Apr 13, 2012, 12:04 PM
False Arizona history without references!
There have been many books written about Arizona's history of the 1800s. Many are almost completely erroneous and perpetuate tales of incidents or the existence of physical structures in Arizona, such as the location of stage stations that are not true.. For example, one that mentions the history of the Butterfield Overland Mail Company in Arizona, specifically for Cochise County, has little to no accurate information. Above all the book gives no references for its stories. The book is "Sunday Trails in Old Cochise" by Grace McCool and was published in 1967.
First the book mentions that there were four Butterfield stage stations in Cochise County when there was actually five. The station that is not mentioned is the San Simon Stage Station. The book states that a foundation of a Butterfield station can be seen in Apache Pass. This is not true as the present foundation on the site is not that of Butterfield. It is the foundation of a trading post built on the site of the old station, by James Tevis in 1880. The route that the book describes of Butterfield's trail through Cochise County is basically true, but that route only existed for a few months and then took a more direct route due to the improvements made by Butterfield. For instance it traveled the old Emigrant Trail through the pass in the Dos Cabezas Mountains, but that section was abandoned for a more direct route through Sulphur Springs Valley. I might add that there is a monument erected in 2004 placed by a local Cochise County historical society near the original Sulphur Springs identifying it as the Butterfield Stage Station. This is false as it was north of there at the base of Willcox Playa and was named Ewell's Stage Station.
The book mentions that James Tevis became the Apache Pass Stage Station manager. He was not. He participated in the construction of the original station and worked there for only about one year. Late in 1859 he move to the San Pedro River Stage Station for only a short time.
The book mentions that "Wallace" replaced Tevis at the Apache Pass Stage Station. This is also not true. "Big Foot" Wallace was a stage driver for Butterfield and was at the station in February 1861 during the Bascom affair. Charles W. Culver was the station master at this time. There were numerous firsthand accounts, with these details, in the Daily Alta California.
The book states that the Butterfield Stage Station in the San Pedro Valley was at Tres Alamos. It was not. It was built on the east bank of the San Pedro River just opposite present-day Benson. Benson did not exist until about nineteen years after Butterfield closed its operations. The GPS location for Butterfield's San Pedro River Stage Station is 31.9727. -110.2777.
This is just an example of many---too many to give here.
If anyone wishes to address any of these or other historical incidents concerning this subject, I will state references. For detailed references to the subject of Butterfield in Arizona see The Butterfield Trail and Butterfield Overland Mail Company in Arizona, 1858-1861, published in April 2011.
Last edited by Gork; Apr 13, 2012 at 02:29 PM.
Apr 17, 2012, 07:59 PM
What you have written is true. Many try to create their own history of Arizona, I assume, for some kind of reputation/ego building.
I received your book yesterday. Just started reading it, but it looks like a well written and informative book. I have a number of books on the history of Arizona, and its stage lines. Yours is a welcome addition. Is it a second, updated, edition of your first, or completely new?
Apr 18, 2012, 08:05 AM
cactusjumper: This is my second book on the subject. The first was published in 1973 titled Retracing the Butterfield Overland Trail through Arizona. The first book was nothing more than a crude atlas showing the basic route of the trail and the approximate position of the twenty-six stage stations. My new book published in 2011, The Butterfield Trail and Overland Mail Company in Arizona, 1858-1861, is a far more comprehensive accounting of the history of the trail in Arizona with much more accurate info (by way of firsthand accounts) locating the route of the trail and stage station sites.
Originally Posted by cactusjumper
One of the big problems with the written history of the Old West in Arizona, is the compressing of about thirty years of history so that events overlap. Even the tourist industry does this. If you go to Tombstone and watch the show put on for the tourists, you will see a stagecoach parading around that states it is a stagecoach from the Butterfield company. This is false. The Butterfield Trail and Overland Mail Company was not in Tombstone.
You will note that I am still sending reports to the National Park Service, and others, in an effort to pass the bill in Congress to make the trail a National Historic Trail. The facebook site concerned with this has declared my recent book the "definitive" work on the trail in Arizona. They have studied it for almost two years (by way of working with me on my unpublished manuscript) to verify my info.
There are four great sections on Federal land in Arizona that should be preserved. The original tracks of the trail are being destroyed rapidly in many places by the use of ATVs and other vehicles.
Last edited by Gork; Apr 18, 2012 at 11:10 AM.
Apr 18, 2012, 01:51 PM
Just wondering if you knew anything about a possible stage stop at Donnelly Wash, just below the Twin Buttes and on the south side of the Gila? That would be east of Florence, AZ.
2:00....Just went through a stack of my books and found your 1990 "Arizona: Treasure Hunter's Guide to Butterfield Stage Stations, 1857-1879". Knew I had something else you wrote.
Last edited by cactusjumper; Apr 18, 2012 at 05:13 PM.
Apr 19, 2012, 03:44 PM
Actually that 1990 booklet was a smaller version of my 1973 "Retracing the Butterfield Overland Trail Through Arizona" published in 1973. It was just a basic guide to the trail and stage stations with no historical accounts. My latest book usurps all other info.
Originally Posted by cactusjumper
As for the stage station east of Florence, I don't know that area. I have concentrated on the route of Butterfield and everything before and after that happened along that corridor. I have some info about the stage lines that started using the trail again in early 1867.
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