Contributed by Museum of Northern Arizona
Day Family Collection
The Day Family became known in the Colorado Plateau region for their activities as traders on the Navajo Reservation. During their time on the Reservation, they served as agents, and became close with the Navajo. This collection includes images of Sam Day, Sr., his wife Anna, and their children Sam Day, Jr. and Charlie Day.
Samuel Day, Sr. (1845-1925) was born in Canton, Ohio, attended university in New Jersey, and lived in Iowa, where he married Anna Burbridge. In 1883, the couple relocated to northeastern Arizona, where Day served as a trader and agent on the Navajo Reservation. While in Arizona, he and Anna raised their three children, Charles, Sam Jr., and William. Day passed away in 1925 at the age of 80.
Charles Day (1879-1918), the eldest son, followed in his father’s footsteps and became a trader on the Navajo Reservation. While working as a trader, “Charlie” Day also became custodian at the ruins at Canyon de Chelly and Canyon del Muerto. Day, a trader at Chinle, Bill Meadows, and later St. Michael’s, was often cited as a friend and ally of the Navajo people. He was raised on Navajo land from the age of one, attended ceremonies, and spoke the language fluently. Charlie Day operated the Bill Meadows Trading Post until 1918, when he was killed in an automobile accident.
Sam Day, Jr. (1882-1963) also operated a trading post, and served as a U.S. deputy marshal. Like his brother, he spoke Navajo fluently. In 1912, he married Kate Roanhorse, whose father was Navajo chief Manuelito. Sam Jr., along with brother William and Father Sam Sr., was instrumental in founding the famous Thunderbird Trading Post.