Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hugh Thompson Jr.

I want to start this post right up front with a warning that this post is not for everyone. I have great respect for the Viet Nam soldier. I didn't go to Viet Nam because of a back injury. The person that I was going to join the service with in the "buddy system", where you can go through basic training together, went on without me. He was killed after one week in Viet Nam by a land mine. I truly feel that the only reason that I'm alive today is that I didn't get to go there. If you suffer PTSD, as many Nam vets do, slip away and don't read this, you know too much already. You have my eternal thanks.

Capt. Hugh C. Thompson Jr. man of character.
Recently I was having a discussion with a friend of mine that quizzed me about how the early settlers could kill, and allow the Indian people to be massacred in such great numbers without people saying or doing anything to stop it.

It has always been my feeling that the same monster that lived in people in the 1850’s lives within all of us today. When we condemn the people in history we are basically condemning ourselves. Who knows what we would do if we were placed in the 1850’s?

I know that there have been recent massacres that we have very current knowledge about. So, I thought that I would relate a story to you.

Most of you out there, that remember the Viet Nam war, remember Lieutenant William Calley and the My Lai Massacre. The following is from Wikipedia:

In the early morning hours of March 16, 1968, Thompson's OH-23 encountered no enemy fire over My Lai. Spotting two possible Viet Cong suspects, he forced the Vietnamese men to surrender and flew them off for a tactical interrogation. Thompson also marked the location of several wounded Vietnamese with green smoke, a signal that they needed help.
Returning to the My Lai area at around 0900 after refueling, he noticed that the people he had marked were now dead. Out in a paddy field beside a dike 200 meters south of the village, he marked the location of a wounded young Vietnamese woman. Thompson and his crew watched from a low hover as Captain Ernest Medina (CO, C Company, 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment) came up to the woman, prodded her with his foot, and then shot and killed her.
Thompson then flew over an irrigation ditch filled with dozens of bodies. Shocked at the sight, he radioed his accompanying gunships, knowing his transmission would be monitored by many on the radio net: "It looks to me like there's an awful lot of unnecessary killing going on down there. Something ain't right about this. There's bodies everywhere. There's a ditch full of bodies that we saw. There's something wrong here." Movement from the ditch indicated to Thompson that there were still people alive in there. Thompson landed his helicopter and dismounted. David Mitchell, a sergeant and squad leader in 1st Platoon, C Company, walked over to him. When asked by Thompson whether any help could be provided to the people in the ditch, the sergeant replied that the only way to help them was to put them out of their misery. Second Lieutenant William Calley (CO, 1st Platoon, C Company) then came up, and the two had the following conversation:
Thompson: What's going on here, Lieutenant?
Calley: This is my business.
Thompson: What is this? Who are these people?
Calley: Just following orders.
Thompson: Orders? Whose orders?
Calley: Just following...
Thompson: But, these are human beings, unarmed civilians, sir.
Calley: Look Thompson, this is my show. I'm in charge here. It ain't your concern.
Thompson: Yeah, great job.
Calley: You better get back in that chopper and mind your own business.
Thompson: You ain't heard the last of this!
Thompson took off again, and Andreotta reported that Mitchell was now executing the people in the ditch. Furious, Thompson flew over the northeast corner of the village and spotted a group of about ten civilians, including children, running toward a homemade bomb shelter. Pursuing them were soldiers from the 2nd Platoon, C Company. Realizing that the soldiers intended to murder the Vietnamese, Thompson landed his aircraft between them and the villagers. Thompson turned to Colburn and Andreotta and told them that if the Americans began shooting at the villagers or him, they should fire their M60 machine guns at the Americans: "Y'all cover me! If these bastards open up on me or these people, you open up on them. Promise me!" He then dismounted to confront the 2nd Platoon's leader, Stephen Brooks. Thompson told him he wanted help getting the peasants out of the bunker:
Thompson: Hey listen, hold your fire. I'm going to try to get these people out of this bunker. Just hold your men here.
Brooks: Yeah, we can help you get 'em out of that bunker - with a hand grenade!
Thompson: Just hold your men here. I think I can do better than that.
Brooks declined to argue with him, even though as a commissioned officer he outranked Thompson.
After coaxing the 11 Vietnamese out of the bunker, Thompson persuaded the pilots of the two UH-1 Huey gunships (Dan Millians and Brian Livingstone) flying as his escort to evacuate them. While Thompson was returning to base to refuel, Andreotta spotted movement in an irrigation ditch filled with approximately 100 bodies. The helicopter again landed and the men dismounted to search for survivors. After wading through the remains of the dead and dying men, women and children, Andreotta extracted a live boy named Do Ba. Thompson flew the survivor to the ARVN hospital in Quang Ngai.
Upon returning back to their base at about 1100, Thompson heatedly reported the massacre to his superiors. His allegations of civilian killings quickly reached Lieutenant Colonel Frank Barker, the operation's overall commander. Barker radioed his executive officer to find out from Captain Medina what was happening on the ground. Medina then gave the cease-fire order to Charlie Company to "knock off the killing".

The Following is an interview with Thompson. I know that he was tormented the whole rest of his life with the things that he saw and did at My Lai, yet he went on, denying that there was anything wrong with him, as many PTSD sufferers do. His PTSD manifested itself in many ways not understood to even Thompson himself. But, he did the right thing when many others didn't. If you listen to the interview, you will find that there were 500 unarmed people massacred. There were 190 soldiers present, but only 13 to 18 soldiers participated in the massacre. The other soldiers did nothing to stop it. Only thompson and his two other heliocopter pilots, that he called in, did anything to stop the killing.

This is present day recorded stuff folks. People are the same today as they were in history. How would you explain what happened at My Lai, and how do you think that you would have reacted????

Friday, August 27, 2010

More on Arizona Apache Raids.

I got an email from a person that belongs to a barbershop singing group that does music about historical events, The OK Chorale. He read my post about my ancestors, the Middletons. Allen Fosenkemper wrote to me to say that their group sings music about the raids that the apaches did at the Battle of Big Drywash.

I was reading with interest the story of your family in the 1880's and especially the part about the battle with the Apaches who left San Carlos and attacked the Middleton home in Pleasant Valley in July 1882.
I am a member of a singing and story telling group called the OK Chorale. We created this group as a way of telling the stories of Arizona of the 1800's and keeping the history alive. Are songs and stories are very accurate (as accurate as you can be from 125 years away) and family archives like you posted are very important to maintaining that history and we applaud you.
Most recently we have focused on the Battle of Big Dry Wash that, as you know, took place between the Army and the same group of Apaches that attacked the Middleton home. We have created a song about the one Trooper in the battle who was killed. Pvt. Joseph Mc Lernon and the fact that he was buried on the site of the battle and his grave was lost to history for 95 years. It was re- discovered in the 1970s and the Army issued a head stone to be placed on it.
An interesting point we discovered in researching the battle and the Cavalry is that, around 1850's a legend/Myth developed about a place called "Fiddler's Green." this myth and the story telling about it was so prevalent that the US Army finally noted the myth in their 1929 Field Manual and reprinted the poem that had been created in the 1850's. There are still places in the US Cavalry (Afghanistan for one) where there is an officer's club called Fiddler's Green also an area in Arlington Cemetery.
The myth says that when a Trooper (Cavalry) is killed in battle and "If he don't go to heaven," he will go to "Fiddler's Green." There he will meet his fallen com rads and spend the eternity in this beautiful meadow that is filled with Wine, Whiskey and Women.
We've written a song about this and about Joseph McLernon and his forgotten grave. We do our show for historical societies, service clubs, etc. Any money we make we give to the high school music department in Fountain Hills who is hurting for funds in today's budget cut world.
As an obvious lover of history I thought you might like to read the following and hear the song by our group.
Thanks for a great website.

Allen Fossenkemper
THE OK CHORALE QUARTET (link toi the OK Chorale Website)
(480) 837 4697

I didn't know how to link to this story, so I cut and pasted it here

The Death of Pvt Joseph McLernon.

On the Mogollon Rim above Payson Arizona winds the “Gen Crook Trail” which was created as the Cavalry’s route between Fort Bowie Arizona and Fort Whipple at Prescott.

Along this road on July 17th 1882 the US Army fought the last battle of the thirty year war with the Apache Indians. The battle of Big Dry Wash was intense and resulted in four Medal of Honor winners among the troopers who fought there. Most of the Apaches were killed but only one US soldier died in this fight. An Irish immigrant named Private Joseph McLernon struck down by a single bullet. He was buried along the Crook Trail in a grave that was forgotten and lost until it was rediscovered in 1990’s and properly marked. We are quite sure his comrades spoke of him going to Fiddler’s Green when they laid him to rest on that mountain trail.

Marker of the Battle of Big Dry Wash – Mogollon Rim Gen. Crook Trail Directions:

Drive north on Highway 87 through Pine and Strawberry to the top of the Rim. Continue past the Camp Verde turnoff (Highway 260) a few miles to Forest Road 300 on your right. Drive east to the end of this well-maintained gravel road, until you reconnect with Highway 260. En route you will find picnic grounds, the Crook Military Road, (which plays tag with your road), numerous views from the edge of the Rim, a monument to the Battle of Big Dry Wash (Arizona's last major battle of the Indian War), isolated graves of pioneers, wildlife and magnificent forest, by-ways to Rim lakes, and trails to hike.

The Grave of McLernon
(aka, Fiddler’s Green)

Words By Allen Fossenkemper©2010 – Music by John Connolly

Sometime in the *1800’s the troopers in the US Cavalry began referring to a place called Fiddler’s Green. This mythical place was their “heaven” where Troopers would spend eternity with their fallen comrades who’d fallen in battle. Filled with endless supplies of whiskey, beer and women this mythical place has continued to be referred to, even in today’s modern cavalry.

