ever seein' the country.
Well, I've done all sorts of work, surveyed pastures and such. One time I was stationed there at the Reynolds Creek Station in the Sierra Anchas and had a couple of young men helping me. One was Jay Alcorn and the other was Albert Stoner. So I got word from Reed to go to Pine and help put up telephone lines from Pine to Baker's Butte. I did and that was the first telephone line the Forest Service had built; in this Forest anyway.
Well, was there much timber trespass in those days? Did you have any of that kind of work?
No, I never did. Of course. when the pioneers wanted timber for their ranches they just cut it and said nothing to anybody about it. The Forest Service didn't object too much, I don't think. Of course they did get special use permits for post timber, and poles for building corrals and such things, but they didn't have much trouble in that line.
But the hardest thing I ever had to do for the Forest Service it hurt me worse was when they put the goats off the Tonto Forest; was to tell one or two, especially St. Johns that lived out here five or six miles on the road to Globe, tell them that they had to move their goats off. They were an old couple and the goats were about their only livelihood. I was well acquainted with them because I used to camp at their place with a pack train sometimes, my father and I.
I started working with my father when I was about 11 years old. I was not a very healthy boy and not very strong, but as soon as I got old enough, strong enough that I could life a 50-pound sack of flour up onto a burro's side and hold it while I was packin', I was soon packin' right along with my father. The packin' business was nothin' new to me when I started workin' for the Forest Service.
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Mr. Robert Springfel worked for the Forest Service for parts of 41 years, all in temporary positions. He worked one season on the Coconino, one on the Prescott and the remainder on the Las Vegas District of the Santa Fe National Forest. Some of Mr. Springfel's recollections are:
The first job I had here was with the Forest Service at what we called the Gallinas Planting Station. It was really a nursery, then it was abandoned and made into a ranger station later. I guess the planting station had been built when the Forest was first established in 1906. A man by the name of Hedricks was in charge of the Station then, but when I worked there a man by the name of Burrall was in charge. I think that he stayed there until 1914 and then he left and the Planting Station was turned over the Herman Crouch who had charge of it, oh for many years, I guess until 1920. I worked there for Burrall.
I remember I started to work the 1st of March and was there until the following fall in October. I did lots of carpenter work. I worked on the station; I finished the two upstairs rooms and the stairway up the back porch, and I built the back porch. I did lots of work there, all on the old station. It had been built there a number of years before, I guess, five or six years before I got there. And then when I quit, he also left shortly after that and it was made into a Ranger Station, and the first Ranger that I knew of there was Cecil Reindorp.
The first Ranger of the Forest that I knew of was Clyde Hastings, a son of General Hastings, a Civil War veteran, who had been up at Harvey Ranch; it was a guest ranch then. This is the way they took him up: he had lost a leg in the War and couldn't ride a burro up there, so they took a rocker and put a pole on each side of it and got two burros and they tandemed the burros, one behind him and one in front, and carried him up. He got there the year that McKinley had established the Forest here. General Hastings wrote to McKinley and he appointed Hastings' son as Ranger, and he had his headquarters at the Harvey Ranch. He built trails all around there. One old trail is still in use this day, going down to the old Tarrel place, down to the West.
Hastings stayed there until he was replaced by another ranger. I think the next ranger's name was Wells, but I'm not sure whether he was the second ranger or not. Anyway he was before Reindorp. Reindorp came along then and was Ranger for a good many years. Then the next Ranger that I knew of was kind of temporary; I think his name was Harverson, and also Cliff Stewart was Ranger at one time. I think Cliff was a nephew of Tom Stewart, the first Supervisor.
I remember the old signs on trees, how they used to have cloth signs tacked to the trees. Think some of them were instructions or Declarations of some kind, and signed by Wilson. He was the Secretary of Agriculture. And the different trees that were described, you know, Ponderosa pine and Engelmann spruce, and Douglas fir, all those descriptions of trees.
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From the Use Book - 1907; "Wherever there is no possibility of the natural reseeding of this land within a reasonable time, it is the purpose of the Forest Service to restore it to a state of productiveness by forest planting, and thus renew as soon as possible the ability of extensive watersheds to control and regulate stream flow.
"Planting operations of the Forest Service are at present centered in planting stations within or near National Forests."
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I guess it was about 1920 when Crouch left the Station. That's when it was converted into a Ranger Station.
How big was the nursery, Bob?
Oh, it was just what they call the pasture now, below the house. But they had a lath house made of you've seen this lath fencing? It was built with that, about a story high, and trees were set out in that in the first experiment they had there, so that the trees could have a little shade through the laths, as the sun moved along. But they discovered that they could raise trees without that shade, so Burrall had lots of trees set out there, thousands of 'em, that stayed in the seed beds for about a year, they they were transplanted. I know I helped set out a lot of those trees, up on the Tecolote and Elk Mountain.
I had a planting crew one time that I stayed with for about a month, just setting out trees. We'd go along with mattocks and dig holes. We had trees counted out in about a hundred to a bunch, and we'd give a man a bunch of those trees and he'd go along and plant them. That's the way we did up on the Tecolote. I made several maps of what I'd planted up there but they were destroyed. I think by Crouch, or in his time there. I don't know why those records were all destroyed; they'd be valuable.
I know some of the trees up on Elk Mountain; I haven't been there in 20 or 30 years, but they had been set out and then there were stakes driven into the ground and numbers on the stakes. I don't know if they're still there or not. They were left there with the aluminum circular numbers that were tacked into the tops of the stakes. That was the record of the planting. I think the survival was pretty good on Elk Mountain, and on the Tecolote, too.
That was the first planting I had charge of, up on the Tecolote. It was a planting in a burn, on the other side of Johnson Mesa as you go over the Mesa and drop into the Tecolote. We went up the Tecolote about half a mile or so and there was a burn on the south side of the canyon. It would be a north slope where we planted our trees. We set out hundreds of 'em. I had all these numbers and things, and the legal subdivisions of the land, when I draw the maps, you know.
What was the last work you did for the Forest?
I worked down here in the office. When my back got so bad I couldn't do field work any more I had a desk job in the office down at the Post Office, with Pritchard. I'd work as a temporary whenever they needed me, you know. They'd call on me and I'd work for them, So I might say that I started in 1912 and worked 'til '52 or '53.
Nearly 40 years?
Yes, 41 years. I did all the temporary work that was offered to me.
Bob, what were the different kinds of work that you did?
Well, I'd say it was mostly trail work, or working on trails, cleanin' 'em out, you know. That was in bygone years; in the later years in the office I did all kinds of book work. Fire reports and all that. I got so I could send a report in to the office and never get a red mark on it. I thought it was pretty good that I could finally master the routine of calling things by their right names, you know.
In thinking back to the old days when you started, back in 1912, what was the attitude of the local people here toward the Forest Service?
The ranchers were very much opposed to it. They felt that they were being restricted; thought they were being hemmed in or something. Couldn't take their stock where they wanted to, and especially the horses would trespass, you know. So they were kinds fightin' it, the ranchers.
Now, the native people, like those at Rociada, were they antagonistic?
No, I never heard them say anything. It was just the American ranchers that fought the Forest Service. They weren't used to regulation and they were charged for things that they'd been used to usin' free. You could do as you darned pleased in the country go out an cut down a tree when you wanted it. If you're restricted, you think you're being opposed, you know.
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Mr. C. V. Shearer passed his Ranger examination in 1910 and worked as a Forest Guard in the summer of 1911. His appointment as an Assistant Forest Ranger on the San Antonio District of the Carson National Forest came in November of 1911. His story starts with an account of how he reported for duty from his home near Las Vegas, New Mexico.
I drove up there with a team and wagon, with my mother and sister; or a team and buggy bought a buggy for the purpose. Mother and sister went with me, took bedding and their pet cat, a house cat, and a bowl of goldfish. We drove up through Black Lakes and on around to Taos. I didn't know the country up there real well, Anyhow, we made it up to a little above Mars the first night. The next night we got on to Black Lakes, and the next day we got a man goin' down toward Taos who said he'd show us the way.
When we went through the road where the snow they'd scooped out was higher than our heads as we were sitting in the buggy, we started down the steep side of a mountain. I don't know where the mountain was, or how it happened, but it was extremely steep and extremely icy, and those two horses had to hold back: the brakes I had on my buggy wouldn't hold anything, that is, the wheels would just slide on the ice. And those horses set back in the breeching, you know, and that buggy goin' down the hill, we come to this place so suddenly I wasn't able to stop and let my folks out.
I could see that old buggy tongue turnin' into a bow and I thought sure it was gonna break. If it had, why we'd have run into the horses and we'd have been scattered all over the side of that mountain. There was no timber on the mountain to catch us: it was a bare slope. But those horses set back and slid along with the wagon, holding all they could 'til we got to the bottom. Quite an experience there!
We headed out for Taos, stayed overnight, then on to Tram Piedras. We started out to, that is, we were supposed to go up to No Aqua. They had a Guard at the San Antonio Ranger Station, temporarily, and they said they'd sent word to him to meet me at No Aqua and guide me on in. Well, we got started the next morning; that was Thanksgiving night, I think, that we stayed at Tres Piedras.
So the next day we started up there, got to Na Agua, waited about an hour and nobody showed up, nobody around there, not a sheep camp, not a sheep herder, or nobody. So I decided to try to find the station by ourselves. They hadn't given me much direction, because they said this man would meet me. So I started on where there were some tracks leading out west. I went out there until finally I come to a telephone line and I figured that was the line to the station and we were going at right angles to it. I knew then that we were wrong, or felt reasonably sure we were wrong.
I was leading one horse and driving two. And I had my hounds with me too, my two hound dogs. It was getting late; the sun was going down, I got a hit of lunch: I ate hastily. I bedded my mother and sister down under some sagebrush beside a snow bank with what bedding we had in the buggy, and told them to stay there and I'd go on and find the station by following the telephone line. I'd be back as soon as I could; had no idea where I'd go or how much trouble I'd have But I left the dogs with them, to seep on the bed with them and keep them warm, and hoped the cat and goldfish would live through.
I spent the night following that telephone line north, and Lord, we got into snow banks! It was sure a rough night I finally come onto the road that I knew would take me on to the San Antone, and I come to the San Antone River at the foot of the San Antone Mountain. So I headed on back to the camp where the folks were, along about daylight found they were all right. They'd spent the night there in fair comfort.
There wasn't much fuel for fire except sagebrush, so we gathered some and started a fire. They got up to get something to eat breakfast out of the little bit we carried. Then I had to look for my horses: they'd disappeared, my team. It took me 'til about noon to find my team. I got them back, I think it was along toward noon. Anyhow. we backtracked to No Aqua and then took the other road. Well, I'd come back that way, through No Aqua and around, to follow the road back, so I knew now where I was going.
We started on up to the station and got in there about dark or a little before dark, sundown I'd say. We had a few pieces of bacon, a few slices of bread and I think some prunes or something like that, and maybe a can at beans and a can of sardines. That was about the size of our provisions, Didn't know where I was; nobody there. This Guard wasn't around, the door was open so I walked in. Finally rustled up some wood, got a fire goin' in the little old stove in the far end of the kitchen. Mother started seein' what she could make out of the provisions we had, and it was enough for supper. But it was a bleak-lookin' night I'll promise you that. We finally got something goin'.
We looked out the window and here come a fellow with a pack horse. We come up the road and I was gettin' ready to go out and hail him and he turned in. So I went out and met him, and he happened to be a fellow that took the Ranger examination at the same time I did. His name begins with "Win," it wasn't "Winshire;" I forgot the name but he was a Ranger on the District down south, and he was out lookin for horses, I believe. Anyhow. be unloaded his pack. He had lots of grub and set us up to a fine supper and we bedded down on the floor.
The next day he took me around and showed me where the sawmill was, where we could get some groceries, and then took me on down to . . . not Antonito but the little old Post Office down below. It wasn't Aztec, nor Cortez. I forget the name of the place down there, but the was a Post Office anyhow. They had some groceries.
You know, I was never so glad to see a human being in my life as I was to see him ride up that night, because we were in desperate circumstances, not knowing anything about the country, nor which way to go. It was too far to get back to Tres Piedras, to get rations down there, something to eat. The snow was about knee-deep, there at the station.
Well, we got over that all right, and we had been there a few days when the telephone line went down: winter really set in. The snow drifted up over one side of the station. When I went down to the barn to feed my horses I had to walk over the fence and beat a trail, over snow three or four feet deep. I scooped a trail down: the barn was about 40 feet from the river where the horses could water, the San Antone River. I kept a trail scooped out there and I'd take 'em down there to water. In the meantime I'd gone down to the sawmill and had 'em bring me in a load of hay for feed, and I stashed it up in the loft over the barn.
I had skis there and I'd take the skis, and I improvised a little sled. I'd go over to the sawmill about once or twice a week on those skis. It was about five miles over there. I'd throw some grub on this little sled I had, and come back. I arranged for the sawmill people to get my mail from Ortiz, that was the name of that place and they'd bring it up and I'd get it when I got my provisions at the sawmill.
Well, we lived out the winter that way before it began to open up and I could get on a horse and get anywhere, or any other way besides these skis and they were not fit for that kind of travel. Snowshoes would have been better, but I made out. And luckily we stayed healthy, my mother and my sister and myself. If we had had sickness or accident or any bad luck, it would have been too bad. We didn't see a soul again that winter, 'til along towards spring. So that spring then I got transferred back down onto the Las Vegas Ranger District, and I was there for quite a little, while until I was taken to Santa Fe as Land Examiner.
Well, I guess that's about the story, but that's the way it worked in the early days. I was drawing $1100 a year and buying my own feed for two horses, three as it happened up there. So, on that salary, and buying my own horse feed and all, I wasn't making very much. And we were working under the roughest kind of conditions. The cabin we had up there at San Antone was a rather snug little two-room and a shed, I believe, and a porch out in front and a little barn for the horses, two stalls.
Along towards spring when my transfer was asked down here they sent a man up there, Roland Lynch, to take my place. I worked with him about six weeks to break him in before I left.
We had our experiences; there were 86,000 head of sheep permitted on that District; I think it was 86,000. They were used to runnin' 'em free and open. They didn't like the Forest Service: the Forest Service was new and they fought it in every way possible. I know when I was trying to divide up the lambing grounds and apportion 'em out, the ranges, they told me to go to hell, right along.
Finally we had a fellow up there, Ortiz, Antonio Ortiz a big man in Ortiz. He ran the store and was a big politico. He went down to see our Supervisor, H. H. Hall, I believe his name was. Ortiz went in and told Hall, he says, "We're tired of the Forest Service and the way the Forest Service is doin'. We're tired of havin' your man up there tellin us what to do. And," he says, "we want you to move him out of there. If you don't move him out, he's goin' out in a box." He says, "We're not gonna stand for it any longer; something's gonna happen to him."
And Hall says, "Well, that's not right," he says, "you understand that if anything happens to our man up there, you fellows are not gonna be able to escape the law." Antonio said, "Well, we're not afraid of the Law," he says, "We'll take care of that. But remember this, if you keep your man up there, we're gonna have trouble, and it's not gonna be easy. Plenty of witnesses. Suppose," he said, "your man would be able to kill a few of us, we'd have enough witnesses to hang him."
Hall got up from his chair and he told him, he says, "Well, I guess, Antonio, we've talked it out. There's just one more thing to say; If I or any of my men ever get into trouble with you, or any of your men, when we get through with you, there won't be a damn witness left."
Well, that was the tempo and the spirit of breaking in the new man.
I tried to move one man back on his range one time, and they got hold of that story in Ortiz and there was a big write-up in the Tribune about it, about how I was runnin' 'em off their ranges and was causin' 'em all kinds of abuse and such. I remember it was time to go up to the lashing grounds in the spring. We didn't have a counting pen to count in these sheep, so with Lynch to help me we worked all night before the counting-in day, building a chute. We cut down trees and it was on the plains just east of Sun Antone Mountain. I don't know whether you've ever been there at the San Antone Mountain, the Big Bear side hill. We were to count in these 80,000 sheep, startin' countin' through this chute. They'd made a complaint to Washington that there were no facilities for countin' sheep, that the side of the mountain was covered with pinguay and it would kill their sheep if they put 'em over there, and that they were oppressed people and had to have immediate relief.
Well, we got started countin' sheep. We had counted in several bands and looked down the road and it looked like an army coming, a buggy and a big train of people horseback. Well, they come up and it happened to be a fellow from Washington I forget his name and the Supervisor from Tres Piedras, Hall or Leopold. I forget which it was: Leopold was Deputy Supervisor. They told me that we were just killin' 'em off; well, they were surprised to find that we were countin' 'em in; they didn't know we had a countin' pen up there. That was the first break.
They went up and looked for the pinguay and they didn't find any pinguay, so they came down there and we had a little hearing. They began to accuse me of going on the public domain and runnin' a band of sheep out around the public domain, and said they'd seen me doing it through spy glasses. They weren't there, but they could see through spy glasses from a mile to several miles away!
Well, the only way I could answer the accusation was to ask them what date. Well, they were indefinite. I asked them what week: still indefinite. I asked them what month, and they said, oh, it was April, or along in there, maybe May, maybe February. I tried to pin him down as to date, but I couldn't do it. So all I could do was to tell my Supervisor, "Well, here's my diary. Now on the occasion or two they did point out, my diary shows that I wasn't in that area near that time at all I was somewhere else." Well, they looked over my diary there, and of course the whole case fell flat. And finally they headed on back to town and that was that. We went on counting sheep.
Incidentally, they got up on the side of the mountain and the sheep got balled up, they went to stampeding, and they got 40,000 or 50,000 sheep in one band up there and it took 'em five or six days to separate them, get them back into individual bands again. That was the herders' fault: not the Forest Service's fault, but those were the conditions that we worked under at that time.
There was another case where a fellow come up Ortiz's brother, by the way, Antonio Ortiz's brother come up and was gonna haul wood. I asked him to let me give him a permit for it. He says, "I don't want any damn permit; I'll haul all the wood I want." I said, "Well, the rules require one for free use; it won't cost you anything, and we'll put it under administration here and I'll give you a permit." "I wouldn't have it," he says. "at all." I said, "Then don't come back for any more wood." He said, "I'm comin' back for more wood tomorrow."
So I went in and called Hall and told him about it. I said, "What about it?" And he says, "Well you meet him and don't let him take any wood." I said, "That's liable to mean trouble, Mr. Hall." He said, "You heard me; don't let him take any wood." I replied. "If that's your orders, all right, but remember that I told you it could mean trouble." Well, I went up there and I stayed around the sawmill all day and the guy never did show up. He didn't show up the second day either, so I quit stayin' around there, but I waited two days for him, and he never did show up.
Another time we had a meeting in Ortiz. We were discussing grazing permits and takin' applications, when a big fight come on. Finally, a bunch of 'em, a group of 'em, got up there and they began to call us sons-of-bitches, and all that. There were four of us, Hall, the Supervisor, and myself, and, oh, that fellow that used to work in the Philippines, was there, and one other. So all of us just got up and left the meeting immediately; we did't stay there any longer; didn't hear the rest of it.
But I went in there and wrote up applications, and I made a point to do it in Ortiz's store. We'd call 'em in there and I'd stand at the counter and write 'em up. He'd call me names and tell me what the Government was doin' to them, the Forest Service, and I didn't know whether I was gonna have a fight on my hands or not. I never did, and somehow or other things passed off without a showdown.
There was a later showdown there in Ortiz's store one time. He made some remark; called me a name I didn't like, so I went up to him and I told him I didn't like that kind talk and I didn't like that kind of name and I wanted him to apologize for it and say it was a slip of the tongue. He said he wouldn't. So I just reached over the counter and grabbed him by the collar and pulled him back across the counter.
I had one of these old carrying cases they used to have, canvas bags in the old days; mine was loaded with books. I got him across the counter and I come down with that and I give him a rap on the butt with that thing just as hard as I could. I turned him loose and I says, "Now, be more careful of your language after this," and I walked out. I saw him after that but it was never mentioned, never a showdown. Just an incident that passed by. But that was the way we had to get along in those days.
Tell me, Mr. Shearer, can you recollect what the Ranger examination was like?
Yes, the examination was a two-day affair: that is, there was a written examination and there was a field day. The written examination was not multiple choice. You had to write things out, various questions about, oh, I can't remember many of the questions, but there were some about sawmills: how many men does it take to run a 10,000-foot mill? What are the positions of these men? What do they do? What kind of timber grows where? And, one question was, "How would you fight a ground fire?" "How would you fight a surface fire?"
I remember one fellow takin' the examination there: he was just eatin' tobacco by the plug. He had a big spittoon by him. And he was busy writin' and spittin' and writin' and spittin: everything was quiet in there, not a word said. When he come to this one about fightin' forest fires, well. he couldn't hold it any longer. He broke out, "How'd you fight a top fire? There's only one way: I'd run like hell and pray for rain!"
On field day we had to pack a horse, throw a pack on, and show all kinds of hitches. I hadn't developed a diamond hitch at that time and I threw a squaw hitch: it passed. Then we paced around a field: it was a three-cornered field, out across brush and rough land. I think it was about a 10-acre field; through the timber, scrubby timber, just out of Santa Fe to the north there where there're some rolling hills. They asked us how many acres in it, that is, the acreage, size, and, oh I don't know. That's about all I remember of the field day.
You're the first man I've got to talk to that had experience in June 11 examinations. What did you do in that kind of work?
Well, I made the examinations and if the place looked suitable for homesteading, I recommended it. If it didn't, I did not. If I recommended it, I would survey it out in metes-and-bound survey as a rule; practically all metes-and-bound. I made a map of it and a report of the timber conditions, the grass conditions, and so forth.
Then we had orders: of course there were certain theories to stand by some fellow in Washington, I forget his name came down with a theory that it was a social error to let one family get too far away from the rest, to homestead, so if a place was very remote, why it was per se rejected, because of maintaining roads and trails. He didn't want to be responsible for a man up there anyway; he didn't have any business being up there to raise a family. So that was one case.
Then another case was to have a place that would be now a lot of places that were along stream courses would be rejected because by the time we'd take out an easement for a road there wouldn't be anything left, and we couldn't let them block the streams. So they were rejected, unless there was plenty of room for roadway in addition to agricultural land. Some of this agricultural land, incidentally, we'd turn out on special use permit.
We had a big write-up in the Albuquerque paper one time for turnin' down this non-agricultural land. A piece of ground a fellow took under special use permit and he raised, oh, a batch of garden stuff down there and took it to the Fair, and won first prize on a lot of 'em. And there was a big article there, "Forest Service Declares This Land Non-agricultural and Man Won Big Prizes at State Fair with the Produce." But what they failed to say the only answer to it was, it wasn't chiefly valuable for agriculture, because it was not sufficient for a man to make a living on. There was a little garden patch, and by the time you take an access road out, he didn't have anything left. Of course the road wasn't there at that time.
On that June 11 work, making examinations on homestead applications, if I was surveying them out, I'd generally have a helper. Sometimes the applicant would help me; sometimes he was not even present. I don't remember all the helpers I had. And we were out it was not a case of ridin' out in the morning and makin' a survey and back at night. We were out there with a pack outfit and stayed on the ground, and go to the next one, and so on. Our camp was we lived in our "horseback pullman."
