John L. Mudersbach was born in Flagstaff in 1902 to John C. and Mary Azelia “Beesen” Mudersbach. His family bought a ranch in Phoenix moving there in 1904. The ranch had both sheep and cattle. John, writing in the Arizona Pioneer Ranch Histories, Vol. III, believed that these sheep may have been the first in the Salt River Valley. His dad had Shropshires and Rambouillets. These may have been the first Shropshires in Arizona! His dad also had a ranch on the west side of the Phoenix area, near Glendale, where he had feed pens for fattening about 700 lambs.
Not much else is known about the dad except he is listed in Haskett’s early history of the “Sheep Industry in Arizona” as having sheep in Coconino County during the period 1891 to 1906. Gus Mudersbach is also listed as having sheep from the 1880s to 1906. What relationship existed between the two men is unknown. Neither name shows up in the Arizona Wool Growers Association roll. This organization began in 1886, but not all sheep owners belonged to the Association.
The Shropshire sheep was introduced into the US in 1855. From the 1880s to the 1930s it was the most popular and influential breed. At one time, there were more Shropshire sheep in the US than any other breed. Today, across the country, families raise these sheep for youth projects such as 4-H or FFA.
A Shropshires sheep.