VERDE HERITAGE 1870-1911: PECK LAKE
1864: Ed. G. "Peck secured the first hay contract at Fort Whipple, which was then located in Chino Valley. It was for 300 tons of hay at 30 dollars a ton, to be cut with hoes." ("History of Arizona;" Thomas Edwin Farish; Vol. II; p. 249, 262.)
In connection with their hay contract, Ed. Peck and his associates are credited with building the first wagon road into the Verde Valley, which was used to haul hay out to the military post. Hay was harvested from the area near the lake and along the Verde River and its tributaries. They eventually constructed a building south of the lake and slough.
c 1868: "George Hance, the Verde Valley pioneer," wrote in 1899: "Thirty-one years ago the Verde River was full of beaver dams and was not confined to an even channel, as it is now." (Jerome Mining News; July 24, 1899; page 2.)
1870: Sometime since, Mr. Ed. Peck discovered a lake on the east side of the Verde River, and last week Messrs. Pierce, Pace, [Wales] Arnold, and Peck, took a trip up the valley of the Verde, looking for locations for ranches, and being in the vicinity of the lake, went to it, and named it LAKE PECK, in honor of the discoverer. The lake is about 1.2 miles long and some 300 yards in width, and the present resort of thousands of cranes, ducks, geese, mud-hens, and other water fowl. Deer and antelope are plenty near the lake. (Weekly Arizona Miner; September 24, 1870; page 3.) "A number of persons are here" at Camp Verde "on their way to settle at Peck's Lake, some 18 or 19 miles distant up the Verde River." (Weekly Arizona Miner; December 17, 1870; page 3.)
1871 WATER RIGHT: Notice: We the undersigned claim 3,000 inches of the waters of this the Verde River; also the waters of this slough through which the line of our ditch runs, to be used for farming purposes. We intend to resume our work on said ditch at the earliest opportunity. Jas. H. Wilkerson, Wm. Sherard, dated February 12, 1871. (recorded September 12, 1871; Yavapai County; Book 1 of Promiscuous Records; page 65.)
THE RIO VERDE INDIAN RESERVATION was created on October 3, 1871.
1873: Dr. Williams, Special Indian Agent at the Verde Reserve, reports that there are 1,494 Indians living on the Reservation. "The agency camp is near the site of the Peck & Company's old building," which the Indians burned a year or more ago. (Weekly Arizona Miner; May 31, 1873.) The Agency camp was in what became Dead Horse Ranch State Park.
1873 and 1898: "A few days ago the Hon. Jake Marks was in Jerome for the purpose of going ... with Jean Allison to shoot ducks. They spent a couple of days at the lake and were successful in bagging 70 ducks." When Mr. Marks "arrived there he thought the surrounding mountains looked familiar, and after he had listened to the song of the silvery waves as they beat upon the pebbly beach, he was sure that he had been there before, and asked Mr. Allison if the body of water before them was not known as Peck's Lake. Upon being told that such was the name of the lake, he immediately remembered many a hunting expedition he had made to the neighborhood accompanied by army officers when located at Camp Verde, but having approached the lake from a different direction than through Jerome, he did not recognize his old hunting grounds. ... During his last visit to the lake in 1873, ... not far from where Mr. Marks and his companion, Lieutenant Schuyler, were camped, a band of Apaches had raised their tents." ... (Arizona Republican; December 2, 1898; page 3.)
"Mr. Theodore Otto has gone into the fur business and is now on the hunt for beaver and all other animals which support valuable hair." (Weekly Arizona Miner; December 5; 1873; page 3.)
1874: Mr. Otto and one other man recently trapped 60 beavers on the Verde, in a very short space of time, and Indians of the reservation captured about 100. Good judges say there are at least 5,000 beavers on the Upper Verde. (Arizona Weekly Miner; February 6, 1874; page 3.) "Mr. P. B. Brannen, trader at the Verde Indian Reservation, arrived in town last evening, bringing with him one of the finest lots of furs that we have ever seen, the most of which are beaver, and are second to none from that great beaver country, the Verde. Fox and other furs were amongst the assortment; also a fine lot of buckskins. The entire lot was purchased by Mr. Ellis of the firm of Asher & Co." (Arizona Weekly Miner; April 24, 1874; page 3.)
