Guest Writer – Janice Bryson

A story written by Janice Bryson for the Arizona CattleLog, December 2013, about the Atkins Family tells ofa sheepman on the Arizona Strip. There were Atkins that had sheep on the Strip but I will relate their story later in future blogs. For now, we will just stick with this sheepman.

Joy illustrated the remoteness of the strip with the story of sheep man Wayne Gardner. He was a prominent St. George resident who grazed sheep on the Arizona strip. A fierce snowstorm hit the strip in January 1949, Gardner was worried about his sheep and his herder Ed Harrington. He left home early one morning and his family raised the alarm when he did not return. Due to the continuing storm, Maurice Miles and Rudger Atkin flew to the vicinity of the sheep camp and dropped a note to Harrington. Through signaled replies, they determined that Gardner had not arrived and Harrington needed help. No sign of Gardner could be located from the air. Two weeks after Gardner left home, a search party traveled three days through the snow to rescue Harrington and move the sheep to lower country. Gardner’s hat was located but no sign of the man. The Sheriff called off the search until the snow melted but was convinced to try again one more time. Searchers with hunting dogs traveled to the area and the body of Gardner was discovered 75 yards from the sheep camp. He had walked twelve miles from his pickup in snow up to his waist. His frozen body, covered with snow, was found leaning against a Cedar tree as he had apparently stopped to rest and froze to death.

A sad ending for just one of about twelve families that raised sheep on the Arizona Strip. Other sheepmen stories from Utah and Nevada will be posted soon. 

Sheep Families to be inducted

Two sheep families have been selected to be inducted into the Arizona Farming and Ranching Hall of Fame for 2023. They are John and Frances Aleman and the Etchamendy Family – Arnaud, Jean, Jean Baptista (JB) and Martin. Both the Aleman’s and the Etchamendy’s are of Basque descent. John Aleman came from Spain while the four Etchamendy’s are of French descent. Just a little information is given here but more will follow with pictures.

John and Frances Aleman.

John Aleman came to the United States in March 1914 settling in the Winslow area. He was led here by a boyhood friend, Juan Bicondon, who had migrated a year earlier. Juan wrote to John, “a land full of golden opportunities, knee high grass where sheep and cattle grazed as far as the eye could see, and cowboys riding horseback with forty-fives on their hips and Winchesters on the saddle.” John wanted to see this land for himself. He began as a camp cook there before moving to Flagstaff where he went to work for MP Espil and MI Powers at Frisco Mountain Sheep Company. By 1926 with saving his money he partnered with Mike Echeverria in the Cross Mountain Sheep Company. He partnered with Joe and Leon Pouquette also before he started the John Aleman Sheep Company in 1952.

John married Frances Abbie Hendrix in 1936. The couple had met when she came to Arizona and was visting her father’s ranch near St. Johns. Frances became very active in promoting lamb and wool. Along with Ora Chipman, of Utah, they co-founded the Make It Yourself with Wool competition. That competition, now called Make It With Wool, is still strong in both Arizona and Utah and many other states. The competition will be held in November in Arizona. (Pictures to follow once the competition is over.) Winners from each state move on to the national competition held during the national conference of the American Sheep Industry, held in January.

Just one more note about Frances taken from the nomination form submitted by her daughter-in-law. “In 1968 the American Sheep Producers Council started the annual Aleman-Chipman Scholarship Award for the senior winner in honor of their contribution to introducing young people from across the country to the beauty of woolen garments.”

Etchamendy Family.

Arnaud was the first of the family members to migrate to the United States in 1930. He began to work as a sheepherder until he was able to purchase his own sheep company. Once he became an American citizen though he was drafted into the military during World War II which forced him to sell his beloved sheep. After his 27 months of service, he returned to Arizona and purchased more sheep. He brought over his nephew Jean in 1949.

Jean and his uncle worked together for many years. Then Jean partnered with a boyhood friend, Jean Arriage who had come over in 1957. That partnership only lasted a year and then Jean went out on his own. Upon Arnaud’s death, Jean helped his aunt, Ramona with the sheep until her passing in the 1970s.

