Fletcher Merrill

This is a sketch of my early life as I remember it.

My father’s name was Morgan Henry Merrill, and my mother’s name [was] Emma Orilla Perry.  They came to Arizona in the year 1881 from Grouse Creek, Utah.  They settled on the San Pedro River above what is now known as St. David.  My father built his own home, and it was in this home I was born four years later on Sept. 22nd, 1885.

Tombstone was a very lively place and plenty tough.  The first time my mother went to Tombstone after I was about three weeks old, the first thing she saw were four men hanging from one tree, and as she went on down the street two men were just ahead of her quarreling.  One struck the other breaking his neck and killing him instantly.  Mother said “that was enough for one day,” so she went back to the wagon and made father do the shopping.

The Apache Indians were very bad—always on the plunder and killing people everywhere.  We lived not too far from Cochise’s stronghold.  In this little settlement there weren’t too many families, so the women and children would all go to one place for the night and the men would stand guard at night and work their little farms and cattle days.  The outlaws from across the border in Mexico were very bad to steal and murder too.  Everyone had to be on their guard every minute if they wanted to live.

When I was about two and a half years old, Arizona had its worst earthquake.  You can still see some of the ruins of the old school house a few miles out of St. David where a portion of the walls still stand.  Mother said the earth opened up in places [and] the water shot up seventy-five feet in the air, and big boulders rolled off the mountain, making a terrible dust.

The early settlers really had a hard time of it.  There was so much rain and vegetation; everyone was down with chills and fever.

My parents were very active in the Mormon Church.  My father was Bishop of the San Pedro Ward for several years.  Mother was president of the Women’s Relief Society.  When I was about four or five my father was called by the head of the Church to move to the Gila Valley to serve as first [sic—he was called as second counselor] to President [Christopher] Layton, who was President of the whole stake [St. Joseph Stake].  Father held that position until his death in 1896.  My mother served as president of the Relief Society for many years.

When we moved to Safford the Apaches were very bad there too.  The settlers built a long adobe fort which we lived in for some time.  My brother younger than myself [Christopher Philemon] was born in this fort.  They named him Christopher, as he was named after President Christopher Layton, then President of the Mormon Church [Pres. of the St. Joseph Stake].

The early settlers of the valley had a hard time of it.  Some few had small farms, and most of them hauled freight from Wilcox to Globe.  They hauled coke and coal, also supplies to Globe, and on their return trip would haul copper bullion back.  So they had a load both ways.

My father had a large freight outfit.  Father drove one outfit and my oldest brother Hal drove the other.  They had to cross the Apache reservation several times.  Often freighters had been killed in front of them or not far behind them.  It took several weeks to make the trip.  We were all very worried from the time they left home until they returned, as we never knew who would be next.  The Indians were all so cruel.

Several years later the Southern Pacific built a railroad from Bowie to Globe.  That did away with the large freight teams, but there was still some hauling from the end of the track on into Globe.

My father passed away when I was eleven years old.  At that time the end of the railroad was at a place called Rice, on the Apache Reservation.  My brother Perry rigged up a six-horse team and I took a team that belonged to mother and we hauled from Rice into Globe.  The Indians had quieted down a lot, but we were always more or less afraid of them.  One never knew what they would do when they got to drinking “Gooley Pie,” a brew they made out of corn and barley and [it] always seemed to make them crazy.  We hauled for some time, and I got very homesick, as it was my first time away from home to stay any length of time.  By this time the end of the line was at the old Gibson Ranch.  They were moving all the freight teams from Rice to Gibson, so my brother and I quit and headed for home.  It would take us two days and nights to cross the reservation, and on the second night out we made camp at what was called the Flumes.  Anyone that knew the Indians never slept near their camp.  They always made their bed out in the brush some distance from their outfit.  If the Indians came to steal your horses or rob your camp, if you were there probably [they] would kill you.  So we always slept away from our outfit.  This night at the Flumes we made our bed down quite w ways from our wagon in the brush.  Just after we got into bed we heard several Indians coming down the road whooping and yelling, so we knew they were drunk.  Perry and I left our beds and ran out farther into the brush.  We had all of our horses tied to the wagons.  A white man’s horse seemed to be able to scent an Indian, and were afraid of them the same as a white man.  We always left a fire burning.  By doing so they would not stay too long if you were not there.  They seemed to know you could see them and they didn’t know where you were and that you had the advantage over them.  The Indians rode into our camp yelling and making all the noise they could.  All of our horses broke loose but two.  The Indians didn’t stop to untie them, but drove the other horses off as fast as they could, for they didn’t know but what we might start shooting at them.

