Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Ed Schieffelin Story and How Tombstone Got its Name

Welcome back to Woody’s Wild West, where stories and tales of the Wild West come alive.  I just returned from performing in Congress, Arizona’s Wild West Days, as well as Helldorado Days in Tombstone.  This was one of the biggest Helldorado events in recent history.  It saw the return to Tombstone of World Champion Western Performer and Rope Spinner Loop Rawlins for the first time in years from his show in Las Vegas.

There are a surprising number of visitors that think Tombstone was just a movie.  Many more don’t know how the mining camp (and eventual town) came by its famous name or the mystery surrounding one of its founders.  One of the wildest of the Wild West towns, and indeed the largest, between St. Louis and San Francisco in its day, has an interesting story behind its  infamous name. So…. Have a seat and let me share the story of Tombstone with you.

It seems an adventurous young man named Ed Schieffelin born to a prominent New York family wanted to try his hand at Indian scouting and prospecting in the west in Arizona.  After doing some prospecting and surveying of the Grand Canyon he found himself enlisted with a group of Indian scouts. 

These scouts were headed to set up a new Calvary post near the Mexican border called Camp Huachuca in Pima County (present day Cochise County and Fort Huachuca) to counter the Chiricahua Apache threat led by Apache chief Cochise and renegade Apache Geronimo.

As Ed went out on patrols from the fort he also began to survey the area rock and stone formations for gold and silver deposits.  As a consequence of these patrols, Ed began to learn the lay of the land: where the Apache Indians were and where they were not, thereby avoiding attack. 

Soon, he felt confident enough that he could avoid these attacks. He began to go on excursions on his own to check some of these formations which might yield the precious ore he was seeking.   Following one of these trips into the desert, near a place called “Goose Flats” not far from Cochise Stronghold, a scout by the name of Al Sieber questioned Ed about why he was venturing out alone.  Ed replied, “Prospecting for rock and stone formations which might yield silver or gold ore.” To which Sieber replied, “The only stone you’re going to find out there is your “tombstone”, Ed.”   

Well, Ed didn’t find his “tombstone,”  but one of the biggest ore deposits in Arizona. Later, while looking for his brother in the Globe, Arizona area, he asked 20 to 30 different individuals about the value of the ore samples he had found.  Ed was told that they were worthless.  As you can imagine, Ed became discouraged.  Ed gave the samples to the foreman of a mine who told him it was mostly lead.  In his frustration, Ed threw some of the samples out the door of his brother’s cabin, but, at the last minute, decided to keep three.  Learning of a mining assayer (person who analyzes ores and minerals) named Richard Gird, Ed turned the remaining samples over to the assayer.  Three days later Ed’s brother shook him out of his bunk and told Ed the samples weren’t worthless but assayed at $2000 a ton.

On a gentleman's hand shake, the three became partners in the mining operation, naming the first mine “The Tombstone,” hence the name of the famous town.  They had many different names for their mines which came about in similar manners.  At one point, Brother Al and partner Gird became discouraged when the vein played out.  Ed, being ever the optimist, kept looking until he found another vein.  Al called Ed a “Lucky Cuss” which became the name of one of the richest mining claims in the district - the ore assayed at $15000.  Ed ran into trouble on one of his other claims because of difficult rock formations which caused him to constantly change direction to follow the vein of ore, he said “This going to be a Tough Nut to Crack.”  The “Tough Nut” mine became the name of the mine rich in “Horn Silver” and the famous Tombstone Courthouse is located on the street of the same name. Then on another occasion some miners’ mules got loose. They were dragging their chain across some rocks which produced a bright gleam on the chain and revealed more ore deposits near the Schieffelin. Gird claim troubles soon began. After much legal wrangling between the two parties one claiming the other had a claim on the ore, the contentions between the two parties were settled by dividing the claim between the two. So came about another of name of a mine “The Contention Mine.” This mine, as well as the other miner’s claim, produced the highest grade ore in Tombstone.         
The partners eventually sold their interest in the district and became millionaires and the town became the “Town to Tough to Die.”  Ed moved back to Oregon with family after prospecting some more.  One day a when Ed didn’t show up for mining supplies, a neighbor went to investigate found Ed face down in his cabin, dead, of an apparent heart attack.
So here ends one of the great pioneers of the old West, who risked it all against Indian attack, and hostile desert environment to discover one of the bawdiest, wildest towns in the west and one of the richest strikes in Arizona and US history. Or does it?
It seems along with Ed’s body was discovered several ore samples. Some say as “rich or richer than Tombstone’s.”  Supposedly, the find was written in his journal but with no map to where the ore samples’ origins were located.  One thing is for certain, by this time, Ed would know a good ore sample having worked alongside Gird (the assayer) and all the mining he and his brother did in Tombstone.  Yet, no one has ever found the source of the samples.
Well as the story goes Ed eventually did find his tombstone in Tombstone, Arizona (just not the way everyone expected.)  He was originally buried in Oregon near his cabin. When his will was discovered with his request to be buried in Tombstone, he was later moved.  So ends the legend of a man buried at the end of Allen Street, in the desert he had searched for, under a miner’s marker. (Interestingly, he was not laid to rest in “Boot Hill” Cemetery which the town of Tombstone has made famous.)

