August 28, 2022

Embezzling Postmaster is Redeemed (1875)

  James S Giles was a highly-respected and true pioneer of Prescott, Arizona. He was one of the party that accompanied Governor Goodwin and Secretary McCormick to the territory in 1863. As chairman of the Judiciary Committee during the first Territorial Legislature, he introduced most of the first basic laws known as the “Chapters of the Code.” He was elected Speaker of the House in the second Legislature. Lately he had been the postmaster for Prescott, so when he absconded with nearly $10,000 August 14, 1875, it was a bombshell.

Still, there would be a happy, yet poignant ending.

July 17, 2022

A Grave Robber's Remarkable Find

Meet John Love. In his day, at the turn of the last century, he was known as a “relics prospector.” Today he would easily be considered a grave robber. “Those who come in contact with him dub him queer, eccentric, etc., explaining that he was struck on the head in early youth by an iron bar and has suffered more or less seriously since,” the Arizona Republican reported. Still, the same paper also described him as “John Love, the well-known searcher for prehistoric relics…”

July 3, 2022

1922: The Tragic Tale of a Rising Rodeo Star

His name was Frank James Stephens. He was the son of a rancher and Mohave County supervisor, WB Stephens, who owned a ranch along the Sandy River. Frank had taken well to the ranching life and he was quickly developing into a genuine rodeo star.

His first appearance at Frontier Days in Prescott was in 1918 at age 21 and even as a rookie, he won third place prize money in the relay race. 

Three months later his wife would give birth to their first child.

June 12, 2022

What It Was Like to be an Extra in "Junior Bonner"

Sam Peckinpah was in Prescott directing the 199th movie made in Yavapai County, “Junior Bonner, when he noticed a nude painting titled “Olympia” by Earl MacPherson. Peckinpah thought it would be perfect hanging behind the Palace bar for some scenes he would shoot there. When asked if the movie could use his painting, MacPherson bargained that they could if he was hired as an extra. Peckinpah was happy to agree. Thus began an interesting, four-day, behind-the-scenes experience for the painter.

May 29, 2022

1922: Prescott Turns the Page on the Old West

From its beginning and for the better part of a century, Prescott desired to be a modern city in stark contrast to the surrounding wilderness. Come 1922, people had grown weary of streets that were either dusty or muddy and desire was strong to dust-off Prescott’s cowtown image and replace it with a modern, 20th century city. As a result, 1922 would see the biggest infrastructure improvements the city would ever experience, as well as Prescott’s first big growth spurt.

May 15, 2022

William Randolph Hearst brings 15 Congressmen to Prescott

(Forgive the typo!)
In 1903, William Randolph Hearst was a 40 year-old newspaper baron and US Congressman from New York who was under serious consideration for the Democratic nomination for President the following year. He desired statehood for the southwestern territories of Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arizona and took a delegation of other congressmen and their wives on a whirlwind trip through those three large land masses to find evidence that they were worthy of statehood to bring back to Washington.

On the 17th of October, the special train would stop in Prescott and he would be completely surprised at what he found.