Ditch excavation began April 27, 1874. Col. Mason, 5th U.S. Cavalry, was in charge of the irrigation ditch project. Native Americans had completed 5,000 feet by May 15. The irrigating ditch was from 9 to 15 feet wide on the top and 4 feet wide on the bottom. The cut in places was 15 feet deep. About 7,000 feet were completed by May 23. Native Americans also constructed a dam across the Verde River 60 feet long and a dam in the slough 30 feet long. (Arizona Weekly Miner; May 15; and Arizona Sentinel; May 23, 1874.)
1975: General George Crook was replaced by General Kautz, who explained that the War Department had forced Native Americans to live with military supervision on the Verde Reservation. "Extensive improvements were begun, and they were rapidly learning to be self-supporting." Once they were considered peaceful, it was "very difficult to make the Indians understand that in time of peace the military commander has no control over the Indians." Supervision was transferred to the Interior Department, with a policy of concentrating groups of Native Americans on fewer reservations "to reduce the number of Agencies."... During February, 1875, Special Commissioner Dudley, of the Indian Department, arrived and proceeded to remove the Indians from the Verde Reservation to San Carlos. ... So far as my observation goes, I have seen no one who endorses it except those connected with the Indian Department. ... The Indians were reluctant to move and much apprehension was felt about it in this section. They submitted, however, to the surprise of every one." (Arizona Weekly Miner; December 24, 1875; page 1.)
Illness had spread through the Verde Valley population, so Dr. Warren E. Day, who had been a military physician, was assigned to assist with patient care during 1874. As soon as the Native Americans, military men, and most of the civilians left, and before any mining location near what would become known as Jerome had been recorded, Dr. Day recorded his claim. 1875 Water Right: "Notice: I the undersigned have this day located and claimed 5 acres of land situated on the Verde River, together with the water of the Verde River flowing through said land, being located and claimed as a Mill Site for mining, milling and manufacturing purposes; commencing at the center of the dam across the Verde River on what has heretofore been known as the Verde Indian Reservation built for the purposes of irrigating the lands on said reservation by the Indians. March 4, 1875. Warren E. Day. (Yavapai County; Book 1 of Promiscuous Records; page 133.)
The Interior Department, returned the Rio Verde Indian Reservation to the public domain and opened the land for settlement on April 23, 1875. (Arizona Weekly Miner; June 4, 1875; page 2.)
M. A. "Andy" Ruffner was the first new arrival to claim land near Peck Lake during 1875. The family of William Hawkins arrived and camped about a mile from Camp Verde on August, 17, 1875, then moved up the river during September, where they bought "improvements" and squatter's rights from Mr. Ruffner. Their dam across the Verde River was constructed during 1876. M. A. Ruffner continued to live near Peck Lake and staked mineral claims in the Black Hills. His "Eureka" and "Wade Hampton" became part of the United Verde Copper Company.
The family of James Oliver Bristow arrived in the Verde Valley during August of 1875, and soon settled on land near the cottonwood grove rented from the Casner brothers. Lenora Bristow (later Mrs. Lee) wrote: "The Verde River spread out wide, and so shallow you could cross it on clumps of grass. Willows and undergrowth were so heavy all over the river bed that the water was forced into standing pools." (Pioneer Stories of Arizona's Verde Valley; 1933, 1954; "Looking Back Across the Years;" by Lenora Bristow Lee; page 133.)
"When the first pioneers came to the Verde Valley they found a stockman's and hunter's paradise. There was however one fault with it. The high grass that grew everywhere acted as a sponge and held most of the rain water back from reaching the river and causing floods. The Verde River was more or less a series of pools that were grown over with moss and made good breeding places for mosquitos that spread malaria." ("Those Early Days;" Sedona Westerners; 1968 ;"The Loy Family;" page 147.)
1876 Water Right: "We, R. W. Pleasants and Isaac Jones, hereby locate 1,000 inches of water for agricultural, milling and mining purposes in the following irrigation ditch: The ditch starts out of the East side of the Verde River about one quarter of a mile below the Peck Lake, and being 3 miles in length and covering the ranches of R. W. Pleasants and Isaac Jones." February 16, 1876. (Filed by D. Strahan, February 1, 1878; Yavapai County; Book 1 of Promiscuous Records; page 324.)
