Thursday, October 20, 2016

Hat Ranch stays true to ranching past

WILLIAMS Ariz. — The road winds in and out of thin stands of Ponderosa Pines and showy yellow oak trees across a landscape dotted with grazing cattle and rusty barb-wire fences. Ahead lies the ranch, unassuming in most ways, sprawling across the landscape with commanding views of Bill Williams Mountain to the east and the rolling grasslands and pinyon-juniper forests to the west. Many residents of Williams are unaware of the beautiful ranch that lies within a stone’s throw of their town, and fewer yet know of the rich history that lies between the walls and among the rafters of the rustic ranch. Now run under a conservation trust, the ranch is being operated as a bed and breakfast but has stayed true to its fascinating past. Now known as Hat Ranch, the ranch was built in the early 1900s and has also been called Quarter Circle Double X Ranch and the Greenway Ranch, as it passed through the hands of two remarkable women, Isabella Greenway and Ruth “Bazy” Tankersley. Many Arizonans know of Greenway as the first U.S. congresswoman from Arizona and close friend of Eleanor Roosevelt. But Isabella was also a charismatic business woman and philanthropist and played numerous roles in the development of Arizona during the Great Depression, which included restoring the economy, developing the copper industry and creating jobs for veterans. Greenway was born in Boone County, Kentucky, but spent much of her youth in rural North Dakota, where her family became close to Theodore Roosevelt. Although already rising in politics in Washington, Roosevelt had come to North Dakota for adventure and befriended Greenway’s father Til Selmes, who was doing the same. The Selmes family divided their time between St. Paul and North Dakota and often went on treks in the Badlands with Roosevelt. According to the book “Isabella Greenway: An Enterprising Woman,” by Kristie Miller, Roosevelt admired the Selmes family for their dedication to the frontier lifestyle and their similar intellectual interests.
Following her father’s death, Isabella moved to New York to live with her uncle Frank Cutcheon and attend the elite Miss Chapin’s School, where she was introduced to Theodore Roosevelt’s niece, Eleanor Roosevelt. Eleanor was a year older but struck up a friendship with Isabella and they spent summers going back and forth to from the Roosevelt home and her uncle’s farm on Long Island. Eleanor and Isabella stayed close following their schooling and both became engaged in 1903. Eleanor fell for her distant cousin Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1903, while Isabella grew close to one of Theodore Roosevelt’s Roughriders, Bob Ferguson. Both married in 1905 with Isabella being a bridesmaid at Eleanor’s wedding. Isabella’s marriage to Bob was difficult as he spent the majority of it sick with tuberculosis, which likely developed during his time in Cuba with the Roughriders. The couple had two children, and in 1910 the family moved to Silver City, NM where Bob hoped to recover. Isabella’s foray into politics began shortly after the family’s arrival in Silver City. During that time, Franklin Roosevelt was elected to the New York State legislature and Theodore Roosevelt was making his second run at the White House. Bob, along with family friend and fellow Roughrider John Greenway, encouraged Isabella to get involved with the campaign. Despite losing the bid, Isabella enjoyed her time touring with Roosevelt and she became hooked on politics. After the United States declared war on Germany in 1917, Isabella’s first official position was to head the Women’s Land Army for the State of New Mexico, where she organized women to do farm work for men who were called to the battlefields. She then was asked to chair the Land Service Committee to increase food production and was selected to the State Labor and Reconstruction Board... more

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