(As sung by the OK Chorale)
On the rim above Payson, there’s a trail in the sky
And the grave of a solider, who fought there and died.
His grave is forever, though his war long forgot,
Struck dead by a bullet from hostiles he fought.
Bury him with his Saber and Kepi
No more at the fort he’ll be seen
Just tell his old bunk mates
He’s taken the trip mates
And they’ll see him someday in Fiddlers Green
They didn’t tell Mother the ground of his grave.
Did he die for his comrades? her son was he brave?
Now thousands of miles from his Ireland he lays,
On rim above Payson so far far away.
Bury him with his Saber and Kepi
No more at the fort he’ll be seen
Just tell his old bunk mates
He’s taken the trip mates
And they’ll see him someday in Fiddlers Green
Now Fiddler’s Green is a place they all go.
These soldiers of fortune who bartered their soul.
There’s barrels of whiskey and bottles of brew.
And some beautiful ladies a wait’n there too.
Bury him with his Saber and Kepi
No more at the fort he’ll be seen
Just tell his old bunk mates
He’s taken the trip mates
And they’ll see him someday in Fiddlers Green
From lands far away these men traveled west,
Had lost their life’s purpose, been put to the test.
Now many a troop will no longer be seen,
Til they all hoist a glass on Fiddler’s Green

 The Grave of McLernon

Origin of Fiddler’s Green

The origin and author of Fiddlers' Green is unkown. It was believed to have originated in the 1800's and was composed as a song sung by the soldiers of the 6th and 7th Cavalry. Its first known appearance in published form was in a 1923 Cavalry Journal.

Halfway down the trail to Hell,
In a shady meadow green
Are the Souls of all dead troopers camped,
Near a good old-time canteen.
And this eternal resting place
Is known as Fiddlers' Green.
Marching past, straight through to Hell
The Infantry are seen.
Accompanied by the Engineers,
Artillery and Marines,
For none but the shades of Cavalrymen
Dismount at Fiddlers' Green.
Though some go curving down the trail
To seek a warmer scene.
No trooper ever gets to Hell
Ere he's emptied his canteen.
And so rides back to drink again
With friends at Fiddlers' Green.
And so when man and horse go down
Beneath a saber keen,
Or in a roaring charge of fierce melee
You stop a bullet clean,
And the hostiles come to get your scalp,
Just empty your canteen,
And put your pistol to your head
And go to Fiddlers' Green

The Battle of Big Dry Wash

During the spring of 1882 a small group of White Mountain Apache warriors, sixty at the most, came out of their wilderness hiding and by early summer coalesced under the leadership of a man called Na-tio-tish. (below left)

In early July some of the warriors ambushed and killed four San Carlos policemen, including the police chief. Following the ambush Na-tio-tish led his band of warriors northwest through the Tonto Basin, raiding as they went. Central Arizona residents were greatly alarmed and demanded protection from the army which immediately sent out fourteen companies of cavalry from forts surrounding the Tonto Basin.

In the middle of July Na-tio-tish led his band up Cherry Creek to the Mogollon Rim, intending to reach General Springs, a well-known water hole on the Crook Trail. The Apaches noticed that they were trailed by a single troop of cavalry and decided to lay an ambush seven miles north of General Springs where a fork of East Clear Creek cuts a precipitous gorge into the Mogollon Rim. The Apaches hid on the far side and waited.

The cavalry company was led by Captain Adna R. Chaffee. Unbeknown to Na-tio-tish, Chaffee was guided by the famous scout Al Sieber who soon discovered the Apachesí trap and warned the troops. Also unbeknown to Na-tio-tish, during the night Chaffee’s lone company was reinforced by four more from Fort Apache under the command of Major A. W. Evans.

Early in the morning of July 17 one company of cavalry opened fire from the rim facing the Apaches. Meanwhile Chaffee sent two companies upstream and two downstream to sneak across the canyon and attack the Apaches. Na-tio-tish failed to post lookouts and the troops crossed over undetected. From sixteen to twenty-seven warriors were killed, including Na-tio-tish.

The Battle of Big Dry Wash was the last battle fought between the Apaches and army regulars. It was also one of the few times that army soldiers fought and bested Apaches in actual battle but this was mainly because, as one historian noted, it was one of the few instances in which Apaches allowed themselves to be drawn into conventional battle.

Pvt. Joseph McLernon was the only white soldier killed at the famous 1882 Battle of Big Dry Wash, north of Payson on East Clear Creek. He was 28 years old when he died, with gray eyes, fair complexion, 5-feet, 7-inches tall. One cannot help but think of a mother and father who never knew what happened to their boy after he immigrated to America. He was wrapped in a blanket and the soldiers dug a shallow grave using their mess kits.

The gravesite was visited in subsequent years by local pioneers, hunting or herding cattle, and by soldiers returning to the site of their famous battle. One of these was C.P. Wingfield, a local man who had been a packer for the Army, and during the battle he was one-half mile behind the line of fighting. In a 1929 letter, he wrote that they took the wounded to Camp Verde and then on to Fort Whipple, but "the troop that was killed on the battlefield was buried there, the grave was marked with stones. I was there the summer of 1886, four years after; saw the grave. Also found the skeleton of an Indian in a cave..." (Letter in archives of the Coconino National Forest archaeologist, Flagstaff, Arizona, dated August 18, 1929).

Author Stan Brown reclines on the supposed grave of Joseph McLernon. Is the soldier's body really here?

That year, 1929, brought a new flurry of interest in the battleground. With urging from participants like Lt. George Morgan and Will C. Barnes, the National Forest Service obtained an appropriation to build a monument to the battle. However, by this time, 47 years after the fact, the location of the battleground had been obscured. Two local ranchers, William Wingfield Jr. and Charles Callaway, made a 10-day search of the area, and by finding shell casings, the stones of McLernon's grave, and using their recollections of local lore, they identified the battle scene.

Wingfield and Callaway reported the rediscovered battleground location to the Coconino National Forest ranger's office, and they checked the findings to verify the site. Plans proceeded for the monument, which was soon placed and can be seen today. It is an imposing structure of stone and brass near the edge of the East Clear Creek canyon. On one side the brass plates name each company of cavalry and the men who were engaged in the battle, as well as the Indian scouts. The other side of the monument tells the story of the battle. Not far away, back from the edge of the canyon in a slight depression where, presumably, the battle weary units camped the night of July 17, 1882, is the marked grave of Private Joseph McLernon. However, that grave had remained unmarked for 94 years after the battle.

Another flurry of interest brought attention to the site when retired forest ranger, 88-year-old Fred W. Croxen and his friend Harry H. Martin were sharing stories of the old days as they hiked along the Mogollon Rim. They reviewed their knowledge of the Battle of Big Dry Wash, and there conceived the idea of a military marker for the McLernon grave. Croxen had been stationed by the Forest Service in the Coconino National Forest from 1911 to 1921, and in the Tonto National Forest at Payson until 1930. During these years he had collected oral history accounts from eyewitnesses of the previous century who were left to tell the tale. He wrote a number of papers, informally circulated in mimeograph form, about people and events, including one on the Battle of Big Dry Wash and the circumstances leading to it.

Croxen remembered how Payson pioneer William Craig had spoken of the McLernon grave near the rim of the Clear Creek canyon. When he and Harry Martin revisited the battlefield in the autumn of 1975, they found the semblance of a grave outlined in stones. It was 100 yards southwest of the monument, in an open grassy space. Similar stones were scattered about the site. Passing back and forth over the grave with a metal detector they traced what they believed to be the outline of the buttons on a uniform and the nails in the boots. They felt convinced that this was the grave of Private Joseph McLernon, and proceeded to gather the scattered stones. They mounded them over the long neglected grave, and took a picture of it.

The following January, 1976, Fred Croxen Sr. mounted a campaign from his Tucson home to secure a military marker for the isolated McLernon grave. He wrote a letter to Senator Barry Goldwater, with copies to other persons in positions of influence.[1]

In response to appeals from Rep. Sam Steiger and Senator Paul Fannin, the director of Monument Service, National Cemetery System of the Veterans Administration, sent the proper forms to be filled out, and by March 10, 1976, the upright marble headstone had been ordered.[2] It would read, Joseph McLernon, Pvt TRP E, 6 REGT US CAV, Indian Wars, July 17, 1882.

The 230-pound stone was shipped to Fred Croxen in Tucson early in May, and he began making plans to have it placed 94 years to the day of McLernon's death, July 17, 1976. He invited those he knew would be interested and who could give it publicity. Mr. and Mrs. Jess Goddard of Camp Verde would write up the event for The Independent of Cottonwood.[3] Don Schellie was present and would write an article, which appeared in the Tucson Daily Citizen.[4]

A group of 28 solicitous people gathered at the remote location, around noon on the clear day. They had come from Camp Verde, Phoenix, Flagstaff, Winslow, Sedona, Lake Montezuma and Tucson. A hole had been dug at the head of the grave in which the marble stone was planted. Two bags of premixed concrete were poured around the base of the marker and in among the mound of stones by Fred Croxen III, the old ranger's grandson from Flagstaff. Water was added to set the cement, hoping this would discourage potential vandals. While this was going on, others pulled the grass that had grown up among the rocks.

Then a worn copy of the book "Al Sieber, Chief of Scouts," by Dan L. Thrapp, was produced, and a history professor, Andrew Wallace, read aloud the author's chapter on the Battle of Big Dry Wash. It included quotes from Thomas Cruse's firsthand experience, along with the mistaken reference to McLernon being from Scotland.

After the reading Fred Croxen stepped forward to fill in a few details, and then he said, "Well, I suppose that's it."

