Chapter 2

By I.H. Parkman

The Early Years

On February 28th, 1907 articles of agreement were drawn up and presented to a mass meeting of the Valley farmers called at the Buckeye School House on March 2nd, 1907. The articles of agreement were read and discussed and voted upon by an acreage vote with the result that more than two-thirds of the acreage was in favor of ratifying the agreement. Then they proceeded to select a name of the company and C.M. Zander presented the name of Buckeye Irrigation Company, which was adopted. Articles of Incorporation previously prepared by lawyer Lewis of Phoenix were read and adopted and the following farmers were named as directors of the new company (the number of seven having been decided upon): George Day, P.H. Benson, P.E. Moore, George Drew, H.A. Hammels, Chas. Barkley and L.H. Thayer.

The agreement adopted at this meeting was to the effect that a physical appraisal of the canal system by made by two engineers, with a third in case of disagreement. Mr. Ulrich of Denver was Mr. Thorpe’s engineer and Ad Farish of Phoenix was selected by the newly formed company. They in turn selected a Mr. Parker of Las Angeles as the third man. Work of measuring and cross sectioning the canal was begun at once by Mr. Ulrich and Mr. Farish and Zanjero I. H. Parkman as head chairman. This committee of engineers fixed the physical valuation of the canal system at $97,900 and after some more mass meetings and more dickering back and forth a sale price was at last agreed upon at $92,900.

The new company was organized along different lines from all its predecessors, in that it made the acre the basis of stock. Each acre of irrigable land would represent one share of stock up to 16,000 shares at a par value of $10 per share. It was a purely cooperative affair and only land owners could own stock. Each share when issued became perpetually appurtenant to that particular acre of land and could not be sold or transferred without the sale of the land. In purchasing the canal the new company assumed a bonded indebtedness of $86,500 from the Wessex Company payable $8,000 per year.

On March 4th at another called meeting, the first board of officers for the new company was elected as follows: H.A. Hammels, President; George Drew, Vice President; George P. Brown, Secretary; and P.E. Moore, Treasurer. At this meeting 5,089 acres were signed up for stock in the Company. On May 8, 1907 at a called stockholders’ meeting it was voted to take over and operate the South Extension of the canal for its full length. Previous to this time, the Company had only operated it as far as the Base Line Road and the farmers getting water through it the rest of the way. On May 24th, 1907 a committee that had been appointed to draw up a code of by-laws, made its report to the stockholders at another called meeting. After considerable discussion and amending they were adopted and constituted the by-laws of the company with a few changes and additions, operate under at the present time.

On May 28th, the Board of Directors met and employed Tom Levy as superintendent at a salary of $125 per month. He thereby became the first superintendent of the new company.

On June 4th, George P. Brown was employed as secretary at a salary of $75 per month. He had been acting secretary ever since the canal company had been organized, and at this time the office of treasurer was joined to that of the secretary, so he assumed the responsibility of both offices. Also at the meeting the salary of the zanjero, I. H. Parkman was fixed at $100 per month, he to furnish his own transportation.

On June 24th, 1907 Mr. Levy the superintendent died and Henry Wilkey was hired at a salary of $150 to fill his place as superintendent.

After the farmers got hold of the canal, they began to find out what the old companies had been up against in trying to operate the system on water at $2.00 an inch, and so the board of directors ordered an assessment of $2.50 per inch for the six month period beginning October 1st, 1907.

On September 23rd, the board of directors met in special session and at that meeting the usual procedure of selling water by the inch was changed and from that time on it was sold by the acre. One half inch being allowed per acre.

The price of water was then fixed at $1.25 per acre for each six months period.

In February, 1908, a large crew of men was put to work on the canal cleaning and enlarging it for its full length. The work was supervised by P.E. Moore.

In March this same year, negotiations were started between the Buckeye Irrigation Company and the White Tank Canal Company with the object in view of the Buckeye system taking over the White Tank Company. By the middle of April an agreement had been reached wherein anyone holding stock in the White Tank Canal could transfer to the Buckeye Irrigation Company and receive an equal amount of stock in the latter company.

When the original canal had been build the contractor did not follow the original survey across the Hassayampa Valley but cut straight across the valley and so saved a mile or so of canal. At a regular meeting of the board of directors on February 2nd, 1909, it was decided to build the canal where it should have been in the first place. So H.M. Lewis was secured to make a new survey and work was begun shortly thereafter. Instead of crossing the Hassayampa with an overhead flume, an underground flume was put in, and so solved the trouble of floods down the river.

By the beginning of 1909, the farmers had so improved their water system that the price of water was fixed at $1.00 per acre for the period from April 1st to October 1st for stockholders and $1.50 for non-stockholders.

At the annual meeting of the stockholders held in February 8th, 1910 among other things it was decided to hire a zanjero for the upper division of the canal and leave the superintendent free to oversee the whole system better. Heretofore, he had to look after the distribution of the water on the upper river and superintend the system at the same time.

During the period of years following the big floods of 1905, the river had swung over and along the north bank and each succeeding flood threatened the canal and ranches along its course. While it was not the canal’s concern particularly, about the threatened ranches, yet it was much concerned about it cutting into the canal again as it did in 1905. So various engineers were consulted and different plans put into execution to try to stop it cutting any further north. This condition existed for several years and much money was spent on the work so much that at different times it was necessary to levy special assessments in the capital stock to pay for the work.

During the first years, stealing water was common practice among many of the farmers, and at almost every directors meeting someone would be up before the board for breaking locks, gates, etc. and taking water that did not belong to them. In many instances some of the better known farmers were implicated. The usual fine was the loss of a hour run of water and a cash fine to cover any damage done to company property.

During these formative years many stockholders meetings were held, sometimes tow ot three a month, and much verbal steam expended. Some of the meetings were bitter and fiery, and lasted from morning to late at night and in a case or two lasted for two days. But out of it finally came a system that the makers are proud of.

Back as early as 1910; some of the farmers began talking about pumping plants. There was an over abundance of water during the winter and spring but at times in the summer when water was needed most, it got too short to grow successful crops.

