"Voices in the Valley"
The Tubac Historical Society Oral History Project
Gustavo "Gus" Antonio Amado
Beverly Irish Amado
Interviewer: Betty J. Lane
Date of Interview: March 3, 1989 and March 15, 1989
Lane: This oral history is being conducted for the Tubac Historical Society of Tubac, Arizona. The interviewee is Mr. Gustavo, or Gus as he is called, Antonio Amado, who lives on a ranch north of the settlement of Amado. The name of the ranch is Rancho Nuevo. We will also be talking to his wife, Beverly Irish Amado. This is March 3, 1989. The interviewer is Betty Lane.
I'm going to ask you first where you were born and when?
Amado: I was born in Tucson on the 21st day of September, 1932.
Lane: Your parents' names were what?
Amado: My dad was Gustavo Elias Amado and my mother's name is Elvira Hidalgo Amado. They were both born in Tucson.
Lane: They were?
Lane: Give me your father's parents' names.
Amado: Antonio Amado, and my grandmother was Maria Elias Amado.
Lane: And your mother's parents' names?
Amado: My mother's dad was Miguel Hidalgo and his wife was Margarita Hughes Hildago.
Lane: How many brothers and sisters did you have?
Amado: I had two sisters, Yolanda and Natalia--Yolanda Wells and Natalia Bialkowski--married names.
Lane: In getting the genealogy of the Amado family, tell me, do you know the names of your grandfather's brothers and sisters? Would that be asking too much?
Amado: The brothers were--one was Demetrio, [then] Alberto, and Manuel. The sister was Nela. Manuel Amado was the father and he came down here from Hermosillo in about 1850. Nela lived in Tijuana. I never met her. Demetrio, I knew him pretty well because he lived here in Amado.
Lane: Yes, I want to ask you about him.
Amado: And Alberto, vaguely I remember him. I was awfully young. In Tucson I met him.
Lane: Now your father--his brothers and sisters.
Amado: My father had a brother Antonio. He was the oldest, and he had a ranch up here by Elephant Head. The other brother, Pablo, he lived with grandpa across the river at Rancho San Antonio, [and my father had] a sister, Amelia [Torres].
Lane: Who was Demetrio?
Amado: Demetrio was my grandfather's brother--Antonio's brother. He lived there at Amado across from the old railroad station.
Lane: As you go down the road from the Smithsonian towards the mountains, where exactly was that station? Right near the road?
Amado: As you leave that service station of Jesse's [Luna] you go across the river and at the end of the lane, it forks? one goes right and one goes left. Just across the railroad tracks you can still see the old ruins, and there's where Demetrio lived. And to the right of that lane where you butt into the railroad tracks--right on the corner there was like a mercantile store there that belonged to the Amados. I think the original Manuela had it. To the left you can still see the ruins--there's some ruins there--very recent is a burnt adobe house. In about 1972 they had a big flood, and the person living there was Raul Salcido, and his kid is the one that drives up and down the road here with that backhoe, Rudy Salcido. His dad lived out there in that little house and there's some pillars out of concrete and they used to have diesel tanks on top, and they'd sell diesel. My grandfather sold diesel to the people around. The stockyard was just about three hundred yards further to the north from there, where they shipped the cattle from--the ranchers from around the area.
Lane: Now Demetrio's ranch was about where Middleton ranch was, right?
Amado: Yes, but more to the south about, I'd say, a mile. Where the Middletons live is where old man Manuel Amado [lived] the original one that came from Hermosillo, that settled there at San Xavier. Since he knew they were going to make that a reservation, lie moved sough looking for some land, and settled right there at Middleton's place. They called that the Alamo Ranch. I understand that's why they called it Amado, because he was the first one to settle in the area.
Lane: I believe that the family built a church there and that is now part of the main ranch house?
Amado: Yes. When I was a kid, I saw these adobe ruins there, and they told me that was the original house, and then they built that church. Now when I knew it, it was an old church--you know, a big church. I made my first Holy Communion there. Then Middleton--he made his home out of that church. I don't know where, because it's a pretty big house now--but that church was there already. I don't remember if that was part of the old house that Manuel Amado [had], or he built that church. And then in 1947, they built that little church there across from the Amado school.
