Tidbits of Sheep Business last half 1885.

Several short tidbits of information about the sheep industry to finish off the year 1885.

The St. Johns Herald, St. Johns, Arizona, June 1885, had this information on Don Antonio Gonzales who was introduced in an earlier blog. Briefly, he had fallen heir to wool and mutton earlier in the year of 1885 that had been valued at least $50,000.  The newspaper stated that, “The friends of Don Antonio Gonzales have forwarded to Governor (Frederick Augustus) Tritle a petition signed by most of the citizens of St. Johns, asking that he be appointed a member of the Board of Wagon Road Commissioners of Apache County, to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Ebin Stanley. Mr. Gonzales is a man so well known throughout the county that the simple fact of his appointment will be sufficient guarantee that the interests of the people will be conscientiously looked after. We hope the Governor will make the desired appointment. Many advertisements in various editions of the newspaper showed that Don Antonio Gonzales had a store in St. Johns.”

Another piece of information found in the June 25th edition of the newspaper was the ad from Holbrook for the sale of Merino bucks. Jewett & Munson had a store in Holbrook and had shipped from California 400 Spanish and French Merino Bucks that were advertised to be “heavy shearers and are used to being herded on the range; are suited to Arizona ranges and climate. Will be sold cheap in lots to suit.”  This is not the first time that an ad for Merino sheep has been found in the northern Arizona newspapers.

Prior to the sheepmen organizing into the Arizona Sheep Breeders and Wool Growers Association in 1886, a least one county, Apache County, had their first preliminary organization meeting in September 1885.  At that meeting they resolved to hold a convention for permanent organization and the election of officers that November.  And our dear sheepman, Antonio Gonzales, was made the temporary secretary of the organization. The St. Johns Herald’s newspapers from the end of October to the end of November have been destroyed or at least not digitized. It has been impossible to follow up on whether the organization did meet the first day of November and there are no other newspapers that have discussed this organization.  It could be that with the state Arizona Sheep Breeders and Wool Growers Association founding in 1886 took the forefront of the mutual interest for the sheepmen across the state and county organizations went by the wayside. It would be a year before the state organization would be organized. It can only be speculated that there was no interest by the sheepmen in the county to form a local organization or the state organization took precedent. Once again, no other record has been found of the county’s association. Further research may uncover what happened to the Apache County Sheepmen’s Organization.

Another little tidbit of information about the county was found in the column “Local News” about Robert and James Scott. These two men are well known in the sheep business and from the little snippet we learn that they were pioneer sheep raisers in the county and owned large ranch interests near Show Low.  They were in St. Johns on business. The “Local News” column has many little one-line pieces of information that mentions who was in town and usually lists their occupation but not always. 

The last piece of information for closing 1885 is the death of one of Antonio Gonzales sheepherders, Jose Lusers.  At the initial writing of the death in mid-August, no suspect was given, just a very detailed accounting tracing the bullet through the sheepherder’s body; way too much gory detail for me! The rest of the year’s newspapers that can researched did not have other information on Lusers’ death. It may be found on who was the killer when other northern Arizona newspapers are researched for 1885 and the beginning of 1886. Unfortunately,  we don’t find any St. Johns Herald again until April 1886.

We can now close the year 1885 from information taken from the St. Johns Herald. So, until next time, happy trails!

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