After they had been gone for some time, we went back to the wagons to get the two horses that were left.  We took them quite a ways from camp down on the river and hid them in the brush.  We were afraid they might return for the two horses and have us afoot, and it was several miles to Ft. Thomas.

The next morning we hitched the two horses to my wagon and headed to Fort Thomas to get help in getting our other horses back from the Indians.  My brother got a posse of men to go from there and sent me on home with the one outfit from there.  I had to camp one night before reaching home, but was off the reservation and in a white settlement.  Nevertheless, I was only eleven years old, and I was still very scared from what had taken place the night before.  I couldn’t sleep a wink and so soon as it started breaking day I hitched up and headed for home.  I arrived there about four that afternoon, and was I glad to be home!  Mother was terribly worried when she heard Perry had gone for the horses, as the two Wright brothers from Safford had been killed by the Indians a few years before trailing their horses.  There were three men with the Wright boys at the time, and when they saw the Wright boys had been shot, they put spurs to their horses and got away.  So we were all terribly worried until Perry arrived home, which was two days later.  Perry and the posse soon picked up the horses’ tracks and trailed them high up on Mount Turnbull.  The Indians had hobbled them and put them in a deep canyon.  The men unhobbled them and drove them back to the wagon, and [they] helped Perry until he reached Fort Thomas.  We were all very happy when Perry drove in with all his horses and outfit intact.

Not long after we got home there was a man and his daughter killed about twenty miles east of Safford.  They were killed by the Apaches near Ash Peak.  I saw the bodies when they were brought in to Pima where the family lived.  Their names were Merrell, and I am sure they were the last of the whites killed by the Indians.  I have seen the place where they were killed many times since.

I soon went to work for a farmer helping to bale hay.  We worked from sunup until sundown and my salary was fifty cents a week.  That was big money for a twelve-year-old boy.  I had helped herd sheep a month for a pair of cowboy boots.  Boots in those days cost about two dollars and fifty cents.  I was glad to be able to earn something.

My mother was left with four small children and I was the oldest of the four boys at home.  There were eleven children in our family, two girls and nine boys, and mother had a hard time to feed us.  She taught school but only received fourty [sic] dollars a month.  I didn’t go through the third grade, as I didn’t like school.  Besides, I wanted to work and make all I could to help.  No one was forced to go to school in those days, so I just did not go.

My oldest brother Hal got a job at a small mine located on the south side of the Graham Mountain.  He put up a tent and moved his wife there, and I had a chance to go along.  After we were there awhile, Hal got me a job as a tool nipper.  The blacksmith shop was at camp which was some distance from the mine, so they gave me a burro with pack boxes.  My job was to pick up all the picks and dull steel at the mine, take it back to the blacksmith shop to be sharpened, and return it to the mine.  I was paid fifty cents a day and that was really big money for me, and I was very proud of my job.  However, it did not last long.  The name of the camp was Clark District, and as they did not have much money [they] were forced to close down.

Later my brother Seth took a job running a brick yard at Clifton.  The yard was above Clifton on the Frisco River.  I then had a chance to go to work for him and help make adobies [sic].  My job was to turn the adobies up on edge so they would dry faster.  They were then put into what they called a kill [kiln] and were burned until they were red.  It took about seven days and nights to complete the burning.  I soon became very handy around the yard.  I was only a little past twelve, but I could do most any part of the operation even to setting the adobies into the kill.  I made fifty cents a day, so was soon able to send a little money home to mother.  In the meantime mother had sold her team and wagon.