Well… so long for now, till we meet again for another tale of the old west from WWW Woody’s Wild West.  

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Wyatt Earp: The Gunfighter That Was....Commodore Perry Owens: The Gunfighter That Wasn’t

            So, welcome back to WWW Woody’s Wild West for another tale of the true west from the center of the real west.

 From that opening title most would say,” what is this tall tale all about.” The truth of the matter is, before the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral Oct. 26 1881, Wyatt Earp had only killed one man. Whereas, in the feud at the O.K. corral, three men were killed. A feat he accomplished with the aid of his two brothers and Doc Holiday. In thirty seconds thirty shots were fired, killing only three men, with three wounded out of the Earp party.
On the other hand, Commodore Perry Owens had at least one gunfight to his credit (in 1887 if time matters) where he had killed three men wounding a fourth. Single handed in one gunfight. One of those so called “men” was a sixteen year boy whom he blew back into his mother's arms and with only four shots. Just like Wyatt, he wasn’t touched.

Commodore Perry Owens
On Sept. 4 1887 its seems Sheriff Owens (Sheriff of Apache County AZ) had a warrant to serve on one Andy Cooper Blevins at his brother's home in Holbrook, AZ.  Blevins was a rustler who had fled the bloody Tewksbury feud (in which he participated).  As Owens approached the house, Cooper’s Brother, John Blevins, warned him of the Sheriffs arrival. Owens, knowing this man, had arrived prepared for the worst.  He stepped on the porch with Winchester in hand and pistol at his hip. He saw three men through a window in the house. As Owens orders Cooper to surrender, Cooper opened the door with his left hand and in his right hand, aimed his pistol dead center of Owens. At that precise moment, from a side door emerged Cooper’s brother John. 

They had Owens in the middle, in a deadly crossfire -- or so they thought.  A very deadly assumption with this man. With the calmness that only a gunman of his stature could exhibit, he told the rustler he had a warrant for his arrest. Cooper’s reply was to shoot, as did Owens. Both sounding as one shot. Cooper’s shot missed. Owens didn’t. His bullet found its mark. Cooper moved back into the house... Owens backed into the street to get a better view of the house. Johnny Blevins, the man at the side door, had not gotten the message of this deadly gunman.  Blevins fired and missed.  He hit Owens horse which was tied to a tree. With one more shot, Owens' Winchester hit Blevins in the shoulder. Owens then fired a third shot from his Winchester after he saw Cooper moving in the house killing Cooper. The third man in the house, Mose Roberts, joined in the foray jumping out of a window.  As he turned to run, he caught a round in the back. Gun in hand, Roberts stumbled to the rear door of the house where he fell dead.  At this moment, unfortunately, Samuel Houston Blevins (age estimated sixteen) picked up a pistol from his dying brother and aimed it at Owens. Owens fired once again and the boy fell dying into his mothers arms. I am sure Owens was not happy about how circumstances in this situation had turned out, but he was surely left with no options. The situation was sure to turn deadly no matter the age.
Wyatt Earp
            Now don’t misunderstand me -- Wyatt Earp was definitely a man to be reckoned with, but I think you can see why the title. Wyatt had a well deserved reputation and was feared by a many men. This realization may have been their salvation.  Whereas, Owens was not as well known. Hence some thought (wrongfully so) they could better him. As you can see this would put Owens in situations were things could turn deadly because men were willing to take a chance.   

Wyatt got a lot of ink before his death, even more after he died because of his exploits, the people he associated with, and famous people he met later in the movie business.  He didn’t become real famous (try as he may) until after he died. I will have a lot more of this later in another of my tales of the old west. So long for now from Center of the Real West, at WWW Woodys Wild West.   

Saturday, September 22, 2012

WWW: Where The Winchester Got its Name

Well,  I suppose that anybody who has ever watched a western with John Wayne, Tom Selleck or Clint Eastwood, grace the screen, has seen them with the “Guns That Won the West”, the 1873 Colt 45 or the Winchester. What most probably didn’t know:  the Winchester started as a hand gun and was called the “Volcanic” and the man who developed it into a rifle was a shirt maker.

It seems two entrepreneurs by the name of Horace Smith and Daniel B. Wesson (of Smith and Wesson fame) were running into financial troubles developing their volcanic gun, when an industrious shirt maker by the name of Oliver Fisher Winchester bought the patent rights to the gun and the cartridges.

