Rose Garden PhotographsCary (Burch) Fain was born June 22, 1845, in Missouri. It was reported in the Pioneer Stories of Arizona’s Verde Valley that Cary twice answered the call to the West. The first trip, at the age of fifteen, was made by boat around the horn of South America through the Straits of Magellan.

On March 6, 1867, she married William Marion Fain in Tonopah, Lyon County, Nevada. William had originally traveled west to try his fortune at gold mining. They apparently returned east where their first three sons were born: George Newel, in 1867; Christopher C., in 1870 (who died before the family moved to Arizona); and John Michael, in 1872. When the 1870 census was taken, they were living in Montgomery County, Kansas.

In 1874, Cary and William joined a caravan of covered wagons and returned west arriving at old Fort Verde on the Verde River, Yavapai County, Arizona Territory. They were using cows to pull their wagon, instead of steers, and driving a few head of cattle.  When they reached Fort Verde, they were also leading a buffalo calf behind their wagon and had only fifty cents in money.

That winter Cary sold milk and butter to soldiers at the Fort; William cut wild hay from what is now known as Hay Field Draw and sold it there. They soon homesteaded the last ranch on the east side of the Verde River, only to move to Beaver Creek and then to Oak Creek, where they established a ranch home near Cornville.  They later expanded their holdings, acquiring the Bar-16 Ranch, four miles north of Stoneman Lake.

The rest of their family was born at their home in Oak Creek. William Marion Jr. was born in 1874, but lived only seven years. In 1876, Dora Lee was born, followed by Granville in 1879, Albert Sydney in 1881, Coral Ellen in 1883 and Ida May in 1887.

Cary was a leader in the community of Cornville. After the death of her husband in 1912, she moved to Los Angeles, where she lived until her death on November 3, 1930. Her funeral services were conducted in Camp Verde. Her obituary in the Prescott Courier referred to her only as “Grandma Fain.”

See Pioneer Stories of Arizona’s Verde Valley by the Verde Valley Pioneer Association and The Fains of Lonesome Valley by Dean Smith for more information

Donor: Sue Fain, great-granddaughter, June 1999
Photo Located: PB-149, F-9, I-5
Updated: 11/12/2015, D. Sue Kissel