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home : blogsold : verde heritage June 24, 2016

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.
Wednesday, July 16, 2014

1892: OAK CREEK; Hunting and Fishing Party, July.

Verde Heritage

A party composed of the following gentlemen left for a few days fishing at Oak Creek; J. Lyon, W. S Peek, Dr. A. D. Smith, Fred Roberts, J. Hennessy, W. G. Henry, H. M. Carley, George Cook, and H. Dimmick." (The Coconino Weekly Sun; Flagstaff; July 14, 1892; page 3, column 1.)

"A TITLED PARTY ON A HUNT: They Kill All the Bear on the Summit and Catch All the Trout in Oak Creek."

"Your special correspondent has been in great luck, for while coming from the Minneapolis convention, I met a most distinguished crowd en route via Flagstaff to the most lovely, romantic and interesting spot in the world; Oak Creek, Arizona."

"I will first name and describe the company who have, for the past six days, made me their honored guest. Sir John Hennessey is a debonair dashing fellow and good all-round sport, relative of the late Sir John Macdonald, and I believe a son of the late Sir John Pope Hennessey, M. P."

"Dr. A. D. Smith, D. D., is professor of botany at Washington, a learned tall American with glasses and an auburn wig. Wm. Peek, known to fame as the author of 'Peck's Bad Boy' and other celebrated works. Lord Lyon is an Englishman of retiring manners and disposition, but not altogether a bad companion."

"On our arrival at Flagstaff, we were welcomed by a deputation of citizens headed by the mayor, Dr. Brannen, the Hon. G. Bray and others during the evening of our stay at the splendid One Hundred Room Hotel. We were serenaded by the town band, who played amongst other fine selections of music, the American and British National airs."

"In the morning, after an elegant breakfast, served under the personal supervision of the proprietor, T. J. Coalter, we were escorted punctually at 8 o'clock to the carriages in waiting for us here. A magnificent 8-seated Drags stage, drawn by four grand and elegantly equipped bays; the ribbons being handled by a well-known sporting character, F. C. Roberts. The supplies for the journey were carried in a large 4-horse wagon and on several pack horses, which consisted of all kinds of canned goods --- corn, beef, trimmed tongue and lobster salad, with an adequate supply of Bass ale and St. Louis beer, Mums champagne, California reisling and claret and the choicest Havana cigars, all of which together with a full outfit of tents, bedding and cooking apparatus, were forced upon us by the liberal inhabitants of Flagstaff."

"The first six or eight miles of our twenty mile journey were passed without noteworthy incident, when all at once intense excitement reigned. A herd of antelope were viewed within 500 yards brousing at the edge of some stately pine timber. A halt was called, and Sir John Hennessey and Lord Lyon started to stalk them, leaving Dr. Smith to examine the flora of the section, and Wm. Peek giving birth to pungent witicisms by the dozen here. The two former soon succeeded in laying three antelope prone upon the sward, two of which they at once dispatched by pack horses to the mayor of Flagstaff as a trophy."

"Until we arrived at the edge of the canyon, through which Oak creek runs, nothing further remarkable occurred here, having camped for the night. While supper was being prepared, Dr. Smith, in his botanical searches, suddenly came upon an immense bear and two cubs. The bear immediately gave chase, and Dr. Smith appeared in camp, the tails of his long coat standing out in a horizontal position, minus his hat and with his eyes so protruding as to almost push his spectacles from his nose. The bear came to a halt in the midst of the camp with his fore feet in the large pot in which the savory Irish stew was being prepared. It was the work of a moment for Sir John Hennessey to seize his rifle and shoot the bear in a vital part, while Mr. Peek valliantly rushed up with a large knife and severed the animal's jugular vein. Lord Lyon never having seen a live bear before, imagined it was one of the cattle of the country, and quietly adjusting his eye glass to his right eye, awaited developments. Our courteous driver, Mr. Roberts, now appeared, and it took him exactly eight and one-half minutes to divest the animal of its skin. We had bear meat that night as an addition to our already ample repast. After supper we went in search of the cubs, took them alive and sent them to Flagstaff, suggesting that it should be the commencement of a zoological collection in that rapidly growing city."