My father had died at the age of fourty-six, and mother was still so grieved over his death she decided to take a trip to Utah to see her mother.  It had been some thirty years since she had last seen her.  She fixed the four of us little boys up the best she could and took us with her.  None of us, even mother, had ever ridden on a train, so we had a lot of experiences.  We went through New Mexico and Colorado and spent three days and nights on the train.  We were all worn out when we reached Salt Lake City, and were very glad to get to Grandmother’s.  After we had been there about two weeks, mother’s only sister came for us and took us to her husband’s big cattle ranch in the north west corner of Utah [Grouse Creek].  His name was Seth Fletcher.  He and my father, being brothers-in-law were partners at one time in the horse and cattle business before my father moved to Arizona.  Father thought so much of him; he named two of his boys after him.  One Seth and me, Fletcher.

Mother stayed about a month there, as it had been around twenty years since they had seen each other.  After their visit was over, mother took the three younger boys and went into Idaho to visit some of father’s folk.

I was nearly fourteen, so Uncle Seth said he would keep me, and later pay me a salary when I was able to take a cowboy’s place.  So mother left me with Uncle Seth and Aunt Liza.  They were very good to me, but the first winter all I got was my board and clothes.  Mother and my brothers went home from Idaho back to Arizona, and as I was left on my own, it was up to me to make good.

Uncle [Seth Fletcher] was very strict, and I had to work very hard.  At times when he piled too much work on me, Auntie would tell him she wanted me to help her in the garden.  Most of the time she didn’t need me at all, just did not want me to work so hard.  But, all in all, they were very good to me.

Uncle had a lovely ranch and their house was built out of white sandstone.  His barn was a two-story affair, the upper part being used to store hay.  It was a long building and wide enough to drive a wagon through.  There were box stalls and mangers on either side.  Mornings when we cleaned the barn we drove the wagon through and loaded from both sides.  The barn had to be kept very clean, as uncle was overly particular.  He kept about twenty yearling colts in the barn all winter.  They had to be curried every day and broke to lead.  He raised thoroughbred Clydesdale and English Shire horses for fire departments and brewery wagons.  Each pair were perfectly matched and he got a big price for them in San Francisco, Kansas City, and other large cities.  The English Shires were black with white hind feet and a white strip down their face.  While the Clydesdale were light bays with white feet and legs up to their first joints, and a white strip in the face.  All were very large and beautiful, as all [were] so near alike.

Uncle Seth had several hundred head of cattle, but he loved horses and raised the best.  He made a fortune from his horses and retired in Ogden, Utah a few years before his death.  He was around his seventies and Aunt Liza died a few years later.

My father was a good horse man, but I never did see him ride.  Uncle Seth told me when he and father were partners; father was as good a rider as he had ever seen.  It is no wonder I have always loved horses, and for many years I loved to ride broncs.  I used to like to see how hard I could spur them, and it was nothing for me to get thrown off, and it didn’t seem to hurt me in those days.

The first winter I was there, as I said, I only got my keep, so when spring came and the roundup started, my uncle told me to take six horses and join the roundup.  When he told me he would start paying me twenty-five dollars a month, was I happy!  Not only for the money, but I thought I was a real cowboy.

This roundup was made up of all the nearby ranchers.  They would all get together and appoint a foreman or wagon boss.  Each ranch would put up his share of the expense.  It was according to the number of cattle he had.  This roundup would last from thirty to fourty days.  They always appointed Tom Warburton as boss.  He was a good boss and we all liked him.

All we did on the spring roundup was to brand calves, and us young bucks had a lot of fun.  There was a rancher a few miles from my uncle’s ranch whose name was Lucas.  There was a boy in the family just a little older than myself and we shared a teepee tent together.  We were very good friend from the start, and when I had to ride after horses he would help me when he could.  I would help him on his home ranch whenever I could, so we were together a great deal.  His name was Jake Lucas, and [he was] a very good boy.

