This menu page updated
August 22, 2015
Click for info on the
The above 'egroup' is an
email type bulletin-board in which only members receive email from other
members of Palominas yahoo Group. You use your existing address. I am also a
member other egroups and
this is a good way to exchange news and get
questions answered or discussed.
PALOMINAS AREA HISTORY
are two links to a great web site which contains a vast amount of information
(historical and current) on The
Overland Trail, including historical information about the Palominas
area. Many thanks to Elizabeth Lawrence for informing us of this resource.
Mormon Battalion - San Pedro River Valley
The Seven Cities of Cibola - Coronado National Memorial
I am very indebted to Rex and Faye Wetter for providing some
photos and clippings and further leads to follow up on.
I. Some History of Palominas (as included in the Southern San
Pedro Valley Area Plan)
The name Palominas means "Place of the
Doves". It is from the name "Palominas de San Pedro, a name
that Father Kino gave to an Indian village located by the river in what is
There is a reason why the Hereford Post Office isn't is in
Hereford. During WWII, the cattle business thrived. Cattle and
mail came by rail. After the war, that market dried up. Railroad
service at the town of Hereford was discontinued and the town was
dismantled. Mail now came by truck on the 'new' highway, so the post
office was moved to the new store on the highway.
The first Palominas School was located just north of
Hereford Road. The 'new' school - the little building at the corner of
Palominas Road and Highway 92 - was built on 2 acres of land donated by
Mr. & Mrs. Jacob C. Baker in 1911 (thanks to Mr. Ed Francis for this
correction and the supporting documentation). The 'modern' schools you see now were built much later.
The dairy business was another big business in the early
days of Palominas. Without refrigerators, milk was delivered fresh
daily to Bisbee miners, families, and businesses.
The railroad played a key role in delivering cattle, dairy,
and mining products to market and services to businesses and
residents. An active railroad line travels through the plan area.
Many thanks to 'Holvoet' for
bringing this book to my attention, and for forwarding the below excerpts from
the book. The Fike family has long been a part of Palominas history.
From: Aura Jones Fike, New Life for Grandmother,
1958, published by Aura Jones Fike, Stuart, Florida.
In the Chapter called "Arizona" (pps. 13-20) she describes
her early life and history as follows:
"My Mother was educated to be a school teacher. She loved to write
stories and poems for children. It was said that she was beautiful when
young. I know she was a Christian and believed that God answers prayer.
After she married my father who was a non-believer, she asked God to show
her what to believe in times of trial and stress and to strengthen her
faith. Two missionaries passing through the lead-mine district of Missouri
(where they lived and where my father worked several mines) came for a visit
one day and gave mother a glimpse of the true Gospel as shown in God's Word.
She accepted Jesus as her Savior and asked to be baptized.
"In my Mother's mind there was never any doubt but that she was saved
and was a child of God...
"She knew that she believed and that God was true to His promises. Her
life was a light in the spiritual darkness around her, where one hardly
dared to speak the name of Jesus; so I learned by her example, to have the
same faith that there is a Heavenly Father watching over us....
"The old ranch house into which our family moved from the mining town
of Bisbee (where I had spent my early life) was made of adobe, or mud
blocks. It had very thick walls with portholes under the eaves; it had been
built as a fort when the Indians were still fighting for their land and
their freedom. Afterwards, train robbers made it a hideout where they could
guard their stolen goods, and it was said that Black Jack and his gang had
stayed there once. Cowboys would take over the place at round-up time and
our family moved in when they were still using it. I can remember one of
them making sourdough biscuits. Where the cowboy cook stood in front of the
big, wood stove, the planks of the floor were worn thin by his clanking
spurs. We could see the marks made by bullets -- even a hole through the
door where one bullet had been shot through. There were two big rooms, with
a fireplace at each end where we gathered on cold winter days (Snow on the
surrounding mountains was a common sight in winter.) Outside were
bunk-houses, milk sheds, and the barn.
