Edwin Clement Payne Junior
By Morris Fey Payne and Doris Lula Payne Forsman
A Loving Father Edwin enjoyed hiking and climbing in the rocks at
the Granite Dells. He talked a lot about horses, so it
Edwin Clement Payne Junior, or Ed Jr. as he was called
is assumed that he liked to ride and care for them. He
by his brothers and some friends, was born in the Arizona
spent a lot of time helping with the harvest of fruit and
Territory August 13, 1886 to E.C. Payne and Marcia
vegetables. He helped bring the produce to market in
Prescott by wagon pulled by a horse named Dan. He
Part of the time, Edwin lived at the ranch house at spent a lot of time with his Wing cousins and his uncle
Granite Dells; but most of the time, he lived at the old George Wing.
Wing home at 300 S. Cortez. A story was told about He did not talk much about his brothers as youngsters,
Edwin when he was very young. He decided to walk to although he was very fond of his sister, Mary Ruth. He
Granite Mountain, which was more than 20 miles away. did seem to enjoy all their company as an adult.
Fortunately he was rescued before he hiked very far. He did not like parsnips, and this dislike carried over
Edwin was bitten on the little toe by a rattlesnake into his adult years. He did like chicken and chicken
when he was about age eight. He had been running dishes, and he loved chocolate.
barefoot through a rhubarb patch when he was bitten. We don’t know when he began to take pictures but we
He was taken to see a doctor in town via a horse drawn have some glass plates that he had taken and developed
cart. There, they made him drink whiskey for medicinal “in the field.” He had a photo of 300 S. Cortez. He was
purposes. His leg became very swollen and purple/red in interested in photographing bridges, locomotives and
color, and he was very sick for a long time. train wrecks.
61 Branches • Chapter 1 • Edwin Clement Payne Jr.
Edwin went to school in Prescott, Arizona but did In Montana he worked for the Anaconda Copper
not continue with school after he graduated from the Company in its round house and machine shop. It was
eighth grade. He would have been 13 years old when he while he was working there that he met Lula Hazel Fey.
graduated, probably about 1899 or 1900. The depression They met at the “Christian Church.” He attended the
of that period may have contributed to the decision not services there, and some other gatherings and socials.
to go to high school. Lula Hazel Fey was working for a dentist in Andaconda,
He worked as a Western Union Messenger, but we living with her sister, Lillie, and her husband Dr. Clifton
don’t know when or for how long. He also worked at a Albright.
bank as a clerk, but did not care for banking.
Edwin Clement Payne Jr. and Lula Hazel Fey were
He served as an apprentice machinist from 1904 married September 3, 1916 in Anaconda, Montana. On
to 1908 at the Santa Fe, Prescott & Phoenix Railway their honeymoon, they went to Yellowstone Park, and
Company machine shop. He became a journeyman some of their relatives went with them. (This is really
machinist. His Clearance Card states that he resigned
quite comical. How would you like your relatives to go
from the Prescott railroad machine shop in 1908, in good
on your honeymoon with you?) When they returned
standing when he was 22 years old.
home, Lula’s father built a house for them on the back of
He became a guard at the state prison in Florence, the lot where he lived.
Arizona. He told a story about a man-hunt while he was
A son, Morris Fey Payne, was born July 29, 1917.
working there. A prisoner escaped and he was one of the
guards who went to search for him. He did not really like The three returned to Arizona when Morris Fey was
being a prison guard, so he quit. about two years old and they lived in Prescott. Edwin
drove a taxi for awhile, and then went to work at the
He was “drawn to far places,” and in the Spring of
Santa Fe Railroad machine shop. Edwin and his family
1911, he began a trip that would eventually take him
moved to the Verde Valley to work as a machinist for
thousands of miles. He traveled by rail most of the time.
United Verde Company at Clemenceau. Later he
As he traveled, he worked in many railroad machine
shops, and he usually stayed in a ‘Harvey House.’ became a machinist in the “Round House” and railroad
Among the railroad machine shops that he worked for machine shop in Clarkdale while working for the Phelps
was in Mexico, probably Mexico City. He was hired Dodge Corporation.
to help assemble a locomotive that the railway had A daughter, Marcia Mary Payne, was born in Prescott,
purchased from a United States company. He was there Arizona, on August 24, 1919.
when the Mexican Revolution took place. He and his
Birth certificate records indicate that twin daughters
fellow machinists had to hide behind thick, steel plates in
Dora Paulina Payne and Doris Lula Payne were born on
the machine shop to avoid the bullets.
May 24, 1927 at Clemenceau, Arizona. But actually,
He traveled on most of the railroad lines: Santa Fe,
they were born at home in Smelter City. This area is a
Southern Pacific, and Great Northern, just to name a
part of present day town of Cottonwood.
few. He traveled across the Southern United States and
up the Eastern States. While there, he visited his Cape Lula was very ill for more than three years while the
Cod relatives. Then he journeyed across the Northern family lived in Clemenceau. So Edwin, Morris Fey, and
States and into British Columbia. Then he went south to Marcia Mary held the family together by doing all of the
I Must Go There Someday 62
The family lived in the Verde Valley until early 1940
when Edwin was hired by the Bremerton Naval Yards in
the Puget Sound near Seattle, Washington. He worked
in the machine shop, running lathes, planers, and milling
machines that were large enough to handle large pieces
needed to repair battleships, cruisers, destroyers, and
The depression affected Edwin’s outlook on credit.
He had to use credit at the grocery store during these lean
years and that was why in later years he desired to always
pay cash for what ever he purchased. In spite of the low
income, the family always had enough to eat, and a roof to
sleep under. Both parents were warm and loving.
Edwin was a quiet man, friendly, jovial, and concerned
about his family and their welfare. He loved telling funny
stories. The family enjoyed taking walks with him and
listening to him read. One of the family favorites was
from The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling. He enjoyed
reading newspapers, the National Geographic, other news Edwin C. Payne and Lula Fey Payne.
magazines, the Machinist Journal, and of course, the Bible.
He retired from the Bremerton Navy Yard after World
He enjoyed corresponding to a number of his friends. He
War II. Edwin and Lula traveled to Arizona, stayed
wrote faithfully to ‘Gussie’ Paine on Cape Cod and to
for a while and then returned to Seattle. He worked at
Dora Sessions Lee. Of course he wrote to the Payne family
several machine shops. The last shop was in Auburn,
Washington, at the Northern Pacific Railroad.
On Sunday afternoons he took the family on rides
around the country: Sometimes we went to visit friends, After he finally retired, he volunteered at his church as
and sometimes we went on rides just to look. a “handy” man repairing things and working with a group
of other men. He traveled with Lula until they finally
Edwin enjoyed playing the harmonica. He played
settled down in Stayton, Oregon, where Dora and her
by ear, and he did it very well. The family loved to
husband, Bill Mitchell, lived.
hear him play. He played mostly hymns. He enjoyed
going to church. He probably attended many church After Lula had a stroke, she was put in a nursing home
and community socials as a young adult, but as he grew in Salem, Oregon. Edwin continued to live in Stayton,
older, he was simply content to go to church or church but went to see her every day. Lula died at the nursing
gatherings. home on January 26, 1973. Edwin continued to live
Of course, while the family was still living in the Verde in Stayton until about 1980 when he moved to Seattle,
Valley everyone enjoyed going to the picnics up at the Washington, and stayed with Doris and Bert Forsman.
Potato Patch on Mingus Mountain. The family especially He died at the Foss Nursing Home on May 21, 1983.
enjoyed traveling to see beloved aunts, uncles, and cousins Cause of death? Old age. He was almost 97 years. He
from Prescott. had been in a good health most of his life. He suffered
63 Branches • Chapter 1 • Edwin Clement Payne Jr.
with some small strokes, bladder troubles, and a little
arthritis, vision loss: you know - “old stuff.” He still
recognized his family even at 96 years of age. He had
some memory loss about past events. He fell once and
suffered a fractured hip bone. That slowed him down
quite a bit.
Our family wants everyone to remember Edwin
Clement Payne Jr. as a kindly man -- full of courage. He
loved the Lord and desired to serve Him.