At a meeting of the directors on June 17th, 1911 the question came up of building an office building, as heretofore the secretary had been furnishing his own office, generally in his home or place of business.

On March 7th, 1911 it was decided to buy lot 5 in block 9 in Buckeye for $100 and Mr. T.N. Clanton, owner, gave the company Lot 7 in the same block. Work was started shortly thereafter with the result that their (first) office building came into existence.

At this meeting it was found that water should be sold to stockholders for $0.75 per acre and non-stockholders for $1.25. Quite a reduction from the $2.50 they started at when they took over the canal.

On April 2nd, 1912 at the regular meeting of the directors a committee was appointed to select a sire for a home for the lower zanjero not to cost more than $700.

On May 2nd, the committee reported that it had selected 80 acres lying mostly on the north side of the canal in the S½ of the NE¼ Section, two miles west of J.H. Harbinson. Later this site was not thought desirable and on July 2nd, a new site of 2 ½ acres was secured from George Day and the present house erected with some improvements added later. The estimated cost was $500.

The upper zanjero house was built in the summer of 1910 on a ten acre tract purchased from John Bonner, about a quarter mile east of the South Extension diversion gate.

As there was a little more than 4,000 acres of land under the canal for which there was no water stock and most of which the owners were desirous of obtaining stock so many plans were from time to time put forth, but none adopted as desirable or feasible. But at the annual meeting on June 13th, 1913, George Brown introduced a resolution that was adopted. The resolution provided among other things that the holders of 4,000 acres organize another and separate company and bond their lands or a sufficient amount to install sufficient pumps to develop 2,000 inches of water, and they pay for three quarters of the expense of enlarging the canal to carry this extra amount of water. The Irrigation Company would supervise distribution of the water at the price they charged their regular stockholders. And after the new company had operated long enough to demonstrate that they were going to make a success of the venture then the Irrigation Company would take over and issue them stock in their company in lieu of the stock in the new company.

The Brown resolution, like so many before it, was indefinitely postponed by the action of the stockholders at a meeting on February 10th.

In March of that year, the first automobile came into use by the Irrigation Company when the superintendent, Guy Vernon, purchased one for his use, in place of a horse and buggy, for his work on the canal. The canal board allowed him $175 per year for its upkeep.

During the summer of 1913, Harry Hancock, engineer, was employed by the company to measure the water of several small ditches coming out of the Salt River west of Phoenix and to keep a record of the amount being run and date of same, as it seemed that some of the ditches were getting more than their share of water. This evidence was used later in a lawsuit determining the amount of water each ditch of canal was entitled to under prior appropriation.

On May 25th, 1914 a resolution was adopted at a special stockholder’s meeting, adopting a lateral system for both irrigation and waste ditches that had been presented by Engineer Hancock some time before. In this resolution the board was instructed to float a $35,000 bond issue, and with same to refund the present bond indebtedness of $19,000 and use the rest for the construction of the lateral systems as far as it would go and to assess capital stock from time to time to complete the work as needed.

In September, 1914, the State Fair Commissioner of the Agriculture Division attended the regular directors’ monthly meeting, pleading for a special exhibit from the Buckeye Valley, with the result that the board appropriated $100 for the collection of the exhibit and appointed I.H. Parkman to look after it. This procedure was kept up for the next three years, and resulted in quite an advertisement for Buckeye Valley.

As the Gila River was still threatening cutting into the canal west of the head gates for some 3 or 4 miles, the directors entered into a contract on May 6th, 1915 with the River Currents Control Company of San Francisco, to install three of its patented Dean’s Channel Changes and River Bank Protectors at strategic points along the section of the river bank, at a total cost of $654. As they were not the success that was claimed for them no more were installed.

At the regular meeting of the canal board in March, 1916, the matter of developing water from the Agua Fria was taken up and discussed at some length, with the result that a committee was appointed to go into the matter more fully and report at a later meeting. On March 27th, after looking over the Agua Fria situation the board ordered the superintendent to put a dam in the Agua Fria and open up a channel into the canal, and divert water into the canal, as the Gila was on a rampage and the cam was out so that no water could be diverted into the canal from that stream. He was ordered to keep up this arrangement as long as the Agua Fria supplied water for as much as one-fourth time. When it dropped lower than that he was to rebuild the dam and take the water again from the Gila.

At the annual stockholders meeting on June 15th, 1917, a bond issue of $55,000 was authorized by the stockholders, as the $30,000 bond issue ordered in 1914 had never been floated. This bond issue was to do the work contemplated by the former un-issued bonds, to wit: headwork improvement-$21,400; canal enlargement-$11,600; service laterals-$10,000; water laterals-$7,000; river bank protection-$5,000; total of $55,000.

The bonds were to run 15 years and start coming due in 5 years at $5,000 per year until all were paid off. The Phoenix Savings Bank and Trust Company later bought these bonds at par, and they were to bear interest at 6%.

In May, 1917, a movement was set on foot by the directors to complete the White Tank Canal down to now the upper spillway of the Canal and utilize it instead of the present canal and so get back farther from the river as every rise in the river was a constant threat to its breaking into the canal. The White Tank had been partially completed down as far as they contemplated using it. And Engineer Hancock estimated it could be completed and put in operation for $20,000.

During this month it was also ordered by the directors that a Monighan Dragline Excavator be purchased at a price of $9,850, and that it be placed to work on the upper end of the canal cleaning and enlarging it as soon as it arrived.

During the summer of 1917, a priority suit was instituted in Superior Court with Judge Stanford presiding to determine Buckeye’s rights to water in the Gila, Salt and Agua Fria Rivers. It was later known as the Benson-Allison Decree and established the rights of each individual piece of land to water and the date of such right. Many of the old timers of the Valley were called to the stand to testify as to the date certain pieces of land were put into cultivation from which their rights to water were based. The decree was issued November 14th, 1917.

In the winter of 1917 a bunk house was built at the dam 24×36 feet, with a concrete floor at a total cost of $400; it was later used for a dining room and kitchen and now for a dwelling.

As some of the lower lands of the valley were fast becoming waterlogged from irrigation on the higher grounds, a movement was started at the annual meeting on January 18th, 1918 to develop some system of drainage for same. Later an engineer was appointed and a general survey of the waterlogged sections made.

