Tobi Taylor's Journal


News > Thursday, June-24-2010

Alan Ferg Receives 2010 Governor's Archaeology Award

At the recent Arizona Historic Preservation Partnership Conference, in Flagstaff, Alan Ferg was honored with the 2010 Professional Archaeologist Award by the Governor's Archaeology Advisory Commission.

In Ferg's award nomination, his colleague Al Dart wrote that

"Alan Ferg is well known to many southwestern professional and avocational archaeologists, cultural anthropologists, and historians for his outstanding knowledge and research on prehistoric and historical cultures of the American Southwest, and for his willingness to share his unparalleled knowledge and experiences... I first met Alan when he and I were hired for the Arizona State Museum’s Salt-Gila Aqueduct archaeological data recovery project of the early 1980s. I quickly learned that he was an invaluable font of information about southwestern prehistoric artifacts and rock art, and about historical Apachean, Pai, and Mormon material culture, and that he is intense in his efforts to research and publish on these topics. Just one outstanding example of Alan’s research intensity and thoroughness is his early 1980s studies of 'Hohokam T-shaped stones,' which led archaeologist Dr. David Phillips to name these curious artifacts 'fergoliths' in Alan’s honor.

"Perusal of Alan Ferg’s curriculum vitae shows that his archaeological and curatorial experience dates back at least to the early 1970s, and that as of early 2010 he has published 116 scholarly and popular articles and books on topics including Apachean/Pai archaeology and history, the history of playing cards, Mormon archaeology and history, prehistoric archaeology, and miscellaneous topics. However, well over half of Alan’s 116 CV-listed writings are products of his own personal research and his willingness to share his knowledge. Among these are the books Western Apache Material Culture: the Goodwin and Guenther Collections (editor, 1987, University of Arizona Press) and Playing Cards of the Apaches: A Study in Cultural Adaptation (2006, with Virginia Wayland and Harold Wayland, Screenfold Press)."

News > Thursday, June-24-2010

Casa Grande issue of Archaeology Southwest

Archaeology Southwest, Vol. 23, No. 4, looks at the history of Arizona's Casa Grande Ruins, its designation as the country's first archaeological preserve, and the proposed expansion of the Casa Grande National Monument, which would encompass many more archaeological sites in need of protection. I contributed two articles to this issue: "The Nation's First Federally Protected Site," which reveals that Benjamin Harrison, known as "the White House iceberg," was a preservationist perhaps in spite of himself, and "The Perils of Pageantry at Casa Grande Ruins," where I tell how Superintendent Pinkley's bright idea for bringing visitors to the ruins went awry.

Not long after the issue's publication, Dr. Bill Doelle, President and CEO of the Center for Desert Archaeology and the guest editor for this issue, went to Washington to testify in Congress in support of the expansion of the Casa Grande National Monument. He said, in part,

The monument plays a unique federal role in the National Park System: it is the only unit that preserves and interprets Hohokam culture for public education and enjoyment. This purpose has brought 70,000 visitors to the Coolidge-Florence area each year. The Monument is the leading driver for tourism-related economic development in the Coolidge-Florence area. Efforts to protect the few remaining significant examples of Hohokam material culture off of tribal lands are essential if we are to preserve a portion of cultural legacy of this remarkable civilization as well as bolster economic development through heritage tourism.

HR 5110, introduced by Representative Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ), is currently in committee.


News > Monday, February-01-2010

Brusally Article Is Published

The Winter 2009 issue of Journal of Arizona History features my article "'A Landmark in Scottsdale -- A Hallmark in the Arabian World': Ed Tweed, Brusally Ranch, and the Development of Arabian Horse Breeding in Arizona. Readers will learn about Tweed's role in the founding of the Arabian Horse Association of Arizona and the Scottsdale All-Arabian Horse Show, as well as his ever-evolving breeding program and its influence on today's Arabian horses. It also includes photographs of the stallions Skorage, Czester, Faraon, Orzel, Zbrucz, and Brusally Gwiazdor.

This article is adapted from the first chapter in my book-in-progress on Tweed. If you would like a copy, please contact the Arizona Historical Society at or 520.628.5774.

