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The Red Cross House

Mar 13, 2023

By Worcester P. Bong
 

The American Red Cross (ARC), a nationally-recognized humanitarian organization, was founded by Clara Barton and her close acquaintances in 1881. Ms. Barton was inspired by the International Committee of the Red Cross organization while traveling in Europe. She led the ARC for 23 years, during which time domestic and overseas disaster relief efforts were the primary focus of the organization.
 

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By Marjory J. Sente


When asked where she bought her hats, a 19th century Boston Blueblood is supposed to have said, “I don’t buy my hats. I have my hats.” The same could have been said for the ladies of Prescott during its early years. From department stores such as the Bashford-Burmister Company (B-B), Goldwater Brothers and the New York Store to sole proprietorships owned by women, including Miss Emma Ray, Mrs. Nellie B. Akers, Mrs. Mollie Evans and Madam Hunter Hilbert, millinery was big business in Prescott.

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By William D. Kalt III 

Prescott’s Knights of Pythias Hall whirred with action and anticipation in late June 1901. Local women kept three new sewing machines running each day and part of the night, helping to stitch a massive new cloth apparatus for parachute artist Miss Hazel Keyes. The daring aeronaut’s new balloon stood 80 feet in circumference, contained more than 800 yards of muslin and required “more than a few miles of sewing to complete.” Hazel, 40 years old, brought two enormous lizards to Prescott to parachute with her, but both disappeared. Instead, she planned to fasten Palace Saloon owner Bob Brow’s pet raccoon in a basket and release it attached to a small parachute. An Arizona Weekly Journal-Miner scribe declared, “The famous toyer of death” stood “highly spoken of as a lady and certainly one of the prettiest mid-air performers ever seen hanging to a balloon.” The Arizona Republic dubbed her “the most daring and plucky little woman seen by man or woman in a lifetime.” 

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By Marjory J. Sente

The Ocotillo Post Office was established in 1916, and Pearl C. Orr was named its first and only postmistress, serving until it closed nine years later. In its first life, the post office was called Middleton or Middelton and served the mining town of Middleton located in the Bradshaw Mountains from 1903 to 1908. During World War I, the Consolidated Arizona Mining Company reopened the De Soto in 1915 and Middleton quickly boasted a population of 100. The post office was reestablished under the name Ocotillo because Post Office Department regulations prohibited reusing the name of a discontinued post office.

Pearl Childers was born in the Indian Territory in 1879 to Thomas N. and Melvina Childers. At the age of six, she moved with her family to Fleming, New Mexico Territory. In 1897 she married William R. Orr, a Nebraska native. Three years later, they were living in Silver City, New Mexico Territory, and already had Thelma, their first daughter. Three sons (Robert, Ernest and Floyd) and many moves later, they landed at McCabe, Arizona Territory, in 1906. They had traveled from New Mexico to Washington state (Pearl couldn’t stand the climate according to her grandson, Jack Orr Jr.) then to Arizona. Pearl’s parents moved to McCabe, too. Mrs. Childers died in 1907, but Thomas, whose primary occupation was a miner, lived until 1931. From 1909 through about 1912 he was Yavapai County’s Road Supervisor.  

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By Drew Desmond

The Rough Riders were given several animal mascots, but it was the Arizona regiment’s first mascot that was by far the most popular. “The Arizona Volunteers’ mascot—the mountain lion [named Josephine]—is a great drawing card, and the boys down in San Antonio are thinking of charging a nickel a head to see [her] to swell the regimental fund,” The Journal-Miner reported. 

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By Drew Desmond

While discussing the explosion and sinking of the USS Maine, Mayor "Buckey" O’Neill, Alexander Brodie, and James McClintock hatched an idea to raise up a volunteer cavalry from the Arizona territory to fight in Cuba. O'Neill wanted to raise a regiment of hardcore frontiersmen who were able to survive under harsh, dangerous and deadly conditions as such men would make excellent soldiers.

The men they recruited became the origin and core of the First US Volunteer Cavalry that won great fame and glory under Teddy Roosevelt in the Spanish-American War. They would become known as "The Rough Riders." 

According to the article “Buckey O'Neill and the Rough Riders” by Lorine Morris in The Prescott Courier on 4/11/1975, O’Neill wired President McKinley for authorization to muster 1000 Arizonan "rough riding" soldiers. McKinley authorized 250 men, which he thought was more realistic for the sparsely populated territory. O'Neill was named Captain of Troop A of the 1st Volunteer Cavalry and immediately resigned his position as mayor. The ranks were quickly filled.