On January 21st, at an adjourned stockholders’ meeting the matter of issuing new stock was taken up and ordered.

When the company was formed the articles called for 16,000 shares at a par value of $10,000. At the meeting the articles were amended to read 20,000 shares and the price to be fixed by the board of directors for the new stock. At an adjourned stockholders meeting on April 19th, 1918 the board reported that they had agreed on the following prices for the 4,000 shares of new stock:

YearStock Price

And the price thereafter to be fixed by action of the stockholders at their annual meetings. Payment to be made of 5% on date of purchase and 5% on each April 1st and October 1st thereafter. This set up was almost unanimously carried by a stock vote of the farmers.

At the annual Stockholders Meeting in 1919, February 10th, the matter of drainage was again taken up and after a lot of discussion and the introduction of a resolution of two that failed to pass; the following resolution was offered by John Norton and unanimously carried:

“Whereas the best interests of the water users and land owners under the Buckeye Canal rests in the immediate drainage of wet lands and the development of more water by pumping and whereas it is evident that the most speedy and practical way of accomplishing these ends is through the organization of a drainage district: Therefore, be it resolved that the stockholders of the Buckeye Irrigation Company endorse and support the organization of the drainage district, the boundaries of which shall conform to the boundaries by the company’s articles of incorporation which designates the lands to be served by the company’s canal, but which district shall exclude all plotted town sites; and the company pay whatever costs there be incurred in organizing said drainage district and Be it Further resolved, that a committee of five be appointed by the president to supervise and direct the organization of said drainage district.”

C.M. Zander, C.N. Towner, William Walton, N.A> Sanders and John R. Norton were appointed on the committee.

No other thing of any great importance happened during the year 1919, but at the annual meeting of 1920 on January 12, a resolution was introduced wherein it proposed to bond the district for the sum of $300,000 for the purpose of first: take up the present outstanding bonds of the company in the amount of $55,000; second, to construct permanent headwater sluiceways, riverbank protection and any other safeguards that was thought desirable; third, to complete the rock and wire dam already started.

Ever since the inception of the Buckeye Canal the dam had been the bane of every company to operate the canal. Built on a bed of quick sand for its entire length, the first brush and rock dam 8 or 10 feet wide washed out every time heavy dew fell on any of its watershed. So every new ownership investigated the possibility of a permanent dam. It was thought that by building the dam 40 to 60 feet wide of rock with the highest elevation at the edge upstream and tapering off to nothing downstream would solve the problem, but they soon found out that the quicksand could swallow up their rocks waster than they could replace them. Of course it was far better than the old narrow brush and rock dam but washed out just the same at every protracted freshet. Much money was spent and some of the best engineers had studied the situation, but so far nothing permanent had been devised.

One engineer referred them to a dam on a river in India, similar to the Gila, that was proving quite a success and it was voted to try it out here. It was known as the “Sausage Dam.” Made of rock and heavy net fencing wire six feet wide. Two widths of this, 50 feet long, was laid on the sand side by side and wired together. On the wire was laid as many rock as desired, when the wire was lapped over the rocks and wired together the same as the underside was fixed, and then the sides and the open end of the sausage were wired together, making a big sausage 50 feet long laying up and downstream. Then another one was made along the side of the fist one and so on for the length of the dam. As soon as the second one was finished another one was made on top of the two, lapping halfway over the other and so binding them together and so on until the desired height was reached. That was the sort of dam referred to in the $300,000 bond resolution and looked like it would be an end to their worried. But with all of their experience they still did not know the Gila River. It was found later that the water would undermine the lower end of the “sausage” and they would gradually sink. But there is no question that in the course of time the sand would become full from the constant repairs and a firm foundation finally would be set up. But that time never came as some fool decided what is the use in trying to raise the water and force it into the canal; why not go up the river and lead it in, and do away with a costly dam. This was done and the dam troubles were over. But we are getting ahead of our story.

On February 16th, 1920 at an adjourned stockholders’ meeting the $300,000 bond issue was voted and authorized for the purposes above stated, and also at this meeting it was voted to increase the amount of the bonded indebtedness limitation for the company from $100,000 to $500,000, therefore paving the way for the $300,000 bond issue.

On February 24th, 1920 the directors at a special meeting voted to employ Charles Kirby Fox, a nationally known Los Angeles engineer, as designing engineer on terms quoted by him to the board, to-wit: That he be paid $10,000 for his services; $5,000 when the preliminary plans were turned in and $5,000 when the final plans are submitted. At an adjourned meeting of the board on May 11th, 1920, Charles Kirby Fox was instructed to prepare plans for dam “Type C”, weir, eight feet in height, 2800 feet in length, with concrete breast and toe walls and downstream apron enmeshed in wire netting at a cost of from $125 to $150 pet linear foot. He was also instructed to prepare plans for a concrete intake and spillways to cost approximately $60,000 and for levees and river bank protection at $40,000.

In June of 1920, Mr. W.H. Sanders of Los Angeles was employed by the board to act as consultant engineer to work with Mr. Fox on plans and construction of the proposed new dam. Nothing else of importance happened during the year 1920, although there were frequent meetings at which time, plans for the new dam were discussed. This held good through 1921 until late in the year. Just routine matters of conducting the water system came up; together with frequent meetings with the engineers and plans, and more plans for the new dam.

At the annual meeting January 9th, 1922 it developed that the company had been going in the red for some time and the stockholders authorized the directors to borrow $30,000 on the company note or notes to care for the indebtedness, to-wit: $13,862 on the new dam; $6,138 operating expenses and the balance to be used to operate on up to April, 1922.

At the board meeting on February 7th, the loan committee reported that the $30,000 the stockholders had instructed the board to borrow could be secured through the Imperial Livestock and Mortgage Company of Los Angeles, an agent for the War Finance Corporation; provided that each Buckeye Stockholder furnish a financial statement of his net worth. The offer was accepted and the stockholders were instructed to prepare the financial statements. Later on in the year the loan was refused.