Lane: They did?
Amado: Amado: Yes
Lane: Lane: You mean it was built, or did the family build it?
Amado: No, no, that was built by the people. I remember I helped build it--hauled some rocks in or what have you, but it was built by everybody.
B. Amado: And the marble altar from that church was taken to the church in Tubac, and that was donated by the family.
Amado: By Antonio Amado, not the family. And he'd go to church every Sunday to take the mass.
Lane: Repeat that. You're talking about a ranch on the east side of the Santa Cruz which was called San Antonio Ranch, which was owned by Antonio Amado and was sold to Ray Underdown.
Amado: Yes, in 1972.
Lane: Mrs. Amado was saying that the Arizona Historical Society has some things from the Amado family, like the first bed that came to Tucson from the west coast.
Now your elementary schooling was down there?
Amado: No, at Sopori.
Lane: At Sopori?
Amado: Yes, at the old school. About eight miles up the road.
Lane: Do you remember any special teachers you had--any teachers that meant something to you?
Amado: Well there were two sisters and they were [both] called Miss Romo. They weren't married at the time, and we called them Big Romo and Little Romo, because one was big and the other was short.
Lane: That was R-O-M-O?
Lane: Where did you got to high school?
Amado: I went to Tucson--we only had school to the eighth grade here, so then we all moved to town. I graduated from Tucson High in 1951, and then I went to the University of Arizona and graduated from there in 1956.
Lane: Let's get back to any more memories of Sopori School.
Amado: Well, there was on the average of thirty?two of us kids from first to eighth grade, all in one room.
Lane: Is that right?
Amado: Yes. One time they had these doors, you know, that unfold, [ed: Mr. Amado verifies this English word with his wife.] and they'd close them, and they'd have one to fourth grade on one side, and then fifth to eighth on the other side. The big kids were not over there with the little kids. We'd have recess in the morning and then at noon an hour for lunch, and then another recess in the afternoon, and we'd come home at four o'clock. There was a station wagon bus.
Lane: Oh, there was?
Amado: Yes, I think it was a 1932 Chevrolet bus. Out of wood. Awful square, and all thirty-two kids would get in there. The chauffeur was Paul Bell at first, and then his wife took it over--oh, I don't know, maybe three or four years later. I can't recall. Her name was Irene Bell.
B. Amado: Tell them about how you got to the top of the hill on the bus.
Amado: When we'd be coming home from school--have you been up that road? Most likely you have been--this side of the Sopori Ranch there's a saint up on top of that hill. As you'd come up that hill we'd make a drop. Some kids would get off there--the family of Garcias, about four or five kids--and then we'd take off again. Well, we'd have to get off that station wagon or the bus and push it up that hill because they didn't have enough power to get up to the top. Not all the time, just sometimes they wouldn't. (laughs)
B. Amado: It depended on what you had on the bus.
Amado: Yeh, right. That'd be about our day. We'd take tires to play at school because we didn't have any playground equip ment, or nothing. So we'd take old tires and push the tires around the yard. And every once in a while we had a baseball and bat--no backstop, I remember that. We had a garage door for the backstop, and the ball would get egg-shaped because of hitting that hard.
B. Amado: What about the Giant Strikes?
Amado: Yeah, later on we got Giant Strikes.
Lane: You got what?
Amado: Giant Strikes, we called them. It's a steel pipe that stands up and they got chains to the sides, and we'd pull each other around. We grabbed one over all the rest of the chains and then we'd pull them around and give them a joy ride. You know.
Lane: Are you saying S-T-R-I-P-E-S?
Lane: Did they take you out up in the mountains on picnics or anything like that?
Amado: We'd go. Usually we'd have pledge allegiance to the flag around 8:30, and then we'd have a recess around--I don't know--ten thirty. Then we'd just take off to the mountains, six or seven of us kids, and stay up there until the bus would come back.