"Father's health had failed. He could do little to help on the ranch
except look after us little girls--Edna, Aura, and Frances. The three
boys--Perry, Lyman, and Homer--worked like men. They had some schooling in
Bisbee but there was a space of about four years when none of us could
attend school as there was no school close by. My oldest sister, Helen,
began teaching school in Bisbee when she was seventeen years of age. She
lived in our old home at the foot of 'Our Mountain' and rode horseback to
visit us at the ranch. When she was at home, she was like a second mother to
"My father died when I was eight years old, and Mother was left with
all of us (except Helen) to feed and provide an education for us. Frances
was the youngest and only four years old. It was Mother who carried on the
work of the ranch, milking as many cows as she could with the help of her
three young boys (still in their teens). Each did a man's work, as they
helped with the milking and then drove the milk wagon ten weary miles up and
down the hilly streets of the town, where houses sat one above the other so
that it seemed almost possible for the man above to look down his neighbor's
"I bow my head to thank God for my brothers, for without their
faithfulness in those early days, how different our lives would have been!
Mother could never go to bed until the milk wagon returned. Often she would
stand until late into the night at the old front gate, waiting, praying.
Perhaps it was pay day and the boys would be later than usual. There were
those about who often waylaid travelers or peddlers but never once our milk
"Truly, my Mother was sustained by a power greater than herself or she
could not have endured this life of hardship on the ranch, when others about
her failed. I cannot tell of all she went through, but I remember my oldest
brother, Perry carrying Mother in his arms from the milking pen and laying
her on the bed. We ran to her. "What's the matter with Mother?' we
"' An old cow kicked her over. You kids stay around. I must go back and
milk.' I remember his face, tired and drawn--but regardless of life or limb,
the milk wagon must get to town somehow; there were too many babies,
children, and sick folks who must have milk!
"In those days, the San Jose Ranch (named for the big blue mountains in
Mexico, just over the border) was the only ranch that prospered. The San
Jose milk wagon was watched and waited for, and in all those years, until I
was a grown woman, it never failed to make its rounds. Even the morning my
Father died -- Christmas morning--I looked out the window to see Mr.
Robertson, our hired man, starting out for Bisbee to deliver the milk.
"We had been up since four o'clock--called to say a last word to Father
before he left us. He thought it strange to see us all standing around his
bed so early in the morning, but Mother told him in her gentle way that he
wouldn't be with us long now and this might be the last time we would all be
together. Shortly after we left him, he turned to Mother and told her she
had chosen the right way of life and that if he had his to live over, he
would be a Christian. I like to believe that it was then he made his peace
with God. Because of Mother's prayers, I have faith that this is so.
"That was a sad Christmas for us all. Our presents were not taken out.
Most of them had been chosen by Father and ordered from the catalog. Now
that he was gone, I thought of another Christmas when I was four years old,
standing in the window looking up at the big mountain back of our house in
Bisbee. I had waited so long for Christmas and now that it had come, I
couldn't believe that everything should look the same. There was no
difference in the mountain -- what was it that made Christmas? I was to wear
my new dress, have my hair curled, and hold a banner at the program that
night; perhaps that was what made Christmas! I wouldn't have thought of this
except for what my Father said the next day. A stranger who sat near him
that night had said, 'Look at that little girl peeping out from under her
banner. Whose little girl is that?'
"My father had replied, "That's my little girl!' Even now I could
remember his proud smile as he told me.
"At our home up in Bisbee, Father often played the guitar and sang in
evenings. The neighbors would gather in, and my sister Edna would stand
beside my Father and sing, too. Growing up, she studied music and became a
"Other ranchers around said Mother had made a success because she had
good men to work for her; and it was true. She believed God had sent them to
her. Even when she began with the first cows up in Bisbee (when Father
couldn't work hard and became the Justice of the Peace), a strange man came
walking over the hill and asked for food. No one ever found out who he was.
Mother gave him food and he said he would like to live with us and milk the
cows for Mother. He did stay for more than a year until we moved to the
ranch, then he left us. In all that time he never took no pay. He was a good
man and we were sorry not to see him any more.
"Before the wild cattle were shipped out from the surrounding prairies,
were first driven to our ranch to be watered. We three little girls had to
stay in the yard until this was over, as herd after herd came by the house.
They would smell the water and keep up a constant lowing day and night.
Chuck wagons pulled in and and the cook-fires started; food was kept ready.
In the evenings, some of the cowpunchers would come in to have some music.
My sister Edna would play the piano for them to sing hymns, such as 'Rock of
Ages' and 'Just As I Am,' or my brother Perry would play the guitar and
everybody would sing, 'Oh, Bury Me Not on the Lone Pai-rie!'