News > Thursday, January-07-2010

Trinidad Lopez and the Naco Cemetery

The tiny border town of Naco, Arizona, made the news a few years ago because a historic cemetery there was going to be destroyed in advance of construction of an RV park. I was doing research on Naco for an issue of Archaeology Southwest when I happened upon a list of the people interred at the cemetery that had been compiled by historian Robert Silas Griffin ( To my surprise, one of the names matched that of my maternal great-great-grandmother, Trinidad Lopez, about whom little is known.

Our family lore has it that, as a young woman in Tucson, Trinidad bore three children by John Rhodes, a cattleman from Texas who fell in with the brothers Ed and John Tewksbury, two of the major players in Arizona’s Pleasant Valley War. This feud, also known as the Graham–Tewksbury War, lasted about a decade and was responsible for the deaths of between 30 and 50 men.

In 1888, a year after members of the Graham faction killed John Tewksbury, Rhodes married Tewksbury’s widow and within a short time relocated his and Trinidad’s children from Tucson to Pleasant Valley. In 1892, Rhodes and Ed Tewksbury ambushed Tom Graham (the last of the Graham men) in Tempe, near the still-standing Niels Peterson House, at the intersection of Southern Avenue and Priest Drive. Rhodes was quickly arrested and put on trial. While in the courtroom, Rhodes was nearly killed when his victim’s widow attempted to shoot him. Rhodes was acquitted, and after that he seems to have become a more-or-less model citizen: he signed up at age fifty-six as an Arizona Ranger, and in 1907, he became the Pinal County Livestock inspector.

There is little direct evidence for the course of Trinidad’s life after Rhodes took their children to Pleasant Valley. But when I discovered her name among those at the Naco Cemetery, and then was able to obtain a copy of her death certificate (, various pieces of the puzzle began to fall into place. From the 1864 census (, I had already placed her year of birth sometime around 1854–1856, and she appears to have grown up with a younger brother or cousin named Rafael Lopez. Interestingly, years later, when Rhodes was on trial, a Rafael Lopez corroborated Rhodes’s claim that he was nowhere near Graham’s property at the time the latter was killed.

The Trinidad Lopez buried at the Naco cemetery died in 1920 at age 65, indicating that she was born in 1855. On her death certificate, she is listed as a "widow," but her parents’ last name is the same as hers. Although it is conceivable that she had married a man with the same surname (and Lopez is an admittedly common name), it is also possible that the use of the term "widow" was a way of getting around the fact that she had three children out of wedlock. Family tradition suggests that Trinidad was not born in Tucson, but instead somewhere in Sonora. Both the census data and her death certificate bear this out.

Even though it is unclear what Trinidad was doing in Naco around the time of her death, we do know that she had various relatives in southern Arizona, including a cousin or uncle, Jose Lopez, who homesteaded a ranch in the San Pedro valley, her brother or cousin Rafael Lopez, a sister or cousin Josefa Lopez, as well as Trinidad’s children — Clara, who married Frank Acton and lived on the Acton Ranch near Mammoth, Juan Francisco (Frank), who was killed during construction of the copper mill at Hayden in 1911, and William (Billy) Rhodes, who worked on the Carlink Ranch, near Redington.

It is ironic that it took the potential destruction of the Naco Cemetery to bring so much attention to the individuals who have been interred there for so many years. Thanks to the residents of Cochise County and other interested parties, Trinidad Lopez and the other people at the cemetery can continue to rest in peace —que en paz descanse.

[A different version of this essay appeared in Archaeology Southwest in 2006.]