Lane: You weren't punished for it? (all talking and laughing at once)
Amado: We'd stay up there and hunt these chives, you know what I mean? They grow in the ground and they're about that deep. We'd take a cold chisel and a hammer and dig those suckers out, and then get a pack of them and sit down and eat them. And then we knew what time that bus would come--we could see it from the top of the hill--then we'd come down and get on the bus and go home.
B. Amado Then you had Mrs. Bourne as a teacher.
Amado: And after that we had Mrs. Bourne.
Lane: Oh, the author?
Lane: Is that right? Tell me about her. How long was she there? Do you remember?
Amado: I think about two or three years.
I can't remember what her first name was; we just called her Mrs. Bourne.
Amado: She always wore Levis--cowgirl--and everybody liked her. We used to write articles on The Little Cowpunchers--the school paper. She took us to a parade, and she'd take us to the University of Arizona Museum. I think, all in all, she was probably one of the best teachers we had.
Lane: I'm sure you've read her books.
Amado: Yeah. Not all of them. I knew one of her husbands, Jack Ryland.
Lane: Jack Riley?
Amado: Jack Ryland.
Lane: Is that right?
Amado: He's still living. He still goes to that auction and I've seen him up there. He tucks his pants in his boots, and you know--old cowpuncher.
Lane: People tell me I ought to interview him.
Amado: Yes, you should.
Lane: Where does he live?
Amado: I don't know. Just go to the auction and ask for Jack Ryland, and they'll probably tell you. He's not there all the time, but he used to be there every week. Now just on Fridays.
Lane: You're saying the Elks?
Amado: No, the cattle auction.
Lane: Cattle auction, okay.
Amado: It's called Layton's Livestock Auction now. Mother, get that number. She can call there and ask them if they know how you can get hold of Jack Ryland. He might be in the telephone book, but I don't know his initials. In her book, maybe the initials are there, or maybe they just call him Jack Ryland.
Lane: I'll do that. Was she married to him at the time she was teaching you?
Amado: No, no. I don't know if she was married before or after, I really don't know.
Lane: Where did she live?
B. Amado: There at the school.
Amado: Yes, right there at that school. All the teachers lived right there at school. They had a kitchen, a bedroom and a small living room.
Lane: Like the one at Tubac--it was the same way.
Amado: Sort of like that, yeah.
Lane: Were you sorry to see that school torn down?
Amado: Yeah. I don't know why they tore it down. All of a sudden I drove by there and saw it cleared up. Why they tore it down was beyond me. Whose idea it was to tear it down, I don't know. That was a historical marker. I think that thing started about 1927 or 1928.
Lane: Was there anything at the intersection there at Arivaca Junction at that time? I know the Cow Palace wasn't there, or anything like that, was there?
Amado: No, Kinsley's Ranch was there. That's what used to be the Cow Palace, and the guy's name was Otho (?) Kinsley. It was always a bar and restaurant--you could always have something to eat. They had gas pumps right in front, the old hand-type.
Lane: And the lake?
Amado: The lake came afterwards.
Lane: Did it?
Amado: I remember when they built the lake. Probably in 1943 or 1944, in through there. Otho Kinsley also drilled irrigation wells and domestic wells. He was pretty much a jack of all trades. He just got into any business that he saw he could make money in. A big man. He'd give rodeos there, and dances, and ...
Lane: Where were the rodeos?
Amado: You know where that little Amado Plaza is now--that shopping mall there?
Amado: Right behind it where that Dale's Feed Store is--the Amado Feed Store is. Right in there, that's where the rodeo was. They'd walk across to the bar, back and forth. Oh, did he draw people! Man, they came from all over. You see, he had that hill terrace. I don't know if you noticed it, it's towards Lakewood and the cars would park on that. You know, they could see the rodeo down below.
Lane: Were you in Sopori Ranch ever, or often?
Amado: To visit or anything like that?
Amado: The guy's name that had it when I was a kid, his name was John Angulo. I don't know how many owners that ranch has had. As far as I know, the Warners have had it since 1944. I've never met them; never saw them or nothing. I don't know myself if she's ever seen the ranch. Beautiful ranch.
Lane: I wonder if he was ever here.
