Flying W Ranch

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Photo taken by Richard Aaron Pierce on September 24, 2004. Taken from the road coming into Spring Creek, which is in the foreground of this photo. Louis O. Houdon's house is barely visible far left in the tree line and construction is underway near the Frey house on the right.


The Ranch on Spring Creek started as a miner's cabin built by Louis O. Houdon ca. 1881. Photo taken in December 1998 by Richard Aaron Pierce.


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In the 1880 Census for Pleasant Valley, Louis O. Houdon was a boarder with Ed Rose and he was killed by Nan-tio-tish and his renegade Apache band on July 12, 1882!
Al Rose was killed at this location by eight or so unknow persons. The facts point to Glenn Reynolds and his shotgun that did the deed! No one was ever charged in his murder.
Photo by Richard Aaron Pierce December 1998.


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Above is the house built by the Wilbanks family in the early 1900s.


Owners of the Flying W

By Dick Pierce and Chet Scott.
The Flying W Ranch was named after the Wilbanks family who owned the ranch in the early 1900’s. Before 1900 others were there, at the ranch along Spring Creek west to Gisela which defined the Flying W. As with the gas mileage on your automobile, the amount of patented land may vary. The National Forest Service has purchased most of the land that was once patented to the Flying W.
Others that I know of:
Louis O. Houdon 1880-1882
Graham Brothers; Tom, John and Bill ~1883-1887
William Clay Colcord ~1888-1891? possible.

The following list as given to me by Chet Scott in the fall of 2002:
Michael Ed Curry 1891-1898
Col. Jesse Washington Ellison 1898-1903
Carrel (Andy) Wilbanks 1903-1922
Carrel Wilbanks Jr. 1922- 1924
Charlie Hazelton 1924-1926
Carrel Wilbanks Jr. 1926-1948
Marshal Cristy + Wilbur Asbury 1948-1951
Bill Luke 1951-1958
William St. Clair + Ira Walker 1958-1961
Chester Scott 1961-1976
Austin Haught + Calvin Allred 1976-1978
S. Paul Ferrin 1978-1980
Michael J. Frey 1980-to maybe 2004, not sure!
I think Michael Frey sold out in 2004 0r so...
R. A. Pierce
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The stone cabin built by Louis O. Houdon. Louis was friends with the Sixby brothers and I am sure they traded labor. He was at their Ranch on Haigler Creek when attacked and killed along with Charles Wesley Sixby. July 12, 1882.
Al Rose was at this cabin on November 1, 1887 gathering his cattle in that area in preperation for moving out of the valley. Louis Naegelin and John Watley were working with Al. That morning Al went out to gather up the horses and feed them before the work was to start and he was cut off by eight men who shot him to death. John V. Meadows held a coroners inquest and both Watley and Naegelin testified that about eight men in long coats wearing masks shot Al Rose about 200 yards from the cabin.

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The creek side or left side in this photo was added on at some point in time, the stone part is original. Houdon was possibly French Canadian and some older maps had marked this location simply with the term "Frenchman" on it! Isadore Christopher was also known as "Frenchman" and likely was French Canadian. The Sixby brothers may have been Canadians but some family research says maybe not! During the revolutionary war the Sixby clan was loyal to the king and feared the revolutionaries to the point they supposidly fled to Canada! The border between Canada and the USA at that time was precarious at best. Some researchers say they didn't make it all the way to Canada but instead settled in Northern Maine! They thought they were in Canada.

Chet Scott was concerned about the petroglyphs that were on the ranch and was happy to know they were still there! As of March 6, 2003 at least.


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Left Petroglyph...
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Path to the New House.
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Right Petroglyph...


Flying W Ranch annotated

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Photo taken by Richard Aaron Pierce on March 6, 2003. Taken from the road coming into Spring Creek, which is in the foreground of this photo. Louis O. Houdon's house is barely visible far left in the tree line and the Frey House is on the right. The Wilbanks house is far left, just out of the photo. The Mail Trail to far right.
Behind the ranch is Houdon Mountain. Named of course after Louis. The mail trail goes over the mountain to Sand Tank, then through the line camp and from there goes west to Gisela on Tonto Creek. Several years ago that section from Gisela to line camp was not driveable on the west end.

The reason for annotating the Horse Pasture is that is where Al Rose went that fateful morning when he was shot. Discussing the location of "pasture" with Chet Scott, who ranched there sixteen years, he claims that the hillside was always the horse pasture probably since Louis O. Houdon lived there.



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Forest Service Road 134 goes west out of Young, Arizona and after 8-10 miles you drop down into Spring Creek and the Flying W Ranch area.

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The four of us were given permission to look around the ranch on March 6, 2003. Left to Right, Glynn Ellis, Dave Ricker, and Stan Brown were with me on that trip. I think I left Chandler about 6 a.m. and met up with this crew about 8 a.m. in Payson and we went to Young to get keys to ranch and then spent the rest of the day looking the place over.

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Exiting the ranch! The horse pasture is to the left of this photo. And this is about the correct distance from the Houdon Cabin to be approximate location of Al Roses's demise.


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Another view of the right side rock!