Gunnar Thude and Family

The next week I will be posting the story of Gunnar Thude to this blog.  But in the meantime enjoy a couple of pictures of his family.

503367_6042811b6bf6cwl5240vld_D_96x128[1]A young Gunnar Thudeunknown man

Gunnar Thude in Arizona possibly at a sheep camp or one of his ranches.  As I obtain more information from the family I will update each of the pictures and add others.

Update: the picture above of Gunnar is at his Heber ranch that he bought from Williams Ryan, another sheep man.  Thanks for the information from one of his grandchildren, Gerald Hancock.

I have not collected all the information that I had hoped on the Thude familybut, will be talking to several of them in the next few weeks.  I was told by one of them that the April 1950 issue of the National Geographic followed Gunnar’s sheep up the Heber Reno Driveway.  I wish to share part of that story.  It is worth trying to get a copy of the issue and anyone who follows me and  would like a copy, can contact me and I will send the article to them.  I have all the National Geographic’s on CD from their beginnings until the 1990s.  I need to update my collection.

Francis R. Line wrote 50 years ago of the seasonal migration of man and beast (horse, burros, dogs, sheep and goats) along the Heber Reno driveway.  He stated, “…the annual trek means some 50 days of grueling struggle upward each spring and an equally exhausting journey downward when autumn’s snow drives the from the mountains.” The story details the herder, Rosalio Lucero, and Pablo Chaveez, the camp tender as they trek 1,547 sheep that belonged to the Paradise Sheep Co., which was owned at this time by Gunnar Thude.  As only the National Geographic or Arizona Highways can do, the magnificent photography helps the reader see the difficult terrain, the canyons, the enclosed walls that kept the temperatures hot and allowed very little breeze to give comfort to man or beast.  Each sheep outfit, men and beast, suffered from the long dry days as the sheep would have several days of no water.  Then there was the mad dash to a water hole when it did appear. The photographs also showed the beauty of the land from the mountains, the blooming cactus and flowers and trees.  The Heber Reno driveway was over 200 miles long and through the most difficult part of Arizona.  Its inaccessibility kept the sheep owners from visiting the outfits and bringing much needed supplies except maybe every ten days.  Sheep outfits that used this trail included, but were not limited to, L-4 Ranches, Paradise Sheep Co., Diamond Sheep Co., Kenneth Ellsworth, Frank Erramuzpe, Cliff and Earl Dobson.  Dwayne Dobson used the trail last in 2011.  He sold out that year to Joe Auza, Casa Grande. It is my understanding that this year, 2019, Joseph Auza, Joe’s son, used part of the trail this year and three years ago.  The two pictures are courtesy of Gerald Hancock. The first picture is Gunnar and his foreman, Eliseo Lucas.  The second picture is sheep on the Blue Point Bridge over the Salt River.

1903 AZ Wool Growers’ Assoc. Members

The following men and one woman and one outfit listed by name were members of the very early Arizona Wool Growers’ Association.  Just for your information,  there are 71 members.  What would have been interesting to know is the number of sheep each had.  There are some names missing from the list which I will comment on in the next blog.

From Flagstaff: H. E. Campbell, D. M. Francis, C.H. Schulz, T. E. Pollock, E. S. Gosney, Jos Dent, Thos Sayers, Wm. McIntire, Frank Bearsley, Anton Kline, Babbitt Sheep Co.
From Williams: C. C. Hutchinson, Cap P. Smith, T.J. Evans
From Winslow: J. X. Wood, N. S. Bly, E. A. Sawyer, Perkins and Campbell, Jno. Noble, Richard Hart
From Jerome: J. F. Daggs
From Phoenix: E. B. Newman, W. H. Campbell, H. C. Lockhart
From Bumble Bee: M. Maxwell
From Ash Fork: Chas Howard
From Mesa: Daniel Mahona
From Tempe: L. D. Yaeger
From St. Johns: W. H. Gibbons, J. T. Leseuer, J. B. Patterson, Petereson and Co. Jones Bros., A & B. Schuster, Pena Bros, Padilla Bros., J.R. Armijo, Anastaeni Chavis, Jerry Gonzales, Jesus Peralto, Mrs. E. B. Perkins, Sylvester Perlto, Dionicio Duran
From Concho: Pedro Montario, Santas Ortego, Cheney & Sons, Ambrosio Candaleria, Joan Candaleria, Rosela Candaleria, Pedro Candaleria, Leandro Ortego
From Show Low: James E. Porter, Wm. Morgan, Burr Porter, Robert Schott, James Scott, George Schott, Wm. B. Campbell
From Snowflake: Joseph E. Stock, Ezra West
From Adair: Williard Whipple
From Pinetop: W. N. Amos, Geo Amos, Clarence Morrow
From Pinedale: E. Thomas, Jr.
From Mesa City: John Nelson, Longmore Bros
From Holbrook: Martin Brochier, Jno. R. Hulet
From Heber: Archie Cameron, Dan Mahona

