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friends out and show them there’s more to the food supply than going to the grocery store.” He adds, “Our daughter and her husband are very active in the ranch’s operation, but as we all know it’s hard to make a living at it. You’ve gotta do something else.” Still, the Armer family’s “cow habit” is in their genes. Wally is a member of the fourth generation of this Arizona ranching family. It all began with the arrival, in the mid1800s, of young Henry Armer from Ireland. This teenager worked as a mule skinner on the Erie Canal for awhile before he “went west,” working in California, Oregon and Washington. He married Lucinda Hibbard, whose family had come from Wisconsin, in 1861. Like most other pioneer families, they worked — hard — all their lives. Henry worked as a freight hauler for the railroad builders in California. While he freighted, Lucinda cooked for the crew. The family moved to Arizona in 1876. Their seventh child, Preston LeRoy (Press) was born in the Tonto Basin in 1878. He was presumed to be the first white child born in the area. Lucinda was assisted in his birth by an Indian woman, Dominga,

the wife of famous Indian scout Archie McIntosh. In 1879, the family established their Jackshoe Ranch on the Salt River, about five miles above where Roosevelt Dam now stands. It became known as Armer Gulch. In 1884 Armer Gulch got a post office, and Lucinda served as post mistress until the place no longer existed. The government purchased land that would be underwater after the dam’s construction, including Armer Gulch. Wally’s grandfather, John, married Margaret Griffin in 1908. Wally’s father, Walt, was born in Globe in 1916. The patriach who started it all, Henry Armer, passed away in 1909 at age 85. Walt played football at the University of Arizona in addition to his academic pursuits, graduating in 1940. Virginia Little of Glendale, Arizona, where her father was postmaster, also attended UofA. She was working for the Arizona Livestock Sanitory Board when she and Walt were introduced. In January of 1941 Walt was called into active service for what he called his “ROTC, one-year active duty stint” which began at Fort Riley in the horse cavalry continued on page 68


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NMS July 2009 Directory  

Directory of Southwestern Agriculture

NMS July 2009 Directory  

Directory of Southwestern Agriculture