Shattuck Barons of Arizona Ranching, Mining, Banking

In the early 1900s Arizona was home to giant cattle companies and enormous mining operations. There was the Erie Cattle Company owned by the Shattuck brothers, Jonas and Enoch. And one of the giants in the copper mining business was their brother Lemuel. He made a fortune in copper mining, especially during the first World War when the price of copper rose from 13 cents to 37 cents a pound. He became a wealthy banker and founded a family dynasty. He came from a long line of entrepreneurial Shattucks. The Shattucks of Arizona were open plains barons.

Henry Shattuck (1818-1897), Lemuel Coover Shattuck's father.

Lemuel and his brothers were descended from Shattucks who moved west as farmers for several generations. Their ancestors originated in Massachusetts and moved west to Connecticut. Their grandfather Spencer Shattuck (1784-1862) was born in Connecticut but moved west to Erie, Pennsylvania, where he was one of the first settlers in the Mill Creek township. Their father Henry Shattuck (1818-1897) is described in the "Portrait and Biographical Record of Arizona" (Chapman Publishing, 1901, p. 847) as a "prominent stockman" and owner of a grist-mill. (A grist mill grinds grain into flour.) He became the oldest son of Spencer Shattuck when his older brother William died at the age of 35 years. Two of his sons learned the horse and cattle business from their father and founded a cattle company in the west. The third made a fortune out of a hardscrabble, lawless land. The portrait of Henry we see on the left describes a man who looks as hard as flint. A history of Erie County provides this snapshot of Henry (History of Erie County, Pennsylvania, Chicago 1884 p. 951):

HENRY SHATTUCK retired farmer Erie was born in Erie Co Penn March 4 1819 son of Spencer and Sally Burton Shattuck natives of Connecticut, the former of English descent and the latter of Irish lineage. They were parents of five children four of whom now reside in Erie City. Mr and Mrs Shattuck are both deceased, the former a Universalist in belief dying in 1852, the latter who was a member of the ME Church, departed this life in 1874. Our subject who was the eldest child wisely chose farming his father's occupation; he at one time owned a grist mill in Mill Creek Township; has dealt extensively in live stock and is owner of 869 acres of land in Mill Creek Township, part of which is inside the corporation of Erie City. Mr Shattuck has been twice married, on the first occasion to Emily Parker, who bore him five children--Irene wife of Henry Russell, a son of Capt Willard Russell; William S., farming in Mill Creek; Austin and J. H. in the West, where they own a cattle ranch, and John who died in 1852. Mrs Shattuck died in 1852, and our subject in 1860 married Phebe, daughter of John Coover, by whom he has Lemuel, Elbridge and John.

Henry Shattock shows up as one of three judges in the "Class 8 Stallions and Mares of All Work" category at the 21st Annual Agricultural Exhibition at Erie in 1873.

There is a book written about the pioneers of cattle ranching in Arizona featuring the Erie and Chiricahua cattle companies. "We'll All Wear Silk Hats" by Lynn R. Bailey, published by Westernlore Press, Tucson, Arizona, U.S.A., 1994

Lemuel Coover Shattuck (1866-1938) was born to Henry Shattuck's second wife Phoebe Ann Coover (1832-1913). He had two brothers and a sister. He felt the call to the west at the age of seventeen and drifted in that direction, finally arriving in Arizona. He may have followed his half-brothers Jonas and Enoch out west. They had established the Erie Cattle Company in Cochise County, pioneering cattle farming in southeastern Arizona. (The name of their company must have reminded them of their relatively quiet lives back on Erie County in Pennsylvania.) I suspect their father Henry might have had a role in their venture out west, as they were described by one source as "rich Yankees" who set up the first corporate cattle company in Arizona in Cochise County. Lemuel, the youngest son, may have started out in the shadow of his brothers. But he would not remain long there.

Tombstone, a town in Cochise County, was made famous by the movie "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral." While there is no connection between Shattucks and the Hollywood story (the brothers arrived two years after the gun battle), there are a couple of western history authors who find connections between real life outlaw gangs and the cowboys working at Erie Cattle Company ranch. in "George : Scarborough The Life and Death of a Lawman on the Closing Frontier" Robert DeArment writes: "The identity of the gang members was not known to the officers at the time, but Scarborough suspected that some of them had recently worked for the Erie Cattle Company in Arizona's Sulpher Springs Valley. In time he would become convinced that Erie, a ranch under absentee Pennsylvania Dutch ownership, harbored a nest of outlaw cowboys who worked cattle for their employers during the day and hatched schemes to rob by night. He was particularly suspicious of Erie foreman, Bob Johnson. Whether because of the deliberate policy of Johnson or mere coincidence, the Erie did employ an inordinate number of hard cases and long riders."

Note that the "Pennsylvania Dutch" reference is to the brothers' maternal ancestry, who were early Dutch settlers in Pennsylvania.

DeArment than lists a series of famous western outlaws who once worked for the Shattuck Erie ranch: including Robert Leroy Parker, better known as Butch Cassidy and another member of the Hole-in-the-Wall gang, William Ellsworth ("Elzy") Lay and the Ketchum brothers. There were many others.