On April 4th, a delegation of land owners on the north side and adjacent to the Buckeye Canal appeared before the Canal Board and presented a petition asking permission to organize an irrigation and drainage district to help finance the new dam, to pay for the enlargement of the canal and to install pumps to provide water for the land in question, where there wan not enough water in the river to provide sufficient water for all lands in the Buckeye area and the proposed new company. It was set forth in the petition that by enlarging the canal sufficiently and pumping the water out of the canal and taking it north that as much as 10,000 acres could be covered and reclaimed. The petition was signed by G.C. Reubel, M.W. Pace, Fred Walls, T.J. Roberts and George Drew.

At a stockholders’ meeting on May 10th, 1922, the company by-laws were amended changing the annual meeting from the second Monday in January to the third Monday.

On February 21st, 1923, at a joint meeting of the canal directors and the directors of the Buckeye Water Conservation and Drainage District, Mr. Harry L. Hancock was employed to lay out plans for the drainage system and to supervise construction on a 5% basis. A resolution was passed also at this meeting calling for open drainage instead of tile in the first five units running north and south of the drainage district, and George Brown for the Wessex Company was given permission to construct a drain on Wessex land in the lower end of the valley to be reimbursed from the drainage funds when they became available.

At a special called meeting on June 20th, 1923 of the stockholders in was revealed that former plans to finance the drainage plans had fallen through and it seemed there was no prospect of immediate relief to the waterlogged lands, so a resolution was introduced directing the board of directors to borrow $75,000 on the company note and construct the most necessary units as outlined by Engineer Honcock.

Mr. Schmalhausen who was present, representing the Jennings Construction and Engineering Company of El Paso, proposed to take the contract and to accept the company’s note in payment, subject to the approval of the company’s lawyers.

In July, 1923, Mr. G.A. Punteney of Phoenix presented an option contract to the board of directors for their approval, giving him the right to buy all drainage water developed by the district up to, but not exceeding 50,000 acre-feet per year, and to pay the district the rate of $0.50 per acre-foot. The option to be in full force and effect up to and including November 1st, 1923. he agreed to pick up the water at or near the mouth of the different discharge drainage ditches. The board approved the option but it was never carried out.

On July 12th, the Jennings Construction Company asked that the Irrigation Company amend their articles of incorporation so that they could have power to construct drainage projects. So at a called meeting of the stockholders on August 18th, the following was added to articles of Incorporation, “To construct, operate and maintain ditches, conduits, pipelines, tile drains and other drainage works for draining any or all the lands receiving water or entitled water from the irrigation works of the corporation.

“Provided, however, that no further expenditures shall be made, or indebtedness created for the purpose of drainage works construction when and in the event $80,000 shall have been so expended for such purpose.”

In July, 1924, some of the Gillespie land owners brought suit against the Buckeye and Arlington Canals to determine if said companies were using water that belonged to them, they putting a claim on all drainage water from these respective districts. The two companies joined in the defense in the suit; Buckeye to bear 75% and Arlington 25% of the costs.

The firm of Hayes, Laney, Stanford and Allee was retained to defend the suit.

On November 6th, 1924, the appeared this most interesting item in the minutes of the directors meeting. “On motion duly made, seconded and carried, the superintendent was instructed to eliminate the purchase of eggs at the present high price.”

At the annual stockholders’ meeting of January 19th, 1925, it was ordered by the stockholders that all waterlogged land assessments by cancelled upon the request of the land owners. Over the past 10 years the assessments had accumulated to the amount of $29,739.31. When the land was dewatered the stockholder could renew his right to water and go on from there.

On April 19, 1918 a price of $20.00 per share was fixed on 4,000 shares of new stock issued by the canal company. Each year thereafter the price was to increase $2.00 per share until it had reached $30.00. At the 1925 annual meeting it was revealed that only 327.5 shares had been sold since issued. Seeing that the stock was not going to sell at these prices the stockholders ordered that all future sales be fixed at $10.00 per share, the same as the old and original 16,000 shares had been sold.

During the spring of 1925, F.A. Reid and S.C. Miller and the Gillespie Water Company both made propositions to the Irrigation Company to dewater the valley for the use of the water, by pumps or otherwise. But neither offered anything concrete at the time, no action was taken.

On April 7th, the bids for $200,000 bonds of the drainage district were opened at the irrigation office and it was found that the First Securities Company of Los Angeles was the highest of the three bidders at $93.03 and the irrigation board recommended that the drainage board accept the bid.

On September 8th, 1925 bids were opened for a new headgate and wasteway and Henry Galbraith having submitted the lowest bid, it was awarded to him.

On October 6th, 1925 S.C. Miller again came before the board and offered them a new proposition for dewatering the waterlogged lands of the valley, and after considerable discussion the Miller-Reid agreement was accepted. It required that the Irrigation Company secure pump easements on 90% of the lands of the valley. But as the company was unable to secure the required amount of easements, Mt. Miller again appeared before the board on August 8th, and offered to amend the agreement, cutting the easements down to 75%. This was agreed to, and another try was made.

In the year 1927, at the annual meeting it was voted that from then on any farmer desiring a lateral to his ranch would have to build it himself but the company would build all gates and structures in it so the water could be conserved and used beneficially. Where a private ditch was already built the farmers were to enlarge, and put it in shape before the company would take it over as a lateral. This resulted in a mad scramble to get ditches built, or enlarged so that the company would take them over. Result, many new laterals, for the company to maintain, coming into use during the year.

All records, no matter how dry, now and then have some humor scatted through them at different times, so on July 5th, 1927 at a regular board meeting appeared an item that at this distance strikes us as a little humorous. At that time it was probably serious enough. Maybe it was the heat or else the board had not fully recovered from celebrating on July 4th.

It was moved and seconded that the secretary’s salary be cut in half, and was carried by a 4 to 3 vote. It was then moved that the director’s per diem be cut for $5.00 to $3.00 and carried by a 5 to 2 vote. Later in the meeting a motion was made to rescind the motion to cut the directors’ per diem and carried by a 4 to 3 vote. Then that not seeming just right a vote taken on rescinding the cut in the secretary’s salary and carried by a 4 to 3 vote. So they were back where they started from; the only employee getting anything out of the deal was a raise in the zanjero’s salary to $200 per month. They were operating with only one zanjero at this time. The superintendent looking after the upper end of the canal.