Mr. Gosney’s answers Mr. Bark

Mr. Gosney after being shown the interview printed in the December 5th newspaper stated, “Mr. Bark is certainly the champion anti-sheep agitator of the west. He seems to have fought the sheep industry so long and so hard that he is ready to believe and quote as true every wild rumor and is unable to state real facts involved in the question.” Mr. Gosney addressed all of Mr. Bark’s complaints leaving nothing out of his remarks: the drought, the number of sheep driven into the Salt River Valley, the abundant range feed this year, and the benefits sheep men added to the local economies of their counties.

Mr. Gosney first began that it was common knowledge in Arizona that a five-year drought was just broken when the territory had an abundant fall of snow and rain in the last twelve months. He further stated that there never has been or will there ever be 200,000 sheep driven to the Salt River Valley. (the two men’s numbers don’t seem to agree as Mr. Bark stated 300,000 and Gosney said 200,000 of which the newspaper never asked for correction).

Sheep from New Mexico had been brought into the territory Gosney said, agreeing with Mr. Bark’s statement. The reason that sheep came from the neighboring state was the range feed was very abundant and Arizona’s sheep could not feed on all of it. In answer to Bark’s claim that “sheep destroying the ranges and leaving nothing behind is pure nonsense,” Gosney said. The range was so abundantly covered with feed that the sheep would not have been able to eat even a “one- tenth” of it as they were trailed south. Gosney continued, “In fact nine-tenths of the feed on the southern ranges consumed by sheep could not be harvested by cattle or any other kind of stock; because it is inaccessible to water and only lasts for a short time, when it is abundant, then gone.” As for Bark’s comment that sheep have put the cattle men out of business, he adamantly disagrees as he also had interest in cattle and two factors eliminated his cattle: “climatic uncertainties and the activity of the numerous rustlers.”

Gosney also refuted the claim that the Salt River Valley watershed has been harmed by the sheep. He stated that the farmers in the Verde Valley would be the first to notice the reduced flow of water and they have not complained.

Gosney left nothing unturned in his refuted remarks to the claims by Bark. He made two last points on the benefits of the sheep men within the state. The first is that sheep were taxed in their home county and any sheep from Apache, Navajo or Coconino counties would have been illegally assessed in Maricopa County and this should be looked into as to why it was done. Sheepmen do pay their taxes and the totals paid by them in their home counties would be easily accessed for verification of this truth.

Gosney finished his defense of the sheep industry with the following: “The importance of the sheep business to the territories is generally underestimated. The income from this industry is (was) more than a million dollars and the great number of men employed annually and the heavy expense of caring for sheep and wool, all of which is(was) expended in the counties and districts where the sheep graze for the time being, makes it a matter of importance to the territory and to the people of those localities. The sheepmen are (were) among the best citizens of the territory. They are (were) imposing on no one, and they as well as the industry deserve fair consideration and treatment, and we sincerely hope the people and press of the territory will not be misled by intemperate agitators, into class or sectional strife.”

“If we are prepared for statehood let us prove it by being honest and fair to every citizen and every industry within our borders.”

This was the end of the two men’s square off as nothing more was printed in the newspaper for 1903 or the beginning of 1904.

James E. Bark, cattleman and E.S. Gosney, sheep man, square off.

The Pleasant Valley War may have ended in the early 1890s (1882-1892) however, the cattlemen still were making disparaging remarks about the sheep and the sheep men. In two different issues of the Williams News, one December 5, 1903 and the second, December 12, 1903, a prominent cattle owner, James E. Bark, and E. S. Gosney, president of the Arizona Wool Growers Association squared off with each citing their opinions of what they perceived of the others industry. This square off was a result of a statement made in the Phoenix Republican that 400,000 sheep were headed to the Salt River Valley and that sheep commanded the northern lands of the state.