Well, there's been quite a change.
There's a big change and I hope it's for the better. I think that in some ways the old style was better; I don't know. Conditions, especially in fire fighting; on my first job I rode the high line up there. Of course I had a rake, Kortic tool, shovel, axe, and a mattock, on a packhorse. When I saw a fire I went to it and put it out, no matter where it was. And in those days, I can't remember of any fire of any consequence. After I was District Ranger, I had a Fire Guard Patrolman and he did what I did. When we'd find a fire, we'd go to it and put it out.
Now, you see a fire up here, you look at it with a spy glass, they'll order a truck out with provisions for 20 men for two days or three, and by the time they get to that fire it's no longer a little one. Chances are it's a big one. Now, down in the southern part of the State, I'd say that's different. A fire down there will explode in 30 minutes until it covers sections. Up here we don't have that kind. Conditions are different. And I've had experience up here. When I was with the Soil Conservation Service I cooperated with the local Rangers in case of fires when I could; I offered my services and help.
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In 1914 or '15, Mr. Shearer resigned from the Forest Service to work as Farm Manager at the Los Alamos School for Boys. Later he was employed by the Soil Conservation Service, from which he retired.
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Mr. F. Lee Kirby, born in Arizona and experienced in ranch work had a long, varied, and productive career. His story, related in Phoenix, Arizona, starts with his entrance on duty:
I got in there (the Forest Service) accidentally. I really wasn't much interested in it, but the Supervisor and Assistant Supervisor on the old Crook National Forest got acquainted with my folks. Once when I was down there I met them and talked, and took a job as Guard. I had, or course, not taken a Civil Service examination. I wasn't old enough to take it in 1909, so I took a temporary job as Guard without Civil Service status, on July 22, 1909.
I did, however, have the full responsibility of a Ranger District right from the start. The way that happened was that in those days the pay was so low, and there was no such thing as fringe benefits or anything of that sort. So it didn't attract people who were properly educated, and there was a rapid turnover. They would hold the examination and the few that passed would soon be appointed, but it also was a sort of training ground for private industry and people would soon leave the Forest Service for something else. I soon became very much interested in the work. I liked the men I was working for and the programs seemed very purposeful. I soon saw that the Forest Service policies were something you could honestly believe in, because the end purpose was conservation of natural, renewable, life-giving land resources. The end purpose is human welfare.
Finally, in due time, and announcement of an examination came out and I mentioned it to the Supervisor, who was Theodore T. Swift, saying that I wished I could take it but that "I see it requires a high school education; and I hadn't completed grade school. He didn't say anything about it at the time; three or four other men were around. But later when he and I were together and no one else was around, he said, "Lee, why don't you take an International Correspondence School course. You'd be able to qualify before very long in a year or two and you could say you had the equivalent of a high school education." So I did that, and did take and pass the Civil Service examination.
Lee, do you remember what that consisted of, that examination?
Yes, I think I remember moat of it pretty well. One day of written test, and one of field test. On the written test, they related to the writing of letters. Then you had to estimate, for example, the materials required and the approximate cost of building a mile of fence in certain types of country. They asked what type of timber was most durable, when placed in the ground.
In planning work that required three or four men, you had to figure out about the amount of food that would be required for a given period.
They would give you a set of field notes on a survey and you had to plat that out and calculate the acreage of an area that was not square: it would have five or more corners.
Now, the field test included the cutting down of a tree and the disposal of the slash. It included having to catch a horse and saddle him; also you had to put a pack on that animal. The stuff was scattered out on the ground, and you had to put a pack on. Everybody seemed to have what was called a diamond hitch, but no two of them were alike. But that part was no problem to me, I thought I did fairly well on that. Another thing, you had to shoe a horse. I did all right, I guess, on the field test, and I managed to get by on the written test. I got a fair grade, I think. I was third in that group of nine men that took the examination at the same time.
Was any shooting involved in the test?
No, there wasn't. Some of the ones discussing the examination said a year or so before they did have to show that they could use firearms, but that wasn't required when I took it.
I might say one thing. From the time I went to work as a Guard, until I retired, I didn't miss a day's work.
After you passed the examination, did you become a District Ranger?
Assistant Ranger. That was the title. Assistant Forest Ranger. That was the title to begin with in those days.
Do you remember the money you got as an Assistant?
Seventy five dollars a month, and I had to furnish two horses: in my case it was a horse and a mule, We fed them at our own expense as there was no allowance for forage. That seems fantastic now but that's the way it was. When we would have occasion to make a trip to town, if we couldn't get out and back home that day we usually had to camp out in the edge of town somewhere because a hotel room would cost a dollar or a dollar and a half, and we just didn't have that kind of money. Sometimes we had the luxury of a restaurant meal and even that cost 35 cents.
I don't know why people stayed unless it might be the purpose of the job and the confidence. I think the Forest Service actually practiced Civil Service more conscientiously than many of the other Government agencies. I am quite confident of that because in later years I did associate more or less with employees of other land management agencies, and there wasn't the spirit of loyalty there that there was in the Forest Service.
There is no doubt but that Gifford Pinchot, the original Forester, established a code of ethics and a purpose and zeal that we just soaked up, even those of us that did not get to see him we just soaked it up. That's one of the reasons, I think that many of the oldtimers just stayed in as long as they did.
There were some that were very highly educated men. The Supervisor that I was working for was a mining engineer and undoubtedly could have made a great deal more money by following his profession. But he stayed right with it until he retired. He retired here in Phoenix in 1935.
What was your first District, Lee?
It was what is known as the Spring Creek District, on the Crook National Forest. It included an area that is now totally in the Tonto National Forest. The Spring Creek District headquarters was on Spring Creek, about 12 miles east of the little town of Roosevelt. The office what I am speaking of now is where the Government had built office buildings was up on the bill above the high water line, and the Ranger station was probably a mile and a half south of the present highway leading from Roosevelt to Globe.
Being without a family, while all the other Rangers on the Forest did have families, it was handier to shift me around from one District to another to help others.
Our main work was what we called June 11 claims. These were homestead claims picked up under the Act of June 11, 1906, which permitted the classification of land which were chiefly valuable for agricultural purposes. They could be classified as agricultural and listed with the Land Office for homesteading. That was usually done in the name of some individual who originally applied for it. As I recall, he had a very short preference in which he could file on it before anyone else. If he didn't exercise the preference within that time, then anyone could file.
Much of that homesteading was in areas that had not been sectionized, i.e., the Land Office Survey had not extended over very much of that country. That meant that we made what we call a metes-and-bounds survey, which would include all of the agricultural land and not very much of other types of land. Some of those homesteads sort of meandered up and down a drainage area. It was not uncommon for a homestead to have as many as a dozen corners.
In a listing survey, we had to make field notes that described it and at every course we had to give the bearing and the distance. Each corner had a number, starting out with Number one and so on around until you came back to the starting point. Sometimes it would take as much as a couple of days to make one of those surveys and to write up the description of the area. It was pretty difficult for a person to do it by himself, so a Ranger had to have some help. Sometimes the applicant himself would help with the survey, but in many cases they had to send someone there.
I remember we were sometimes sent to more distant points. All the Rangers on the Globe District one time were sent down to Safford and up on Mt. Graham to assist in a timber survey. That was sort of the way they got things done.
In connection with the homestead examination's, what criteria did you use to determine which lands were suitable for homesteading, and which were not suitable?
Well, it had to be the soil and the topography of it. None of us were soil experts, or at least if there were I didn't know of them. Obviously, land that was petty rough and rocky, those areas that were rough and rocky and had steep slopes, the soil was always thinner there. On some of them, as you know, the soil was down to two or three inches in thickness, the surface soil. On some of the bottom areas, the arroyos that were cut by floods would expose the soil profile, and in many cases it was five or six feet in depth, sometimes as much as 10 or 12 feet in depth. So it wasn't too difficult.
I had somewhat of a problem on that, I thought that we were too liberal, entirely too liberal, in the classification of those lands. In those days the Service was new and there was fear that very much protest or opposition to our policies would run the risk of losing the Service. They would take it away from us and turn it over to the States, or to some other Federal Department.
In many cases a person would apply for a homestead and if he didn't get the results that he wanted, he would write to his Senator or Congressman about it. They would write to the Secretary of Agriculture, and he would pass it on down to the Forester, and that required a pretty close look. And there were provisions for appeal on those things. Sometimes on an appeal from a Ranger's decision, the Supervisor would come and take a look at the land. If they still were not satisfied, why the Regional Forester would get in on it, and there were cases that went even to the Chief's Office in Washington. The general idea was to give the applicant all the benefit of the doubt.
Now, one reason I was reluctant to classify some of those areas for homesteading purposes and I say one reason, but actually there were several in combination but one reason was that I thought I knew something about dry-land farming. That's what it was, practically all dry-land farming, with some exceptions where there would be a spring or a little stream where they could get water for irrigation. But very seldom would the supply last the year round because most of the streams played out in the hottest part of the year, right when irrigation was most needed.
Another reason was that it was very obvious that many people wanted to get these homesteads in order to get control of the land for some purpose other than farming. The main thing is that the early-day policy had an intent to favor the small operator. Many people obtained new beginner grazing permits on the basis of having a homestead; if they didn't have a homestead they couldn't get a permit; they couldn't qualify. That had quite a disrupting effect, too.
I thought I had some fairly good ideas because I was raised on a dry-land homestead, you might say. I thought I had a fair idea of some of the heartbreaks that go with it, and failure. I thought that we did people an injury sometimes by even letting them get themselves into a hopeless situation. But there was always the influence of Senators and Congressmen writing in.
Sometimes these Senators felt that they had to write a letter. If they got a letter from one of their constituents, why they had to do something about it. They would take it up with the Secretary of Agriculture, and sometimes directly with the Chief of the Forest Service. One of them told me one time, when I was a little more in circulation I was in Washington and talked to Senator Hayden. He said, "I wish you would explain to your people I can't very well put it in a letter, but if I write a letter out there, that doesn't mean that I want you to change the classification of that land. I have confidence that it's being done right but, he says, I've got to write that letter because I hold my job here on the basis of votes. I've got to write that letter and get the facts, and when I get it, I usually just send them the letter that I get from the Forest Service.
But not all of them were that way. Some thought they had to get results and they were able to get results, too. That was a kind of unmeasurable influence that was pretty strong.
That was tied in with the grazing problem too. One of the main jobs of the Forest Service, of course, was handling they didn't call it range management in those days it was grazing work. There were practically no individual allotments; all of them were community allotments.
The Forest Service, of course, like any other sizeable organization, made its share of mistakes. I've made my share of them, and some of what we learned was through those mistakes.
For example, I remember when a person could get a permit to erect a drift fence, but he couldn't enclose his range, community or otherwise. To enclose the thing completely made it a pasture; then he would have to pay a grazing fee plus so much per acre for pasture plus so much per acre for pasture land. Although he might be willing to pay that, they wouldn't let him do it because others would complain and say, "Oh, I've always been on that community allotment and I don't want to give it up."
The location of water had a lot to do with making it possible for some others to use the land. We were defeating or own purpose there for a long time. Finally, the Government became more liberal and permitted the fencing of ranges, and even fenced them at Government expense. Many of them were fenced partly at Government expense. Many of them were fenced partly at Government expense, or totally so.
One of the ranching problems that we had on the entire forest I can't remember the total number, but I had almost a hundred permittees, grazing permittees, on my District at one time. Some of them were very progressive and some were not. Some of the old, established outfits that had come in there early didn't even like to see the small homesteaders: they always referred to them as nesters. Well, some of those fellows were genuinely trying to establish a home as others had done in the earlier days. In these earlier days there was a much greater choice in taking up a homestead.
By the time I was in, homesteading had served its purpose and the really useable places had already been taken up. None was left. So we were just straining the facts pretty badly to list any places at all. The big operator could see his use slipping away, but it also added to the expense of operating. There was always the temptation to the little old settler, almost on starvation, seeing a long-eared calf out there, and there was a good chance that he would take it. He could take it and put his own brand on it, or he could butcher it. If he had even a small permit, you couldn't do very much about it. Well, that brought up real tight situations.
Some of the permittees were very progressive in the matter of improving the grade of their stock. In those earlier days it was mostly "hides and barns." Those animals could get around over the country pretty well, and get along where the water was a long distance from the forage. They did pretty well. But the country was beginning to change, and they were now selling beef by the pound instead of by the animal. They used to sell yearling steers, well about the time I went in, they sold for about $13 a head. Gradually they had gone up until they were $15 or $16; they were doing pretty well. They got the same price for a scrub animal that they did for one somewhat higher in grade. Those people, the only way they had of improving their grades was to bring in higher quality bulls. Some of them wanted to do that, but to turn a good bull onto the range, why he didn't get the exclusive use of him at all. If he could have an individual allotment, he would have, but on a community range, others shared in that benefit and naturally they didn't like that.
Right along with that was the problem of excess stock. That was one of the most deplorable things that hung on for many, many years. It started before the National Forest was created. In turning in to the County Assessor, a man with 1,000 head of cattle would probably turn in 200; maybe some of them 400, maybe some 150. And there wasn't much anybody could do about it. They did the same thing with the Forest Service.
At the time I went in, the grazing fees were 60 cents per head per year. In this Southwestern country, on what was then the Crook National Forest, and up on the Tonto, nearly all the grazing was year-long. The only exception was those animals that were removed in the spring when the stock was sold, and they were not charged for until they were at least six months old. All that, mind you, was something that had to be applied on open range, thousands of acres, in brushy, hilly, mountainous country. In counting the stock, you had to be able to identify them by brand, and that was a pretty difficult thing. Many of the early-day counts didn't do any good at all: in fact, they did harm. They established the fact that the fellow didn't have any excess, when he did have.
Eventually they developed what was known as a check-sheet. It was a sheet that listed the number of cows a person had, the number of bulls, the number of steers of different ages, the number bought during the year, the number they sold, and estimated losses.
I remember one came on the Pinal District. One fellow was paying on 200 head and claimed ownership of 400 that grazed about half on the Forest and half on the public domain. I was getting more practiced, and more confidence. I worked up one of those check-sheets for this man. I well remember that it took all day long. It was awful hard to get answers. I finally developed a worksheet there, and before I left there he admitted the ownership of 1,565 cattle. And he had the best of it then.
The sheet itself showed the number sold. You could check with the State, the Livestock Sanitary Board, and get the number shipped. It took a day's time, just stickin' right with it. Well, that is just an example.
The excess stock problem lasted a long, long time. It isn't like the northern places where they bring 'em in in the spring and take 'em out in the late summer or fall. You then have a chance to count them.
Now, right there was the big difference in the handling of cattle and sheep. With sheep you could go out there any morning and count a band. But you take hundreds, even thousands, of head of livestock, over half a million acres in brushy, steep, rocky mountain country where they could hide in the daytime, you know, and cattle were much more wild in those days.
By the time I left the Service, you'd go any place where there were permitted cattle, maybe they'd be lyin' down right in the trail. They'd just lay there: you'd have to ride out around 'em. Years ago, they'd see you by the time, or maybe before, you'd see them; come ever a ridge and over there maybe a quarter of a mile away yo'd hear the brush poppin' and yo'd see 'em hightailin' it out, getting plumb out of reach. Those are some of the very big changes.
The appraisals, of course, were another thing that was highly controversial. That went on and on for years and years, with lots of appeals. It seemed like nearly every point of disagreement was finally resolved in favor of the livestock operator. Appraisal included the type of range; range that was productive enough to carry a cow on four or five acres was worth more than other range where it would take maybe 100 acres to support a cow year-long. There were differences that great, or even greater. Distance from market, the safety factor in some cases, a mixture of grass and browse, so that when they didn't have grass they would have the browse to fall back on. They didn't have the losses they'd have on range exclusively grass. But we didn't have very many on the National Forests that were exclusively grass. The cost of operation came in there, and was a very debatable subject; some people managed better than others.
Now, Lee, for the record, what was the purpose of this appraisal?
The purpose of that appraisal was to satisfy a group of Eastern Congressmen who were criticizing the Forest Service for allowing this grazing for almost nothing. A bill was introduced I'm not sure how far it got but I think it was approved by the House of Representatives. It arbitrarily would have fixed a minimum fee of $3 a head per year. Those people pointed out, "Why, in my country people pay $2 a month for grazing." Of course that was in pastures, but anyway they were getting enough forage to support an animal. They gave various examples of that kind, and thought they were being liberal and giving the stockman very much the best of it when they proposed a fee of $3 a head a year.
Well, the Forest Service didn't want to do that. Some of the Western Congressmen, including Senator Hayden I don't know just who originated this appraisal idea but they could see that unless something was done, Congress was going to bring that fee up. They pointed out, "Well, you sell timber and you sell it under bid." So then you had to convince 'em that this was different. The man who had the livestock outfit and owned ranch property and, in some cases controlled the only available water, had quite an investment there and, well, the bid system was not feasible.
So they had to agree to make thin appraisal, and determine what the range was actually worth. That was in the days of Chris Ratchford, when he was Chief of Range Management in Washington. That appraisal went on and on, and I guess they still are doing some doctorin' on it, makin' adjustments, and so on. They took into account some of the things I have mentioned and some other things, too. It did result in some slight increase in fees, but it was a very controversial thing.
Another thing that occupied lots of time over a period of 20 years was when the Forest Service finally broke down and was encouraging individual allotments instead of prohibiting them. They actually made it impossible to have individual allotments in the early days. That was one of the mistakes they made, entirely in good faith. I don't blame anyone for that. But when it came down to dividing these allotments, then of course the range surveys had gotten into the picture too.
Evidently there wasn't much argument or opposition to figuring range capacity. That brought out even more than was previously known that one acre could easily be worth 10 times what another acre was, in forage production. We had to take the established grazing preferences and divide the available range between those preferences. Well, then the guy that was paying on a couple of hundred head when he had a thousand on there, he really got himself into a squeeze. The only thing that sort of saved him was that it was so darned universal that most all of them were more or less in the same fix.
I don't know of any case where we were able to establish a whole, complete allotment, all at one time. It took years to get them established. There would be the subject of water: "Well, I've got to have water; you give that to him and that puts me out of business." It took all the ingenuity and resourcefulness and tact and diplomacy that any of us had. In fact, it might even have helped develop some of those qualities.
How about the range condition itself, Lee? Contrast the early days with the present-day situation.
Well, in the days when I came into the Forest Service, overstocking must have reached its peak. Maybe a little before I came in. I've seen how you could ride in a day and see hundreds of dead animals. victims of starvation. In those days there was no trucking of animals; they had to be driven from wherever their range was, in to the market place. Sometimes they got so weak that they couldn't be handled at all.
I've seen times in the Upper Salt River Valley when many of the cowboys carried axes to cut down cottonwood trees so the animals could eat the leaves. They would eat all they could reach and then they would have to cut the tree down so they could get some more to eat. Well, they would last a few days longer, that is, the animals would live a few days longer that way.
Others carried regular plumber blowtorches, gasoline blowtorches, that would burn the spines off those prickly pear cactus so the stock could eat those things. There's something about that that must be a good deal like the marijuana habit; the stock would get to eating those things and I have seen them eating prickly pears actually when there was some forage, browse and grass. They didn't really have to but they would get to eating those things and I guess it is something like the dope habit that people get started on and they just don't give it up.
Well, anyway the losses were pretty bad and the ranges were already overstocked and they carry over the natural increase of the year before and there were some very real situations. The stockman were in a real jam and did need some help.
One time we were instructed to get those natural increases off. I remember talking to a fellow up here at Pine and well, I told him, we had to get them off someway, that we understood his problem but it would only make it worse by staying on there. "Well," he said, "I'll tell you what I'll do." He says, "My horses are poor. I don't have any feed. I can't do anything with them and the cattle here are so poor they can't be moved so you just send a man out here and I'll take my Winchester and I'll shoot down the number I am supposed to remove." Well, it makes you get down and think, when a man is willing to see that done.
Now there were some strange wrinkles that came in there. Some of those years when the losses were tremendous they would lose more than half of their animals in a year. It wasn't uncommon for them to have losses as high as 10, 15, or 20 percent. That happened in a good many different years in my time. These fellows that had so many excess they covered a lot of their excess right there. They would have a loss that was pretty heavy, 15 percent or more that I knew was that great, but they would claim only three or four percent. That would give them a chance they didn't have to be accountable he could cover part of his excess that way.
How about some of the early-day people that had a big influence?
I knew Will C. Barnes and Rachford very well. They were spread pretty thin but when they came down to this country they were in their home territory, that they knew before they went into the Forest Service. I think they shared in the mistakes that were made in what was proper utilization; I think that is the key to our big problem.
There was a kind of general feeling that grass that grows and is not eaten while it's green is wasted. It dries up, then it isn't very good. In the case of many weeds, like a crop of filaree and anything like that, it just dries up and blows away if it isn't used. They didn't realize that you have to feed the land itself. That's why when you use farming land you haul fertilizer in there, but you don't haul fertilizer over millions of acres of rough, rocky mountain land.
The only way you feed that land is by the vegetation that grows there. In our estimate of the proper use, I think almost but not quite the universal mistake that a lot of good people, honest hard working, well intentioned people make is that we have grazed off more than it will stand.
A lot of the country on the steeper slopes needs all of the small amount of growth that grows there for the maintenance of the land itself, and the protection of it. The livestock people particularly adhere to the idea that anything that isn't grazed in the year in which it is grown, while it is still green is just lost and is of no value.
I claim that the vegetation that is left there forms a mat on the ground of humus and is protecting the soil, is furnishing organic matter or the source of organic matter to go in the soil. It is making it possible to get a greater benefit of the limited rain that falls in a country that's normally dry. It not only delays the runoff a little bit and gives it more time to get into the ground, but land that is not trampled too much will absorb water more quickly.
I think we have helped to create a drouth situation in a drouth country by not making it possible to get the full benefit of the limited rain that does fall. Too much of it just runs off in a matter of minutes or hours, instead of getting into the soil and becoming available for plant growth. I think that is all the more important in this day and age when beef is sold by the pound rather than by the number of animals.
If you are developing a race horse (which is an example I'm going to use), if you are developing a race horse, you feed him well and you exercise him all the time; a well-regulated exercise, because you want to develop thoae muscles and energy for the race. But if you are developing any animal or fowl for slaughter, you feed it well, but you will keep it in a small area and you won't even allow it to exercise. You make it impossible to exercise because you want that to go into weight, you don't want it to go to energy running around over the country. Well, on heavily used ranges where feed is scarce, an animal has to do a lot of traveling to anywhere near satisfy its appetite. I think a lot of it goes into energy that could be going into extra weight. A cow brute is lazy by nature. If they get plenty to eat on a small area, they're not going to travel very far. I don't think you can blame any person or any group of people for a mistake that has been almost universal. I think we all just have to kind of share it.
Were there very many conflicts down here between the sheepmen and the cattlemen?
Yes, there were. I'm glad you brought that up. In the early days the Forest Service was very unwelcome. People had had the use of these lands since, well, since the white people first came into this country, without any restrictions and without any charge. They couldn't see why it didn't look like progress to them to have to pay for it. But some of them began to say, "Well, things can't go on like they are. We have this conflict with sheepmen and we know we can't always settle those things in desperation like we have done," and the Forest Service, so they thought, would favor the cattle, which we did in the earlier days.