At the August 3rd meeting of the directors a contract was entered into by the board and the Ruth Dredger Manufacturing Company for the purchase of a Dredger at the total price of $1,750 f.o.b. Huntington Park, California.

On October 18th, the dredger having arrived and set up on the Zander Ranch for the excavation of a waste lateral, the board visited at and inspected the machine and its work and decided that the type of crawlers on which it was mounted was not suitable for this country and the work would have to do. So Mr. T.A. Burch, the representative for the dredger company offered to get and install another type of crawler for the additional amount of $3,200.

On November 17th, the board again visited the dredger with the new crawlers installed and after inspecting the one mile of work done, decided to purchase the machine at the agreed price of $14,950.

At the annual meeting on January 16th, 1928, among the things to come up, Mr. William Walton made a protest against the newly formed Roosevelt Canal Company pumping water for the Buckeye Canal drainage district in Salt River Valley and asked that his protest be entered on the minutes of this meeting. This was the opening gun on the lawsuit against all water users on the Salt and Gila rivers clear to the New Mexico line. All summer long at every meeting some phase of the proposed water suit was discussed.

On October 22nd, the Arlington Canal Company was invited to join in the suit on an 80-20 basis of expense. The Arlington Canal Company to accept the latter figure, which they agreed to. Attorney Floyd Stahl had been retained as their attorney to represent them in the suit.

All during the year 1928, there had been considerable discussion about putting down wells to increase the flow of water, and at one time the board by official action, advised the Drainage District board to put down at lease ten wells and later at another meeting increased it to twenty.

In February, 1929, Engineer Hancock employed I.H. Parkman and James Wainscott to gather evidence for the contemplated suit, by putting down holes, measuring wells, etc. In the south and west end of the Salt River Valley, up to Agua Fria as far as Peoria and up to the Gila as far as Sacaton. As the Drainage District was having trouble disposing of their bonds at a reasonable figure, it was finally decided that the Irrigation Company had better take over the installation of pumps, both for irrigation and drainage up to $100,000

Then, at such time that the drainage district could sell sufficient bonds at a reasonable figure, to repay the irrigation company the $100,000, or such part of it as had actually been expended.

At the annual meeting on January 13th, 1931, a resolution was passed putting the sale of water on an acre-foot basis when the river flow fell below 6,000 inches, for a period of five days or more. The company had during the meantime installed eight pumps and the water was now ready for use; hence the change of sale and distribution. Water was fixed at the price of $1.00 per acre-foot.

During the year several plans were set up or suggested for operating the acre-foot plan of selling water, and finally a system that was fair to all and workable was adopted.

During the years 1932 and 1933, the big depression was on, farm prices had dropped to nothing and the farmers in many instances could not pay for water to make crops, so during these two years the main concerns of the board of directors was to try to devise ways and means so all could have water and meet their payments, so the company would have money to operate on.

At the annual meeting of 1933, a plan was adopted authorizing the secretary to accept crop mortgages, in some cases, in lieu of cash, for the payment of water. A great many took advantage of this, with the result that a year or so later the company found they were in possession of a lot of worthless paper as the crops were insufficient to redeem the notes and mortgages, or the proceeds from the sale of crops were used for other purposes and not turned in on the mortgages. So it was ordered that all mortgages be cancelled and the indebtedness reverts back to the books of the company as delinquent payments and be treated as such. A plan was adopted whereby the stockholder could pay a portion of the delinquent payments twice a year when he paid his current water bill. It was a continual struggle during this period for the company to keep its head above water, and it resulted in wage cuts to all employees. But during the year 1935, these wages and salaries were restored to their former level.

During this year the company purchased a dragline machine to add to their equipment, and put down two more wells.

The next few years were without any incident of any importance save the numerous meetings with government officials looking toward the still pending water suit. Some of these meetings made it necessary for one of more of the company officials to make trips to Washington, Denver, Los Angeles and other places to meet with the different officials.

On August 8th, 1940, the canal board instructed the superintendent to proceed with putting down well No. 12 to be located near the James Carter home on the bank of the canal.

As the river bed was fast growing up with Tamarac Trees and Salt Cedars, it became a worry to the board and others as to what would happen if a big river came down as it had done at times in the past. The board started a movement trying to interest the county and state officials in doing something about it, and later the Federal Government. They got a lot of talk and promises, but no action on the river.

Only routine matters came up for attention until June, 1941 when the board added to the canal equipment a small Caterpillar Tractor, a machine they had long needed.

The board had been trying out the policy of running “free water” during the periods when the river was in flood, and on August 5th, 1941 they voted to run no pumps as long as the river furnished as much as 3,000 inches, but if the demand for more water became greater then they would charge the regular acre foot rate.

On June 2nd, 1942, a drainage well was ordered put down and equipped, one mile west and a half mile south of Palo Verde Store on Lateral 23. As this was one of the worst waterlogged section of the Valley, it would be a good chance to see what a drainage well would do when placed in a strategic place. Its operations resulted in the fact that water levels in that district were lowered quite perceptibly as long as it ran continually.

By this time the Ruth-Dredger that had been purchased back in 1937 was getting pretty well worn out and the board began casting about for one to take its place. Hearing of a used one in Fallon, Nevada a committee was sent up to look it over and returned with a favorable report. Action was taken to close the deal. It was purchased for $7,500 plus freight from the shipping point.

January 4th, 1944 was an eventful day for the Buckeye Irrigation Company, when the water suit instituted in 1929 was brought to a successful conclusion, after 15 years of bickering. The settlement was in the form of a compromise, with the Carl Pleasant outfit on the Agua Fria paying to the Buckeye Company $15,000 cash and the Salt River Water Users agreeing to turn over the Buckeye Canal above its head 1% of all stored water it ran each year, but never to exceed 1600 inches at any one time. The water to be run on demand of the Irrigation Company both as to the time and amount. At the close of each year, all unused water, if any, was to be canceled and to start over again.