News > Wednesday, October-21-2009

Get Back, Jojo -- Or, The Beatles in Tucson

Birders have life lists. Travelers have “must-see” destinations. For years, I wanted to meet a Beatle. This was no idle whim. According to the Popstrology website, I was born in "The Second Year of the Beatles,” and "I Feel Fine” was the number one song the day I was born, January 7, 1965 (which happened to be the twenty-first birthday of Paul McCartney’s brother Mike). I grew up surrounded by Beatles music (the original canon, my parents’ easy-listening versions, and songs by other Apple artists, like Mary Hopkin and Badfinger). As a teenager, I frequented the swap meet at Phoenix’s Greyhound Park with my pal Lisa. While she snapped up movie memorabilia, I found Beatles singles and EPs. Two of the EPs had sleeves printed for the Spanish-speaking market and bore literal, if inelegant, translations like "No Me Molestes" (aka "Don’t Bother Me"),  "Una Dura Noche" ("A Hard Day’s Night"), "Abrazame Fuerte" ("Hold Me Tight"), and "Las Cosas Que Dijimos" ("Things We Said Today"). Later, a cousin gave me a butcher-cover Yesterday and Today, and a comic-book pal dubbed a bunch of bootleg recordings onto cassettes.

In 1979, one of my eighth-grade teachers traveled from Phoenix to Tucson, to the newly opened Canyon Ranch resort, where she saw, and spoke to (albeit briefly), John Lennon and Yoko Ono. The same year, a friend took me to visit the painter Hildred Goodwine, known for her portraits of horses. When we entered Goodwine’s small house/studio, she had a painting of an Appaloosa on her easel. Noticing that I was admiring it, she handed me a letter she’d received from the people who had commissioned the work — Paul and Linda McCartney. Goodwine was understandably pleased that the piece, which depicted Linda’s own Appaloosa, was going to be shipped to the United Kingdom.

And then in December 1980, John Lennon was shot. I’d grown up hearing stories about where people were when they’d heard President Kennedy had been killed, and for my generation, this had the same time-freezing effect. After that, it was neither fun nor funny to contemplate meeting a Beatle (especially after George’s passing in late 2001). That didn’t mean, of course, that I wasn’t still keeping tabs on their solo careers, or buying new CDs of remastered Beatles albums. In 1998, I even managed to get a story published in an anthology about the Beatles called (in my case, ironically) In My Life: Encounters with the Beatles, which featured work by Tom Wolfe, Timothy Leary, Allen Ginsberg, Donald Hall, and various other lesser lights (myself included).

In early 2002, I relocated from Phoenix to Tucson. As I drove through my new hometown with my last load of moving boxes, I had to laugh when "Drive My Car" came on the radio. What a welcome! I didn’t realize it at the time, but I had moved to the most Beatles-centric city this side of Los Angeles. Need some proof? Here are a few examples:

Tucson appears in the lyrics to "Get Back": "Jojo left his home in Tucson, Arizona, for some California grass..."

Linda McCartney briefly attended the University of Arizona, and while in Tucson married her first husband (Mel See — possibly the "Jojo" in "Get Back" — who killed himself there in 2000) and gave birth to daughter Heather in 1962. In 1979, the McCartneys purchased a ranch in Tucson. It was here that Linda died in 1998.

George’s ex-wife Patti Boyd Harrison married Eric Clapton in Tucson in March 1979.

Ringo Starr and wife Barbara Bach checked themselves into Sierra Tucson, the well-known substance abuse treatment clinic, in 1988. Reportedly, they’ve both been clean and sober ever since, with (evidently) no need to return to the city.

And George's song "Miss O'Dell" (B side of "Give Me Love") was written for longtime Tucson resident Chris O'Dell, best friend of Patti Boyd Harrison Clapton; the godfather of O'Dell's son William is Ringo Starr.

It seems that the longer I live in Tucson—which has a population of more than one million—the more people I meet who have some connection to Paul McCartney. A couple of years ago, a guy who made a delivery to my house casually mentioned that he’d done some wrought-iron work on the McCartney property on the east side of town. Another person told me about the archaeological sites on some land east of Tucson that is owned by McCartney. Someone else said he'd seen Sir Paul at a local Mexican restaurant, Casa Molina. My hairstylist told me that some cycling friends riding on the east side of town had seen Sir Paul getting the mail one morning. And just last week, a friend stopped by and said she'd met two elderly horses owned by McCartney, which are boarded at a stable where she’d just given some lessons.