My uncle had two ranches about fifteen miles apart.  Where we lived was called the Home Ranch, the other was higher up in the mountains and [was] called the Meadow Creek, or the Horse Ranch.  He had a big acreage fenced in at Meadow Creek, and he kept all his mares there in the spring until they folded [sic—i.e., foaled].  He would then take the studs up to this ranch and breed the mares again.  He always took me to do the riding.  The mares had to be gathered up every day.  Uncle never did ride any more, but went everywhere in his buckboard.  The breeding season lasted about thirty days.

Both of the ranches had a large amound [amount] of meadow land and uncle put up enough hay every summer to feed his stock through the winter.  Some winters the snow got very deep, and when a hard winter came we had to feed most of the stock.

All summer I looked forward to the fall roundup.  There was a big cow outfit just across the Nevada line, Sparks and Harold Cattle Co.   When the ranchers had a roundup, this company or outfit always sent a man over to follow the roundup.  When it was over, he would take all the cattle back to his outfit that had strayed over into the nesters range.  The nesters would send two or three men to work with the Sparks and Harold roundup.  When this big roundup was over, these men would cut out all the nesters cattle and take them back home.

I used to hear some big, exciting stores about things that happened on these roundups, when there were about sixty cowboys in one camp.  I longed to follow one of these big roundups, and the second fall I got my chance to go.  The nesters sent two boys and Uncle sent me so there were three of us to represent the nesters.

The horses were fat and the mornings were frosty and cold.  All the horses wanted to pitch to warm themselves up, so I had a chance to see all kinds of riding, some good, some bad, but the cowboys had to be pretty good riders to hold a job with this big company.

The Company had a good many thousand head of cattle and they split their outfit up into three parts.  One was called the Catlen Outfit, one the Roseberry and the third Niger Henry Outfit.  I hoped someday I would be a good enough cowboy to hold a job with some big outfit.

It was all open range in my time, and the cowboys lived with the chuck wagon nine months out of the year.  The other three months the boys split up two or three at a ranch house and broke broncs.  Any boy that worked for the big outfits had a lot of “ups and downs” and many a hard fall, but a fellow has to go through all of this to be a good hand.

The fall roundups were hard.  They always gathered beefs (cattle) but were never allowed to corral them, so the boys had to night guard every night until the beef was shipped.  Each boy took his turn, some the forepart of the night, then so many the after part.  This roundup would always last at least fourty-five days.  Sometimes it would sleet and rain and get pretty cold.  My, it was hard to get up out of a warm bed and go out in the dark to stand guard if [it was] raining and cold.  Sometimes your horse didn’t like it either and he would try to pitch you off.  If he did throw you, you may not find him until the next day.  A horse is very smart at times.

I did not mind the first half of the night, but I sure hated to get up at midnight.  We soon became worn out, and [we] were always glad when the beef cattle were shipped and on their way to market.  There were two roundups in the fall; the last one was to brand any calves that were missed in the spring roundup.  We gathered all the calves and weaned them.  This roundup was a lot of fun at times, and every calf had to be cut out of the herd, and we did not work cattle out of corrals or shuts like they do today.  We did all our work on the open range.  They really had cutting horses in those days and they had to be good, as they had plenty of work to do.

When I was fifteen years old my Uncle had about a hundred head of three-year-old steers he did not sell that fall.  We had them gathered and on pasture at the home ranch as he had a lot of hay left over from the year before.  After the first big snow that came, my uncle decided to move the steers up to the Meadow Creek ranch and feed them through the winter.  Two men and myself started to move them up to Meadow Creek.  We had a hard time getting them to the ranch on account of the snow.  When we got within a few miles of the ranch the snow got so deep, the only way we could make it was to follow the high ridges where the wind had blown the snow off and piled it in large drifts below.  We had to cross some of these canyons and we had a hard time breaking a trail through the drifts so the steers could get across.  We finally got to the ranch and all the steers were pretty much worn out, but so were we and our horses. 

My uncle had gone to the ranch a week or so before the storm and took a team and wagon.  The wagon had a basket rack on to feed from.  He also took enough food stuff to last a long time, as there were times no one could get to Meadow Creek for weeks at a time.  When the snow got very deep if it didn’t crust over, it was impossible to get to the ranch.