Amado: Mr. Warner? I couldn't tell you. I really don't know. I just knew the manager. I know the manager now, Jeff Cameron, but I've never seen any of the Warners.
Lane: Mr. Amado's mother has two sisters--the Hidalgo family.
Amado: They live in Tucson, but they moved to Los Angeles in 1929 or 1930. They worked there until about 1974, and they retired and came back to Tucson. They all live within a block of each other.
Lane: What part of town is that?
Amado: Right behind El Rancho Shopping Center.
Lane: The Speedway area up there.
Amado: Right behind that Catholic church.
She's got two cousins that live right across the street from her, and they're all eighty to eighty-seven years old. [Only] Mike Hidalgo, Elinor Hidalgo and Julia Hidalgo and my mother left in that family--four of them.
Lane: They'd have many memories, then.
Amado: Yes, especially one of them--Julia. You want to talk to her if you want information about me. You got to get them by themselves. You know what you were saying about Lil and the other sisters?
Amado: Well, Julia will be just as bad. (laughs) My mother would just sit there and she won't compete with them. You can get information there from Edna Hughes, and Sophie Aros,
B. Amado [Inaudible]
Amado: Yeh, from Mike you can pick up a few words. You can call my mother at [phone number removed for privacy] in Tucson and tell her that I ...
B. Amado: They have a lot of memories of when they used to give parties up here at the ranch.
Amado: At this ranch here.
Lane: Now you're talking about which ranch?
Amado: Antonio Amado. He'd give a party every year on his Saint's Day, and big ones! All the people in Tucson would come. I'm talking 'way back--I don't know when.
B. Amado: They'd start hauling stuff [in] by buckboards and stuff a few months ahead of time.
Amado: I remember the last one he had was 1963. It was the last
party he gave. For years he didn't give any, because he
got older. In 1963 they gave a birthday party--the kids
did. I don't know how many people showed up--maybe 300
or 400--to the old ranch. But before that, he'd give
a party there that, oh man, they'd just ....
No, here. That's the one I'm talking about because that's
the one I remember. It was maybe in about 1939 or 1940.
And everybody in Tucson would come. We knew a lot of
people. Well, not everybody in Tucson, but families from
there. The Eliases, and Amados, and Redondos--I don't
know, some of these Oteros, and what have you. They'd
just make a day of it.
Lane: Let's get back to when you went to high school. Was that
part difficult for you, coming from a one-room school to
go to Tucson High?
Amado: Yes, when I came to junior high here--the seventh grade was where I started--they told me that my reading capabilities were that of a second grader.
Lane: My goodness!
Amado: Oh, yes, bad.
B. Amado: Then you had tutors.
Amado: Then I had tutors and then finally I got into it Well, I never thought I'd graduate from college, but if you study I guess you can do anything you want to. I just had bad grades until I married her, and then the last few years I studied a lot easier. (Mrs. Amado chuckles)
Lane: What did you major in?
Amado: Animal science.
Lane: Animal science, yes. And you were married in what year?
Amado: 1954. And you also (aside to B. Amado), August 4, 1954.
Lane: Were you in the university at the time?
B. Amado: No, I worked for Southern Arizona Bank.
Lane: I see.
Amado: And then in 1956 we moved here.
Lane: You did? Now, was this property in the family?
Amado: Always, yes.
Lane: Had you heired it, or ....
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?
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?
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 ....
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?
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.
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.
Lane: The Los Reales settlement. Mike (Amado) refers to it as that.
Amado: Could be.
Lane: Tell me about some of the people. Did you ever know Bird Yoas?
Amado: Yes. He was a Texan and he had that ranch--Agua Caliente. I don't know when he came here, but he stole a lot of cattle.
Lane: That's what I've heard.
Amado: And my grandfather says, "And in the daytime, too!" All he would say was, "He's a bad man. He's a bad man." He was a legend. HE finally sold the ranch to Ralph Wingfield when he got old.
Lane: Does Mr. Wingfield still own it?
Amado: He still owns it, yes. I think he has a boy that's running it up there.