When the land was surveyed as Township 16 North, Range 3 East, during April and May of 1877, "Peck's Lake was located in the south half of Section 16 extend southward into the north half of Section 21. After this survey was approved, the first land patent or homestead on the Upper Verde River was granted in 1883 to Mr. Winningham, who lived down the river from Peck Lake.
DIVERSION DAM, WATER TUNNEL, A FLUME, AND DITCHES
Hundreds of beaver dams prevented the Verde River from being a free flowing river. As the beaver population began to be exterminated, Verde River flooding resulted in erosion and the cutting of a deeper channel. As time passed, river water was cut off and flood water flowed less frequently into Peck Lake.
Henry James (Alton) Allen (born at Mansfield, Desota Parish, Louisiana, July 22, 1852; died near Peck Lake on January 5, 1904) was the long-term financial manager for the United Verde Copper Company. Charles Winter Woods (born at Nashville, Tennessee, September 11, 1853; died at Jerome on February 11, 1937) was working on the construction of the narrow gauge railroad to Jerome during 1894 when he was hired as the first physician for the United Verde Copper Company.
1896: A diversion dam was constructed to redirect water from the Verde River into a lengthy ditch system which channeled the flow of water through "Brewer's Tunnel," (located on the property of Hugh Brewer and called "Tunnel," "Allen Ditch," or "Hawkins Ditch,") across a pipeline (flume) spanning over Peck's Lake, around the north and east sides of Tuzigoot Hill, and back into the river to the south. The project was completed in 1896. "According to O. A. Turney's irrigation report, dated 1901, 2 men by the name of Allen and Wood --- representatives of Senator William A. Clark, the owner of the United Verde Copper Company --- worked directly with O'Shea, Emory Hawkins, and other area residents to plan and construct a watering system that could replace the much smaller and outdated 1876 Hawkins Ditch. By the early 1900s, the Allen Ditch effectively irrigated more than 300 acres of land, including 124 acres within the boundaries of Tuzigoot National Monument's recent acquisition." Tavasci Marsh.
1898: "Hugh A. Brewer and wife have deeded the N 1/2 of the NW 1/4 of section 21, township 16-N of R-3-E, and water right and ditch connected with it to Robert R. Cannon, for the sum of $1,000. The land is located in the Verde Valley."(Arizona Weekly Journal-Miner; May 25, 1898; page 3.)
1899: "R. A. Windes and wife to John Goodwin, deed, 1-48 interest in water tunnel and ditch near Peck Lake. ... R. B. Cannon to J. Goodwin, Jr., deed, 1-32 interest in tunnel and ditch near Peck Lake." (Arizona Weekly Journal-Miner; April 26, 1899; page 1,)
1900: "H. J. Allen and Dr. Woods have purchased the Cannon ranch on the south shore of Peck's Lake. The ranch is under a ditch which controls the water of the lake, and is one of the prettiest spots in the Verde Valley. As a speculation the investment is a good one." (Jerome Mining News; Monday, March 19, 1900; page 3.) "Final settlement and distribution was made yesterday in the probate court of the entire estate of the late H. J. Allen. the estate was distributed to Arabelle Allen, widow of the deceased, sole legatee under the will. It consists of 320 acres of land in the Verde Valley at Peck's Lake." ... (Weekly Arizona Journal-Miner; January 25, 1905; page 7.)
After living on the land and making improvements, Timothy Shea received a land patent for 120 acres located on the E 1/2 SE and SE NE of Section 17 on May 8, 1901. (Government Land Office.)
DUCKS AND FISH AT PECK LAKE
1900: "The duck season will open the 1st of October and all the nimrods in this vicinity [Phoenix] are anxious for the day to come, when they will make a rush for Peck's Lake where they will bombard the ducks until further orders. By the way, there will be some charges for the privilege of shooting on the lake this season, as the land owners around the lake have taken into their heads to swell their revenues at the expense of the duck hunters." (Arizona Republican; Phoenix; October 1, 1900; page 7.)
