Wednesday, December 30, 2009

James Clawson Bristow 1935 - 1921

Reverend James Clawson Bristow (1835-1921), a Baptist minister, was born at Bedford, Lawrence County, Indiana. He married Luranda Caroline Smith (Schmidt) in Polk County, Missouri. She was born in Kentucky. Her parent's were Pleasant Miller Smith and Elizabeth Hosey.

Pleasant became a Mormon which alienated him from the rest of his family. He was a son of Phillip and Emily (Atkins) Smith. Emily Atkins was born in 1779 in Virginia. She was a daughter of Owen and Agnes (Goad) Atkins. She moved with her parents to Sullivan County, Tennessee. She and her brother, Owen Atkins, Jr., hid in a hollow log while her parents and two other children were massacred by the Indians. Pleasant's brother, Benjamin David Smith, was a Lieutenant Colonel in Polk County, Missouri in the Civil War. Reverend Bristow and his wife are buried at Middle Verde, Yavapi County, Arizona. Their children were:

A. Mary Engeline Bristow was born at Humasville, Polk County, Missouri.
B. Martha Ellen Bristow was born at Humansville.
C. Telitha Cumi Bristow was born at Humansville.
D. Lazarus Pleasant Bristow was born at Humansville.
E. John Ferris Bristow was born at Humansville.
F. Annie Tabitha Bristow was born at Humansville.
G. Naomi Abigail Bristow was born at Humansville.
H. Effie Burzille Bristow was born at Humansville.
I. James Thomas Bristow was born at Middle Verde, Yavapai County, Arizona.
J. William Peyton Bristow was born at Middle Verde.
K. Charles Owens Bristow was born at Middle Verde.

Martha (Patsey) Bristow married Joseph Burchett c. 1840 in Clinton County, Kentucky.

NOTE: A Bristow family used the arms: ermine, on a fess cottised sable, three crescents or. The crest: out of a crescent or, a demi-eagle displayed azure.

From Pioneer Stories of Arizona’s Verde Valley
Verde Valley Pioneers Association 1954
4th printing January 1972 p. 194

"Among the Early Settlers"
By Dora Human Dickison

My parents, James and Mary Human, were early settlers in the Verde Valley. They left Humansville, Missouri, April 26, 1875. They traveled with ox team and wagon, along with eight other wagons. The party consisted of the Burfords, Dickinsons, Hawkins, Davidsons, Letts, Hutchinsons, Tom Smiths, Pleasant Bristows, and James C. Bristows.

They had a long tiresome trip, many hardships, I am sure. They arrived in the Verde Valley in August of that year. Their first child, a girl, was born Oct. 27, 1875. As years went by, more children were born into their family, five sons and two daughters – George, Frank, Bert, Dora, and Art. Their second child, a boy, died at birth among the early settlers. There was need of a burial place. My father and grandfather (Parson Bristow) looked for a place to start a burial ground. They picked a place they thought would never be needed for any other purpose and where floodwaters would never cover.

My father and mother moved several places within that settlement. I was quite small when they bought or traded for a small farm of 40 acres. They farmed there and when I was seven years old they bought another farm from John Loy and his father Samuel Loy. We moved there and later on they put in a small grocery store and Mother was appointed Postmaster for Aultman Post Office in 1897.

Things went along very well for them several years until brother Bert became very ill. They had doctors with him, but nothing seemed to help. He passed away July 19th at the age of 19. He was buried in Middle Verde Cemetery July 20, 1901. Soon after, my mother began to fail in health. They leased the farms and moved to Dewey, Arizona in 1906. This was a small settlement in Agua Fria Valley, 16 miles east of Prescott. They spent the rest of their days there. In 1909 they sold the Loy farm to Bill Boren from Oregon. The Boren family lived there several years and sold to Clarkdale Smelter Company. My mother was next to be called by death, after a long sickness at the age of 63. Her body was taken to the Middle Verde Cemetery for burial Feb. 4, 1919. Six years later my father passed on at the age of 74. His body was taken to Middle Verde Cemetery for burial June 16, 1925.

