CHAPTER XIV. MORE SETTLEMENTS (Continued).
INTERVIEW WITH JAMES G. H. COLTER-SETTLES IN ROUND VALLEY-LOCATES AT NUTRIOSO-INDIAN TROUBLES - INDUCES HENRY SPRINGER TO LOCATE IN VALLEY AND NAMES SPRINGERVILLE AFTER HIM-EXPERIENCE AS DEPUTY SHERIFF-FIGHT WITH JACK OLNEY-SELLS OUT NUTRIOSO TO MORMONS-FIGHT WITH GERONIMO AND VICTORIO-FRED T. COLTER IN FIGHT.
"I was born in 1844 in Cumberland County, near Amherst, Nova Scotia, Canada. Left home and came to Wisconsin when sixteen years of age, about the year 1860; came to Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and then worked for one man lumbering, and, when twenty years old, ran one of his camps. He was a lumber man. I then bought three hundred and twenty acres of pine timber, and went lumbering for myself. This was when I was twenty-one years of age. In 1872 I started to Arizona, and arrived in Colter, Arizona, or where Colter is now, where my sons still live. There were three in our party that came across the plains. We bought some horses at Atchison, Kansas, and brought three two-horse teams to Round Valley, Arizona, that I lumbered with in Wisconsin. I also brought a reaper and mower, my intention being to raise barley for
"The first Indian trouble I saw, we were coming across the Navajo Reservation, one corner of it, and they, the Indians, about a hundred and fifty of them, rode in front of us and stopped us. They were Navajoes, and we thought we were gone up sure, I was driving the head team, and other teams were following, and when the Indians stopped us, the boys said: ‚We had better fire at them.‚ We had our guns, but I said, ‚No, we better not.‚ We had one wagonload of provisions, flour, bacon, coffee and sugar, a year's provisions, and before they would let us go any further, we had to give them about half our provisions for toll, to get across the reservation, and we were glad to get off that easy. It was in the afternoon that this occurred. We drove all night and the next day until we tired out our horses.
"Then I took up land in Nutrioso, and with Mexican labor took out ditches and opened it up. The next Indian trouble I was at Nutrioso alone, fifteen miles from anybody. I had a log house on the farm and my horses were over there, but the other boys were in another valley. One day I looked down the valley, and saw about two hundred Indians coming up the valley, and I thought surely I was gone up that time. They came up to the house, but didn't seem to be on the warpath. They wanted provisions, and I hadn't very much, and I wouldn't give them any at first. Some of them came into the house. The young bucks were very sassy, but I had my gun and six shooter in my hands. At last the young
"I took out ditches and worked Mexicans, and raised a good crop of barley the first year, and threshed with sheep the first year for Camp Apache, furnished the barley to that post, and the next year I sent for a threshing machine to Atchison, Kansas, and it cost more to get it across the plains than the machine cost. Barley was eight and nine dollars a hundred at the time, to feed the cavalry horses.
"The reason I came out from Wisconsin, there was one man by the name of Moore ahead of us, and he sent word that barley was worth eight and nine dollars a hundred to feed the cavalry horses at Camp Apache, fifty-five miles from where I settled. Afterwards I bought a farm, one of the finest farms in the Little Colorado, from McCullough; the next two years I bought that farm
"Bowers was sheriff of Yavapai County, and I was his deputy in that part of the county; it was about three hundred and fifty miles from Prescott, and I had to assess property and collect as far as Clifton, which was the first mining camp opened up. I had to travel through Indian country all the way; it was all Indians that day, you know. I always travelled in the night; mostly on horseback with pack animals; we would make fires to cook a little coffee, etc., and then I would put them out and move camp. When I laid down I would lay down in another place from where I had had my fire.