It had got to where, it seemed to me, we had much better control and better cooperation too, from the sheep outfits. You could go out there and count the sheep any time. You could not, any time you wanted to, count the cattle in that mountain country.
I guess we had conflicts with the mining industry, too?
Yes, we did. We never had any serious problem with the genuine mining operators. There have always been cases such as where a new road would be under construction, somebody would want to get a foothold out there. First he'd try to homestead it. Well, we couldn't classify it for homes for it wasn't chiefly valued for agriculture, so he couldn't homestead it. Then he would went a special use permit. For various reasons we wouldn't give that. So he'll grab a mining claim and we can't do anything about that. For a long time we really had a lot of difficulty.
The small mine owners had an organization, too. I began to realize when I was here on the Tonto that they were just getting one side of it, so I went down I forget the name of this fellow, but anyway he was Director of that official state branch, and I told him, "Well, you're just getting one side of that. We aren't opposing any legitimate mining operation. If they have got ore of some kind that will make it worthwhile to develop, we don't handicap them at all. A lot of these claims that you are getting the most complaints from are operated by people that don't even want it for mining purposes." I told him, "Now I would like to take you on a trip, two or three days, and we will go to some of these places that we have protested passing to patent and show you. That way you will have the right information."
Well, he thought that would be a good idea and we did take the trip and also took his assistant along. From that time on, at least they didn't get any support from him. Sometimes he would just tell them right out, "We are not going to support you in that because I know something about it." Well, it helped to some extent. I don't know what the more recent developments are. I've been out of it now for quite a while, and before I was out of the Forest Service I wasn't in touch with those things; I was specializing in watershed management.
That brings up another point I'd like for you to talk about a bit Lee, and that is the emphasis that we have been placing more and mere in later years on watershed management, and yet the trouble we have had with people like the Salt River Water Users' Association.
Well I don't know what the situation is now, but during the time I was here practically always the directors, the President and directors, that is, the top officials of the Salt River Valley Water Users' Association, were either interested in livestock operations out in various parts of the state, or some of their relatives were. They claimed that what they were interested in was getting that water down into the lake. What goes into the ground up there doesn't interest them.
Of course, I think that during the CCC [the Civilian Conservation Corps] days a lot of what we did in building the little checkdams and so on just didn't bring much results. I think what we ought to stand on is natural cover, vegetation. I think we could establish that they get just about the same amount of water if it comes off of there in a matter of hours, or whether a lot of it goes into the ground and is delivered through the ground in more controllable flow and is more usable water.
We sure haven't had the support that we should have had. I took the chief engineer of the Salt River Valley Water Users' Association (his name was Hayden) on a trip one time. Unfortunately though, the CCCs were operating; they had just begun. It seemed that the main thing that stuck with him was the building of a lot of those little rock checkdams in there. He said, "That doesn't impress me at all." He said he wasn't worried about the silt in the lake because they could increase the capacity by raising the dam. He gave me a figure; I think he said a couple of dollars an acre-foot, or something like that. That kind of shocked me because I didn't think he could do it for any such price.
I think that to support real conservation, we're going to have to do more about creating public sentiment I've got a lot of faith in public sentiment. When the people hear only one side of a case and we do nothing to acquaint the general public with the facts of conservation, their impression and their belief will be based on the main noise. Often the organized minorities can influence public sentiment a great deal.
Whether we like it or not, I think we've got a lot of educational work to do all along. I attempted to meet this need during the last few years I was on the Tonto. In a period of a little over two years, close to three years, I took a total of over 500 people, just two or three at a time, sometimes a few more if you got a whole group to go on a one-day trip. I was careful to get people that really had influence.
I remember in 1943 I made an analysis of my own diary, and I had spent an average of nine and a half hours a day, and not just for the workdays, but for the 365 days. We would take these trips and sometimes we couldn't be gone as long as I'd have liked, so I would say, "Well, if you don't mind getting up pretty early, we could leave here early enough to get out where I want to start showing you things, by the time it's daylight. Then we would be a little late getting back. We just had to crowd what was about two days' observation into one day.
I've had people say, "Gee, I used to make trips around here and I didn't see what I looked at all. What do you want me to do?" I'd tell them, "I don't have a thing in mind to ask you to do; I just want you to know about this so when you hear about this controversy you will know something about it yourself. Then you can do whatever you think you ought to do." Well, that kind of appealed to them.
I used to tell them that there are some things you can put up in a word picture, that's quite understandable. But when you're talking about the fundamentals, the grass-roots fundamentals, of conservation, nothing takes the place of discussing it right out on the ground where you can be looking at what you're talking about at the time you're discussing it. And it isn't hard to convince them that this is true.
I used to point out that this type of change is very gradual, kind of like growing old. You always feel about the same as you did yesterday, and petty much the same as you did a year ago, but by golly there comes a time when you don't feel like you did 40 years ago." A lot has happened and in some cases the cause of deterioration is separated from the effect by 30 or 40 years.
Take the encroachment of cedars. There are millions of acres of cedars, and that extends from about 60 years ago to about 30 or 40 years ago. It's pretty hard to attach those together, but I am as confident as can be that that's excessive use of the land.
I think that in earlier days when there were very few livestock in the country, the cedars, although there were always a few of them around, there were enough to scatter seeds all right. It had to be a better than average year for those seeds to germinate and get started. In that same kind of a year, you get an extra growth of grass, and no livestock there to graze it. A fire gets started and the little old cedar from the time it's a foot high may to scorched; that's the end of it. But when they get up to six, eight, nine or 10 feet high, you don't kill them that easily. You can hardly kill them at all. And I think that's the reason that the country that formerly was grassland has changed over to other types of cover.
Well then, as you see it and you've seen a lot of these changes it's the selling of conservation that's one of our big problems?
That's right. The stockmen protested all of this. They really objected to the large areas, and by large areas I mean from 40 acres up to 100 or more, in protected plots, and the propaganda, they called it (taking people out and talking about it). But the stock people, from some of the things I'm telling you, you might get the idea that I am prejudiced against them, but I'm not. I grew up with them and I've known them from the time I was a kid. I've felt all along that they were just as honest in their opinions, in their differences of opinion, as I was in my opinions. But naturally they were looking at it from the stand point of their personal interest, financially. I think some of them gave me credit for being honest in my opinions. It would be too much to expect the majority to do so.
Ever since the Forest was first created, the Forest Service has been trying its best to deal fairly with the livestock people, giving special consideration to the small operator trying to get a foothold. But somehow or other we have always been on the defensive, all through those years. There have been some livestock cooperators that were fully in agreement with the policies I was trying to apply.
I remember one time I wrote a couple of articles giving credit to some of the big cooperators. One of them was Old Tom Cavaness, that everybody used to hear about out here. He told me shortly after that, "Lee, for God's sake, don't write any more articles about me. I have to live out here and it gets pretty tough," he says, "I can hardly meet a neighbor but what they hound me to death on bein' a kind of teacher's pet."
I don't think there's any quick, easy, or painless way to turn the trend of range conditions upward. It's gonna take a lot of sacrifice. It's a good deal like a man who has depleted his physical resources, either by hard work, exposure, illness, dissipation, or whatever else it might be. He gets far enough depleted that he finally has to go to a doctor. If he has the good sense to follow the advice of that doctor, he will probably be, to a great extent, restored as to his energies and his ability to work. Of course he may never be a football player again, but he will have a lot of potential comeback if he will follow the rules of nature. He may even have to go to a hospital for a while.
Some of these lands have had 60 to 80 years of day-in-and-day-out, year-in-and-year-out of use are not going to be restored to usefulness by just reducing the livestock for a year or two. I think some of the land may have to be taken out of use for a while and give nature a chance. All the money in the world isn't, alone, going to restore or turn the trend upward, not that I think it can be done without money; but money alone won't do it. It's got to be in cooperation with Mother Nature.
Now, I've had my share of arguments within the Service. "Well Lee, you must realize that everything in the way of legislation and policy is a matter of compromise." Well, we all know that. But my answer has been this, "Okay, if you're selling a house, or establishing a line out there, in nearly everything a compromise is possible. But if you're dealing with the functions of nature, nature does not compromise. You play her rules or and there are plenty of examples in some of the old countries where people abused their land resources Nature retaliated by bringing about starvation by the millions.
That's a profound statement. There is one more thing I want to ask you. You have been observing this closely for 40 or 50 years; how is the attitude of the users now? Is it better than it was or is it worse?
Well, I don't know. I have been out of touch with that for a long time, but I doubt if it has improved much.
I sure think the Forest Service ought to take over this range management deal realistically. I think we've done a better job on nearly everything else than we have on range management. And we have some of the most hard-working, conscientious people on range management. The basic reason, I think, is in not satisfying the permittees. We've got to satisfy them somehow, and I think they are entitled to be shown, like a lot of other people, that we have got to recognize this well, it just takes a dollar bill there in front of your eyes to cut off the entire view of the mountain half a mile away.
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On June 29, 1955, Mr. William H. Woods, then Supervisor of the Coronado National Forest, sent the following information in a memorandum to the Regional Forester:
Lee Kirby's first work with the Service was on this District (Aravaipa), and it was on this District that it was necessary for Lee to kill a man. Two men were working a gold mine that is now known as the Kanote Mine and owned by Buck Cosper. Their names have been forgotten by me. They and Lee Kirby were at a dance one night at Klondyke. One of then was a bad actor and insulted a woman who Lee was dancing with. They had a quarrel and in the dance hall this man made the statement in front of everybody to Lee that, if he ever came to his mine, he would kill him. Lee replied that, if it was necessary for him to be there on official business, he would be ready for him.
The nine was on the main trail from Rattlesnake Canyon to Redfield Canyon by way of Kilberg Peak. It became necessary for Lee to pass there two or three weeks later. Just as Lee rode up to the mine, the man came out of it with a wheelbarrow load of muck. His Winchester was leaning against the rock at one side of the tunnel. He made a grab for it but was not quick enough. Lee beat him to the draw. Lee had an automatic pistol and I have heard that he shot him at least three times before he fell. A coroner's inquest was held at the scene and Lee was exonerated.
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Mr. Edward G. Miller was interviewed in his home in Albuquerque. Born in Kansas, he went through grade school, high school, and college in that state. After graduation from college in 1907, he worked at various jobs, including school teaching. At the time of his retirement Mr. Miller was Chief of the Division of Lands in the Regional Office. His story continues in his own words.
Once, while on the east line south of Guadalupe Canyon, our line headed north from a Junction with one of those Spanish land grants which was just outside of the Forest. We had to climb a precipitous wall of lava. Looking back, I expect it was something like 500 feet; it seemed at the time that it was closer to a thousand. I sent the boys around. I climbed up through a crevice and about half-way up I made a movement that caused my watch to flip out of my pocket. It came unfastened from the string and the last I saw of my watch, it was bouncing down about halfway between me and the bottom. I didn't know whether I'd make it to the top or not, but I finally made it. That was one of the little incidents that I'll always remember because I was shocked to find that I'd lost my watch, and wondered whether I would be able to do better than the watch did.
I worked in the Zunis until August 1913, when Hugh Calkins called and asked me to come in to the Manzano-Zuni office; the two Forests had been combined. So I came in to Albuquerque while he was out on boundary surveys on the Gila and the Datil. I had several months' experience in the Albuquerque Office, which was located in the Post Office building, but it was a much smaller building than it is today. The U. S. Commissioner also had his office on the second floor. I think Fred Arthur cane into the office when I went home in late December of 1913.
I moved my headquarters from Guam over to Thoreau. That was a little three-room shack there at Thoreau. Fred Merkle had come out to work with me in January 1913 and we got to be pretty close friends. I remember when he got off the train there at Guam. Usually the train just sped through; threw the mail sacks off. But when a passenger was on board ready to get off, they would bring the train to a hesitating halt. And that cold night in January 1913, Fred got off. We had arranged a place for him to sleep. He ate with us for several months until we moved to Thoreau, and then he batched or ate up at the little hotel.
In those days we found the general attitude of the public much more friendly than I had anticipated. We had very little trouble with the stockmen; although I think that some of then were underestimating numbers somewhat, we found then willing to cooperate and try to see that the animals were properly salted. We found very little opposition when we tried to make a range count on some of the smaller outfits.
I remember riding from Sawyer, which was the headquarters for the lumber company that later became the Breece Lumber Company. At that time it was oh, it was a name you don't hear anymore the outfit changed hands. The old company was the American Lumber Company.
Our job was to go over some of the old cutting lines between National Forest scattered 40s and 80s, to figure out the amount of trespass. Some of the early-day loggers were just a little bit careless in determining location of their lines. This American Lumber Company had bought a lot of railroad land, the alternate sections extending south of the mainline railroad, through the Zuni Mountain area, containing some very good Ponderosa pine timber. We called it Yellow pine back in those days. We made frequent trips into the woods to scale logs that were out along spurs that crossed National Forest land, but when some of the early spurs were laid out there was no Forest Service, no Rangers to see that property lines were observed.
Well Ed, on those lands where they ran spurs across the Forest before it had been properly designated as Forest land, did you trespass them for that timber, or just make a sale for it?
We had one pretty sizeable trespass case that was settled on an innocent basis. I remember talking with the President. Charles F. Wade, about it personally and he said that he wouldn't question our figures. I don't remember the amount of the settlement, but it was settled without a Court case. And later on we granted special use permits for rights of way across those scattered shotgun Forest Service holdings. Then we made settlement on what we called timber settlement procedure back in those days. A stumpage price was agreed upon; I don't believe the Regional Office or the Forest Supervisor's Office actually went through advertising procedures for those scattered logs. The amount on any one party was not large and sometimes there would be a lapse of several months before any timber was cut on National Forest land, until the time came for advertising of a unit that the Company actually wanted to purchase.
In midwinter, when I had a shack at Guam, I sometimes rode horseback up into the Sawyer country and then would go to the small sawmills on foot. We had two small mills operating; one weest of Sawyer, the old County Superintendent, Tex Picard of Gallup, and a fellow by the name of England established a mill. Later, Dan Reardon bought out England, and it was Reardon and Picard. This Reardon was not related to the Reardons that owned the Arizona Lumber and Timber Company at Flagstaff.
Dick George operated a little mill near the east boundary the Mineral Township; that was T. 11 N., R. 12 W. Sometimes I would cut across from Camp 10 east of Sawyer, and walk to Dick's mill, and then back to camp 10 for the night. It was easier making the trip on foot or on snowshoes than to have a horse trying to go through in belly-deep snow. Dick George operated, as I understand it, quite a number of years over there on the east side of the Mineral township. Picard and Reardon operated just two or three years there west of Sawyer and then the mill was moved to a point about five or six miles south and a little east of Red Rock, which was about 12 miles south of Guam. That mill, the old Picard-Reardon mill, was sold to Rucker and Dalton. Dalton was a fine mill man and Rucker was a little farmer there in the Zuni Mountain country. That mill operated for two or three years at one set. I transferred to Magdalena and lost track of that little mill.
We also had some timber business down in the Ramah country. Those little farmers operated a little mill down there. Where a man needed a little lumber for building his home, we granted him a special S-22 rate for that timber, probably on an average not over 5,000 or 6,000 feet per family.
One night in returning from the Dick George mill on horseback, along in August, it had rained all the way across and I had planned on staying all night at a shack at Red Rock. It began to rain along about eight or nine in the evening while I was riding Old Wheeler. an old cow horse. I reached the point where he could no longer smell the trail, and I couldn't see it, so I got off the lead.
After a while I noticed Old Wheeler perkin' up his ears and then there was a nicker, and we found that Bill Rucker, ridin' his horse back to his little farm, was within a hundred feet of us and we hadn't realized it. Billy had gotten off to lead, too, because his horse could no longer smell the trail. I think that was probably the hardest rain I had ever been in the Zuni Mountains. But we both made it home, but much later than we had originally anticipated.
Dave Whiteside had a mining claim in the Mineral Township, about two or two and a half miles above the old Si McDaniel sawmill. Dave worked for us some during the summers as a Fire Guard. Later I heard that Dave had been shot by George Kyle down in the valley close to San Rafael. George Kyle went to the penn and I suppose spent his remaining years in the penitentiary. He shot Dave through a window after dark.
Incidentally, Kyle drove the first automobile I ever saw on the road wasn't much of a road between Grants and Gallup. He came up as far as Guam. I had quite a visit with George. He was a good railroad man and a good telegrapher, and whatever happened to him to cause him to shoot Dave Whiteside, I was never able to learn. Mrs. Whiteside moved into Grants and I understand ran a little eating house there for a good many years.
We moved to Magdalena on the old Datil National Forest in January 1915. I had gone down ahead of time and spent about three or four weeks. The Regional Forester had said I could go down and see how I liked the set-up and if I wanted to move into, move up to the old Datil office, it would be in accordance with their wishes. So I went down and spent a month with Bert Goddard and his crew. Bass Wales and the girl who later became Mrs. Goddard were in the office at that time.
We moved into the old home of J.S. McTavish. President of the Becker-McTavish Company, and I worked on the Datil from early in January 1915 until mid-April 1917. Took two saddle horses down there. In the early part of the days on the Datil, we rode across the St. Augustine Plains. I remember taking a pack outfit across by the C Bar N and the Y ranch, into Negrito Ranger Station. Took two and a half, pretty near three, days to make the trip.
We had a controversy between the Ed M. Otero outfit, the Otero Sheep Company, and the Frank A. Hubbell outfit. Ed Cavanaugh came out, Inspector of Grazing in the Regional Office, and Bert Potter came out from Washington. We spent a couple of days with the men who thought they were at war with one another. The controversy proved to be based on misinformation on the part of a caparal or two, and agreement was reached without any hard feelings or bloodshed.
Bert Goddard moved to Roosevelt Lake as Supervisor of the Tonto, late in '15, or early in '16, as I recall, and A. H. Douglas came to the Datil from the Gila as Forest Supervisor. Old Doug grew up in the livestock business and was, I thought, very well liked by the stockmen. They knew that he knew the livestock business. I never learned what happened between Doug and his superiors, but apparently he didn't last many years. I believe he went into the livestock business himself in the Lincoln country somewhere.
We moved to Prescott; I was made Forest Supervisor there in April 1917. Went out by train. There was close to two feet of snow in Flagstaff. That storm of 48 years ago must have been very similar to the one that hit the Flagstaff country this last April. I counted 28 telegraph and telephone poles down in succession in one sector of the railroad. The trains had to move at a very leisurely pace because no dispatches were going through, either by telegraph or by phone.
Reached Prescott on the train that ran from Ash Fork directly into Prescott. That afternoon it must have been about the 14th of April it seemed to me there was 12 or 15 inches of snow on the ground in Prescott. That turned out to be the best fileria year that I ever saw in Arizona, unless 1941 was as good in the Verde Valley and possibly around the edges of the Salt River Valley. Back in those days the stockmen banked pretty heavily upon the annual crop of grasses and weeds. Alfileria most of the stockmen called it fileria made a fine yield in 1917. I expect that the cattle were fatter that spring than they were at any time for a good many years.
I used to like to talk to some of the oldtimers like Jerry Sullivan, and George Hanse, who were U.S. Soldiers, and had helped move the Navajo Indians back from Fort Sumner to Fort Wingate in the late Sixties. Both of them became stockmen after they were mustered out of the Army at Fort Camp Verde. Hanse had a permit on the Prescott, south of the Johnson Wash Ranger Station, as I recall. Jerry Sullivan was one of the main owners of the big Double O outfit in the Seligman country. He and his partners had a sizeable permit north of Walnut Crick on the Prescott, but they had several thousand head of cattle on range outside of the Forest.
Fred Haworth, the Walnut Creek Ranger, and I were riding with F.A. Reed, ranger manager of the Double O, in 1917 and we ran across a cow puncher whom I had seen with the Fernandez Company at San Mateo in 1910. We greeted one another and I said, "You're Malcolm," and he said, "Yeah, you're the guy that cut my hair with sheep-shears west of San Mateo there in the Flat in 1910. I said, "Yes, Malcolm, you're right." I can't remember that Scotchman's last name, but he was a very likeable boy.
Incidentally, there were no barbers in the Zuni country. We had to do our own work. I had seen one trader over at Bibo his name was Ben Bibo cut his own hair in 1910. I never figured I'd do a very good job on my own, so Fred Merkle and I used to trade haircuts. One Sunday afternoon after we moved over to Thoreau in 1914, a Navajo Indian by the name of Charley Peacock saw me operating on Fred Merkle. He came over and asked me in Navajo and Spanish if I would cut his hair, which I did.
One of the first things I did as Ranger in the Zunis was to keep a notebook with words in Spanish, Navajo, and English. And by the end of five years I had quite a little volume. I didn't pretend to talk either Spanish or Navajo perfectly, but I learned enough to get along with either a Navajo or the local Spanish stockmen or one of the boys who was handling brush on timber sales. Charley Peacock looked in a looking glass and seemed very proud of his haircut. He had a bob, something like the women were wearing in those days, and he expressed his appreciation by bringing in a Thunderbird pin a month or two later, which I have to this day.
We found that the Navajo were, generally speaking, good workers. I had hired three or four of the men at Sawyer's, back in the days when I was Ranger there on the Zuni. I had 'em build a woven wire fence around a two and a half or five-acre planting plot. We got young pines from a Colorado nursery and those boys helped me plant that little plot. I paid them out of my own pocket and took subvouchers, signed with fingerprints. That was my first experience with Navajo laborers, but I learned that they were reliable if treated fairly.
I hadn't had occasion to visit that plot until 1937 when Sin Strickland and I came through the Zunis and stopped at the old Picard-Reardon sawmill, and saw the little shack of a barn I had built in 1910 or '11. Looked at the remains of the planting plot; the woven wire fence was gone, but enough of those little pines had survived that we could see one or two of the original rows of trees. Some of them were, I expect, 15 feet high.
Getting back to the Prescott, it was my privilege to ride in a roundup in Bloody Basin in 1918, with one of the best cowmen ever on the Forest, Arthur Heath. Cloven Brothers had taken over the Atees owned formerly by Dan Fain and Arthur Heath, but Arthur was still range foreman. I don't believe that the Cloven Brothers survived many years. We moved to Flagstaff in 1919, but I understand that Cloven Brothers had paid too much for some of their properties and that in the early Twenties they went under, along with some of the other outfits in that country.
We arrived at Flagstaff at about the beginning of the rainy season. The 1919 rainy season was the heaviest the Coconino Plateau had seen since the Forest was established in 1898, not as the Coconino but, as I recall, as part of the Black Mesa.
Ray Marsh was Forest Supervisor. He had succeeded John B. Guthrie. He wanted to show me a part of the south end of the Forest but was afraid we couldn't make it by car and he didn't have time to start out with a pack outfit, so we hired a man who was running a country taxi business there at Flagstaff. We started for Winslow and bogged down on the way, got into there after dark. There were no built roads. The only graded road on the Coconino at that time was a strip that Howard had built between Flagstaff and Williams. It was, as I recall, about 14 feet wide; part of it was made of cinders. There was another little strip of road from Long Valley east across Blue Ridge. It had been constructed but not surfaced.