When we left the home ranch Uncle told me to stay up there a few days and feed the steers, and he would send a man up to take my place.  He had told the two men [accompanying me]to return to the home ranch.  After I had stayed and fed for a couple days, there came a hard soft snow storm.  The storm was so hard and put down so much soft snow, it was impossible for anyone to get to the Meadow Creek Ranch, so I was just doomed to stay and feed until someone could come to relieve me, which was six weeks later.

The first two or three weeks I nearly went crazy, for I knew no one could come until the snow crusted over.  It only took me about three hours in the morning and about the same length of time in the evening to feed, so I had a lot of time to get lonesome.  From the front of the log cabin I could see most of the ridges for a long distance, and if anyone was to come, they would have to come over these ridges.  I would sit for hours at a time and watch.  After awhile I would imagine I could see a horse and rider, riding on the ridges—I would wait and wait but no one would come.  As big as I was, a few times I got so lonesome I had to shed a few tears.

There were two log cabins on this ranch.  One I lived in, then there was an old one I kept the team and my saddle horse in.

My father had built the old one when he and mother homesteaded the ranch.  Mother was the first white woman to live in that part of the country.  The old log cabin they lived in was good enough for a barn.

There was a lovely spring of water and at times it seemed I could see mother going to the spring after water.  That really made me homesick and lonesome.  I had been gone from home for several years and I did not know when I would get to see mother again.  There was no way for me to go home only on the train.  My uncle had me send some money home every month, and he always saw to it that I did not have enough money left to go home on.  I thought it was tough at the time, but now I am so glad he did it.  It was for the best that I stayed there and helped mother a little.

Uncle’s ranch was sixty-five miles from the railroad.  There were no automobiles in those days, and it was a long way to go by wagon.  We never went there only to ship cattle and horses.  Uncle always had supplies enough to last for several months.

There was a little settlement about twelve miles from the ranch.  About fifteen families lived there. It had a Post Office, store and school house, and there is where we got our mail.

Jake and I used to go to dances there maybe a couple times a year.  This place was called “the Burg,” and as there were a few girls there our ages, we always had a good time.  We always went horse back.  It was a long ride and sometimes it was snowing and very cold, but we didn’t mind that as long as we got to go to a dance and see the girls.

When I first went to riding, my uncle gave me an old saddle to use.  I used it the first two years I was with him.  All the other boys on the roundup had good saddles, and I was trying to save enough money to buy me a new one.  My uncle shipped a carload of horses to San Francisco and when he came home, he brought me a new saddle and suit of clothes.  He said he gave them to me for the good work I had done.  Was I proud and happy over my new saddle!  It was not a very heavy one and not too strong.  He gave it to me in the early spring and I could hardly wait for the spring roundup to start, so all the boys could see it.

Some of our horses were at Meadow Creek on pasture and I had to go up to get them, so we would have them to take to the roundup.  Meadow Creek was a small stream that wound its way through a long narrow valley.  There were high, long ridges on either side of the valley.  About middle way of the valley, there was a small corral.