Along with the patent rights Winchester inherited a brilliant engineer by the name of Benjamin Tyler Henry (of Henry rifle fame). It seems Mister Henry had a knack for solving problems with mechanical devices, by redesigning and enlarging the volcanic gun’s internal workings he was able to make the gun feed the ammunition properly, hence the renaming the gun the Henry Rifle.

As the gun continued to develop it became the 1866 Yellow Boy so named by the Indians because of its brass yellow receiver mechanism and then the subsequent models named for Oliver Winchester, the most famous of the time period, the Winchester model 1873.

Come on back again sometime and I will tell you some more Real West of the stories at WWW (Woody’s Wild West).

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Welcome to Woody's Wild West

My name is Woody... and I KNOW the Wild West.

I was born in July 1954 in the bloodiest battlefield in the south pacific Okinawa. My father being in the military was transfer to an old Calvary army post called Ft Huachuca, which had been established in 1877, when I was just two.

I had always thought I had been born there until my father told me different. My siblings didn’t care for the place much; you see it hadn’t changed much in the last hundred years, and they were accustomed to traveling the world living the officer’s life. I felt like the luckiest young kid in the world, you see everything on TV and the movies were about westerns.

Most Westerns of the time period of the 50's and 60's, Bonanza, The Rifleman, Gunsmoke, Have Gun Travel, Tombstone Territory, Wyatt Earp, were either about the area I now found myself in or they mentioned it somewhere in the story.

So you can see why I felt the way I did, when I thought, “nothing existed” outside the continental Cochise County where the base was and the City of Tombstone.

As a young man I would hike in the desert exploring old houses and ghost towns of the area. The movies made everything so real to me because, I was actually living it and in the area where a lot of western history happened. I read a lot of history of the area as I explored it.

So, is it any wonder when the opportunity presented itself thru some friends I had met asked me to start performing the very thing all my life I had admired, in the time period I so loved, I jumped at the chance. I have spent the last six to seven years performing in Wild West reenactments all over the state, movies, and TV shows and have had the honor to work with a lot of Hollywood performers in recent years.

When I visit my wife, (Sierra Suites, General Manager - Glen Cobb) at work, many of the guests have found my stories and history of the Old West as interesting as I have.  They've asked me to share some of my knowledge in this new blog called WWW Woodys Wild West.

Back very soon, from WWW- Woody’s Wild West with more of the Real West of the story ....

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

New Sales Manager announced at Sierra Suites

Sierra Suites is excited to introduce our new Sales Manager: Kayla Burke. Kalya is new to Sierra Vista but excited to learn about our lovely city and to begin working with the great team at Sierra Suites. Here's a note from Kayla:

My name is Kayla Burke, the new Sales Manager for Sierra Suites in Sierra Vista, AZ. I just moved here about a month ago with my fiance, who is in the military and is stationed at Fort Huachuca. I'm originally from Wyckoff, New Jersey, but don't expect any bump-its or spray tans from me! The only time "Jersey" comes out is with telemarketers. ;)

My finace and I recently moved from Fort Drum, New York which is about the same distance from the Canadian border that Sierra Vista is from Mexico. We joke that we've gone from one extreme of overnight 4 ft blizzards, to burning desert sun. Its certainly a big change for me, and that higher elevation is no joke! The first time I unloaded groceries from the truck I had to lie down! But in all, Sierra Vista is a beautiful area and I'm very excited to get to know it better. The wineries, Kartchner Caverns, and Tucson within comfortable driving distance allow for a lot to do. Just this past weekend we drove up to Phoenix and went tubing down the Salt River, which if you haven't done yet I HIGHLY recommend.

This is my first job in the hospitality field. Much of my professional experience has been in publishing, if you can believe that. After graduating Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY in 2009 (any other Red Foxes out there?) with a BA in English Writing and a minor in Spanish, I landed my first job in the Fort Drum/Watertown with the Watertown Daily Times. I worked my way up through the ranks to become their Advertising Coordinator. I also spent a lot of free time during my fiance's last deployment teaching dance classes at night. I teach and practice just about every style imaginable: ballet, pointe, jazz, contemporary, hip hop, and tap.

I love to read, write, and travel. I spent a semester in London while in college and was fortunate enough to see eight different countries on the continent. A tip for fellow backpackers, though? Avoid RyanAir or the other budget airlines. After a very long and cold night spent in a very dark and creepy Italian airport terminal with about 20 Brits that had been grounded from jet engine failure, I'll think twice before flying with them again.

I'm very excited about the opportunity to work with Sierra Suites! My new coworkers have been extremely friendly and welcoming, and although I'm just getting my feet wet, I'm sure this job will be one of the most fun I've ever had.

