September 29, 2015

The Colorful, Short Life of Mayor Buckey O'Neill

Mayor William Owen "Buckey" O'Neill, 1860-1898

Even renowned western fiction authors could not dream up a more interesting character than the real-life story of Buckey O'Neill.

Although modern spellings of his nickname drop the "e", William Owens "Buckey" O'Neill was a gambler, lawyer, newspaperman, miner, Sheriff of Yavapai County, Mayor of Prescott, and finally, a Captain in Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders.

Buckey got his nickname from his days as a gambler.  He enjoyed the poker game "faro" where going against the odds was called "bucking the tiger."  Buckey had a penchant for going against the odds, but ultimately it would cost him his life at age 38.

September 21, 2015

Teddy's Rough Riders Originated in Prescott

When news arrived of the explosion and sinking of the USS Maine, William "Buckey" O'Neill was Mayor of Prescott. Buckey, (that is how O'Neill spelled it,) like most Americans, was infuriated by the disaster and hungry to to join the fight.

While discussing the situation with Alexander Brodie and James McClintock, an idea occurred to them to raise up a volunteer calvary from the Arizona territory.  Buckey wanted to raise a regiment of hardcore Arizona frontiersmen. Men who were already able to survive under harsh, dangerous and deadly conditions would make excellent soldiers.
William "Buckey" O'Neill

They would come to be known as "The Rough Riders." And the men they would recruit would become the origin and core of the First US Volunteer Cavalry which would win great fame and glory under Teddy Roosevelt in the Spanish-American War.

September 6, 2015

1928: Famous Record-Breaking Airplane Crashes in Prescott

Less than 12 hours after this picture was taken, the Yankee Doodle would be reduced to "confetti" in the Bradshaw mountains:

On November 3rd, 1928, the Prescott Evening Courier printed an Associated Press story about a record-holding, Lockheed Vega monoplane named "Yankee Doodle." It would be attempting to break its own non-stop, transcontinental record flying from L.A. to New York, taking off that day. (*1)

The Courier could never have known that later that very night, the Yankee Doodle would crash into the Bradshaw mountains desperately searching for the Prescott airport.