The loose circle of history buffs informally mingled, and went for the picnic lunches they had brought to this isolated place. Fred Croxen and Harry Martin lingered long enough to gather several bunches of summer wildflowers and lay them on the mound of rocks. After living so many months with this project, the long dead soldier had become very much part of their lives.

While the Indian wars were pretty much over in in California the 1860's, the wars raged on in Arizona. Geronimo's Apache warriers didn't want to give in and be put on a reservation. I'm not familiar with Arizona history to know why the Apaches thought they might win their battle, but I did hear a tid-bit in history that they thought that the "Garmets" (shirts) that they wore would protect them from bullets. An idea that they got from the Mormons. It seemed to work for Geronimo.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

You might be a hippie if...

First, click the arrow in the photo above to listen-while-you-read to the iconic hippie singer of the sixties, Janis Joplin. She sings one of my favorite songs. By the way, the guy that wrote the song is Khris Khristofferson. Kris version Bobbie Magee Sunday Morning Coming Down

I have a seriously good friend who thinks of himself as a "hippie" and he is quite proud of it. He sent me a bunch of "Redneck" photos this morning and I got a good laugh out of them. He asked why we never see any good "You might be a hippie" jokes

So, I went on an internet search and found some good "You might be a hippie jokes" for him.

If you know of any, or can include any in the comments, this could be fun. But, remember this is a "Peoples Blog" and we don't do anything here that is mean or evil. Fun is fun, but mean is not! Got it?

You Might Be A Hippie If ...
1 Your hair contains a fully functional eco-system.
2 You've ever put a flower is someone's hair.
3 Your child is named after a celestial object.
4 Answering "what's your favorite Dead song?" takes five minutes.
5 Breaking up with your girlfriend leaves you homeless.
6 You carry a picture of Gandhi in your wallet.
7 You're at a funeral and you light a joint after the eulogy. (I've seen this one many times)
8 You don't object to being labeled a hippie. ( I know many people here that would agree)
9 There's people you consider family and you don't know their last name.
10 Half your funiture is bean bags. (And, the bookcases are cinder blocks) ( and the coffe table is a cable spool) (Hey wait... That was my college room) (chinese lantern lights!)
11 Out of habit, you pass your cigarette to whoever’s sitting next to you.
12 You name you children Bud, Herb, and Mary-Jane. (Or Raven, Fox, Garnet, Moon, Blue...)
13You roll perfect cigarettes.
14 You're still waiting for those flashbacks.
15 People you never met before ask if you can get them some weed. (That happens daily in Garberville, I've even had people ask me if I knew of a good place to "grow")
16 You think 'All You Need Is Love' was written by Ghandi.
17 You can fall asleep in the mud under the rain.
18 You trespass onto private property to pick flowers.
19 If ... hey, what was I talking about?

Then in closing, a serious quote to soften the blow...
"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams
Live the life you've always imagined."

Henry David Thoreau


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Squirrel II?

Ben said:Ernie... I have a brilliant idea for you! First get an old bus, cut he top off, get some hippie to paint wild designs on it and do Avenue of the Giants tours. So... What to call it? I know, the Squirrel!! It could work.
Sorry about the bad case of the fuzzys, I blew the photo up from a thumnail sized photo of a post card for sale here.

It worked for a long time. I think the owners of the “Squirrel” Redwood Tour Bus just got tired of doing it. As you know the front part of the bus was covered with acrylic panels for a see through roof. There was no seat belts or any other safety measures for that matter… Ah, the good old days.

Did you know that bus was salvaged from a So. Hum School bus? It wrecked just north of Redway and slipped off of the low side of the road and rolled down a bank. (1971????)It hit a patch of ice. The driver was driving very slow and cautiously, if the bus had been traveling at normal speed, it probably would have gone right on around the curve, but driving it so slow allowed it to slip down the super in the road and tumble over the bank. Nobody was killed, but Dr. Mark Phelps sister, Laural, injured her back.

You reminded me of one of the earlier times that we had a “redwood war”. You probably know that at one time the road went through the redwood grove, to the east of the flat, straight, road in Phillipsville. The old road was left in place through the grove and it was very popular as a tourist road. The Squirrel did a narrated tour through the Phillipsville grove.
The “Environmentalist” wanted the pavement ripped up and replaced with ferns and underbrush like Mother Nature intended. Roy Schmunk, the owner of the bus got the opinion of the most highly respected redwood expert in the world, Emanuel Fritz , to make a statement that the pavement would not harm the redwoods in any way. The most respected redwood expert in the world’s opinion didn’t mean diddley against the local enviros, and of course the pavement was ripped up.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tour Guide?

As most of you readers know I’m a refrigeration contractor. Refrigeration service often requires squirreling up and down ladders, packing freon drums, heavy refrigeration compressors, and working on incredibly hot roofs. When I’m not on a roof, I’m crawling in basements and under houses fighting off spiders and slugs and snakes. I often have to get out of bed in the middle of the night to repair a freezer system.

If I were a horse, I would need to get my teeth filed, which is a country boy’s way of saying that, I’m getting long in the tooth, which is another way of avoiding saying… I’m… old. The other day I was whining to my wife that working that hard was painful to my body. Her reply was: “You’re getting old, you can’t fix that. You can’t retire until I do, and I’m older than you!

She went on to say that it is difficult to change careers at this age. I said: “Well, I used to be a logger, and I got into refrigeration. I had to quit cussing, doing hand gestures, and being derogatory of everything and everybody. But, I changed”. I still have to bite my tongue badly when working around a rather, (my opinion only here), naïve general public. But, I worked my way around insulting people MOST of the time.

So, I’ve been giving it some thought lately about becoming a tourist guide. The way I figure, I could get into lighter work. Also, I could get to talk to people before they talked to all the dratted newcomers that we have here. I could tell them what really happened to the creeks and the trees around here. I could tell them that the logger didn’t really cause the flood. And, the ranchers didn’t really kill all the creeks. I could teach people the real names of the places and things, before the newcomers showed up and changed everything.

The more that I think about it, It sounds like a great idea! Maybe I could be a force in taking this country back, and restoring some sanity here! At some point they might want to build a Statue-of-Me in the Garberville Town Square! Modesty would require that they wait until my passing before erecting it though. It would just be so totally embarrassing to have people fawning over me while I’m still present. I hope people can be patient though, because I intend to be around a long time. You might have noticed that I can’t even say “dead”, I refer to that state as “passed”, it’s much more comfortable on my tongue.

I had another conversation with my wife. I told her that I thought that my new destiny was to be a tourist guide, and South Fork of the Eel Canyon Expert. She told me that I could do anything that I wanted, but I should give it some serious thought first, and that I should look into how well career changes have been for other people my age.

So, I started researching, and I ran across a story about an old Irish fisherman who had decided that fighting the fishnets, the storms, and the cold long hours were just to hard on him. Just like me, he had all of the resources to be a great tour guide! He already had a boat, he knew more about the sea, and the fish, than anybody else. He knew all the names of all the places, and all the history. He was a shoe-in as a Tour-Guide. So he decide to do coastline sea tours. On his first trip out he had a group of Americans on his boat. The old man was not too fond of Americans, because they are too noisy and very insistent, he always found Americans to be annoying.

He was busy pointing out the names and places,. It was going well, things seemed to be going just fine. He was beginning to enjoy his decision to become a tour guide. As he was passing a dive boat, he was explaining that the divers were researching an old Viking shipwreck that they had discovered in the harbor. One of the American men asked: “Why do the divers fall off the boat backwards?”

The old fisherman was annoyed that the American interrupted him with a dumb question, but he was very polite and explained that they probably just liked to do it that way, and was starting to go on with his tour. The American, not satisfied with the answer, said: “They told me that you were the most knowledgeable man on the coast here, and we paid you good money for this tour. Do you mean to tell me that you don’t even know why divers fall of the boat backwards? The old fisherman, becoming annoyed, decided to just give the American his best answer. He said; “Wall, if they fell forward, they’d still be on the focking’ boat wouldn’t they?”…

Maybe I’ll just keep packing compressors…


Monday, August 16, 2010

The Great (personal) Depression

My mother, Elsie (Rathjens) Branscomb, was talking tonight about how when she was a little girl her father, Bill Rathjens, would sing the song "Big Rock Candy Mountain" to her. When she was a little girl she knew all the words, but it has been so long since she had heard it that her memory was fading. I showed her how easy it was to go to Youtube and listen to anything she liked. I went to a Burl Ives rendition of the song. She said "no that's not it, the song was about trains, Hobos, dogs, and soft boiled eggs, and hope for a better life.” So I looked a little further on Youtube and found the version that I also remember Grandpa Bill singing when I was a child. My memory of the song was polluted with all of the modern versions, that are more about Candy Mountains than hope.

I read Hoy Kersh’s book, "Suitcase Full of Dreams" about a black girl growing up in the south. Talking to her really made an impact on me. She said that reading “The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck really made her realize that the white people also had life-and-death struggles. I thought that up until then that I was the only one that understood that human struggle was not race based, but class based. Poor people are always trodden upon.

If you keep an open mind about history and try not to lay blame or solve anything, a lot about life, and people, will come to you. The dust bowl and the great depression were difficult times for people, many starved to death, and many lost all that they owned.

My Grandfather Bill Rathjens was the manager of a very successful ranch and business enterprise in Laytonville, The “Rancho El Primero”. His uncles owned the ranch. My Grandpa Bill and his two uncles were German emigrants. His uncles came over here before him and started an, also, very successful German sausage company. It was called the Rathjens Sausage Company. When I was going to college in San Francisco, in mid ‘60’s, I was down near Ghirardelli Square taking a much needed break from school. I was walking through a park and I looked up, on a multi-story red brick building was a very big, and very fancy, painted sign. Although faded almost beyond recognition, I could make out the words. The Rathjens Sausage company. I had no idea that the sausage company was that big until then.