There was a fellow working for Uncle on the Home Ranch, and he had a small black horse that was very fast.  Sammy told me to take his horse to bring back the saddle horses.  I put my new saddle on him, and was I proud!  Sammy hardly ever let anyone ride his black horse, as he was an extra good cow pony and had won a lot of races with him.  He was very fast.—too fast for most of the horses those days.  When I got to the ranch I found the horses upon a high ridge that ran parallel with the creek.  There was a trail on the ridge and opposite the corral the trail left the ridge and went to the corral.  The horses were fat and felt very good.  When I started them, they ran as fast as they could and instead of keeping the trail, they went toward the corral.  I could see the horses were going to go past the corral, so I opened the little black up.  He was running very fast when I got past them on the ridge.  The horses were down in the valley and still running.  The only way I could head them off was to turn my horse down the side hill, which was very steep, and he running fast.  He was very sure footed, but the hill was glassy.  When we got about half way down the hill, there was a badger hole he did not see.  His right front foot hit the hole and threw him off balance.  He hit on his head about twenty feet down the hill.  When his head went down, I left the saddle and hit about fifteen feet below him.  When the horse hit on his head he turned completely over.  When I looked up I saw he was coming over again.  When he did his tail hit me across the back, knocking the wind out of me.  When I got my breath, I got up on my knees and my horse was about twenty feet below me, just getting up.  He was in a daze.  I sat down for a few minutes trying to get my mind straight, and when I got to Blackie, he was trembling all over.  I led him to the bottom of the hill and when I went to take a hold of the horn on my saddle, it wasn’t there.  I think when Blackie went over the second time, he must have landed on the horn, for it was smashed down through the forks of the saddle.  It almost made me sick.  My new saddle was shot before any of the boys on the roundup got to see it.  I had to ride all through the spring roundup without a horn.  Without one, I couldn’t do any roping, and my heart was broken.  I loved to rope and I wanted to learn to rope like some of the older men that worked for Sparks and Harold.  There was a lot of roping to be done on the big roundup, and the best ropers got to do most of it.  As I have said before, Sparks and Harold had two roundups in the fall—one to gather beef cattle, the other to wean calves.  When fall came Uncle sent me over to the big roundup to bring back any of his cattle that had strayed over into Nevada.  By this time I was a pretty good rider, so when I went to leave the roundup, Rusty Catlen (the boss) offered me thirty-five dollars a month if I would go to work for him breaking broncs.  Thirty-five dollars a month was a lot of money.  I was still only getting twenty-five from my uncle, so I took the job.

My Aunt and Uncle had been so good to me, I didn’t have the nerve to go back to the ranch and tell them I was leaving.  Jake Lucas, my friend, and two other men were on the same roundup representing the nesters.  When they left, I got them to take uncle’s cattle and the saddle horses I had back to him.  I stayed and went to work for Rusty over in Nevada.

The roundup was camped on Goose River and the Company had a pasture and ranch house there.  When the roundup moved on, a fellow by the name of Bates and I stayed at the ranch.  There were about twenty head of broncs in the pasture, so we started breaking them.  Some of them were very mean and we were thrown a lot.  We didn’t mind it too much, as it was all in a day’s work.  We always tried to look at the funny side of everything.  Breaking broncs is a tough job, [and] a fellow has to like it or he wouldn’t stay with it.

The Company split their outfit up into three outfits.  Each outfit was named after the different bosses.  The one I was with was the Catlen outfit, then there was the Niger Henry and Roseberry.  Each Boss worked different parts of the company’s range, which was very large.  The Company shipped all of their cattle from Tacoma, Nevada, which was about seventy-five miles from where we were stationed.[1]

Sparks and Harold kept about three hundred gentle horses, as it took many for the three outfits.  They did not raise any horses, but bought most of them in Texas.  They would buy as many as one hundred and fifty head at a time, then divide them up among the three outfits. 

I helped break horses all winter and when spring came, Bates and I joined the wagon and the spring roundup started.  It started on the head waters of the little Goose River.

After we had been camped there a few days, my pal Jake Lucas rode into camp.  I noticed he had brought all his personal belongings and his own horses with him.  I went out to greet him as we hadn’t seen each other all winter.  I said “why all the horses Jake?”  He said, “I have left home and I have come to try to get a job here, so we can be together.”

He unpacked and put his stuff in my teepee, later going to the bosses tent.  He had a long talk with him and asked him for a job.  Rusty said “sure.”  He was short of men and he could start to work in the morning.  We two talked most of the night.   We made a drive up on a mountain we called Piney.  It was still early in the spring, and we were riding pretty high up.  It rained a little and got pretty chilly.  Jake and I were in our shirt sleeves riding side by side planning what we were going to do when the roundup got to Tacoma.  As we were riding along Jake pulled a large black silk muffler out of his packet and handed it to me.  Said, “Here take this, you can keep it to remember me by.”  I laughed and said something about what we would do when we got to town.  He said, “I will never get to town.”

A few days later we made a short ride and the wagon moved to Big Goose River.  A mile or two from where we were camped, there was a company ranch house.  A man and his wife stayed there to take care of the place and kept a span of driving horses.