"Julius Becker had a little store at Springerville, and the desperadoes used to come in every two or three months, and tell him to go out of the store, and they would take all the tobacco and clothes, and drink all the whiskey they wanted, and dance and have a good time, and keep the store about a day and a night, and then send
"At another time I was threshing in Springerville Valley with my machine, the boys started over the valley, and I went over to a little Mexican town to get some things. I had neither six shooter nor gun. I was horseback and when I got up to the little store they told me that there was a man there that I had a warrant for, a desperado, and that he was in another room; that he had given up his arms, six shooter and guns, to them. I was not armed then either, and, foolishly, I went to arrest him. I went up to him and told him I had a warrant for his arrest. At that time they wore their pants inside their boots, and as I went up to him, he pulled a long dirk knife out of his bootleg and struck at me. The knife went straight between my eyes, then he kept following me back across the room with his knife and gave me five wounds in the body, near the heart, each time striking a rib, before I knocked him down and, with the assistance of others who had run in, overpowered him. I was cut up pretty bad. He got up after I knocked him down and came at me again. A fellow by
"Once I had a narrow escape; a desperado came in who had killed five men. He and his gang had killed the sheriff and five men who were following them in Colorado. The party, in two divisions, came into the valley the fall that I lived in Springerville. There was a reward of two thousand dollars for him and his companions. They had ambushed the posse that was following them, the sheriff and five men, and killed them all. Anyway they came into Round Valley and he rented a farm from a pretty hard case there who was going to leave the country. I threshed his grain, and when I got through threshing, he wouldn't pay me. He said he would pay me when he got ready, and it was close to Becker's little store, and he had two six shooters on him; he was sitting, on his horse and I told him that I would take the barley and give him the price that he would get for it. He wouldn't do it, and I asked old Julius Becker to come up and take hold of the scales with me and we would carry them over and weigh the barley, so we took the scales and weighed out the barley, and this hard case just stood there. That night I went over to the house. I intended to go over to Nutrioso to the other ranch where my family lived, and I had my horse saddled down by the house after we had supper; there was three of us in the cabin. As I came out of the door-there was a bunch of bushes a little distance from the cabin,-and as I stepped outside I looked around and this same man was alongside this bunch of bushes. He fired at me and
"At one time I was going over to Nutrioso-Jack Olney was a hard case who kept a saloon at Springerville, and he was in the habit of beating up men over the head with a six shooter, and one time he beat up one of my men, a man by the name of Pearson, he came out to the ranch all beaten up. I made the remark then that if Olney ever tackled me, he would get the worst of it. A short time after that I went into Springerville; had my six shooter in the front of my trousers as we used to carry them those days when we didn't have a belt on. I went into Henry Springer's store, and there was no one there but the bookkeeper. Olney had seen me coming into Springerville, and with two of his boys he sneaked into the store behind me, and walked right up behind me and putting a six shooter to my head, said: ‚I heard you said that if I tackled you I would get the worst of it.‚ I said, ‚Yes, I did,‚ for I knew that he would not shoot; if he had been going to shoot he never would have stopped to talk about it, and I said to him that if he would put his guns off and come outside, I would give him the beating of his life. He did this, and by this time two of my friends had come up, one of them being Murray who had come from Wisconsin with me; we all went outside and put off our guns and started in. He didn't know the first thing about boxing or fighting with his hands, and I was pretty good at it those days, having been in
"All this time I was engaged in farming and stock raising, and contracting with the Government, and about the year 1879, I sold out my place and moved to New Mexico; sold out the Nutrioso farm to the first Mormon that ever came into that part of the country; bought more cattle and moved down to the San Francisco river in New Mexico, over the line, sixty-five miles above Clifton, Arizona, and the ranch is known as the ‚W. S. Ranch‚ to this day. Then I moved five thousand head of cattle over on the San Francisco river, and put a butchershop in Deming, N. M. At the time the Santa Fe and the Southern Pacific met in Deming, I had butchershops at Deming, Silver City, in the mines, and the beef contract for Fort Bayard, nine miles out of Silver City.
"About the year 1882 I had ‚dobe houses on the ranch, and about that time the Indians bothered me some. Where I had settled on the San Francisco river was right in between San Carlos and the Agua Caliente, the Hot Springs, where
"Fred, my son, was a boy of perhaps three or four years of age, and he was with me in that fight. Both he and his mother were with me in that fight, and, speaking of Fred, I remember so often that when we thought him not old enough to think of such things he would say: ‚Papa, when I get big I am going to be a good man and a great man,‚ and that has been typical of his actions, for he has developed a big country at Colter and spent much time and money for public welfare. He was County Supervisor of Apache County for five years, a Delegate to the Constitutional Convention and is now serving his second term in the State Senate (1918). He is also a Democratic National Committeeman and, although only thirty-nine years of age, I look forward to a great future for him. After this fight I took my family to Silver City, and kept them there all summer in the Hotel.
"I came back to Arizona along in the early nineties to where I had first settled. Fred was born right in the Nutrioso valley. I engaged in the stock business in the same place; my boys went into the same business and I have been travelling in California and all over for the last few years. I never worked very much after my boys grew up. I have three sons and one girl. The girl married Tom Phelps and she is living up there too. I was married in Springerville in 1875 to a southern girl by the name of Rosa Rudd, the daughter of Dr. Wm. Rudd, one of the first pioneers of that country.
"When I left Wisconsin for Arizona, we first came down in the boat from Eau Claire on the Chippewa river, run on a boat and come to Davenport, Iowa, and there I chartered cars and came to the end of the Santa Fe Railroad at Atchison, Kansas, and then started in the wagons. I drove one wagon; we had one wagon with grub, one with the reaper and mower, and one with tools, etc. One of the boys, Murray, was a blacksmith, and he made puzzle hobbles which we put on the horses at night. No one could take them off but ourselves and we drove
"The way we came to start was that this man Moore whom I spoke of, wrote to a man named Lamb; I didn't know Moore myself, but Lamb told us about it. Lamb had a little pair of mules, and he wanted to go to Arizona. I had good, heavy wagons, and he said he was going to take Moore's family, and when we got down to start on the boat, a drive of about fifty miles, he was there with his little pair of mules and the Moore family of five children. Lamb came to me and said that he was out of money, and wanted to know if he could come along anyhow. It provoked me to have him start off without telling me first that he was short, but I told him to come on anyhow, and we brought the whole bunch through with us. He was an old man and we didn't even have him stand guard at night, but took care of the whole bunch. I had to furnish them with grub and paid all their expenses."’’