Babbitt family business acumen acquired in their
grocery and meat market operation in Cincinnati
Ohio, served them well in many business operations.
However, their primary motivation for heading West
was the cattle ranching industry. The first conversation
by David and William Babbitt, after arriving in
Flagstaff, was with Dr. P.J. Brannen. As result
of the conversation, they gained information regarding
cattle for sale east of Flagstaff near Canyon Diablo.
Immediately, negotiations took place and on April
13, 1886, a draft for 100 dollars, as a down payment,
was written to Drury Warren. A total of $17,640
was to be paid for the herd, which consisted of
approximately 1,200 head of cattle. Thrilled with
the prospect of being cattle ranchers, a brand in
recognition of their hometown, Cincinnati, Ohio,
was designed ( ) , later changed to ( co ) , and
a wire was sent to the remaining brothers telling
them to pack their bags and come to their new home.
Shortly after acquiring the herd, it became the
intention of the brothers to obtain land on which
they could permanently graze the livestock. On January
4, 1887, they made the necessary arrangements for
property on the San Francisco Peaks known as Jack
Smith Spring. However, the cattle refused to stay
in the higher elevations, retreating to the lower
valleys. The brothers realized the need for other
land at a lower altitude. In May of their first
year in the north country, they negotiated for some
of the richest land known as Clark Valley, south
of Flagstaff. Billy Babbitt took out homestead papers
on adjacent acreage, and that land became known
as Babbitt Park. By 1887, the Babbitts ranching
business was well on the way and David Babbitt,
being newly wed to Emma Verkamp, realized the potential
for a mercantile business in town, and focused his
efforts in that direction, leaving the ranching
operation to Billy and C.J.
Billy and C.J. learned that ranching was not just
a business, but lifestyle. the two brothers found
that a blanket and dried pine needles made the
most comfortable sleeping accommodations.
1889, the two brothers had the opportunity to
purchase the famed A-1 ranch, doubling the ranch
operation. The Babbitt headquarters moved to Fort
Rickerson, now known as Fort Valley. This acquisition
was surely a boost for their cattle operation.
The author Earle Forrest, hailed the Babbitt Ranch
in Frontier Times as The greatest cattle ranch
in the southwest. In addition to the CO Bar, at
one time or another they were involved in many
other ranches, either as owners or partners, including
the famous Hash Knife outfit. Some of the ranches
were in California.
the mid 1890s, the Babbitts were recognized as
successful opportunist in all of their western
undertakings. However, the hardest of times were
to befall them shortly. Top