R. C. Jones was born in Hannah, Oklahoma in 1915 and the family moved to Gilbert, Arizona in 1923 due to the mother’s health. At the age of 14 (1929), R.C. started in the business of trading livestock, mostly cattle, and just one year later he had the opportunity to purchase sheep. Having no money himself as the time was during the depression, he borrowed from the Salt River Project. Why he was able to borrow from them or why they were willing to loan the money is anyone’s guess as this information was not given. Anyway, R.C. purchased 100 ewes that were going to lamb. He did pretty well for himself as the wool paid off his debt to the Salt River Project. The time period for payment of the loan was not given either. What is unfortunate the document where I found this information did not say anything more about him and the sheep. There is no evidence that he sold them or kept them. What became of the lambs? Did he also profit from selling them? With the time period of the depression, he may have sold them as soon as he could. Just one of the many little stories of sheep people found scouring past historical documents.
With so little information, you may wonder why I wrote this story. The main reason is that a great deal of information on the very early years in the sheep industry are obscured little bits of information. What it does say speaks volumes. Sheep could make you money! Someone could at the time of the depression pay for his sheep from the wool. Dwayne Dobson’s father, a Canadian who came in the early part of the 1900s, also had bought sheep prior to the depression and was able to keep them and continued to raise the woolies for many years before turning the operations over to his sons.
What also should be mentioned is that many of the Anglos sold out to the Basque who had originally come to be the shepherd and because of their work ethic, tenacity, and shear will power, was able to survive the economic downturns or at least had that deserve to rebuild a flock of sheep. Sheep was in their blood. It must be remembered that three Basque families still continue the large sheep outfits in the state.