"We girls learned to rid and would help out when there was just our own
cattle to herd, for they were not wild; however, we learned which ones to
keep away from when we were playing around the ranch--if they began to paw
or shake their heads, we ran for the nearest fence.
"Our ranch became known down in Texas as a fine place to work and get a
start in life, so Texas boys began to come to us. Mother treated them as
part of the family and we all ate together around the big dining room table.
To keep them happy, she had sorghum molasses shipped from Texas by the
barrel. Mexican red beans were bought by the hundred-pound sack, and there
was always bacon and hot biscuits to go with the molasses, and dried fruit,
and canned vegetables. When the weather was cold enough, a young steer would
be slaughtered for food. At mealtime, any stranger who came around was asked
to eat with us; that is, unless he came walking down the railroad
track--then he must chop wood and sit outside and eat at the back
Some other notes from the book that might be of interest to your readers
""When I (Aura) was ten years old, it was discovered that I had
not yet learned to read or write. I had attended the first grade in Bisbee
when I was five, but there were sixty children in the room and I took a nap
each day and seemed not to have learned anything. Mother, now realizing that
something must be done to educate her growing children, sent four of us with
our sister Helen to attend school in Los Angeles. We found a sweet little
six-room, rose-covered cottage with bearing fruit trees (orange and fig) in
the yard. The rent was seven dollars a month! It was in Vernon, which was
then a lovely neighborhood with schools, a good library, and churches. This
was an answer to my Mother's prayer.
God had shown her where to send us and that He had a good place for us. We
lived there in what was, to us, a Garden of Eden which God had provided.
"It took me an extra year to get through the first grade (an unusual
record, I am sure). My first grade teacher took a fancy to me, and I was
more assistant than a pupil that year. My next to teachers pushed me ahead,
so that I was in the fourth grade when we returned home to the ranch. By
that time, a one-room schoolhouse had been built in the little border town
of Naco and we went to school there. Ten years later, I returned to teach in
this same little town. I was a young lady and a graduate of the Arizona
State Teacher's College in Tempe.
"I was not engaged but was in love with an exceptionally talented,
clever young man of Christian character and integrity; Franklin D. Jones was
his name. I married him in 1915 and at the time of his death fourteen years
later, his name was known from coast to coast as one of America's brilliant
"I was fifteen years old when this young man was first called to my
attention. He was being carried off the football field at a game between
Graceland College and the Leon, Iowa High School. My first thought was that
whether he was dead or alive, it would be something to get all the mud
cleaned off the poor fellow.
However, two hours later, at the Athenian Literary Society meeting, it was
announced that the opening speaker for the affirmative would be Frank Jones.
I began to pay attention, not because of what he said but because this was
the same young man who had been ploughed under the mud -- and he was clean!
Why he fairly gleamed! There was enchantment in the very thought of his
His broad forehead toped with blond hair, his blue eyes and fair skin made
him seem handsome to me. But he took prind in the fact that he was 'homely;'
said that he lacked in beauty, God made up by giving him brains....
"Again, my dear Mother, always guided by God in what she did, sent four
of us children -- Lyman, Homer, Edna and myself (with my youngest sister
Frances following later in each case) to Iowa where, in the little town of
Lamoni, there was a junior college which offered a three-year preparatory
course also. To this the four of us were assigned....
"This was my Mother's church college. The four of us were welcomed
heartily into the student body where there were others from country
districts and who, like us, must work hard to get adjusted but who, on the
other hand, knew many things not learned in school which were important in
meeting the problems of life. My teachers, knowing my background, led me
gently and prayerfully through Latin, Algebra, Medieval and Modern History,
Science and Literature, to mention only a few subjects in my three-year
"Three weeks before school was out (we were soon to return home to
Arizona), the phone rang one Sunday evening and Frank and I made our first
date to attend church together. ... Frank was always popular with the girls,
but he had not been 'keeping steady company' with anyone, so when we began
'going steady,' it seemed to portend a romance of serious nature.
"When I arrived back at home on the ranch, I received a letter from
Frank which was to be shown to my Mother. It was a letter asking her
permission for him to correspond with me. I was hesitant about showing here
that letter, for if she said 'Yes,' then I felt sure that when I grew up, he
would be the one I would marry. Mother said 'Yes, write to him, but you
mustn't keep steady company with anyone, for you are too young.'..."