If you have any sales opportunities or are interested in partnering with Sierra Suites in any endeavor, I'd love to chat! Feel free to email me at Kayla Burke ! And if anyone knows where I can peek at a havalina, let me know! I have to see these things to believe it. ;)

Kayla Burke

Sierra Suites

391 E. Fry Blvd

Sierra Vista, AZ

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Sierra Vista Birdwatching Package

Sierra Vista is known as “The Hummingbird Capitol of America,” and for good reason. During Sierra Vista’s Birdwatching season, which starts in April, spring migration brings thousands and thousands of various species of birds, including hummingbirds, tragons, warblers and flycatchers. It’s truly a site to be experienced. We, at Sierra Suites, would like to extend this personal invitation to join us this year, whether you’re a birder or not, for birdwatching in Sierra Vista. Our Sierra Vista Birdwatching Package is only $109 and includes: · Guestroom w/ free hot breakfast daily and wifi · Snack bag ‘to go’ w/ granola bars, fruit and bottled water · Sunscreen (a must in the Southern Arizona sun!) · Complimentary bag of birdseed · Sierra Vista Birding checklist (all the birds you'll be able to see with info about each) · Maps and Information about all of the best local birdwatching locations Want more information about birdwatching locations? Visit us online: Sierra Vista birdwatching

Fly on down to Sierra Suites... minutes from Kartchner Caverns, Bisbee and Tombstone... but the highlight of the spring and summer season... is the birds!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Local Sierra Vista resident is promoted to General Manager at Sierra Suites Hotel

Sierra Suites hit the "boss lottery" with local resident's promotion to the general manager position.

Long-time employee, Glen Cobb, was promoted to the GM position earlier this Fall at the Sierra Suites Hotel located just outside of Fort Huachuca.

Cobb has lived in the Sierra Vista community for over 30 years with her husband, Woddy, and their four grown children. She has worked at Sierra Suites as a guest services representative, part-time night auditor and weekend Manager on Duty for seven years while working full-time with the Cochise County Superior Court for many years. Woody and Glen are members of the Arizona Bounty Hunters, an Arizona historical re-enactment group who perform in Tombstone and around the state.

Glen's promotion to the management position has been widely supported throughout Sierra Suites' employees.

Jackie Jameson, a guest services represtentative at the hotel, said, "I think I can safely say here that I speak on behalf of all of the staff here at Sierra Suites in saying that Glen leads by example, and I and the others consider outselves lucky to work for her and with her to support her in any way we can. We all feel like we just won 'the boss lottery'!"

Not only are the employees supportive of the newly appointed general manager, the staff at Granite Hospitality are thrilled as well.

Granite Hospitality is a Scottsdale, Arizona based hotel management and investment company with five hotels in three states in its portfolio. Sierra Suites was purchased in 1998 by Sierra Suites Investment Group LLC and managed by Shawn Doyle, formerly with the Hotel Group and now owner and President of Granite Hospitality.

"We are excited that Glen has stepped into the position of General Manager after the long tenure of the former GM, Gaylene Wendle," said Shawn Doyle. "Promoting her from within is a winning formula as her experiences and history at the hotel along with her enthusiasm for taking on this new role will greatly impact our guests' stay and Glen's connection to the community is a plus."

Glen replaced Gaylene Wendle who managed Sierra Suites for 23 years before relocating back to her hometown in Wisconsin.

This southwestern hotel is offering a welcome package to celebrate Glen's new position as general manager. The GM's Welcome Package at Sierra Suites offers a $25 gift card for La Casita Restaurant when a reservation is made before the New Year. In addition, Sierra Suties is proud to serve those who serve our country. As such, based on their close relationship with Ft. Huachuca, they are offering an affordable package for friends and family members visiting service members at the base. This Fort Huachuca Friends and Family Package includes a $25 gas card, $40 La Casita Gift Card and $10 credit for in-room movies.

Sierra Suites has been open since 1985. Renovations of the guest rooms were completed in 2003, and the lobby, breakfast room, fitness room and meeting rooms were renovated this year.

The hotel's newly renovated property will be undergoing much more than physical improvements. Sierra Suites will be continuing improvements in customer service (currently rated #1 on popular hotel review site Trip Advisor), operations, and community participation.

"I am very privileged to have been given this opportunity," said Glen Cobb. "We have a great team at Sierra Suites and I look forward to continuing in the successful track that has been forged for me by Gaylene. After many years in the Cochise County Superior Court, it is a refreshing change to have clients who want to stay with us! Our number one goal is simple: to do all we can to make Sierra Suites your home away from home."

(written by Megan Doyle)

Sierra Suites
391 E. Fry Blvd
Sierra Vista, AZ