Marcia Mary Payne (Fitch), husband Harold Fitch, and son
Rickie, age 8, at home in Seattle, 1962.
Pauline Payne Ranson and her parents, Morris Fey Cousins “Sherm” and “Morrie” trade stories:
Payne and Bonnie Wolfe Payne. Sherman Rodgers Payne and Morris Fey Payne,
Sharon Grace Payne (Barber), Dora Paulina (Payne) Mitchell Morris Fey and Bonnie Payne
November, 1966. celebrate their wedding anniversary.
I Must Go There Someday 64
Article and advertisement
reproduced from the Stayton
Mail (Oregon), newspaper
September 15, 1966.
65 Branches • Chapter 1 • Edwin Clement Payne Jr.
The Edwin C. Payne Jr. Family, circa 1950: Standing, Morris Fey Payne, Family gathering, circa 1951, includes from left: Doris Lula Payne
Marcia Mary Payne Fitch; seated, Doris Lula Payne Forsman, Edwin C. Forsman, Sharon Payne (age 2), Morris Fey Payne (holding daughter),
Payne Jr., Lula Fey Payne, Dora Paulina Payne Mitchell. Bonnie Wolfe Payne (wife of Morris Fey), Edwin C. Payne Jr., Dora
Paulina Payne Mitchell, Lula Fey Payne.
Edwin C. Payne Jr. and Lula Fey Payne, in a photo taken on Mother’s
Day, May 13, 1945
Lula Fey Payne and Edwin C. Payne Jr. at their home, circa 1950. Cousins Marvin E. Todd and Morris Fey Payne enjoy a good laugh,
I Must Go There Someday 66
Morris Wing Payne
By Sherman Rodgers Payne and Janet Louise Payne McCarroll
The Second Son, by Sherman Rodgers Payne was named Mary Ruth Payne. The wisdom of having a
On February 2, 1889, a second son was born to E.C. four-bedroom home was apparent.
Payne and Marcia Anna Wing. They named him Morris There is no documentation that Morris graduated from
Wing Payne. At the time of Morris’ arrival, the oldest high school, although insight indicates that he probably
son, Ed Jr., was three years old. We can only guess that did. Both of his younger brothers were active in high
the arrival of a rival sibling had much the same effect in school. His penmanship was very good and his command
1889 as it does today. of the English language was above average for his time.
Except for photographs, there is little record of what One thing is certain, Morris and all the boys spent
went on in the family home in the early years. One as much time at Granite Dells as they possibly could.
assumption can be made with a high degree of certainty: Morris always spoke fondly of his Grandpa Thomas
when the children were old enough, they went to Sunday Wing and Uncle Jimmy Wing. At the Granite Dells, the
School. Both father and mother had firm roots in the Payne boys learned a lot of things that city boys did not.
First Congregational Church. They learned to fish, hunt, and trap. They also learned
When Morris was one-year old, a third son arrived at how to grow vegetables, fruit and alfalfa. They learned
the Payne home. The son was named Stanley Thomas to care for livestock and poultry, and of course, how to
Payne. Two years later, in 1892, a fourth son was born climb rocks and trees. In addition they learned about
and named Howell Sherman Payne. Finally, in 1899, farm machinery, all kinds of tools, and about pumps and
when Morris was 10 years old, a baby girl was born. She engines.
67 Branches • Chapter 2 • Morris Wing Payne
either editor or on the staff of The Tattler and his writing
style shows through clearly. Writing interesting letters
and documents was a skill shared by both Morris and
During this same period, photographs and passes
showed that Morris was employed as a clerk in the
Prescott office of the Santa Fe Railroad. It was also
during this period that he became the first Scout Master
in Yavapai County for the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).
His Troop was Troop 1, headquartered at the First
Congregational Church. The close association with the
Crescent Bible Class, the Boy Scouts of America, and his
employment with the railroad ended abruptly with the
advent of World War I.
Some of the following is conjecture on the part of
the author. At the time of WWI, what we now refer
to as The Draft was properly known as Conscription.
Morris Wing Payne in his World War I uniform, 1917.
Somewhere in the author’s memory is the notation that a
As was common then, boys often had nicknames. man with multiple sons was allowed to keep the oldest at
We don’t know about Ed Jr., but the other three all had
nicknames. As a result of one of his mother’s comments
about his antics, Morris was known as “Goat.” Since
Stanley played varsity football, he was called “Tuffy.”
Howell was referred to as “Heavy.”
It is probable that Ed Jr. temporarily left the nest
around 1904 when he was 18 years old. That would
have left Morris as the oldest son at home and, no doubt,
accounts for the fact that the majority of family photos
after that time do not include Ed Jr.
The next documentation of Morris’ activities show up
in the files of the Crescent Bible Class, the young adult
group of the First Congregational Church of Prescott.
The Crescent Bible Class had an annual publication called
The Tattler. In the first issue in 1910, Morris Payne was
the editor. The files also show that at one time, all four
of the Payne boys were members. They also show that
Belle Rodgers was a member. The mentor of the class
was Moses B. Hazeltine. From 1910 to 1916 Morris was Morris Wing Payne – “the executive” – circa 1920.
I Must Go There Someday 68
home. This was done to assure that farms (the American
breadbasket) were not totally stripped of a workforce.
Another assumption is that jobs vital to the American war
effort were exempt. Whatever the reason, Ed Jr. came
home from Montana during WWI to manage Granite
Dells, while Morris, Stanley and Howell were conscripted
and served in the U.S. Army in France.
It is interesting to note that the man who signed
Morris’ conscription was a local official by the name of
E.C. Payne. It was doubtful that any eligible son of E.C.
Payne was going to avoid doing his duty for his country.
Morris started work for the Santa Fe, Prescott and
Phoenix Railway Company around 1910. In a letter from
his grandmother, Deborah Sherman Paine, dated August
11, 1911, she asks him to tell about his railroad work.
We also have railway passes made out in his name. June 14, 1922: Wedding day for Morris Wing Payne and Belle Rodgers
(left to right), shown with their attendants, friend Emma Reibling and
There are several references in the Crescent Bible Class
broher Howell Sherman Payne Sr.
publication about him going to Phoenix to see his very
He also liked kids and a 1985 story in the Prescott
good friend, Claude Yount, nephew of Dr. Clarence
Courier reports: “The history of Boy Scouts of America,
Yount. There was also reference to the fact that there
Troop 1 begins in 1916 when a young man by the
were certain girls in Phoenix that he might be visiting.
name of Morris Wing Payne wrote to the Boy Scouts of
As a young man in his early twenties, who had a good
America National Headquarters and procured a charter
job as stores clerk with the Santa Fe Railroad, he was
to start a Boy Scout troop in Prescott.” Except for his
undoubtedly classified as an eligible bachelor and it would stint in the Army, Morris continued as Scoutmaster until
seem that he thoroughly enjoyed his status. 1922, when he retired to devote full time to running the
Granite Dells Resort. Dr. Taylor Hicks, dentist, civic
leader, and one-time Mayor of Prescott, reported that
“Morris taught every one of his Scouts to drive the 1917
Model T truck.” The truck was an important factor in
the development of Granite Dells.
During the war, Ed Jr. moved back to Arizona to
keep the Granite Dells operating, but when the younger
three brothers returned from the war, Ed Jr. wanted
to strike out on his own and that’s exactly what he did.
Stanley returned from the war to a wife who needed a
steady income. So he went to the University of Arizona,
Howell S. Payne Sr., Morris W. Payne, Belle Rodgers (Payne) and Emma obtained a degree in horticulture and went to work for
Reibling celebrate memories at the 25th wedding anniversary. the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This left Morris
69 Branches • Chapter 2 • Morris Wing Payne
and Howell as the operators of the Granite Dells. They faculty and is of the best. A bathhouse containing 75
formed a corporation: Granite Dells Outing Association dressing rooms has been completed by H. H. Keyes and
and they took turns being the President and the Vice- includes modern bathing conveniences.”
