Notice of Establishment of Sheep Trail

In researching documents at the Sharlot Hall Museum Library and Archives Research Center I found the document with the same name as my title. It was drawn up by Young & Wilkins in Dewey, Arizona on April 6, 1916. Whether Young or Wilkins were sheep men has not been ascertained. The 1916 Book of Brands do not list either of them as sheep men but did list a Wilkins, a goat herder in Globe; not close to this area. Further research of other brand books will hopefully help to resolve the occupation of these two men if they were in the livestock business and to which animal that they raised.

The document began with the phrase – “all Sheep and Goat men, and any others who are interested.” The were notified that the undersigned (Young & Wilkins) have under lease sections 1, 12, 13, 24, 25, and 36 in Township 14 North, Range 1 East, as well as other sections in Township 14 and 15.

The men were notifying that they had established a sheep trail for the use of transient bands of sheep and goats, three-quarters of a mile in width. The trail would run in a northerly direction through the mentioned sections. The trail was marked by posts set in the ground.

Young and Wilkins wanted sheep and goats to be driving this marked route and not to trespass upon lands outside of the trail. If necessary to obtain access to this trail, the sheep may pass on lands otherwise declared not for their usage.

Was the document drawn up as sheep and goats were not following any prescribed trail and thus Young and Wilkins were tired of the flocks invading their areas that they used for grazing of their own livestock? In 1916, many sheep men were in business after suffering earlier losses due to decline in the market from lifting of American tariffs on imports of sheep products – lamb and wool, and economic downturns. The Arizona Republic newspaper, Phoenix, reported in 1916 that there were nearly two million sheep in the state and they were valued at $10,000,000. Arizona never had two million sheep even including those flocks belonging to the Native American, i.e., Navajo and Hopi. The 1910 agricultural census for Arizona states we had 1,226,000 million sheep and that decreased in 1920 to 882,000 sheep. The value of the wool fluctuated across the year with the low price of $0.24 to the high price of $0.28. To equate that to 2021 dollars that would be $5.79 and $6.76 cents, a very good price!

While the document is interesting, it does make one wonder what occupation were Young and Wilkins involved in to need to write such a document? Stay tuned as research continues on the “Notice of Establishment of Sheep Trail.”

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