After all these years, I still couldn’t help myself. "These sound like two horses that I need to meet —and maybe it's time to start eating at Casa Molina…"

News > Monday, December-08-2008

My Neighbor, the Olympian

About two months ago, a woman and a man came walking up my driveway on a Saturday morning. I had two horses turned out in the arena. Often, people drop by to watch the horses romp or to ask whether I board horses (I don’t), or inquire if I know where they can buy a pony for their child (ditto) or a quarter horse for their husband (also ditto). I have sport horses – equines bred to event, do dressage, or show jump – and that kind of thing is rare on my side of Tucson, where the majority of riders I know either rope or trail ride.

But back to the couple. The woman said they lived nearby and stopped because they’d seen dressage letters in my arena. She inquired about whether I rode dressage (yes), and did I have a trainer (yes), and then she said, "My father, here, is a horse trainer. His name is Jack Burton."

I couldn’t believe it. "You’re not Major-General Jonathan Burton, are you?"

The man nodded, and his eyes lit up.

"It’s an honor to meet you, sir."

General Burton is a legend in the horse world: competitor on the 1948 and 1956 Olympic teams, past president of various equestrian federations, international judge, and author. Not long after I’d begun to take dressage lessons, in the 1980s, a friend had given me Burton’s book How to Ride a Winning Dressage Test. And Burton is still judging: I recalled that he’d given a Trakehner colt bred by my friend Heather a wonderful score in an in-hand class at a show in California a couple of years back.

Burton, who is closer to ninety than he is to eighty, rides his bike several days a week, and since our first meeting he’s dropped by a number of times to pet whichever horse of mine is turned out near the road, usually Rosie, my Arabian mare. He doesn’t say much but seems quite glad to simply be around horses on a somewhat regular basis.

The General unintentionally made my day on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. My husband and I were in the arena with my two-year-old Anglo-Arabian gelding Immaginn, whose nickname, like the General’s, is Jack. This gelding is a product of our very small breeding program (does three foals in twenty years constitute a program?), and he is by far the best one. I find very little to fault in him, but I'm well aware of that scourge of horse breeding, "barn blindness." The General was taking his daily bike ride and when we got to our driveway, he pulled in and stopped. "Who is THAT?" he exclaimed, as Jack trotted around. "He’s magnificent!"

My husband looked at me and rolled his eyes, knowing he'd never hear the end of that remark.

"Can I quote you on that?" I asked.

"Sure!" The General watched Jack walk, trot, canter, and play for about fifteen minutes. I asked him if he thought he saw a particular discipline -- dressage, jumping? -- in his future. "The sky’s the limit with that one," he replied, and then he pedaled on home. I have been smiling ever since, and calling Jack (the gelding, not the General) "Mr. Magnificent."

Interestingly, what the General didn’t know was that he himself had seen the sire of this gelding. Jack’s dad is a stallion named Innkeeper, a son of the famous Secretariat. Innkeeper’s owner, Ursula Ferrier, and I are friends, and she writes, "Hilltop Farm asked if we could bring him to a breed judges’ seminar with the head of the Swedish National Stud at their farm. He was a big hit...and Major General Jonathon Burton thought he was the only ‘real’ stallion there." Imagine -- or rather, Immaginn -- that!



News > Friday, October-31-2008

Tennessee's Arabian Horse Racing Heritage

You've no doubt seen the books produced by Arcadia Publishing...they're relatively inexpensive and easily portable (think stocking stuffers), and they cover an astounding array of obscure topics relating to the history of America, telling their stories many through photographs.

When I was in Santa Fe a while back, I found a title in the series that fits well with my (admitted obscure) research on Brusally Ranch in particular and Arabian horse breeding in general: Tennessee's Arabian Horse Racing Heritage, by Andra Kowalczyk. The author focuses on the Arabians owned, bred, and/or raced by J. M. Dickinson and Dr. Sam Harrison, but also provides information on other (mainly Polish) Arabians, including Ed Tweed's Orzel, whose photo on page 61 caught my eye while I was thumbing through the book. This is a worthwhile addition to the libraries of those interested in Arabian racing.