1903: The United States Fish Commissioner brought into Jerome 8,950 fish which were placed in Oak Creek, Lower Oak Creek, Peck's Lake, and Sycamore Creek. ... Peck's Lake received 50 two year old black bass, 200 two year old strawberry bass, 250 rock bass, and 200 crappie." ... (Weekly Arizona Journal-Miner; November 18, 1903; page 4.)
LAND OWNERSHIP: DRAINING PECK LAKE AND SLOUGH TO CREATE PASTURE
1905-1906: "Desert Land, Final Proof Notice:... Department of Interior, U. S. Land Office, Prescott, A.T., January 27, 1905. Notice is hereby given that Daniel O'Shea, of Jerome, Arizona, has filed notice of intention to make proof on his desert land claim No. 141, for NE 1/4 NE 1/4, Section 21, NW 1/4 NW 1/4 Section 22, Tp-16-N, R-3-E ... before the Register and Receiver at Prescott, Arizona, on Wednesday, the 9th day of March, 1905" ... (Weekly Arizona Miner; March 1, 1905; page 3.) Daniel Oshea was granted a land patent for 65.9 acres in Sections 21 and 22, on April 26, 1906. (Government Land Office.) This land is located north of what became known as the Tuzigoot ruin.
1905: "D. Shea and M. J. Bradley have applied for a new lease on a section of school land in the Verde Valley. A portion of the land is embraced in Peck Lake and they are desirous of draining the lake so as to secure the use of this land. At a meeting of the board yesterday an order was passed prohibiting the drainage. Dry land being so much in excess of water in this territory, and the above lake being rather ornamental, and being surrounded by all sort of land, the board very wisely concluded that it would not be good policy to destroy a beautiful lake to secure about 70 acres of land." (Weekly Arizona Journal-Miner; March 8, 1905; page 8.)
1906 FLUME: "D. J. Shea, Allen and Woods agreement: $1,087.40, construction of a flume across upper Peck's Lake, Verde Valley." (Weekly Arizona Journal-Miner; February 28, 1906; page 8.)
D. J. Shea was in the mercantile business at Jerome. Newspaper advertisement information: "D. J. Shea Company, dealer in general merchandise furnishing goods, staple and fancy groceries, fruits, vegetables, etc." (Jerome News; March 21, 1908.) M. J. Bradley was the manager of Shea mercantile at Jerome. (Weekly Journal-Miner; August 4, 1909; page 3.) D. J. Shea and M. J. Bradley had also been involved together "in numerous mines." (Weekly Arizona Journal-Miner; September 9, 1903; page 1.)
DAIRY: "D. J. Shea ... has arranged for the purchase of a small herd of milch cows from Jerry Sullivan, and will in the near future start a dairy on his ranch in the Verde Valley." (Weekly Arizona Journal-Miner; April 12, 1905; page 7.) J. M. Goodwin to D. J. Shea, Bill of Sale, half interest in 50 cattle on range." (Weekly Arizona Journal-Miner; July 4, 1906; page 3.)
A drainage ditch was built from Peck's Lake to the Verde River. Litigation was started in 1909, in the Yavapai County District Court, when C. D. "Willard instituted proceedings against Shea for the right to use water which was running in a drainage ditch from Peck's Lake to the Verde River, across land owned by Shea and others. From the beginning to the end of the litigation the attention of many farmers and land owners was centered to the controversy, owing to the complex situation that had arisen in that community. ... The legal fight was precipitated when Willard built a dam in the drainage ditch to such a heighth that the rapid flow of water was stopped and flooded the lands owned by Shea. Willard then proceeded to use the water by means of ditches constructed which carried the waters to his lands. Shea then started to dig another ditch to drain the waters from his lands, when Willard instituted proceedings and secured a temporary injunction restraining Shea from going ahead with the work. The case was tried before Judge Doe in 1909, when judgment was given Shea by the injunction being dissolved. Willard was ordered to take the dam out, and a judgment of damages of $1,750 was given in favor of Shea. Willard then appealed to the Supreme Court, where the judgment of the lower court was affirmed on October 1," 1912. (Jerome News; November 23, 1912.)
