Antonio Ferrer Amado's recollections
of his ranching life
"Contributed by Antonio Ferrer Amado, owner of several ranchos
in Pima and Santa Cruz counties."
"In these days we raised horses by the hundred as the range
was all open and we had a good opportunity to sell horses to freighters
and to the government for cavalry horses and we broke horses from
fifty head to one hundred at a time and took all of this hard work
as a good pastime as we thought it was lots of fun to ride these wild
outlaw horses raised out in the wild on the range. With some of the
it took a week to get them in to the herd of horses that were tamer
that we drove in a herd to run the wilder ones in to this herd so
as we could drive them in to a corral to pick out the ones we wanted
to break as we called it in those days. Now-days they say taming a
horse; we rode our bronc right out on the open range. One man saddled
a gentle horse to herd through bronc busters on wild horses. I and
my brother John and two other men done the riding act and had lots
of fun. The two herders helped to turn out broncs and herd us back
to the corral where we would unsaddle and resaddle a fresh one. Thus
was done every day for a month until we got where the six of us could
ride twelve head in the forenoon, and twelve head in the afternoon
until they were all gentle and the we would turn them out and herd
them and get them picked out to a certain height for the inspection
for the government sales and the culls were held for cow ponies and
used on range for our own stock work and farm work and stage horses
which carried the mail seventy-five miles a day by making two changes
150 miles a round trip form Willcox to Aravaipa mines. This mail was
delivered twice a week. These old pictures bring a great remembering
of those later days and none of these roads are traveled today and
no horse breaking is like in those days."
Hardy Cowman Recalls Days Of Apache Raids
The Arizona Daily Star 1-31-1965
90-Yr.-Old Rancher Recently Quit Riding
By BOB THOMAS
AMADO - In a house he built beside the old stagecoach road to Nogales,
Antonio Amado looks back over a life that began in Arizona's Indian
wars and extends into the space age.
At the age of 90, Amado probably is the oldest working rancher in
Born in Tucson in a house on the corner of Meter Ave. and Jackson
St. in 1874, Amado started work on his father's ranch as a six-year-old
Until two years ago he rode a horse every day.
He still was able to mount a hourse last year but has foresworn
long rides that carried him in to the foothills of the Santa Rita
Mountains nine miles from his home when he was 88.
"That's nine air miles; it's a lot longer on the ground,"
says Randy R. Riley, forest ranger for the Santa Ritas. "I've
seen him ride up those ridges several times and that's a rough haul."
Amado, who customarily speaks in a slow, thoughtful manner with frequent
pauses, can remember when Geronimo passed nearby in a raid. A cousin
of his was killed by the Apaches while chopping wood in nearby White
He has known such Tucson pioneers as Sheriff Bob Leatherwood, the
Hughes brothers - Tom, Sam and L. C. Hughes, founder of the Arizona
Amado knew Ed Echols when he was a young cattle inspector.
Still slim and straight, Amado looks much younger than he is. He has
most of his own teeth, has good hearing and doesn't wear glasses except
for reading. He smokes but doesn't drink.
Asked what he credits his long life to, Amado shook his head wonderingly
"I don't know. I've never taken care of myself."
Amado said he has no desire to reach 100.
"I feel all right. I haven't seen a doctor in many years. But
I may die any day," he said.
His father, who came to Arizona from Hermosillo, Son., in 1850, started
the ranch in 1852 between two old Spanish land grants, the Canoa and
Otero land grants.
A year later he started another ranch two miles from the San Xavier
Mission. It ran dairy cattle and supplied Tucson with milk and butter.
Amado's father started other ranches at Patagonia and in Sonora.
He died at the age of 73 after fathering three sons and four daughters.
Amado, the middle son, is the only one alive today. He has two sons,
Pablo and Gustavo, and a daughter, Amalia, all of Tucson. Another
son, Antonio Jr., died recently.