JB was the next brother to migrate to the United States also in 1957. He began his sheep career in California but within a year he was in Arizona working along side his brother and their uncle. The youngest Etchamendy, Martin would come in 1961. JB and Martin worked many years together until Martin returned to France. Martin would return and begin to run sheep again, mostly in California where he still to this day has a flock of sheep. Martin is 83 years young and still visits his sheep everyday with the exception of vacations and when he is not the grand marshal of the Basque activities in his hometown of Bakersfield, California.

All four of the Etchamendy’s wives were active in the Arizona Wool Producers Auxiliary (its title today) promoting sheep and wool along with Frances Aleman. The men would serve on the various boards of the Arizona Wool Growers’ Association.

There is a great deal more about each of the four Etchamendy’s and John and Frances Aleman and the Make It With Wool competition that can be written about. Over the next several weeks more information will be given with pictures. Hopefully, I will be able to photograph the Make It With Wool, Arizona competition this November.

This Week in 1922 Nothing Happened!

Well, there wasn’t much going on in the sheep business at least. This was the only article I could find in researching newspapers across the state for 1922. For those from the Buckeye, Arizona area, this will be of interest to you!

On September 19, 1922, The Arizona Republic reported that the Long Brothers were engaged in constructing a large and modern concrete sheep dipping vat. It was necessary because of the number of sheep they owned. The pit was to be 45 feet long with a 20 by 20 feet drain floor.

From talking with one of the descendants of the Longs, I believe that this vat was south of the present-day post office in Buckeye, Arizona. The Buckeye area was a winter sheep grazing location for many sheep families in the early to mid-part of the 1900s. It was still farmland and not with all the housing developments and warehouses that have sprung up in the last 10 years and taken over our precious farmland. We are losing farmland every day in the Salt River Valley and it was one of the reasons so many sheep ranchers sold out in the 1970s – 1990s among other reasons. Without farmland for winter grazing, the sheep had no place to go.

Friends have told me of the days up to the 1970s when they would be caught on road behind sheep being moved between one field to another. While they complained about it then because they were in a rush to get where they were going, they all have told me that they miss seeing the sheep grazing in the fields around Buckeye.

While there are not the large numbers of sheep grazing on the pastures today in the Buckeye area, one can still find pastures that still have less than 100 but you must be diligently looking for them.

And that is the story for this week one hundred years ago!

A lamb on one of the sheep farms today in Buckeye.

Baas and Bleats

Continuing from the article written in the Arizona Republic, December 27, 1925, that I posted on an earlier, we find information on angora goats in Arizona. The paper stated that they were “Closely allied with the sheep industry of the state is that of goat raising.” This statement can more fully be understood when the facts are presented.

From other newspaper articles and family stories, I know that goats have been in Arizona for about as long as sheep. Sheep were brought in with Coronado in the 1500s. I don’t know if he brought goats.

A few differences between the raising of sheep and angora goats, the predominate breed,  were implicitly given.  The principal counties for raising the woolies, i.e., sheep, such as Coconino, Yavapai, Navajo and Apache to name just four, goats were raised almost exclusively in Cochise, Graham, Yavapai, Pinal and Mohave. While sheep were raised for both meat and their wool, goats are raised principally for their mohair. The head count for sheep was approximately 580,000 without counting any owned by the Native Americans and goats totaled about 160,000. The total investment value for goats was close to $800,000 while sheep had a value of $10 million. Unfortunately, the article did not state the annual pounds of mohair produced by these goats.

Both sheep and goat raisers, almost 90 percent, are members of the Arizona Wool Growers association, a corporation. Its primary purpose was to protect and foster the wool and mohair industries within the state. The officers of the association and board of directors given for the end of 1925 appeared to be those only owning sheep. The newspaper named: “A. A. Johns, Prescott, president; C. E. Burton, Ash Fork, first vice president; E. H. Duffield, McNary, second vice president; Aubrey Gist, Skull Valley, third vice president; Louise A. Hodges, Phoenix, acting secretary and treasurer. The board of directors are Colin Campbell, Ash Fork, chairman; Lou Charlebois, Wickenburg; H. B. Embach, Flagstaff; T. J. Hudspeth, Seligman; T. E. Pollock, Flagstaff; E. A. Sawyer, Winslow, and Williams Wilkins, Prescott.”