Anyhow, when you started out on a trip in a rainy season you never knew how many miles you would make. Ray and the driver and I stayed all night in Winslow and started for the Bly Ranger Station southwest of Winslow about 20 miles. We bogged down at about the half-way point, worked three or four hours in getting out of the mud. We cut greasewood and branches from junipers, found a few stray rocks.
We got to the Bly Ranger Station and Fred Croxen, who was there at the time, said it was impossible to get on toward Long Valley, so Ray Marsh called up Bill Brown and had him come over on horseback and we chatted there for an hour or two. Made it back into Winslow that night, and made it back to Flagstaff without bogging any more.
Jim Mullen was out in 1923, made a roads inspection trip. The clouds looked like a heavy rain was coming on so we left the Long Valley Ranger Station somewhere around 3 o'clock that afternoon. We bogged down had on chains of course bogged down about the east end of Blue Ridge. One chain was broken almost beyond repair. We got down pretty close to the east boundary of the Forest. We had figured on going on into Winslow, even though darkness came on and our lights shorted. It was pouring down rain.
Jim and I pulled out at the side of the road, built a fire, cooked our supper, bedded down in the old Dodge truck. We were thankful that we had a truck bed long enough to accommodate our beds. Along in the middle of the night we heard a big car pass us, slopping through the mud. We got up in the morning and the rain had stopped. We cooked our breakfast and leisurely packed up and headed for Winslow.
In a big flat pretty close to where Ray Marsh and the taxi driver and I had bogged down in 1919, we found a big Cadillac with Boyce Thompson and his driver in a rented car bogged down hopelessly. Thompson was the man who established the Boyce Thompson Arboretum at Superior, Arizona. He said, "Have you boys any spare gas?" We said, "Yes," and he said, "Thank God for the Forest Rangers!" We put a five-gallon can of gas in the old Cad, but there wasn't enough manpower available to move it an inch. Mr. Thompson asked us if we would have the owner of the White Garage in Winslow send a car out with plenty of planks and plenty of gas. They told us in Winslow that they would go right out, which they did.
Jim and I found that we couldn't make the road north of the Santa Fe Railroad back to Flagstaff without danger of bogging, so we took a route south of the tracks, in places as much as three or four miles south. We came to the first big arroyo west of Winslow, probably four or five miles out, and it was in flood stage. It was still raining; rather, raining again. We watched a lot of those people try to go across. Several of 'em bogged down. Jim and I finally decided instead of hitting the water hard, we would creep through, which we did, with the old Dodge. It was impossible to do anything for the people who were bogged down. It was a case of more help that we could give so we made it back into Flagstaff that night.
Oldtimers like our friend Rhinehart, one of the best timber sale men ever in the Region, were at Flagstaff; Homer German and Kim Carlisle. At that time the Greenlaw Lumber Company, the Flagstaff Lumber Company, the Arizona Lumber and Timber Company, and A. T. McGonigle were operating close to Flagstaff.
I can remember lumber prices; we ran an appraisal there one winter and as I recall, the average mill-run selling price was $23 and some cents. The average stumpage price on the Coconino was around $2 to 2.50 per thousand board-feet. The highest price that any timber brought under bid on the Coconino was on a State sale covering Section 6 south of Flagstaff, 20 North, 6 West; that timber brought $4 a thousand. I imagine the boys today would wonder what was wrong, but you could build a very good house back in those days for $2,000. The average wage for the lumberjacks in the Zuni Mountains and at the mills on the Coconino was about $4 a day and board.
Incidentally, the railroad men weren't very highly paid, either. I remember the firemen on the Twelvespot that ran between Sawyer and Thoreau. I'd ridden the train down to Thoreau from Sawyer. As I got off the engine, Old Dave Labritton, a French-Canadian fireman, said, "Kid, I may be a damn fool, but is $75 more than $90?" I said, "No, Dave, why do you ask?" "Well," he said, "The foreman told me that I was to get $90 a month. I've been gettin' $75 and I wanted to make sure that 90 was more than 75." He had his check with him and he said, "Kid, would you get this cashed for me?"
The average Navajo Indian could count money as well as any white man I knew, but poor old Dave was still just a little at a loss when it came to handling our currency; he had been accustomed to the currency up in Canada. So Dave got his raise to $90 a month. I think the top loaders then were getting $90 a month.
There were railroad operations back in those days. The bigger operations like the American Lumber Company in the Zunis, the Greenlaw, Flagstaff Lumber Company, and the Arizona Lumber and Timber Company at Flagstaff, and the Saginaw at Williams, were all railroad operations. They used big wheels most of the time in summer, and in winter, on snow, they used what they called drays, which were big sleds. Instead of callin' em sleds, a lot of the lumberjacks called 'em drays.
Some of the Mormons brought in wagons. The first I saw were, I believe, in 1912 or '13, in the Zunis. Those were contract loggers. The contract loggers and the Flagstaff Company began to use four-wheel trucks, but those first eight-wheelers seemed to be able to operate on wet ground where some of the four-wheelers would bog down. Later, outfits like the Arizona Lumber and Timber Company, and the Saginaw, operated their own switch crews, but some outlying tracts they would let to these little contractors. Some people we knew for years made a living by contract logging.
Along in the late twenties, about 1927, the successors to the Flagstaff Lumber Company brought in some tractors. The Katy Lumber Company from the South had moved in and taken over the operation. That was the first tractor operation we ever saw. They weren't as successful in the wintertime as the old horses and drays. The operation in '27, until about January, as I recall, they shut down and then that outfit remained closed, it must've been eight or ten years.
Those early-day operations had some fine teamsters. Most of 'em had come from the North; Michigan. Some of them were Irish, some Scotch. Some of the cooks were Irish or Scotch. The native New Mexicans were brush handlers, and gradually some of them worked in to be sawyers. They'd fell trees and buck 'em up. Some of 'em got to be pretty good men and could take contracts for cutting timber. They got about a dollar a thousand. Some of them, a crew of Spanish or they called 'em Mexicans then would probably average about $10 a day; they'd cut about 10,000 board-feet.
Those Northern teamsters were proud of those big teams; they babied 'em; curried 'em twice a day; and made sure they had water morning, noon, and evening. And in the wintertime when it was cold they had nice warm barns.
Incidentally, in those days the farmers in the Zuni Mountains and at Flagstaff depended very largely on the logging companies. I can remember when we first moved to Flagstaff in 1919, those spud-raisers were prosperous. The men who raised oat hay did fairly well. The same applied in the Zuni Mountains. But after the coming of the cat, and the cats made good, the little farmer who depended upon the sale of hay was just about finished.
Then came the long shutdowns, due to panics, and even the Arizona Lumber and Timber had to close for a time there at Flagstaff. There just wasn't any sale for lumber. In the good days, in the days when much of the lumber from the Flagstaff-Williams area went into Chicago and that part of the country, it was nothing to see 10 or 15 cars loaded out of one of those towns in a day. Fifteen to twenty thousand board-feet on a car, sometimes heavier timbers would go on flatcars. Actually. when hard times came, towns like Flagstaff and Williams were hard-hit.
They had no tourist business to speak of; in fact they had no roads that tourists could ride over. I remember comin' in with Jim Mullin one time in 1930 from Flagstaff. We got into Springerville after dark the first day and we got into Albuquerque after dark the second day.
In 1924, when the first deer hunt was to be tried out on the North Kaibab, after George McCormack was to prove or disprove that he could drive the deer, John Adams, Charley Lockman, and I headed for the Kaibab in early December. We burned out a connecting rod on the old Dodge about 16 miles out of Flagstaff and had to go back in for repairs. Got out about noon, camped the first night in Cedar Ridge about 67 miles out of Flagstaff, crossed at Lee's ferry, camped at the foot of the Kaibab and House Rock Valley on the second night.
I woke the next morning at 5 o'clock and it was snowing. We shook the snow off of our tarps, cooked breakfast, and pulled out. We made between 15 and 20 miles that day, up to the Jacob's Lake Ranger Station. We had to shovel and shovel and shovel. We broke our V-shaped homemade snowplow possibly four miles east of Jacob's Lake that evening, but we got into the old Ranger Station after dark.
Made it into the Ryan Ranger Station the next day. That was the headquarters for the deer hunt. We stayed there several days observing the management of the hunt. I got to ride with Ben Swapp one day in a snowstorm. We estimated we saw a thousand deer that day.
On moving out toward South Canyon where George McCormack was to start his deer drive, we camped north of Jacob's Lake four or five miles, just at dark. We scooped a couple of feet of snow out and bedded down on the ground with a bank of snow around us; cooked supper. About 8 o'clock, I suppose, here came a lone pedestrian and asked us how far it was to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. We fed the guy and told him that he'd better tarry for the night; that he could sit around our campfire, or we'd share a bed with him. No, he had to be going on. So that's the last we ever saw of the guy. We don't know whether he was being pursued by officers; we never heard a word about him thereafter. I don't know whether he survived the 50-mile trip or more up to the North Rim or not.
John, Charley, and I got out early the next morning and drove down to House Rock Valley and on to South Canyon. The movie outfit that was to take pictures of the deer drive was not there; there was nobody there. There were lots of deer. We camped overnight decided to camp outdoors it was pretty cold in the shack there in South Canyon. We got up the next morning and decided that the thing must've been called off. The Indians and George McCormack had not put in an appearance, so we left, and after we had gotten out of South Canyon, possibly 15 miles out on what became noted as the buffalo range, we decided to cook lunch, which we did.
We'd taken some deer pictures during the morning, shot a coyote that full of deer meat. Just as we finished lunch, why here came the movie outfit, half-starved. I'd killed a deer over on the hunting area, so we fed the boys venison, mostly deer liver as I remember, and they were a happy bunch. They said they'd go on down into South Canyon. We couldn't give 'em any information as to the whereabouts of the Indians and Old George and the others who were to handle the hunt.
We moved on across to a point not far from where the Grand Canyon bridge was constructed later on, camped for the night, and over to Lee's Ferry and across the next day, and we bumped over that rough road and made it into Flagstaff the next night. Today, you can leave Flagstaff and drive up to Jacob's Lake in, oh, I think a lot of them make it in six or seven hours. The best you could do in those days was two days, and it took us two and a half from Flagstaff to Jacob's Lake, going up.
I mention this trip just to indicate the change that has taken place between 1924 and 1965, where you have paved roads. We not only had no paved roads; we had no constructed roads of any consequence in those days. Today the Ranger, the average Ranger not all of 'em, but the average I'd say, can cover a big percent of his District in a pickup, and much more rapidly. Our work was entirely on horse, or on foot.
We began the construction of truck trails, as we call 'em, in 1919 on the Coconino. One of our all-time top foreman was John McMinnimum; his wife was cook. We wanted to build a fire trail across East Clear Creek Canyon. We worked Mac down there two winters with a bunch of burros and five or six men. They camped down on the water most of the time at Clear Creek.
Mac was one foreman in a thousand. He had learned blacksmithing when he was a boy. He had an eye like an eagle. You could rough out a line with an Abney level and he'd do the rest. I don't suppose any foreman ever built more road in two winters than Old Mac did, with less supervision, because he just didn't need it.
The Ranger would go down occasionally and see what supplies were needed; we had standing bids with stores in Flagstaff. We'd send Tray Huff, our truck driver, out with a load of supplies. Sometimes we'd have to buy in Winslow and take em out from that end when the road south from Flagstaff was closed. But Old Mac would work all winter, maybe lay off one or two days.
He built trails, truck trails, and fences for us until the CCC boys came along. Then he went on as road foreman with CCC. He was still workin' down on the Coconino when we moved to Albuquerque in 1935. We always figured that people like the McMinnimums made America. There were many fine people in the rural areas in those days, in the Zuni Mountains, on the Datil, on the Prescott, and the Coconino.
After the Act of June 11, 1906 was passed, we had many homestead applications. There were hundreds of settlers on the Plateau of the Coconino, the Kaibab, a few on the Prescott, a good many in the Zuni Mountains; not many of them on Forest land, however, in the Zunis. As we got to know those settlers and stockmen, we found that most of 'em were reliable, friendly.
Ed Oldham, when he was Ranger on the Flagstaff District, had complete fire crews organized from settlers. I can still see George Moore with a plow in his wagon, driving his team on a long trot toward a forest fire. You didn't have to send for him; he watched for smokes and was on the way as soon as he saw one.
The same was true of a lot of those per-diem Guards; men who were not a part of the regular firemen's or lookout's organizations. They were appointed as supplementary Guards to go to fires when they saw one, or when called upon by the Ranger or his Assistant. We used some Indians back in those days, but crews hadn't been organized as they are today at the various Indian pueblos, on the Navajo Reservation, and in some of the Spanish settlements.
We depended largely upon the work crews at the lumber camps. All the brush crews were trained in fire-fighting; also a lot of the men around the sawmills who had fought fires so often and so much that they were first-class hands. We didn't call upon the mill crews unless it was absolutely necessary because in those days wages, as I recall, were 50 cents an hour for fire fighters, and by the early 1930s a lot of the mill men were making more than we could possibly pay them as fire-fighters. But the brush crews were low paid, so actually they were glad to get out and make 50 cents an hour.
In later years I understand the Forest Service is handling the brush on some of the larger sales, but in those days the operators were responsible. I haven't been in the woods in recent years and don't know how much they're piling and burning, but on the Coconino we pulled a lot of tops. We pulled 'em out into the big openings on areas like the one south of Lake Mary. Tight, volcanic soil; reproduction had difficulty in surviving drouths, grazing, etc. We found, after we'd pulled those tops, that they would accumulate a lot of snow. That made enough moisture so the little pine seedlings that started in those tops would thrive.
The last time I saw the country immediately south of Lake Mary I was greatly pleased to see the survival of the little pines. Out where the brush had been scattered there was some survival, but it didn't compare with the areas where we had pulled tops.
There were lots of funny things; I've often thought about some of those boys. One fellow left McGaffeys and told me he was goin' up into Washington. A friend of his had bought a piece of land up there. Me told me what he could get an Eighty for. He had $1200 in his pocket. He made it out to Gallup and got drunk and the girls got hold of him. He came back about 10 days later, didn't have a cent. There were a lot of funny things like that happening.
Old Ferguson, the mine boss, was over from Ireland. He had me write a letter for him once, "Dear Mother: If you'll give me the little faarm. I'll come back to Ireland. But if you won't give me the little faarm, to Hell with it!"
One of our first experiences on the Prescott was with a man by the name of E.B. Perrin, who owned livestock interests in northern Arizona and who was reported to have had quite a battle with the Federal Government over some lieu lands that he had selected for a script that he owned covering railroad lands or lands that were supposed to be within railroad grants in Arizona.
He appeared in the Prescott office within a few weeks after the new Supervisor arrived, introduced himself, was all smiles for a few minutes, and then, without any preliminary warning, said, "Young man, you bear a wonderful fine reputation, but if things don't change you're going to be fired." Then he told me about what happened to the U.S. Judge that found him guilty of land fraud and sentenced him to Federal prison; about his fight with Theodore Roosevelt, when Roosevelt was President. And he mentioned one or two others; all of them had suffered injuries of some kind, afflictions that were imposed by the Almighty due to the fact that they had been unkind and unjust in their dealings with E.B. Perrin.
Then he mentioned the fact that he had bought somewhere around a thousand head of drouth stricken cattle in southwestern New Mexico and that he proposed to graze 'em on the Walnut Creek District of the Prescott National Forest. He claimed title to a Forty on which a spring was located, and felt since he owned that water in Upper Long Creek he should be allowed to bring cattle on although the range was already fully stocked, and parts of it badly overstocked.
The Supervisor told Mr. Perrin that there'd be absolutely no chance of granting him a permit for a thousand head of cattle, or for even a fraction of a thousand head on an overstocked range. The fact that he owned a small watering, in itself, gave him no right to expect a permit there. He said of course he would appeal on up the line, and was advised that that was perfectly satisfactory with our office; that he was at liberty to appeal, but I didn't believe that anyone who knew anything about grazing would overrule the Supervisor.
Within a relatively short time the Regional Forester, Chief of Grazing, and one of the grazing men from the Washington Office, came to Ash Fork where we met the Perrins. Ranger Haworth from the Walnut Creek District was with us. We went out and visited the range, went back to Seligman, and argued for a day, and of course Mr. Perrin did not get his grazing permit. I found that Regional Forester Redington sized up the situation, almost exactly as did the Ranger and the Supervisor. I think that was about as warm a controversy as I can remember on the Prescott.
In connection with watershed values on that Forest, the Bloody Basin country and the northeast portion of the Cave Creek District, which at that time was a part of the Prescott, were of very high watershed value. We all worried about conditions on those ranges, and were happy when we heard a few years later that the sheepmen had bought out Clover Brothers Cattle Company, who had failed to make good after buying some of the larger cattle outfits. The sheepmen had bought out the holdings, and those ranges were converted into winter sheep range. They had no grazing, except a stray cow now and then, during the growing season. Sheep came down from the Plateau and grazed a few weeks during the wintertime before they went out on the desert for lambing.
It was my privilege to look over a part of that country some 10 years after riding with the roundup in 1918. It appeared to me that there had been great improvement in watershed values during that decade. I think the general feeling among Forest Officers including the Rangers, Regional Office Inspectors, and Washington Office Inspectors was that it was a very fine move to get rid of cattle grazing on some of that steeper watershed. I was rather surprised a few years ago to hear someone say that cattle had again been permitted to go back to Bloody Basin. Maybe those people from Pine that took over that range have devised ways and means of controlling cattle so that a lot of silt, sand, and gravel will not wash into the Verde above the Horseshoe Reservoir. It seems to me that it's a situation that will have to be watched very carefully.
The Coconino also had high watershed values, particularly the country on the west slopes that drain into the Verde River. During the early days, the late Eighties and Nineties when Fort Camp Verde was still occupied by the United States Cavalry, too many cattle were brought into that country. Jerry Sullivan and George Hance, who were soldiers and later became stockmen, told me that several times the number that the ranges would carry were brought in. No-one knew much about carrying capacities then. They were brought into that country because of the mild winter climate, and because they figured with the troops there, their cattle would not be molested by the Apache Indians.
While the troops were there, Indians with hoes would go out and cut the grass, particularly the fine grasses like Porter's mublenbergia, locally called Black Grams. The sod was practically killed over large areas. Those Indians would cut the grass, dry it, and sell it for hay to the troops, to the United States Government. The big drouth came on and, according to both Hance and Jerry Sullivan, you could ride anywhere out from Camp Verde, particularly to the east, and be in sight of dead or dying cattle continuously.
I thought, after going over that range in 1919, that it would be possible to bring a lot of that country back within 25 years. After spending 16 years on the Coconino, it seemed safe to predict that several decades, maybe a hundred years or longer, will be required to bring the ranges back to the conditions that existed when the white man first came in with his cattle and sheep.
One of the first moves that I think helped the country east of the Verde River was to divide the cattle ranges into summer and winter allotments. Those winter allotments had the summer growing season with very little stock to eat the grass. We thought that in a short period of four or five years, that we could see considerable improvement.
Another grazing problem on the Coconino that developed in the Twenties was control of damage by livestock to Yellow Pine reproduction. There'd been a wonderful seed crop in 1919. There were millions upon millions of little pine seedlings. Research men were keeping a close watch to see what happened, and some of the boys felt that by 1923 excessive damage was being done by sheep to the little trees. One or two of the researchers openly recommended exclusion of sheep from the Yellowstone pine country, at least on the cut-over areas, until the pine seedlings reached a height where sheep damage would be negligible.
Soon after the National Forests were created they'd been called Forest Reserves first a movement was on foot to exclude sheep. It required several years of hard work by men like Bert Potter and Lee Kneipp from Washington, and a lot of work on the part of local Forest men, to convince the Forester and the Secretary's Office that sheep, as well as cattle, could be grazed within the Ponderosa belt, with proper handling.
So-called individual sheep allotments had been in existence for a number of years, but unfortunately cattle were not excluded. Actually those allotments were dual-use allotments. We proposed to separate the two industries, cattle and sheep. Colonel Greeley, with his Chief of Grazing, along with the Regional Forester and our Chief of Grazing, came out and we held meetings at Flagstaff during the early summer of 1925.
The sheepmen agreed to have the Forest Service fence National Forest boundaries and to help build the interior fences that would divide cattle and sheep. Colonel Greeley agreed that the Forest Service would do its best to dig up some money for fencing purposes although in those days money for improvements of any kind was scarce. We put on fencing crews, first on exterior boundaries on the east. Then, as fast as funds could be made available from grazing fees, and from money contributed by stockmen, or from improvement funds, the Forest Service built interior fences.
We argued that while some reductions in sheep numbers would have to be made, it would be unfair to arbitrarily make heavy reductions overnight. The thing to do was to divide the ranges on an individual basis as far as practicable, then allow each permittee to see what numbers he could graze without serious damage to Yellow Pine reproduction. Local Forest officers had spent a lot of time following sheep and cattle around. They found that under certain conditions in June, particularly where water was scarce, old cows, and some younger animals, did a lot of damage to reproduction. So did deer; so did antelope. Squirrels liked the tender seedling buds; so did mice.
Within a few years we found that the sheep ranges were making much more rapid recovery than were the cattle ranges, because the sheep could be controlled more easily. They were constantly under the control of the herder. Some reductions were made in both cattle and sheep numbers, but unfortunately old Mother Nature had a way of stepping in. We had an exceedingly dry year over parts of the Forest in '26, even in some of those plots that were fenced in 1912. Considerable grass sod dried out due to drouth below.
Cooperrider and other Research men found that in several plots that had been under fence for a good many years, death from drouth, mice and other rodents was almost equal to the damage outside of the plots. Of course when the big drouth of '34 came on, hundreds and hundreds of cattle were shipped out of Flagstaff and other shipping points. A lot of 'em came up from the Tonto. Poor wobbly old cows. Even the stockmen who had claimed that the grass would be all right if it ever rained, had to admit that animals had to be moved or they would die just as cattle had died back in the Nineties.
Someday I hope to get back to the Prescott and the Coconino and take a look at some of the country that we used to know so well, and see whether, in spite of drouths, overgrazing and whatnot, ranges are on the upgrade again.
The coming of the CCC camps in 1933 meant a lot to the grazing industry. We received a telegram in June 1933 that a trainload of CCC enrollees, some 500 or 600 men, would be in on a certain date, be prepared to take care of them.
With Major P.L. Thomas from the regular Army, his lieutenant and a sergeant, we looked over several possible camp sites and agreed to put one camp north of the City reservoir, out from Flagstaff where water could be obtained from the City power plant; one camp at Double Springs on the west side of Mormon Lake; and one camp at Woods Springs on the Munds Park District. By the time the enrollees showed up, our boys had installed water mains, storage tanks, had made some clearings, and were ready for the CCC camps to be established.
Unfortunately, not much time was available for planning programs that first season. We had some of the technical foremen, forestry graduates, start on timber-stand improvement work as soon as possible. We started on some fencing work, some erosion control work like building little check dams in some of the arroyos. Looking back, it seems to be that those spring developments were mighty important from the viewpoint of forest grazing permittees. We also started in on some recreation improvements. Recreation was just coming into its own on the Coconino. Oak Creek was a favorite spot, also Mormon Lake, and Lake Mary.
