Reuben Dial, Tom Hudspeth, Street Hudspeth and Gene Dial Photograph Sept 1927 Obtained from Williams Public Library Collection WPL_Vol 3 Family Histories Dial-Vincent Retrieved July 4, 2018.
Over the last several weeks I have been reading the Arizona National Pioneer Ranch Histories. There are over 20 and I am on Vol 8 so it will take some time to read. As I am reading I am compiling any mentions of sheep or stories of those listed in the volumes that may have been in the sheep business even if it was short lived. Through the names I have collected and the corresponding stories, many of the stories have been retold here. (See earlier blogs). Some of the names are familiar sheep ranchers and others are not. From here, I then, look through the Arizona Wool Growers Association member lists for years that are stated in the ranch histories to determine if they were members. Not always were sheep ranchers part of the AWGA even though there were benefits to joining if for the moral support and to have the organization fight for the sheep and their rights and by extension those who owned them and to continue this way of life for the sheep ranchers. Reading these pioneer ranch histories, scouring the newspapers for the any mention of sheep and their owners and the best part, meeting with those who partook in the industry that are still living today, I have tried to preserve the Arizona sheep industry. I still have many more ranch histories to read, newspapers to read, and family histories to record. Its like following the trail of the sheep moving between their summer and winter grazing lands; a monumental task to keep it all together; an adventure of happy trailing. So, join me as another sheep pioneer comes to life: Peter G. Pfluger.
While the story is about Pfluger, his story cannot be told without including T. J. Hudspeth (See picture above of Hudspeth). Researching the Arizona Wool Growers Association files, there is a T.J. Hodspeth which is most likely the same man, just misspelled by those compiling the list of the AWGA files for the Cline Library Special Collections at Northern Arizona University. From these files, we have found that Hudspeth moved to the Buckeye area in 1929. He was a breeder of pure blood Rambouillet sheep in the area of Ash Fork. But, I digress….
Peter was the youngest of twelve children born in 1901 in Pflugerville, Texas. Sheep, cattle and raising cotton were all raised on the Pfluger homestead. Peter helped run the ranch until 1927 when he moved west where an older brother had migrated earlier and was working for the T. J. Hudspeth Sheep Company. The boys had learned about sheep from their own family ranch and thus could delve right into a sheep outfit. In the winter, Hudspeth had his sheep grazing on the alfalfa, cotton stalks and when necessary boughten feed in the Liberty area. After spring rains, the desert would offer plenty of selections for them to eat, such as Indian wheat, filaree, as they were trailed to Congress Junction and onto Peach Springs, Fort Rock, and Crozier, their summer headquarters. This was a designated sheep driveway. The sheep would be trailed back to the Liberty area where lambing would take place.
About the time the outfit obtained a forest service grazing permit at Big Lake at an unspecified date according the pioneer ranch history about Peter, sheep were no longer trailed along the driveway to Peach Springs. The railroad would haul them from Congress Junction to Holbrook and then they trailed them for about three weeks to the Big Lake grazing permit. The trail took them from Holbrook, then Snowflake and onto Greer. It was near Greer where they were counted to ensure the grazing permit was honored which only allowed for a specific number of sheep. At the end of the summer, the sheep would be trailed back to Holbrook and loaded on train cars for the trip down to the Litchfield Park railroad siding. After unloading, the sheep would be trailed a short distance to a pre-arranged rancher’s field of alfalfa and lambing would soon be in full swing.
The last thing known about Pete and sheep is “Pete was associated with Hudspeth, and followed this life for sixteen years using his own brand” (Arizona National Pioneer Ranch Histories, Vol. VI).