The Roosevelt Irrigation District was to pay for pumping up to 8,000 inches of water using Buckeye pumps, and if Buckeye did not use up the full amount, then in that case, what was left over to be added to next year’s amount. While Congress had appropriated $10,000 to the Indians to pay their share for the settlement of the suit, it was not yet available to Buckeye as the Indian Tribal Council had to sign certain papers which they were often loathe to do. They were signed sometime later, October, 1947, and the money was made available to the Buckeye Company.

This money was paid to the Valley National Bank for notes held by them and the Company indebtedness lessened by that much.

On March 7th, 1944, the board put all water on an acre-foot basis, flood waters and all, only at a reduced price. This brought some objections from certain farmers that needed the “mud water” to build up their lands, but finally it was taken as a matter of course and no more was said about the matter.

During the next year or so, things moved along in a quiet and orderly manner. Two new wells were put down, one near old well No. 4 that had to be abandoned on account of a crooked casing caused from repeated cave-ins.

During the year 1947, a representative of Phelps-Dodge mining interests at Morenci approached the Buckeye Secretary, A. T. Jones and offered to buy the water Buckeye had coming to them from the Salt River Valley Water Users Association in their settlement of the water suit some years before. After some dickering back and forth the following schedule was worked out and incorporated in a four year contract. Phelps –Dodge to pay Buckeye $25, 000 upon signing the contract and $25,000 on February 15, 1948 and beginning January, 1948 to pay $10 per acre-foot for all water Buckeye had coming from the Water Users, and at the rate of $15 per acre-foot for 1949, and $20 per acre foot for 1950 and 1951 when the contract would expire.

At a Stockholders meeting on October 2nd, 1947 , the set-up was explained to them and they voted to enter into the contract if their attorney found they could do so without jeopardizing their rights to the ware. The lawyers recommending that it could be done safely, the deal was closed.

Immediately a well driller was put to work on new wells so that enough could be in production in the spring of 1948 to take care of the water they had contracted away. The well drilling and installing pumps continued for some time, with the company having 24 wells in production by August of 1949.

On December 6th, 1947, the board met with Mr. A.J. McMillan and Mr. B. Withrow of Holtvill, Concrete Pipe Company to discuss the costs and the feasibility of installing tile drains in this valley.

The board sometime before had gone down to Imperial Valley and inspected some systems that had been put in and were working.

After the board and the gentlemen from Holtville Concrete Pipe Company had made an inspection of the valley it was agreed that they would tile three different tracts, to-wit: 60 acres for Carl Towner, 20 acres for Long Brothers and 80 acres fro Tom Thedford, provided that fair and suitable contracts could be arranged with the parties concerned.

At a meeting on January 6th, 1948, this record appears in the secretary’s book as follows:

Motion made and seconded, (1) that $40.00 per acre be charged landowners for such lands as are tiled and drained; (2) landowners to be given 5 years to pay the amount charged for the tile drainage starting 3 years form completion date of tile installation; (3) the rate of interest to be 5% per annum to start after 3 year period; (4) if time drainage proves unsuccessful, no charge to be made landowner to installing said tile not any expense connected thereto; (5) a 3-man board to determine when and if, lands are drained (explains how chosen); (6) if tile is successful charges made by the Buckeye Irrigation Company against landowners subject to above terms and to be a lien against such property as are tiles and drained until charges are fully paid.

On January 16th, 1948 a contract was entered into with the firm of Davis and Wardlow to tile the above mentioned lands. The price agreed upon was $0.51 ½ for four inch drain and $0.58 for six inch.

April 1st, 1948 Roy Decker of the Soil Conservation Service, who hade made a survey of the waterlogged lands of the Valley, made a report that there were 6,300 acres already waterlogged or on the verge of becoming so, and that 56,000 acre-feet of water would have to be removed from this area annually to effectively drain the area and that it would cost, in a 30 to 40 year period from $129 to $176 per acre, according to the method used for drainage.

On April 6th, 1948 at an adjourned meeting of Stockholders the following amendment was added to the company’s by-laws: “In the event any board member is absent for three consecutive meetings, the remaining members shall appoint another stockholder who is otherwise qualified to serve for the balance of the unexpired term, and in the event any board member fails to attend as many as six regular monthly meetings during the year, such member shall not be eligible for re-election at the regular stockholders’ meeting.”

On October 5th, 1948 C.M. Ainsworth, consulting engineer for the U.S. Borders Commission came before the canal board and reported as to the condition and necessity of cleaning the river channel in some way before a big flood came down it. The Army engineers were planning to make a survey of conditions from Granite Reef to Gillespie Dam, but advised the board to do anything possible they could do in the meantime.

On February 8th, 1949 a new set-up of canal management was instituted by the board. Mr. Archie Enloe having resigned from the Board of Directors was made general superintendent of the Canal Company at a salary of $500 per month, and Carroll Parkman was retained as Company engineer at his regular salary.

At the October 5th meeting, the “Right to Work Bill” came up for discussion and it was ordered that the secretary be instructed to send $200 to them as a donation to help in the passage of said bill. It was also ordered after a full discussion that the company send $1,600 to the Central Arizona Project Association to help in the fight against California for Arizona’s just share of the Colorado River water. At this same meeting, C.M. Ainsworth was retained as engineer to look after Buckeye’s interest in the river clearance problem and do whatever surveying that was necessary. On Nov. 3rd, the superintendent was ordered to purchase 4 more pumps, two to be delivered in January and two in March, 1949.

On December 11th, Mr. Ainsworth reported that after a conference with the engineers representing the Water Users Association, it was his opinion they were not much concerned of doing much of anything about the river clearance problem.

At the Annual Stockholders’ meeting on January 17th, 1949 the same Board of Directors was elected with the exception of E.H. Johnson, who was replace by C.A. Elms, At the meeting of the newly constituted board, A.L. Landford was retained as president and J.R. Beloat as Vice President, with W.W. Weigold retained as secretary-treasurer.