3. In the chapter of her book, entitled Florida on pps 53-54, she notes that
she has a daughter who attended Eastman School of Music and a son who
graduated from Virginia Military Institute where he won the Garnet Andrews
Prize. He was in the Navy and was on a P.T. boat at Pearl Harbor when it was
bombed. He helped in the rescue of injured men during the attack on Pearl
Harbor. He also went through the Battle of Midway.
Note: Aura's mother was Lydia Laura Letitia Hopps and her father was Walter
Moses Fike. Aura's brothers and sisters were Lyman Walter Fike, Edna Fike,
Frances Fike, Perry Fike, Homer Fike, and Helen Fike. Aura was actually
related to two different Fike families. Her maternal grandmother was Mary
Jane Fike (apparently no relation to Walter) and her maternal grandfather
was Josephus Bradford Hopps. I am in touch with a couple of families who are
related to and are very interested in this Fike/Hopps family. Mary Jane,
according to her diary, spent quite a bit of time in Naco. If there is any
information on this family, I would love to see it and will pass it on.
Aura became a missionary when she was of retirement age and most
of the book deals with her experiences on the mission field in
Venezuela, Washington, D.C., Florida, Los Angeles, New York City, and the
British West Indies.
This article was delivered to me as a
photocopy from a newspaper; however, I can't determine from which newspaper or
when it was printed. The by-line for the story is Pat O'Hare. See updates
1 & 2: [(1)Update
6/4/2003: Contacted by a visitor to the web site who informs me that the
story appeared in the local Western Forum monthly newspaper, possibly the 9/98
issue. The Western Forum is no longer being published.]
[(2) Update 5/27/2010: Contacted by Mr. Tom
Plunkett of Sierra Vista, AZ who provides the following additional information:
"....another newspaper account you might be interested in citing on your
website. The article was written in The Decatur Daily Review Illinois, May
6, 1887." The link to this article is included here: tucson-az-earthquake-destruction-may-1887
. Our thanks to Mr. Plunkett.]
The first article mentioned above is this one:
"April 27, 1887 Was the day THE EARTH SHOOK"
(my note: the actual date of the earthquake was May 3, 1887 - what took place on
"A major earthquake tremor stopped all the
clocks in Tombstone at 3:06 p.m. May 3, 1887. It sounded like the
explosion of dynamite echoing through the town, with the earth shaking
violently. People ran screaming into the streets, merchandise and
glassware crashed to the floor from their shelves, gaping holes appeared in
buildings on Allen Street. A reporter from the Tombstone Prospector
newspaper pulled out his watch and counted the 35 seconds the earthquake
lasted. Eight minutes later, a second shock of about two seconds; a third
shock was hardly felt, about 4:15 p.m.
Water spurted up out of
the ground in great fountains out in the middle of the desert. Ten miles
from Tombstone, a lake covering an acre of ground completely dried up in 20
minutes, as reported by the Tucson Citizen Weekly Newspaper of May 4,
1887. Some old timers say the San Pedro River's course was changed from
South to North that day, that it went largely underground and locals say that
the sound of rushing waters may still be heard from the inside of a cave near
the site of Charleston.
The water line snapped between
Tombstone and the water storage tank in the Huachuca's, where the shock had
lasted fully three minutes. Fires surrounded the horizon, smoke shut out
the Sun. The many large mesquite trees that had dotted the open range were
burned to their roots. All the grass was destroyed and many cattle died of
Deep underground, William F. Staunton was working
as a mining engineer in the Toughnut Mine. After a loud explosion and a
thunderous roar, loose rock came crashing down from the walls. He told his
partner, "It's an earthquake, get under something quick!" to
which he retorted, "Lord knows, I'm under enough already!"
was hit hard. The quake there lasted only thirty seconds, but the ground
shook so violently that every building in town was damaged. Many of the
adobe homes fell into the river and were swept away.
a rush of water in Sulphur Springs Valley. Water shot up into the air to a
considerable height, 4 or 5 feet in width, and extended fully 100 feet in
In Bisbee, the Prospector's correspondent, W.F.
Banning, said that boulders rolled down the steep solid rock canyon walls of the
town for ten minutes with reports like cannon shots, beginning at 3:12 p.m. and
lasting ten minutes.
St. David was shaken for three full
minutes. Buildings collapsed and part of the schoolhouse was ruined.