Tombstone, Arizona in the early 1880s. Lemuel Shattuck arrived in Arizona in the early 1880s, not long after the famous gun fight in the town.

I would guess that this picture of Lemuel Shattuck was taken in his late teens, just about the time he arrived in Arizona.

The Hollywood version of Tombstone makes it into a cow town. But it was actually a mining town. It was located on a mesa just above the Tough Nut Mine, where silver was mined. The Shattuck's Erie Cattle ranch was near Bisbee, 23 miles away from Tombstone.

Chapman: "For several years Lemuel lived on the plains and in the mountains, living the life as a cowboy, dealing in water rights doing some prospecting....During the Indian outbreaks in the early 80s, he participated in the putting down of the Indians, and assisted the United States troops under Generals Crook and Miles as a scout and guide. Being familiar with the country, his services were in ready demand."

One of the stories that has survived of Lemuel (Lem) Shattuck comes to us from one of his employees.

Interview with James Wilcox, 1131 Santa Rosa Blvd., Tucson, Arizona. March 26, 1969.

Mr. Wilcox has spent the last 62 years of his life in the Southwest. He moved to Bisbee in 1926 and remained there for about 24 years until Phelps-Dodge took over. He worked most of his years in Bisbee for the Shattuck-Denn Mining Co. as a mining engineer.

He told stories about Lem Shattuck, his boss. He said that Mr. Shattuck went to Galeyville when he first came to Arizona, and that later he'd gone to work for the O'Keefe Ranch in Rucker Canyon. (Brand O on the shoulder, K on the hip) He told of the time that Mr. Shattuck was working at one of the OK camps in Rucker canyon. There were some corrals and adobe buildings at the camp, and one of the buildings was a blacksmith shop. Mr. Shattuck was shoeing horses when an Indian rode in and said "shoe my horse". Mr. Shattuck told the indian that there was the forge and plenty of shoes and nails--just to help himself. The Indian replied "I said you shoe my horse". Mr. Shattuck looked up on the side of the canyon and saw about ten armed and mounted Indians watching him. He went ahead and shod the horse and when he finished the Indian thanked him and said "I am Geromino."

It is hard to say if this was one of those tall tales that sailed out of the west and into the dime novels of easterners reading in the comfort of their stuffed chairs. But there seems to be evidence backing up the story if he was a scout and guide for the US troops during the conflicts.

Lemuel was living a youthful vagabond existence in the wide open spaces of the west. But he also experienced the poverty of youth. Without a horse or the money for a ride, he walked three hundred miles to Brisbee to find work. Written under a picture of Lemuel Shattuck in the Bisbee Mining Museum, 23 miles from Tombstone, is a caption that describes Lemuel's arrival in the town. "Lemuel Shattuck arrived in Bisbee broke, borrowed money, got a job and started prospecting."

Between 1888-1890 Lemuel worked for the Copper Queen Mine in Bisbee. In 1890 he left that work and became a lumberman. He furnished lumber for the mining camps. "He furnished lumber for ninety per cent of the houses in the camps, and also did a great deal of the contracting and building. He is also the local agent for the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Company, has a good cold storage plant, and handles all liquors at wholesale and retail."

By 1901 he had accumulated enough capital to help organize the Cochise Mining Company with a small group of speculators, serving as President. He had 25 claims around Bisbee and operated the Juricopa silver mine in Sonora Mexico. He would eventually buy his partners out.

In 1903 a story appeared in the Bisbee Daily Review about a murder that had occurred in Brewery Gulch in a gambling saloon owned by Lem Shattuck. (Brewery Gulch is the historic bar and red light district in Bisbee. Miners escaped the drudgery of their work there, where the saloons were open day and night. It now draws tourists from around the world.) The story describes the saloon (St. Louis Beer Hall) as "respectable." The two robbers, wearing hats pulled down with two eye holes cut in them, were "obviously" green at robbing. Before the roulette dealer, L.O. Milless, got a chance to comply with the demand for money, one of the nervous bandits shot him three times, killing him. Another dealer drew his gun, returned fire, missing the bandits, who fled into the night. Local lawmen eventually tracked down the two men. A scene out of a Hollywood movie.

Lem Shattuck became a most respectable citizen of Brisbee. He was on the city's first city council and the Count Board of Supervisors. He probably made a fortune during the first World War, when copper prices skyrocketed. His copper mine was known as one of the most efficient and productive in the state. The fortune he made in mining allowed him to enter the banking business. He was President of the Miners-Merchants Bank and Director of the Bisbee Improvement Company. The Miners-Merchants Bank eventually became a chain of banks covering the state.

I would guess this is a picture of Lemuel in this late twenties or early thirties when his fortunes were rising.