On February 8th, a new set-up was adopted by the board on canal management. A.W. Enloe was named superintendent at a salary of $500 per month and Carroll Parkman retained as engineer at the salary of $350 per month. Upon Enloe’s resignation as director, L.D. Hazen was appointed to fill the vacancy for Enloe’s unexpired term. During the year, several pieces of much needed machinery were added to canal equipment, lessening hand labor and tending to lower the cost of maintenance. Among the machinery purchased was a skip-loader, an International Truck, three pick-up trucks, a D-7 Caterpillar, inch and Angle Dozer and Ditching Machine.

A continuation of the discussion of Salt Cedar eradication along the river was had from time to time with the Company Consulting Engineer C. M. Ainsworth and Federal and Army representatives, but no definite plan or start of the work was undertaken. Superintendent Parkman did do considerable surveying of the river bed at the suggestion of the Army Engineers.

In September, 1949 a movement was launched for a big celebration when the company had paid off its last bond and would be debt free. The date was set for January 16th, 1950 with L.D. Hazen, John Beloat and Othel Narramore in charge of arrangements. A full detail of the celebration will be found in a later chapter.

At the Annual Stockholder’s meeting, 1950, Bob Long, Othel Narramore, A.L. Lanford, L.D. Hazen, C.A. Elms, John Beloat and Wallace Bales received the highest votes and were declared elected as directors. Lanford was elected again as president and Beloat as vice-president, with W.W. Weigold as secretary-treasurer.

During the year, the talk of the river bottom clearance went on, and on June 3rd, Engineer Ainsworth stated at a meeting of the Board of Directors that the Army Engineers informed him that even if the project is approved, it will take from 5 to 6 years to get an appropriation and do the work. The estimated cost was put at $3,000,000 for the 77 miles of clearance 2,000 feet wide. As river water kept getting less and less, in the past few years, it was quite evident that more pumps would have to be installed to take care of the shortage and furnish the required amount of water needed. On October 18th, the board authorized the drilling of 14 new wells, at strategic points throughout the Valley. On December 12th, the board, after inspection, bought a used well drilling rig for $6,000.

At the regular directors meeting on January 2nd, 1951, the matter of new wells being drilled on the Indian Reservation came up for discussion with representatives from Arlington present. A.T. Jones stated there were 20 wells drilled within 10 miles of the head of the Canal since the settlement of the old water suit and close enough to the rivers to perhaps dry them up entirely. It was decided to talk the matter over with their attorneys and take action if possible.

At the Annual Stockholders’ meeting on January 15th, Bob Long, C.A. Elms, P.G. Pflufer, Elmer Shepard, Othel Narramore and A.W. Enloe were elected as directors with W.W. Weigold retained as secretary-treasurer. L.D. Hazen was elected president and Bob Long as vice-president and Carroll Parkman retained as superintendent.

At the board meeting on January 23rd, the salaries of most of the employees of the Irrigation Company were given a slight raise in keeping with the times and cost of living.

At the board meeting on February 21st, it was decided to appoint L.D. Hazen as temporary superintendent, while Caroll Parkman worked on the suit against the farmers that had installed wells in the St. Johns-Laveen District. His salary was fixed at $500, and he was to furnish his own transportation. An Engineer Harding was retained in the Underground Water suit, it any was had.

During 1951, local rains continued for two weeks and stormwater from the White Tanks area caused flooding. The natural desert washes ran in a southwesterly direction, with an unusually large wash running near the community of Palo Verde. A huge mass of water from the wash destroyed much of the lower section on the canal, causing flooding in many homes. Palo Verde Road was washed away and a 10 to 15 foot gully resulted just below the canal. The flume under the Hassayampa River to the Tovrea property was washed out also.

At the December 4th meeting of the directors, L.D. Hazen proposed that the secretary take over the duties of general manager of the Company as of January 1st, 1952. His resignation was accepted and Weigold appointed to the duties.

At the Annual Stockholders’ meeting hold on January 21st, 1952, Othel Narramore, Vernon Beloat, B.E. Schweikary, Carl Arnold, A.W. Enloe, P.G. Pfluger and L.D. Hazen were elected to constitute the board of directors for the coming year. Othel Narramore was named as president and Vernon Beloat as vice-president. W.W. Weigold was named as secretary-manager and he was empowered to employ someone for full time service in the office.

During the year 1952, short water was one of the major problems of worry and discussion of the board, so they set aside $25,000 early in the year to cement line laterals and try and save some seepage waste that they were losing. On January 26th, 1953 discussion was had in regards to setting aside another $25,000 for the same purpose. At this same meeting, A.T. Jones asked to be relieved of part of his duties as Court Water Commissioner, and it was arranged to let the watchman at the head do the measuring of the water in the river, under the supervision of Jones, and that Jones’ salary by reduced from $80 to $50 per month.
During the year 1953, Arlington Canal Company and the Buckeye Irrigation Company had been having some trouble over Buckeye waster water. Arlington had been damming up the water into their canal. This made it necessary to back the water up several feet in the ditch and so tend to waterlog the adjoining land and also cause the deep ditched to cave in more or less.

On February 3rd, representatives from Arlington appeared before the Buckeye Board and worked out a plan whereby they could use the water, by signing a contract agreeing to take all responsibility for damage and to build and maintain all needed structures.

In March, a new Gradall was purchased and put to work on the South Extension. Talk during the year was carried on from time to time in regards to threatened suit against Phoenix and Salt River Water Users for holding water behind Horseshoe Dam for Phoenix, contending that Phoenix acted illegally in closing the gates before water was pouring over Gillespie Dam. Judge Tuller of Tucson was named to hear the case.

A new measuring weir was constructed at the canal intake in 1953 according to specifications from the University of Arizona. Ed Stearman of Stearman Construction Company was the job engineer. Ed’s son, Bob Streaman, was Superintendent of the Buckeye Irrigation Company in the 50’s.

Also in 1953, Arizona Public service entered into a 25 year power contract with the Buckeye Water Conservation and Drainage District, after the government ruled APS was not qualified to keep the block of Federal Hoover power. They sold the power to five municipalities, dividing it up according to the use of the five District, thus resulting in a much cheaper rate than the regular price of power. This contract was rewritten in 1987 under new terms.

