By Richard Gorby

Prescott in l891, was twenty-four years old and the County Seat of Yavapai County, with a population of nearly 3,000 people.  According to Jules Baumann, Prescott bandmaster, photographer and artist, on his 1891, lithograph of the city.


Prescott is located in a "level basin of Granite Creek, 5,600 feet above sea level and is a place of much business importance, being the center of a very extensive mining, cattle and agricultural region.  The military post known as Whipple Barracks is located one mile below the town.  Prescott enjoys a most perfect climate; cyclones, fog, extreme heat or cold are unknown here.  The air is light, dry and pure, full of fragrance from the lofty pines which cover the surrounding hills."  Prescott also had a beautiful town square, the "..biggest west of the Mississippi.", with a charming Court House, surrounded by trees planted by the towns famous Buckey O'Neill.  And around that square Prescott had all that was needed by the shopper, lodger, saloon-goer, etc. 

On Montezuma from Gurley to Goodwin was the Burke Hotel, the Palace Saloon, the Cabinet Saloon, Cow Boy Saddles and Harness, Cob Web Hall, Ben Butler's Chap House, Robert Cornells Wholesale Liquors, Sam Hill's Tin Shop, Jake Mark's Liquors, and J.L. Fisher Merchandise. 

Over to Gurley Street was J.W. Wilson Clothing, Dr. George Kendalls Pioneer Drug Store, The Bashford and Burmister Store, the Sazerac Saloon, the Bon Ton Barber and Baths, the Headquarters Saloon, and George H. Cook's Busley Drugs, Mrs. Burdge's Millinery, the Prescott Post Office, The Williams House, Dr. Pentland (dentist);, Rockwells Assay, the Bellevue Hotel. 

Around the corner to Cortez was the Bank of Arizona, Dr. McCandless Drugs, M. Goldwater & Co., the Keystone Saloon, Herndon & Hawkins, Attorneys, and Wilson Lumber yard. 

Goodwin to the South was the Plaza Food and Sale Stable. 

And this Square was the domain of Prescott's "Horribles".  The Horribles first came to town in 1881, brought by residents who had seen the New Orleans parade, which featured well-to-do businessmen dressed in outrageous costumes.  The Prescott version was an instant success, and according to the Journal Miner the 1891, parade eclipsed all others.  According to records at the Sharlot Hall Museum's Archives and Library, the participants were: 

"The fat boy on a burrow" was Ray Hill, owner of Hill Hardware Company. 

"The elephant" (the size of one) was formed by A.C. and Robert Burmister, prominent merchants, with J.A. Tobin, clerk at Bashford-Burmister, its Nubian keeper. 

"The old woman carrying a man on her back" was Anton Emanuel. He fought in the Franco-Prussian War and came to Prescott under the command of General Crook. 

"An ostrich mounted by a Hottentot" was W.W. Vanderbilt, active in the brokerage and mining business. 

"The ten foot giant" was M.E. Marin. 

"The Commodore (in Pinafore) was E.W. French, Probate Judge and County School Superintendent.  Two years later French was deposed from both positions, charged with embezzlement and forgery.  After a lengthy trial French was finally cleared. 

John Doyle was the Drum Major with Bert Lincoln as Band Leader. 

Dick Jeasen was the "Rooster." 

The "Lost Child with Rattle in Hand" was Joseph Tiernan, owner of a dairy and a fireman.  He may have been chosen as a "Lost Child" because of his weight - 300 pounds. 

Joe Roberts, who led the procession as a policeman was born in Australia and was the owner of the O.K. Meat Market in the basement of the Hotel Burke. 

The earliest account of the horribles appears in the July 1, 1881, edition of the Arizona Journal Miner, and it seems that they may not have marched much beyond the turn of the century in Prescott.  Although they marched in the Summer parades each year during those years and eventually lost interest, the Horribles tradition will continue tonight along the well known streets of Prescott.  Pay special attention to some of the masked creatures that come to your door since it is possible that you might be facing one of Prescott's most prominent business people from 100 years ago. 

Richard Gorby has been volunteering at the Museum's Library and Archives since 1986.

Sharlot Hall Museum Photograph Call Number: (o138pb). Reuse only by permission.
The July 4, 1891, parade was about to get underway as the Horribles pose for one last photo before marching through downtown Prescott.  The elephant in the middle of the photo is formed by A.C. and Robert Burmister from the Bashford and Burmister Store. 

Sharlot Hall Museum Photograph Call Number: (o138pa). Reuse only by permission.
The Horribles are leading the parade down Gurley street toward the Plaza in this July 4, 1884, photo.  Perhaps the closest thing to Halloween in Prescott was this group of prominent businessmen dressed up to mimic the Mardi Gras of New Orleans.