Twenty-two years later my brother George, who lived at Yarnell, Arizona, passed on after a long illness at the age of 69. His body was placed in the Middle Verde Cemetery Dec. 11, 1947. There remain living two sons and two daughters – Frank, Art, Jane (Mrs. Jack Henderson) and Dora (Mrs. A.G. “Dutch” Dickison.

(George Human was the father of Jean (Myrtle Alma) Human Fiedler.)

From Pioneer Stories of Arizona’s Verde Valley
Verde Valley Pioneers Association 1954
4th printing January 1972 p. 58

“Parson Bristow"
By Stella M. Jordan

In a country village in Indiana in the year 1835 was born James C. Bristow, youngest of five children. His mother died when James was three years old, leaving him to the care of his older sister, Evangeline (“Aunt Lina”).

The family moved into Kentucky, then into Missouri, where they located. His Christian character was molded under the influence of his father who was a “Hard-Shell” Baptist. At the age of eighteen, James was converted and licensed to preach by the Mt. Enon Church in Cedar County.

At the same time, in the same locality, lived Pleasant Smith and family. Among the children was Luranda Caroline, who had been born in Kentucky in 1837. The friendship between the young preacher and Luranda led to their marriage in 1857.

In 1875 a neighbor returned to Missouri from the Verde Valley in Arizona with descriptions that so impressed them that they decided to move westward.

On April 26, 1875, nine wagons drawn by oxen started from Humansville, MO, for the Verde Valley in Arizona. The wagon train included the Burfords, Davidsons, the Letts, Hitchinsons, Tom Smiths, James Humans, Pleasant Bristow, and James C. Bristow with his wife and six children, which included Mrs. James Human. Another daughter, Mrs. Martha Ralston, and her husband, John-Will Ralston, remained in Missouri for two years. The family located at Middle Verde, six miles north of Camp Verde, which was then an army post. Their first home was the then-common “picket” house with dirt floor and roof. A little later an adobe house was built with a brush arbor.

On October 3, 1875, the first Sunday, Parson Bristow preached the first Baptist sermon in Arizona, under the largest cottonwood tree hear his home. This meeting was the beginning of the many “Old Tree” meetings which were to follow. Among those present at this first meeting were George Hance, Mrs. Marjorie Back, Mrs. Eliza Davidson, two cowboys and several soldiers from the post.

Parson Bristow preached several times in Prescott and in Cottonwood. He was ordained to the ministry in 1882 at Middle Verde. There, with the help of Rev. R. A. Windes, he organized a Sunday school and the first church in the valley, and was its pastor until August 1905. His last sermon was preached at the “Old Tree” on October 3, 1920. Shortly afterwards he answered the call, passing on at the age of almost eighty-six years; thus rounding out his long life of devotion to his ideals. His wife’s passing preceded his in May 1904.

(Parson Bristow was the great-grandfather of Jean (Myrtle Alma) Human Fiedler.)

From Pioneer Stories of Arizona’s Verde Valley
Verde Valley Pioneers Association 1954
4th printing January 1972 p. 55

"Early Memories"
By Naomi Bristow Strahan
(The author is from a different branch of the Bristows, but her description of the overland route that her caravan followed is very helpful. This is a shortened version of her story.)

The most interesting chapter of our loved began in 1875 when my father, James Oliver Bristow, my mother and seven children started for Arizona. Our seven-wagon caravan was led by my father, who had his own wagon, pulled by two yoke of oxen. We also had one horse and four milk-cows. Two of these cows furnished us with all the milk we could drink. We also churned our own butter by preparing the cream in jars and with the jolt of the wagon the butter was ready to eat when we stopped to camp for the night.

We were all as one big happy family starting out on this great adventure with high hopes. Our tranquility was soon shattered by a disagreement between two of our party, John Roberts and William T. Moore, who were sharing a wagon. It led to the shooting of Roberts by Moore. Mr. Roberts received a severe wound in his right shoulder. William Moore then broke away from our train and, taking a mule and supplies, started off by himself.

We always had to make camp where we could find fuel, water and grass. Our water supply had to be watched very carefully. Sometimes we had just enough water for our family and the animals had to do without.

