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Short Stories- last update 6-21-2020

Short Stories by Jack Carlson and Elizabeth Stewart

Jack Fraser. Well known rancher and businessman, John James “Jack” Fraser was born in Pictou, Nova Scotia, Canada in 1854. He was a contemporary of Elisha Reavis and expanded his JF cattle operation to the Reavis farm when Reavis died in 1896. Fraser's initials are used for the JF brand, the JF Trail, and the JF Ranch headquarters.

Marlow and Charlebois. George Marlow and Alfred Charlebois purchased the Cavaness Ranch (often known as the Board House or the Quarter Circle U Ranch) in 1882. After a year, Marlow bought out Charlebois for $200. In 1883 disagreements between Marlow and Charlebois resulted in a slander court case, which revealed that both men conversed in French. Several men who also understood and spoke French (John Lebarge, Antoine Lamotte, David Casarette, and Joseph Charlebois) witnessed the alleged defamatory statements made in both French and English by Marlow. The disagreement was discontinued by mutual consent.

Weekes Ranch. Rancher Charles F. Weekes III did not receive title to his ranch land, which is now part of the Superstition Mountain Museum, until 1953. His father, Charles F. Weekes II, had been using the property for the Weekes Ranch headquarters for over 50 years, but had not formally applied for title to the land. When the government began dispersing the nearby land for veterans in a “Small Tract Classification” program, he made application to the BLM to exchange 160 acres of his land near Mountain View Road and Southern Avenue in Apache Junction to obtain title to the Weekes Ranch property at Mountain View Road and SR88.

Hermit of the Superstitions. In 1891, a Phoenix newspaperman saddled Elisha Reavis with the nickname “The Hermit of the Superstitions” and that name has stuck for over a century. A Tucson newspaperman rescued the reputation of Reavis in a follow-up story explaining that Reavis, who farmed in the present-day Reavis Valley, was far from a hermit. Reavis employed local ranchers and laborers to build fences, dig irrigation ditches, and work in the gardens. Reavis was a genial host at his farm and a friendly guest when he visited the towns where he sold his vegetables.

Reavis Ranch. Reavis Ranch remained federal land until William “Billy” Knight obtained the homestead rights to the 65.62 acres in 1919. The Clemans brothers had the possessory rights to the land but they were not U.S. citizens, so they could not apply for a homestead patent.

Knight was born in England and arrived in America at the age of six. At the age of ten, he automatically became a U.S. citizen as a minor when his father received his Naturalization Papers for U.S. citizenship in 1888. Jack Fraser, Joseph Sanders, Earle Clemans, and Alonzo Bellamy supported Knight during the homestead process with testimony and as witnesses.

In 1966, ranchers Floyd and Lucille Stone traded the Reavis homestead property for the IV Ranch, which is located near Apache Lake. The Reavis Ranch homestead property is now back in federal ownership and is part of the Tonto National Forest and the Superstition Wilderness.

Territorial Brand Book. Brands for John Labarge and George Marlow.

Brands registered in the Territorial Brand Book of Arizona by Bark and Criswell on April 30, 1897. The JL was John Lebarges brand. The ML was George Marlows brand. Courtesy of the Arizona State Archives, Phoenix.

Superstition Wilderness Trails