Mormon Lake dropped more than four feet in its level in 1934 and early '35. It would have been dry by the end of '35 if one or two unusual storms had not occurred in previous years. In 1920 there was a snow cover of approximately two feet to 26 inches on the Mormon Lake watershed. A rain at Christmas time, very unusual indeed, melted most of that snow and the water raised the level of Mormon Lake as I recall, around two to three feet.
Then in September 1923, 6.76 inches of rain fell at the Mormon Lake Ranger Station in one storm. That storm went a long way towards preserving Mormon Lake for a number of years. Lake Mary went over the spillway in 24 hours, the only time the Supervisor saw water go over the spillway in the 16 years he was on the Forest.
The Reardons had constructed the Lake Mary dam during the drouth of 1904 - 05; water from the springs on the San Francisco Mountains was inadequate and the Reardons felt that the Arizona Lumber and Timber Company might have to close down unless they could develop a supplemental water supply. Fortunately, heavy rains came in the fall of 1905, just after the Lake Mary Dam was completed, and the reservoir filled.
Lake Mary lies on an old fault line. Anderson Mesa is pushed up several hundred feet. The bottom of Lake Mary, so it developed, contained several fractures in the limestone that permitted the water to flow downward, where it came out no-one knew for sure. The Reardons did a good job of plugging the holes as soon as the lake level went down so that the holes and cracks could be found.
By 1930 a lot of those holes and fractures had shown up again. The level of the Lake in 1933 was low. The State Game Department came up with trucks that contained cans. The CCC boys seined for days getting out the bass, crappie, ring perch, and one or two other desirable species and these fish were transported to other waters. Crews of CCC boys with trucks and other equipment were assigned the task of repairing these leaky places in the lake bottom. I remember one crack that must have been over 300 feet long and several feet wide. One of the big holes that the Reardons had filled with brush and clay in 1905 and '06 had opened up.
We decided that we would put in layers of limestone rock, carefully laid, then layers of clay. We found a sizeable clay bank, from which dump trucks were loaded by hand. Weeks were spent on this work; the clay was compacted as it was put in. I remember one hole that looked to be 15 or 18 feet down to where the crack narrowed. I used to know the exact yardage that went into that one hole, but I think it was something like 1500 cubic yards. By the time the camp was to move to winter quarters, the boys had filled all holes and all cracks that were visible in Lake Mary.
That was one job where the CC boys really accomplished something that meant a lot to a lot of people. Lake Mary was a favorite campground, a favorite fishing ground for a lot of people from Phoenix and other points in the desert country, as well as a lot of local people.
Other recreation work included fireplaces, tables, water lines. One water line in Oak Creek was extended from the Upper Spring in Oak Creek Canyon down to Pine Flats campground. Other springs farther down were also developed. Incidentally, it is interesting to think back and realize the change in thinking. The most desirable places, like Pine Flats and Oak Creek Canyon, were laid out by Aldo Leopold and his helpers as summer home sites back in 1917, '18, or thereabouts. Fortunately, most of those summer home sites were never rented. But now I understand that people come from California, and other distant States, for a few days' camping in that beautiful canyon.
Sedona was winter quarters for one CCC camp; another was placed on the upper part of the Beaver Creek Ranger Station site, and another on the upper end of the Clear Creek Ranger Station site. Those camps were located so that considerable recreation and range improvement work could be accomplished. Thousands of little check dams were put in, camp sets were constructed up in Navajo Creek Canyon, stream bottoms were fenced, check dams put in. Unfortunately, we had no guides for them and the engineer who gave advice had to go by rule of thumb. I just do not know how many of those check dams were destined to last until the present time. We fenced some of the stream bottoms as we figured that by reseeding those stream bottoms and keeping cattle out, Old Mother Nature would revegetate and that possibly more permanent good would result than would be accomplished there by the construction of check dams.
A person would have to admit that a lot of those kids that came out as CCC workers were pretty poor help for a few months. Very few of 'em knew how to use tools. We didn't get too much use of 'em in fire-fighting. Even though the actual work accomplished amounted in real permanent values to only about a dollar and a half a day, those boys certainly received permanent benefits from their experiences at the CCC camps. The foremen reported that they developed some fine caterpillar tractor drivers, some good road-grader operators. Unfortunately, too much of the first equipment that was available was of poor quality; some of it was almost useless. But it served the purpose in a training program. I have no doubt that a lot of the CCC boys who learned to operate equipment filled important places overseas in the Second World War.
I can say that CCC camps alone did not and can not meet the needs of some Forest-dependent communities. The local boys in communities like Camp Verde, Winslow, and Flagstaff, Northern New Mexico, need the work on roads, trails, fire-fighting. It seems to me that our local people cooled off a little after the CCC boys came in, because they felt that they and their boys would not be used on the various jobs that required temporary labor during the summer months. However, I think that the provision that allowed Forest officers to enroll some local enrollees, who were qualified to guide the boys from the big cities, had a tendency to cool off some of the local farmers who thought that we were doing them an injustice by bringing in outside boys to do the work that they had participated in over the years. Actually, when we found that so many CC boys were afraid to use tools, we used local men when it was possible to get them.
In connection with erosion control work on National Forests we found that the Salt River Valley Water Users intention was not always in accord with our own. Even the Chief Engineer for the Salt River Valley Water Users was prone to argue for the tin roof idea. He didn't want vegetation to retard stream flow; he wanted bedrock so that the maximum amount of water would run off and down into Roosevelt and other reservoirs used by the Salt River Valley Water Users Association.
I have sensed in recent years, just by reading, that a lot of the Reclamation people still are rather dubious about projects that put water into the ground rather than to put it into the stream channels. The Reclamation people felt that controlled grazing on watersheds like the Verde, was absolutely essential. In fact, I doubt if the Reclamation Service had not made favorable recommendations that a lot of the Verde valley country would ever have been taken into the Prescott and the Coconino National Forests.
Someone asked us in the office at Flagstaff over 30 years ago if local Forest officers were erosion-minded; whether they actually saw what was taking place. I told him that I thought all of us were learning. I took him in the Verde pasture country at that time a part of the Rogers Lake Ranger District and showed him some of the work that Dave Joy, our old-time fireman and trail maintenance man, was doing. When the Furnow guard camp and ranger station was established, the Valley, bordered by fine pine timber, was a dust heap. There had been a potato patch there in the old days. Maybe Old Barney himself raised spuds there. I'm not sure. We turned Old Dave loose at odd times, when there was little fire danger, and had him fell some trees, upstream; he got all the brush that he could find; reseeded with different grasses including Kentucky bluegrass, and by 1935 the old dust heap was completely sealed over.
Dave would gather seed from the grasses within the guard camp pasture all the work at that time was on horseback he would carry that seed around with him and as he walked to and from trail work he would scatter seed along the arroyos and around an old burn that had occurred as I recall about 1917. This Researcher from Utah was amazed and told me afterwards that Dave Joy, who never went to school above the second or third grade, was the most practical erosion-control man he had ever met in the Forest Service. Harold Wayne, the District Ranger there on the Rogers Lake District, started out as an orchardist for the Indian Service at Tuba City. He was another man who was always watching for available opportunities to throw brush into the little arroyos that were in the incipient stage.
The Long Valley Ranger, Bill Brown, was another one that never had had an opportunity to go to school, yet he was determined to see that erosion was stopped. He got us to send a crew of boys from the Mormon Lake CCC camp down there; two of the stockmen furnished teams and harrows. Bill had those boys and showed the foreman how to make little tiny ditches along the banks of those arroyos. The boys would sow the grasses in those tiny ditches and in two years I was amazed to see the recovery of some of those patches of bare land.
Incidentally, in connection with those bare spots I might mention the fact that there were three sheep trails crossing the Coconino: The Mud Tanks trail passed directly through a number of these bare spots that I mentioned. In going back over old records we found that at one time as high as 172,000 sheep crossed over that one sheep trail. Today I understand that a few sheepmen now cross that long driveway. Actually during the big Depression, when so many of those old-time sheepmen like the Campbell-Francis Sheep Company, went broke, eventually those ranchers switched to cattle.
I have no up-to-date information but I doubt if the Bear Springs, the Beaverhead, or the Mud Tanks driveway carry one-tenth of the sheep that used them back from 1917 to the early Twenties. Many people attributed a lot of that damage on the loose soil to the herds of those little animals as they reached the water in Tom's Creek and those other little streams. Actually you could follow the sheep there and it looked as if the ground had almost been plowed.
One other subject that I would like to mention is the subject of wild life. For several different terms in Arizona we had Governor George W.P. Hunt. He told me one time at one of our road camps that he personally was responsible for the turkey in the Long Valley country; that he had his boys, as he called the boys in the Game Department, plant turkeys. They did try a plant down there. We had 'em at the Long Valley Ranger Station. How many of 'em lived over the first winter I'm not sure, but that was always good turkey country. After we did some fencing, or the stockmen did, on the Bly District, dividing the cattle and sheep, most of the stream bottoms on the tributaries of East Clear Creek had practically healed over. Turkey flocks ... in one day's ride you'd sometimes see several hens with their babies, particularly along those little stream courses where green vegetation could be found even in drouth periods.
As the elk drifted over from the Sitgreaves, it seemed to us that both the deer and turkey population diminished. If you followed up and down one of those stream bottoms and chased out a number of elk you'd observe that they were directly in competition with the wild turkey. The browse that was low enough for the deer was practically grazed into the ground by those big elk. We followed 'em around, the Rangers and I, after all livestock had left the Forest in the fall. The sheep had all gone south. The bear grass along East Clear Creek was breast-high.
We'd go back in there before any stock came on in the spring and we'd find that the beargrass was grazed down to bare stubs just barely above the ground, and the junipers were grazed as high as those old bull elk could reach. The ceanothus and Mountain mahogany were grazed so that the deer found difficulty in getting much leafage from those stubs.
We and members of the Game Department were convinced that those elk were actually a menace so far as erosion was concerned; they made trails up and down the stream courses and they were in direct competition with the deer and the turkey. They certainly were not doing the average hunter a favor.
We had a good many arguments at our Game Protective meetings. The Winslow boys were prone to argue that all of the damage that we found out on West Clear Creek and in other places was from the livestock, but it wasn't at all; it was done by elk. Governor Hunt, as he was in office, refused to allow his Game Commission and State Game Warden, as he was called then, to consent to open seasons on elk, or antelope. I personally spent considerable time with Lefty Lewis, when he was State Game Warden, and with members of the State Game Commission, in going over field areas where we felt an overpopulation of elk and, in one or two places, deer, was a problem that had to be solved.
As long as the old Governor, who felt that he was a friend of the people, was in office, the Commission would not agree to anything. Later on, under Governor Phipps and Governor Moore, we found more favorable attitudes. I remember having Governor Moore and his wife out on one trip and after seeing, I expect, 150 or 200 antelopes, he said, "Ed, I thought it was all a bunch of bull; I thought you fellows were all wrong on this game problem, but I find now that you've been telling the truth all along. My hands are going to be completely off of this game management problem; I'm going to depend entirely on the Game Commission and the State Game Warden."
Just as a little sidelight: one fall, the Ranger had wanted us to get Lefty down into the South Pocket country, on the Rogers Lake District. He felt that the deer were too numerous down there, so Lefty Lewis and I went in in a pickup as far as we could drive. Had a Kodak with us but foolishly left it in the pickup. As we approached the South Pocket Tank, which was the watering place for the D-K Outfit, we thought we saw a movement inside of the high wire fence that the B-K Company had around the water tank. Lefty said, "Ed, what are those things?" I said, "They're cubs, little bears." "Well," he said, "We'd better be blamed careful or we'll have the old mother after us," and I said, "Well, we're not gonna cause any excitement." We just took a very, very slow pace down a little bit of a wash, down to the gate, and those little cubs were standing straight up, watching us. Apparently they had never seen a man before.
We walked slowly toward them; one crawled under the woven fence and stood by a Yellow Pine; the other one stood within about 10 feet before he moved from me, and then he started up a pine tree. I walked up so I could stroke his back. One cub was cinnamon; the other pure black. Lefty said, "Ed, if I go back to Phoenix and tell people about this, they'll think I'm a damn liar."
That's the closest that either one of us ever got to a wild animal that wasn't sick. Where the mother was we don't know. Her tracks were there at the water; it was a regular watering place. But since we didn't disturb the youngsters and make 'em set up a howl, the mother may have been unaware of what was happening. We both felt very, very sad that we had been foolish enough to leave the Kodak in the car. The sun was just exactly right for a picture of those cubs. I've seen bear in the woods, but I've never seen two babies along in September that were just as pretty as any cub you'll see in a zoo. Their fur fairly shone.
A few of the old-timers I think have been just a little afraid in recent years that the Forest Service was permitting the Game Department boys to go just a little too far in the transplanting of elk. The elk is a trouble maker. He'll make trouble on the Upper Pecos. He is too big for the average hunter to handle. The mule deer, the white-tailed deer, and the wild turkey, mountain lion, bobcat, and coyote should furnish plenty of sport for the average person that wants to go out. It's all right for Elliott Barker and a few others who can afford pack outfits, to go elk hunting, but the average hunter who hunts alone has no business shooting an elk even though he has the opportunity. First of all, he probably will be unable to get it to his car. In the second place, he probably will be unable to save the meat.
The elk breeding season comes much earlier than the deer rutting season. We found on the Plateau and on the Kaibab where we followed those big bucks with swollen necks that the mating season was in December. In some years it may start in late November. The elk, on the other hand, begin to bugle in the late summer or early fall. A bull elk is not fit to eat during the breeding season; you can smell one of them a hundred yards or more. I think it will be a sad day for the Forest Service if that elk herd on the Gila moves on up into the Wilderness country. They may be there now; I don't know.
I first met T. S. Woolsey in Gallup. He was at the head of what they now call Forest Management; we called it Sales at that time. He came out to investigate something that had happened. The Supervisor was not there. I rode in from Guam, where I had a shop; got in there early in the morning; it's only 22 miles from town. I ate breakfast alone and then looked up Woolsey and we got the data we wanted, then we went over to the old Harvey House for lunch. As I recall, a dinner at that time cost 75 cents.
When we finished lunch Woolsey said, "You have an expense account, don't you?" I looked a little startled; I'd never heard of an expense account. I said, "Yeah, I guess so." "Well," he said, "OK." So we paid for our lunch. That was the first time I ever heard an expense account mentioned.
Later that fall he came out on a timber sale inspection and we spent our time scaling and looking over the marking and whatnot on the Picard-Reardon sale, west of Sawyer. He check-scaled me on a hundred logs and after we got through, we added up and found we were right close together. T.S. asked, "Where'd you learn to scale?" I said, "Oh, I learned right here. I read everything I could get of your instructions, what you put out on scaling." So he and I got along famously after that.
Township 11 North, Range 12 West in the Zuni Mountains was designated as a mineral township because there was some copper showings, and it was thought that paying values might eventually be discovered. Actually, none of the mineral prospects ever developed into paying mines. Dave Whiteside, I believe, went down deeper than anyone else, but so far as I know, no one ever came up with a paying property. But clear title, as I recall, never passed to the railroad company for the 18-odd sections in that township.
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Henry Woodrow spent his entire career as a District Forest Ranger on one Ranger District. After his retirement in 1942, Ranger Woodrow prepared a brief history of his District, the McKenna Park District of the Gila National Forest. His story is given:
History of McKenna Park District
My first work in the Forest Service was under appointment as Forest Guard May 16, 1909, to work under Forest Ranger, A.J. Stockbridge, at that time stationed at Little Dry Creek Ranger Station. At that time the McKenna Park District was a small district taking in the upper mountain country. I was assigned to duty on this part. All the instructions I had was to go up there and look out for fires, and put them out.
Fred Smith was Forest Ranger at that time at the old Gila Ranger Station. I packed up my outfit, which consisted of chuck and bed, on one horse. No tools were furnished me. I took my axe and shovel all the equipment I had with which to fight fires. No tent was furnished ... had an extra tarp which I used for a tent when it rained.
I left Gila Station and rode up Turkey Creek to Little Creek and went out on the high points to look for fires. Then rode on through McKenna Park looking for a good place to camp where there was grass, as no horse feed was furnished at that time by the Forest Service. There were cattle all through the mountains and grass was hard to find except in a few places. I, therefore, traveled to White Creek where I knew I would find good grass. I made camp where the old White Creek Station was finally built, and which I used as Headquarters Camp year after year. From this point I could patrol the fish streams and sheep camps on my way to Mogollon-Baldy and Lilly Mountain.
At that time the instructions were to patrol as much country as possible to keep down fires. The grass here was a bunch-grass type and did not have strength to keep a horse stout, so a great many of those trips were made on foot. Seventy-five Dollars per month was the salary paid at that time and I had to furnish my own supplies and horse feed, if I got any, and pack it in. The nearest point was Cliff. There were no marked trails and none blazed except where a prospector would blaze a tree here and there. There were a few, of which are the main trails now made by stock and traveled by stockmen and hunters, but none of them were ever worked out. There were the Mogollon Zig-zag trail, Miller Springs trail, Granny Mountain trail, Turkey Creek trail, Little Creek and Ring Canyon trail, all of which were later worked by the Forest Service.
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From the 1906 Use Book: "Rangers execute the work of the Forest Reserves under the direction of the Supervisor. Their duties include patrol to prevent fire and trespass, estimating, surveying and marking timber, the supervision of cuttings, and other similar work."
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During the year 1909 about all I could do in the way of trail work was to blaze a trail up to Mogollon-Baldy and down Mogollon Creek; cut out a log here and there in box canyons where I had to get through.
The first fire I had in 1909 occurred on West Fork of Gila above the mouth of Turkey Feather Canyon. I discovered it while returning from Cliff after the mail and supplies, from a point at the head of Mogollon Creek. I rode to the fire and found an old prospector camped near there by the name of Beauchamp (pronounced Beecham.) He was a Frenchman and an old-timer in the country. He had part of a fire line started around the fire which by this time was burning half way up the side of Turkey Feather Mountain.
Later in the evening Robert Munro, who had just started work as Forest Guard, and a Ranger by the name of Shanks from the Datil Forest, arrived at the fire. Some time during the night Ranger Stockbridge with two firemen from Apache Cabin came to the fire. Next day Forest Rangers Herbert Fey from Mogollon with a bunch of men, Bob Reid from Alma Ranger Station, Fred Smith from Gila Station, Frank Andrews, Deputy Supervisor from Silver City, all were there. By this time the hard wind had carried the fire all over the south side of Turkey Feather Mountain and was finally corralled along the top of the ridge. At that time there were no telephone lines in the mountains so we had to rely on a messenger to carry the news and gather up men.
When this fire was under control, another was discovered in McKenna Park which I, with three other Forest Officers, soon got out. Another was discovered at Pryor and one on Little Creek south of E-E Corral. The one at Pryor was soon put out about 100 acres. The one at Little Creek burned over about a section. Forest Ranger, B. M. Cross, from Pinos Altos Ranger Station, came to this fire with several men and cowboys from the Heart Bar Ranch. Other Forest Officers on this fire were Deputy Supervisor Frank Andrews, Rangers Bob Reid, and Robert Munro.
When this fire was controlled another fire was discovered on head of Mogollon Creek where the trail now crosses to Sycamore and Big Turkey Creek. This was about the first of July. We went to this fire, that is, Frank Andrews, Bob Reid, Robert Munro, Fred Smith and I. Later in the evening Rangers Stockbridge and Fey, and two Fire Guards came and we started work on the fire during night.
Next day, several cowboys came in from Cliff but the fire kept traveling southwest at a rapid rate. We kept it from going north across Mogollon Creek. Finally, on July 4, a light rain came and checked the fire. Next day all the men went out except one fireman and me. In a day or two he went out and left me to patrol. So I kept patrol around the fire and kept it from breaking out. I kept this up until July 23 when a general rain came and put it all out. This fire burned over approximately five sections. That ended my job for that fire season.
On December 1, 1909 I got an appointment as Forest Guard to act as what they now call an Administrative Guard. I went to the Dry Creek District as an assistant to Ranger Stockbridge. My first work there was to help build an addition to the Ranger Station house.
The year 1910, I was still at Dry Creek Ranger Station. My duties were to assist the Ranger in general work on the District, such as Special Uses for pastures, corrals, agricultural leases and June 11 homesteads, free use timber permits. At this time part of the Forest boundary had been eliminated along the boundary from east side of Gila River and west and south and west to the Arizona State line. This was part of my job ... to locate and post the new boundary. I worked at this until May; then I returned to the McKenna Park country to fire patrol during fire season.
This was a very good year. They sent a Fire Guard with me this time to assist, and later laid him off. I continued the fire season alone. This was not a very bad season, a good many fires but all small ones. I happened to be lucky and put out 15 of them alone. Had good rains all over the District. None of the fires were man-caused this season all lightning.
After fire season was over, Mr. Douglas Rodman, Supervisor at the time I went to work, had resigned and Don P. Johnson had taken Frank Andrews' place as Deputy Supervisor. W. H. B. Kent had come as Supervisor in place of Mr. Rodman, and while at White Creek I got a letter from Supervisor Kent to return to Dry Creek Ranger Station as assistant to Ranger Stockbridge on that district. He stated in his letter that any expenses incurred en route would be refunded. This was not necessary as all I had to do was pack up and go over the crest trail and down Little Dry Creek to the Ranger Station.
Upon arriving at Dry Creek my duties were about the same as the past winter assist in marking free-use timber as there were no timber sales on the District at this time; looking after stock grazing; Special Uses and June 11th claims. Also, the first telephone line was started from Little Dry Creek Station up Little Dry Creek which later was the continuance of the first line to go into White Creek Station. The line was mostly built on poles up into box in Little Dry Creek; and then the Forest Service ran out of funds, so work had to stop until a later date.
During the fall of 1910 I took the Ranger Examination, which later on I found out I passed; had taken it the year before but failed. I continued on at Dry Creek for the winter, doing whatever work came up; did some improvement work on pasture fence, etc.
This was a hard District at that time. The people were still opposed to Forest Regulations and some of them were pretty hard to convince that they had to comply with them.
Later in the winter Ranger Stockbridge decided to resign from the Forest Service, felt the could do better at something else, so that left me there. I continued there trying to keep up the work as best I could until another Ranger came to take the District, and as luck would have it, Bob Munro was sent there. I assisted him the rest of the winter in trying to get the District untangled (as I called it), mostly grazing matters.
In the Spring I was again assigned to White Creek to look after the fires and to patrol the sheep line between the cattle and sheep ranges. I had a fire guard with me at this time until fire season was over. This was a good fire year; no bad fires and plenty of rain. I did some trail work, blazing out new trails over the District and putting up trail signs which were printed on cloth posters at camp and then put up.
After fire season I, with a fire guard, made a survey of the Pryor pasture and drift fences, and located some corrals that were built. After this was done I found I had passed the Ranger Examination and got an appointment as Assistant Forest Ranger. This gave me more encouragement to press on in the Service as I was determined to stay with it if I could.
