Tonto Apaches Long Journey Home – Part 3

The Struggle For a Home Continues The primary stumbling block to land acquisition for the Tonto Apaches was the Secretary of Interior’s recommendation to deny tribal status.  His suggestion was to refuse any government services and to prohibit calling acquired land a reservation. In the eyes of the Secretary of the Interior, the Apaches in…

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Tonto Apaches Long Journey Home – Part 2

Photo courtesy Roger Buchanan

Struggle for Recognition and a Reservation Tonto Apaches living at The Camp received none of the government assistance provided to other Indians in Arizona.  They were not recognized as a tribe, therefore,  they were not entitled to reservation land.  There were many bureaucratic hurdles to overcome to obtain land for the Tontos.  Some help came…

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Tonto Apaches Long Journey Home – Part 1

Tonto Apaches Return to Rim Country During the 1890’s and early 1900’s, after confinement at the Camp Verde and San Carlos reservations, the Tonto Apaches returned to Rim Country.  They discovered former campsites and garden areas taken over by whites.  Having no legal claim to their former lands, they moved on to new areas at…

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The Rodeo Searched for a Home – Part 2

Junction of Highways 260 and 87 In 1945 the national organization of cowboys had become the Rodeo Cowboys Association.  That year the Wilbanks family offered to sell the rodeo grounds to the Payson Chamber of Commerce for $2,500.  The offer was turned down, and the land became a subdivision called Rodeo Ranch Estates.  Desperate for…

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The Rodeo Searched for a Home – Part 1

They called it the August Doin’s and for the first 74 years it was held in several different locations. Pieper’s Field Beginning in 1884 the event was held in Pieper’s field, where the sawmill would one day stand, and in more recent years where the Sawmill Crossing is located. Main Street However, before the turn…

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Rim Country Becomes “Cattle Country”

Cattle Country

The Houston brothers (Sam, Andrew Jackson, and William) came from California and established a ranch at Star Valley.  They brought red, roan, and white Durham cattle to this area. In 1879, the John Sanders family, Mormon settlers, drove cattle from St. George, Utah, to the Gisela area. Joseph Gibson and his family moved into the…

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Big Dry Wash -The Final Battle

Big Dry Wash

The Battle of Big Dry Wash is considered to be the last major battle between the Army and the Apaches in Arizona. In late spring of 1882 a group of Apache warriors, restless and dissatisfied with reservation life, united under the leadership of Tonto Apache Na-ti-o-tish. After stealing horses and ammunition from the reservation at…

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