On December 5th, Mr. Bark decided to answer this with what he perceived of the true problem with the sheep industry and how the sheep were ruining the forest reserves, the watershed of the Salt River Valley and adding little to the tax revenues of Maricopa County even though they benefitted from grazing in the county each winter.

He began by stating that before the influx of sheep in the Salt River Valley there were many cattle but that the herds had been reduced because the sheep had eaten everything, leaving nothing but higher branches on trees for the cattle. He further stated “there were many dozen cattlemen, each paying more taxes than all the sheepmen paid into this county (Maricopa) in 1902. He went on stating that if there were 300,000 sheep in the county, where were they when it was taxation time as the county only collected $99.85 on 60,700 sheep from Apache, Navajo and Coconino counties. His next point of contention was the destroying of the watershed, “is destroying our forests, tramping the watersheds of each little stream until the blessed rain when it comes can no more penetrate it than it could a sack of flour, but cuts gullies into it and washes it into the streams leaving nothing but a barren and hard subsoil or bedrock on which nothing can grow and destroying the greatest reservoir Salt River ever had or ever will have.” He continued that the sheep men say that the amount of rainfall is less than in previous years, but he disagrees with that statement and said he can prove it with the rain totals kept by the Weather Bureau!

His closing remarks “Action must be taken by the people of the Salt River Valley to stop the destruction of their watershed or give up the valley and the Tonto reservoir to the sheep. But can we afford to give it up for $99.85 per year?” Clearly, he did not care for the sheep industry.

Mr. Gosney’s answer will be in the next post.

The Progress of Arizona – Governor Brodie 1903 Report – Livestock

At the end of November1903, Governor Brodie’s statement on the progress of Arizona included many areas of the economy with the report ended with the status of the livestock industry but it is almost exclusively about the sheep industry. I have taken it verbatim from the newspaper.

“The Live Stock Sanitary Board submits a report in which it says that the live stock industry, as in the past, stands second in magnitude among the great industries of the territory. The passage of a live stock law by the last legislative assembly, says the sanitary board, marks a new era of prosperity and protection to those engaged in stock raising nd undoubtedly will reduce the cow thief and the rustler to a mere matter of tradition.

E. S. Gosney, of Flagstaff, Secretary of the Arizona Woolgrowers’ Association, reports at length on the sheep industry of Arizona for the current year.  Mr. Gosney estimates the lamb, sheep and wool crop of the season in this manner: sheep one year old and over, 500,000; lambs, 270,000; mutton, 250,000; wool clipped 3,500,000 pounds. The average price of wool for the season of 1903 was 13 cents per pound, giving a value of $455,000. The average price of lambs, $2.50 per head, but the sale of lambs at $675,000, making a total value of the sheep product of this territory for the season amount to $1,130,000.”

The cattle industry, well, they were absent in this report except their mention in the livestock board report. Surely, they had something to report for as we will see in the next post they surely wanted to complain about the sheep industry.


Our Way of Life is Vital to Yours

Frances Aleman wrote the following prior to her death in 1983 at the young age of 72. I am guessing that this was written in the 1950s or 1960s from what she had to say about transportation for sheep.  The railroads ended hauling of sheep early 1970.  I posting this today as I think it is very apropos on the livestock industry today and the bad publicity it is receiving, both for sheep and cattle.

“If the events of civilization could be traced throughout the ages, there is one animal that has followed the footsteps of man more perhaps than any other, and that is sheep.
Very apparent as the provider of food and fiber in Biblical times, sheep have also been a part of the American scene.”

“Certainly within the past 40 years the emphasis has changed. In fact, about 75 percent of the income from sheep now comes from the meat, with 25 percent from the wool, which is often referred to as nature’s miracle fiber.” (Author’s note: This is because of the low price for wool and fewer people wear wool even though there are great benefits to wearing the fiber and it is a product that is good for the environment.  I have written about this in an earlier blog)

“Sheep production today directly reflects the dramatic changes that have taken place in the modern world. At one time the center of the sheep industry was the Midwest, but as more intensive farming came to that area sheep raising shifted to the mountainous areas of the Rocky Mountain Region, yet with smaller farm flocks scattered throughout the United States. Sheepmen still graze large flocks in the rangeland of the nation, putting to good use the grasses and browse that might otherwise be waster. The livestock man is the nation’s number one conservationist, and wise land management allows him to continue to stay in business. He would be foolhardy to destroy these resources that preserve his way of life. Not only that, but his good land and water use encourages more wildlife to survive. The sheep not only help to improve the grassland, but they keep the forests cleared of underbrush that could contribute to the deadly forest fire.”(Author’s note: It would be an interesting study to track the demise of the sheep industry and the increase in western wildfires!)

