Saturday, August 31, 2013

Lieutenant Walter G. Scott-McCord's Regiment

Today I am revisiting/updating one of my very first posts.  What a wonderful, fulfilling ADVENTURE this has been!!  Recall (or look back through the posts to the "Forgotten Regiment") that I had found a commemorative poster in the Museum for a Company of Soldiers who served in the Spanish-American War.

I was immediately curious as to why it would be in our little museum.  I was dismayed at the awful state of deterioration, and thus took photos in a preservation effort.  But I also had to to find out more.  What was this all about (and why in the heck didn't I listen in my History classes growing up!?!)

As I began researching the first thing I discovered is mentioned in my first post - and that is about Governor Myron McCord who resigned as Territorial Governor of Arizona to lead an all volunteer regiment in the war.

Governor Myron McCord of Arizona Territory
This is a whole story in itself!  But the goal of this particular "research adventure" was to find out what this Company had to do with St. Johns, and/or what it might have done in St. Johns/Apache County.  As I was perusing historical Arizona newspapers to find information on McCord and his regiment - I hit the jackpot when I came across the following little snippet of news in the Arizona Weekly Journal-Miner of 1898:

6 July 1898-AZ Weekly Journal-Miner

And there was the connection!  "Second company--C.E.Donaldson, of Prescott, captain;  F. C. Hochderfer, of Flagstaff, and Walter G. Scott, of St. Johns, lieutenants."

I could hardly contain my excitement at this discovery!  My research veered off in this new direction - who the heck is Walter G. Scott - not one of the 'usual' historical names I'd heard or become familiar with in connection to St. Johns/Apache County?!

I'd probably not heard of him because he did not stay permanently in St. Johns, and has no descendants here.  So through the mists of time his name has become somewhat lost.  He was only in St. Johns a short 10-year period from 1889 - 1899 - but MY how involved he was, and what a contributor to local history, and the early days of St. Johns.
Walter G. Scott marriage info from Ancestry Library Edition

To my dismay I have not yet been able to find a photo of him (but will not give up on THAT!)  My blog posts will show my love of photographs and visual representations.  But I have found out so much about him.  I share some of it here:

Prior to coming to St. Johns he lived in the Prescott, Arizona area where he worked for the "Arizona Weekly Journal-Miner" newspaper.  He married his bride Mary C. McClellan there in 1888.

Sometime in 1889 they moved to St. Johns.  Where they opened (and Mrs. Scott ran for 7 years 1889-1896)  a little hotel named "Scott House" - what most people probably DON'T know - is that the "Barth Hotel" in St. Johns - was FIRST the "Scott House!!  (Although the building was always owned by Solomon Barth)
11 Jan 1896 - St. Johns Herald News

Prior to being the Barth Hotel (as in this photo) it was the Scott House

4 July 1896-St. Johns Herald

Just some of the roles I have found that Walter Scott played in Apache County are:
  • Notary Public
  • Immigration Commissioner
  • Court Commissioner
  • Newspaper Editor for a time of the St. Johns Herald
  • Captain of a National Guard Unit in St. Johns
  • Attorney
  • District Attorney


28 July 1892-The St. Johns Herald
He was friends with Isaac Barth and there was a group of local men who sure enjoyed their fishing trips to the Black River!  Found several snippets about fishing trips to Black River.


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Genaro Acosta-St. Johns Pioneer & Builder

When I first started my inventory of the files in the archives at the Museum - one of the first things I came across was an excerpt/photocopy from the book "A History of Arizona's Counties & Courthouses" - John J. Dreyfuss, Editor.  The pages about Apache County's courthouse has been copied, but in the same file someone had inserted this handwritten paper:

As I read it - my interest was immediately aroused - who was this "Genaro Acosta" - I don't recall ever hearing the name?  And then I filed that little tidbit of information away in my mind.

But as I continued my researching in early St. Johns/Apache County newspapers I kept coming across an "ad" - or as they were called at that time "professional cards" for Genaro:
St. Johns Herald & Apache News - 30 Apr 1914

And naturally my interest in this gentleman grew!  I HAD to know more!

So I spent some time online - looking at early St. Johns newspapers, and exploring Ancestry Library Edition to try and find out more about him.  And I'm so glad I did!   On Ancestry I was able to find a photo of him!  Always so happy to find a photo because the person becomes that much more 'real'!  (And he's SO handsome!!)

