Bixby Family History, Part 1/2
Part OfBixby Family History Oral HistoryInterviewee Dorothy BixbySteve BixbyInterviewerJoyce McBrideBrowse TopicBusiness and IndustryCommunity GroupsLand, Environment, and Natural ResourcesSociety and CultureSubjectOral historiesArizona HistoryArizona History 19th centuryArizona History 20th CenturyGila County (Ariz.)BiographyCattle--West (U.S.)--HistoryRanching History of Gila CountyRanch managers--ArizonaSalt River Watershed (Ariz.)DescriptionIn Part 1, Steve Bixby tells the story of his great grandfather, Jotham Bixby, and two brothers coming to the California Gold Rush by ship around the Horn from Massachusetts around 1850. The Bixby brothers quickly amassed enough wealth to purchase a few Spanish Land Grants and started cattle businesses supplying the miners. When the cattle market subsided, they went back to Iowa, purchased a large flock of sheep and drove them back to California. Jotham returned to Massachusetts to marry Margaret Hathaway, and each of his brothers likewise married Margaret's sisters. Jotham Bixby made his fortune not from cattle or sheep, but from oil that was discovered on his land. Their son, George Bixby was born in Long Beach and grew up in his father's cattle business. George met and married Amelia Andrews, the daughter of a blacksmith. Jotham had purchased the Diamond 2 Ranch in the Bradshaw Mountains near Prescott, Arizona Territory. So when the cattle industry waned in California in the 1870s, Jotham Bixby's family and George Bixby's family relocated to co-operate the Diamond 2 permanently, but still kept other business interests in California. George's cousin, Fred Bixby bought the 3 Bar Ranch just north of the Salt River in Arizona. Then in 1906, the U.S. Government built the Roosevelt Dam nearby and required a large portion of his land for the subsequent flood. Feeling nudged off his land, Fred Bixby moved up on the Rim, and operated a 400,000 acre ranch there. George and Amelia's son, Steve Sr, grew up on the Diamond 2 in the summers, but resided in California during school. His mother planned that he would eventually take over running the operation of the Diamond 2 at some point. He attended college in California and there he met his bride, the daughter of a German carpenter by the name of Hecker, building homes in Santa Ana. They returned to Arizona as planned, but Steve wanted to breed purebred Herefords instead. Someone looking at the Diamond 2 told him about a better place in Wheatfields. Steve purchased this ranch homesteaded by the Horrells from Max Bonney and the newly-weds moved there in 1928. Her father, a carpenter, built the headquarters for them. This township sized spread located in Wheatfields, adjoined the Hicks Ranch to the west, encompassed the Apache Mountains to the old Lewis-Scarborough/Jones ranch, Zee Hayes and the Mounce Ranch to the south. Radium, the stockyards where cattle was shipped by train was on the eastern fence, and the Bohme Ranch was on the north. Ranchers would drive their cattle from as far away as the Tonto across the Roosevelt to hold up at Radium, and Steve Jr. remembers when the yards were full, the stockmen would hold their overflow in canyons. Invariably the train conductor would blow the whistle and spook the cattle into stampeding and mixing. He also remembered ditching school in order to help the Cline herds cross the Roosevelt. Other ranchers on the north side of the lake were the Ewings, Mick Holder, Fred Bixby, John Armer, Frank Chapman, and Levi Grantham. On the south side of the lake was Ed Horrell and the Cooper Ranch, and Leroy Tucker. Steve Bixby, Sr. bought his ranch just before the stock market crashed and the economic downturn of the Great Depression hit. He rounded up the wild cattle and horses on the ranch and traded them to R.M. Grantham in Young for some Indian rugs and blankets because there was not enough feed on the drought-stricken land to sustain them.Audio Length00:22:31Date Original2010-04-21Date Range1870s (1870-1879)1880s (1880-1889)1890s (1890-1899)1900s (1900-1909)1910s (1910-1919)1920s (1920-1929)TypeSound- NonmusicalOriginal FormatOral historiesLanguageEnglishContributing InstitutionArizona Heritage Research FoundationCollectionOral Histories of Gila County RanchersRights StatementThe opinions expressed in this interview are those of the interviewee only. They do no represent the views of the Arizona Heritage Research Foundation, the Gila Co. Historical Museum or the Arizona State Library. Please contact the Arizona Heritage Research Foundation with questions about the use and reproduction of this resource.
Oral HistoryBixby Family
IdentifierBixby Family History, Part 1.mp3Date Digitized2010-04-21Digital FormatMP3
Bixby Family History, Part 1/2, [Bixby Family History, Part 1.mp3]. Arizona Memory Project, accessed 11/12/2023, https://azmemory.azlibrary.gov/nodes/view/132008