Lane: Now that's at the foot of the Santa Ritas, really.
Lane: East of Mr. Amado's ranch here.
Amado: Uh-huh. Right at the bottom of the Smithsonian.
Lane: Were you at Canoa Ranch often? Did you visit there some?
Amado: Just when I had business, that's all.
Lane: Mike [Amado] mentioned some family stories that go 'way back involving Geronimo, and him being in the area. Do you recall any of those?
Amado: No, I don't.
Lane: Do you recall that at one time there was a military camp in through here? It wouldn't have been in your time, but many years back.
Amado: I understand that right there where the Half-Way Station is was a military camp, and the gentleman that had that was a fellow by the name of Basilio Carranza. I understand that for some reason he stopped by there and thought he could do some business there selling food to the soldiers, and he opened that restaurant. I understand that's the way he got started.
B. Amado: He was from Italy, right?
Amado: I guess he was, I don't know.
Lane: He was from where?
B. Amado: Italy.
Lane: Is that right?
Amado: He was an Italian.
Lane: Some other people that you recall from your childhood, or events?
Amado: My memory's really getting weak. When I see things is when, you know--you start thinking more how things have changed. But at the last moment I can't think of any thing. When I start driving that road, maybe then I'll start--you know.
Lane: We could always add to this later. You have seen a lot of change in the valley in your lifetime.
Amado: Oh, yeah. Well, we have a bridge there.
Amado: Of course I never thought we'd see Green Valley. Green Valley's a bigger change.
Lane: Mike Amado in Images and Conversations says that at one time his father ran cattle all up in through there, where Green Valley is now, and as a youngster he would go up there on his horse.
Amado: Well see, this ranch where we're at right here--all the cattle used to water here because it was open range. They had to water here. That windmill and that big tank come by Twin Buttes, I guess, by horse and wagons.
B. Amado: The one behind the tack room back there, the big tank.
Amado: I guess they had big barns there where they kept their horses and everything, and they'd ride them. There were cattle spread all over the place. When they had round ups everybody would go because they'd get their own stock out of the roundup, whatever would fall in the rodeo. You know, they'd pull their own herd out--or their cattle
Lane: Were those usually in the fall, or were they fall and spring?
Amado: Usually in the fall, because in the springtime Oh, you'll have some in the springtime, but they usually like to brand them before the rainy season gets here because [there were] a lot of screwworms in those days. They've eradicated the screwworm. But usually in the fall. Then it's a good time to brand and keep the cattle that you're going to sell. Of course, it was different in that time because there was no cattle buyers. Like now, you go to market and you can sell a cow anytime you want to. But back then, you had to find somebody who was interested in buying your cows or cattle.
Lane: When you shipped cattle at Amado, where did those cattle go? (telephone rings)
Amado: Usually California.
Lane: Your business career, outside of ranching, has been what?
Amado: Well, farming. I farm in Mexico.
Lane: You do? Where?
Amado: In Caborca in Sonora, Mexico.
Lane: What kind of crops do you grow?
Amado: My main crop is cucumbers for pickling. We export them to the States. We export cucumbers for pickling to Arnold Pickle and Olive Company.
Lane: Arnold Pickle and Olive?
Amado: We've been doing that since 1963. And we grow grain crops, and grapes.
Lane: What kind of grapes?
Amado: Carragana and Perlettes.
Lane: How many acres do you have down there?
Amado: Probably one hundred fifty acres of grapes.
Lane: Do you divide your living time down there? Is there a home and all where you stay?
Amado: Yes. Usually I stay down there three days out of the week, on the average.
Lane: Do you go down some, Beverly?
Amado: Not very often. I have to be so careful. I just feel very confined
Lane: This Arnold is a United States firm; the pickle company you're talking about?
Amado: Yes, it's a United States Been around.
Lane: Do you have trucks that you bring these things up in?
Amado: Yes, we export them in trucks.
Lane: And you bring them across the border yourselves?
Amado: Right, yes. We have our own truck, and the cucumbers come in salt brine.
Lane: Oh, they do?