President every other year. Twenty dressing rooms were assigned to women
There is very little record of activity from the end of and the rest to men. This pretty well represents the
WWI until 1922, when Morris married Belle Rodgers breakdown of men-women swimmers of the day. From
and they set up housekeeping in the barracks-type the early ‘30s, this was a totally inadequate allocation for
building that had been hastily constructed when the the women.
major resort buildings burned in 1905. Belle kept a daily
diary from the time she started teaching until her death.
It is her diaries that enable us to track the life of Morris Belle reports that July 1 was opening day and there
Payne through the later years. was a big crowd. Tragedy stuck in the opening month
when, on July 13th, a man drowned in the lake. Morris
Morris married Emily Belle Rodgers on June 14, 1922,
reported that the man was drunk, swimming behind the
and the couple honeymooned at Soda Springs. Their
island, and was not observed.
honeymoon was shortened by the fact that Morris needed
to be back at the Granite Dells. The Prescott Journal September was not a good month. Morris was taking
Miner of Sunday, June 18, 1922 announced that the new a team of mules and the wagon to town when the mules
Granite Dells Resort was expected to open about July 1. spooked and threw him from the wagon. He sprained
his shoulder and his knee. His knee was in a splint for 16
Morris would need to be on the job with Howell as they
days and troubled him for the rest of his life.
launched the “new” Granite Dells.
On September 16 they drained the lake for the winter.
I was told in later years that Belle was not thought to
This was the last time they drained it for the winter. They
be capable of bearing children. However, she announced
discovered that water seeped under the concrete bottom
in her diary that “motherhood is a possibility,” and on
and latter froze, causing small eruptions and cracks. They
September 11, 1924, a son was born in the old Mercy
kept water in it all winter from then on.
Hospital on Grove Street. They named him Sherman
From this point forward, the personal histories of
Rodgers Payne. The attending physician was Dr. C. E.
Morris and Howell, and the corporate history of Granite
Yount. The fact that no more children arrived pretty much
Dells are closely intertwined. The first indication of
affirms that she could not bear any more. I am sure that
corporate history appears in the Prescott Courier quoted
Morris and Belle would have loved to have more children.
above in which Herndon Norris is listed as the attorney
The Prescott Courier announced that the new dance for the Payne Brothers.
hall at the Granite Dells would be “under the supervision The resort was an early day success. The swimming
of the Tully Sisters Orchestra.” Other attractions, lake was the only defined and dedicated swimming
according to Herndon J. Norris, attorney for the Payne facility in Yavapai County, and the dance pavilion was
brothers, include the swimming pool, which had been large enough to accommodate any crowds Prescott could
walled and provided with concrete flooring. Work of produce. The limiting factor was the weather. Cool
completing a well and pipeline to furnish water for the nights and flying cotton from the many cottonwood trees
pool is under way. “This water,” Norris said, “has been made opening day prior to June First an impracticality.
tested by members of the University of Arizona scientific When school opened in September, the lake was basically
I Must Go There Someday 70
deserted. Dances could start in late April and run until town to be with his family and traveled back and forth to
early October. However, the hall was unheated, so cool the Granite Dells as necessary.
nights were a deterrent to this activity early and late in the
Everything was reasonably normal until February 17,
A curt entry in Belle’s diary on Thanksgiving, when Grandmother Rodgers suffered another stroke. It is
November 30, simply said, “Ground white, bad roads.”
not known how long she was in the hospital, but on April
Dirt roads were customarily bad roads in the winter time. 17, everybody moved to the Granite Dells.
1923 On the 28th of April, Belle reported, “Lovely day,
On February 8, Morris and Howell discovered a everything a mess.”
skeleton of an Indian child while working on the road. October 17, was a good day because Morris brought a
This find was reported in the newspaper. The skeleton
deer home from a hunt and that meant meat for the table.
was eventually given to the scientists of the National On October 21, Morris went to work for the Bashford
Geographic magazine. (See page 133 for full story.) Burmister Company. This would be an on-going winter
In summer, Morris and Howell contracted with a time practice as long as the company lasted. B&B Co.
President Jimmy Whetstine liked Morris, and was always
construction company in Prescott to drain the swimming
good to him.
lake, clean out the mud and pour a layer of concrete.
They also put in a drain system so the lake could be 1926
drained and cleaned. The highlight of the month came on July 10, when
Morris drove home a brand new Dodge truck. September
brought the first mention of Karl and Lillian Heinrich in
January started with bad news for the family. On
January 4, Grandmother Harriet Rodgers suffered a
stroke and was not home from the hospital until January 1927
23. Belle moved back to town to care for her mother, and January
didn’t move back to the Granite Dells until April 14. brought big
The first Bathing Beauty Show was held at the Dells on rains to the
June 15 and was acclaimed a gorgeous success. area. Lake
Belle went to the Mercy Hospital for the big event
on the morning of September 11. She did not go home
and both the
for 15 days. It is not known whether it was simply the
custom of the day, or if mother or son needed extra care.
On September 29, Dr. Yount said the baby was not
gaining and changed the boy to cow’s milk on October
were living in
On October 30, Sherm was taken to see the Granite a tent on the
Dells for the first time. When Belle left the hospital, picnic grounds
she took Sherm home to her mother’s house on North and Morris was Sherman Rodgers Payne, age three (1927).
Pleasant Street. On December 15, Morris moved to
71 Branches • Chapter 2 • Morris Wing Payne
able to rescue them in his new Dodge truck. The bridge and filled the lake with mud. They tried to clean it but
went out, so it was later in the month before it was fixed had to give up and drain it again on July 29.
and Heinrichs could get back to their tent. In late July, Belle reported going to an “aluminum”
First mention of Tom Holcomb also came in late party at the Bianconi ranch. This was part of a national
January. campaign to introduce aluminum cookware to American
In June, Mary Ruth, Grandmother Payne, housewives, who, for the most part, were very skeptical of
Grandmother Rodgers, and Belle went to Clarkdale to see the new product.
the twins, Doris and Dora Payne. The 7th of August saw the installation of a new three
On August 15, another big rain filled the swimming horsepower (3hp) electric motor for pumping. Later the
lake with mud. This required a lot of work and extra electric motor was deemed to be too expensive and they
cleaning. resumed using the gasoline powered Galloway engine.
On the 26th, Morris, Belle, Effie, Stanley, Grandfather
November was filled with the chores of the season such
Payne and Grandmother Rodgers attended the Prescott
as putting up the stove and picking turkeys. Chickens
and turkeys were always a part of the Granite Dells
rural atmosphere. There were always Prescott people Mary Ruth and Joe Todd returned from their
who wanted a fresh turkey. That meant delivering them honeymoon on August 29.
dressed and oven-ready. For instance, on December 20, In December, the Old Professor left for Castle Hot
Tom Holcomb picked 24 turkeys and on the 22nd he Springs. This was the first mention of Louis Schloss,
picked more. commonly called “The Old Professor.” Lillian and Karl
left for Phoenix, and Tom Holcomb was moving back and
forth from his homestead. Christmas dinner at Granite
February was a rough month. Grandmother Marcia
Dells served 12, and Joel Todd brought his Radiola out.
Wing became quite sick on the 11th and passed away on
February 17. At three and one-half years of age, Sherm 1929
was too young to go to the funeral, so he stayed with January started off with Sherm’s big adventure. The
“Uncle” Tom. Highway Department had been working on U. S. 89 –
The big event in April was the purchase of a new paving it. They had a crusher plant where the road curves
sewing machine. June started off with a big day at the by Watson Lake. The indentation on the hill can still be
pool and a wedding shower for Mary Ruth. On the 11th, seen today.
