Issues of concern to people who live in the west: property rights, water rights, endangered species, livestock grazing, energy production, wilderness and western agriculture. Plus a few items on western history, western literature and the sport of rodeo... Frank DuBois served as the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003. DuBois is a former legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior, and is the founder of the DuBois Rodeo Scholarship.
Sunday, July 17, 2016
Characters Under The Mogollon Rim – John Henry Thompson, Part 1
Henry Thompson was among those Texans who along with the Haught and
Ellison families migrated to the Rim Country in the 1880s. Like the
others he made a significant mark on the historical landscape of Gila
County and became Arizona’s longest serving sheriff.
was born Dec. 19, 1861 in Bell County, Texas, to William Gordon
Thompson and Mary Ann Cockerham. He was the first of 12 children. Bell
County is in east-central Texas. He grew up learning the cowboy trade,
and in 1880 at the age of 19 he moved out and headed for Arizona. Like
so many others, he heard about the lush rangeland of central Arizona and
was intrigued by stories of easy-to-find gold.
The young cowboy staked a claim along the upper waters of Webber Creek, snug under the Mogollon Rim. 
protecting his herd of livestock from bears and lions he became an
expert tracker, something that would stand him in good stead later as
county sheriff. In the years immediately after he settled the Webber
Creek ranch Thompson went into partnership with a Mr. Van Stack and was
so successful developing the herd of cattle it grew to number 2,000
In 1884 Thompson felt the need to pay a visit to his family and friends
in Texas, and while there he reunited with a rancher he had known while
growing up, Jesse W. Ellison. At that time a severe drought was
plaguing Texas ranchers, and when Thompson described to good range below
the Mogollon Rim, Ellison decided to bring his herd with its Q brand
and his family to Arizona. Ellison hired Thompson and a group of other
cowboys to help him with the cattle over the long distance. They would
be able to go part of the way by railroad and then just over the New
Mexico border with Arizona they would trail the herd the rest of the
way. Among the men coming to Arizona with Ellison was a fellow rancher
named Glenn Reynolds, who would play a significant role in Thompson’s
future. After the Ellison family settled on a creek that would carry
their name, John Henry returned to his Webber Creek ranch.
It is of interest to note that the same year John Henry Thompson made a
return visit to Texas, 1884, a 20-year-old teacher named Carrie Louise
Nash traveled with her family from Indiana to Arizona, where her father
took up a teaching position in Yuma. Looking for a teaching position
somewhere in the Territory she applied to the local school board in
Strawberry. They had just completed a schoolhouse for their community
and were looking for a teacher to begin the first session in the new
school in the autumn of 1885.