“Added to all this is the economic impact which the sheep industry lends to our nation, providing jobs not only on the production side, but also for railroads and truckers, meat processors, salesmen, wool mills, garment manufacturers, retailers and countless other spinoffs from this basic animal industry.” (Author’s note: Sheep numbers are now at just a little over 5 million in the United States where at the time of WWII, there were 55 million.  Foreign governments that subsidize their sheep industry can ship meat cheaper to the United States then American sheep raisers can produce it.  Every time, an American buys sheep meat that is from Australia or New Zealand, that person is harming an sheep raiser here in the United States.  There are benefits to having sheep on the land as has been stated in this blog)

“In addition, the sheepman works closely with conservation groups to preserve the soil, water and wildlife and to allow multiple use of the land for fishing and hunting, hiking, camping, skiing, snowmobiling, and for those interested in preserving our heritage through wise use of the land.” (Author’s note – before you claim that livestock hurt the environment or put out methane gas, I hope you will check scientific facts and not be misled by the uninformed. In addition, if you call yourself a true environmentalist then you would be wearing natural fiber, i.e. WOOL!)

Sheep Happenings in 1903

As I have ben researching the Williams News for the year 1903 I was fortunate that January 10, 1903 listed 71 men and women involved in the Arizona Wool Growers Association.  I will list them at a later time.  The first three months of the year, the weekly newspaper, The Williams News, had quite a few mentions of the sheep industry.  Here are just a few of them:

Gus Reimer, who was called the jolly, elderly, ex-sheepman was now part of the San Bernardino Packing Company.  He was in charge of 2,000 sheep that were consigned to him as they were purchased from Frank Ebert.  Frank Ebert was not on the list as being a member of the Arizona Wool Growers Association.

James Walsh had sold all his sheep and was stocking his ranch north of Peach Springs with a high grade Hereford Cattle.

T.J. Evans, was on his way to Ash Fork with a large band of sheep belonging to the firm of Smith and Evans and would take them to the southern country for the rest of the winter.  This was in Local News for February 7th.  It seems late to be trailing sheep south.

Anyone who wanted to get their sheep sheared in the Salt River Valley this spring may find that unless the wool growers agreed to an increase in pay for the shearers, they may not get them sheared.  The current rate was five cents per sheep.  The shearers wanted a penny raise.

Also in February, the paper reported that one of  the largest sheep deals consummated in Arizona in recent yeas was closed in Phoenix. Ambrosio Candelaria sold his entire flock of sheep to the Ortega Bros. for $16,000. The sheep are in the Salt Valley waiting to be sheared.

Sometimes a name was printed with the news that the person was in town for a visit and the newspaper printed their occupation and where they were from.  Chas. Howard was one of these sheep men mentioned and he was from Ash Fork.  Another edition stated that P.H. Goesling, the well-known sheep man from Winslow, had found the bones of a man while hunting for stray sheep.  Nothing else is told about either sheep man, we do know that Howard was a member of the Arizona Wool Growers Association as his name appears on the list.  Goesling was not a member in 1903 which seems strange since he was a “well-known” sheep raiser.

Two pieces of information in the news concerned the wool.  “Wool is now being bargained for in Arizona from a quarter to one third more than it was sold for last season.  When the quantity is taken into consideration, this increase means the disbursement of a large amount of extra money throughout the territory.”  This news was followed a week later that the Williams News printed from The Gazette which stated that “$200,000 worth of wool has been clipped in the Salt River Valley this season.  The amount which passed through Phoenix warehouses is 1,200,000 pounds with about 100,000 more to ship.  The price of the wool shipped has ranged up to 16 cents a pound.  The wool was sacked this year but previous years it was baled.  The average weight of a sack of wool is 200 pounds.

Two last pieces of information stated there were about 35,000 sheep in the neighborhood of Seligman and permits had been granted for the grazing of 100,000 head of sheep on the San Francisco forest reserve for the upcoming season.  And that is the first four months of 1903.  I will add the list of members of the AWGA tomorrow.  And a couple of  sheep pictures with a pack donkey.