After reading the book, I discovered that the author and I had a mutual friend, who put us in contact. By exchanging a few emails with Andra, I learned that we had more than simply writing and Arabian horses in common; we both work in historic preservation, and we are both interested in preservation breeding of Arabians -- her focus is on the celebrated Polish stallion Lotnik, whereas mine is on Brusally breeding. It's good to know that there are people like Andra out there.



News > Wednesday, October-22-2008

Another Great Review of Playing Cards, and an Article about the Arizona State Museum

The most recent issue of American Indian Art Magazine contains a two-page review, by Dr. Ron McCoy, of Playing Cards of the Apaches. McCoy notes that

"Putting together a book of this caliber requires not only the raw material of scholarship -- in other words, the product of thorough research -- but also the precise convergence of various elements that, should the melding not come out just right, produce a decidedly unpromising result. In this case, all of the required elements came together with stylish precision...[It] is a worthy capstone to the missionarylike zeal that Virginia and Harold Wayland brought to their research and writing, as well as eloquent testimony to Alan Ferg's voluminous knowledge of Apache culture."

Also in this issue is an article about the world-class Southwestern pottery collection at the Arizona State Museum, University of Arizona, written by my friends and colleagues Diane Dittemore, Mike Jacobs, and Patrick Lyons, and beautifully illustrated with photographs by Jannelle Weakly.


News > Wednesday, October-22-2008

Canines in the Southwest

The Summer 2008 issue of Archaeology Southwest is edited by Alan Ferg and yours truly, and includes the following articles:

Dogs in the Southwest (Tobi Taylor, Alan Ferg, and Dody Fugate)

Early Dog Burials in the Southern Southwest (Jennifer A. Waters)

Pueblo Dogs (Dody Fugate)

Dog Mummies at White Dog Cave (Dody Fugate)

Pueblo Dog Tales (David H. Snow)

Basketmaker Dog-hair Sashes from Obelisk Cave (Rachel Freer and Mike Jacobs)

A Rare Breed (Alan Ferg)

Canid Sacrifices from Homol'ovi I (Vincent M. LaMotta)

Itzcuintle: Ancient Mexican Dog Food

When Is a Dog in Mimbres Art? (J. J. Brody)

Mimbres Dog Descendants (Tobi Taylor)

Hohokam Dogs and Iconography at Pueblo Grande (Steven R. James and Michael S. Foster)

Dogs in the Desert: Repatriation (Alan Ferg)

The Hodges Site Figurine (Alan Ferg)

Going to the Dogs: Studying Valley Fever in the Southwest (T. Michael Fink)

An Unsettling Image (William H. Doelle)

The Setting on of Dogs (Richard Flint)

Yoeme Dog Pascola Masks (Tom Kolaz)

Old Dogs and Some New Tricks (Alan Ferg)

Back Sight (William H. Doelle)


News > Friday, June-13-2008

Archaeology Southwest Is Honored By Arizona's Governor

Today, at the 2008 Arizona Historic Preservation Conference, in Rio Rico, the Governor's Archaeology Advisory Commission's awards in Public Archaeology were presented. Among the winners was Archaeology Southwest, the quarterly publication I have edited for the Center for Desert Archaeology since late 2001. The award citation reads,

Archaeology Southwest was conceived in 1986 and originally published under the title Archaeology in Tucson. Each issue currently contains eight to ten profusely illustrated articles written in clear, understandable English, by leading Southwestern archaeologists and other authors. Through Archaeology Southwest, the Center helps the public connect with the rich and diverse landscapes of the Southwest. Archaeology Southwest also helps the general public and professional archaeologists to keep up with the latest in Southwestern scholarship. Generous distribution of the newsletter has enabled the Center to build preservation partnerships and to practice community-based archaeology at a wide geographic scale.

Anthropology professors use Archaeology Southwest to fill a niche left unaddressed by introductory textbooks. Archaeology Southwest also plays an important role in reaching underserved communities in rural areas and on Indian reservations. The newsletter has been described as “a text-book case for how public archaeology can and should be done.”