Georgie Digs…Nov. 28

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By Georgie Wood

The Martin Woods’ youngest son, Cliff, was not yet of school age when his ranching family lived at El Capitan just southeast of the Pinal Mountains in Gila County, but he remembered quite a few things from that time.

One was of seeing soldiers on parade in Globe, and if that happened when World War I was declared over in November of 1918, Cliff was not yet four years old! Another memory was of children having been told that if they didn’t behave, Red Whiskers would come and get them.

E.P. Burnett, known as Red Whiskers, was reputed to be a murderer in the El Capitan area. Children in the El Capitan area attended a small school there, and sometimes Cliff’s brother, Fred, who was 10 years older than Cliff, would take Cliff along with him on his horse.

It might have been in 1919 when the local schoolteacher married the cowboy Dave Christy who worked for the Bar F Bar Ranch whose cattle were run on the San Carlos Indian Reservation.

The Apache people from the San Carlos Indian Reservation would come by El Capitan in wagons or by horseback, and one day when Cliff’s dad, Martin Wood, and some of the cowboys were preparing to gather cattle and getting their horses shod, an Apache woman rode her horse over to the barn that was made out of two-by-twelve lumber that was full of knotholes.

After she dismounted and entered the barn, one of the cowboys got curious so he looked through one of the knotholes and saw the woman was having a baby! When she saw the cowboy watching her, she threw a handful of rocks toward the knothole, which caused an injury to the cowboy’s eye, after which he had to be taken to a Globe doctor whose name might have been Whiteman.

Martin Wood had a horse named “Doc” that had been a race trotter, and one day when Martin’s wife, Frankie Belle, was ill, he hitched Doc to a buggy and trotted all the way to Globe to get the doctor and trotted all the way back. Too bad that Martin hadn’t learned to drive a vehicle!

There also was the time that Martin, a very kind man, hired a woman to care for young Cliff when both he and Frankie Belle were not at home, but after getting home from work one day, Martin found that Cliff wasn’t being cared for properly because the woman had been drinking the vanilla extract from Frankie Belle’s kitchen, no doubt for its small amount of alcohol content!

Martin got rid of her really quick! She must have been desperate because prohibition, the national ban on sale, manufacture and transportation of alcohol, didn’t take effect until 1920. I am pretty certain that no alcohol drinks of any kind would have been in Frankie Belle’s home.

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