I then got instructions from the Supervisor's office to go to Dry Creek Station, and then got instructions to go to what was then the Alma Ranger Station to assist Ranger Bob Reid in check surveying pastures and drift fences. At that time this was called the Frisco District and we posted part of the Forest boundary along the State line and also checked over and posted several administrative sites. After leaving there I made Special Use reports on all corrals and pastures on the Heart Bar range that had been built and not under permit. I also looked after two trappers whom the Forest Service employed, and assisted in survey of June 11th Claims on Middle Fork Gila.
In November or December, I got instructions to go to the Pines Altos Ranger District to assist Ranger W.E. Carter, who was in charge of the District. I assisted him in check surveying pastures and other Uses; measuring cordwood at wood sales, scaling logs at the then Davidson sawmill north of Pines Altos, now the Slack sawmill.
In the winter and spring of 1912 I continued on this District until in April, reporting Forest boundary in places, and also assisted in doing some sample plot work on the Davidson timber sale area near the sawmill. This work was done by Forest Officers Krauch, Paul P. Pitchlynn, Burrall; assisted Carter on some June 11th Claims and repaired telephone line. Packed up with Ranger Carter and rode out to XSX Ranch and made surveys of two XSX pastures and then up to Heart Bar Ranch, making surveys of two pastures there, now all on the McKenna Park District.
I then returned to Pines Altos Ranger Station.
In April 1912 I left Pines Altos District and returned to the old White Creek Station. This time I had two firemen with me.
This year we had Don P. Johnston, Supervisor; A. W. Douglas, Deputy Supervisor. I had forgotten to mention that Don P. Johnson had succeeded W. H. B. Kent as Supervisor the year before and Mr. Douglas, a former Ranger, was transferred from the Sitgreaves Forest as Deputy Supervisor. Bob Reid was appointed as Fire Chief of the Mogollon Mountains and I was to look after the sheep grazing in McKenna Park. I had to go to the Negrito Ranger Station, then on the Datil Forest, where I met Ranger Bob Blatchford, in charge of the District.
At that time there were three sheep outfits to come on the District: The Bergere Estate, Frank A. Hubbell and Solomon Luna, who looked after the Bergere Estate, being 19,500 sheep to be counted on the District.
I was told by a good many people that this would be a difficult job. They said I could not do anything with Mr. Luna, but I told them that I had been around Spanish-American people most of my life and that I thought I could get along with them. I met Mr. Luna and found him to be very agreeable, also his nephews, Ed and Manuel Otero, whom I met a great many times later on the sheep range.
After I got the sheep counted that were to go on my District, Mr. Luna called all his Foremen and herders together and made a talk to them. Instructed them to cooperate with me in every way they could in the way of keeping down fires and handling sheep, as I would direct them on the range and to let me count any herds at any time and to keep off the cattle ranges. So I had no more trouble to speak of from then on. Very few fires ever occurred on this District from sheep camps up to the present time. I returned to White Creek Station to look after fire protection. Did not have many fires this year and all small ones.
Ranger Bob Reid was Fire Chief this year but I handled most of the fires on my District. The first improvement at the old White Creek Station was made during fire season with the help of two firemen. We built a small pasture on south side of the creek and also did some trail maintenance work in the way of cutting out logs and brush and some of the worst, rocky places.
In the fall $75.00 was appropriated to build a log cabin at the old station. I hired a man to help and we put up a log cabin and covered it with shakes or boards split from a pine tree. I looked after grazing and other uses on the District. During the fall a change was made in Ranger Districts. Part of the then Pinos Altos on the east side of Gila River and the Dry Creek District on the west side of Gila were added to the McKenna Park and that gave me the old Gila Station for a winter Station, and enough work to keep me on the District through the winter.
There happened to be a widow on this part of the District with a grazing permit on the Forest and a ranch near the Gila Station. So I married her on October 14, 1912. Later I heard of Rangers on other Forests and Districts having quite a bit of trouble with widow permittees on the District. I would suggest that the Forest put a single man for a Ranger there and probably he would marry her and stop all the trouble. I fixed up the old station house to use for an office and built a small horse pasture. During the winter put up some new posters on the Forest boundary; looked after grazing stock. At this time there was no boundary fence so there was no way of keeping trespassing stock off the Forest.
The permittees in this part of the District were P. M. Shelley, W. P. Doyle and Frank Jones on the Spar Canyon part of the range, now an individual allotment used by Joe Hooker.
In the spring of 1913 I returned to White Creek Station for the fire season; first counting in the sheep from the Datil Forest. I had a lookout man on Mogollon-Baldy. Camped at Snow Park about a mile from the Lookout. He walked up there in day time, had an old metal protractor fastened on a stump which he located fires from.
This proved to be a bad fire year. The first occurred in head of the Turkey Creek and burned across divide into head of Big Turkey Creek, over approximately three sections. The Heart Bar Ranch had 4 men there and a crew was brought in from Pines Altos. After this fire was corralled, one started on head of Sycamore Creek but was soon under control and not very large. Another one started in south side of Granny Mountain. A small crew of men came to it, got it out and everyone went out and we had left a fireman camped at Miller Springs and another fire started on the north side of Granny Mountain, but not so large as the first one.
This year Guards were paid $60.00 per month and no subsistence furnished. Some trail maintenance work was done with fire guards. Cutting out brush and logs was about all that could be done.
The rest of the year was spent in looking after stock grazing, posting sheep boundary and blazed out some new trails, returning to Gila Station for the winter. Looked after stock grazing and reports on Special Uses, now called G-Range Improvements.
In the spring of 1914 I returned to White Creek as usual. Counted in the sheep, and placed fire guards on. This year the first telephone line was put in. A line had been completed from Little Dry Creek Station, via Apache Cabin to Center Baldy. Some small insulated copper wire was furnished and was to have been put on the ground but on account of so much stock on the range, we placed it up on limbs of trees so we could get a little service out of it but not very satisfactory.
A pole corral was also built at White Creek Station. Nothing else important happened this year; the usual work of looking after the stock grazing other work on the District was kept up during the fall and winter.
Started in 1915 at Gila Station. The usual work until spring, then returned to White Creek Station. Mr. Hugh Calkins was Supervisor and A. H. Douglas, Deputy Supervisor. I counted in the sheep and attended to other administrative work on the District.
This year a telephone line was built from Center Baldy to White Creek Station with No. 9 telephone wire. No bad fires occurred this year. After the fire season was over the telephone line was continued on to Little Creek. The telephone work was supervised by Ranger Bob Reid. Then I took over some trail work. This was the first appropriation of money for trail work on the District. I hired a crew of men and started trail work at head of Little Creek near the present Little Creek Fire Cabin. Followed down Big Turkey Creek to a point one mile above Bear Moore Cave; then turned out across ridge to Miller Springs and over Granny Mountain to Gila River two miles above the Sapillo Creek; then down to Sapillo and out across ridges to the Davidson sawmill.
After trail work was done I returned to White Creek and got an appropriation of $75.00 to build a log cabin at Little Creek for a fireman a cabin. I hired two prospectors to help me and we put up a cabin 15 X 15, and then moved up to Snow Park where we cut logs to build a cabin there.
By this time it was getting too cold to work that high up so I returned to Gila Station for the winter and kept up the usual work on the District, such as stock grazing and free use timber, etc.
In 1916 the usual work was started in the lower part of the District and in April I moved up to White Creek Station for the summer. Counted in the sheep and placed guards. Had several fires but none very big on this District. Had one on Big Whitewater on the Frisco-Mogollon District. I was called to assist on this one, and later one broke out at the Kelley sawmill on the Bursum Road. I was called to assist on this one, got it corralled and returned to White Creek Station.
Did a little trail work with guards in places, and after the fire season was over in the fall, got an appropriation of some money to do a little trail work. Hired a crew of men. Did some work on the trail from White Creek to Willow Creek, then moved down into Big Whitewater Creek on the Mogollon District and did some work in the way of brushing-out a trail from Grouse Mountain down into Whitewater Creek. Then it came a hard rain all over the mountains floods in every creek and canyon. Got through and returned to Gila Station for the winter and looked after the usual work on the lower part of the District, making a trip or two to the Heart Bar Ranch on the upper part of the District.
1917: This was the year of World War Number One. Supervisor Calkins went to the Army. Mr. O. Fred Arthur was transferred to the Gila Forest. The year started out for a bad fire season. Fred Arthur came out to visit on the District and the first thing, several fires started. Mr. Arthur and I went to one on divide between McKenna Park and Little Creek.
By this time two more fires were reported from Mogollon-Baldy, on head of Mogollon Creek in a dangerous place. As luck would have it, the telephone line to Little Dry Creek had broken. This being our only communication outlet to get outside help, we sent a fireman down the line to repair it. Mr. Arthur and I called for a fireman at Baldy to go to the fire and pick up a cowboy at the Kemp place, and we also started to the fire. Got there during the night. A hard wind came up, spread the two fires together, which made them too large to handle. Next morning I rode to Cliff to gather up a crew of men. Got them but was next day before I could get them in. By this time some campers had come to the fire. We got it under control, then came a good rain and put it out.
Improvements done this year: Had two firemen on Granite Peak and they built a small wooden tower there. The first one built on the District, and also completed a cabin in Snow Park and a small wooden tower on Baldy. Some maintenance work was done on trails by the firemen.
In 1916 Bob Reid resigned and this year I was Fire Chief for the Mogollon Mountains, which included the Dry Creek and Mogollon Districts. After the fire season (1917) was over and there was no money for improvements, I did not get to do anything except the regular administrative work on the District, returning to Gila Station for the winter.
1918: This year Fred Arthur left to be Supervisor on the Lincoln Forest. Fred Winn was transferred from the Apache Forest as Supervisor and James A. Scott as Deputy Supervisor. We had one bad fire this season on head of East Fork of Mogollon Creek. Mr. Winn and Mr. Scott came to this one. It burned over approximately 1,000 acres. We gathered in quite a crew of cowboys and ranchers to put the fire out. This was in one of the roughest parts of the District and was hard to handle. We had several other fires on the District but not so large.
No improvements were done this year, no money appropriated for them. Some trail maintenance work was done with Guard labor. After fire season I worked on the District at whatever came up; looking after stock grazing, special uses and free use timber, then back to the Gila Station for the winter where I looked after any work that came up on the lower part of the District.
1919: In the spring I made the usual trip to White Creek and counted the sheep in; placed guards on. The past winter was a very bad winter; lots of deep snow, so we had a very good fire season. No large fires. Some improvement work was done on trails; got money to build a trail down Mogollon Creek and over Seventy-four Mountain to 916 Ranch: and then back to Gila Station for the winter.
In the year 1920 I returned to White Creek and started the usual work of placing the guards on and giving them instructions and getting supplies to them. Then Mr. Curry A. Long from the Albuquerque office as Engineer came. We started survey on trail to be built from White Creek to Willow Creek and from White Creek to Little Creek. We started work at White Creek and worked on across Langstroth Creek toward Little Creek, making a "Class A" trail.
We had three Class C fires this season. The trail crew was used to put these fires out, the trail work being after World War Number One. We were furnished TNT for blasting which was very good in any kind of rock. Several rock walls were built up where there were rock slides. We had no trouble in getting good men for trail work or fire fighters. After fire season, I rode over the District on grazing inspection and looking after special use pastures and corrals and free use timber. I then returned to Gila Station for the winter.
1921: The usual spring grazing inspections were made over the District; counting in sheep and placing Guards on stations and getting supplies to them. I got a trail crew together to continue the trail construction work on the Willow Creek trail. This was a very good fire season; only one Class C fire which was man-caused, on Little Creek near the corral.
Other improvement work for the year: We got an addition to the White Creek pasture. It was built on the south of White Creek, also a small pasture was built at Little Creek fire cabin and after fire season a small house was built on top of the wooden lockout tower on Mogollon-Baldy. I, with two hired men, packed the lumber and other material from the 916 ranch on burros and built the house. It was not much of a house but was better then the open-air contraption that the lookouts had to put up with before. After this was done, I made the usual trips over the District and back to Gila Station for the winter.
In 1922 I moved from Gila Station to White Creek and started the regular work of placing on Guards and instructing; getting telephone line in repair; counting in sheep and got a trail maintenance crew. Did some work on Willow Creek trail and Mogollon Crest trail from Center Baldy to Mogollon-Baldy, and small jobs on other trails. This was a bad fire year. We had four bad Class C fires. Men had to be brought in from Cliff, Buckhorn and Pinos Altos to each fire, in addition to the Guards and trail crew. Supervisor Fred Winn was on part of the fires, as was Aldo Leopold from the Albuquerque office. Finally, rain came and stopped the fires.
During these past years about which I speak when we were having Class C fires, we had a great number of small fires which I have not mentioned. After the fire season was over we re-worked the Granny Mountain trail over from Little Creek to Gila River above the Sapillo two miles.
This year, 1923, the usual spring work started by making range inspections, and going to White Creek Station, getting telephone lines repaired and placing Guards on. Put the trail crew on, maintenance work being done on Mogollon Crest trail and other trails. This was a good fire season; only one Class C fire and several small ones.
Improvement work done this year was a lookout cage or house on the old wooden tower on Granite Peak. The following trails were built, called "stub" trails: Trail down Lookout Ridge from Mogollon-Baldy: trail across West Fork to Lilley Park near Jenk's Cabin. Not much money was appropriated for these trails but was a great benefit for firemen in getting to fires. As the fire season was over and trail work done. I made the usual rounds of range inspections and uses inspections were made. As the XSX Allotment was added to the McKenna Park District in 1919, this gave more work. I returned to the Gila Station for the winter.
This year, 1924, was another good fire year; only one Class C fire and that was on May 16. Several small ones had occurred, but very little damage was done.
Improvements done: A new wooden tower was built on Mogollon-Baldy, with a house on top; an addition to the White Creek pasture on the north side of White Creek: a trail from the Crest trail down ridge between West Fork Gila and Iron Creek, a distance of seven and three quarters miles; trail from Whitewater Baldy down ridge between Iron Creek and Willow Creek; and stub trail down ridge from Center Baldy, between Rain Creek and West Prong Mogollon Creek into Mogollon Creek below the falls; extended the trail from top of Lookout Ridge to Mogollon Creek below Lookout Canyon.
The New Mexico State Game & Fish Department started a small fish hatchery on West Fork Gila at mouth of White Creek at the old Jenk's Cabin in 1923, and improvement work at this location was continued during 1924.
This year after fire season was over, I was called to go to California on fire detail. I first went to the Regional Office and was sent from there to Mt. Shasta City and reported to Supervisor J. R. Wall for fire suppression work on the Shasta Forest. No very large fires occurred there and then I was sent to the California Farm Headquarters at Willows. They had two large fires going there. After these had been controlled, I returned to Mt. Shasta City and was called to Los Angeles. From there I was sent to a large fire on the Angeles Forest. I met Major Kelly at the time from the Washington Office and the Chief Forester Mr. Greeley on the fire line. This was the largest fire I had ever seen something like 45 miles around it. They finally got it under control and came a damp time. So I got off and returned home to the good old Gila Forest.
In 1925 I constructed a new telephone line from Little Creek fire cabin to Heart Bar Ranch, which gave us outlet to Silver City via Gila Hot Springs. Had two Class C fires this year. Nothing unusual happened this year. The usual work was kept up on the District looking after grazing and special use.
1926: This year was a good fire season. The usual work started in the spring putting on guards, repairing telephone lines and trails. No bad fires this season.
Improvement work completed this year: A new trail was built down Big Turkey Creek, one of the roughest trails into the mountains. This opened up a way to get a fire crew into head of Turkey Creek or Sycamore Creek and Miller Springs, and also a good fishing stream. Nothing else unusual happened. The usual work on the District of looking after stock grazing. Uses and general range inspection, returning to Gila Station for the winter.
1927: We had a very good fire season; got through the year without any bad fires. After fire season the following improvement work was done: A new crest trail was constructed from the Bursum Road at the old Kelly sawmill site via Bead Springs to Center Baldy; a boundary line fence between the sheep range and cattle range along the divide from Corner Mountain via Bearwallow to Willow Creek saddle on the Bursum road. This was to keep the cattle from Mogollon District from drifting onto the McKenna Park Sheep range, and the sheep from drifting onto the McKenna Park cattle range. Had a very rainy year of it. Had one fire in October.
1928: Nothing new happened outside of the general work. Had a very good fire season, no bad fires. Made the annual maintenance of trails and telephone lines, and after fire season was over I took a trail crew and constructed a new trail from Center Baldy down the divide into Rain Creek and down the Creek to the mesa, then to Gila Station for the winter.
The season of 1929 was a good fire season. The general work in the spring of putting on guards and looking after trail and telephone maintenance work; looking after sheep grazing and after fire season, constructed a new trail from Mogollon Creek down Sycamore Creek into Turkey Creek and did some other trail maintenance work, and attended to other work on the District.
1930; This year was not a bad fire year. Got through the fire season in good shape and after the fire season the following improvement work was done: telephone and lightning installation on Mogollon-Baldy tower and cabin; a steel tower and frame cabin for lookout quarters on Granite Peak was constructed. The material for building was packed in up Big Turkey Creek, a distance of 25 miles. A pasture was built on Mogollon-Baldy and a new trail started from Seventy-four Mountain across Main Mogollon Creek to West Prong Mogollon Creek up to the box. No other improvement work done for the season.
1931: This year we had a lucky fire season. Nothing happened this year, only the usual work on the District. No bad fires. Improvements this year: completed the trail from West Fork saddle down West Prong Mogollon Creek to the trail at lower part of the box and did some other maintenance work on other trails, then to Gila Station for the winter.
1932: This was not a bad fire year. The general work on the District was kept up and after fire season was over we built a new trail from mouth of Turkey Feather Canyon up West Fork Gila River to West Fork saddle at the crest trail, and then moved the trail crew to Granny Mountain and did some maintenance work from Turkey Creek across Granny Mountain to Gila River and then down Turkey Creek to Gila River. Had a fire in November on Jerky Mountain. Had to send two trail men to it then took trail crew off for the winter, and at Gila Station for the winter.
1933: This year, no very bad fires on the District. Not much work done this year. Maintained trails and telephone lines and general work on the district.
1934: This year the fire season started off good. Placed on guards and then started work with relief crews building fish stream improvements and fenced in small areas on the fish streams, such as Turkey Creek, Little Creek, Mogollon Creek, West Fork Gila, Iron Creek, White Creek, Willow Creek and Middle Fork Gila. Fish stream dams were put in White Creek, Iron Creek, West Fork Gila and Willow Creek. One Class C fire occurred on West Fork Gila, started by a fisherman. Several other fires for the season but none so large. Crews on this work were used to good advantage on fires. Quite a lot of trail maintenance work was done in the fall, also fence maintenance earlier in the season. I returned to the Gila Station for the winter.
1935: This year nothing much happened; only the general work of putting on Guards and fire presuppression work: maintenance of trails and telephone lines. No bad fires occurred. After fire season, work on the District was looked after, such as range inspecting, stock grazing and inspection of all Uses. At Gila Station for the winter. An ERA fence crew was started to work on the forest boundary on the south part of the District and worked throughout the winter. This was very slow work with an ERA crew.
1936: Started the ERA crew still working on the Forest Boundary fence. I went to White Creek and started the regular work of putting on Guards. Had one Class C fire in a bad place on East Fork Mogollon Creek. A telephone line was built from Willow Creek by CCC labor, and also a Ranger Station had been built at Willow Creek and a CCC Camp established there. Quite a lot of trail maintenance work was done during the year. Some maintenance work was done on fish stream at Willow Creek by CCC labor. Made trip with Trail Riders. At Gila Station for the winter.
1937: Quite a lot of improvements were done. No bad fires occurred this year. The regular fire organization was carried on. During the fire season telephone lines were repaired and the following improvements were made: a water tank was installed at Granite Peak. After the fire season the Trail Riders came through and I made a trip to Baldy with them. Then the Forest Service took over the fish hatchery buildings at mouth of White Creek so we abandoned the old White Creek Station where I had spent 28 summers. We moved down and repaired the house and fences, and constructed four and a half miles of telephone line to the new station from Willow Creek and Silver City line. We repaired the bunkhouse and tool house, and built a half mile of new pasture fence around the new station. After all this work was done I looked after other work on the District such as stock grazing, range inspection, examined all Uses and range improvements, then returned to Gila for the winter.
1938: We had two Class C fires one on Mogollon Creek and one on Lookout Ridge. This required a large crew of men at each fire, all ranchers that could be obtained and several crews of CCC men. Finally got them out, and after fire season we constructed a new trail up West Fork Gila River form White Creek Station to mouth of Cub Creek, a distance of four and a half miles; then the trail from White Creek Station down west Fork to Zig-Zag trail and reconstructed, a distance of 20 miles. A new trail way was cut out from Kemp place on Mogollon Creek around the mountain to Lookout Canyon, opening up a way to Lookout Ridge.
This was earthquake year. They started in August and continued throughout the fall. Some times several shocks occurred throughout the day and night, rolling great masses of rocks down the mountain sides and filling the canyons and trails, making some of them almost impassable so that maintenance work had to be done on Mogollon Creek trail - Turkey Creek trail. Some of the West Fork trail had to be worked over. I had felt several earthquake shocks in past years but these were very slight and did no damage.
This year we had a small CCC crew come over the Willow Creek camp and did some work around the station such as putting in a water system in the house and hot water with a shower bathroom. This was the beginning of modern conveniences in the wilderness area. The cutting of logs for a new barn was started and other minor repairs were done around the place with CCC labor, including repairs to Mogollon-Baldy tower. After all the work was done in the upper country, I returned to Gila Station for the winter and attended to work on the lower part of the District, such as making out annual reports, etc., and kept up any other work of the season.
1939: Got work lined up in the lower country in the spring and moved to White Creek Station. Started the work of getting ready for fire season. Trained and placed guards on the various stations. Built a telephone line from White Creek Station down trail to Kemp place on Mogollon Creek and put a guard on there camped put. This was a needed place for a guard on account of the fire danger there. We had a crew of 30 men from the Willow Creek CCC camp who worked on the barn, getting out logs and building a foundation. We had no bad fires this season, several in bad places, but none got away. Had one man-caused fire. After fire season the usual fall range inspection was made and all Uses, such as pastures, corrals were examined and found O.K. Then returned to Gila Station for the winter and made the usual annual reports.
1940: I got the work lined up in the lower part of the District and went to White Creek Station for the summer. Got Guards trained and placed at their stations. This proved to be a bad fire season; had lots of lightning and the worst season for several years as to lightning and the largest number of fires; as many as 10 fires were burning in one day. A large number of men were required to put them out. Most of the men had to be mounted on horses to get to all of these fires, none got to be very large, the greatest number occurring in June. We got good cooperation from all ranchers on the District or else some of the fires would have got away. Some of the work was done on the new barn under construction. After the season was over I returned to Gila Station and kept up the usual work for the winter.
1941: The regular spring work started with getting fire guards organized and placed on lookouts and stations. More snow this spring than for a good many years. Snow stayed on Baldy Lookout longer. Got every trail cut out. No very bad fires occurred and not many in number. Best fire season for several years. Not very much rain until latter part of September and then the hardest rains for many years came all over the mountains. The biggest flood went down the Gila River since 1904 and 1905, doing damage to trails all over the mountains. The regular Trail Rider people came by White Creek Station in August and I made the regular trip over Baldy Lookout with them. After the fall range inspection and other work on the District, I returned to Gila Station for the winter and assisted Ranger Jackson M. Phillips in starting some of the work to be done on the District.