Amado remembers how the U. S. government evicted his parents from
their San Xavier ranch in 1880 because it was located within the boundary
of the newly created San Xavier Indian Reservation. The ranch, like
others lying within the reservation, was burned but he government
The family moved to Tucson where Amado attended the old Congress
St. school and then transferred to Safford School. He received the
equivalent of a college education when his family send him to the
San Ignacio Loyola Jesuit school in San Francisco.
At the age of 23 he was married in the newly completed San Agustin
Cathedral in Tucson and in 1909 he bought his ranch - 160 acres of
patented land for $300. Today it is worth $900 an acre. In addition
to the patented land he holds state and Forest Service grazing leases
for 6,000 acres.
In the days before the barbed wire fence Amado's cattle ranged all
the way from the Mexican border to Cortaro, north of Tucson. His ranch
branded as many as 1,500 calves a year.
"The land was different." said Amado. "There was more
grass and less mesquite trees."
In a lifetime of hazardous work as a rancher, Amado never broke a
bone. He did, like many other cowboys, lose the tip of the index finger
on his right hand when he caught it between the saddle horn and his
leather reata, which he had used to lass o a big steer.
Amado built his home and all the buildings on his ranch. The ruins
of the old stage station are still visible. The Amado ranch was a
stopping place for the Nogales stage for many years.
In 1910 the town of Amado came into being when the railroad track
from Tucson to Nogales was laid. When the Nogales Hwy. Was built the
town was moved to its present location.
Amado never succumbed to the prospecting urge, despite the heaving
mining activity, especially at nearby Helvetia, in the early part
of the century.
Although he carried a Colt .45 revolver until his middle forties,
Amado said he was never threatened or had to resort to violence to
"And I never had to call the sheriff. Things were quiet. But
I did lose a few calves (to rustlers)," said Amado.
"I carried a gun to shoot coyotes. I killed two deer with it.
I was a pretty good shot," he said in a matter of fact manner.
Dressed in frayed work clothes and wearing the old fashioned wide
brim cowboy hat, Amado showed his ranch to visitors. He pointed to
towering slat cedar trees he had planted when he first built his home.
In the front yard was a giant mesquite tree that had shown no appreciable
growth in the time Amado has lived there.
The adobe home with galvanized iron roof is an outdated type still
seen here and there in the Southwest: high, narrow windows, thick
walls to keep out the heat and high ceilings.
A fireplace heats the living room, its façade decorated with
tile featuring scenes from Don Quixote. Every morning Amado cuts wood
for the day's fire. He does his own cooking.
The pioneer rancher took his first airplane ride in 1950 when he flew
to Mexico City. He has flown several times since. Until advancing
age forced him to stop a few years ago, Amado drove his own car.
Rites tomorrow for cattleman
Tucson Daily Citizen 4-19-1976
Requiem Mass will be said tomorrow for Gustavo Elias Amado, a cattleman
whose family has been ranching in Southern Arizona since the days
of the Indian wars.
Mr. Amado died Wednesday night at St. Mary's Hospital of a heart
ailment. He was 70.
Founders of the community of Amado about midway between Tucson and
Nogales included members of the Amado family.
The settlement was begun by Mr. Amado's grandfather, who came to
Arizona from Hermosillo, Sonora, in 1850. Two years later, he established
the Amado ranch. In those days, before barbed wire set off ranch boundaries,
Amado cattle ranged from the Mexican border to Cortaro, about 10 miles
north of Tucson.
Next to operate the ranch, a stopping point on the Tucson-Nogales
stage line, was Gustavo's father, Antonio Amado, who died in 1968
In 1910, Antonio Amado helped establish the community of Amado, then
located along the railroad tracks linking Tucson and Nogales. Several
years later, with the opening of the Nogales Highway, the town was
moved westward to its present location, an area that includes Kinsley
Lake and the Cow Palace restaurant.
Gustavo Amado, who lived in Tucson, worked the ranch until he became
ill two years ago. Until then, he regularly rode horses in his work
(his father rode almost daily until he was 88).