As the sheep make their trek from their winter green pastures to their summer cool air retreat, the office of the association follows. In the winter the office is in Phoenix and the summer it will move to Flagstaff. During the month of January, the winter meeting of the association takes place in Phoenix and the summer meeting is held in Flagstaff. The movement of the meeting to the location of where the sheep and goat men are located makes sense so the majority of them may attend the meetings.  

If anyone following this blog had relatives raising goats in Arizona, I sure would like to hear from you. I have some stories; I am always on the lookout for more.  A future blog will be on goats!  And that is today’s baas and bleats!

Not angora goats! Just cute goats.

Colin Campbell Part IV

Most of this information comes from an interview that Colin Campbell gave to the Kansas City Journal in May 1905. It was reported in the Winslow Mail May 27, 1905.  

Colin told the newspaper that he had been engaged in the sheep business in Arizona for over twenty years and he had taken his sheep multiple times east to Kansas City. During the interview, Campbell related this trip east with the six carloads of sheep, all wethers, that had been grass fed. It had taken three weeks to make the journey from Mayer to Kansas City. Mayer is considered to be the center of Arizona and has good grazing land.  He told of being caught between two floods, unloading his sheep five times and then still had to hold his sheep on the cars for over 40 hours without furnishing them with food or water. More about the journey has not been recorded in newspapers in Kansas City or Winslow which was disappointing as many questions were left unanswered such as what condition the wethers were in when they arrived in Kansas City as he does not say in the quote below.

“The range men are bound to make some money this year,” said Mr. Campbell, “and they certainly deserve it, as they have been having hard luck in the southwest country for several years. This change is due to the fact that we have been having plenty of rain all over the country. In making this trip to Kansas City I noticed that in all the years that I have traveled over that long stretch of country I never saw it when it looked as green and beautiful as it does now. In Arizona the ground has been soaked a half dozen times since the first of the present year, as it never was before. This not only insures feed this year but prepares the ground for grass next year. The sheepmen of that country are making good money in two ways, one on wool and the other in the fat that the sheep will put on which make them sell at better prices. I sold all my wool clip this spring at 20 cents a pound ($6.73 in 2022 dollars), which is the highest price that I ever received for my wool. And the lamb crop was a good one, and we are going to bring to market the fattest sheep we ever marketed. This year the bulk of the mutton sheep of Arizona will come east, owing to the heavy rains that fell all over California this spring. These rains enabled  them to fatten their own stock and so they will need fewer of our sheep.”

For reference, in 1897 Colin sold his wool clip for $.10 a pound ($3.57 today).  And now just waiting to find more stories of the Campbell’s.

A. & B. Schuster

A year or so ago, I spent some time in Holbrook, Arizona taking pictures of the old buildings and learning more about Holbrook’s part in the sheep business. I was curious about the A. & B. Schuster store but at the time was told they were not in the sheep business only sold mutton in the mercantile store in Holbrook. In a recent newspaper search from various newspapers and relooking at an old one, The Holbrook Argus, 1897, this information was found.

A & B. Schuster was the name the two brothers used for their mercantile store.  Adolph and Ben were natives of Westphalia, Germany.  They settled in Holbrook in 1885 after various business enterprises in New and Old Mexico. They had a lot of sheep at one point, 5,000 to be exact as they were assessed by the Board of Equalization of Apache County for $6,500 on them as reported by the St. Johns Herald, July 1895.  In October of 1895, they trailed the 5,000 sheep to Las (sic) Vegas, New Mexico. Their names appear on Bert Haskett’s list of sheep owners in Arizona for the time period 1891-1906 from Apache County.

As more research is completed, I am sure there will be more information about the Schusters.

unknown date
The Schuster Family. Unfortunately I was not told or maybe it is unknown which man is which. I’ll update if and when I find out.

Shearing and lambing Early 1898

From the January 30, 1898, Arizona Republic it is possible to gleam a great deal of information on the happenings in the sheep industry in Arizona. The newspaper began its article “The Sheep of Arizona Congregated in the Salt River Valley for Shearing” reflecting on how the democratic congress of the past four years had allowed the sheep industry “to go to ruin” under the Dingley tariff.  Many sheep men in not only Arizona but the United States were affected and many went out of business. In Arizona, it was estimated that 50 per cent of those engaged in raising sheep “went to the wall.”

