Verde Heritage By Glenda Farley, Cottonwood, AZ Local historian Glenda Farley guides us on a journey back in time to discover fascinating moments that make up our Verde heritage and history.
Thursday, December 26, 2013
1895: UPPER VERDE CORRESPONDENT; The Owl, December.
"Well, Christmas is over and everything is right side up in the valley once more. There was no uniting of forces around one common Christmas tree. Each family observed the occasion according to the dictates of its own conscience, and the weight of its pocket book, which is considered constitutional I believe. The usual amount of good cheer abounded, and the gifts were generous as ever, notwithstanding the hard times some of us experience in scrambling for cash."
"Christmas brought sadness to some of our friends. Two went out from us to the peaceful land 'Beyond the River.' God having given them immortal life during the Christmas time. Grandma Hawkins departed in peace with God and all mankind; and Mr. and Mrs. T. Van Deren buried their little babe.'
"Grandpa Mason, another aged one of our number, is quite sick. Dr. Carrier has him in hand."
"The valley is at peace now, and nearly every one is well, and reasonably happy, but it is outrageously cold. If this continues I shall have to go south or fix me a dug out to live in. My residence was built for a summer resort, I think, and is poorly adapted for winter uses. When it comes to splitting the butter with a wedge and cutting the cream with a knife, it seems like being left literally out in the cold. I'm not hard to please in weather, and nobody objects to a fine white frost and a little ice, but who wants to have their heels frozen while preparing the morning mush? It is no where stated in the physiology that nature will supply another pair of heels when these are gone. The best way to do is to take care of what you've got."
"Where does all this cold weather come from anyway? Scientists may advance any idea they please, but I believe that the gathering string broke at the North Pole and let the whole business loose at once. You would have thought so, I'm sure, had you risen at midnight and went owl hunting as I did a few nights ago."
"You see it was this way: The other head of the family (our family had two heads), had been trying for two weeks to kill a predatory owl, that persisted in eating my frying sized chickens. People credit owls with wisdom and this one was a regular feather-clad Solomon. He would sit out in the tree near the house and make his weird blood-curdling hungry cry until you crept softly out, gun in hand to find that he was not there at all. He invariably wailed and screeched until midnight, and then he picked up a chicken and left. Night after night this was repeated without a chance to sprinkle him with shot. He knew the sound of the opening door; he knew when you were putting on your slippers; he knew where the gun sat and just how long it would take you to get it. The other head of the family got disgusted, and he said something like this: 'I'm blest if I freeze my toes off and fall from grace any more hunting that owl: he may go to thunder and the chickens can go with him.' But I didn't want it done that way, because all the money I ever see comes from selling eggs, so I rose to the surface (they keep me pretty well submerged in this famuly), and blandly remarked that some one had to kill that owl if I had to do it myself. Of course, they laughed me to scorn, but I set the gun in a convenient corner and went to bed blood-thirsty and determined. About midnight one of my Langshan hens raised a cry for help. I got up, opened the door softly and there he sat in the top of a cottonwood tree. I stepped back for my little gun, cracked away and killed him as dead as a hammer."
"Quite an excitement prevailed for a few moments, and the other head of the family ran out and killed him again with a club. A clear case of 'Betsy and the Bear.' I didn't divide any of the glory with the other head, not at all. I went bragging around for a week, and gave my enemies the chance to say that I thought myself mighty smart. There is many a true word spoken in spite."
"Some of our farmers have killed hogs and thrashed out their beans, so now if any body starves to death in the Verde valley, there'll be no excuse for it."
"I hear that there is to be some more marrying done one of these days but I can't say who the rash parties are. There are only two young ladies in the Upper Verde now, and if this matrimonial craze continues, there will be nobody left but old folks."
(Arizona Weekly Journal-Miner; Prescott; January 8, 1896; page 1.)
"Grandma Hawkins" is HARRIET "Hattie" MELISSA (STRATON) HAWKINS (born 10-07-1827, Tennessee) who died in Jerome on December 20, 1895. She is buried next to her family and husband, WILLIAM HENRY HAWKINS (born 02-28-1820, Tennessee; died 02-26-1883), who was a Confederate veteran. Harriet M. Hawkins was granted a land patent for 155.6 acres, near what became known as Tuzigoot, on September 3, 1884. William and Harriet Hawkins came to the Verde Valley with 6 children on August 17, 1875.
See: The Verde Independent; "1875: FIRST FAMILIES; William and Harriet Hawkins Family;" January 25, 2013.