Morris and Howell went to town to sign up for electricity. Sherm was awed by the large machinery. Belle and
Up to this point electricity had been supplied by a DC Sherm had often walked up the Granite Dells road to
(direct current) generator. The DC unit was kept as meet Morris as he came home from working at the
a back-up and frequently used in the summer time. B&B Co. On January 4, Sherm decided that their
Summer storms often interrupted the service supplied by dog, Betsy, should escort him to go for a walk to meet
The Arizona Power Company. Morris. Sherm got to the bend in the road at Watson
Prescott’s first American Red Cross “Learn-to-Swim” Lake and still no Morris. So Sherm took off up the hill to
program took up the last part of June. On July 8, the inspect the machinery. In the meantime, Belle frantically
lake was drained and cleaned. On July 17, a big rain hit reported that Sherm was missing and Morris came flying
I Must Go There Someday 72
home. Sherm thought he saw the top of his truck go It was sometimes obvious that Sherm was not a stay-at-
by but was not real sure. So Sherm went back down home type kid. On June 3, it was reported that Sherm
to the highway to continue his journey. Two B&B Co. fell into the boating lake. Sherm remembers grabbing
employees, on their way to look for the lost kid, picked on to the pier and hauling himself out. Keith Storm
Sherm up and took him home. The two employees were was supposed to be watching the lake but he was in the
Otis (Oat) Crosse and Roy Gilbert. Belle said she “sure boathouse reading a comic book. Wet clothes made it
was scared.” impossible to hide the fact that Sherm had fallen into the
The thermometer hit minus eight degrees on January
24. On the 29th, Cousin Frank Paine died at the Mercy Douglas Payne Todd arrived on July 24. Later in
the month, Belle’s Uncle Jim Reeves visited. Jim was a
half brother to Belle’s father (Mack Rodgers) and kept
February afforded another bit of country style in touch. He owned the Flower Pot Ranch out toward
adventure. The Santa Fe Railroad was less than a half Cherry Creek.
mile from the house. One evening, two hobos decided
Some excitement in August. On August 10, Opal
to raid one of the chicken coops. What they didn’t
Lines broke the lock on the woodshed with an ax. The
know was that Tom Holcomb had eight of his hunting
next day, she drew a knife on Effie and Stanley, and the
dogs there and the minute the chickens set up a fuss,
Sheriff was called. Effie made a call to Socorro, New
the hobos found themselves hunkered in the chicken
Mexico on August 12, and confirmed that Opal had been
coop surrounded by squeaking, fluttering chickens and
in an asylum there.
surrounded outside by barking dogs. Morris and Tom
grabbed their shotguns and headed for the coop. The 1930
poor hobos were not sure how secure their future was. The year 1930 came in like a lion. It snowed all
Morris and Tom made them run all the way to the day on January 10, making it almost impossible for
highway and told them never to come back. The Dells Morris to get home from town. The following day,
never had any visits from hobos after that. there was so much snow Morris couldn’t get to town. It
On March 26, Mary Ruth Payne came out to the was the biggest snow in 15 years and roads were closed
Granite Dells to cut cloth for baby clothes. Douglas everywhere. They tried to get to town on the 13th but
Payne Todd was on his way. had to turn back. On the 16th, the dance hall roof fell in
from the weight of the snow.
The next month was also eventful for the family. On
April 7, Howell brought his new wife, Opal Lines, home. Winter would not give up. On May 5, there was snow
On the 10th, the Old Professor returned from Castle Hot and a freeze, and on the 8th there was more snow. On
Springs, and on the 11th, the swimming lake was cleaned May 20, Effie and Stanley reported the arrival of June —
for summer opening. On April 15 and 16, Morris and although it was still May — it was June Patricia Payne.
Howell spent all day with T. G. and Herndon Norris. September was school time and Sherm started first
The Norris’s had an interest in the Dells and they wanted grade. Sherm’s teacher was Mata Dexter, who was a good
out. This is when the borrowing began. friend of Belle’s when Belle was teaching at Washington
On April 28, Belle reported Howell and Opal were School.
angry, and on the 29th, “Opal and I--a fuss.” Good news In October the family went to see the new high school
came on the 30th when a new Easy Washer was brought on Gurley Street. Then, on October 10, the 1926 Dodge
out for demonstration. truck was loaded up and headed for Venice, California,
73 Branches • Chapter 2 • Morris Wing Payne
to visit Marion and Novella Rodgers. Sherm remembers On October 20, the family went to see the wrecked
swimming in a pool in Venice. It was salt water and locomotive at P. & E. Junction (later changed to Entro)
Sherm learned a bitter lesson about opening his eyes while and on the 25th the family went to see an oil well with
under water. On the 18th, the family was on the way E.C. Payne and Mary Ruth. This was in the Pauldin area.
home and stopped in Gila Bend. Belle reported it as “a
For November, Belle noted that only Mary Ruth,
miserable place to stay.”
Douglas, and E.C. Payne were out for Thanksgiving
Picking, cleaning, and delivering turkeys was the big dinner. This would indicate that Joel Todd was spending
job in December. With Morris working at the B&B Co., some time in the Veterans Administration Hospital (Ft.
Billy and Keith Storm helped pick the turkeys. Whipple) during the fall months. Effie and Stanley came
1931 down from St. Johns to be with the family for Christmas.
March saw visits traded between Sherm and Merrill 1932
Windsor, who were to become lifelong friends. On February 9, Watson Dam overflowed because of
May 9 brings the first mention of Wayland Potter. He the winter storms. Assuring an ample egg production
served as a lifeguard for several years and became an avid and fried chicken for the future, 100 baby chicks arrived
hunter and good friend of Tom Holcomb. On March 20, February 29.
Morris hurt his knee again and was hospitalized for six March was time for plowing and making preparations
days. for planting. On the 5th, work started on rebuilding the
Howell moved a cabin to the boating lake on June 3. dance hall. The following day, Howell announced he and
This brought the number of original rental cabins at the Opal were getting a divorce.
Dells to seven. On July 4, Sherman and Douglas and the twins,
Back in May, Belle had hired a Mrs. Butler to Doris and Dora, were entered in the kiddies’ parade and
cook for the “gang.” On July 27, Mrs. Butler went to won second place. Another step toward modernization
Phoenix. Belle reports washing dishes all day. “Sure a happened in October, as a new electric stove was installed
dirty kitchen.” They were still cleaning the kitchen the to replace the old wood range. In late November, most
following day and Morris and Tom cleaned the floor everybody was miserable with the flu but all were well
recovered by early December.
and walls. Sherm remembers that Mrs. Butler baked a
pumpkin pie and Tom said he couldn’t taste any pumpkin 1933
because it was mostly cornstarch. The year 1933 was not good for the Payne household.
October was a vacation month — rare for the family. Freezing weather made it possible to walk across the
Morris, Belle. E.C. Payne and Sherm visited the Grand boating lake on the ice. On January 17, E.C. Payne was
Canyon, then went to St. Johns to visit Effie, Stanley and treated for cracked ribs. On the 20th, Dr. Yount made
June, The family left St. Johns early on the 6th, visited a house call and reported that Sherm had bronchial
the Petrified Forest and Meteor Crater, and arrived in pneumonia.
Flagstaff that evening. Belle reported that Sherm was sick February was worse than January. Grandma Rodgers
all the way home. He was not a good traveler and always fell on February 2, and on the 5th, her dress brushed
got sick going over Mingus Mountain, or down Yarnell against a small electric heater and caught on fire. Belle
Hill. was able to throw her to the floor and smother the flames
I Must Go There Someday 74
with a blanket. She was miserable all month and required because grandfather E.C. Payne paid for much of Stanley’s
doctor calls twice during the month. Also, E.C. Payne education at the University of Arizona. Stanley felt that
was very ill and Effie and Stanley were here to visit him he should have received an equal share in the Granite
February 9-11. This indicates the seriousness of his Dells and he filed a law-suit contesting the will.
condition. On February 22, Belle reported that “Dad”
passed away at 6:00 p.m. On February 26, the “folks
were all out for the reading of the will” and the funeral January was fairly busy. On the 11th, Charles Franklin
was held. E.C. Payne was buried next to Marcia Anna Parker preached his first sermon in Prescott. On the
Payne in the Mountain View Cemetery. 12th, there was a family meeting in the lawyer’s office
discussing the law-suit, while Lula and Belle took care of
Big news in the heat of the summer was the birth of
the kids and fixed supper for the gang.
Marvin Edwin Todd on August 20.