But the article was really on the positive side as it stated that the sheep men were happy and their profits looked good from the bountiful harvest of the previous year.  “And to add to their fortune the elements have given them the most favorable conditions for ‘lambing’ they have had in a long time, ” the newspaper stated. George Scott told the newspaper that the average lambing for an outfit will be 80 percent. Mr. Scott, with one band of 1,700 ewes got 1,900 lambs.

The exact number of sheep that will be in the Salt River Valley for shearing was not known as a band contained from 1,500 to 2,500 and no outfit had the same number. From the number of bands listed below there were 58 in the valley and it had been estimated to be between 130,000 and 140,000 total sheep. Those sheepmen, where they were from and how many bands each had in the valley as reported in the newspaper were as follows:

Winslow – Cart & Noble, four bands

Flagstaff – Campbell & Francis, seven; Bill Campbell, three

Ash Fork – Joe Rice, three; Mr. Sterling, one; C. Hutchinson, two; J. Q. Adamson, four; Frank Evart, two; Mr. Renner, one

Show Low – Scott Bros., four; J. E. Porter, one; Clarence Morrow, one; Cole Campbell, four; William Morgan, three; Mr. Longmore, three; John Nelson, three; A.&B. Schuster, four; Lorenza Baca, one; Archie Cameron, one; Amos Bros., two; J. D. Houck, four.

A side note: Not all the above names are listed on Bert Haskett’s History of the Sheep Industry. There are more names on Haskett’s list than here but many of those on his list would have shipped their wool and lambs from a northern location. (Maybe that would be interesting to record here who Haskett’s has as sheep raisers.)

Charles Goddard had contracted with most of the sheep outfits to shear their sheep. He had set up one shearing camp and another camp had also been established. A wool buyer, A. Vandewert, from Boston was here to buy that wool. He estimated that in Arizona there was nearly 500,000 sheep. He had contracted for 2,500,000 pounds of wool from Arizona; a sheep averages eight and one-half pounds of wool. Another benefit to the wool raisers was that the prices for wool  were up this year compared to last with wool selling between 12 and 14 cents per pound this year compared to 7 ½ cents last year. Selling of sheep in 1897 went for $2.30 and $2.75 per head but it is estimated that they will sell from $3 to $3.50 in 1898.

Other changes that were seen in 1898 included new plans for shearing and handling the wool. The newspaper continued, “The Santa Fe, Prescott and Phoenix Railroad company has prepared plans of a plant for shearing and handling wool which will facilitate the work to a great extent. The company will erect a plant at Peoria immediately, which they will hand over to shearing contractors ten days after the material for construction of the plant arrives. It has been delayed by the tunnel accident on the Santa Fe, but is expected to arrive soon. The plant will contain forty shearing pens, a large dipping vault, and a warehouse for the storage of wool. Machine shears will be put in each pen, and the old shears will be relegated to a place among the crude implements of the old days. The machines will be the means of saving a greater portion of the wool to the owners, as they clip much closer and cleaner than it is possible to do with hand shears.” 

Shearing at the railroad yard also reduced the cost to the wool raisers as they did not have to haul their wool clip to the railroad for shipping to the eastern markets.

It is the goal to continue to find more information on 1898 wool and sheep prices and how the wool raisers felt when they were done shearing and shipping the lambs which would take place in May. The sheep raisers estimated that they would need 250 double decked railroad cars.

Colin Campbell, Part II

A little of the known history of Colin L. Campbell:

Colin was born in Nova Scotia in 1853. He was one of two brothers who arrived in Arizona in the late 1800s. An exact date has not been determined by this author but research shows it had to be the early 1890 since he married Amelia in Winslow, Arizona, June 22, 1891.  (On ancestry.com a family tree for Colin shows her name as Mary Amelia Emelia Daze and she was called Minnie Daze; she had been born in Canada also.)  How Colin or his wife came to Arizona, why they came and how they met has not been discovered, yet!

