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History Of The Yavapai Cattle Growers' Association

 

The Yavapai Cattle Growers' Association (YCGA), turned 87 years old on January 23, 2018. The present association is in reality the third such organization, and is still a strong and influential county organization.

 

The first one, Yavapai County Stock Growers' Association, was organized March 10, 1883. It was the first cattle organization in the territory. The officers were:

President - John G. Campbell, Del Rio Ranch

Vice President -  W.W. Hutchinson

Secretary - Ed Wells, Banker

Treasure - Oscar Uncoin

 

The county was divided into seven districts, with a representative from each, which formed the executive committee. The main purpose of the Association was to find markets for cattle at military posts, Indian Reservations, and mining camps. After a while, it withered and ceased to function.

 

The next, organized October 28th, 1914, was known as the Yavapai County Cattle Growers' Association. Its first officers were:

President - Charles H. Hooker, Mayer

Vice President - George Carter, Williamson Valley

Secretary - Thomas E. Campbell, Prescott

Assist. Secretary - C. E. (Brownie) Gentry, Prescott

Treasure - Moses B. Hazeltine, Banker, Prescott

 

The main interest of the second cattlemens' organizations was to become officially recognized by the Forest Service in order to have a voice in what was going on in the Prescott National Forest. In order for the Advisory Board to be recognized, 75 percent of the forest permittees had to belong to a stockmans' organization. The goal was reached in 1915

 

Main topics of discussion in those early meetings concerned the best ways to work cattle such as, should dogs used, and should branding be done in a corral or on the ranch. Also, lively discussions were held with Forest Serve personnel about range regulations, drift fences, community allotments, sheep driveways, and individual allotments.

 

Joe Stephens built the first drift fence in the county in 1915. It ran from Sycamore Mesa to Toohey. In 1920, another fence was built along the rim west of the Verde River. Charles Hooker was the first cattleman on Prescott National Forest to fence his individual allotments, and that was in 1923. By 1916, there were about 200 members in the Association. Nothing could be found concerning activities for 1917, 1918, and 1919. However, it remained in existence because records show that Henry Knight was President in 1920 - the year it was declared "dead".

 

Charles Pickrell, second County Agricultural Agent, came to Prescott on July 10, 1921, and left May 15, 1923. While here, he worked with a number of local cattle grower groups, whose chief aim for the most part was to raise money to finance the expense of Fen Hildreth, who was in Washington D. C. working on their behalf.

 

One of the groups Pickrell worked with was the Sycamore Cienega Cattle Growers' Association, which was organized June 21, 1921. A unique organization, it was established by the local ranchers with the grazing permits on Grazing Districts 6 and 7, or the Cherry Creek and Bloody Basin range district, on the Prescott National Forest. Its purpose was to assist and advice the Forest Service on how to care for the range. The officers were:

President - J.J. Reeves

Vice President - Robert Burmeister

Secretary/Treasure - Ben Stewart

Board Members - John Boyer and E.E. Turston

 

Henry Sterat followed Pickrell as County Agent and served from July 16, 1923 to April 1, 1941. During that time, he worked with local cattlemen. There was no one organization representing the entire county. Stewart remembered some of the local groups and their  Presidents.

Skull Valley - Van Dickson

Oak Creek - James Page

Mayer - Colonel E. W. Monroe

Kirkland - Clarence Jackson

 

Mr. E.S. Turville came to Prescott as County Agent from February 1, 1930 and served until June 30, 1941. By the time he entered the scene, it had been about ten years since there had been a county cattlemen's association. Through Mr. Turville's efforts and influence, along with the cooperation and efforts of a few leading cattlemen from different communities, the formation of a rancher's luncheon club was brought to fruition.

 

At these monthly meetings, the ranchers discussed their problems and got better acquainted with each other. By the end of the first year of monthly luncheon meetings, the ranchers realized they should become organized.

 

Up to that time, It had been the Cattlemen's Luncheon Club, but its members realized its inadequacy to cope with problems and decided upon a stronger organization. So the Yavapai Cattle Growers came into being with formal adoption of a Constitution and By-Laws on January 23, 1932. The object of this new organization was to advertise Yavapai County cattle and to work for the general interest of the cattle industry in all matters except the actual selling of cattle.

 

Under the new setup, the county was divided into two districts, with the Verde District known as the East Side. The rest of the county was known as the west Side. First Officers of the new Association were:

President - Cort Carter, Walnut Grove

Vice President, West side - Clarence Stewart, Williamson Valley

Vice President, East Side - Ralph Monroe, Camp Verde

Secretary - Henry Warbasse, Prescott

Treasure - Park MIller, Prescott

 

Even though the group was organized as the Yavapai County Cattlemen's Association, the members almost immediately began calling themselves the Yavapai Cattle Growers - the name still used today.

 

Today, the YCAG has about 300 members, who are still active in the cattle industry.

 

*Exerpts taken from "Brief History-1932-1982 Golden Anniversary". Written by Danny Freeman.

 

Box 1053

Yarnell, AZ 85362

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