Title: Great Arizona Outback captured in new book
Author: Joan M. Travis
Publisher: Parker Pioneer
In the 1860s James McMullen drove the stagecoach between Congress and Ehrenberg. He is the namesake of McMullen Valley.
The McMullen Valley, in eastern La Paz County, has been described as a "necklace" of communities "strung" along Route 60 - Wenden, Salome, Hope and Vicksburg. The publication of Images of America McMullen Valley brings alive the history of the hardiness of the pioneers and the families who have stayed in the area.
Interesting highlights of the McMullen Valley history include:
Wyatt Earp was the first retiree in McMullen Valley in the 1880s, leaving the Tombstone incident behind. He was a gold miner and worked his claim at Harqua Hala. A savvy businessman, he also ran a saloon and had female entertainment.
He and wife Josie later moved west to Earp, Calif., to mine. They visited Parker regularly, getting supplies, to have a meal at a local restaurant and maybe stay overnight at the Grandview Hotel.
In 1920, the Smithsonian Institute chose Harquahala Peak above Wenden as a site for an observatory. Harquahala Peak Observatory was built in 1920 by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory to measure and record solar activity. The data collected was sent to Washington, D.C., and compared with data from another observatory and used to forecast weather. The Smithsonian secured surface rights from miner Charles Ellison. Lead scientist Charles Abbot had local residents of Wenden build the facilities and haul the delicate instruments by burros. It was a 12-mile journey with the last five miles nearly vertical.
The observatory closed down in 1925. The Bureau of Land Management oversees the site now. It is about an hour's drive from Wenden and it takes three hours to hike.
In the 1860s, James McMullen drove the stagecoach through McMullen Valley. Eventually, Alexander Butterfield took over the stagecoach line that later became known as Wells Fargo.
William Beard aka Bill Bear, a famous miner, was one of the founders of Harrisburg. In 1886, with former Arizona territorial governor F.A. Tritle and H. E. Harris, he established Harris Gold and Silver Mine and Mining Co. Bear also served as Harrisburg's first postmaster.
Carmelita Campbell assisted her husband John C. Campbell, who became Arizona's delegate to Congress. The couple lived in Prescott and she was credited with much of her husband's political success. Unfortunately Carmelita's husband strayed and took a mistress. She sued him for alimony and the Prescott house.
Campbell left Prescott eventually and she and John Rarick mined on the south side of the Harquahala Mountains. The Carmelita Mine is still in existence today. Campbell operated the mine in the latter part of 1879 and the early 1880s.
Dick Wick Hall is credited as one of the founders of Salome. DeForest Hall was born in 1877, in Creston, Iowa. Known as a journalist and "political operative," Hall found a mentor in Henry Wickenburg. He honored Wickenburg by changing his name to Dick Wick Hall.
The first recorded sighting of Hall was in 1903, when he entertained at a Halloween party in Harrisburg. In 1904, Hall, with brother Ernest Hall and investor Charles Pratt, purchased land for a town site. His satiric humor ablaze, he named the town "Salome - Where She Danced." It is said Pratt's wife Salome burned her feed in the hot sand and she did a little dance.
The Hall brothers knew the Santa Fe Railroad would be putting down rails, however, construction started half a mile from the town site. The Halls managed to "move" the town next to the railroad route.
He wrote tall tales about "a frog that couldn't swim." Greasewood Golf Lynx, the 23-mile course. He published his stories in the Saturday Evening Post. Readers loved his outlandish tales about the Arizona desert. Hall died suddenly in 1926.
Read about the pioneering families of the Martins, Nords, Orocos, Browns, Montijos, Randalls, Shefflers and Weissers, just to name a few.
The Great Arizona Outback Rumor and Innuendo Historical Society was founded by Harcuvar residents Sharon Rubin (painter/photographer) and E. W. Kutner (writer). The photos in this interesting pictorial history were provided by the membership, including "multigenerational families whose spirit reflects the inspiration of their intrepid forbearers."
The book is distributed by Arcadia Publishing as part of their "Images of America" series. The book sells for $22 per copy; profits will benefit the Historical Society. Orders are being taken at Ingredients in Wenden, Harcuvar Office Worx in Salome and J&J Produce in Bouse, or directly from Sharon Rubin at the GAOR&I Historical Society, P.O. Box 844, Salome, AZ 85348 (928) 859-3805. For shipping, please include $4.50 per book and clearly print the destination address.