Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Sleepy Town of Young ~ Storytelling Sunday


~Originally named "Pleasant Valley, " the name was changed to "Young" in 1830 after Olla Beth Young, the town's first postmaster.~

My husband and I own property in a sleepy little town called Young, Arizona. It's about a 2 1/2 to 3 hour drive from our home, and we go to our campsite regularly as a means to "get away from it all" and just to enjoy being out of the city and having some nature wrapped around us.While the town is fairly laid back {aside from the typical small town gossip and banter these days}, there was once a lot of commotion to be dealt with back in 1882. Yep, there's history in them there hills. The original settlers of this town were cattle and sheep ranchers and I've made the observation on more than one occasion that "Young is a great place to be a cow."It's a treacherous drive on unpaved roads into the town of Young - and that's with a modern four-wheel drive vehicle! I can't imagine what it must have been like to travel to Young in 1870, steering a herd of cattle or sheep all the way there with no proper roads in place. But, I also like to imagine what it was like for the first settlers of Young, Arizona once they arrived at the top of that mountain pass and looked out over the valley. I imagine quite a celebration took place when they realized their efforts had paid off, and that their cattle or sheep would have plenty of grassland to graze on. As I sit here in the year 2011, it's difficult to believe that grazing rights and property lines could cause such a ruckus that folks would lose their lives, but that's the way it was back in 1882. In case you don't know {and I didn't until I read up on the history of Young}, cows {cattle} graze just a little on some grass and move along. Sheep, on the other hand, eat all of the grass on the hill, leaving nothing behind for any other animal to graze on. Apparently, this was good enough reason for the cattle people in Young to hate the sheep people.Now, when you turn off the "main road" that runs through Young and onto an unpaved road that leads to our property, there's a grave on the side of the road. The National Forest Service sign to the right of it reads: "Grave of Navajo Herder - First Victim - Pleasant Valley War - February 1887." He had worked for the sheep family and was murdered by a member of the cattle family, thus beginning the "Pleasant Valley War of 1882." We've driven past this grave marker countless times in the years that Doug and I have been together, and I've said on more than one occasion that we should stop so I could take a picture. Last weekend I did just that.This is a normal scene for Doug and I: Doug is driving and I say, "Ooooh! I want to take a picture of that!!!" He pulls the truck over to the side of the road, I get out and snap a few photos while he waits patiently in the truck, engine still running. But this time, when he pulled over so I could take pictures of the grave I was hesitant. I said, "Hm...this is a little bit creepy...hiking down to be near that grave... Will you come with me?" {Poor Doug. He gets roped into some of the silliest things for me.} We headed down the little hill and I started taking pictures. I noticed that Doug had made his way over to the right of the ravine, poking around and looking for cool rocks and signs of animal tracks. Yikes! I called out, "Doug!?!? Come over here with me...I'm kinda' scared..."As he sauntered over my way he said the unthinkable, "You know, there's not really anyone buried there."

Screech!!! I turned on my heels and said, "Whhhhat?!?!"


Doug chuckled a bit, and said, "Yeah...apparently the town of Young just has this as a marker to commemorate the history of the war, and it's a landmark that has been moved three times now.":o\ I felt a bit silly then, having felt the least bit uncomfortable about the grave that I had imagined being very shallow with rocks piled up in a mound to cover some poor soul's body out in the middle of nowhere - far from his family who would be unable to visit his grave site due to treacherous mountain passes.Funny how things are sometimes just not what they seem to be. Like me and my vivid imagination over that grave site. And perhaps like the cattle ranchers and sheep herders in Young, Arizona back in 1882, squabbling over grazing rights and property lines. Surely there was enough grass land to go around for every cow and sheep...

People are funny.

Aren't we?


* * * * * * * * * * *
This post is part of Sian's Storytelling Sunday and I'm so happy to be able to participate this month! You can head over to Sian's blog for her story, as well as links to other blogs joining in this month too! xo

24 comments:

S said...

What a great little adventure story - isn't it good to have hubby along!

Jimjams said...

I think I'd have been the same - I had to laugh though at "The Pleasant Valley War" how inappropriate!

furrypig said...

just the sort of story I like, history, photos, a bit scary and personal all in one tale! How great for you and hubby being able to get away rom it all hope u r enjoying it there xxx

Carrie Rosalind said...

This was a great post about Young! I love the story about the grave, and I'm happy to know there's no one buried there too. :)

Maria Ontiveros said...

Great story telling! The interaction between you and Doug rings so true!
Rinda

scrappyjacky said...

A great story,Deb.....and I'd have found it a bit spooky as well.

Mary B said...

I think the name Pleasant Valley is/was so nice shame they changed it to young. I love the bit where your hubby says that there is no body buried there.

Clair said...

As always,I'm completely in awe of the places you get to visit but I do love 'seeing them' through your eyes.

Sian said...

I'm so glad that you were able to join in this month too Deb and with such a great tale - I completely agree that it has everything to make a wonderful story!

Thank you Deb. I have spent today with my mum, and I've been thinking of yours x

Alison said...

Great story...I love American history and always think about pioneers when we spend any time driving in your country-I came to the conclusion that I wouldn't have got very far!!
Alison xx

Becky said...

What a lovely story - glad that Doug was there for moral support for you!

Miriam said...

Great story, Although I prefer Pleasant Valley to Young I am not so sure about the Pleasant Valley War!!! tfs x

Amy said...

Deb, it is perfectly plausible to think it was a genuine grave - I probably would have too!

I can just see you and Doug stopping and sarting for photos, Young looks a like a beautiful area for your property, very relaxing, has there been a lot of rain there recently or is it always that lush?

Cheri said...

great story Deb! I 'm sure I'd have been taken in with the grave too.

Cathy (Katy) said...

Hi Deb, just popped over from BFS to say hi and how much I like your blog. Great story and what a beautiful piece of nature for you both to enjoy from time to time.

Mom said...

Love the history of old towns, ie: Columbia, CA. I love the cemetery there but don't think I'd like coming upon a "grave" in the middle of nowhere. Although, maybe the best grave is an empty grave! Loved all the pics from your trip--wish I'd been tagging along like we did a few years ago! Love and miss you, Sweetie! xo

Rhona said...

That's a great story though I did have to laugh at Doug telling you the grave had been moved three times ;o). Are the photos of the views taken from your property? They are stunning! xx

Denise said...

Well, I'd have been the same! - what a lovely story.Your property looks and sounds amazing.I really enjoyed reading your tale today xx

Gail said...

What a great story. What a lovely looking place. Found it kind of funny Pleasant Valley & war, not exactly 2 things you'd think would go together. Glad to hear that it's not a real grave.

favouriteworkofart said...

Love your story! Here's hoping you do a theme night :)

Beverly said...

Cute story, I as laughing as I pictured you being nervous and having your brave knight with you :)

Stephanie @ La Dolce Vita said...

Great story deb! And the hubs is SUPPOSED to be the big brave strong guy for you! (I'd have thought it was a grave too!)

humel said...

Oh, I love this story, Deb :-) I would have felt just the same if that's any consolation! xx

Rachel B said...

Hehe, I would have been exactly the same Deb! Great story :)

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