Genaro Acosta

I also found the following information on Ancestry:

"Genaro Acosta also built St. Peter's R. C. Church in Springerville and in Concho, AZ; the R. C. Church and courthouse in McNary, AZ; and the St. Francis [Roman Catholic] Church at the Whiteriver Mission on the Fort Apache Reservation in Arizona."

White River Mission - Genaro Acosta Contractor-1922

Another exciting little tidbit I came across - IF I am interpreting it correctly - led me to discover that I possibly lived for 22 years in a house built by Genaro!!
St. Johns Herald & Apache News - 8 Feb 1917

As I researched him I also learned a little about his father - Lazaro Acosta.  Lazaro was a very educated and talented man.  He worked as the Editor for the Spanish Section of the St. Johns Herald and Apache News for some time:
St. Johns Herald & Apache News-13 Dec 1906

 Another little snippet about Lazaro: 
St. Johns Herald & Apache News - 19 May 1910

And I read somewhere (can't find the reference at the moment) that Lazaro also wrote a biography of Father Pedro Maria Badilla - another early Apache County Pioneer:
Father Pedro Maria Badilla

Genaro and his family eventually settled in Holbrook, Arizona and that is where he & his wife are buried.
Genaro & Faustina Acosta Headstone - from

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Spanish Influenza Epidemic of 1918-1919

Spring 1918-Spring 1919: Three waves of highly virulent and fatal influenza sweep the country. The fall-winter wave is the deadliest for the US. The pandemic kills millions and devastates entire communities. 



Influenza hit Arizona in late September. The disease probably reached Phoenix first, spreading outward to the rest of the state during the end of September. By October 11th, Flagstaff, Winslow and Holbrook were reporting epidemics. As influenza spread, public health officials were quickly overwhelmed. The epidemic peaked in the state during the first week of November; that week, the state reported deaths from influenza which were four times the state’s annual average.

City officials and residents reacted to the spread of the disease with alarm. Many Arizonans insisted that the disease was spread by dogs. In Phoenix, as police and city residents killed dogs in an attempt to prevent the spread of influenza, the local paper reported that “Phoenix will soon be dogless.” Schools, theaters and other public areas were also closed for three months.

In both Tucson and Phoenix, police arrested residents who ventured out in public without a gauze mask. Officials believed that masks prevented the spread of the disease and had required people to wear these to prevent the spread of the disease. When they passed these requirements, city officials and scientific experts were unaware of the fact that influenza is spread by a virus which is small enough to pass through a gauze mask.

The disease struck the Navajos especially hard. Joseph Schmedding, a trader, who entered a Navajo reservation a few weeks after the epidemic had erupted said that he found 30 Indians, young and old, lying dead in abandoned hogans. In Tuba City, the school was converted into a hospital and the wife of a Navajo trader wrote “for miles around every good winter hogan was deserted [because people feared the infection]. The living moved out into the rain and found what shelter they could in temporary camps.”

The economy also suffered. By late October, reports indicated that mining productivity for the state was off as a result of the pandemic.

After peaking in early November, the disease slowly waned during the late fall and early winter. By the late spring, it had begun to disappear from the state.

From:  United States Department of Health & Human Services


27 March 1919 - St. Johns Herald

 Apache County News Related to the Flu



Expense List for the Spanish Flu - St. Johns - 1919

 I found this original sheet of paper in the Archives of the Museum today.  It is what got me thinking about Apache County and the Spanish Flu.  Edition after edition of the St. Johns Herald & Apache News during this time period list deaths in the area from the Influenza.  I'm sure this was during the period when St. Johns was worst hit.

The aforementioned Dr. Bouldin is not on this list - but it is dated February of 1919 and the doc didn't return from France until June of 1919.  He is mentioned in articles related to the flu after that time.

4 March 1920 - St. Johns Herald

Thursday, August 1, 2013

More on Doctor Bouldin

Just wanted to add a few more items of interest that I found on Dr. Bouldin.  This is an excerpt from the "Transactions of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama":

In this same book it looks as if he attended the Physicians & Surgeons school in Atlanta, Georgia.

During WWI he joined the Medical Corps and I found articles in the historic St. Johns newspapers both of his leaving & his return:
21 March 1918

5 June 1919

Today (August 3, 2013) at the museum I found another treasure - a photo of Doctor Bouldin's wife Ora!!  Beautiful lady!

Ora Bouldin