St. George and Paddy Creaghe

     Just a few days ago I had a letter from St. George Creaghe, now a resident of Lamar, Colorado.  He is 78 years old, yet he writes a legible hand with no tremors in it.   He says, "Any time you pass this way I will be glad to see you.  I was in the cow business all of the time I was in Apache County and I'm still in it.  I have a fine ranch on the Cimarron river, and I am still eating three times a day and running on all four cylinders.  I spent twenty-five years in old Apache and enjoyed myself and had lots of good friends of whom I often think."

     In 1874, two strapping young Irishmen, George and Paddy Creaghe, age 22 and 19 respectively, came into eastern Arizona looking for a cow ranch.  They found what suited them at Coyote Spring east of Round Valley and there went into the cattle business.  They prospered in raising livestock and also as you might expect from two men from Tipperary, they showed a fondness for American politics.  In 1879, when Apache county was cut off Yavapai, Governor John C. Fremont appointed George-along with William Flake and Tom Perez, to be the first board of supervisors.  Paddy, whose true name was Gerald, had his countryman's love for public office even more than George.  He was undersheriff under Luther Martin, the county's first elected sheriff.  The sheriff was then tax collector and Paddy went down on the Gila, then in Apache county, with another deputy named James Richmond and the Indians killed them on Ash Creek.  Had Paddy lived, he would have been a big man in the public life of the county.

     Well, George married a Miss Sarah Bazan in 1877.  They had 10 healthy, bright children and seven of them are living yet.  George made a good father and he took a real wholesome interest in making real men and women of his boys and girls.  I believe that it was to give them a better chance in life that he went to Colorado to live.  Early in 1886 there was a robbery of the Apache county treasury.  Many believed it was faked and the board of supervisors purported to remove Dionicio Baca, the treasurer and appointed Mr. Creaghe in his stead.  Baca held on and the county had two treasurers. As I remember it, it never was determines who the rightful incumbent was, and many did not pay their taxes until John T. Lesueur took office in January, 1887.

     The first party ticket ever nominated in Apache county was one that the Democrats put up in 1888.  George Creaghe was the nominee for sheriff and the straight ticket was elected from top to bottom.  George demonstrated that a big strapping Irishman can make a sheriff in the range counties of the southwest as well as a policeman in New York or Chicago.  The county got a good administration of the office.  He was again elected in 1896, but it after county division and county business was dull, very dull.  So was the cow business and the drought of the early nineties had nearly done the Creaghe cattle business up, so George resigned and moved off to Colorado.  Life on the range in the southwest had added to the warmth of a big Irish heart in this old settler and made him an exceptionally good man.

     St. George Creaghe taught me some good lessons.  I remember particularly that one night I put a saloon check into the contribution hat for a preacher.  When I told of it and thought it was funny, George gave me a half dollar and got me to give it to the preacher and apologize.  Though he drank whiskey some, he had a good talk with me and got me to stay away from saloons and not to drink.  He early found I wanted to go to school and he encouraged me in it.  It all bespoke a good man, a man of real good sense and downright worth and one who took a friendly interest in a neighbor's boy.  I am glad George Creaghe, at 73, off up there in Colorado, remembers his old friends down in Apache county.  His old friends--and I am one of them--surely have lots of pleasant memories of him.  He would get a real welcome if he came back to "old Apache."

George H. Crosby. Jr.
Apache County
(newspaper article and date unknown)

From the files of Jack A. Becker, local historian.