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Recorded by Helen M. Smith, Field Reporter, June 7, 1938.

My father started the Eagle Flour Mills in Tucson. He used to haul grain to Ft. Grant regularly, where the Apaches planted it on shares for him. He never ran into any trouble on those trips, although he narrowly missed danger and death many times. I still have the old service revolver he used to carry with him on these trips.

I have heard him tell of an incident which demonstrates some of the hazards of the haul. There was what was then called the nine mile water hole, a trading post toward Florence from Tucson. My father was traveling in the direction of the post, when he met a horse-back rider who told him that all the inhabitants of the post had been massacred by Indians. He urged Father to return to Tucson with all speed before he met with a similar fate. Father studied the matter over for a few minutes, and then decided to continue on his way. All his arguments proving unavailing, the other man started at top speed for Tucson. Father went his way, meeting no Indians, and reached Florence without incident. The other man never reached Tucson, and was unheard of more. If Father had turned back with him, I would probably not be here to tell this story.

Father had a house—quite a mansion in those days—at 141 North Main, in Tucson. It used to be said that that house was used for more weddings than any other house in the county. Father had a great deal of company in those days. I suppose it was only natural that when my mother was brought to Tucson from California by the governor of the territory as a teacher, she should have been first accommodated in his house.

My mother was Maria Wakefield before her marriage. I have often heard her describe that trip from California. They drove night and day for fear of the Indians, who were on a rampage at the time. The stage was so crowded with passengers and baggage that the women were forced to ride with their feet straight in front of them on piles of baggage. They were not molested, although they frequently saw across the piles of rocks over newly made graves where victims of the Indians had been buried.

When they reached Tucson, those girls who had come to teach school were met by all the eligible gentlemen of Tucson, on horseback—there were few women to be seen in Tucson then. They were escorted by these men to their first stopping place, my father’s home.

Money to continue school was raised by the holding of public dances. However Mother taught only six months, when she married.

For some time after I was born, I was, with one exception, the only white child in Tucson. I learned to talk Spanish like a native, of course, as did my sister later on. I remember a trip back to Wisconsin to visit my mother’s people. On the train my sister and I conversed with each other entirely in Spanish, but talked with Mother in English only, since she had never learned the other language. Many of the passengers were greatly amazed to hear small children speak two languages so fluently.

Danger from Indians continued for some time after my parents’ marriage. Fort Lowell near Tucson was well populated, and considerable social activity centered there. One evening when Mother and Father were ready to return to Tucson after a pleasant evening at the Fort, the commanding officer suggested sending a guard to see that they reached home safely. Another man who lived near the town, and Father, thought the idea ridiculous, but Mother had an uneasy feeling, and insisted that the offer should be accepted. The other man, on horseback, rode ahead alone, but when near his home Mother insisted upon turning aside to see that the man was safe. They found his horse, riderless, in front of his gate. Later he was found with an arrow in his heart.

I attended school at Tucson, and when I had reached that point, went to the University. My sister, Clara Fish, now Mrs. Roberts, was one of the first graduates of the University, but I did not continue long enough to graduate. I studied assaying while there, and then got a job as assayer at Chihuahua, Mexico. I later returned to Tucson, where I met my wife.

My wife, who was May Ashworth, was a graduate of Smith College, and came to Tucson as a teacher in the University. At that time there was only one high school in the state, at Prescott, and undoubtedly her work was more like that of high school work now. She had a number of students who were much older than she.

We were married in Tucson in 1907. I was doing well, but soon after came the panic. I then went to Cananea where I worked as assayer for some time. We moved to Douglas in the spring of 1918. Again I was assayer, this time at the smelter. I stayed with this work until I was able to take over my present business (tire shop). Since then I have been in ill health much of the time. I was several times given up by the doctors, but now at almost sixty I am as well as any man my age. However, my poor health made it necessary for my wife to work much of the time since our marriage. Especially in Douglas she has worked much of the time. Although she taught school for several terms, she is well known for what she has done in the YMCA, where she has been secretary for a number of years. It has been said that she has had more to do with the civic development of Douglas than any other two residents of the town.

For instance, Mrs. Fish commenced and conducted the drama club for several years, indeed, until the Little Theater of Douglas was organized. She started the child welfare movement in Douglas. It is the policy of the “Y” to keep all such things going until some other agency can be found to take them over. Mrs. Fish has been an excellent leader for all such civic projects. Just now she is working, especially with the Girl Reserves; and the NYA work also receives much interest from her, being held at the “Y”.

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