On March 11, the Todd family visited the Granite
Sherm’s birthday celebration in September included
Dells. Morris, Mary Ruth, and Howell all talked to
friends Bill Ellis, Bill Orthel, John Deming and Merrill
Stanley but with no success. On the 23rd, a jury issued
Windsor. On the 14th of October, Sherm was taken to
the decision that the will should stand as written. On
town to attend the Mickey Mouse Club. It was held at
April 14, 1934, Stanley gave legal notice that he was
the old Studio Theater.
appealing the court decision.
Winter began in November. On the 12th, Sherm’s
A new electric refrigerator, a Leonard, came to stay
first dog (Mugs), given to him by Mary Ruth, became
at the Granite Dells on April 20 and on the 30th a new
the mother of six. The Old Professor, Louis Schloss, took
piano was purchased for the dance hall. (As of this
one of the pups and named it Pupski. This is mentioned
writing, Janet Louise Payne has this piano in her home.)
because in later years, when the Old Professor left for
Mexico, he left Pupski behind with the request that It was reported twice in August, Sherm and Tom
Sherm shoot Pupski. The dog would have otherwise died went on early morning hunts. Tom tried hard to make
waiting for his master to return to the cabin. Sherman a hunter out of Sherm. Tom did pretty well until Sherm
recalls this as being a very difficult task. discovered girls.
November 15 was the date of the “famous” bobcat September 14, saw Howell leave for Tulsa, Oklahoma,
episode. With help and teachings from Tom Holcomb, to marry Alice Crank. Winter activities marked
Sherm had a trap line which was run every morning November. The stove was put up and Morris worked
before school. Usually, a skunk was all that could be some at the B&B Co. On the 19th, school was closed due
expected, but lo and behold, he had a bobcat! The bobcat to a scarlet fever epidemic. Sherm was required to take
jumped at Sherm (scared the what-cha-ma-call-it out of four scarlet fever injections.
him) and he pumped three slugs from the old 25-20 into 1935
the cat and left it for Tom to remove from the trap. On May 4, the Gardens Resort opened its dance hall
On December 30, a long talk with Stanley was the directly across the road from the Granite Dells Boating
order of the day. E.C. Payne’s will left the Granite Dells Lake. This was the first major competition for the
property (James E. Wing homestead) to Ed Jr., Morris, Granite Dells Outing Association. The weather was hot,
and Howell. Mary Ruth was to receive the family home and Alice and Howell were getting a divorce was the
in Prescott. Stanley did not receive an inheritance report on June 21. Another modern convenience came
75 Branches • Chapter 2 • Morris Wing Payne
Then, in December, Belle had to go to the hospital
to have an abscess in her throat lanced.
Belle was still in the hospital on New Year’s Day,
and on January 2, Joe Todd took her to 300 S.
Cortez to stay awhile. Also, on the 2nd, Ed Jr. and
the twins visited. On the same day, it was reported
the E.C. Payne estate was finally settled. The
Arizona Supreme Court upheld the Yavapai County
Superior Court decision: Stanley lost the law-suit.
As a result, Stanley and his family did not interact
Swimming Lake, 1940. Looking south: Floating platform and dance hall are
with the rest of the Payne family for over 10 years.
viewed. On January 5, Emma Reibling took
Grandmother Rodgers to the Pioneers Home, and
finally, on January 12, Belle returned home.
In early March, a couple of trips were made
to view Willow Creek Dam which was under
construction by the Works Progress Administration
(WPA). On the morning of May 2, Grandmother
Rodgers passed away. Son Marion Rodgers and his
wife, Novella, came on the 3rd and the funeral was
held on May 5. Grandmother Rodgers is buried in
Mountain View Cemetery.
In mid-month, May, the Clem Cruse family
View from top of boulder overlooking the Swimming Lake shows bathhouse and
arrived for a two week stay. The Cruses were to
dance hall but no slide.
become close lifelong friends of Morris and Belle.
to the Dells on July 25: Belle started ironing on a “new
Sherm’s heifer had a calf on July 28, and it died on July
31. (Heck-of-a-way to start in the cattle business! Sherm
August 15 saw the Todds leave for Missouri, and on wondered if he was following in Grandfather E.C.’s
the 26th, Howell’s divorce was final and Alice Crank left footsteps?)
An interesting note on October 11 reports that Frank
Through the summer and early fall several references Skemar visited in the evening. Frank was a Chinese boy
were made about a Mr. Anderson. This would be Andy who worked as a lifeguard at the swimming lake.
Anderson, a top-notch carpenter and cabinet maker who
It turned cold in November and several hunting trips
became a fixture at the Granite Dells for many summers were unsuccessful. On November 27, Howell married
to come. Jennie Mildred Newcomb. The Ed Jr. family came from
From October through the end of the year, there were Clemenceau for Christmas dinner and the year ended
few entries in the diary due to some serious eye problems. with lots of snow.
I Must Go There Someday 76
1937 October 19 saw Tom come home from a hunt with
The year 1937 was a year of bad weather. On January a young bear, all fattened up for hibernation. Sherm
3, it was two degrees above at the Granite Dells, and remembers it as the best tasting meat he had had in a long
Prescott reported 15 degrees below zero. No temperature time. A trip to Phoenix by way of Black Canyon was
readings above 10 degrees were reported during the noted on October 30. Sherm doesn’t think that he went
month. because he surely would have remembered that road in
1938. Morris and Belle came back the same day by way
The rains started on February 6, and by the next day
of the White Spar Road.
the bridge to the Granite Dells had been undermined
making it unusable by cars. The big well caved in, and 1939
the picnic ground was flooded. More rains came again In January, Belle reported that she finally finished
on February 13, bringing more floods and more damage. crocheting a table cloth. She had worked on it for one
February was not pleasant! March was warmer, but still a year, six months and 16 days at a cost of $8.75. February,
winter month. March and April were pretty much taken up with hauling
Sherm and John Deming to Scout meetings and school
Andy Anderson gave up on the Phoenix summer heat
affairs. In July, Belle was still reporting “going after
and arrived at the Granite Dells on June 18. A son was
Morris.” December 3 called for a visit to Uncle Jim
born to Howell and Mildred on July 30, and they named
Reeves’ Flower Pot Ranch.
him Howell Sherman Payne Junior.
All was normal through the 1937 Thanksgiving and 1940
Christmas season. Sherm was particularly happy because In 1940 Sherm was 15 years old and a sophomore in
Santa brought a long awaited electric train. high school. Since he was an only child, most of Belle’s
entries had to do with his activities. It was either going to
1938 basketball practice, games or other school activities. This
The most exciting news for the family in January was was true throughout the school year.
the purchase of a new Ford. Sherm was active in the Boy On March 13, the upper story of the old family home
Scouts Troop 1, which Morris had founded. The troop at 300 South Cortez Street burned. Tom Holcomb was
made a trip to the Grand Canyon in April. a professional lion and bear hunter. On the 16th, Tom
On May 31, Belle reported taking Joel Todd to came home with a lion.
the hospital. For reasons not explained, Morris went Belle took the bus to Phoenix on March 27, and
to California on July 21, and returned on July 24. It returned on the 31st. It is suspected that this may have
was highly unusual for Morris to leave the Dells in the been one of her early doctor visits regarding what turned
summer but it may have been B&B Co. business. All out to be cancer. The extent of her illness was never
year long, Belle had reported going to town after Morris, discussed around Sherm.
which indicates he worked most of the year at the B&B
On April 13, Sherm started a brief stint as a carry-out
boy for The Piggly Wiggly store. The old Mercy Hospital
The only thing of note in August, 1938 was that on Grove Street burned on June 9. On June 25, Sherm,
Sherm won two first place medals at the Granite Dells John Deming and Jack Snyder went camping. On June
swim meet. It was a repeat of his performance the year 26, a big rain was reported and three wet boys came home
before. from their camping trip.
77 Branches • Chapter 2 • Morris Wing Payne
The Globe High School Band was in town for the 4th
of July celebration. The swimming lake was always closed
about 6:00 p.m. on dance nights, but Morris succumbed
to the pleading of the band members and allowed them
to swim for an hour. Band member Donald Olives had
a collapsed lung and was not supposed to go swimming,
but he did. Donald drowned about 8:45 P.M. Sherm
found him and pulled him off the bottom.
