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"Voices in the Valley"
The Tubac Historical Society Oral History Project
page 4 of 7


Gustavo "Gus" Antonio Amado
Beverly Irish Amado
Rancho Nuevo
Amado, Arizona

Interviewer: Betty J. Lane
Date of Interview: March 3, 1989 and March 15, 1989

Amado: Yes.
Lane: From your father?
Amado: From my mother. My dad never got around to it. My dad died in 1976, and we were all about to do it, but we ran out of time.
Lane: Now the house that was on here, which you renovated and are in now, was someone living in it at the time you bought it?
Amado: Yes, my grandfather's sister built this house for a summer home, and she'd come and spend her summers here, or three or four days, whatever. She had a buckboard and she'd go back and forth to Tucson. I guess it was cooler here than it was in Tucson. Then after that my dad moved here in 1924 when he got married. He lived here 'til about 1945, 'til we had to move to town, so us kids could go to school there. Then we'd come here on weekends [and go] back and forth. Then we moved out here in 1956, and we've been here ever since. This is the original house. This was a bedroom, and then we remodeled again. We knocked this wall down. That always has been the kitchen. Okay. And this was the entrance right here.

The bathroom was the entryway. The parlor, I guess you'd call it.
Lane: We are sitting in what is now the dining room.
Amado: Yes. And then that living room there was a porch. At one time when my dad lived here it was a screened porch, and then when he moved here he took out the screen porch and put [in] big sliding windows--the old type--and he made that into a living room.
Lane: This is on the west side of the house.
Amado: On the west side of the house. Then after that, we enclosed it and put a wall across it and took out the sliding doors and what have you. These ceilings used to be fourteen feet high, and dirt on top. Then we come along and we knocked and made them all standard to eight feet.
B. Amado: In the adobe out there, there's a date--1910, when they built the house.
Lane: Did your father run cattle here even though he was in Tucson?
Amado: Right.
B. Amado They farmed cotton.
Lane: Oh, you did?
Amado: And grain crops, and hay crops. Cotton prices got good about the--oh, late forties or early fifties, and then after that we got away from cotton. It's not really for cotton.
Lane: The climate?
Amado: It's too high and the season's too short, so we just went to pasturing.
Lane: How far towards the mountains does your property go now? How many acres do you have?
Amado: We just had this right here on the river here. The cattle ranch was sold, and it used to go all the way? you know where the Whitehouse Canyon Lodge used to be?
Lane: Yes.
Amado: Right behind that lodge. Now it's this here, and then we've got a section of land by Elephant Head. The peak up there.
Lane: I want to ask you a little bit about what the settlement of Amado was like when you were growing up. What all was there?
Amado: The main thing that was there--the railroad crew lived in there. They worked on the railroad tracks. Maybe two or three families lived in the houses along the railroad. They used to deliver the mail from Tucson every day about eleven o'clock, and this man by the name of Boozer would go pick up the mail. I think she still lives there in Amado. She rents the place to Jesse's Service Station, Mrs. Boozer. She lives in the back as far as I know, and her daughter Carole Boozer, is the one that lives in the back with her mother. The old man is the one who used to go pick up the mail, and they had a little store there--sold bread, milk and soda pop.
Lane: Which is now where Luna's service station is?
Amado: Yes, and they used to have gasoline. Not a garage, but they had gasoline. Then after that, about nineteen--Salazar came into town and he had Rancher's Mercantile up, and they moved the mail to Rancher's Mercantile. I think in the late forties.
Lane: The building that the Smithsonian is in right now was an old schoolhouse at one time.
Amado: That's the old Amado Schoolhouse.
Lane: You never went there?
Amado: No, that's Santa Cruz County. See, we're in Pima County, so we had to go to Sopori School, and all the kids in Santa Cruz County went to Amado.
Lane: But they were still going there when you lived here--down here?
Amado: Oh, yes. The school was open then, yes.
Lane: And there was no church right there until the present church was built?
Amado: Right. Fairly new in 1947. I remember when we built it.
B. Amado: And Monsignor Gregory was the one that ....
Amado: No.
B. Amado: I thought it was.
Amado: No, it wasn't Monsignor Gregory. I can't think of the guy's name. He was a young fellow, a young priest, I'd say [in his] late twenties--probably twenty-eight or twenty-nine. I can't think of his name. My mother would remember it though. As a matter of fact, he was a priest in Tubac.
