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Volume 7081

By Kathy Klump
From a PowerPoint Presentation Created by Randy Duerinck
Adapted For ERBzine Web Display by Bill Hillman

1861 to 1872 was a period of bloody warfare after the Bascom affair
when Cochise was accused of kidnapping the boy we now know as Mickey Free.
The government ordered all the military forts burned
to keep them from the Confederate Army.
So there was no one around to protect the people.
In 1872, peace was made with Cochise, chief of the Chiricahua Apaches,
and this area became part of the Chiricahua Indian Reservation.
After Cochise died in 1874, the land was taken back
and the Apaches were moved to San Carlos.
This opened up the area for development.

Click for larger images

1. 1877 – grading began in Sulphur Springs Valley for the railroad.
A tent camp was set up for work crews.
On September 13, 1880, a post office was established named “Maley”
after the Maley brothers who owned the land on the railroad right-of-way.
John F. Roll was the first postmaster.

2. In August 1880, the first train arrived carrying General Orlando B. Willcox,
Commander of the Military Department of Arizona from 1878 to 1882.
The town was named Willcox in his honor.
Mary Powers owned the first hotel in town named the Arizona house.
She had the first white child born in Willcox.
General Willcox told her if she named her son Willcox,
he would give the baby a silver cup engraved with the general’s initials.
So the boy was named Willcox Powers.

3. John H. Norton had the post trader’s store at Fort Grant.
In November 1880, he and Madison Stewart set up business
on the corner of Railroad Avenue and Stewart St.
with a general merchandise store, warehouse, corral and feed store.
Their stageline carried passengers and mail every other day
to Fort Grant, Camp Thomas, and Globe.

4. Madison Stewart married Ida, the daughter of Col. Henry Hooker,
whose huge cattle ranch, the Sierra Bonita, started in 1872.
Mr. Stewart built the house we know as the Hooker House.

5. Col. Hooker wore a suit even while riding.
Many famous people visited the Sierra Bonita Ranch such as Frederick Remington.
Hooker followed tradition of everyone dressing for dinner.
The Earps stopped at Hooker’s house on their famous vendetta ride.

6. The Hooker House with Forestine Hooker and her son Harry in the buggy.
The house is still standing across the RR track on Stewart Street.

7. The Southern Pacific Railroad Depot was built in December 1880,
and the Willcox Hotel, across the street, was built right after that.
This is the hotel where Edgar Rice Burroughs stayed in 1896,
when he arrived in Willcox with only $1 in his pocket.
He caught the stage to Fort Grant the next day.
Willcox became the shipping point for goods to the military forts,
the surrounding mining towns and the cattle ranches,
and our merchants became very wealthy.

8. Teamsters hauled coke to the mines in Globe
and returned with copper to be shipped on the train.
They also carried barley and other supplies to the Forts.
At any one time there would be about 100 teamsters
either coming or going on the road to Globe.

9. This is Mr. Busenbark and his team of oxen.
It would take about 30 days for the round trip.

10. J. Liberman had the monopoly on the freighting business.
Freighters had to sign up with him and even buy their supplies from him.
Tokens have been found that could be turned in good for hauling one load.

11. It was a dangerous job as a freighter,
as Geronimo and Naiche and their band of Apaches had broken out of San Carlos
and there were many deaths until the surrender of Geronimo in September 1886.
Geronimo and Naiche are seen here at Fort Bowie just before being shipped to Florida on the train.

Courtesy AHS - G4334 W4 1881 W5
12. In 1881 Pima County was divided and we became part of Cochise County.
That November, application was made for a townsite.
Lots were set aside for the cemetery, churches, and school.
The streets were named after military men associated with General Willcox,
after the first governor, the first surveyor  general, and our town founders.
In 1883, townsite lots were sold by the probate judge.
The price was between $5 and $30 depending on the extent of improvements.
Norton and Stewart bought up all the lots not claimed out of the 72 blocks in the original townsite.
Only 9 blocks were occupied at the beginning with almost all businesses
on the west side of Railroad Avenue and residences on the east side of the tracks.

13. An early photo of Willcox shows the streets flooded as has happened many times
due to the fact that we are in the bottom of an ancient lake bed
and all the rain water flows from the surrounding mountains right through town.


14.  On the south corner is
the first Masonic Lodge building/ post office, saloon, and rooming house.

15. Down the street on Maley Street was the Chinese Store.
The Chinese had helped build the railroad
and many stayed to run restaurants, stores, and laundries.
On Chinese New Year, a whole boxcar load of firecrackers were set off.

16. Across from the Chinese store, where the Chiricahua Regional Museum is today,
was Otto Moore’s Cowboy Corral and stage line.
He was in a gunfight with another man in Naco, Arizona in 1904
and both he and his opponent were killed.

17. Back to Railroad Avenue
- heading North on the corner was the Headquarter Saloon.

18. Next to that was the Arizona House hotel,
then The Eureka House owned by the Davis’s.
This token “good for one drink” was online for sale
and thought by the owner to be from California.
But using our research we were able to prove it was from Willcox
and our story was put in the coin catalog.
It is the only one known to exist and was listed for sale for $3,750.00.

19. After those hotels were torn down, Dr. Nicholson moved to town.
 His house is still standing.
He opened a drug store next to the Headquarters saloon,
a Chinese restaurant was next door.

20. J. A. Bright was the town’s first photographer
and had his drug store two doors down.

21. E. A. Nichols was Wells Fargo Agent and railroad telegraph operator
from 1882 to 1894, he bought J. A. Bright’s store.
So we had Nichols Drug Store and Nicholsons Drug Store just two doors apart.

22. Dr. Aiton worked out of Nichols Drug Store
as he and Dr. Nicholson did not get along.
 Dr. Aiton’s office was on Maley street across the tracks.
He was quite the ladies man and was married several times - usually to his new nurse.

23. Gilman’s Meat Market was where the Palace Saloon building is.
He was also the county assessor.
Jasper Page, Justice of the Peace, tore down this building in 1909
and built a new meat market.


ERBzine 7081
By Kathy Klump
ERBzine 7082
By Kathy Klump
ERBzine 7083
By Kathy Klump
ERBzine 7084
A Biography
Featured in the Full 20-Page Coverage of the
2019 Edgar Rice Burroughs Convention in Willcox

ERBzine 7059
Willcox: Intro/Contents
ERBzine 7060
2. Goodie Bag
ERBzine 7061
3. Journey and Arrival
ERBzine 7062
4. Exploring Willcox
ERBzine 7063
5. Huckster Room 
ERBzine 7064
6. Presentations
ERBzine 7065
7. Exploring Willcox II
ERBzine 7066
8. Fort Grant I
ERBzine 7067
9. Fort Grant II
ERBzine 7068
10. Fort Grant III
ERBzine 7069
11. Wind Up
ERBzine 7070: 
12. Rex Allen Museum
ERBzine 7071_7071a
13. Marty Robbins Museum
ERBzine 7072: 
14. Chiricahua Museum
ERBzine 7073
15. Billy the Kid
ERBzine 7081
16. Willcox History I
ERBzine 7082
17. Willcox History II
ERBzine 7083
18. Willcox History III
ERBzine 7084
19. Meet Kathy Klump
ERBzine 3469
20. ERB at Fort Grant
ERBzine Arizona
ERB in Wild West

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