The only thing reported in August was that Sherm
won the diving meet at the lake. Sherm also won the 50-
yard freestyle, and that was expected. Morris W. Payne, Sherman R. Payne, Belle R. Payne, 1944.
Tom’s oldest hunting dog, Old Red, died on July 13.
October saw Charlie Niehaus visiting for a coon
Red was the same age as Sherm and that would have
supper. Like young bear, fat coon was really good eating.
made him 119 years old in dog years.
Ed Jr. and Lula and children were moving to Washington,
so Belle inherited their canary. School activities filled 1942
November and December. January was calm. Sherm’s dog, Mugs, died and
Sherm started working Saturdays at Safeway. At that time
Safeway occupied a brand new building across the street
Belle noted a trip to Flagstaff on February 26, for the
from the Catholic Church. As of the date of this writing,
Northern Region Oratorical Contest. It was reported as a
the old Catholic Church houses the Prescott Fine Arts
disaster, which is exactly what it was. The speeches were
Center, and the old Safeway building houses the Social
to be memorized---no notes allowed. About half way
through, Sherm’s mind went totally blank and leaving the
stage was the only option. Sherman’s speech and drama 1943
teacher accompanied the family on the trip. There was January was similar to other Januarys before and after.
very little conversation on the way home. On May 27, Sherm went to Phoenix to be inducted
Sherm was given a suspended fine for speeding on into the Armed Services for World War II, and he
April 28. Those were the days when it was helpful if Dad returned home as a Navy man. He was accepted into the
was a friend of the Judge. V-12 Officer Training Program and went home to await
an official call-up. This came in October and on the 24th
Sad news came when the Bashford Burmister
there was a big dinner to send Sherm off to Flagstaff to
Company sold to a liquidator on May 31. Prior to
start his naval career at what was then called The Arizona
that time, Morris had been manager of the furniture
State Teachers College.
department, a job he had held for several years. On June
28, Morris was fired from his job at the B&B Co., and on 1944
June 30, he went to work for Jimmy Whetstine (formerly June 17 recorded a cool 34 degrees in Prescott. “Very
President of the B&B Co.). Apparently, Jimmy was few swimmers.” Sherm finished school in Flagstaff, so
allowed to keep the accounts receivable so whatever they Morris and Belle brought him home for a few days. On
could collect was theirs. June 30, Sherm left again for a semester at the University
I Must Go There Someday 78
of Southern California. A robbery was reported on June This was preparatory to selling Belle’s house.
28, but apparently the robbers were not very good at a Elbert and Laura Paine were visitors on February
getaway because Morris and Belle attended their trial on
5. The temperature on the morning of the 5th was two
below zero. Karl Heinrich died the end of April and his
By the end of October, 1944, Sherm was through at funeral was held on May 2.
USC and headed home via Tucson. Morris and Belle
On May 23, a daughter was born to Howell and Mary.
picked Sherm up in Phoenix on October 25 and then
She was named Myra Louisa Payne.
delivered him to Ash Fork to catch a train to Asbury Park,
New Jersey. Asbury Park was billed as a pre-midshipman’s Max Gartner, Del Deming, and Larry Baker were
school but was actually just a holding point until billets gassed in a well they were digging for Del on July 3.
opened up at a midshipman’s school. The funeral for Max was held on July 8. Sherm arrived
Sherm will never forget the train ride from Ash Fork to home from the Navy in July, and on September 3, he and
Chicago. Being war time, it was standing room only for John Deming took off for the North Rim of the Grand
the first half of the trip, and chair car for the second half. Canyon under the pretense that they deserved a post-war
Louis Schloss, “The Old Professor,” chose September
VE Day (Victory in Europe) was recorded on May
12 as the day he would leave Granite Dells and return
8. It was the same day the Arizona Fish and Game
to Mexico. Sherm took him to town, where he began
Department put in a pair of beavers at the Jimmy Wing
diversion dam on Granite Creek It was also the same day his trip by bus. Sherm left home to return to college at
Sherm received his commission as a Ensign in the Navy. Arizona State College, Tempe, on September 16 and that’s
the day that Belle reported that she sold her house in
On May 28, Howell married Mary Rogers in Mesa,
On Tuesday, December 31, Walter “Red” Levi came
On May 31, Morris and Belle drove to Phoenix to
to visit and presented a bit of a challenge to the “school
pick up Sherm from midshipman’s school in Chicago
marm” imbedded in Belle. However, she was very capable
(Northwestern University). The next training stint for
of handling the situation and put both Red and Sherm
Sherm was at Advanced Line Officers School in Miami,
“in their places” when needed. Sherm and Red became
Florida. About the time of the Japanese surrender on
lifelong friends, fraternity brothers in college, both went
August 14, the new Ensign was on the way home with a to work for Central Arizona Light and Power Company,
stop in Phoenix. The Cruses hauled Sherm to Prescott and both became Masons. They kept in close contact up
for a stay until September 7, when he took off for amphib until the time of Red’s death in the spring of 2004.
training in San Diego.
The big news on December 6, was the receipt of the
On January 2, Sherm had a wisdom tooth pulled.
first letter from Sherm in the Philippines (South Pacific
Then he and Red Levi headed back to Tempe, stopping
Theater of War).
at Red’s house long enough to have steak and eggs. (Ah,
On January 11, 1946, Belle reported that they went to Belle reported ironing 14 shirts on June 4. This
the house in town and brought out two loads of dishes. was, no doubt, the result of Sherm coming home from
79 Branches • Chapter 2 • Morris Wing Payne
Sherm’s friends visited over the 4th of July and were
reported to have been “some” help. They included Red
Levi, Keith Turley and Chuck Kohlberg.
Starting in late October, 1948, Belle began to talk a
little about her illness in her diary. She reported going to
the doctor and being put on a milk diet. On October 29,
she went to the hospital for a blood test. One trip to the
doctor in November resulted in more milk and another
resulted in “more to eat.”
Sherm and Red arrived on November 24, anticipating
the Thanksgiving meal to be held in Skull Valley on the
25th. Isabel Buse was teaching in Skull Valley, and it was
a half-picnic-half dinner affair with the Paynes and Todds
The weather report for January 3 is worth noting. It
was six degrees above zero in the morning and reached
only 20 degrees by noon. Snow everywhere. Topping
that, the A.M. temperature on January 4 was zero degrees!
It snowed almost every day through January and on the
Morris W. Payne in later years, circa 1975. 30th, the thermometer fell to five below.
college. Morris and Belle celebrated their 25th Wedding The year 1949 was primarily consumed with concerns
Anniversary on June 14. On the 25th, a big crowd was for Belle’s health.
reported at the Red Cross Aquatic Show. On March 11, Belle
For the first time, Sherm became a car owner on visited the doctor in
August 2. It was a 1937 Ford convertible (with a rumble Phoenix and reported
seat, no less). Sherm bought it from classmate George that an operation
(Gubbie) Lebsch. Vets were grabbing up cars and Gub would be necessary.
got $500 for this V8 that had seen better days. She reported that the
operation on March
All through the last half of 1947, Belle complained of 18 involved the
being tired more and more often. removal of one-third
1948 of her stomach.
On February 6, Belle went to Phoenix to spend a few During this time,
days with the Cruses. It is not known whether a doctor a good deal of trouble
visit was involved or not. Belle never talked about her was brewing at the
illness. Ned and Ellen Palm
house. On May
On May 1, a son was born to Howell and Mary. They
Morris on the shoulders of his son 17, a short warning
named him Robert David Payne. Sherman.
I Must Go There Someday 80
said “trouble at the
Palms.” On June
23, it was said that
Ned Palm was on a
and Ellen stayed
all night at Granite
Dells. Ellen had Ned
arrested on July 11,
(The Palms lived
nearby, and Ellen
and Belle were good
Again on August Belle and Morris Payne welcome their
5, Belle had X-rays daughter-in-law, Charline Gehres, 1950.
and the doctor said
everything was okay. However, on September 6 (her
birthday), she had more X-rays and a second operation
was ordered. She went to the hospital on September
Robert Palm and his mother, Ellen Cox Payne, 1986.
