Owens Sawmill Comes to Payson

In the late 1880’s, August Pieper staked claims on the land from south McLane Road east beyond what would eventually become State Highway 87.  More than half a century later, the sons of Frank Owens eyed it as a perfect place for their sawmill.  In 1951 the Owens family located their sawmill in the old…

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Deming Pioneer Park Re-Opening

Deming Pioneer Park

The Northern Gila County Historical Society, Inc. (NGCHS) and Payson Parks & Recreation would like to announce the grand “reopening” of Deming Pioneer Park, located at the corner of Main St. and McLane (the Boardman’s façade).  The small park was originally dedicated in 2004 to honor Rim Country pioneers.  There are 22 display windows in…

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A Highway Comes To Payson

Eager eyes were cast increasingly upon Payson, AZ. and the Rim Country from the Phoenix metropolitan area as desert dwellers longed for an easier road over the Mazatzal Mountains.  The Northern Gila Country Chamber of Commerce was equally eager to receive tourists from the Valley.  With pressure from both sides of the mountain, a new…

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Prohibition and “Payson Dew”

payson dew

On January 17, 1920, the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution went into effect.  “The manufacture, sale or transportation of intoxicating liquors…” was banned in Arizona in 1915 – 5 years prior to the national moratorium.  As a result Arizona was the 13th individual state to go “dry” before prohibition became the law of the…

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General George Crook in Arizona Part 3

general george crook

In March of 1875 General George Crook was transferred to the Department of the Platte.  In the northern territories the Sioux and Cheyenne were preparing to go on the warpath.  Crook participated in the campaigns there until 1877. During the General’s absence from Arizona the Interior Department decided to move all the Indian bands from…

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General George Crook in Arizona Part 2

General George Crook

With the departure of Vincent Collier and his peace commission, General George Crook was ready to restart his campaign in February 1872.  He was again halted by Washington politicians.  This time they sent General Oliver O. Howard, a veteran of the Civil War.  Howard had become extremely pious and had some success in the east…

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General George Crook in Arizona Part 1

General George Crook

George Crook was born on September 8, 1828 near Taylorsville, Ohio.  He graduated from West Point in 1852 and was assigned to fight Indians in the Pacific Northwest.  Crook rose steadily in rank.  He was sent East to fight in the Civil War where he commanded an Ohio Volunteer Regiment, eventually reaching the rank of…

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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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