Del Rio Springs History. Pt. 2 – First Settlers

Within three months of the Fort’s move, a public notice dated August 15, 1864, and published in the September 21st edition of the Miner stated: “Know all men by these presents: That the undersigned have this day taken up and squatted on that tract of land situated at and near the old site of Fort Whipple, consisting of about five hundred acres.” The notice was signed “Postle, Brown & Co. The Miner reported on September 21, 1864: “Messrs Postle, Brown and Co. have taken up for ranching purposes the old site of Ft. Whipple. The ranch consists of about five hundred acres. They are now cutting some two hundred tons of hay, which they expect of offer for sale in Prescott this winter. Next season, they will have under cultivation about two hundred acres of corn, wheat, etc.…” On January 7, 1865 , Andres Montaugus (Montaques), Jose Delgrallo (Delgado), Robert Postle and J.M. Brown recorded their claim to “four quarter sections of land, situated in the County of Yavapai and Territory of Arizona at a point about 25 miles Northerly from the Town of Prescott, and described in the map hereto annexed. Said quarter sections are claimed and owned in the following order to wit : Andres Montaugus, claiming the two subdivisions in Section 1 marked “A.” Jose Degrallo, claiming the three subdivisions in Section 2 marked B, and the subdivision in Section 1 marked B. Robert Postle claiming the 2 subdivisions in Section 2 marked C. J.M. Brown, claiming the 2 subdivisions in Section 2, marked D and the two subdivisions in Section 3 marked D. All as marked on said map. And further that we have improved said land and are now in possession thereof.”
Robert Postle is listed in the census of 1860 at Tucson, age twenty-three, born in England. After the outbreak of the Civil War, he went to Santa Fe to enlist with the Union Army. When he was dismissed on December 31, 1863 he made his way to Chino Valley. It’s believed that Jack Brown was a merchant of Tucson. He and Postle had been school friends in Sussex, England. The Postle home was an adobe structure, Casa Del Rio. In the book Cowchips and Calluses, by Ellen Ginn, it says: “dances were held there. Ladies from the area came in their finery and soldiers from the fort would come in their uniforms. A New Year’s Ball was an annual event that everyone looked forward to. The house with it’s study adobe walls was also a refuge to friends and neighbors when Indians occasionally raided the area.” On November 30, 1866, the Miner further reported on what was now known
simply as Postle’s ranch: “During the past season, Mr. Postle has cultivated about three hundred acres which have produced crops of corn, wheat, barley, potatoes, and a variety of vegetables; all of which have matured finely and fully and are now being sold in our market for satisfactory prices. The result, we are credibly informed, promises a net profit of near twenty thousand dollars and shows what an industrious and energetic man can do in this country by cultivating the soil under true principles.” The article additionally commented: “Among the additions to this valuable ranch is a very fine grist mill of modern construction, run by water. This improvement is a very important one, not only to the enterprising proprietor, but the surrounding community. But there is another addition soon to be made to the establishment of the proprietor, looked upon by certain interested parties as of the utmost importance to the prosperity of the concern.” They were referring to the upcoming marriage of Robert Postle and the daughter of another of our early pioneer families Two other families had made their way to the Val de Chino. One was George Washington Banghart with his wife Mary and their four daughters, along with Mary’s brother, Edward G. Beck. George and Ed homesteaded parcels of land originally claimed by J.P. Osborn on February 10, 1865 marked E on the map and deeded to George Banghart on April 27, 1866. Here the Banghart family owned and operated a stagecoach station for many years. That was later a train station. Another early pioneer family to arrive at Del Rio was David Wesley Shivers, his wife Sarah, and their four daughters. They left Missouri in the late 1850’s for Kansas and then moved on to California. They moved again and eventually arrived in Prescott in 1864. David also recognized the ranching and farming potential of Del Rio and on April 2, 1867, Jose Deldado, quit claimed his tract of land to Shivers. Between the two new families there were now eight young ladies living within the vicinity of Postle’s ranch. It was Hannah, David Shiver’s daughter, whom Robert chose for his wife. The Yavapai County Record of Marriages registers that Hannah Shivers, age fifteen, became the wife of Robert Postle at Prescott on September 10, 1867. Hannah and Robert had three children: Rosinda Ann (who died in infancy), Robert David, and Alice. Their estate continued to flourish but on April 9, 1871, at the age of thirty-four, Robert died leaving eighteen year old Hannah a widow with a three year old son and an infant daughter. Hannah remained on the homestead and lived out the requisite period of time there to prove title to the land in her own name. She was issued a patent from
the United States in 1874. It’s quite probable she is one of the first woman in Yavapai County to receive a land patent. In 1875, a four-year veteran of the Civil War traveled with a group of cavalry enroute to Prescott. His name was Samuel Rees. He met and married Hannah Shivers Postle. Samuel and Hannah remained on the Postle ranch and became the parents of three sons: David, Samuel and Carl, known as Tod. The following year, when her son Robert David Postle was fifteen, he contracted a severe fever and Hannah nursed him through it. Hannah’s health had become weak with the strain and anxiety of Robert’s illness and during his convalescence, she succumbed to the same fever, dying in 1885 at the age of thirty-two. Without Hannah the Postle/Rees ranch ran into debt and as the result of a mortgage foreclosure in 1886, was acquired by John G. Campbell and his partner, James Baker. Campbell and Baker had previously purchased, in 1868, the tract of land originally held by Postle’s partner, J. M. Brown (D). And in 1877, they bought the homestead on which the main source of the Del Rio Springs was located. (A) By this time, the Baker-Campbell ranch was one of the largest spreads in Central Arizona extending from Del Rio northeast to the Verde River, I believe to the Perkins Ranch. Jim Baker and his wife Sarah Ehle Baker lived on the ranch and ran the cattle and horse business of the partnership. Baker was proud of his big stock of horses well known by all stockmen as being bred to imported stallions. John G. Campbell, the financing partner, lived in Prescott. When Jim Baker found the business alarmingly in debt, allegedly due to John’s weakness for gambling, Jim filed a lawsuit against Campbell. He prevailed and after a long court case was awarded a large judgment against Campbell around 1896-1897. He also acquired all of Campbell’s property, water rights and interests at a sale in 1898 which specifically included the Del Rio tract.