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Arizona Centennial Minute: Ranches

Some of [Aztec's] Punchers." Aztec Land & Cattle Company, Holbrook, Ariz. Terr. By Ames, 1877--89.

A cowboy in Arizona today is more likely to drive a pickup truck than ride a horse.  But his dusty boots and sweat-stained hat brim can still be found statewide.

Ranches were here before statehood.  One early Spanish land grant brought the Amados family to Southern Arizona in 1711.  Henry Amado still has his great-grandfather’s branding iron. While it isn’t polite to ask a rancher the size of his herd, Amado has to call in a lot of neighbors during roundup not far from the town of Amado, named after his family.

Pete Kitchen came to the Santa Cruz Valley in the 1850s, and his well-fortified house was a bastion for early settlers during troubles with the Apaches.  His famous hospitality included a Christian burial for anyone killed, even someone who’d attacked his home.  

The Hashknife Gang started in Northern Arizona on a ranch owned by the prominent Babbitt family. Every year there’s still a Hashknife Ride, with riders handing off leather bags of mail, one to the next, from Holbrook to Scottsdale.

When Kel Fox was a boy, his father would give jobs to young men on their Sedona ranch. One man couldn’t stay on a horse no matter what, and had to be let go. Later on, that wanderer sent pictures he’d taken at Foxboro Ranch.  The family wishes they knew what happened to those…How many people have photos of their homes taken by Ansel Adams?


Fred DuVal is a long-time Arizona civic leader and businessman, who began his career under Arizona Governor Bruce Babbitt. DuVal was captivated by Babbitt’s knowledge of Arizona and his peculiar habit of stopping in old cemeteries as they traveled the state, which deepened his interest in state history. DuVal has served in a number of public leadership roles including Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Affairs under the Clinton Administration, as commissioner on the Arizona Commerce and Economic Development Commission, and as chairman of the Arizona Board of Regents responsible for guiding the growth of Arizona's three public universities. He co-authored the book Calling Arizona Home, with Lisa Schnebly Heidinger in 2005. The book describes who we are as Arizonans and the common threads that unite us across all parts of the state and all walks of life.
Lisa Schnebly Heidinger is a former journalist who authored her first book in 1995. Lisa became smitten with Arizona pioneers and history after hearing as a small child that the town of Sedona was named after her great-grandmother Sedona Schnebly. She began writing journals as a child, and moved from personal writing to newspaper reporting as a raw recruit at the Green Valley News in 1979. After four years, she broke into broadcast journalism, working seven days a week at KCEE radio while working weekends on KGUN-TV in Tucson. She opened the Northern Arizona bureau for KTVK-TV in 1989 and later moved to Phoenix. Today, she is an avid author, regular volunteer, and enjoys substitute teaching and traveling. In addition to "Calling Arizona Home," she is the author of the state's official Centennial commemorative book, "Arizona: 110 Years Grand."