Today, as I debated what sheep story I should write about, I decided to change things a little and write about why I want to preserve the stories of the shepherds, i.e., those who are with the sheep 24/7, and sheep ranchers, i.e., those who own the sheep. The reason is very simple – they are part of Arizona’s history and the story of the west! If I don’t remember them, who will? Their lives may never have been glamorized as the “cowboy” in Hollywood movies; their hard work and perseverance to continue when they became outnumbered by the cowboy and their cattle still make the an important part of the economic and ethic diversity of Arizona. The Basque came to herd the sheep for the Americans and they are the ones still in the business today. Their tenacity has preserved this way of life of their forefathers. For this they should be remembered!
I am still learning new stories as I scour newspapers of the territorial days and into the early years of statehood. There is so much information that it is overwhelming at times and I need to stop and begin to write the stories. Not much of the history of sheep ranchers in other states have been preserved so I am glad I have decided to at least preserve Arizona’s history.
Stay tuned for more stories as I find them.