10 and didn’t get back to Prescott until October 4. A
checkup in late October sent Belle to Phoenix, and once More and more often now, Belle reported that she was
again the doctor said “everything was okay.” very tired. On June 3 and 4, Sherm and Charline visited
at the Granite Dells. Mr. and Mrs. Gehres were dinner
A terse report on December 16 said “Ned to jail”
and on the 19th said simply, “Took Ned to the State guests. A call came through from Belle’s brother, Marion,
Hospital.” On December 29, Belle took a trip to Phoenix on June 9 (first in eight years).
for a checkup and again the doctor said everything was At this time Belle’s illness was beginning to affect both
okay. her handwriting and her memory. On June 30, Charline
and Sherm and Lila and Red arrived at the Dells to help
March 22 called for another Phoenix trip to see a out over the 4th of July. On July 6, Morris bought Belle a
doctor about an ear infection. On the 27th, “Sherm took new Ford V8.
us to see Mr. and Mrs. Gehres.” Belle, Pauline Sandholt, The last entry in Belle’s diary was made on July 8,
Isabel Buse, and Mary Ruth traveled to Phoenix to attend 1950. She simply reported, “Cold--more rain, Morris to
a shower for Charline. (Nowhere did Belle ever mention town.”
that Sherm and Charline Gehres were engaged.)
There were no more entries in the diary and
May 5 was a busy day. Morris and Belle drove through consequently no records were kept in any form. Belle’s
Litchfield Park to the Cruses, and then back to Litchfield health deteriorated rapidly until her death on October 15,
for Sherman Rodgers Payne’s wedding to Charline Ruth 1950. She became “more” than Morris could handle, and
Gehres at 8:00 P.M.
81 Branches • Chapter 2 • Morris Wing Payne
stayed awhile with Mary Ruth. In the final days, she was share, and Douglas Payne Todd would get the Ranch’s
transferred to a single patient care home. The house in Model-T Ford truck. Sherm’s response to the offer
which she died was the same house she lived in from the was, “What’s a poor boy to do?” So Morris and Sherm
time the family moved from Camp Verde until she quit reluctantly agreed to the offer. Morris and Sherm now
teaching school and married Morris. together owned the entire Granite Dells homestead of
It was quite a setback for Morris when he lost his Jimmy Wing. Doug Todd took the Model-T Ford truck
love, who was also his companion, helpmate, partner to Tempe where he had a great father-and-sons experience
and advisor. More than anything or anybody, Belle was rebuilding the truck.
responsible for the continued existence of the Granite In November of 1965, a destructive flood took out
Dells Swimming Lake. She provided financial support the headset pipe and flume, and the pipeline across the
in the following forms: sold her Flower Pot Ranch cattle; creek south of the old house. Another flood struck in
used her bequest from the Jim Reeve’s estate; sold her December, 1965 but since repairs had not been made to
house in Prescott. Morris also dug into his savings by the previous damage, the new damage was slight.
cashing in a matured life insurance policy and using the
In January of 1966, flood Number Three hit.
money from his bequest from the Horning estate. There
Everything went out again except the bridge, but
was just never enough money to afford all of the things
the approaches to the bridge were unusable. Sherm
they needed and deserved. Of course, after all Belle’s
purchased 640 feet of surplus six-inch PVC (plastic)
doctor and hospital bills were paid, there was very little
pipe from Arizona Public Service in August, 1978. Red
Levi, Rodger Payne, and Sherm replaced several sections
After Belle’s death, Morris was a pretty lonely guy.
of ditch line with this pipe. Several pictures of the
Along with loneliness there is often some accompanying
improvements that had been made were taken to show
depression. Ellen Cox (Palm) had divorced Ned, and,
to Morris who, by this time, was confined to his lounge
having been good friends before, she proceeded to
which was kept in the shade of the apple tree in the
help Morris with the swimming lake and all the other
problems that can be a part of operating a venture such as
Granite Dells. By 1958, Ellen Cox (Palm) had become a The pipe served well for a couple of years with the
capable partner in operating the Dells, and on February water flowing easily without the interruptions caused by
27 of that year, Ellen and Morris were married. This gopher holes in the bottom of the old dirt ditch. Then
turned out to be a very beneficial union for both of them. came another “gully washer.” Watson Dam was full and
overflowing, and the flood was just too much for the
On September 1, 1962, Morris and Sherm purchased
pipe at the headset, and also the pipe that crossed the
the one-third interest in the Granite Dells owned by Ed
creek just south of the old house. The pipeline was never
Payne Jr. for $11,500. This amounted to approximately
repaired after that flood.
$261 per acre for his 44-acre share. This was all quite a
deal at the time. However, Mary Ruth’s husband, Joel August 15, 1971, was the final day Morris was able to
Todd was the realtor handling the transaction and he operate the Granite Dells Swimming Lake. Cancer was
made Sherm a constrained offer on the Granite Dell’s beginning to take its toll. With water no longer running
Model-T Ford truck. The offer? Joel Todd would not in the irrigation ditches, the curtains were closed on the
try to get Ed Jr. to ask for more money for his one-third Granite Dells Swimming Lake of decades past.
I Must Go There Someday 82
On October 3, 1978, four months before his 90th In late 1985, Sherm sold approximately 80 acres to
birthday, Morris lost his battle with cancer. He is buried Ray Roles. Ray operated a few recreational vehicle parks
in Mountain View Cemetery next to Belle. in the Phoenix area and planned such a park in Granite
Following the death of Morris, Sherm devoted his Dells. The Yavapai Board of Supervisors gave him a bit
attention to finding someone to lease the swimming lake of a hassle over the density of his plan and he decided
and dance hall area. The tax burden was substantial and to back off entirely. (There may have been other factors
some income was needed to help with the taxes. Such a involved such as the ready availability of water.)
party was found in the person of Jim Ettinger. With the With the tax burden appreciably lifted, Sherm
help of lawyer Phil Toci, an airtight lease was drawn up decided retirement was his next best move. At age 62
and executed in 1978. In his haste, Sherman neglected to his employment with APS had spanned 37 years. The
complete a thorough background check on Jim Ettinger, Granite Dells was pretty much a guarantee that this
and it was soon apparent that he was woefully under- would not be the end of his working days and Charline
financed. Also, it was apparent that his temperament did had some good ideas about places to go and things to
not help him in his attempt to manage a resort. After see. Mark Wirth bought the 80 acres (formerly owned by
four years, Sherm canceled the lease. Ray Roles) from Grand Canyon College in 1998. Mark
In August of 1980, Sherm was able to transfer to and wife Margie have refurbished both the dance hall
Prescott and still continue his employment with APS. and bathhouse buildings, turning one-half the dance hall
This allowed him to be on hand to deal with the problems into living quarters and the bathhouse into an equipment
that arose at the Granite Dells. Fulfilling a lifelong storage facility. Their plans for the area are recreational
dream, Sherm was able to return to the Granite Dells to oriented but have not been finalized at the time of this
live. In 1983, Sherm and Charline were able to move writing. Sherm and Charline feel fortunate in having the
into a new home that had been constructed on top of the Wirths as stewards of the Granite Dells recreational area.
hill where the old water tank stood. There were some As developers and home builders began to move closer
small Indian ruins on the site and Sherm reasoned that and closer to the old homestead, Sherm came to espouse
if the Indians were smart enough to build well above the the old American lament, “Not In My Backyard.” In
Granite Creek flood plain, it was a good place to build a 2001 Sherm began negotiations with The Trust For Public
home. Land, headquartered in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His
Having learned that leasing was not an ideal situation hope was that at least the heart of the old homestead
regarding the Dells property, Sherm had to face up to the could be saved from the bulldozers and backhoes. The
fact that selling some of the property might be his only Trust offered a way this could be accomplished. Sherm
choice. Turning loose of some of the property where he deeded to each of his children slightly more than an acre
was born and raised was not something Sherm wanted to of land, and saved about two acres for his own home.
do. However, in early 1985, he arranged with a real estate Rodger, Janet, Beth, and Mark are free to sell their lots
agent to list the north 80 acres for sale. When his real but the lots can only be used for residential purpose and
estate agent mentioned that she “could just see condos no additional lots are allowed.