Amado: Yes, in that way you pay less duties on them than when you bring them fresh. And in the meantime, they've already started to ferment as they come across. We pick them one day and that night they're shipped, and they're at Arnold Pickle by the next day at eleven or twelve o'clock.
Lane: You truck them in to them?
Lane: You don't go through a produce house in Nogales?
Amado: No, to Lukeville. They come in bins, so they're in bulk. It's not crates, or lugs or anything. They're graded out in different sizes but in bulk; they're loose, just divided out into five different grades.
Lane: The names of your children?
Amado: Our oldest is Gail Louise Valdez. Married, no children. And the next is Diana Sue Amado, and she works at the University of Arizona. She's a lab technician. Then the next one is Judy Lynn Amado McDaniel. She's married, also--no children. [ed: they also have a son, Gus, Jr., who works at the meat lab at the University of Arizona.]
Lane: Mr. Amado says that they deliver their Mexican grapes to a winery--the biggest in Mexico, originally from Spain.
END OF SIDE ONE
Lane: SIDE TWO
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?
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?
Amado: To Margaret Proctor. I knew all of them--Charlie, and Henry. That was the dad, Charlie.
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?
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?
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.
Lane: He bought the ranch?
Amado: No. He bought that land up there.
Lane: Which land?
Amado: It used to be Canoa Land Grant. At one time it belonged to my grandfather.
Lane: This is on the east side of the river?
Amado: Right along the east side.
B. Amado: Where the trailers are.
Amado: Yeah, that belonged all to my grandfather.
Lane: Where the Elephant Head trailers are now?
Amado: Right. In 1939 he sold it. Because of the Depression he had to sell some land to pay off the bank.
B. Amado: He owned the bank at that time.
Amado: He opened a bank in 1929 and Depression hit, and so he had to start selling property and ranches and pay off the bank. So that's when he sold that piece there. And then Howell Manning bought it, I guess. The Canoa Ranch bought it. Then after that, he sold it. I don't know,
at one time I think they called it Canoa Land and Cattle Co. Then it was sold to the Wolfswinkel [ed: sp.?] brothers. I can't remember the names of the brothers. We did business. I leased the ranch to them, I remember. Finally, Fickett bought it.
Lane: You are saying F-I-C-K-E-T-T, probably.
Amado: Yes, Fickett. Anyway, he built that road on a Sunday [when] he came through there. I couldn't stop him. I tried to. Then it was under litigation for about three or four years, and in the meantime people kept moving up there. Finally, my attorney called me up and says, "Gus, you know what, you'd better drop it." I said, "You can't fight city hall, there's too many people up there now." So we just dropped it. But they put the road right on top of that dike and then they paved it to boot, which is better because it was getting dusty, and people just,
you know ....
B. Amado: But then it just threw that water over this way.
Lane: On the south side of the dike?
B. Amado: Yes.
Amado: That's when they built that bridge.
Lane: When they built the bridge, rather.
Amado: In other words, here's the bridge right here, okay? And the water hits right here and it's got to come around to get under the bridge. In the meantime, it backs up to us. Well that suit's going on, too. But I don't know what's ever going to happen. There's a lot of people suing the county. They don't care; they got a lot of money. A lot of county attorneys. (laughs)
Lane: Now the Mannings actually lived on Canoa Ranch, didn't they?
Amado: Howell Hanning, yes, and his dad [ed: Colonel Manning] before then. He's the one that started that place, I think. He had a house long ago in Tucson. What's the name of that real elite place there?
B. Amado: Snob Hollow.
Lane: It became the Elks Club at one time??The Manning House, yes.
Amado: Then the son, he lived there for years, that I know. Ever since I can remember the old man lived there 'til he died.
B. Amado: Howell Manning and his wife moved here [ed: to Canoa Ranch] then, and he used to drive around. He planted trees all over the place.
Lane: I wonder how old those houses are there on the ranch.
Amado: Not very old.
Lane: That's what I thought.
Amado: I knew the guy that built them. He was Gilbert's uncle, Chico Redondo.
Lane: Chico Redondo built the houses. They're lovely homes.