Water was dumped out of irrigation ditches. The water level changed
abruptly on the day of the quake, and artesian ponds suddenly appeared in the
valley adjacent to the village. Fearing aftershocks, the community slept
outdoors that night.
Shortly after 3:00 p.m. in Benson,
buildings began to sway and several developed large cracks. Waves of
aftershock played with a Southern Pacific engine like a child's toy, pushing it
to and fro on its tracks. Residents rushed into the streets, fearing that
they would be crushed by toppling buildings. The Whetstone Mountains were
covered with fire and smoke which many assumed represented volcanic activity.
Tucson, huge boulders came crashing headlong into the valley from the Santa
Catalina Mountains, striking together like flint to catch the grasses and dry
wood afire. For several days, the citizens saw nothing but smoke and fire,
believing that their beautiful mountains had been destroyed.
shock waves had reached out 400 miles, from Northeastern Mexico at Bavispe,
Sonora (the epicenter of the quake), north to Phoenix (where it rang church
bells), southern Arizona, New Mexico and western Texas. In 1977, the late
Professor John S. Summer, Dept. Geo-Sciences, U. of A. estimated that it would
have measured about an 8.1 on the Richter Scale, which was not invented until
THAT PAID OFF IN CONTENTMENT
(First appearing in the Arizona
Highways magazine, September 1950 - written by Weldon Heald)
(This article also appears in every menu at the Palominas Trading Post)
morning last February, as I rattled along State Highway 92 in the ranch truck, I
saw the Secrests' station wagon parked beside the road ahead. Frank and
Peggy stood by it with cameras set and were peering down the highway.
"What's up?" I asked as I pulled to a stop. "Expecting a
"Better than that," said Peggy excitedly. "Our house is going by
in a few minutes."
"The store too," added Frank.
"This I've got to see," I said, easing myself beside them.
wasn't too long before a distant roar grew louder and louder, then
suddenly around the bend in the road came a giant truck doing at least 50 miles
an hour. On its broad back perched jauntily a white house with a green
roof. It whizzed by us.
"Frank! Frank!" shouted Peggy, I didn't have time to get a
picture of it."
"Neither did I," said Frank, "but here comes the store. Get
ready!" Another truck, another who-o-sh, and the store flashed by.
Both Secrests feverishly snapped shutters at its rear end rapidly disappearing
down the road, for this was an event in their lives worthy of record. And
on those trucks was their gamble in a new country - southeastern Arizona.
was no turning back now. Frank and Peggy Secrest had gone ahead and done
what thousands of people dream about but few have the courage to do. They
had sold their home and business in Pasadena, California, and bought a few acres
in the little Arizona community of Palominas on the desert a mile from the
Mexican border. There, 18 miles from the nearest town, they hope to live
the rest of their lives under the peaceful, wide-spreading Arizona sky.
the Secrests were not taking flight from work. Far from it. The war
surplus buildings from Ft. Huachuca which whizzed by us that February morning
were eased into foundations and converted into their home and the community's
first general store: The Palominas Trading Post, Frank Secrest,
Proprietor. Now they find the world still very much with them, but it is a
different kind of world with a life geared to those who make their living
outdoors in the sun, wind, heat and cold of a semi-arid land.
grand opening was in June. That morning Peggy finished painting the white
buildings a smart combination of buff with orange trim and Frank installed the
last shelf and piled up the final can. They stopped, a little out of
breath, and looked at each other. It had been a tremendous job and already
they had learned that on the desert you do many things for yourself if you want
them done at all.
"This is it," sighed Peggy.
"Keep your fingers crossed," said Frank.
And together they turned and opened for the first time the door of the Palominas
came from miles around: San Pedro Valley ranchers, miners from the
Huachuca's, cattlemen, dudes from the guest ranches, and a sprinkling of
newcomers from the East. They all ate cake and cookies, drank fruit punch,
and admired the store with its shiny new counters, shelves, refrigerators and
deep freezers. In fact, they stayed on to make the opening one of the
biggest and most enthusiastic social events Palominas had ever known. The
day was a success. Frank and Peggy went to bed tired that night, wondering
whether a store in the desert was a practical proposition which would support
them the rest of their lives, or just a beautiful dream spun out of wishful
thinking. They had staked their future. Would they win or lose?