Every thirty or fourty [forty] miles the company kept a team of driving horses, so when Sparks and Harold made inspection trips they would come to one of these ranches and stay all night, look the ranch over, change teams and go to the next ranch.

We had this part of the range pretty well worked and had one more day, then the roundup would leave Goose River and move on.  

The last morning at this camp, the horse I was going to ride that day was the last horse caught.  He was mean to saddle and all the other boys had their horses saddled and ready to go.  When Jake saw I was having trouble to get the saddle on, he came over and helped me.

Jake’s horse was standing just behind my horse.  I stepped away a few feet in front to pick up my rope and when Jake stooped to pick up the reins on his horse, my horse had backed a little and [started] kicking at Jake’s horse [and] kicked Jake in the stomach with both feet.  It knocked the wind out of him and made him terribly sick.  Too sick to go on the drive, so he stayed with the wagon.  We made a short drive that day and got back to the wagon about noon.  Jake was still a very sick man.

His father’s ranch was about twenty-five miles away.  Rusty told me to get a fresh horse and go tell his father to come with a wagon and get Jake, as the roundup was moving the next day.  Rusty knew Jake would be too sick to go on with the wagon.  I got a bit to eat and headed out for the Lucas Ranch.  I had a very good horse and reached the ranch just at dark.  The family were just sitting down to dinner.  I told them what had happened, and as soon as the meal was finished, Mr. Lucas hitched up a team and we started back.  It was farther going by wagon, as the road went around a mountain.

I had a half uncle living on a ranch about half way, and he and Mr. Lucas were old friends, so we stopped there and had coffee, as it was about midnight.  Uncle Perry [Fenstermaker] went with us, as he said “Mr. Lucas might need help getting Jake back home.”  We got back to the roundup about seven in the morning.  The roundup had left and the wagon was already to go—just waiting for us to come.

Jake, the poor boy, looked very bad, and was oh, so sick.  The ranch house was about two and a half miles upriver, so Mr. Lucas decided to take Jake there, and stay until my uncle could go over into Idaho and get a doctor.

As soon as we put Jake in the wagon and started for the ranch, the roundup wagon pulled out.  I rode in the wagon with Jake and led my horse.  I helped carry him into the house and talked to him a little about joining the outfit at Tacoma.  Bid him so long, then rode to overtake the roundup.  It was fourty-five miles to where there was a doctor in Idaho.  Uncle and the Doctor got to the ranch the next evening, but Jake was dead when they arrived.  They wrapped his body up in some quilts and took him home.  It sure was a hard blow on his folks.  I know it was at least ten days before any of us on the roundup knew he was dead.  It made me feel so bad, lonesome and homesick.  It seemed I never wanted to see that part of the country again.  The outfit would be in Tacoma in about thirty days, and I made up my mind to quit and go back to Arizona when we got there.  All of the boys liked Jake and it cast a gloom over the whole outfit.

About three weeks later the outfit got within fifteen miles of Tacoma.  I still felt so bad, it seemed I couldn’t stay with the roundup any longer.  I told Rusty if I wouldn’t put him out too much, I would like to get my time and go back to Arizona.  He said he hated to lose me, but he knew how I felt.  For me to take a company horse and I could leave him in Tacoma and he would get him when they got there.  He next day I rode into town.  I left the horse at the livery stable for him that night and took the train for Arizona.

A short time after I arrived in Thatcher, I left and went to work in a mine at Bisbee, Arizona.  I liked the work very much and was paid three fifty a day.  A lot of money for me when I was only used to getting thirty-five dollars a month.

I worked there for some time, then went back to Thatcher, and later married a girl I had known all her life.  Her name was Ida K. Moody.  She was a good wife and a wonderful mother.  We had five children—two boys and three girls.  The oldest boy’s name is Henry Fletcher, and the younger one LeVor.  The oldest girl we named Mildred, the second one Ruth, and our baby Billie June.  We had a nice family, and I am proud to be their father.

My life has been varied since then.  I have worked at many things in my life.  I am now sixty-nine years [old] and I have no regrets.