In a section of her book "Undermining Race: Ethnic Identities in Arizona Copper Camps, 1880–1920," Phylis Cancilla Martinelli provides a portrait of "Lem," as he was known: "Lemuel Shattuck was the type of man who fueled the American Legend of an honest, modest man carving success from a hardscrabble western land. Restless, he tried his hand first at mining, first in Bisbee, then in other mining camps. Returning to Bisbee, he work as a low-skilled trammer, pushing heavy ore carts up the hoist--a job requiring both strength and endurance. Shattuck was remembered by J. Burnett who was someone who made a fortune without forsaking a friend or forgetting a favor... Lem socialized with ordinary men and women and befriended immigrants as well as native-born folks..."

The bio is supplemented by Bonnie Gilson, who wrote this on the "Find a Grave Site." "The Shattuck Mine located in Warren and incorporated in March 1904, was an extraordinarily rich underground copper mine that produced 500 tons per day and sent the ore by aerial tramway to a rail spur then then to the smelter in Douglas. The Shattuck Mine merged with nearby small producer, the Denn Mine, in 1925 becoming the Shattuck-Denn Mining Co. The property was bought out by Phelps Dodge in 1947."

The transformation of Lemuel Coover Shattuck into a man of power, money and influence is captured in this picture.

A "Who's Who in Arizona" published in 1913 shows his status, three decades after he had gone west: "In addition to the business associations above mentioned and his interests in Sonora, Mexico, Mr. Shattuck is President of the Cochise Development Company, Director in the Bisbee Improvement Company and the Bisbee-Naco Water Company, and Treasurer and Director of the Denn Arizona Company. He also served as member of the first City Council of Bisbee, and of the Board of Supervisors of Cochise County. Politically he is a Democrat, and he is an active member of the B. P. O. E. Thirty years a resident of Arizona, the greater part of which has been spent in his present surroundings, and having seen the County of Cochise formed and develop into what it is today, Mr. Shattuck is rightfully reckoned one of the best informed men on all matters of importance of which Cochise can boast."

Lemuel married Elizabeth Isabella "Belle" Grenfell April 13, 1891 in Cochise County. They had eight children, six boys and two girls. Belle lived from 1870 to 1924. Two years after her death, Lemuel married Mary Olive Wilson (1892-1989).

Lemuel Coover Shattuck, Jr.

They had one child, Lemuel Coover Shattuck, Jr. (1928-2013). He owned a guest ranch and then a car dealership. The entrepreneurial spirit ran deep in this family.

Want to read more about this amazing family? This book can be found on Amazon or Abebooks. I bet it makes for a great read. It was written by Lemuel's daughter.

Next is a picture of one of the Shattuck brothers who was a partner in the Erie Cattle Company, Enoch Austin Shattuck (1847-1911). It appears he moved back to Pennsylvania after the cattle company he started with his brother was up and running. Beside him is his wife Anna Belle Emma Bootes (1856-1920).

Jonas Henry Shattuck (1849-1917) appears to have been inseparable from his older brother Enoch. There was two years difference in their ages. He apparently never married and was living at the age of 49 with his brother and his wife in 1900. Both died in Pennsylvania, probably enjoying the luxury and privileges they had earned after a hard life out west.

The brothers had no easy time of it in the early west. Their is a copy of a letter they wrote to Sheriff Stewart of Cochise County describing the losses they had suffered from Black Jack, famous leader of a band of train robbing and cattle rustling outlaws.

It appears that the brothers were described as "rich yankees." A book written about the cattle industry in Arizona in the 19th century has this to say about their company.

"[A] set of stockmen Pennsylvania Yankees with plenty of money set their sights on the Sulphur Spring Valley. Squatting along Whitewater Draw, these men carved out range equal in size to Rhode Island. The Erie Cattle Company, Cochise County's first corporate cattle company, was born in summer of 1883. There were other Pennsylvanians in Arizona. As early as 1877 Theodore F. White and his brothers Jarrett and Thomas, all from Norristown, together with John V. Vickers of Chester, were prodding cattle at the northern end of the Sulphur Spring Valley. First called El Dorado Ranch, their outfit grew into the Chiricahua Cattle Company, incorporated in spring of 1885.

Like all range cattle outfits, these companies began small, marketing Mexican beeves to mining camps, military posts, and reservations. The companies grew, improved their herds, and reached out for markets further afield: to packing houses in San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. In collaboration with other stockmen, the Erie and Chiricahua Cattle companies planted the range cattle industry in southeastern Arizona. They spearheaded formation of the Cochise County Live Stock Association which set a code of conduct for its members, established grazing districts and carried out roundups. This organization fought rustling at every turn, first by mandatory brand registration, then by control of law enforcement; it put into the office of Sheriff, John Horton Slaughter, a Texas frontiersman who warned rustlers: Get out of Cochise County or be Killed. This book looks at Cowboy origins, pinpointing ranches and cattle stations between Chihuahua and reservations in Arizona and New Mexico. The organization of the San Simon Bunch is explored. Buyers in Mexico are named, as are reservation middlemen and Santa Fe and Roswell financiers."

John C. Shattuck (1872-1899), Lem's younger brother

The youngest Shattuck brother, John, followed his brothers out to Arizona. At the age of twenty-seven in Bisbee he succumbed to dysentery. His body was shipped back to Erie, Pennsylvania for burial in the family cemetery plot.