I was in Winslow over the weekend for a sheep presentation for the Old Trails Museum. What is always a plus with these presentations is the people I meet and the stories that they can contribute to the history of the sheep industry in the state. So far, I have information on four boarding houses, three in Flagstaff and this one in Winslow. I put a question mark as I do not know for certain that this one was a Basque Boarding House. I know the ones in Flagstaff were. I know there has to be more and I just love the thrill of the hunt for them. As I learn more about when it was a boarding house and other details, I will update this blog. This is the boarding house in Winslow.
PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING FROM THE START EACH TIME AS I ADD NEW INFORMATION AND MAKE CORRECTIONS TO THE STORY. IT IS NOT ALWAYS POSSIBLE TO GET ALL THE INFORMATION FROM ONE PERSON AND THERE ARE MANY PEOPLE WHO ARE EDUCATING ME ABOUT THE HAPPENINGS AT THIS BOARDING HOUSE!
I have recently learned that this was a Basque boarding house in Winslow. It was run by Tony and Carmen Chacon. Carmen’s father was Rafael Sarabia who ran sheep in the area. It is my understanding that Rafael passed in 1932 but the Sarabia Sheep Company was still operating during the period of 1937-1940 based on dues that were paid to the Arizona Wool Growers Association. Who ran the outfit for him is still in question but it may have been Tony Lopez. This information comes from the Wool Growers Association files. Unfortunately, the document which states Lopez ran the sheep also said Sarabia died in either 1938 or 1939. Still some missing information that needs to be found as I talk to the families of Sarabia and Ylarraz as they both were related. Sarabia’s granddaughter, Amparo, married Gregorio Ylarraz.
Future research with one of the two daughters of Tony and Carmen Chacon and another of the Ylarraz’s I have learned more about this boarding house. Before I continue about the boarding house, introductions to some of those who have given me information and are related to Rafael Sarabia. Rafael had four daughters: Carmen, Amparo, Elizabeth and Doris. Carmen was the oldest and I do know that Amparo was next. Carmen married Tony Chacon and they would run the boarding house. Amparo married Gregorio Ylarraz and had four children: Mel, Doug, Jan Marie and Theresa (spelling may not be correct). Hopefully this will help with the following story as I continue it over the next several days.
Carmen and her three sisters were sent to a convent school in Tucson when their mother died at a very young 39! Carmen was the oldest of the four girls and thus when her father needed her help in running the boarding house she left school in Tucson and came back to Winslow to help her father. Carmen was about 15 years old. At the end of the school year, the other three sisters moved home also. An interesting side note is that the convent school was run by nuns who were Basque. At this time I have not been able to get any information on the convent or the nuns. Another mystery to pursue.
In speaking with Irene Aja about the boarding house, she remembered it so well that she could draw a floor layout of the house! She spent time here in the early 1940’s and has a wonderful memory. She remembered the four connected buildings in the back of the house. One she remembered where many of the men bunked together and one of the buildings was used to store items that the herders had no place for when they were out with the sheep. Irene remembers as a teenager going to the boarding house from her dad’s ranch, The Tillman, for a week during the summer as her dad trusted Carmen and the other herders to watch out for her. As a young lady, this small town offered more than the ranch ever could.
More to come……..