A Nebraskan by birth, Levi H. Reed was born in 1902 to Adelbert and Dora Reed. His parents ran a diary and farm, delivering milk, eggs and other farm products to the nearby town of Alliance. After a friend of his dad had migrated to the Salt River Valley, Adelbert came in 1908 presumably to visit but, he bought a farm on what is now 35th Ave and McDowell Road. Returning to Nebraska, Adelbert sold his land holdings and moved his family with eight Percheron horses to Arizona in 1910.
Levi went to school, graduating from high school and attended Phoenix Junior College for one year before enrolling for part of two terms at Iowa State, but he was unable to finish his education as he was needed by his father to run the farm. During the 1920s, he farmed both his father’s land and acreage he bought. He farmed mostly alfalfa which he used to feed old ewes he bought from Fred Porter, a sheep rancher, and other sheep ranchers. He lambed these ewes and sold some of the ewes with the lambs in Kansas City. The sheep he kept he grazed on George Stermer’s ranch near Heber on the Sitgreaves National Forest.
Levi married Ruth Bowman and throughout the 1930s continued feeding both sheep and cattle which he added to his operation. The couple may have continued in the sheep business through the 1940s and till late 1950s as Levi wrote, “we traded some of our deeded land for the Marshal Lake Ranch near Flagstaff, on Lake Mary, with the M.O. Best estate which was running sheep. We operated it as a sheep ranch for two years, then converted it to cattle” (Arizona National Livestock Show Ranch Histories, Vol. V, pg. 20).
Freed (Fred?) Porter is listed in the Arizona Wool Growers Association (AWGA) and it could be the same Porter as the list of files for the AWGA that are found at the Cline Library Special Collection, Northern Arizona University, has many errors and thus the name could just be spelled incorrectly. This Porter is listed as a member from 1938 to 1969 and does fit part of the time period even though Reed got sheep from a Fred Porter in the 1920s. Not all years that men had sheep were they members of the AWGA and this may be the case here. Another entry lists Porter and Gibson Livestock Company as a member for 1945.
Reviewing the AWGA files, M.O. Best Company was listed as a member from 1954 to 1956. Reed is not listed as a member of the association during any time period. No record has been found that George Stermer was a member either. However, the AWGA has a listing for Swift and Stermer belonging to the association in 1962. No verification can be made at this time that this is the same Stermer, however, it is most likely the same person. More research will be needed to verify these men or companies as members of the wool growers and the years of belonging. Stay tuned for updated information.