TRUSTED NEWS LEADER FOR COTTONWOOD, CAMP VERDE & THE VERDE VALLEY
Fri, April 03

1865 SETTLEMENT: First Crops and Gardens Planted; New Settlers Arrive

"About the 20th of March, five of the party, with one wagon and two yoke of oxen, left on a trip to Prescott. At the upper camp they were joined by two men who were leaving the valley in disgust. ... The party returned from Prescott in about six days, bringing with them Mrs. Boblett, Mr. and Mrs Whitcomb, father and mother of Mrs. Boblett, Charles Yates, and John A. Culbertson, also thirty-three head of cattle belonging to John Osborn, and ten or twelve head belonging to Whitcomb, which, with the oxen they already had, brought the number of cattle on the ranch up to between fifty-five and sixty."

"The cabins were now occupied as follows: the northwest by Swetnam, Ralston and Foster; the northeast by Osborn, Melvin, Morse, Yates and Culbertson; the southeast by Lang and Ramstein; and the southwest by Mr. and Mrs. Whitcomb, Mr. and Mrs. Boblett, and Thomas Ruff."

"The work of clearing off the land and breaking had begin, and was prosecuted with such vigor that by the 10th of May over two hundred acres had been planted in barley, wheat, corn, potatoes, beans, melons, and garden stuff, and was growing with a rapidity only seen where there is rich soil, a hot sun, and plenty of moisture."

(see: History of Arizona; by Thomas Edwin Farrish, Arizona Historian; Volume IV; 1916; Dr. James M. Swetnam Account; pages 215-224.)

Lois Boblett wrote: "There was a crowd going down to the Reaverdia (sic.) River to take up land, so Ed went down and located a piece of land for himself and one for Father. So we gathered up our things and started. There were three families of us and some single men, fourteen or fifteen in all. ... A man by the name of Eliot (sic.) had a heavier load than any of the rest." ...

"It was a lovely place on a high rise of ground. There was an old ruin there and it seemed as though it had been a stone building about forty feet square, and about a six foot wall at the bottom on the outside wall and there were several inside walls. The men took the inside walls out and built up good, high walls all around again for our cattle and built a cabin at each corner and one on each side. Then we took rocks and built fire places and hauled up wood. We had to pack water from the river over a quarter of a mile away so they went to work to dig a well."

"They got plenty of water but we could not drink it; we thought maybe we could cook with it and we took some beans and put them on, cooking them till noon and they would rattle on our plates as though they were not cooked at all. We put them back and cooked them all day but they were just the same."

"They thought we would have to have a ditch to irrigate with so they went to look at a stream near by to see if they could fetch water on the level with our cabins. ... So they went at it and in a few days they had plenty of water for all their claims and it came close to our cabin."

"Meanwhile Mother and I dug up a patch of ground and planted some peas. The men all laughed at us because it was so early but we watched it and kept it clean of weeds and on the 11th of May we had a mess of peas. We wished we had put in more. Ed and Pa put in fifteen acres of corn and barley. ... Our corn grew fine and we had a nice patch of sorghum, melons, pumpkins and squashes in abundance."

(see: Diary of Lois A. (Whitcomb) Boblett; pages 21-22; manuscript copy available at Camp Verde Historical Society.)

More Information: Verde Independent; "Verde Valley's First Settlers;" by Steve Ayers; December 30, 2008.

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