The two uncles bought the Rancho El Primero in Laytonville. With the help of My Grandfather Bill, they built a sawmill, dairy, and gas station. All of which my grandfather managed. He ran his own side-business of selling and installing Kohler Light Plants. The Hartsook Inn was one of his Kohler customers.

The depression took all of that away. The two uncles lost everything. My grandfather Bill didn’t loose that much, because he didn’t own that much. But, he found himself having to work for other people after many years of being his own boss. I think that part of his soul broke in the loss of what was important to him, but he had many things left that he felt was important, and he continued on as a partly broken man. He helped my mother as much as he could, and he cared for my sister and I like we were his whole life.
After my mother and father got married, and my sister and I were born. My grandfather built the house that we lived in in Laytonville. My dad worked as a truck driver For the Mast Lumber company in Laytonville. As money would permit he would bring home lumber. My Grandfather Bill built the whole house with a hand saw, a level, a square, and a hammer. I was about five at the time. I remember “helping” him. He would give me a bucket full of nails and a block of wood and I would pound them all into the block. After I finished pounding all of the nails into the wood, he would pull them out and straighten them, then use them on the house, and give me some NEW nails to pound into the block.

After he got the house built, he built himself a little one room cabin with a tin wood stove in it to keep himself warm. When he wasn’t doing anything he would enjoy his habit of listening to the radio, “The Polka Party” and playing solitare. He called it “playing the Chinaman”, because in san Francisco the Chinese would charge you for a deck of cards then give you money back for the cards that you played up. The odds were fairly even, so the Chinaman only made money when you made mistakes. My grandfather said that they would watch you like a hawk. He really liked beating the “Chinaman” by winning.

One thing, that almost anybody that knew him knew, is, he was always whistling, He whistled when he played cards, he whistled while he worked, and he whistled when he walked. If he wasn't talking, eating, or drinking, he was whistling.

Sometimes I would go out to his cabin and visit him, he would get me into a Pedro game. He loved to play Pedro for money, so even playing against a kid kept his playing skills sharp. Sometimes he would let me win, I knew it, but it was still sweet to my young mind. One time he whittled me a wooden boat, he used to make me sleds and wagons. He used to make me “Steamboats”, which was a board with a wind up paddle wheel on the back that he powered with a rubber band. I never lacked for toys. He made me spinner tops. He made my sister and I an ice sled that he would use to push us across a frozen spring in a field. He made me wooden monkeys, that would climb a string. He made yoyo’s, popguns, bows and arrows. He was my constant companion as a child.

I guess that I always knew that my grandfather was somebody special, it’s just that some things are hard to appreciate when you are a kid.

I remember that he had a set of leather leggings, that were like strap on boot tops. He would strap them on and walk four miles to work in a sawmill that my uncle owned. He would work all day then walk home. On payday he would go to town and get drunk as a skunk, as the saying goes. In the evening he would come staggering down the road to our house. When he got there he always had a big grin on his face, and two paper bags in his hand. He would hand my sister Sharon and I each a bag. In Sharon’s bag was a Cherry-a-let and a bag of peanuts, and in my bag was a Butterfinger and a bag of jerky. We got one of those gift bags every payday up until almost the last day of his life.

As I got older, I think probably some time in my teens, when I started to notice the opposite sex. My grandfather getting drunk and staggering home became a great embarrassment to me. I remember avoiding him and wanting to have nothing to do with him. Even as I avoided him I always found my paper bag with The Butterfinger and jerky laying on my bed when I turned back my covers.

Many people took the time to tell me what a great man that my grandfather was.
Just as we see children today that are ashamed of their folks. We want to shake them and say, “Hey you idiot! Here is a person that is a great person in all respects but a few, and they care for you. Stop being a jerk!” We realize that parents, and grandparents, become a lot smarter after we grow up. I grew up to late to really appreciate, or thank, my Grampa Bill for the things that he did for me, or the good things in my life, that he unselfishly provided.

My Grampa Bill had a lifelong drinking habit that he controlled most of the time. But payday was a tradition that he just could not pass up. He spent more money at the bar on his friends than he did himself, so his money didn’t last long, and he was sober again. After he retired and collected social security he lived with my mom and dad. His “paydays” only came once a month, which was good. My mother had more compassion than I, and she cared for him and took fastidious care of him.

My only excuse is I was young, and very, very stupid! But, I do have some wonderful tales about him, that I will probably start telling now.

Until then, I’ll leave you with one of his favorite songs about the depression. By the way “HOBO” actually stands for: Helping Our Brothers Out.
Some say it means HOmeward BOund.

Click on arrow to play.

Photo and article below from Wikipedia.
Portrait shows Florence Thompson with several of her children in a photograph known as "Migrant Mother". The Library of Congress caption reads: "Destitute pea pickers in California. Mother of seven children. Age thirty-two. Nipomo, California." In the 1930s, the FSA employed several photographers to document the effects of the Great Depression on the population of America. Many of the photographs can also be seen as propaganda images to support the U.S. government's policy distributing support to the worst affected, poorer areas of the country. Lange's image of a supposed migrant pea picker, Florence Owens Thompson, and her family has become an icon of resilience in the face of adversity. However, it is not universally accepted that Florence Thompson was a migrant pea picker. In the book Photographing Farmworkers in California (Stanford University Press, 2004), author Richard Steven Street asserts that some scholars believe Lange's description of the print was "either vague or demonstrably inaccurate" and that Thompson was not a farmworker, but a Dust Bowl migrant. Nevertheless, if she was a "Dust Bowl migrant", she would have left a farm as most potential Dust Bowl migrants typically did and then began her life as such. Thus any potential inaccuracy is virtually irrelevant. The child to the viewer's right was Thompson's daughter, Katherine (later Katherine McIntosh, 4 years old (Leonard, Tom, "Woman whose plight defined Great Depression warns tragedy will happen again ", article, The Daily Telegraph, December 4, 2008) Lange took this photograph with a Graflex camera on large format (4"x5") negative film.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Beer or wine?

While some wines are delicious, some wines are certainly not worth the price that is asked for them. Some wines are also subject to spoilage. In fact, wines peak and are most delicious at the apex of the process of going from a young wine to vinegar. The snobbery of wine appreciation is to be able to determine that peak.

When we bought a business from a friend, part of closing the deal included a 1961 bottle of Chateau Lafite-Rothschild wine. The man was quite a fan of good wines, and prided himself on having a very refined pallet. I myself have never really liked “Big Red Wines”, but I was anxious to close the business deal that we were in the middle of. The Lafite was the closer, so I guess in this particular instance, the wine was well worth it’s price. Modesty prohibits me from disclosing that price, but the same bottle of wine today would cost $1,299.00. Why don’t they just put the price at $1,299.99? Is there such a thing as “price snobbery” also? Most likely if they were to say the price was $1,300.00 people would say, “That’s too much for a bottle of wine” and walk away, but $1,299.00 “That sounds reasonable, I’ll take it!”

The following is a review on a bottle of 1982 Lafite ($4,449.98) It seems like making excuses to pay too much money for a wine to me.

Expert Reviews
Rated: 95+ by Stephen Tanzer, Jul/Aug '02
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

Good full, deep red. Slightly high-toned, highly nuanced nose of currant, roasted meat, cedar, marzipan, smoke and tobacco. Supple on entry, then firmed by sound acids. Still quite unevolved but seems distinctly less deep than the bottle of '59 I tasted alongside it. A rather muscular style of Lafite, finishing with big, tongue-dusting tannins. Drink 2005 through 2030. 93. My second bottle showed a darker red-ruby color; higher-pitched aromas of redcurrant, cedar, orange peel and coconut; a bright, very tight palate impression, with strong acidity contributing to the impression of steely spine; and a very subtle and very long, firmly tannic finish. This bottle seemed even less evolved than the first sample.

However, The review on the ‘61 Lafite sounds more appropriate, it sounds more like my review of the wine.

As for drinking this wine, to be honest, words can never do it justice. Let's just say that it was enjoyed beyond anything else!

It was my first experience at drinking a fine French Bordeaux wine. I recall being surprised to notice that it smelled like a smoky oak, it was a very rich and deep burgundy red, also very clear like deep red glass. It was not too astringent, and not sweet. It was the kind of wine that I could drink all day. But, hey…wait a minute. I don’t drink that much, and besides, I couldn’t afford to drink that kind of wine all day.

One of the best wines that I ever tasted was in Interlaken Switzerland. The weather was frosty, but my wife and I had a hotel room which had a balcony right over the main hotel entrance, with a view of the most majestic mountains that I will ever see. We went across the street to a little store. We bought some fresh baked breads, some cheese, several salami type dry sausages, and some apples. On our way out, just as an afterthought, we decided to get a cheap bottle of wine. We paid $7.00 American for the wine. It was a French Bordeaux wine. We put on our heavy coats and went out on the balcony to make ourselves dinner out of the bag. We opened the wine and poured a couple of glasses full. I took a drink of mine, I noticed right off that it tasted almost identical to the Chateau Lafite that we had at the Eureka Inn. I didn’t say anything, thinking that I wanted to get my wife’s reaction first. She did the same thing, she took a sip and said “Wow, did you taste the wine?” we both agreed that it was every bit as good as the expensive wine. Needles to say, we dined in exquisite pleasure that night. It is strange how life gives you little surprises sometimes.

The most embarrassing moments of my life are when somebody in our group gets a little too tipsy and decides that the $200.00 bottle of wine is “over the hill and sends it back”. I could crawl under the frickin’ table. I don’t like public attention like that. I’m the kind of a person that will clean up a messy restroom before I leave it, on the off chance that somebody will think that I made the mess. Have you ever done that?