didn't know throughout the long hot summer, but the Trading Post seemed to fill
a need and almost immediately became a center of community life. Kids
swarmed into the store at all hours for ice cream and pop, and customers
materialized out of the empty Arizona landscape, made their purchases, and
remained to sit on the broad porch out of the sun to discuss the latest
developments in cattle, mining, crops, weather. Peggy's gift shop and
lending library, which took up one whole side of the store, became a favorite
meeting place with the women of the community. By fall, the Secrests and
the Palominas Trading Post were a part of the life of our valley, and it is a
little difficult to remember now how we got along before they arrived.
life for these transplanted city dwellers in their new desert setting hasn't all
been easy. In spite of station wagons, electric power, radios and butane,
Frank and Peggy are pioneers - true descendants of the adventurous Americans who
settled the old west. There have been hardships, setbacks, and times when
the Secrests wondered why anyone ever thought this stark, uncompromising country
was worth taking from the Apaches. But after a hard day, perhaps they
would watch the sun set in a flaming sea of clouds behind the Huachuca
Mountains, see the stars flash out like a myriad of tiny searchlights in the
darkening sky, and feel the silence of the desert night descend over them like a
velvet cloak. Then they knew why they had abandoned the city to become
pioneers in a new land. However, we bring our habits, like our furniture,
along with us.
never be satisfied until the place is green and covered with trees,"
exclaimed Peggy who was originally a New Englander. Forthwith, she
carefully nursed a little patch of lawn, put in a modest garden and planted
fruit and poplar trees. All throughout the long hot summer Peggy watered and
cultivated her miniature oasis. Then tragedy struck: a neighbor's cow
wandered in, made a clean sweep of the flowers and cropped the foliage from the
infant trees. That day Peggy would have exchanged for one small city
apartment with a potted geranium in the window. But the pioneer spirit
wasn't broken. Once more flowers bloomed around the house and the trees
were bravely putting out new shoots inside cow-proof wire cages.
San Pedro Valley was peopled 10,000 years ago by red-skinned pro-genitors of
modern Indians, and it has a lively and picturesque background of history dating
back four centuries. This land has seen resplendent Spanish conquistadors
in shining armor; black-robed and brown-robed missionary priests; stalwart
trappers in buckskin; bitter and bloody Apache Indian wars; hell-raising mining
camps; cattle rustling and Mexican border skirmishes.
Secrests are proud of the historical marker placed by the Dons of Phoenix on
their property. (Note: now since removed) Its inscription records
that Coronado and his army passed through there in 1540 on their quest for the
Seven Cities of Cibola. Frank and Peggy like to believe that the great
handsome Negro, Esteban, and Fray Marcos de Niza too, cut across their front
yard a year before the Spanish Captain-General. Such events seem to
identify the newcomers more closely with their adopted land.
Secrests came from Pasadena where Frank had built up a blind and window shade
business for 25 years. They were friendly people and always busy with
social activities in the city. Frank has a fine tenor voice and sang and
plays the piano and accordion. They were both actively associated with a
little theater. I asked Peggy what compensation she and Frank had for all
they left behind them.
"Its hard to put into words," she said thoughtfully, "but we
haven't missed the city. The people are friendly down here. We have
our music too. There are parties, dinners, square dancing, radio and most
of the other things we had. But the constant strain and hurry are gone and
we're not tired all the time. And then," she swept her arm toward the
valley, "we have that."
looked out over the green meadows along the river where cattle grazed in the
shade of great cottonwoods and willows. Beyond, the tawny desert stretched
up to the bold promontories of the Mule Mountains shining red, brown, yellow,
and ochre against the blue sky. I could understand what Peggy meant, for
this country has gotten under my skin too. But she is right - you can't
put it into words.
10, 2001: Changes have continued to take place since the writing of this
article, proprietors have come and gone. Since John and Pam Waters have
established ownership, obvious changes have transpired: the addition of a dining
room and other interior changes. It won't stop at this - plans are in the
making for continued renovations to meet the demand of a steadily growing
clientele. Additional services are also being researched in an attempt to
keep pace with the needs of a growing community.
Excerpts From "Early
Sierra Vista; Its People and Neighbors"
In the late 1890's, north and east of the tiny border town of Naco, Walter and
Lydia Fike and his brother Homer Fike had established their homesteads.
