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"Voices in the Valley"
The Tubac Historical Society Oral History Project
page 6 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


We're talking about Antonio.
Amado: He was selling cattle one time and he was a man of He'd really think what he said, and when he said it, that was it. Anyway, they were adding up the weight numbers--well, the buyers were adding them up probably in ten minutes and they were waiting for Mr. Amado to ' finish his adding and come up with his figures. It took him forever, it seemed like to me. So probably fifteen to twenty minutes later he finished and he pushed the paper forward, and they asked him, "What did you come up with, Mr. Amado? Here's our figure right here." He showed them his paper, and says, "Here's mine." He said, "I think you made a mistake." And he [ed: the buyer] says, "No, I didn't." And that's all. He never went back to check them again. So they went through their figures again, and again, and come up to find out they had made a mistake. You see, he'd [ed: Antonio] do things so slow that he was sure that he was right. That's the way he did everything, just ....
Lane: And he's the one that Life Magazine wanted to interview, but they really never could get him to do it. Would have had to wait several days until he decided to.
Amado: If he ever did.
Lane: And I interrupted you, Beverly. You were starting to tell me something about a party, I believe. Remember, you started to say something?
B. Amado: No, it was just the picture I showed you at his last birthday party. Pete Martinez had sketched a little picture of the ranch.
Lane: Was it common for the big ranchers to have quite a few parties--great big parties?
Amado: Oh, probably so. But I don't think from what I hear, not as big as this one here. He'd give a big one.
Lane: Did you go to other ranches when they were rounding up cattle and branding? Did you ever go to other ranches and do that, too?
Amado: No, huh-uh, not a party. Usually that was round up time; when you go to the ranch. And this wasn't round up time, this was just a party he gave on his Saint's day, his birthday.
Lane: Did you know the Redondos as you grew up?
Amado: The Redondos?
Lane: Yes.
Amado: I knew of them, but I didn't ....
Lane: Or the Proctors?
Amado: The Proctors, yes. They lived just by Elephant Head.
Lane: I've talked to them, to Margaret [Proctor].
Amado: To Margaret?
Lane: Yes.
Amado: To Margaret Proctor. I knew all of them--Charlie, and Henry. That was the dad, Charlie.
Lane: George?
Amado: George was the son. I think he lives in Patagonia. He's retired from the Forest Service. He [ed: Charlie] had another boy by the name of Navarro. He died in the fifties, I think.
Lane: You're talking about Charlie had a boy by the name of what?
Amado: Navarro. He was an attorney and he worked out of Globe. He had another one by the name of Robert, Bob Proctor. He was killed in the hoof and mouth episode in Mexico in 1948 or 1949.
Lane: Tell me about some of the floods you've experienced down here.
Amado: I experienced three floods that I can remember. The last two haven't been too long ago. I remember the last one was 1983, and then one in 1970--some, I think--pretty close together. And then the one before that I think was in the forties. They're big, you know.
Lane: They didn't come up to the house here, for example?
Amado: No, never up to the house. Nor to my grandfather's house, and you'd think if you'd see it that it would have been. I've seen it come up to the porch, but it never came into the house.
Lane: Do you have illegals coming through your property down along the river?
Amado: Don't anymore, but we used to--lots of them, especially at that place over there. It was so bad that the cowboy had to move out of there, and they moved here. They were so bad--they'd be just persistent. At night wouldn't let him sleep, from knocking--they wanted something to eat. But they seemed to come in more that way than here, probably because of the highway.
Lane: We're talking about east of the home here and east of the river, you mean. Or would they have been on this side of the river?
Amado: No, the other side.
Lane: The east side of the river?
Amado: Yes. They lean more to the east side. They stick more to the railroad track. Sort of follow the railroad track, and that house is just east of the railroad tracks, and maybe three hundred yards.
Lane: Gus, when you were growing up, weren't there a lot of trees along the river?
Amado: Oh, yah, a lot of cottonwood trees.
B. Amado: The river ran more than it does now.
Amado: Well, at one time it ran clear all the time.
Lane: It did?
Amado: Year 'round, just like it does at Tubac, but as they started farming more and drilling more wells, then the water disappeared. All that water was surface water, and you pump it out and it just keeps going down further and further. Now the water's running again, and I see it more and more often--since that last big flood,that it runs more often. After that last big flood it come to the point where it was running clear water for about seven or eight months, then it disappeared. Every time we have a good rain it'll start running. Now this has been running now for about two and a half months, and we didn't have that big a rain, but it rained and the river ran and it's still running. That's been around for about--I'd say seventy days now. That well, which was built probably at the turn of the century, went dry, and it's got water again. A hand-dug well.
Lane: For goodness sakes.
B. Amado: And that was the well that was used to water all those cattle that they used to water here, and then we used it for the house for about a year, I guess, or two years.
Lane: Do you know who dug it?
Amado: No, I sure don't,but every year we dig it a little deeper, because the water kept going down and down, and we kept putting concrete rings around it.
Lane: Do you worry about Green Valley and the water supply? All the building?
Amado: No, the people in Green Valley worry about it, but I don't.
Lane: You don't?
Amado: No.
Lane: You don't think that it's taking your water table down, down, down, still?
Amado: No, I'm uphill from them.
Lane: That's right, you are.
Amado: The mines, though, when they were here--yah, that well went way down. It's only a hundred foot deep. Anyplace you go, you're going to find water here.
Lane: Now, Mr. Amado when he said that well pointed to a well just south of the house. Well, with the mines working again more .... Is any of this property owned by the mines still?
Amado: Right across the fence here. As I understand it, it's still owned by the mines. That well--we can see it from here over there--that belongs to the mines. They take that water all the way up to the--I don't know what mine it is--Asarco? Now? I guess Duval sold out, or Asarco has it. There's about four or five wells that are hooked up to the same main water line, and they start that well from up there someplace. Got a computer board up there and all that water--now if they're going to start pumping steady--yeah, it will affect the water table, because the minute they closed down that water's running.
Lane: But they're going full speed ahead, possibly, now.
Amado: Probably so, and more people moving into the country? into the valley. We could have a water problem if they don't quit. They're controlling it pretty good, now.
Lane: The Canoa Ranch changes owners so often I can't keep track of it. Are you concerned about what might happen there?
Amado: About ranches changing hands?
Lane: Yes.
B. Amado: What's going to go in next door to us, across that road?
Lane: Now I understand it's still owned by a subsidiary of Mr. Keating's company, American Continental. Do you ever worry about what they might put there" What would you like to see happen there?
Both: Nothing! (laughter)
Amado: How do you stop robberies? Just like all those trailer
houses up there, they just come in and they put the road
right down that dike. Who'd ever think there'd be a road
there? That was a dike that at one time??1946 or 1947
Howell Manning who owned the Canoa Ranch and my dad made
an agreement. He wanted to open that farmland right
there, but that water would come up in those mountains
and spread through his whole wash. He asked my dad,
"What if I just put a dike through there, and we'll put
the fence on this side of the dike," which was on the
Canoa land grant??"and that way we can keep it clean."
Lane: You're talking about where the road to Elephant Head is now?
Amado: Yeah, right. That was on top of the dike. And my dad said, "Fine," so they put the fence .... Like this is the dike. They put the fence on this side, but the fence of the original land grant should be on that side, but we're gonna put it on...
Lane: On the south side.
Amado: Right, [ed: inaudible] but we're going to put it on this side so that way we can plant whatever we want. So all these years it was like that. So then along comes Fickett Realty--George Fickett. Used to be Judge Fickett. At one time he was a judge in Tucson.
B. Amado: His boy.