As I have aged, I’ve decided that I really don’t care what other people think. When My wife and I go out to dinner I just order a beer, like Budweiser draft, or Miller Genuine draft. I don’t like bitter beers, or the new foofoo microbrewery beers that taste like burned chrysanthemums. A glass of draft goes as well with a fillet as the most expensive wine. I’m not very good at being a wine snob, so I’m really quite happy drinking something that hits the spot, doesn’t cost a frickin’ fortune and tastes good.

Another good thing, I've never had to suffer the embarrassment of sending back a bad beer!

Friday, August 13, 2010

SoHum Summer Sunset

I took this picture on the way home from work tonight. The photo is from the top of Harris Ridge by the Alderpoint cut-off. It was just before 9:00 P.M. I used my cell phone camera, hand held.

NO, I didn't see any frickin Perseids! I've been working too many hours to play all night.

One night when cousin Oregon and I were kids we slept out in my front yard with the bugs and snakes. It was a super warm mid-August night. We counted sixty falling stars before we went to sleep.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Take in a shower!

The perseid Meteor shower is tonite. 8/12/10 A.M. You can see meteors anytime after dark. Just look North East, and stay away from any bright lights. My wife and I used to make an annual trip to the Harris Ridge just to watch the meteors. They are sometimes gaudy and bright, and look like a flaming fire ball being tossed across the sky. The shower will be best from 2:00 A.M. 'til daylight. You should see one or two per minute. You WILL see some very exciting fireballs if you can get your lazy butt out of bed. Then tomorrow will will compare fireball sightings.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Wolf Eels

Wolf Eels!

I don’t know exactly what it is, but something about a Wolf Eel just makes me shudder all over.

As many of you know, I do commercial refrigeration. My crew and I installed all of the refrigeration and air-conditioning in the major Super Market in Garberville if you want to check out my work. Hint: There is only one. I also do heating and air-conditioning. That part of my work puts me under houses and in tight little dark spaces filled with spiders and creepy-crawlies. My first survey, when entering a foundation space, is to thoroughly check for (shudder) snakes!

After I am completely satisfied that there are no snakes, I go to work. I’ve only had to remove a few snakes through the years and I’ve never encountered a Rattlesnake. I once worked under the major store in Alderpoint, and noticed that there were Rattlesnake tracks under the building. Rattlesnake tracks are very distinctive. They make wide tracks that push the dust widely to the side. A regular snake follows the same track. After working in the woods for a while you learn to recognize the difference.

I already know that there are thousands of spiders under a building, but they seem to want to hide and leave me alone. Damp foundation spaces seem to harbor Black Widow spiders. They have very strong silk, so you know that they are there, even if you can’t see them. Knocking all of the spider webs down seems to subdue them and keep them at bay.

My cousin “Oregon” and I are critter opposites. He hates spiders and I hate snakes. No matter how brave I tell myself that I am, the first sight of a slither will stop my heart for three beats, then it starts pounding. The sight of a spider won’t even make me blink. Once that I see the snake, I can handle it, but that ingrained visceral fear is always there. No matter how calm I might seem outwardly, my guts are screaming: RUUUUNNNNN!

So all this rhetoric is leading up to talking about Wolf Eels. I’ve seen Wolf Eels eat Sea Urchins-- shells, spines and all. I’ve seen them eat Dungeness Crab like a tuna sandwich. I’ve heard that they can bite an oak oar in two! Spooky critters… Plus, they kinda’ look like a snake. A big, spooky, underwater, snake!

As a young man I did a lot of Abalone diving. I first started diving in the early 60’s when wet-suit type diving suits first came available to the public. Abalone was everywhere that there was rock and kelp. You could often find Abalone even on top of the rocks. Later as the Abalone started getting more scarce, they could only be found in the cracks, crevices, and deep under the edges of rocks.

I was already used to reaching way back under rocks and feeling for Abalone from rock-picking along the shoreline. When we started wearing suits and goggles we were often reaching under rocks and feeling for Abalone, only the new dimension of being deep under water was added. Often the water was murky and you had to feel for them because of poor visibility. Once you have done it for a while it becomes quite easy. They feel just like Abalone under a rock. You have to feel carefully, because they will suck themselves tightly to the rock if you scare them. They are easier to catch if they don’t know that you are there. You can slide your picking iron between them and their rock and they just fall of easily. Once they are sucked onto their rock, you often can’t pry them loose. If you try, they will sometimes come out of their shell. If they do come out of their shell, you can’t keep them. So it’s best to be sneaky.

When we first started diving, I had a dive mask with a bright shiny stainless steel exhalation valve over the nose area. Picking Abalone puts blood and scent into the water that attracts rock fish. Usually there is a swarm (School?) of fish around you when you are diving. The fish, thinking that I had a shiny fish in my mouth, started biting at my exhalation valve while trying to take it from me. It is a bit disconcerting to see a mouth full of teeth biting at your face. After taping up the shiny parts of my dive mask with black tape the fish left my mask alone.

We soon started getting braver and moved far out into the ocean and started diving very deep, thinking that the abalone would be bigger out there. We found that the Seals like to play with your mind. They swim up and look into your mask like they are asking you to come out and play with them. They never bit me but they do cute little things like steal your fins. They seem to know that they come off. The seals don’t physically hurt you, but if they steal all of your diving equipment, it makes it tough to get back on shore. I’ve had seals play with me, but I’ve never personally had any problem with them, however, I know many that have. As to the Abalone getting bigger out there?… they don’t, they get smaller. The biggest Abalone are found in the easiest dives.

Sharks are always on your mind when you are out too far, so when a shadow swims by it makes you a little flinchy. I’ve never seen a shark while diving, but murky water always makes everything look like a shark. I really don’t know, maybe some of those shadows were sharks, but I’ve always felt that if it was a shark I would know. When you see a snake, it sometime looks like a Rattlesnake. Gopher Snakes are often mistaken as Rattlesnakes, but Rattlesnakes are hardly ever mistaken as any thing else, a Rattlesnake is a Rattlesnake. Somehow a person just KNOWS that at Rattlesnake is a Rattlesnake. So, I always thought that I would know if I saw a shark.

When we went diving, we went with the attitude that no matter how rough it was, we would get our limit of Abalone. One time I think that it was a little too rough. Three of us went out off Howard Creek, the ocean was rough and the wind was blowing, but we already knew where the abalone could be found, so we went out with our dive tubes anyway. When we got out to our reef, it was all that we could do to stay there. When a wave came, we would let it break over us, then the backside had foam so deep that you had to wait for it to clear before you could breathe. The current was swift and it was hard to stay on our reef. We eventually had to let two of the dive tubes blow to shore. All three of us held onto one tube, we all put our abalone in one tube. We expected that the game warden was going to catch us, but he didn’t. It is not legal to mix your takes in the same place, but we didn’t want to leave without Abalone after all that trouble. After we got out and were on our way home, we decided “Well that was stupid”, but we consoled ourselves with the thought that we were probably the only divers on the whole coast that got abalone that day.

One day a friend of mine, who was a well known and outstanding abalone diver, asked me if I wanted to go diving with him at Bear Harbor. This was before it was a state park, and the rancher out there had given him keys to the gate. I said “heeeeck yess”. I had a Jeep then, and the road was four wheel drive only. I think that might have had something to do with the invitation, but I’ve never had much pride anyway, especially when it comes to good invitations, I never question those.

Bear Harbor has a reputation of having large abalone. We got out there and it had been storming. The water was muddy close to shore. He told me to go out there. He told me a few points to line up with. He said to just dive down, that there were big abalone all over. The water was pitch black after about two feet. I estimate that we were diving about fifteen feet, which is a pretty gentle dive.

When the water is murky, I put my forearm in front of my mask so it doesn’t get knocked off by a passing, unseen rock. I put my Abalone iron out in front of me to feel for the bottom coming up. When I felt a rock, I would creep around the edge and feel under the rock find an abalone and pick it. Then head back up.

Knowing that he was a good diver I was afraid that I would be holding him up, so I would feel around for as big an abalone as I could find quickly, and just pick it. I wasn’t trophy diving. I got my five abalone, that was the limit back then. We were diving pretty close together, and keeping an eye on each other as you do when you are diving. I’d seen him with a abalone in his hand, so I was worried about hurrying to get my limit, because I didn’t want to look too bad.

Back in the good old days, if you went out together, you came back with a limit together. We soon found that a lot of our friends liked to go diving with us. I always thought that if a guy was willing to suit up and swim out into the ocean and dive around the rocks he, or she, deserved a limit. Especially if that “she” was my wife. So, we didn’t think much of helping somebody find their limit by diving and pointing out Abalone. I’m not sure that’s legal, but anybody can have an “off day’. We never took more than our limits, a guy’s got to have some principles!

After I got my limit, I assumed that he was just waiting for me. I asked him if he was ready to go in. He said “No, I need two more”. I was a little puzzled because I dove with this guy before, he always had the biggest and first limit. I thought about diving down and showing him an Abalone, just to hurry it up, but it was too dark to do that.

I asked my friend if he was alright. He said “yeah, I’m fine but this darn water is pitch black, and the last time that I dove here there were Wolf Eels all over the place”. NOW he tells me! (shudder)

Neat video of Wolf Eel eating:  http://www.metacafe.com/watch/378149/when_wolf_eels_attack/

Not so neat video of Eel bitting off divers thumb: http://www.metacafe.com/watch/yt-fHNpYxCSnUM/eel_bites_off_divers_thumb/ Hint: don't feed eels!


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

New Frontier Story.