along Granite Creek,” Sherm yanked the property off the In 2002, Sherm signed the papers that deeded
market until the sales terms were changed to allow for approximately 26 acres of the Granite Dells homestead
recreational use only. to the Trust For Public Land. The result is that less than
83 Branches • Chapter 2 • Morris Wing Payne
10 acres of the original homestead remains in the Payne kiddies.” His favorite poem to tell children was:
family. In 2007, the Trust For Public Land sold these Ooey Gooey was a worm, a little worm was he,
26 acres to the City of Prescott to be used for a public He climbed upon the railroad track, the train he did not see.
accessible riparian open space. It can not be developed, OOOEEEY -- GOOEEEY!
but it will be open to the public as a nature trail. In the summer evenings, after the pool was closed,
May the Granite Dells Rest In Peace. Morris would usually relax on his screened-in front porch,
Memories Of Morris by Janet Louise Payne smoking his pipe and listening to the sounds of nature:
locusts, birds and the wind. Sometimes he would play a
In 1978, Morris Wing Payne passed away at the age
game of cards or Snooker. Root beer floats and big dishes
of 89, but he lives on in the memories of all those who
of ice cream were among his favorite desserts.
were lucky enough to have known him. He spent most of
his many years living at and caring for the land he loved: Morris was a religious man, attending the
Granite Dells. Congregational church nearly every Sunday. His
dining room table always had two small books on it: a
Morris was a very hard-working man; he managed
daily devotional guide and a bird-watching guide. He
the swimming lake, the dance pavilion, the picnic/camp
especially loved watching hummingbirds and quail. He
grounds, two large vegetable gardens and all the rest of
fed the quail in his garden every evening just at dusk.
the Dells property. During the summer, he enlisted the
help of family, friends, and young lads from town who In the fall, winter, and spring, Morris enjoyed going
were eager to earn a free swim. Morris was an excellent on car trips throughout Arizona, Colorado, and the
delegator of chores and a patient teacher of everything Southwest. Every Christmas Eve, he and Ellen would
drive to Phoenix with their car filled with gifts and food
from proper sweeping technique to safe disposal of pests
goodies for the grandchildren. They would often return
such as squirrels and skunks. The most fortunate of his
to Prescott with one of the kids for a short visit.
helpers were allowed to eat a delicious mid-day dinner
prepared by Ellen and served at either First Table or Everyone who knew Morris has different memories of
Second Table. This meal always included fresh-from-the- bits and pieces of his life, but all will agree that he was
garden vegetables and Morris’ wise advice to “take small one of the happiest, sweetest, finest men they ever met.
bites and chew.”
Morris was most often seen bustling from one end of Short Stories [Vignettes, Anecdotes, Etc.]
the Dells to the other in an old grey Chevy pickup truck,
About Granite Dells, Prescott, Arizona
and then in his later years, a green cart, “Old Smokey.”
He was always with his trusty beagle, Snoopy, but Told by Sherman R. Payne, July 30, 2003
occasionally he would take a short break from his summer
work to visit with folks. He liked to sit on a shady bench Names of the Various Buttes Within Granite Dells Area
by the pool, smoke his pipe, and talk with old friends and One of the most favorite buttes to climb when Sherm
new acquaintances. His cane would double as a both a was a kid is Sunset Butte. His father, Morris W. Payne,
pointer and a prop for his bum leg. The summer potluck named it because the setting sun reflects a warm glow on
picnics at Granite Dells were grand occasions to keep in the rocks.
touch with beloved family and friends. Morris enjoyed Some of the points of interest on the butte: One rock
people young and old, but was especially fond of “the formation appears as “Snoopy” (Charlie Brown’s dog in
I Must Go There Someday 84
the comic strip “Peanuts”). On another level near the finding out about the movie in Time magazine’s overseas
bottom is the “Fallen Indian.” The story is that he was (smaller) edition: “I opened up the magazine, and there in
the last defending Indian (Native American) as the white the center spread, was a picture of Jeanne Crain on ‘my’
settlers came in and took over the land. He was shot and swimming pool back home. And – I didn’t get to see her
fell to the base. in person!”
At the entrance to the Dells is the image of a bear “The Boiler”
looking down at Granite Dells. Sherm’s name for this For many years following World War I, a large steel
rock is “Watch Bear.”
boiler was by the chicken pen in back of the house. In
Potato Patch Butte was at the boating lake. The level World War II, it was finally donated to the used metal
area was originally farmed in the early days, around the drive. Edwin Jr., the eldest of the Payne sons who
1930’s and may have been cultivated even earlier. This remained in Prescott to help with the war effort at home,
area was pasture for Sherm’s horse, Mars. had purchased the boiler to be installed at the swimming
Indian Mountain is bordered by State Highway 89 on pool to heat the pool water. The practical standpoint
the west. There were two “forts” on top that were used was that it was a danger to the swimmers, so the boiler
by the Yavapai Apache Tribe before the white man came. was moved. The boiler’s purchase was quite costly, and
Lookouts could see dust of an on-coming warrior band Morris, Stanley and Howell (when they returned from
from north and west and from east and south. There are WWI) were very upset with Ed for the expense. Many
still smoke marks on the Indian Mountain rocks. Stanley tubes from the boiler were used later for water pipes
T. Payne’s cremains are interred there as well as those of around the Dells.
his dog Ponto. Those Cottonwoods!
Wild Animals Vignette The Granite Dells swimming pool was opened for
“Stinky” routed out “Snoopy” and “Stinky” got shot. the summer season when the cottonwood trees quit
(Snoopy was a dog; Stinky was a skunk.) Chickens and producing the flying “cotton.” Because of the “mess,”
trukeys were killed by bobcats, as were ducks on the lake. the pool had to be cleaned of the cotton fluff before the
There were always coyotes (they generally didn’t come patrons could swim.
in too close) and raccoons. Most of the trapping and The cottonwoods were natural to Granite Creek, which
hunting was done by Tom Holcomb and his dogs. He flows through the Granite Dells property. The fruit trees
trained the dogs to trail the bobcats. There were lots of were brought in by the original homesteaders – the Wings
skunks, which dug lots of holes. and the Paynes. The cottonwoods made great shade but
Leave Her To Heaven were messy, and were treacherous when old limbs fell.
Leave Her To Heaven, the motion picture starring [In the last decade of the 20th Century, i.e., 1990-2000,
Gene Tierney, Jeanne Crain and Cornel Wilde, was made the cottonwoods reached their age zenith and now fall
during World War II. The producers chose an “alcove” of regularly.]
the Granite Dells swimming lake for several scenes. They As Sherm explains, if you plant a cottonwood branch
temporarily modified the pool, building a false facade into sandy soil, it turns into a tree. There was almost a
of a house. The sandstone decking was done so well straight row of the trees from the old home area down to
that it remains a half century later. Sherm remembers the boating lake. This was because cottonwood branches
85 Branches • Chapter 2 • Morris Wing Payne
were used as fence posts, and fence posts grew into trees. The Dance Hall
In dissecting a stump from one of the trees, you will find The original dance hall was built about 1922. Sherm
barbed wire! doesn’t know where the money came from for this
Indian Stories adventure. The original dance hall burned in the 1930’s.
Sherm’s present home is built on an old Yavapai However, it was a popular place for Prescottonians from
Apache Tribal site, two levels above Granite Creek. It the 1920’s through the 1950’s to spend a happy Saturday
sits above the original home area on the first level above night dancing to a local band, and so it was rebuilt. A
the creek. When Sherm was young, the rocks on the huge granite boulder was the center of attention near
second level were in a square form, obviously a structure. the bandstand. Rows of tables and benches ringed the
The base structure for the present water tank back of his interior so that patrons could ‘sit out a dance’ and enjoy
house was made of rocks from the Indian house. Down a soda pop or beer. Because it was used only in summer,
below, they found a lot of Indian pottery shards and other the building had screens to let in the breezes.
evidence of occupation when building the present home
Charline and Sherman Payne, 1999.
I Must Go There Someday 86