"In the morning, we all arose bright and early, and after a substantial breakfast, commenced the descent of the canyon. In consequence of the somewhat rough road, it took some three hours to accomplish this. The scene at, and during the descent was grand and romantic in the exteme, and the strange and varied collection of both flora and fauna on the borders of the creek was enough to charm any botanist or indeed any lover of nature. Dr. Smith was in extacies and immediately started to make additions to his collection."

"Having arranged our camp at the edge of the rippling clear creek, and while the evening meal was being prepared, we started with hook, line and fly to try for trout, which we were informed abounded, and we were not disappointed, for in less than two hours Sir John Hennessey returned with seventeen splendid mountain trout, varying from one-fourth to two pounds in weight. Mr. Peek brought eight nice sized fish to land, while poor Lord Lyon netted only weeds, once losing his line, and his hook six times. His English language could be heard one-half mile, and many of the words he used would form a quaint and curious addition to Webster's dictionary."

"The night was enlivened only by a stampede of the horses, caused by the presence of a skunk in camp, and resulted unfortunately in the necessity of killing two valuable horses, they having each broken a leg amongst the rocks."

"In the morning we met and joined forces with a party of four noble American sportsmen, and under their guidance, a grand hunt was arranged. During the next three day's hunt which followed, the Hon. George Mann killed three deer and one mountain sheep. Mr. Charles Morrow (as fine a shot as ever drew trigger), brought down two mountain sheep and one antelope. Mr. George Rogers in his kindly good nature, acted more as a guide and general organizer, but found time to account for a one-half grown bear and one mountain sheep. Sir John Hennessey killed a big cinnamon bear after being chased to a tree by the brute, and Lord Lyon, having got over his want of knowledge of the bear species, wounded what was undoubtedly a fine animal, as he estimated his length to be twelve feet at least. To the astonishment of all, Dr. Smith chose to accompany the hunting party, and to their still greater astonishment, made the biggest bag of all --- killing three bear, four antelope and two mountain sheep, the remainder of the party staying at home fishing under the kindly and genial guidance of the Hon. W. Waylen."

"Dr. Smith, at the conclusion of the hunt, left for Prescott by canoe which he had transported from Flagstaff, and we wish him a safe trip over the numerous rapids, eddies and falls en route."

"Your correspondent having duties calling him elsewhere, had a saddle and pack horse kindly placed at his disposal, but they quickly parted company with him and he had the pleasure of a seventeen mile tramp to Flagstaff."

"With game in such abundance both north and south of Flagstaff, and the excellent accommodations in the town, it seems singular that more don't avail themselves of the opportunities for sport, recreation and grand scenery that is afforded by a trip either to the Grand Canyon of the Colorado or Oak Creek and Canyon."

(The Coconino Weekly Sun; Flagstaff; July 21, 1892; page 2.)

Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Article comment by: David Perrell

Many thanks to Glenda Farley for posting these fascinating articles that give us a feel for life in Arizona's past--in this case the life of wealthy tourists "roughing it" in high style back when the human/wild animal ratio was the reverse of today.

Or so it appears. However, there are instances where "facts get in the way of the story," as Michael Peach might say. I wonder: was this a humor piece for the citizens of Flagstaff?

There was a famous botanist named A.D. Smith, but he wasn't "Dr. A.D. Smith, D.D." That title might better be applied to an Albuquerque dentist who advertised in the Coconino Sun.

The famous author of "Peck's Bad Boy" stories was George W. Peck, not "Wm Peek."

And if Dr. Smith had actually set out alone in a canoe to travel to Prescott, would we not have a story of his subsequent demise?

Whatever, trout caught in Oak Creek in 1892 were almost certainly Gila trout, which were later extirpated through overfishing and stocking of rainbow and brown trout. Gila trout interbreed with rainbows, and their distinctive copper-gold coloration with salmon banding is lost in the hybridization.

Gila trout were native in other Verde River tributaries, including Clear Creek and the East Fork.

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