GeronimoPhoto from Wikipedia
This is a story about a peaceful Quaker family that ended up settling in the west.

My 3G Grandfather John C. Middleton is also the 3G grandfather of a man that lives in Lake County by the name of Dennis Yows. My cousin Dennis has been carefully collecting and preserving his family stories.

I told you a little bit about my 2G Grandfather John Middleton, (Son of John C. Middleton) and their trip to California. I told you that they made friends with the Indian people on their way to California, they hired them as guides, and they helped protect the Indian people to the best of their ability their whole life. Protecting and befriending the Indians was a family tradition passed down by the Middletons. What I didn’t mention was John had a brother that ended up in the west with him. William Middleton was Johns brother.

The Middletons were latecomers to the Laytonville frontier. They couldn’t have arrived until 1865-66 or so, because the dates that I have on birth records show that they had a daughter born in Salt Lake city. Mary Annetta Middleton was the first white non-Mormon child born in Salt lake City. She was born in 1861. Lafyette Dewitte Middleton was born in Grass Valley in 1865. They only moved to Mud Springs 13 miles West of Laytonville after Lafe was born. The records show that John left Illinois in 1853, so they dilly-dallied on their way to Laytonville.

The following stories about William Middleton are by the courtesy of my cousin Dennis Yows. You might not want to read all of them, but at least read one. The stories show that in some cases no matter how well that the Indians were treated by this gentle family, it just wasn't enough. I say this not to be sitting in jugment of anybody, Indians or whites. I'm only interested in the stories, and the history. There is enough blame to go around if we want to start deciding who was right and who was wrong. History only counts for the people that survive it. It really is about survival.
More at the bottom of the post.
William Middleton and Family in Pleasant Valley Arizona... Dennis Yows

The following account is from a draft written by Hattie Middleton Allison I have in my family history files:

That my father, William Middleton, had a genuine pioneer’s wandering foot, goes with out much question, particularly if you will... in which his beloved children were born, and mother was a true pioneer wife, she followed him wherever he wanted to go and never questioned the hardships. If some of you find you are brave in these troubled days you can say to yourselves, “I get at least a part of my courage from my Grandmother Middleton.”
When he was but twenty-two years of age my father went to California. Crossing the plains in 1849...He stayed at home long enough to marry Miriam Titsworth (She was 20 he was 25), to gather some wagons and livestock, and to set off again for California in the spring of 1852.

Traveling overland they stopped at or near Council Bluffs where their first child, my brother was born (1852). They next stopped at Salt Lake, in Utah. Their second child was born there. Then they went on to Oregon and from there into northern California. I do not think they remained long in Oregon. No children were born there, but others were born in different counties of northern California, and I was born over in Nevada, at Austin, and then in the summer of 1875 they set out for Arizona.

I was just past eight years of age when we set out for Arizona, and the first important camping place I can recall is at old fort Grant at the mouth of Aravaipa Creek, on the San Pedro River. We camped here for several days. I recall we were exploring the ruins of the old fort and exclaiming over the beautiful bottles we found in the debris, when we were visited by a large party of Apache Indians. The Indians prowled around the camp some but did not bother us any. We were quite a large party, but we heard that after they left our camp they attacked and killed a Mexican couple living on a ranch only a short distance from our camp.

We drove on toward ...after a rest at Aravaipa Creek, and spent the winter at a camp called Nine Mile... nine miles from...

My father set up a blacksmith shop at this camp and it was while we were living here that my brother Leroy was born (1894). We had our first taste of Apache raiding while living here. A band of Apaches ran off our stock and that of others living at this place. Fortunately for us the friendly Pimas followed the Apaches and recovered our stock, as well as that of other settlers and their own. I recall seeing the Pimas driving our stock past the camp site one day and wondering about how they had gotten past our horses. My father identified his horses and was very grateful to the Pimas for their return. He gave them a horse as a reward for returning the others.

That spring we moved to what is now Tempe, but was then called Hayden’ Ferry, where the judge Charles T. Hayden had a mill, a store and a ferry. My father was employed by Judge Hayden as a blacksmith. The family lived on the Priest ranch.

It was while he was employed here that a man named Sullivan approached my father and urged him to stake him or to go with him to what he claimed was a rich silver discovery he had made in the wild Pinal Mountains, about sixty miles to the east of the Hayden Ferry settlement. In spite of his trip to California in the Gold Rush, my father knew nothing of mining and was not interested. He refused to become a partner in such a prospect. This later turned out to be the Silver King property. My father often spoke of this offer after the Silver King developed into such a rich mine. This mine was discovered in the spring of 1875 by some men from Florence who had heard about it from soldier Sullivan, but Sullivan had gone on to California.

About three years after the Silver King discovery, and after the Pinal mountain country had been pretty well explored my father moved the family to the Picket Post on Queen Creek. This was the mill site for the Silver King mine, and ore was hauled here from the mine to be milled. It came over a little hill, through a rock out and down grade about two miles from the mine to the mill on the creek bank.

We did not stay long at Picket Post, for father went over the mountain to the Globe district looking for a place where he could raise cattle. He found just what he was looking for in the Wheat fields, and took up land there. He built an adobe house a half mile below the big springs which well up in the Pinal Creek bed, and about six miles above the Salt River. There is just a wall corner of this old house still standing now. (1876-1943).

In the next few years so many settlers joined him, taking up land along the creek, that he was seeking more room, and sold his Wheatfield...rights and moved to Cherry Creek, in the vicinity of Pleasant Valley.

My brother Clifford was born at the Wheatfields ranch in October of 1876. We had come to Globe over the old Silver King Trail, a part of Stoneman Grade, down the Rock Slide into the Devil’s Canyon and on across...Creek to Pinal Creek’s West branch- as it was called- now known as Miami Wash, one of the wildest and most beautiful trails anywhere in the mountains.
The Cherry Creek ranch was very remote and beautiful too, though our home there was necessarily very crude. We reached it only by trail, no good road went into that country until many years afterward, and although people did take in a few wagons it was very difficult. We had no windows, but wooden shutters we could close. Father made the shakes for the roof and hewed the logs for the walls. They were chinked with mud. We had only home made furniture there with us too.

Frank was married by this time to Elizabeth Price and was not living at home. Eugene was working in Globe, so that Henry and father looked after the ranch. I was just past sixteen, and my brother Willis was thirteen. The three younger children were ten, seven and five respectively. Sister Ella too had married and remained in Tempe when we moved to Picket Post.

Because so many things happened to the family I have tried to set them down for you, my children. I wish so many times that I had had my mother do this for me, because there were many things she could tell that I was not old enough to understand or even remember.

The following is from “A Little War of Our Own” by Don Dedra
In 1875 William Middleton moved to Pleasant Valley, AZ and settled on a small tributary of Canyon Creek near the western boundary of the White Mountain Apache reservation. He built a small log cabin with a shake roof and shuttered, unglazed windows. William’s herd of milk cows from California may have been the first sizable herd in Pleasant Valley. For the Middleton butter-making enterprise, a log dugout milk-house anchored an angle of a fenced back yard.

Of twelve Middleton children, six younger ones still lived at the ranch. On September 6, 1881, all hands were busy with chores – rounding up horses, nailing together butter cartons, churning cream. Two young neighbor men, George Turner and Henry Moody, rushed in from Globe with news that Indian raiders were on the loose after a battle afield with soldiers, followed by an assault on Fort Apache. Though forewarned, most of the Middletons resumed work after their midday dinner. A few Indians appeared. Peaceful conversation ensued: a wish to borrow a cook pot, a request for food. Mrs. Middleton was obligingly handing a loaf of bread through the milk-house window when one of the braves yelled, “Now!” and a volley of rifle fire raked the yard.

Turner, walking to get a cup of buttermilk, fell dead. Moody, seated on the porch, also died instantly, a bullet in the eye. William Middleton and son Willis, age thirteen, scampered from the milk-house to the main cabin. Eighteen year old Henry Middleton grabbed up the family’s only weapon, a rifle, and was looking for a target when another Indian fusillade peppered the cabin. A bullet zipped through a crack in the log wall and smacked Henry in the shoulder above the heart. Now Mrs. Middleton and the rest of her children fluttered across the courtyard through another volley and miraculously tumbled unhurt into the cabin. For the Middletons, there followed an afternoon of blistering battle, a harrowing night hiding in the brush, a brutal hike to Globe. The raid cost the Middltons seventy five good horses.

Late next spring, Henry Middleton’s shoulder was about healed when Nan-tia-tish again bolted the reservation, raided here and there, and again beset the Middleton ranch, this time not only stealing the Middleton horses, but unmounting a heavily armed troop of the irregular Globe Rangers. That was enough for the Middletons. They moved to globe and sold the ranch to George Newton and J.J. Vosburgh.

The following is from the book “The Crooked Trail to Holbrook” by Leland Hanchett, Jr.

The Q Ranch
Located just west of the Apache Indian Reservation, the Q Ranch is nearly as inaccessible today as it was a hundred years ago. A seemingly endless, winding road finally enters a wide valley that provides a transition from mountain to high desert.

Each family that settled here had to learn to live with the Native Americans to the east or move on to more civilized ground. As late as 1896, whites and Indians fought over their differences.

Middleton Ranch
The first settlers in this area were the William Middleton family who wandered over from California around 1873 stopping first near Tucson and then at the community of Wheatfields northwest of Globe. By 1881 they were settled in at the Middleton Ranch two miles south of what is now the Q Ranch., southeast of Young. They ran cattle and milk cows, producing milk and butter for market at the mines near Globe.

A harrowing experience with the Apache Indians was vividly recalled in an article written by Hattie Middleton Allison around 1930. At the time of the encounter she was about sixteen years of age, old enough to be a credible witness. Her story follows:
At this time our family was engaged in the cattle business and living about 8 miles from Pleasant Valley in Gila County.