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By Mick Woodcock

William Owen “Buckey” O’Neill was born February 2, 1860, likely in St. Louis, Missouri, to Irish immigrant parents. In 1879 he came to Arizona, and after stays in Tombstone and Phoenix, arrived in Prescott in 1882. He was nicknamed "Buckey" for betting heavily in faro games, (called "bucking the tiger" for the tiger illustrations on faro cards).

During sixteen years in Prescott, O’Neill worked as a court reporter, editor of the Arizona Miner and editor and publisher of Hoof and Horn—a paper devoted to the Arizona cattle industry. Elected Yavapai County Probate Judge and School Superintendent, Yavapai County Sheriff and Tax Assessor and Mayor of Prescott, Buckey also ran unsuccessfully for territorial delegate to Congress.

In 1884 Captain W. F. R. Schindler was posted to Fort Whipple, bringing his wife, Rosalie and daughter, Pauline, who taught elementary school in Williamson Valley. O’Neill first saw Pauline at a traveling medicine show and wrangled an introduction. When Pauline married O’Neill in April 1886, her husband announced his happiness in Hoof and Horn, prescribing the “right kind of girl” as what every man needed to keep his head above water. 

On January 1, 1889, O'Neill became Yavapai County Sheriff. On March 20, four bandits robbed the Atlantic and Pacific Railway’s eastbound passenger train during a wood stop at Canyon Diablo, which was within Yavapai County at the time. Sheriff O’Neill formed a posse to arrest them. By April 15, he was back with four prisoners after a chase that led into Utah. 

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By Bradley G. Courtney


Whiskey Row of Prescott, Arizona is arguably the most fascinating, historical quarter-city block in the western United States. The centerpiece of this historic, jam-packed street has been the magnificent Palace Saloon, today the Palace Restaurant and Saloon. It is no wonder that one of Arizona’s favorite sons, Barry Goldwater—whose ties to Prescott are well documented—once lamented, “My only regret is that I didn’t buy The Palace when I had a chance.” 
 
His friend, Tom Sullivan, who in 1977 believed he had purchased the Palace (it was still under contract at the time of the letter mentioned below but the deal fell through eventually), knew this. When writing Goldwater on July 26th of that year, his incentive was rather thinly veiled—his guilt quite transparent. 

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By Tom Collins

The comic operetta “Pinafore” has been a favorite with Prescottonians ever since December 1879, when the nationally renowned burlesque star, Miss Pauline Markham, rumbled into our territorial capital on the stagecoach from Tucson. Pauline was celebrated for her beauty, her shapely legs, her velvet voice and her broadly publicized horsewhipping of a Chicago critic who branded her and her fellow British Blondes as harlots. 

Pauline brought with her a very small supporting cast of professionals that included three male talents: Harry Carpenter (in the 1890s a Republican representative from Yuma), Joseph Dauphin (a light opera character actor in San Francisco) and Frank Roraback (a nationally experienced light opera tenor). She relied on local Prescott amateurs to build the deck of Her Majesty’s Ship Pinafore on the stage of the Prescott Theatre on Alarcon Street, and she required them to recruit the chorus of sailors (Fort Whipple soldiers) and “the sisters and the cousins and the aunts” of Sir Joseph Porter. Pauline played Josephine, “the lass that loved a sailor”; Carpenter was Captain Corcoran, Josephine’s father; Roraback sang his heart out as Ralph Rackstraw, the sailor who falls for “the fairest flower that ever blossomed on ancestral tree”; and Dauphin personated Sir Joseph, Ralph’s preposterous rival. It is unclear who played Little Buttercup, a dockside vendor infatuated with Captain Corcoran.

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By Dewey E. Born


Thrifty Wholesale (a store opened by Dick, Merle and Joe Allen in 1936) sold in quantity, and for those who had enough money to stock up, there were real savings buying wholesale. Canned goods were sold by the case or in large institutional cans. Sugar was in 25 lb cloth sacks and flour in either 50 lb or 100 lb sacks. Flour sacks had print designs on them and could be made into shirts or dresses. Ranchers were good customers and bought in quantity to reduce the number of trips to town. This was especially important in bad weather as there were few paved roads and none went to ranches. When it rained, the roads turned to mud, and there were usually several good snowstorms each winter. At Thrifty Wholesale, they could load their trucks with cases of canned goods, sacks of flour and sugar, a large package of yeast and a 25 lb can of lard. 

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