1942: I started out with Ranger Jackson M. Phillips, who was to take my place on my retiring, what I have looked forward to for several years. We went into White Creek and got a trail crew started on work on some of the trails to get them opened up for fire season. Had one fire started the first part of May by lightning, then no more fires until the 22nd of June. A fire started on West Fork Gila, man-caused, about two miles above the mouth of Turkey Feather almost at the point where the first fire started in 1909.
The only time I ever saw wild Indians was in 1900. There used to be a renegade Apache who lived in the mountains with a squaw and two or three children. He traveled in all the ranges of mountains in southwestern New Mexico and southeastern Arizona. He lived by killing game, robbing camps and stealing horses. Part of the time he had his headquarters in the Mogollon Mountains at the head of Mogollon Creek and Turkey Creek.
There was a man by the name of William P. Dorsey who lived in Silver City. He was a great prospector and mining man of his day, and was known as Horn Silver Bill. He has been dead for several years, but has a son still living around the country who is also a mining man.
Horn Silver Bill came by the Gila and wanted me to go with him up into the mountains at head of Mogollon Creek to look for the Adams diggins, a lost gold mine and is still lost, I guess; I have never heard of anyone finding it. I spent some time looking for it myself and did not find it so it can stay lost now, as far as I am concerned.
Anyway, on this trip we got up in a rough side canyon on the head of Mogollon Creek and ran onto these Indians. They saw us and started running off behind some big rocks, so we turned our horses and ran the other way, back to where there were some more people camped on Turkey Creek. This was the last and only time I ever saw the Indians, although I saw their tracks several times after that, at different times. The Chief was finally killed in the north end of the Black Range and the squaw returned to San Carlos Indian Reservation.
After giving a brief sketch of my years in the Forest Service I will tell a few lines of how I started. I was born in Blanco County, Texas, September 4, 1880, and my parents moved to New Mexico when I was seven years old, and came to Silver City, New Mexico, on October 1, 1890, and have lived in Grant County ever since.
We moved in a covered wagon as was the custom in those days. We settled on head of Bear Creek near the mining camp of Pinos Altos, my father being a miner, having learned mining in California in early days of that State. We followed mining here for several years. I went to school in Pinos Altos, riding four miles up the Creek on a burro.
In October 1898 we moved to Gila River and settled on a small tract of land, started farming and ranching. I did other work part of the time, such as driving team, as those were the days of freight wagons where there were no railroads; and worked stock sometimes. In the summer I went as a guide and packer for fishing parties from Silver City into the fishing streams on West Fork of Gila and other fishing streams. Going into the mountains was what I wanted to do. I used to make trips alone through the mountains prospecting.
After taking out several parties, they asked me why I did not go into the Forest Service as it would suit me. This appealed to me, but with a limited education I did not think I could do the work that was required, but I took a chance at it. As a result, I have put in the 33 years. During this time I have worked under eight different Supervisors, all of whom I got along fine with and always found them ready to help and cooperate in every way; all of which I will always remember.
I will name them here: Douglas Rodman, W. H. B. Kent, Don P. Johnston, Hugh G. Calkins, O. Fred Arthur, Fred Winn, James A. Scott, and Leonard R. Lessel.
During the time. I have been visited by quite a number of Forest Officers from the Regional Office at Albuquerque and several from the Washington Office, all of whom I thought a great deal of as they always were helpful to me, which I will always remember.
Some of them I have had the pleasure of accompanying on trips over the District. Some of then as I remember: Will C. Barnes from the Washington Office, Major Kelly: Professor Eggleston of the Bureau of Plant Industry, and others I don't recall now. Some from the Regional Office were Frank C. W. Pooler, Arthur C. Ringland, Paul G. Redington, John Kerr and others that it was a pleasure to be with.
Ranger Woodrow's Marriage: At the age of 32 on Leap Year I decided to get married or that is, I found someone I thought I could get. I had my consent a long time but could not find any woman who would say "Yes." So I raised up courage enough to go down on the Gila from White Creek and see the Widow Steele. I can't remember what all was said, but anyway, on the 14th of October 1912, I got annual leave and come down from Dry Creek Ranger Station where I was temporarily staying. We hitched two horses to a hack and drove into Silver City through the rain. Went to the Court House to get the marriage license. The County Clerk, with whom I was well acquainted, had previously told me if I could ever get married that he would issue the license free, so he stayed with his word. But the preacher stuck me $5.00, which was the best investment I ever made. You asked if anyone was with us; No, we made the round trip all alone not in one day like we do now.
The first best move I ever made was when I went into the Forest Service, and then the best of all was when I got married. That is how I came to be at the Gila Station. I told the Supervisor, Don P. Johnston that I thought I could get married and that I wanted the old Gila Station house for an office and to keep the Forest Service equipment in. He said he would let me do that and he stayed with his bargain.
Ranger Woodrow's Horses: I had several good horses during my time in the Forest Service. Their names were Dick, Booboo, Muggins, Brown Jug, Bunny, Dumpy, and the last one was Nigger that I still own. I raised him and rode him for seven years in the Forest work. He had great endurance and could always carry me up the steepest mountains and I could ride him as long as I could hold out. About the only tight places he got me out of was in making trips up and down the Gila River when the water was high. I could always depend on him to take me safely across, where other horses might have failed.
The other horses named were just as good, but I did not get to keep them as long. The would get crippled or die. I raised most of them and I also bought and traded for several horses not mentioned, but some of them could not stand the work, so I would have to do quite a bit of horse trading and selling to keep me in good horses.
Well, this is about all for horses, only that I expect to keep riding them as long as I am able to up until I am 100 years old, anyway.
Old-timers I Have Known: I will now try to give a brief history of the McKenna Park District as has been told to me by old-timers, and also what I know of myself.
Among the first settlers on the south side of the District was P. M. Shelley, who settled on a homestead on Mogollon Creek with a herd of cattle he had driven overland from Texas, and grazed his cattle on what is now part of the Forest. His brand was "916" and the ranch is yet known as the "916" ranch. He has been dead for several years but his son still owns and runs the "916" brand of cattle and lives on the old place.
Other ranches have sprung up and run a while and quit and moved off from this part of the District.
In the early part of Mr. Shelley's ranching he had to be on the lookout for Indians going through the mountains, and on some occasions had to move his family out to the settlement for safety.
In the upper part of the District, along the West Fork, Middle Fork and East Fork of the Gila River and Iron Creek and Willow Creek, several attempts were made to settle the country. I will say here that from the numerous old ruins and cliff dwellings that settlements had been made many hundreds of years ago by some kind of Indians or prehistoric people.
Names of people who settled later years along in the 80s were Presley M. Papenoe, a French trapper who came from Canada and settled on a place on Middle Fork of the Gila.
Another was Thomas C. Prior settled on a place in Prior Canyon which is still called the Prior place. John H. Lilley settled on a homestead in Lilley Park which is still called that. These three men were killed by Indians. Papenoe was killed on the trail to Middle Fork about two miles north of Clear Creek, and the grave is still marked by a mound of stones. Lilley and Prior were killed on Clear Creek where the trail crosses, and an old cabin used to stand there. They were buried there near the cabin and the graves are marked by several stones at the head and foot.
Other men were killed by Indians were William Baxter, killed on West Fork of Gila River at what was then known as the McKenzie cabin near the Junction of White Creek and West Fork. He is buried near the base of the hill in the Junction.
This place was first settled by a man by the name of McKenzie. Two brothers of that name came from Ireland. One of them settled and built a cabin up in what is known as Raw Meat Creek, a tributary to White Creek. They were killed by Indians.
Another man by the name of William Benton was killed by Indians up in Raw Meat Creek above the McKenzie cabin, which was later called Raw Meat Cabin, but nothing is left except part of the old rock chimney to mark the place. The Benton grave is still plainly marked with a mound of stone.
The first settlers who tried to settle this country were either killed by Indians or run out by them. Later, after most of the Indian danger was over, a new bunch of settlers came. These were a different class of people from the first ones. They brought in small bunches of cattle and settled on a small place and started farming on a small scale and looking after their cattle. As the Indians had quit killing people off, these later settlers, when they got tired of one another, the best man with a gun killed his neighbor and got him out of the way.
This McKenzie cabin place I speak of, was later settled by a man named Jenks, who had two sons. They brought in a small bunch of cattle and built a log cabin, cleared out a small piece of land to farm. The cabin still stands on the site where the White Creek Ranger Station is now located.
After they got settled, they started in to stealing other people's cattle to build up their herds. This started during the latter part of 1890. They kept this up until 1900, when the officers got to trying to catch them. One lone officer known as Keecheye Johnson came in and arrested one of the boys and started out with him.
They got about 4 miles south of the cabin on the trail to Mogollon Creek in a canyon that was later called Johnson Canyon, a tributary to Raw Meat Creek, where he was waylaid by someone and killed. Ralph Jenks the boy he had arrested, rode on to Mogollon, told about the killing and gave up to the officers. He, with another man, started down the Mogollon road to Silver City on horseback and when they got to Duck Creek, where the small village of Buckhorn is now located, they stopped to get water from the stream. The officer claims Jenks tried to get his gun out of the scabbard, but the officer shot him and he was buried there.
The rest of the Jenks left the country and ever since that time Jenks Cabin has been a great place for fishing parties to visit, it being one of the best fishing streams in the mountains. The surrounding country is also a grand place for deer, wild turkey and bear and grouse.
The next killing by white man was at the mouth of Iron Creek. A man named Lew Ross settled at the mouth of Iron Creek on a homestead in the 1880s. I was well acquainted with him. He was a very good peaceable man, but had two men staying with him Wood Poland and Frank Martin by names, the latter a Cherokee Indian.
They had a bunch of cattle together. One day Mr. Ross told that he was down in the field some distance away from the cabin and heard a shot at the house. He said he thought Mr. Poland had shot at a hawk or something. After a while he went up to the cabin and found Mr. Poland cleaning out his gun. Mr. Ross asked him what he was shooting at, and he said he had just killed Frank, meaning Frank Martin. Poland was the only witness and stood trial and come clear. Martin was buried in front of the cabin and the grave is still marked by a dim mound of stone with a small pine tree growing in the center of the grave.
Another grave is that of a cowboy killed by Indians, named Muriel Talbott. He is buried in a grave on the trail about one mile southwest of the old Flying V place on the trail to Clear Creek.
Another grave is on Middle Fork, one half mile below the mouth of Iron Creek, on the north side. This was a young son of Thomas J. Wood, who was murdered by Grudging Brothers near the Zig-Zag trail. This grave is marked by a wire fence around it.
This killing by the Grudging Brothers took place in the early 90s and started over cattle stealing. This was told to me by Thomas J. Wood, with whom I was acquainted. Grudging Brothers had been doing some cattle rustling and Mr. Wood knew of this. They were afraid be would give it away on them, so they made it up to kill him.
Mr. Wood was accustomed to going from his homestead on Middle Fork, via Hot Springs to Pinos Altos or Silver City for supplies, and on one of these trips Mr. Wood did not go himself, but sent his son with a Mexican who had a dark beard like Mr. Wood wore at the time. They made the return trip by Grudgings who lived in a cabin about two miles above the Heart Bar Ranch. The cabin still stands. They watched from the cabin on the road across the river and saw these two pass up in the evening and they knew about where they would camp for the night in a canyon just west of the Zig-Zag trail, about one mile north of the West Fork of the Gila. They followed up, and after dark they crept up near the camp and shot them both, thinking they were getting Mr. Wood. The Mexican was buried at this place, while the boy was taken to the Wood homestead on Middle Fork, as I spoke of before.
Mr. Wood was an old pioneer who came west from the State of Iowa when a young man, and served as a Peace Officer at different times. Before he died he showed 14 notches on his gun, which accounted for 14 men he had killed. After Grudging killed Mr. Wood's boy, he did not try to have the law after them, as was the custom in those days by some of the old-timers. He got down in a Willow thicket just below the Grudging cabin and along in the evening, both the Grudgings came riding up the road alongside an old rail fence. Wood cut down on Bill Grudging and killed him instantly. The other Grudging ducked down on the side of his horse and hid behind the rails and got away as Wood fired several shots which lodged in the rails.
Mr. Wood told me he had later followed the other Grudging into Louisiana and had trouble in getting him located, until one evening he inquired of a negro about such a man and the negro said, "Yes, he knew him and that the man would cross the river in the morning at daylight in a canoe." He got in a canebrake near the canoe and at daylight, sure enough, a man came. Grudging had a front tooth out and had a habit of spitting through this place where the tooth was out. Just as he got to the canoe he spit, Mr. Wood recognized him by that.
Just as he stepped into the canoe, Wood said, "Hello, Tom," and he looked around and saw who it was and Wood's gun leveled on him. He just threw up his hands and Wood shot him. Wood hid out in the mountains for two years and came in to Silver City where he stood trial and came clear. He lived in Grant County for a good many years after that before he died. He said a number of times that he wanted to get 15 notches on his gun but this he never got to do.
Another killing took place in the early 90 James Huffman was a homesteader on a piece of land on Middle Fork Gila near the mouth, which is now part of the Heart Bar Ranch, and also had a small bunch of cattle up in Prior country. Jordan Rodgers also had a homestead, which is part of the Heart Bar Ranch now, and had a bunch of cattle on West Fork in Prior, running with Jim Huffman's cattle. Huffman was a bully and had threatened Rodger's life; had Rodgers afraid to go up there and work his cattle.
So one day Rodgers and a man called Buck Powell (whose real name was Murray, and who had left Texas about two jumps ahead of the Sheriff) rode up to the mouth of EE Canyon at an old cabin, then called EE cabin. They met James Huffman and started a row. Buck Powell shot Huffman once and Rodgers, thinking he was not dead, rode up and fired several shots into him. Rodgers stood trial for the killing and came clear. Huffman was buried beside William Grudging, killed by Tom Wood, just south of the Grudging cabin about 100 yards. Buck Powell was later killed in a row at the little mining town of Fairview, New Mexico.
There were several other old-timers with whom I was acquainted. One of them was James F. Moore, better known as "Bear" Moore for the reason that he got into a fight with a wounded bear and it jumped on him and badly disfigured his face so that he did not want to stay around people very much, but lived out in the mountains most of the time. Moore originally came from St. Louis, Missouri, where he had been in business. He was a very well educated man. He first located on a small tract of land on West Fork of Gila, about 15 miles above Gila Hot Springs. Cleared out a small piece of farming land and built a log cabin out of large pine logs and put portholes in it as at that time there was danger of Indians in the country. He lived there for a number of years by raising his own garden truck and trapping during the winter months. This place is still known as Bear Moore Cabin.
Later he got to prospecting for mineral and did quite a lot of work in different places in the mountains, some of which was done on Big Turkey Creek where he lived in a cave known as Bear Moore Cave. I often saw him during my travels through the mountains. The last time I saw him was the fall before he died. I met him at the mouth of Sycamore Creek, so that winter he was found dead where he had a camp in what is known as Little Turkey Park on the west side of Jerkey Mountain. He was buried there by cowboys from the Heart Bar Ranch and the grave is marked with a mound of stones and a large blazed juniper tree.
Another old-timer was Nat Straw, whose correct name was Robert Nelson Straw. He came to Upper Gila country in the early 90s and spent nearly 50 years in that part of the country trapping bear and lion for different cow outfits and sheepmen. At one time he had caught more bear than any man known. He also trapped for smaller fur-bearing animals in the winter. I knew him for about 40 years. He often camped near me in the summer and he told many stories of his life and experiences with bear and lion. He came to New Mexico from Missouri, where he first worked as a railroad engineer out of Springfield. He lived to the age of 84 and was active up to the time of his death in 1940. Me was a peaceful man, never causing any trouble with anyone. The only landmark named after him is Straw Canyon, located between Ring Canyon and Little Creek and running into West Fork Gila below Bear Moore Cabin.
Another old-time trapper was Ben Lilley, a man I saw a lot of in the mountains. Benjamin V. Lilley was born in the State of Mississippi and was a graduate of the University of Mississippi. He trapped all over southwestern New Mexico and southeastern Arizona, and also in Old Mexico. He had a string of trained dogs, also traps. He lived in caves in stormy weather and was a very religious man. He also hunted lions for different cow outfits. When on a lion chase, if it came Saturday night, he would stop there until Monday morning and then take up the trail again. He died some three years ago (1938) so that there is not one of the old time trappers left in this part of the mountains.
Old Landmarks: I will here give a description of how some of the old landmarks were named. I will start with Iron Creek. This was named by an old California prospector by the name of Thomas Wood, and also a Civil War Veteran. I knew him very well when I was a boy. He went into Iron Creek prospecting and found an iron dyke crossing Iron Creek above where the Willow Creek trail crosses, and dug a tunnel in the hill trying to find other mineral, but found nothing but iron. After that it was called Iron Creek.
Cooper Canyon, that runs into Iron Creek, was named after a man by the name of Alfred P. Cooper who took up a homestead on Iron Creek in the 1880s, where the Willow Creek trail crosses; patented the land and sold it. It now belongs to the Otero Sheep outfit.
Clayton Mesa and Clayton Canyon were named after a man by the name of Clayton who settled there in the latter part of 1880 with a bunch of cattle. He moved out without getting a patent on the land.
Lilley Mountain, Lilley Park and Canyon were named after John W. Lilley, who took up a homestead there and then was killed by the Indians as I spoke of before.
Jerkey Mountain, Canyon and Spring were named after "jerky", or dried meat. Some men built a cabin at the spring on the south side of the mountain and started making dried meat (deer), or jerky, and packing it into the town of Mogollon to sell. Later they got to killing beef which finally wound up in the Grudging and Wood killing.
Prior was named after Thomas C. Prior who took up a homestead at Prior Springs and then was killed by Indians.
Raw Meat Creek was named by two cowboys who stopped there. They had some meat but no matches with which to build a fire and cook meat, so they ate the meat raw, and called the Creek "Raw Meat."
Half Moon Park was named because of its being in the shape of a half moon.
Snow Park was so named because it is covered with snow in the spring.
Lookout Mountain was named for the reason it used to be a hideout for Indians as part of the old tepee ruins are still to be found in the canyons and on top of Lookout Point.
Shelley Peak and Park were named after P.M. Shelley who first settled on Mogollon Creek just south of them.
Another canyon which runs into Sycamore Creek that runs into Turkey Creek is called Cooney Canyon. This I named some 20 years ago for Captain Cooney, an old Civil War Veteran who came west after the Civil War and started in the mining game made quite a stake at that, but kept on prospecting for more. He was always making trips into the Sycamore country looking for a mine. As the story goes, a young surveyor working in the country claimed to have found rich gold ore in that part of the country while on a survey trip through there. After he got through with that job, he went back to St. Louis and then returned to look for his gold mine. He was killed by the Indians and later his bones were buried just up from Sycamore Creek. His grave is marked by a mound of stones that is now almost gone from sight.
The search for the rich gold mine kept Captain Cooney coming into the mountains. But because of his advanced age and winter weather, he must have tired out and being alone, died near a large juniper tree which has been blazed and which stands on Sycamore Creek near the mound of stones mentioned in the above paragraph. He was found two months or so afterwards, was packed out and buried at Socorro, New Mexico, and the gold mine has never been found up to this time.
Another grave I did not mention is on the head of Indian Creek and Mineral Creek. Many people ask about that. A Mexican sheepherder died there and was buried. A mound of stones marks the place.
Another grave is just off the McKenna Park District about 4 miles up the road from the hunting lodge on East Fork of the Gila, and on the west side of the road. A negro freighter was driving a team with a load of supplies going into the Gila. This was in the wagon days. Now it is truck days over that road. The negro fell off the wagon and was killed. He was buried at that place and a mound of stones marks the grave.
McKenna Park was named after an old-timer by the name of Joe McKinney (spelled this way in place of McKenna). He was an old Civil War Veteran and spent several years as an Indian Scout throughout New Mexico and Arizona. He was one of the men who escaped alive after a battle between Indians and soldiers at what is called Soldiers Hill on the road just south of Big Dry Creek and the SI Ranch.
Joe McKinney first located in McKenna Park. Built a cabin there and at one time had a small tract of ground cleared out and farmed it. The cabin was located near an old corral where the Little Creek trail crosses McKenna Creek. In later years McKinney lived in the town of Mogollon where he died some 22 years ago.
The way McKenna Park got named, a James A. McKenna got the credit for it by getting their names mixed up as James McKenna had also been in the upper Gila country in early days.
Several attempts have been made at starting homes ever since the early 1880s. Different people would come in with cattle along Middle Fork of the Gila. Willow Creek and Gilita Creek, and start farming on a small scale, but it seems none of them made a success. Then another one would try it and so until now the upper country is all used by sheep outfits who use it for summer grazing only.
The present Heart Bar Ranch at the junction of West Fork and Middle Fork Gila was first called the TJ Ranch. A man by the name of C. A. Burdick came in there and purchased the homesteads of James B. Huffman, Charles A. Clifford, John H. Lester and Gordon Rodgers, and what cattle they had, and started the TJ brand. He ran this outfit for a few years and sold out to a young man by the name of John W. Converse from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for $80,000. He ran it for a few years and then sold to the Glenn Land and Cattle Company of Pierce, Arizona. They ran it a few years and sold to Julian M. Bassett of Dryden, Texas. He ran it a few years, then the El Paso Bank took over; ran it for a while and sold to Wm. L. Laney of Arizona. He ran it for two or three years and sold out to Messrs. Taber & Coleman of Oklahoma, the present owners. The outfit never has seemed to pay its way only for a time.
The Gila Hot Springs has changed hands four times, and the XSX Ranch changed hands four times. The Hunting Lodge on East Fork has changed owners four times. The Willow Creek Ranch now belonging to John McAnulty has changed owners six times.
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Mr. Benton S. Rogers was interviewed at his home in Reserve, New Mexico. He was a cowboy in his early days, in Texas and New Mexico. His story starts with his entrance into the Forest Service.
I got my first appointment, that is, a temporary appointment, when the Forest started in on White River. Old Dave Rudd you may remember him? well, he and I went over to White River and stayed for a while, and then he went back to Springerville and I went to the Blue. John B. Guthrie was Supervisor then and he transferred me to the Blue and that was the first District I had. That was in 1911.
What did your work consist of in those days?
Mostly grazing and special use permits in connection with the grazing business.
Did you have any June 11 claims?
Not so much there as later, after I was transferred to Luna. You see I was transferred from the Blue to Alpine in 1912, I believe that was.
I was transferred to Luna in 1914, and there's where my June 11 work started, Spur Lake was open for homesteading, and people mostly from Arkansas and Oklahoma were takin' up claims. June 11 claims, I really had a lot of fun there. Some of them, you know, would think they were gonna find out something. They'd want to fix up an application for a certain type of land; they'd begin to try to tell you what to do, and finally I'd tell 'em, "Now if you want me to fix this, you just do what I tell you and you won't have any trouble." They'd come over here to file on it, you know. Some of 'em were all right and some of 'em of course were kinda stubborn. That was the first June 11 work I'd done. Most of the work at Blue was in connection with grazing. No timber sales at all.