Amado: He built the homes. I remember when that was going on. Maybe that was the early forties. They used to mention Chico Redondo. He built all those houses. They're beautiful homes. I don't know about the main headquarters, but the house where Howell lived, Chico didn't built it. I don't know who built it, but they tell me .... I never was in the house. They had hardwood floors and with that last floor, I think, the water came into them. The mines had it by then, and they didn't care. The ranch fell apart.
Lane: Mr. Amado was saying that when Mr. Howell Manning lived on Canoa Ranch it was kept beautifully and he planted many trees, especially around the little lakes they had there.
Amado: When I opened my eyes, the trees were already there. So they must have been planted, you know ....
B. Amado: But Howell planted a lot of trees.
Amado: Oh, yah, he planted them, but I don't know when because Howell was already .... Seventy years old; when you moved here he was already seventy years old. But when I was a kid, you know, we're going back another forty years, so he was ....
Lane: This is a second taping, with Beverly Amado, in their home again. The date is March 15, 1989. Would you repeat to me a couple of stories that we were sitting here talking about? One about the flu epidemic of 1918.
B. Amado: During that time Antonio had quite a few employees in this area, and his son, Gustavo, and the doctor would come out once a week to check on all the people who had the flu. Just before that time they built a barn, and all the lumber from the barn was taken down and used to make caskets, and these people were buried in the foothills around the ranch.
Lane: Are you saying Gustavo, the doctor, or Gustavo and the doctor?
B. Amado: Gustavo and the doctor.
Lane: And then we were talking about Antonio at one time, just before the Depression hit, having a bank.
B. Amado: Yes, he opened a private bank just before the Depression, and that's how he lost a lot of his property, because of the Depression and all the banks folded.
Lane: Where was that bank?
B. Amado: In Tucson.
Lane: Do you remember what part of town, or where?
B. Amado: No, I don't recall.
Lane: Anything else?
B. Amado: The first World's Fair. They went to the first World's Fair in San Francisco. Evidently Antonio was very fond of Chinese art. He bought some very heavy teak tables and furniture, and beautiful pottery.
Lane: Are you saying by "they" that you mean Antonio and his wife?
B. Amado: Yes. And then when they would spend the summers out here he and Gustavo and his mother would put a wild horse and a tame horse on the buggy, and then they'd go in the river from the ranch here to the Canoa Ranch so the horses would get a little tired. Then they'd head up on the road and head for Tucson.
Lane: Is that right?
B. Amado: No, I can't think of anything else. Gus' grandfather, Antonio, had a ready-to-wear store in Tucson. It was called the Fashion Shop, and it was one of the first ready-to-wear stores in the city of Tucson.
Lane: It was probably in downtown Tucson?
B. Amado: Downtown, yes.
Lane: Do you know what street it was on?
B. Amado: It was on Congress. I believe it was between Sixth and Alameda. No, Sixth and--I can't recall.
Lane: Beverly Amado was telling me that there are papers relating to The Fashion Shop at the Arizona Historical Society now, and that at one time they had a display showing these papers to the public. Beverly Amado was saying that Antonio Amado had a wine room in the old ranch that he owned across the river. There was also a swimming pool at that house, which is still there. It is now called the Elephant Head Ranch. Antonio's Ranch, or Elephant Head Ranch, was called Rancho San Antonio.
Do you think that we will continue to have cattle ranching in the Santa Cruz Valley for a long time, or do you think that before too long we're going to see a lot of sub-dividing of some of these ranches?
Amado: [ed: Gus has just come into the room] Oh, I think there will be cattle ranches as long as there's state lease land, because they're not going to be sub?dividing state lease land. And if you have the state lease land, they'll be raising cattle on it. Somebody will be. I don't know who.
Lane: Is state lease land usually in the higher elevations or is it ....
Amado: Usually, but not necessarily. Just east of the Santa Cruz River it starts, and just west of here.
Lane: How about guest ranches? They're fading out, aren't they? I mean people tell me that their insurance is so costly, to have riding horses and all, that they can hardly make it pay anymore.
Amado: That's what I've heard. I understand insurance is awful high.