Mr. Amado, a 1925 graduate of Tucson High School, also was involved
in farming and grew cotton south of Tucson. He retired in 1970 as
an inspector for the Pacific Fruit & Express Co.
Survivors include his widow, Elvira Hidalgo Amado, of Amado; two
daughters, Mrs. Yolanda Wells, of Tucson, and Mrs. Natalia Bialkowski,
of Sierra Vista; a brother, Pablo of Phoenix; and a sister, Mrs. Amalia
Torres, of Chula Vista, Calif.
Rosary will be recited for Mr. Amado at 7:30 tonight at Tucson Mortuary,
202 S. Stone Ave. The funeral Mass is scheduled for 9 a.m. tomorrow
at Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, 1946 E. Lee St. Burial will
be in Holy Hope Cemetery.
Descendant of Pioneer Family Dies
Phoenix Gazette 4-9-1976
TUCSON (AP) -- Gustavo Elias Amado, 70, descendant of a pioneer ranching
family, after which the town of Amado was named, has died of a heart
Amado, who continued his grandfather's ranching business, died Wednesday
in St. Mary's Hospital.
He maintained the Amado family ranch south of here, raising cattle
and growing cotton. He also worked for Pacific Fruit Express Co. until
Amado's grandfather came to southern Arizona in 1850 and established
a ranch that extended 70 miles northward from the Mexican border before
barbed wire became popular.
Amado is survived by his widow, Elvira, one son and two daughters.
Services will be at 9 a.m. tomorrow in SS. Peter and Paul Catholic
Miss Teresa Amado, 83, pioneer daughter of a pioneer Tucson family,
died yesterday at the home of her niece, Mrs. Y. F. Aguirre, 16 East
Fifteenth street. Miss Amado was born in Tucson, the daughter of Mr.
And Mrs. Manuel Amado. Her father, a well-known rancher of early-day
Arizona, controlled the ranches near which the town of Amado grew up.
He was long associated as a partner with Maish and Driscoll, a firm
name which was well known in ranch circles of pioneer days.
Miss Amado was educated in the Catholic schools of Tucson and continued
her close association with the church throughout her life. She was instrumental
in raising funds for and building a home for the aged maintained by
the church on Twenty-fourth street. She was also active in the campaign
to raise funds for the cathedral.
As a girl she lived through the Indian scares when Apache raids were
feared in the city itself and her father and uncles were active in pursuit
of the raiders.
She leaves three brothers, Antonio, Demetrio and Alberto Amado fo Tucson
and one sister, Mrs. Ysmaela Carrillo of Tijuana.
Pablo Amado 86, of Phoenix, passed away May 21, 1996. Mr. Amado was
born June 26, 1909 in Tucson. His family was among the founders of the
Presidio in 1775. Mr. Amado was a rancher, farmer, retail store owner
and a prize-winning amateur photographer. He was a member of a pioneer
family, the Knights of Columbus, the Arizona Historical Society, Los
Desciendientes De Tucson and the Tucson and Phoenix Camera Clubs. He
had received the Governor's Award for Arizona pioneers from Gov. Symington.
Mr. Amado is survived by his wife, Aida Amado; children, Antonio Celaya,
Paul G. Amado, Laura McNeill, Maria Byers, Delia Walters, William E.
Ganz, Alice Bauer and Jo Ganz Boyd; sister, Amalia Torres; 26 grandchildren
and 20 great grandchildren. Visitation 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Friday with
Rosary at 7:00 p.m. Friday at Whitney & Murphy Arcadia Funeral Home,
4800 E. Indian School Rd., Phoenix. Funeral Mass 12:00 Noon Saturday
at St. Peter & Paul Catholic Church, 1946 E. Lee, Tucson, with Interment
at Holy Hope Cemetery, Tucson. The family suggests donations to the
American Heart Association, 2929 S. 48th St., Tempe, AZ 85282 or the
Arthritis Foundation, 777 E. Missouri #119. Phoenix, AZ 85014.
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