They'd also purchased land from Peter Johnson and others on this side of the
border to form the San Jose Ranch, which extended from the city limits of Naco
to the San Pedro River. The Fikes got into ranching in a big way due to a
couple of very productive water wells they owned at the original homesite south
of Deer Point, the southern tip of the Mule Mountains.
1913, the San Jose Ranch was running three to four hundred head of steers, two
hundred and fifty head of horses and a massive dairy operation, supplying the
busy mining town of Bisbee.with fresh milk and cream. At one point the San
Jose Ranch had a hundred and fifty hired hands to work the ranges, do the
farming, and operate the dairy.
the Fikes settled in the valley, the area now known as Palominas was called
"Sod Town." Probably, because of the rich soil and the moisture
the valley received when it rained, the green grass grew better there than
anywhere around and sod was a precious commodity in those days.
ranchers in the area included Bostic Williams and C.H. Martin. And about
the time when the Frys settled near the fort, Frank Moson was moving his family
from their place near Lewis Springs to establish the Y-Lightning Ranch, west of
became a railroad stop, wild cattle from both sides of the border were rounded
up and driven in cattle drives to Willcox, the nearest railroad hub, where they
About the time
Oliver Fry had decided to move his family from Texas to Garden Canyon, near the
main gate of Fort Huachuca, Samuel Leiendecker was settling with his family on a
hundred and sixty acre homestead west of Palominas.
time Leiendecker, who had moved to Cochise County from Pasadena, California, had
expanded his land holdings to 640 acres, a full section. During the
ensuing twenty-five years, he continued to acquire additional property and
eventually controlled two thousand, six hundred and forty acres of prime grazing
and farm land in the fertile valley.
of the rock houses, adobe buildings and stone structures built by Leiendecker
are standing and a few are still in use. When he was seventy-nine years of
age, he completed construction of the last building. In 1956, at the age
of eighty, Samuel Leiendecker passed away. Three boys and a daughter
survived to continue ranching the Leiendecker spread.
Samuel's death, Urbane Leiendecker gave one thousand, three hundred and twenty
acres of the prime farm land to A. A. Allen Revival Inc., which was named
Miracle Valley. Later on, three hundred and twenty acres of the
Leiendecker property on the north side of the highway were subdivided and sold
Leiendecker's son Paul stated, "In 1938 I prophesied that this land will
some day be the Valley of Refuge."
The year 1887 was the year of the earthquake in the Arizona Territory and the
July 22, 1934 edition of the "Bisbee Daily Review" gave this
accounting of Henry Pyeatt's experience during that historical event:
"On the day of the earthquake the (Pyeatt's ) bride was alone in their
ranch home, and Pyeatt was at the general store in Palominas. This was a
long building. He, Jimmy Duncan, a cowboy long since dead, old Cap Kelton,
a captain in the federal army and then a line rider in the customs service, and
Frank Tweed, the storekeeper, were sitting under the porch on the long verdanda
facing east, swapping tales."
"Tweed and Pyeatt were sitting on a pile of lumber, and Kelton was
ensconced in the only chair there was to be had in the
establishment. They were first startled by a distant rumbling like thunder
in a clear sky. Then, without warning, some of the plaster from the adobe
structure fell from above their heads, barely missing them."
"They ran off the porch and out to the plaza. The world seemed to be
in a swirl. They ran back to the house, and it seemed that the corner of
the building was going to hit the runners. At the same time it looked as
if the waves of the ground were going to swallow them."
Pyeatt says he was leading that mad chase during the earthquake, and he was
conscious that Frank Tweed and Jimmie Duncan were right behind him. 'We
ran like wild calves,' Pyeatt laughed. He had just been married on the
28th of April and that was only on May 3. 'I had to laugh afterwards,' he
says, 'It was so funny the way we acted. I wouldn't run now, for it would
be no use. Old Cap Kelton didn't run then. He just moved away from
the adobe wall and said, 'Don't get excited, boys; it's nothing but an
"All of the running happened in about fourteen seconds, Pyeatt discovered
afterwards, for an old man in Tombstone had timed the earthquake. 'Just about
the time the earth quit shaking, I quit running, ' Pyeatt says, 'but my knees
were still shaking for some time afterwards.' "
As homesteaders and settlers moved into the valley between the Huachucas and the
Mule Mountains, small communities came into existence. Palominas,
Hereford, Huachuca Siding and Garden Canyon became more populated and with the
railroads came settlements like Lewis Springs and Buena.
the Arizona earthquake of 1887, some of the physical characteristics of Cochise
County changed drastically. The San Pedro River, which had been a sizable
flow of water supporting irver transportation, suddenly went dry as the water
went underground. Shortly thereafter, many of the mines on the east side
of the San Pedro and those around Tombstone became flooded and large scale
mining was discontinued. Towns like Charleston and Fairbank were vacated
as miners departed for more promising territories.