On the morning of September 2, 1881, my father had intended to go to Globe some eighty miles distant for provisions. Not being able to find his horses in time he delayed in starting. Later in the day my brother Henry, now living in Seattle, brought in the horses, some 75 head, and put them in the corral.

Mr. Allison, who later became my husband, was in charge of the telegraph office at Globe at the time and it was he who first received the news of the fight between the Indians and soldiers on August 30 on Cibecue Creek, a tributary of the Salt River, between our ranch and Fort Apache. This fight proved to be the beginning of an Indian outbreak that lasted for several years, or until the surrender of the celebrated war chief, Geronimo.

Immediately on hearing the news of the outbreak, George Turner left Globe on horseback alone, to warn us of the danger. On his way out he stopped overnight at the Moody Ranch on Cherry Creek and the next morning was joined by Henry Moody.

Both of these men were old friends of our family. They reached our ranch about 11 o’clock in the forenoon, bringing news of the fight at Cibecue Creek between Captain Hentig’s troop of Cavalry and the Indian scouts from Fort Apache and the Apaches, which had taken place a few days before, and in which Captain Hentig and seven soldiers were killed.

Captain Hentig had been ordered to arrest a medicine man, Hokay-del-Klinnay, who was stirring up the Indians to go on the warpath against the whites. Quite a number of Indians were killed in the fight including the medicine man.

Cibecue Creek is about 30 miles from our ranch. Some of this same band of Indians who were in the fight came over to our ranch reaching there about noon of the same day Turner and Moody came. Seven of them came to the house all armed and asked for a kettle to cook meat in. When asked if they knew of the fight they said “no”, that they were hunting.

As Indians had often been at our ranch to trade for flour and other provisions, we thought little about danger.

After they had been hanging around until about 3 o’clock in the afternoon we thought the Indians were peaceful, we were all busy at various occupations; my father was making boxes at a workbench against the house, my brother Willis was sitting on the end of the bench, my mother was at the milk-house with the three younger children some fifty feet from the house. Mr. Turner had just gone to the milk-house for a drink of buttermilk, and I was sitting near him on a box at the side door sewing. My brother Henry was the only one in the house at the time. There was one Indian in front of the house outside of the yard fence, three were standing near my father just outside of the yard and one of these was standing in a pile of shingles, the other three had gone to the milk-house where my mother was. They asked her for some bread and she sent my sister, Della, for the bread. Mother had just given them the bread and turned around when the Indians commenced shooting.

Moody and Turner were killed instantly, each being shot twice. The bullet that struck Moody in the temple first cut off a lock of hair on my forehead just grazing my head.

When my brother Henry heard the shooting he knew what was happening and grabbed the only gun we had and ran to the front door and saw the Indian who had been standing in front of the house, running towards the corral and shot him through the hips, for he saw him fall.

He then ran to the back door and had just located the Indians behind a bank when an Indian on the hill shot him through the left shoulder. In the meantime my mother ran in to the milk-house with the three children and closed the door. The rest of us got into the house someway. I ran through the house to the kitchen door just as brother was shot; it must have been then that I screamed and my mother hearing me thought I was shot, for she threw open the door of the milk-house and ran to the house with the three children while the bullets were whistling all around them, but they escaped without a scratch.

After we were all in the house we barricaded the doors with tables, beds and chairs as we thought the Indians would rush the house and kill all of us like Indians did in the olden times.

My father had a bullet hole through his hat and one through his shirt on the shoulder. Afterwards when examining the place where my brother Willis had been sitting on the bench a bullet hole was found just about where his head had been. Apaches are usually poor shots and if they don’t get you the first shot you are pretty safe. We certainly were lucky.

Then they opened the corral gate and after killing a beautiful black stallion, drove the rest of the horses off.

The horses were what they wanted as they knew the soldiers would soon be on their trail. We stayed in the house until 1 o’clock that night till the moon went down as my father was afraid the Indians would slip back under cover of darkness and set fire to the house. So as quietly as possible we stole out into the night and left the two dead boys where they had fallen.

As luck would have it we had one horse left that my brother had been riding that day which the Indians had failed to kill after shooting it through the body behind the forelegs. On this horse we placed my mother and the two youngest children and went about two miles up a mountain and hid there in the brush while my father went on to Pleasant Valley to get help. He told us if he wasn’t back by daylight not to look for him for he couldn’t come. Long after sunrise when we had given up all hope of seeing our father again, we heard him call to us from down below.

We rushed down where he was and found he had one old man, a Mr. Church, with a rifle and only one cartridge. My father said “I don’t believe we will get out of here alive for the mountains are full of Indians”. He then told how when they were coming back from Pleasant Valley they met on top of a little hill those same Indians with our horses and how they deliberately got off the horses and began firing on him and Mr. Church and ran them back toward Pleasant Valley and how they gave them the slip in the willows along Cherry Creek and by a round-about way got back to us.

My father said, “ we dare not take the traveled trails,” so we cut straight through the mountains for twenty miles towards Sombrero Butte, a well known landmark in that country, where we were compelled to come into the main traveled trail leading to Globe, four miles beyond the elder Moody’s ranch on Cherry Creek. Just after coming into the trail about dark we heard voices and the tramp of horses coming toward us.

We thought they were Indians, but you can imagine our great relief and joy to see my brother Eugene and five other men from Globe coming to our rescue. These men, well known to old timers of that day, were sheriff “Bill” Lowther, Jack Eaton, John Burchett, Captain Burbridge and Mr.Mattel. We were put on their horses and taken to the Moody ranch where we spent the night.

The most heartbreaking thing was in breaking the news to Mr. Moody of the tragic death of his only son.

The next morning we left for Globe and had to pass through the camp of Chief Nadaski on Cherry Creek. We were much afraid that these Indians were hostile but great was our relief to find them very friendly. We reached Globe on Sunday afternoon, September 4 after the most tragic experience of our lives.

Apparently that “tragic experience” didn’t dampen the Middleton’s spirits that much as they soon returned to their ranch only to have another encounter with hostile Apaches.

Charles M. Clark was working as a writer for the Globe Chronicle newspaper on July 10, 1882, when a telegram was received from Col. Tiffany, Indian Agent at the San Carlos Reservation. It stated that some eighty Chiricahaus had broken out of the reservation led by Na-ti-o-tish, a Tonto Apache, and had headed north. Tiffany suggested that couriers be sent to outlying camps warning the settlers to be on the lookout for hostiles.

In accord with this suggestion, messengers were sent out in all directions to the outside camps. During the late afternoon, while checking with Capt. Daniel lacey Boone and checking over the camps which had been notified, to ascertain whether any had been overlooked, he stated that the Middleton family were at their camp in Pleasant Valley making butter, to be brought down in the fall. We concluded that it would be of no service to send a courier to them as there were but two men of fighting age in their outfit while there were four or five young children, and two young lady daughters in the family. So it was concluded to make up a party of sufficient strength to make a fight if necessary, go to Pleasant Valley, and bring the family to Globe. This was done immediately.

They crossed the Salt River at Coon Creek Crossing, just below Redman's Flat, during the night. They reached the Middleton Ranch in Pleasant Valley about ten o'clock the next morning. Lacey informed the Middletons that a big band of hostiles had left the reservation and would pass close to their ranch. He advised them to get up horses and start for Globe at once before the Indians reached the valley. This they declined to do as they would have to leave what butter they had made, and their cows would go dry if not milked regularly. They said they were not afraid of the Indians molesting them as they had always given food and tobacco to any Indians passing through the valley. Lacey informed them that these particular Indians were Chiracahuas, while the Indians they were feeding were the Cibecues of Nadaski's band; that these Indians were hostiles and that the Indian Agent at San Carlos had telegraphed warning to the Globe people to look out for them.

As the Middletons declined to leave their ranch, Lacey decided that he and his men would remain there a day or two until the Indians had time to pass through. One of the party, Lindsay Lewis, who was well acquainted with the Middletons, asked Mrs. Middleton how they were fixed for food. It developed that up to the previous day they had been well supplied with venison jerky, but the last of it was gone. It was suggested that bread and milk would taste mighty good. Mrs. Middleton and her eldest daughter at once mixed up several batches of bread which they baked in Dutch ovens and the two women went to the little 'dugout' milk cellar to bring a supply of milk. The members of the Globe party meanwhile had unsaddled and thrown their saddles on the ground in front of the cabin.

Most of them were lying down asleep with their heads on their saddles. As the two women returned from a second trip to the milk-house, each carrying a pan of milk, and were just entering the door of the cabin, the Indians opened the fight.

About fifty shots were fired at the house and the men lying around on the ground. One of the bullets shattered a door casing alongside Mrs. Middleton's head. Fortunately, no one was hit. The men lying on the ground grabbed their guns from their saddle boots and jumped for the cabin. When everyone had got inside the door was shut and a wooden bar dropped into the two brackets which held it in place. The chinking was pulled from between the logs and the men began shooting at whatever portion of the Indians they could see.

The hostiles were well armed with fifty caliber 'Long Tom' Springfield rifles and appeared to have an unlimited supply of ammunition. They kept up an incessant fire for several hours. About two o'clock in the afternoon, Lacey called for volunteers to go out with him to a little grove of live oaks a short distance from the cabin, thinking that he could thus get a flanking fire on the Indians who had by this time almost surrounded the house. The door was cautiously opened and Lacey and six of his men ran to the little oak grove. After a few minutes he found that the Indians were cross firing his party so he ordered a retreat which was at once affected by all of the party except one, Mike Whalen, who did not hear the command. When Whalen found he was alone, he ran to a little hill back of the cabin which was covered with loose rock. There he threw up a breast work of stones and fought until after dark, when he rejoined the main party in the cabin. In telling me of his experience after his return to Globe, Whalen said that he got six Indians that he was sure of. But as customary in all of their engagements, where possible, the Indians carried off their casualties, and the exact number was never known. Knowing the personnel of the Lacey party and their ability to place a bullet about where they wished, I am inclined to believe that the Indians had a real job of carrying off their dead. Not a single one of the whites was hit.

