Fri, Oct. 18

Verde Heritage -- 1883: JEROME'S FIRST FAMILY.

"During January of 1883, "a pretty young girl journeyed across the continent to meet a lad she had once known in Canada, and with whom she had been in correspondence with for many months."

Katie "came from Detroit, and in Prescott was joined by her lover, whose bride she became on the on the day of her arrival. They started at once for their future home. On burros they made their way over the narrow mountain trail, on and on, with never a word of complaint from the girl unaccustomed to hardships. Now and again she paused to gaze in speechless wonder over the vast new land of mystery. And so it was the first white woman entered the camp of Jerome."

"She was Mrs. John McKinnon, wife of one of the locators of a claim that was afterwards taken over by the United Verde Company. Her husband, with Captain Boyd and M. A. Ruffner, were the original locators of the famous mine. In those days these prospectors believed in their properties, and so they endured what few men today would suffer for all the world's wealth. And by their side, enduring suffering with them, was this woman, who for a solitary year was the only one of her sex in the mining camp."

"Her child was the first born, and 6 weeks after birth, Jerome McKinnon passed on. His was the first body laid at rest in the graveyard of Jerome. Two other sons were born to the McKinnons, Melville and Dan, who, with their parents went to Mexico several years later. The boys were educated in the City of Mexico, and it was in the neighboring country that the family finally learned that lesson so many Americans have been taught recently. Even the early days in a wild western mining camp did not serve as a preparatory school to Mrs. McKinnon, and she broke under the terrible strain. Only once before her final collapse did she return to Jerome, and that was 7 years ago. Big pioneer woman that she was, she took great pride in the wonderful development of the mine, dear to her because of the association. She was neither envious nor regretful that her husband had disposed of his part long before the day the mine came to be called the $100,000,000 proposition."

"Living in Jerome today is the sister, Mrs. H. L. Crain, Mrs. McKinnon visited the last time she was in Arizona. She, too, is a pioneer."

"It was more than a quarter of a century ago that she first came west."

"'I am not a bit like my sister,' says Mrs. Crain when she greets you. 'She was wonderful, wonderful. I wish I could let the world know what a truly great woman she was. I was so different that I am afraid I worried her, for I could not be calm and cool and collected like she was when the men ran wild up and down the streets, chasing each other with knives after a night of drinking and carousing. It was the toughest camp imaginable. That was 27 years ago, as I remember it. Those were dreadful days to me, but sister never seemed to realize the danger, or if she did, she would quietly pass it by. Good times? My dear such times. Dances --- and if every woman in camp attended, they numbered but 12. I tell you there were no wall-flowers then.'"

"Camp life, however, did not appeal particularly to her, and she was ready to go 'back home,' when she met and married Jack Boyd. The Boyd hotel she manages in Jerome, was named after her first husband, and the old timers who pass through the bustling mining camp make it a point to pay their respects to the genial proprietor."

"She has caught the spirit of the day, and laughs because she is 'stock poor,' for Mrs. Crain was one of the fortunate ones who 'speculated' with 'Little Daisy,' and like the majority of the fortunate, is still 'playing the game.'"

(Arizona Republic; Phoenix; Friday, December 15, 1916; page 21. Courtesy of Robert Spude.)

John McKinnon married Katie McDonald in Prescott on January 29, 1883. (Yavapai County Marriage Licenses/Certificates 1865-1928; page 147.)

"Mrs. Harry Crain enjoyed a visit last week from her sister, Mrs. Katie McKinnon, of the City of Mexico. Mrs. McKinnon is the widow of John McKinnon, who with is brother, Angus, were the original owners of the United Verde. She blew the first whistle at the U. V. smelter and she has in her possession the first bar of copper turned out. Mrs. John McDonald, another sister, of Prescott, accompanied her on her visit."

(Jerome News; Saturday, April 25, 1908; page 3.)

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