We managed to remain in camp one day out of the week so the women folk could wash clothes and the animals could rest. On those days we had an opportunity to roast meat in the dutch oven. At other times it was fried. Deer and antelope meat were plentiful. One day one of the men shot the head off a rattlesnake and after they had skinned and roasted it, they ate it for supper.

We were on the road three months and twenty days. Our route led us through Kansas City, Emporia and Dodge City, Kansas. We continued on through Colorado and New Mexico, continuing west by the old Star Mail Route, through Winslow and Holbrook. Then we went on a rocky old trail over the Mogollon Mountains, by way of Pine Springs, Stoneman’s Lake, and on past Rattlesnake Tanks to the Verde Valley.

Vignette about Saving Water
(From “Crossing the Plains from Missouri to Arizona” by John-Will and Martha Ralston, p. 45)

The women learned to save water in every way possible. Some of the ways were rather amusing. There was a family named P___ in the train. One day old lady P__ washed clothes. She had a tub of pretty good-looking water left, so she gave each of her grandsons a bath in it. The water still looked pretty good, so that night she washed their dishes in it.

From Pioneer Stories of Arizona’s Verde Valley
Verde Valley Pioneers Association 1954
4th printing January 1972 p. 63

"Looking Down Memory’s Lane"
By Annie Bristow Jordan

Being a small child when my parents crossed the plains, there are only a few incidents that stand out in my memory.

When we crossed the Rio Grande I remember the wagons were driven on the ferry boat, and the loose cattle swam across the river. I remember seeing my uncle, Tommy Smith, swimming across after them through the ugly muddy water. When going down a mountain road reaching the valley, a naked Indian ran across the road before the oxen. My sister Cumi was driving and had a hard time keeping wagon, oxen and all from going over the grade.

On reaching the valley, a picket house was built. It had a dirt floor and dirt roof, and rock chimney and fireplace. It served as a shelter while my father was earning something to carry us through the winter. He cut hay from the mesas and marketed it at the post. The hay was cut with heavy hoes and raked by hand.

My father had traded our home in Missouri for the cattle he brought. These were turned loose on the flats near the river with the other settlers’ stock, and the children of various families herded them during the day, driving them to their homes at night. My mother sold butter and milk at the post, getting a dollar a pound for the butter. (How I hated the sight of that old cedar churn.) We sold eggs for a dollar a dozen also, but the things we bought were priced in proportion. I remember a plaid flannel dress bought at the post, which cost three dollars a yard.

As soon as the ditches could be taken out, grain and vegetables flourished in the rich soil. Corn was the principal grain. As soon as it was hard enough we grated it for bread, and when it was ripe we ground it into meal in a big coffee mill.

Wheat bread was a treat. Sometimes as a change we got a few loaves of baker’s bread at the post.

My mother did all the cooking over the fireplace in dutch ovens and iron pots and how I used to love to watch her. Thinking of it now, it seems to me those patient hands were never idle.

We children were always delighted when Rev. Windes came over from Prescott. He was always jolly and told many jokes. He and my father would sit far into the night in friendly argument over the Scriptures. Rev. Windes finally changed my father from a “Hard-shell” to a Missionary Baptist, and this belief he kept to the end.

(The author is the daughter of James C. “Parson” Bristow, the great-grandfather of Jean (Myrtle Alma) Human Fiedler.)

Date: 1921-02-05; Paper: Tucson Daily Citizen
First Preacher in Arizona Dies 
Rev. James C. Bristow, 87 said to have been the first ordained minister to conduct services for an English -speaking congregation in Arizona, died at his home near Middle Verde last Saturday morning. Mr. bristol, who came to America as as pioneer in the Baptist Church in 1875, held his first service under a clump of cottonwood trees near where his home was located. Sunday morning, October 3, 1875. Ever since that time it has been the custom of his congregation to have 'tree meetings' once a year at the place.

Living descendants of Rev. Bristow are said to number 93. Three hundred persons attended the funeral, coming from all points up and down the Verde River. All schools in the vicinity of Middle Verde were closed during the burial ceremonies which were conducted by Rev. Mr. Gordon, a Baptist minister from Nogales.