Lane: I think it was sort of a satellite from the Tubac church.
B. Amado: Yes, uh-huh.
Lane: And maybe is still.
Amado: He'd work out of Nogales and give church in Tubac and Amado, and they'd change it around. In other words, nine o'clock would be at Amado and eleven o'clock at Tubac. They'd go on two or three months that way and they they'd....
B. Amado: Because there wasn't a regular priest at Tubac for a long time, but there is now
Amado: There's a regular priest at Tubac now.
Lane: Growing up, did you do ranch chores?
Amado: Yes, that's all there was to do--nothing else. I guess that's fine. I liked it and I stayed in it. Really, that's all I knew what to do. It's a good life.
Lane: We'll get into that more later. Let's go back and talk about Demetrio. Did you remember him, you said?
Amado: Yeah.
Lane: Describe him, please.
Amado: Heavy man. Interesting, smart--very smart. I was going down Amado Lane, and I guess I was fifteen or sixteen years old, and I saw this man walking down the lane, in a charro uniform. A green charro uniform with a green hat, everything with the little bee-bees hanging from the hat. And I went by. And I said, "Who is this gentleman walking down the road?" And it was getting dark. You know, not dark, but just .... I said "That's my Uncle Demetrio." So I pulled up, and I stopped and I backed up, and I said, "Hello, Uncle." He looked at me and he said, "Hello." "Do you want a ride?" He was walking towards his ranch. So he got on, closed the door and he looked at me and says, "Who are you?" I said, "I'm Gustavo Amado." "Gustavo Amado?" "Yes," I said,"his son--they call me Guerro." He says, "You're too young to be Gustavo Amado." "But I'm his son," I told him. He paused for about thirty seconds and said, "Okay, I remember you." That's one of the times I talked to him.
Lane: Did your family speak Spanish when you were young--any of them?
Amado: When I went to school, I didn't know a word of English. Nothing. And they spoke Spanish all the time. My sisters knew how to speak English when they went to school, but I didn't because I guess I hung around the cowboys all the time and never had time for English.
Lane: Were the livestock pens at Amado when you were young?
Amado: Yes, they used them still.
Lane: Did you work around there some? Sometimes [when] they
brought the cattle in?
Amado: We'd round up the cattle--ours, in other words--I don't know about the others. They probably did the same, yes. Because we'd round the cattle up and everything and then we'd drive them all up to the corrals in Amado. We'd gather them up, round them up, which would take maybe three weeks, and then we'd drive all the cows and calves
to the stockyards and separate the calves from the mothers and ship them. The train most likely would come at night. We'd load those calves up, and then that next morning we'd open the gates and bring the cows home.
Lane: These were Herefords?
Amado: Herefords, yes all Herefords. Yes, since I was a kid they were all Herefords, but before then there used to be these Corriente, like you see out there right now. But see, these that I have there are roping steers, and that's the way those cattle used to be in the nineteen hundreds or the late eighteen hundreds. Were all Corriente cattle.
Lane: You're probably giving them a Spanish name, Corriente.
Amado: Yes, "common."
Lane: Oh, "common."
Amado: And the breed is--who knows? That's all kinds, all mixtures. Very hardy cattle. Sort of like a Texas longhorn.
Lane: But they don't have long horns, do they? Or do they?
Amado: They could, I guess. That's why we buy them for roping steers. They have horns. And these you can only get further south into Mexico.
Lane: Do you buy your original stock from Mexico?
Amado: Yes, these roping steers.
B. Amado: Just the roping--not the other cattle.
Amado: The other cattle are from here. They're considered for athletic events.
Lane: So do the two of you go around to rodeos or anything like that, or roping?
B. Amado: No way. No way.
Amado: She doesn't like it.
B. Amado: It's boring.
Amado: I do because I rope, and it's a sport with me, so I go about every weekend. I try to anyway.
Lane Do you?
Amado: Like Jimmy Garrett. You know, he still goes. And it is boring. If you're not in it, it is very boring. So I don't blame her at all.
Lane: Antonio Amado's dad...
Amado: Which was Manuel. He was born in Hermosillo. And he migrated north, and he had a ranch right across [the border]--Tres Bellotas.
Lane: Is that right?
Amado: Are you familiar with Tres Bellotas?
Lane: Well, I've seen it. Now where was it?
Amado: That's right within--maybe the line's about from here where those cattle are right there--the Mexican line.
Lane: Oh!
Amado: And his ranch was right on the other side.
Lane: In Mexico?
Amado: In Mexico. And then from there he came down here and settled at San Xavier Mission.
Lane: That was the Los Reales settlement.
Amado: What?
Lane: The Los Reales settlement. Mike (Amado) refers to it as that.