What is known about the Campbell’s comes from many newspaper articles across the territory of Arizona. In the Coconino Sun, March 24, 1892, three names of interest popped up: Colin Campbell, W. H. Campbell and Wm. Daze the three men were admitted to citizenship. (Was Wm. a brother or father to Colin’s wife?)   In May of 1892, Colin purchased controlling interest in the Santa Rita Land & Cattle Company. With citizenship he could own land.

Colin and Amelia Daze Campbell had a son, Eugene Colin, born in November 1893, in Winslow. The birth information comes from Arizona the Grand Canyon State, Volume I where a series of biographies can be found and the biography about Eugene Colin. In several different editions of the Coconino Sun other information has been found. In 1894, he attended the Wool Growers meeting. Over the next 20 years, Colin is mentioned many times in the territorial newspapers. For example: He had property across the state as he paid taxes for improvements to his lots in Winslow in 1896 (Coconino Sun) and in 1897, he put up 25 miles of telephone lines connecting both of his “large ranches with the city of Nogales.” (Holbrook Argus)

Many newspaper articles still need to be researched as a date for entering the sheep business is unknown. Dates for buying and selling of sheep have been found but most of these are in the early 1900s. The earliest evidence of sheep raising comes from the St. Johns Herald, 1897, stating he sold 2,200 head of sheep for shipment back east. This newspaper listed him as part of the firm Hart & Campbell of Winslow. The Weekly Journal-Miner, October 1899, stated that he had shipped 200 head of fine merino bucks and had “sold a large number of this class of bucks during the past few years” and the newspaper noted, “at a good price.”  

More forthcoming once the rest of the newspapers have been researched. 

Colin Campbell, Part I

As I was reading the minutes of the Executive Board meeting for the Arizona Wool Growers Association for 1927, the death of Colin Campbell was referenced in glowing terms. He was a director of the board and his death resulted in a vacancy.  Reviewing these documents help understand problems associated with the sheep industry in Arizona and the records give some details of members albeit through their deaths. It was not unusual to find a nice biographical sketch written by them or at least what had been stated in the obituary of a local newspaper.

The minutes for their October 15, 1927, special meeting read: “The Arizona Woolgrowers Association has sustained a great loss in the death of the Chairman of our Board of Directors, Colin Campbell, which occurred on October 2nd, 1927. He was also member for Arizona on the Executive Committee of the National Woolgrowers Association.” The special meeting was called to replace him on the board of directors. While not germane, H. C. Caveness, general manager of the Grand Canyon Sheep Company, was nominated to fill the vacancy.

The Wool Growers continued their accolades:

“It is superfluous to state that the name of Colin Campbell was known in every wool growing (sic) section of the country. His name was heard around the campfires of the herders, at the meetings of woolgrowers, at the National Ram sale, and at all places where wool and sheep were discussed.

With a matured judgement on all things connected with sheep raising and the marketing of wool, with a keen understanding of its problems, with wide reading and a retentive memory, his opinions were eagerly sought and the course of action taken by him was generally followed.

He was a pioneer of pioneers in all matters relating to grazing and the preservation of our ranges, in the improvement of breeds and the production of high grade rams.

The esteem in which he was held was shown at his funeral in Flagstaff on October 4, 1927. All classes of the community were present and in fact it was a gathering of the people of Northern Arizona who met to give testimony to his wonderful acquaintance and his sterling worth.

The following editorial from the Prescott Journal Miner, October 4, 1927, is quoted, as representing the feeling of this Board of Directors: 

            ‘Not only Yavapai county but the whole state will feel the loss of Colin Campbell, whom death claimed at Ash Fork, Sunday. Of all the livestock men of this southwest, he was the peer, a pioneer who dared in a country not yet settled, down to the present state of things.

            Mr. Campbell was of a family who carved empires out of the wilderness, a sturdy stock that populated the far portions of the earth at times when life was not so easy as it is now. He was a brother of the redoubtable industrialist and political leader, Hon. Hugh Campbell, who for years led the sheep men of Arizona as President of their association and one of their outstanding members. Of no less worth has been the contribution of Colin Campbell to the work of making productive a land scarcely attractive to the farmer, the town builder or the miner.

            We know of no man who could gather so many friends about him. He was one of Arizona’s finest.’”

Colin Campbell distinguished himself in the sheep industry in the short time he lived in the state (1890?-1927). Next blog will look at his life in more detail.