After dark the Indians ceased firing and nothing more was heard of them. About ten o'clock that night having heard nothing of the Indians for hours, Lacey sent two of his men to scout around the cabin to find out if the Indians had really withdrawn. The door was carefully opened and the two scouts dropped to the ground outside. Snaking along on their stomachs, they circled the entire area without hearing anything of the hostiles. Returning to the cabin they reported this to the captain. It was then agreed that all parties, including the Middleton family, start at once for Globe. The Indians had run off all the ranch stock, including the horses ridden in by the men from Globe. There was nothing to do but start on foot to walk to Globe. When the party reached Salt River, they found it necessary to build log rafts in order to cross the women and children and the rifles of the party. This was finally accomplished safely and the trip to Globe resumed. The party reached Globe safely about six o'clock in the evening, having walked the sixty-five miles since about ten o'clock the previous night. The hostiles, after leaving the Middleton Ranch, went on up country taking the Middleton horses and those of the Globe men with them.

The San Carlos Indian Police led by Cibecue Charley Colvig caught up with the renegades on July 11th. Na-ti-o-tish had been warned of the attack and ambushed the Indian police killing several and routing the rest, chasing them all the way back to San Carlos. The Army then pursued the hostiles relentlessly. In spite o£ this, several settlers were massacred along the way. Finally the various Army Troops enclosed the Indian position at Big Dry Wash and the final major battle of the Indian Wars was fought. Out of seventy-five warriors, only ten or fifteen survived. Na-ti-o-tish's band ceased to exist that day.

Sometime between 1882 and 1884 the Middleton family gave up their ranch in Pleasant Valley by selling their possessory rights to George A. Newton of Globe. In William Middleton’s probate, dated February 17, 1891, his only real property consisted of a lot in Globe worth $500. Interestingly, he also had a claim against the US Government for $2500, possibly to cover the earlier loss of his horses to the Indians.

The Middleton Family

My Great Grandmother on my father’s side was Uarka Middleton. She married Charles Branscomb in Mendocino, Ca in 1886. Her father, John, was a brother to William.

The parents of William and John Middleton were John C Middleton (1795-1884) and Nancy States (1795- )

The children of John C Middleton were:
Alfred Middleton (1818 – 1884)
John Middleton (1822 – 1903)
Mary Middleton (1824 - )
William Middleton (1827 – 1891)
Nancy Middleton (1828 – 1907)

The children of William & Miriam were:

Franklin W. Middleton (1853 – 1896)
William Henry Middleton (1856 - )
Eugene Middleton (1860 – 1929) Drove the stage when the Apache Kid escaped and was seriously wounded in the mouth and neck but lived.
Ella Middleton (1862-1936)
Hattie Middleton (1865-1947)
Alfred Willis Middleton (1867-1909)
Idella (Della) Middleton (1871-1937)
Leroy Middleton (1874-1962) Friend of Al Sieber
Clifton Middleton (1876-1948) Was in Troup “B” of the Rough Riders during the Spanish American War

The children of John and Suzanna were:
Tabatha Jane Middleton (1847-1896)
Granville Agustus Middleton (1849 – 1928)
Donjuan Dewane Middleton (1850 - 1913)
Silvia Lurene Middleton (1851 – 1886)
Mary Annetta Middleton ( 1863 – 1931)
Marion Henry Middleton (1863 – 1931)
Lafayette Dewitte Middleton (1865 – 1945)
Uarka Middleton (1868 - 1945) My Great Grandmother

The following information is from “Encylopedia of Frontier Biography” Thrapp, Dan L.
Middleton, Eugene, stagecoach driver, pioneer (Feb. 7, 1861-Apr. 24, 1929). B. in
California his parents, William and Miriam Middleton took their family to Arizona,
settling first at Tucson and about 1876 at Globe, a mining camp in Gila County; they
then established a ranch eight miles from Pleasant Valley. In September 1881 the ranch
was attacked by Apaches following the Cibecue incident, and Gene, who was in Globe, quickly brought assistance. Gene was with a party of "Globe Rangers" organized to fight the Apaches who, however outguessed them and stole their mounts. In November 1889 Gene who, with his father was proprietor of a small stage line, agreed to haul eight Apache prisoners along with Sheriff Glenn Reynolds and William Holmes as guards, to the railroad, two days distant. Among the prisoners was one known as the Apache Kid. On the second day, near present Kelvin, Arizona, the Indians turned on their guards, killed one, the other dying of a heart attack, and Pas-lau-tau shot Gene Middleton, dropping him from the driver's box, the bullet entering the right cheek and emerging from his back. It is reported that one of the prisoners wanted to finish Middleton with either a rock or a shot, but was dissuaded by the Apache Kid, though the record is obscured by the several versions Middleton apparently told; it would seem however that the Indian desired to spare his life since the Apache Kid to that time had neither attacked nor killed any white. Middleton lived at Globe the remainder of his life, being described on his death certificate as an "apartment house owner" at the time he succumbed to "natural causes which are unknown."

Jess G. Hayes, Apache Vengeance. Albuquerque, Univ. of New Mex. Press, 1954; Dan L.

Thrapp, Al Sieber, Chief of Scouts. Norman, Univ. of Okla. Press, 1964; author interview Leroy Middleton, July 13, 1958.

Middleton, Henry, pioneer (c. 1863- c. 1949). 1891). B. probably in California he reached Arizona with his parents about 1873; the Middletons established a cattle ranch in the Sierra Ancha Mountains north of Globe about 1879. In September 1881 the ranch house was attacked by Apaches as a spinoff of the Cibecue affair, two men were killed and Henry Middleton was shot above the heart; he had no medical attention for four days until he could be gotten to Globe, but survived to recover completely. Middleton had a close brush with hostile Apaches just before the battle of Big Dry Wash in the summer of 1882 but escaped unscathed although his horse was shot. He was a brother of Eugene (Gene) Middleton who was wounded seriously in an Apache Kid outbreak in 1889. Lee Middleton said Henry “lived to die at 86 at Seattle.” But there does not seem to be an offical record of his death there at the date cited.

Interview with Leroy (Lee) Middleton July 13, 1958; Clara T. Woody, Milton L. Swartz, Globe Arizona. Tucson, Arizona Historical Society

Middleton, Leroy (Lee), stagecoach driver (Jan 24, 1874 – May 31, 1967) B. at Tucson Arizona, he was taken by his family to Globe in 1876 and laterr to their ranch in the Sierra Ancha Mountains near Pleasant Valley, also in Arizona. When Apaches attacked the place in September, 1881, Lee with two other children and their mother were in the milkhouse; the mother dragged the three through a hail of bullets safely into the log home. Lee was a stage driver between Globe and Florence, Arizona, on the line run by his father and older brother, Gene, who was seriously wounded in 1889 during an Apache Kid outbreak. On one occasion Lee was held up by Henry Blevins who took from the strongbox some bars of silver (later lost in a flash flood). Lee at that time did not know who the robber had been, but Blevins and his partner were arrested and did time for the affair. In December 1921 Lee ran into Blevins in a speak-easy and they got drunk together. Middleton worked copper claims on Pinto Creek, Arizona, in 1902-1904 during which time he became friendly with Al Sieber; later in life Lee lived in Phoenix, where he died.

Interview, July 13, 1958
Middleton, William, pioneer (c. 1827-Feb 19, 1891) B. in Kentucky, he went to California in 1849 where his son, Eugene (Gene) Middleton, later wounded in a Apache outbreak, was born. Middleton, a blacksmith by trade, brought his growing family (which eventually included nine children) to Tucson, Arizona about 1873 and after a few months moved to Hayden’s Ferry (the present Tempe, Arizona). He refused an invitation to accompany John Sullivan, an ex-soldier, in his search for s silver lode he had discovered while in the service and thus missed out on possible wealth in the vicinity of the present Globe, which Middleton reached in 1876. About 1880 the Middletons located a cattle ranch in the Sierra Ancha Mountains near Pleasant Valley; the place was attacked twice by hostile Apaches, in 1881 and 1882. One son, Henry, was seriously wounded in the first affray and a daughter, Hattie narrowly escaped death while two young men at the ranch were slain. The Middletons took no part in the Pleasant Valley War, but as a result of the tense atmosphere in the surrounding area they removed to Globe, the sons operating stage lines and the father running a blacksmith shop in town and later becoming head blacksmith for the Old Dominion Copper Smelter at Globe. In early 1891 heavy rains caused the flooding of Pinal Creek at Globe and Middleton was killed either in a 75-foot fall to the water or by drowning.

Globe, Arizona Silver Belt. Feb. 21, 1891; Clara T. Woody, Milton L. Schwartz, Globe, Arizona.
Tucson, Ariz. Hist. Soc., 1977; interview with
Leroy (Lee) Middleton, July 13, 1958.


The following books or documents have references to the Middleton family or the Middleton ranch in Arizona.
General Crook and the Sierra Madre Adventure, Thrapp, Dan 1972
Frontier Times, Middleton, Hattie June, 1928
True West, Vol. XI, No. 4 (March-April, 1964)
Thank-you Dennis Yows for recording some amazing family history. As anyone can see the Indian wars in the South-West fought on long after we settled them in California in the late 1860s.