Now, in those early days when you'd just started, what was the attitude of the ranchers?
It wasn't good. When I first went to the Blue I followed Johnny Wheatley. He'd been the Ranger there. He'd created quite a disturbance there among the old permittees: Henry Jones, Bob Thompson, and Thomas. The were kind of hard hombres, carrying guns for each other. It wasn't very pleasant for a fellow like me that didn't know much about the work.
When I went on the Blue it wasn't but a day or two until Old Man Henry Jones come along and said, "I want you to survey me out a pasture." Well, I'd never surveyed or nothin', so, "O.K., I'll go with you tomorrow." It was only a small pasture. Anyway, I went over there. I had one of these Forest Service standard compasses; I kinda knew how to set it and take a reading, and a little about it, but I didn't know very much. Anyhow, I did the best I could, but I didn't know how I was gonna make the map. I didn't know the first principles of map making.
Maybe I should've told you the first experience I had, that is, the first in the Forest Service. I was over on Hog Canyon in Willow Creek south of Fort Apache. John O. Guthrie and A. O. Wyatt came along and wanted to stay all night with me. I didn't have anything but a tent, but I said, "O.K , if you can stand it, I can." I had a blanket on back of the saddle. I told 'em I'd give 'em part of my bed, and we'd make it all right.
So they stayed overnight and early next morning John D. asked me, "What do you think of this job you've got?" Well, I didn't like it too well. I was workin' for the Double Circle Cattle Company, out in camp there all the time. "Well," he said, "What do you think about the Forest Service?" I didn't know anything about the Forest Service; never heard of it. "I guess it'll be all right; I'll try anything once." "Well," he says, "you write a letter." I couldn't write to do any good, but I did write a letter to him asking for a position in the Forest Service. He told me to be at Springerville on a certain date, which was about a month later.
I went over there on that date and he gave me an appointment, temporary appointment as Guard over on the Reservation, the White Mountain Indian Reservation. That was when the Forest Service was tryin' to take care of that Indian country to keep it from burning up. Later I had to take an examination. I got this temporary appointment and went back and stayed there until that fall. I think it was in the fall, and went back down to the Forest Service in Springerville to take the examination. Of course I didn't know nothin' about it, but I made a passing grade at that time.
In the meantime I had been transferred to the Blue; that's where they were hirin' men first and I started there. About a year later I still had my temporary appointment, so I took an examination again, and made a grade up in the 80s 85, I think on that examination which I felt was pretty good for me. I had no idea of what I was up against, you know, the first time in the Service it was kinda tough. But I made it all right; I managed to stay long enough to retire and get a fairly good retirement check that's enough to get by on.
But I learned all I knew in the Forest Service after I got appointed, you know. Old Dave Rudd, of course he helped me quite a bit. He was an old-timer and had quite a bit of experience with the Forest Service.
After Luna, where did you go?
Well, after Luna I went to the Black Range Chloride. I stayed there a couple of years. I was there in the winter of 1918 and that was a bad winter. Then I transferred back to Luna. And in 1924 I transferred over here, to the Hood Ranger Station here at Reserve.
You stayed here until you retired?
Yes, 'til 1943.
You retired in '43?
Yes, in '43.
That was 20 years at this Station.
About 20 years. I've been retired ever since. My experiences since then don't amount to very much.
Ben, let's go back now to the early days when you started; what kind of equipment did you have?
Oh, just horses. Pack horses and a horse to ride. There wasn't any roads on the Blue then.
And the worst trouble then, they were just comin' to the point where the old-timers were required to take out permits, you see, and they didn't like that. They finally got to where they knew they had to do it, so they did. Of course you know, I guess, they tried to get by with just as little as they possibly could at that time. At first they didn't know they were gonna have to pay anything. We had to keep pressin' the point that they'd have to pay grazing fees, and then they began to cut down on the number of cattle they owned. Well, we had to undertake to try to figure out about the number of cattle each one had under permit, for they had to pay money, grazing fees. Then they wanted to cut that down as low as they could. But then it come to the point where the range was based on the number of stock they had under permit. Well, they wanted an increase then so they could get more range. And that's the way it went.
Well, how did you get along with them?
I got along with 'em fine. Well, we had a little trouble, but no serious trouble. My trouble was in tryin' to get 'em to tell the truth about things the number of stock they owned. We based the number of stock they had under permit on the calf tally each year. Some of 'em would give you the right number of calves. They based that on the number of stock to be under permit, and that's what we had to go by. Then later we began havin' to count get out with 'em and work, and count the cattle on the range. That way we got a pretty good record of the number of stock each one had.
Did you run into much trespass?
Oh yes. As I say, they didn't mind it until it got to a point where they had to pay grazing fees. You know at first they didn't have to pay nothin'. They'd seldom tell you the truth about the number of cattle they had. But we got to workin' with 'em and had a pretty good chance of gettin' at the number of stock they owned. We made it all right. When I went to Chloride, that was different.
Now when you got over to Chloride you got into sheep country, too, didn't you?
Yeah, there were sheep there.
Was there any trouble between the sheepmen and the cowmen?
They didn't like each other at all. But there wasn't anything the Forest Service could do. They had sheep permits in certain places and we had to see that they used it, and cows the same way.
Of course I never handled very much timber. Had a sale on the District when I came here and it began to grow; the timber business began to grow bigger all the time.
Let's see I got crippled. Got my arm, my right arm, broken at the shoulder. Had to go to the hospital at Fort Bayard and while I was there I met this boy, Horace Spurgen. He was kind of a flunky in the hospital there. I didn't know him then. Me asked me what I was doin'; he was interested in the Forest Service and said he'd like to have a job of some kind. I got him a temporary job as my assistant. He and I had this whole country and it's a lot of country.
There's a big difference, now and then. Gosh, there're rangers all over the place now; there's quite a bunch of 'em. But they mean all right, I guess. Maybe it's the thing to do, to teach 'em. In the early days there were a lot more Stations then there are now. Oh yes, there was a Station on every corner, pretty near.
As I recall, Mrs. Rogers used to tell us about goin' from Chloride to the Blue to a dance.
Yes, we did; I was along with her and we had two kids. She'd carry one and I'd carry the other, horseback. We'd go horseback down to Old Tole Cosper's ranch. We'd dance all night and maybe part of the next day. Well, Tole's dead now. We used to have lots of fun.
What do you think of the work the Forest Service did? You're in sympathy with its policies?
Oh yes. I've been in sympathy with the Forest Service's policy ever since the beginning. Their intentions were good. Maybe they did, or will do, things that maybe are not exactly the right thing to do, but then anybody does that. Their intention is to do anything that's connected with good. There's a lot of people though, lots of the old-timers that never did like the Forest Service. When I came over here there was Old Charlie McCarty. Well, he never did like the Service. Dud McCarty was my best friend. Old Man Charlie was the main guy; he had the first permit, you know. But I never could get him satisfied.
Do you think our grazing policies were right in those early days?
Well, I don't know how you would change them; I don't know how you'd change 'em to make 'em better. They were doin' what they thought was right; part of it might've been wrong. Of course a lot of old-timers didn't like the Forest Service don't yet for that matter. But the intention was to do the right thing for the Forest Service and the people too. It's quite a job, you know.
I guess when you started in 1911, you didn't even have telephones much then.
Oh no, no telephones. Not until let's see about the Blue ... yes. I guess we had telephones at Luna and at the Blue, and we had a heck of a time keeping the darned thing up. That was another job the Ranger had to do himself, you know. That's how come me to get crippled, workin' on a telephone line and got my arm broke. A pole fell; I was crazy enough to climb up on a telephone pole and cut the wire loose. When I did the pole came down; the wire was what was holdin' it up.
What about the fire situation in the early days, Ben?
Oh, pretty bad. We had to do the best we could to keep the fires down. Had nothin' at first. Finally they got to furnishin' us tools that we packed around on our saddle. Any place we'd go during the fire season we had to take tools, you know, a rake, an axe, a shovel, and a canteen. If we'd see a fire anywhere on our District we'd go to it; not go back home to send word to somebody else to go to it. Maybe if it did happen to be too far away, say over on the Beaverhead District, why we got the word to the rider over there.
Ben, if you had it to do over again, would you quit cowboyin' and go into the Service?
I would, I'd quit cowboyin' to do anything. It's too tough on you, or it used to be. It's not so bad now. But you don't see cowboys now like you used to. They used to go in herds; they had to, you know. There was lots of cattle on this range here the McCarty's, this Double H outfit, and the Lords over there on Federal Park lots of cattle. Not very many cattle today. And horses; gosh, I had a big job tryin' to get rid of the horses here. Not very many people ride old broomtails any more.
Oh, I was just thinkin; Mrs. Rogers probably could have told a lot of stories. I should get her started tellin' 'bout the trip we had from Clifton up to the Blue Ranger Station right after we were married. She'd never ridden horseback, you know. It was March the 7th, 1909, I guess. The Blue River used to get up awful big. When we got to Clifton, Ernest Patterson was a Ranger there then. I went down to meet her in Sweetwater, Texas, and we got married. We came to Clifton. Arizona, on the train. I had my pack outfit there, a couple of horses and a pack mule. We were comin' to the Blue Ranger Station.
Well, the river was up. It was in March, you know, and usually about that time of year the river was high. I tried to take her out in a rig, a livery stable outfit, but we couldn't make it, too much water. So we had to take it a horseback, and she had never ridden before. We had quite a time!
We got about half-way to where we had tried to go and then we had to camp overnight. Had nothin' to camp with, either. Had a couple of saddle blankets. In March. And the next day we made it on into Baseline Ranger Station. We stayed there overnight and then we went on home to the Blue.
I don't know, but I think if she'd had an opportunity she'd have gone back to Texas. I had tried to talk her out of the notion of comin' at that time, because I knew the condition of things. I knew that water in the river would be high and then I found out that she had never ridden horseback. Gosh, I didn't know whether she could make it or not, but she was kinda stubborn about it. We came on, and she's been here ever since. We used to go to lots of dances, you know. She didn't know how to dance, either, but I taught her how. The people at Alpine and Luna are great people to dance; used to be, anyway.
It was a rough life, but a pretty good one.
Yes. Well, it wasn't as rough as punchin' cows out in the hills and stayin' by yourself all winter.
Did the Depression make much of an impact around here?
Oh yes. The people here, if it hadn't been for what little the Forest Service could do for them, they'd a been up against it, you know. Except the ones that had cattle. And you can remember, I guess, the price of cattle went down to nothin'. We killed a lot of cattle down in here, from off of the range, to keep 'em from starvin' to death. There was a whole bunch of Kellys Jim, John, Pat, and Ike Kelly, that had quite a few cattle. I used to work with 'em in the spring when they'd start their cow work, checkin' up on the number of stock on the range. But the boys nowdays, they don't know what those fellows were up against; they don't know a thing on earth about it.
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Mr. Jesse I. Bushnell was interviewed at his home in Mesa, Arizona. He was born in Illinois in 1881, lived in various places, and arrived in Arizona when he was 26 years old. He did some improvement work for the Forest Service, liked the work and the men he worked for. Mr. Bushnell took and passed the Ranger examination in 1909, and was appointed an Assistant Ranger on the Ash Fork District of the Coconino National Forest on May 1, 1910. He worked at Fort Valley, on the Greenlaw Sale, and on several different Districts. In 1915 he was transferred to the Munds Park District. He describes some of his experiences.
Now, did you have any June 11 claims to examine?
Oh yes, I was there at Sedona on the Munds Park District from 1915 until 1928, and during that time I had an average of about 24 claims, homesteads, in my current files.
What did you have to do about those claims?
We had to go out and survey them out and make maps of them showing the type, etc. Then we had to check up on 'em and make an annual report on 'em, showing residents and amount of land under cultivation.
Were there any controversies as to whether it was agricultural land?
Plenty, plenty. Some of them were pretty rough. I never had much trouble, though. I got along fine with them. But they had a lot of trouble among themselves, those homesteaders.
At one time the ex-soldiers, you know, had a preference. A young soldier came down there and filed on a place and at the same time there was a family located on that same piece of land, and this woman, she finally run that soldier off. She shot at him with a shotgun as he passed her camp. The shot didn't hit him but it went in the back of the car seat. He didn't want to fight, so he finally moved away and let her have it.
Was there quite a little of that sort of thing? -- that kind of controversy?
Oh, every once in a while there was.
What about the grazing permittees? Were they rough to get along with?
No, I had 36 grazing permittees on that Munds Park District, cattle permits. I only had three or four sheep permits, but there were 36 cattle permits. I got along with them fine. A fine bunch of fellows.
You see my wife was dissatisfied there at Oak Creek, Sedona, all the time, so I finally went in and told the Supervisor, "I've just got to have a transfer. My wife don't like it down there and wants to move. Wants me to quit." I says, I'm not gonna quit, but maybe if I could transfer she'd be satisfied." So Joe Kercher said, "Well, Jesse, we'll get you a transfer just as quick as we can."
It wasn't long until they gave me Payson and I went down to Payson and told 'em I'd take it. I moved a load of furniture down to Payson, and went out with I can't remember that Ranger's name James, I believe it was. He took me around to different places where he had fire tools stationed, to show me the District. About the third day out I was homesick. I wanted to go back to Oak Creek.
When I left there, there was a Ranger by the name of Ruth who was to come and take that District. About the third day I went to a phone and called up Mr. E.G. Miller and I said, "Ed, have you got a Ranger yet to take my place at Sedona?" And he said, "No, not yet." And I says, "Can I come back?" I'd already transferred and accepted the transfer down here. He said, "Yes, you can come back." That was noon. I said, "Well, I'll be back there tonight."
There wasn't any roads then, just a dirt mountain road. I started back to Flagstaff at 12 o'clock, and on the way I see a fire off about a mile from the highway. I left my car and walked over there. It was a small fire, about an acre. I got over there and there was one man there and we soon put it under control. I got back to Flagstaff at 6 o'clock, and I stayed about four years, but it was the sane thing. So I finally told them again, "Well, I've just got to transfer." So I got Mesa here then.
But when the cattlemen heard that I was being transferred they got up a petition, and all of them signed it; didn't want me sent anywhere; wanted me left here. They thought the Forest Service was just transferring me. I told them, "Boys, I'm sorry. I hate to leave, but I asked for this transfer." They didn't send the petition in then. That was a fine bunch of cattlemen up there.
When you got down here to Mesa, what was the situation here?
I came here in '28, the fall of 1928. That was when the sheep were just startin' to come down over the trail, this Heber-Reno Trail. They were just startin' to come down and the Supervisor and Deputy Supervisor said, "Jesse, you want to get up there now and watch that trail. We had 75 trespasses in there last year, between Long Valley and Sugarloaf." I got up there and the first band of sheep to come down was one of Scott's, and I helped them.
Now, them sheep had come all the way from Tonto Creek to Sycamore Creek at Round Valley. That was about a five or six day drive, and no water no water. Them sheep were heavy with lamb, and there were almost famished for water. They'd come in there to Sycamore Creek and fill up with water. The trail was laid out so that when they crossed Sycamore they had to climb right up Herder Mountain where they'd been trespassin' the year before.
When they'd watered at Sycamore just below Round Valley, they'd cut down to Sugarloaf on the east side of Herder Mountain, and it made the drive a day shorter and they didn't have to climb that high mountain. The trail come down like this, and then climbed the mountain and made this big elbow up there, right up over the mountain. So I told the rest of the sheepmen, "Don't you pay any attention to the trail in there. Just go on the east side of Herder Mountain. Don't try to climb it, after your sheep have been without water for almost a week."
So when I went to town I told Mr. Swift, "That's a dirty shame to try to force them sheep to climb Herder Mountain after they've been so long without water, and heavy with lamb." "Well," he says, "You try to get the sheepmen and cattlemen together and get 'em to widen the trail." So I did. And there was no objection to it at all. By George, they agreed to it and there they'd been fightin' each other for years, gettin' out there with guns, and everything like that. The cattlemen agreed to have the trail widened out, and they widened it out, and there never was any more trespassing.
Now, sheepmen lost 300 sheep from Tonto Creek to Sugarloaf that fall, just died along the trail. We went over the trail and pulled the dead sheep up in a pile and set fire to them and burned 'em up. So the next fall Mr. Swift gave me an allotment to build a tank up there at Round Valley, and we built that tank, in 1932. I believe it was, with WPA men. So that put water in there for the sheep.
You've been here in this country now since '28; what's the difference in range conditions?
Well, of course I don't know the whole Forest, but I think it might be a little bit better on this Verde District where I was located. And Bill Barclay's range, over here north of Superstition, it's probably a little better now. There's lots of feed goin' to waste now. We rode out there all day last Sunday. I rode with the Sheriff's Posse, and I guess we rode probably 25 miles that day, around over the District, and I never saw a cow. And lots of feed. That's a year-round range.
I guess the old Circle Bar was on your District, wasn't it?
Yes, that's Bernard Hughes' place. You know that when I came down here in 1928 they had started a count of Bernard's cattle, checking up on his permit. They had started it in the spring, and I came down in the fall, and we had to finish it up in the fall. And Bernard, I don't remember, but I've got it in my files, the number of brands he had at that time. Oh, he had a lot of brands. You see he had bought out Chris Clime and Tom Clime, and Fred Clime and John Clime, about six or seven different Climes; he had bought them out, bought their cattle. They were little outfits, and they all had different brands. And he had bought out the Romo's and several others. He must've had 12 or 15 different brands.
And when he started in branding calves that fall I said to Bernard, "Bernard, don't you own all these cattle?" Me says, "Yes." I says, "Then why don't you run 'em all in one brand? Your outfit would look so much better if they were all one brand." He called all the cowboys around and said, "Boys, from now on, brand everything Circle Bar." So all the calves, of course were branded Circle Bar, and eventually all the old cows either died or were sold or something, and he's got all Circle Bars now.
Do you remember how big his preference was in '28?
Let's see, it was 1553, if I remember rightly, and he had to take off 1600 head excess.
That's what the trespass was?
Yes. We didn't trespass him, didn't fine him anything in those days. You see, Bernard Hughes was just wonderful in tryin' to get a good count. It was about the time they started on many Forests checkin' up on permits, you know. They weren't tryin' to penalize 'em then, but they wanted then to keep within their permits. Bernard had about 1600 head too many on, and he tried to get a good count. He says to me afterwards, "Jesse, I never had any money 'til the Forest Service made me sell my cattle."
He's been a very successful cowman.
Yes he has. And he's a good fellow. He was good to me. You couldn't find a better permittee than Mr. Hughes. He was awful good about tryin' to get a good count. When we came to checkin' up on the percent missed we bobbed their tails in the roundup, and then we rode the range afterwards and got a count on the bobtails and the longtails to get a percent of what was missed in the roundup. Well, I figured out there was about a 25% miss. In rough, brushy country like that, that's not unreasonable.
"Oh," Bernard says, "Jesse, we tried to get a good roundup; I don't think we missed over 10%." "Well. Bernard," I said, "I'm pretty sure you did. The count of long and short tails showed that you made a 25% miss." But he and the Supervisor talked it over and they settled on an 11% miss. Well, when I went to make out his grazing application for the next year I made it out on that basis.
A day or two later Bernie called me up and says, "Jesse, I'll have to tell you. I sold 400 head of yearlings more than what was shown." I don't remember just how many more two-year-olds he had sold than what was shown but if he sold 400 or 500 more head of steers than was shown, why he had that many heifers on the range, too. The way we figured, 50-50, which figured out that I had been just about right with my 25% miss, instead of 11%.
You know, to go back, when I was up on the Munds Park District, the year before I came down here, they started in to make a check on different permits. I didn't ride in the roundup that year. I was there at Munds Park by myself, and I took care of the fire situation. I didn't have a Fire Guard either that year. So they hired a local cowboy to ride with the Bar J-H Cattle Company to make a count on it. Well, they come out with a count of a little over 700 head. I knew they had more than that because they had a permit for 1750 head.
So the next year I think it was the very next year, Jeff Clonch, who was working for the War Finance Corporation, came out there to make a count of Dickerson's cattle. I mean Babbitt and Dickerson's together. I was ordered that year to ride in the roundup and make counts on all 36 permits that I had on the District. The first day of the roundup we got ready to count cattle.
I was gonna count Dutch's cattle, and Dutch came to me and said, "Jesse, I don't want you to count my cattle." He says, "I don't blame you at all," that's just what he said, "I don't blame you, but I'm gonna try to stop the Forest Service from countin' my cattle if I can." He got on his horse and rode to Flagstaff to see the Babbitts and see the Forest Service, and try to get this count stopped. Clench was countin' his cattle; they had a big loan from the War Finance Corporation.
The next day the Deputy Supervisor came out. I guess I have to tell you who he was, Johnny Adams, and he and Dutch went off and talked together for a while. They didn't ask me, and I didn't go over and listen because I thought if they wanted me to hear what they said, why they'd invite me over. So I just went on about my work. When Johnny got ready to go back to Flagstaff he come to me and said, "Jesse, don't count the Babbitt and Dickerson cattle," he says, Clonch is going to count them, and he'll give you the count ever night." I said, "All right."
So we went on through the roundup, and Clench never did give me the count. He didn't give it to me and I never asked him for it. I counted the other cattle. When we were about half through with the roundup, Clonch came to me one day and he said, "Jesse, how many cattle do you think Dutch has got?" I said, "Well, he's got a permit for 1750 head but I think he's got at least 2500 head on this District. I've always estimated them at about 2500 head." He didn't say anything more to me and we went on and finished up the roundup. We finished up at the JAO Ranch, up against the G-4 drift fence.
We all went into Flagstaff and I saw Clonch on the street and he said, "Jesse, you never did get Dutch's cattle count, did you?" I said, "No, I didn't. Johnny said you were gonna give me the count, but I never did get it." He says. "I heard Dutch." he's the foreman runnin the outfit "I heard Dutch tell Johnny Adams that he'd have me give you the count, but Dutch never did come to me," he says, "I overheard him say that. but he never did come to me and tell me to give you the count. So you come on up to the hotel room, and I'll give you the count." So I went up there, and he had 2498.
He said, "You know something, the War Finance made a loan on 5,000 head; they thought that Dickerson had 5,000 head on the range in that District." "Well," I said, "he hasn't got that many on this District, in that brand. I always thought he had 2500 head, and I think he's got close to that, but he hasn't got 5,000."
It took a long time to get the grazing all settled down and under individual allotments.
Well, I think there's a lot of the Forest that's now under-stocked. Barclay's out here is under-stocked; there's lots of feed out there and no grazing.
I haven't been through that country since '46.
Well, I'll tell you, a lot of these range examiners come out and they ride up a canyon on a trail where it's accessible and the forage is easily gotten to, it's bound to be grazed off first. You've got to expect that those places that are so easily accessible are going to be overgrazed a little bit, to get them spread out.
Yes, those old cows are really lazy.
Yeah, they are. They not gonna climb a hill.
Not when they can get it down below!
Well, Jesse, I know you've enjoyed your life in the Forest Service.
Yes, I have. I really have. I enjoy doing things.
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While Mr. John D. Guthrie was Supervisor of the Apache National Forest he received a letter from the District Forester, Arthur G. Ringland, as follows: