After finding a little sheep history in The Weekly Arizonian, Tucson, for 1859, the next year to carry any news was found in 1868 in the Weekly Arizona Miner, Prescott.
Not all newspapers were digitized for that year so we can only report on what issues are available, of course. The August 15th edition has already been posted here on this blog about Arizona being a good stock country and the second wettest state after Oregon. I don’t understand how we could have been the second wettest area, but I just report what was written! So, while that is hard to phantom, the newspaper carried an article from the Los Angeles Star stating that Arizona had great advantages as a sheep country. One of their reasons was stated that the territory had no “clover burr” which would get into the sheep’s wool and reduce its value. The Los Angeles Star continued, “The day will come yet we have no doubt, when all the vast plains between the Juniper Mountain and the Colorado will be covered with flocks and herds; when the sheep will be driven to the banks of the river and there shorn, and the fleece dispatched at once by steam to market. The opening of the navigation of the Colorado river is as essential to the prosperity of Arizona…” There is no need to continue the negative commentary regarding the Native American living in Arizona as it does not add to our story; just suffice it to say, the newspapers thought that the Native American was a detriment to raising livestock in Arizona.
Finishing out the year two editions of the Weekly Arizona Miner for December 19 and 26 reported Campbell & Buffam, who were merchants of Prescott, and Jas. Baker were driving a large herd of sheep from California and they and their sheep would arrive soon in the area. We were told nothing more and looking into the next years papers again that were available for 1869, we know that the sheep arrived as in July 1869 they were shearing and proud of the amount of wool their sheep had produced. We also find that Jas. Baker was off again to purchase more sheep but this time he was going to New Mexico to make his purchase.
Slim pickings for 1868 but as more digitized newspapers are made available more information on the early sheep industry may come to light.
It takes time to read all the newspapers across the Territory for each year and then assimilate that information. Of course, there were not many newspapers in the early years, so it goes a little quicker but as more towns set about having a newspaper, it will take a little longer to look through each of them. So, stay tuned for 1869.