130, 132, 133)
In 1937, another cowboy/wrangler settled in Cochise County. He'd been here
before as a member of the Machine Gun Squadron of the 1st Cavalry at Camp Harry
J. Jones in Douglas. That was a temporary assignment. This time he
came back for keeps.
Bond was sixteen years old when he decided to leave Texas. That was the
summer of 1922. He'd heard tall tales about the opportunities in St.
Louis, so he "hoboed" his way to the town that became known as
"The Gateway To The West". When he got there, he found out there
were indeed lots of jobs, but none for a sixteen year old.
day outside the post office in St. Louis, he spotted the recruiting sign
promoting the charms of the horse cavalry. When he visited with the
recruiters, they painted a very exciting picture of Army life at Camp Harry J.
Jones in a place called Douglas, Arizona.
reminiscing, James Bond said, "They told me, 'You'll soldier in the morning
and afternoon. Then at night you'll get a pass and a horse so you can go
across the border into Mexico for cold beer and lots of pretty girls.'
Well, I was very fond of horses and liked to ride and it all sounded good to me,
so there and then I signed up. Of course I told a little fib. I was
just going on seventeen but I told them I was eighteen. The next thing I
knew, I was with the 1st Cavalry Division. My pay was twenty-one dollars a month
but two dollars of that went for laundry. What I got was nineteen dollars,
cash. Out of that, I sent ten dollars each month to my mother back in
Rocksprings, Texas. That still left me nine dollars a month for necessities
The moment James
Bond arrived at Camp Jones in Douglas, he was labeled with the nickname
"Tex". He's gone by the name Tex Bond ever since.
1937, Tex returned to Cochise County and went to work cowboying for the Rancho
del Rio at Hereford. Later on, he worked at the Y-Lightning Ranch.
According to Tex, the Y-Lightning was the best dude ranch....the best saddle
horses and cowponies.... and for his money, F.B. Moson, owner of the
Y-Lightning, was the best horse trainer in the county.
back in his reclining chair, the well-preserved Texan, turned cavalry soldier,
turned cowboy, remembered, "It was at the Y-Lightning Ranch that I met
Patsy Higgins. She had come out from her home in Indiana to visit cousins
here. One day they stopped by the ranch and all I saw of her that day was
the top of her head. Well, a few weeks later, the Mosons were looking for
a girl to work on the ranch and I suggested that they go get that little gal
that was here with Rose Clinton. I'd heard that she was looking for a
job. Sure enough, they hired her. A couple of months later, I gave a
party for a dude guest and invited Patsy. I was playing guitar and singing
and it was a real fine party. Finally, one of the fellas there said,,
"You know, Tex, Patsy likes you.' Well, after that, I started dating
Patsy and in 1943, Nora "Patsy" Higgins and I were married."
the war, Tex was drafted and he and Patsy went to Fort Smith, Arkansas, but only
for six months, when they returned to the Y-Lightning Ranch.
Being a wrangler on a dude ranch didn't allow Tex and Patsy much time together,
so they left the Y-Lightning and hired on at the Thompson cattle ranch in
Hereford. The owner, Arthur Thompson, was a millionaire from Chicago, who
made his fortune by inventing the Thompson lockwasher. Tex and Patsy
stayed on there in Hereford for six years. And their son James R. Bond was
Tex purchased a home in
Palominas, where they have lived ever since, and decided to try his hand at
mining. He went to work for Phelps Dodge in Bisbee on the track gang at
$1.76 an hour.
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Call for help on history pages:
We really need help with this section. If you are a long
time resident, or know one or more long time residents, please contact Doug
Snyder for information to include on these pages. If you know of any books
that include even a slight amount of history of the Palominas area, please let
me know. There are many questions I have about the name origin, early
settlers, farmers, and ranchers, historic buildings (that no longer exist), old
photographs, newspaper clippings, etc.