THE JEROME BOAT AND GUN CLUB
1909: "In conjunction with C.D. Willard, of Cottonwood, a number of Jerome gentlemen have applied to the Board of Supervisors for a lease on the school lands occupied by Peck's Lake, with the purpose of organizing it as a club resort. There is a great deal of objection to the project in Jerome, raised upon the same plea as when it was closed to the public some years ago by D. J. Shea, at which time, upon petition by Jerome citizens, the supervisors ordered it reopened. The lake is now the most delightful resort within easy reach of Jerome, in fact it is the only waters near Jerome that has been stocked with fish by the United States government. It is to be hoped that should the school lands in that section ever be offered for sale Peck's Lake will be reserved as a public park." (Jerome Mining News; July 31, 1909; page 3.) "Jerome sports are negotiating for a lease of Peck's Lake, which is on school lands, and building a fine clubhouse." (Daily Arizona Silver Belt (Globe); August 5, 1909; page 7.)
1910: "Mr. and Mrs. Rutherford, Henry Sutter, and Miss Edith Whitaker spent Sunday at Peck's Lake and stopped at the club house of the Jerome Boat and Gun Club." (Jerome News; March 19, 1910; page 3.)
THE UNITED VERDE COPPER COMPANY
In conjunction with plans to move the smelter from Jerome to the Verde Valley, numerous properties and water rights were purchased.
"Shea Ranch Company" with 120 acres (21 acres irrigated) was purchased for $9,750 by the United Verde Copper Company on October 30, 1911. (United Verde Copper Company; Cline Library, item 67450.)
"Shea Home Ranch" with 240 acres (70 acres irrigated) was conveyed to the United Verde Copper Company for $15,000 on October 30, 1911. (United Verde Copper Company; Cline Library, item 67450.) It was then conveyed to the Upper Verde Farm and Orchard Company (UVFOC) which was established in 1912 to own, lease, control, operate, manage, etc., UVCC farms and land until 1928, when the assets were transferred back to the UVCC. Although Daniel J. and Margaret O'Shea no longer owned the land and water rights, they continued to live in their home, raise Hereford cattle, irrigate with water from Shea Springs and the Tunnel Ditch. The presence of a 60-acre marsh limited the grazing area. The construction of a drainage ditch, sometimes called the "Middle Ditch," spanned the western edge of the wetland and was intended to drain as much of the spring-fed marsh as possible to increase the amount of grazing land (and remained in use until 1991). In 1928, this land was leased by the UVCC to a partnership of the families of Paul Tavasci, Guido Marianni, and Nat Rezzonico, who operated the Clarkdale Dairy. (See: "Water in the Desert" A History of Arizona's Tavasci Marsh, 1865-2005;" William Stoutamire; 2010.)
Recorded on October 31, 1911: "Con O'Keefe to M. Bradley, Bill of Sale, one-twelfth interest in Peck Lake Tunnel, Verde Valley." "M. J. Bradley to United Verde Copper Company, Bill of Sale; interest in Rich Brewer & Co., ditch, etc., Verde Valley." D. J. Shea Co. to United Verde Copper Company, Warranty Deed, SE qr of NE qr, E hf of SE qr, section 17, township 16-N, R-3-E, and water." D. J. Shea, M. J. Bradley, and J. M. Goodwin, to United Verde Copper Company, Bill of Sale, growing crops, live stock, etc." (Weekly Journal-Miner; November 15, 1911; page 5.)
Samuel Black "recently purchased the old Hawkins ranch ... on the lower end of the Peck's Lake valley on the Verde." (Coconino Sun; March 10, 1911; page 9.) The United Verde Copper Company purchased 71(?) acres, with 21 acres irrigated, from Black on December 2, 1911, for $9,000. (United Verde Copper Company; Cline Library, item 67450.)
The United Verde Copper Company purchased 3,410 acres (344 irrigated) for $137,009 before their Clarkdale smelter began operation in 1915. Between 1916 and 1923, the company purchased 1,665 acres (320 irrigated) for $76,788. (United Verde Copper Company; Cline Library, item 67450.) Land owners who refused to sell their land were paid "smoke easements."