At the Annual election of 1954 the old board was unanimously elected by acclamation. Othel Narramore was again retained as president and B.E. Schweikart elected vice-president. W.W. Weigold was again appointed secretary-manager.

During the first of the year, the Carl Hegi home burned and his wife and one child lost their lives in the fires, so in April the board ordered that $100 be cut off of his water assessment as a neighborly goodwill gesture and to help him out in time of need.

In May the board of directors appropriated $25,000 more for the lining of ditches. It seems that there had been a widespread demand for ditch lining since it once got under way, and much water saved thereby.

Also in May, Mr. Ott Dixon filed suit against the Canal Company for alleged damages to the extent of $200,000. His cause for action was listed: #1 To have boundary lines between Dixon and Johnson and between Dixon and Baker moved west 400 feet. #2 The Company using ditches between the places. #3The Company failed to deliver water to 70 acres of barley and set the damage at $10,000. #4 Claims of insufficient water for the past 4 years, because gates were not kept locked and water being stolen by other stockholders. #5 That Directors and Managers were illegally elected at last Stockholders’ meeting.

During the year an agreement was made with the U.S. Department of Interior for use of one of the Company’s wells on a test to determine whether it was feasible to de-mineralize water used for irrigation. Well #2 was placed at their disposal. The necessary machinery was installed and the tests started.

On January 17th, 1955, the annual stockholders’ meeting was held and Narramore, Beloat, Pfluger, Schweikart, Lanford, Arnold and Bales were elected directors and Narramore and Schweikart were elected president and vice-president, with Weigold retained as secretary-manager.

During the year, the company granted the County of Maricopa a right-of-way across their property at the head of the canal for a road to provide a means of ingress and egress to a County Park opened up in the hills across the river to the south.

In February of this year, the Board of Directors revealed that water levels all over the district were lowering fast. #11 well was cited as an example. In 1952, static water level was 22.4 feet and 1955, 42.9 feet. This was given as a general trend over most of the district.

On Sunday, March 15th, the upper zanjero’s house burned down and at the next meeting the board ordered a block house constructed at a cost of approximately $3,500. Insurance on the burned house of $2,000 was carried by the Company.

The Annual Stockholders meeting of 1956 named the following gentlemen to the Board of Directors, to-wit: Narramore, Beloat, Schweikart, Lanford, Arnold, Bales and Marshall Long. Othel Narramore was again elected as president and B.E. Schweikart as vice-president with W.W. Weigold retained as secretary-manager.

At this meeting it was stressed by several stockholders that many of the pumps have had long hard service, and it would be the wise thing to check all pumps as to the condition and to set up a replacement fund to be used when needed.

In October, 1960 the company started negotiating on purchasing the Stillman property at 205 Roosevelt Ave., he present site of the Company office. The previous company office was located at 203 South 4th Street. The 4th Street building was constructed by H.M. Watson, and it also housed the Buckeye Valley Bank. On January 16th, 1961, the stockholders made the final decision on the new office purchase and soon thereafter, Buckeye Irrigation Company moved into int former Massey Ferguson Implement Company building. In the fall of 1981, the company office was remodeled, making two attractive office rooms and a main conference room out of the original implement display room. All work was done by company personnel including Jess Hooten and Dan Keck.

In 1965, the company began bargaining for the purchase of the effluent water form the City of Phoenix and the other SROG (Southwest Regional Operating Group) cities. The following year, 1966, approval was given for 30,000 acre-feet of water per year. Delivery was started in 1971, and this water has proved to be a boost to the water delivery in the Valley.

A 25-year dry period on the Salt River watershed ended on January 4th, 1966, when the “Big Flood” on the Salt River occurred. This was the first flood coming down the Gila River since December 31st, 1941. Much damage was done to the main canal with the peak water flow at the head being 75,000 cubic feet per second, causing the lead-in channel to be destroyed. Repair work was begun immediately which required extensive mending at the heading to restore water supply to normal.

Each big flood washes the dam and canal intake at the head, where the river is diverted, and the head has to be reconstructed as quickly as possible to get water back into the canal. When the 1966 flood subsided, the river flowed at the toe of a butte on the south side of the broad river bed. The intake was high and dry and was separated from the new channel by a stretch of “quick” sand. Two bulldozers were sent in to excavate a ditch diagonally across the sand. It was no easy task, and one bulldozer was used to pull the other out of the “quick” sand. However, it was eventually completed and all the water flowed into the canal heading again.

Each flood raised the water level in the irrigation and drainage wells. One well, a mile away, showed a recovery of four feet, and the level of one located at the river rose 32 feet.

Another big flood hit the Valley September 8th, 1970, mostly from the local storm, and from the White Tanks area. It caused great damage to the upper half of the main canal and other points west. Many portions of the canal had to be reconstructed, as there were more than two dozen major breaks in the entire canal system. Since this time, flood control dikes have been installed by the Government in conjunction with protecting I-10 and the channeling of the runoff from the White Tanks Mountain area.

Since 1970, four additional major floods occurred. The first happened on March 4th, 1978. Some of the old timers thought it was the biggest flood ever to hit Central Arizona. Heavy rains caused massive floods from both the Gila and Salt Rivers. Heavy rains caused massive floods from both the Gila and Salt Rivers. Records show 125,000 cfs at the peak at the company headworks. Salt cedars, other debris and silt in the river bottom forced water into strange new patterns, and lands that escaped such flooding in recent years were covered. Roosevelt lake filled up, and water was released which caused even greater flooding and disaster to farms, livestock, property and equipment near the river. During this flood, families along Beloat Road loaded up belongings, installed sand bags and moved livestock. Yet, many young pigs were lost in the swirling water. A large number of homes had three-to-four feet of water running through the doors and windows, and some had as much as eight feet of water surrounding them. Great damage was done to the north bank of the river and also to the South Extension just above Highway 85 and Perryville Roads. Some acreage was lost into the river and several dairies moved their herds to higher ground in order to continue operations.

The second flood of that year came December 18th, which was larger than the one in March with the peak at the head being recorded at 150,000 cfs. The diversion channel was destroyed; the same ditches were damaged to an even greater degree. However, because of the new dike and a good river channel on the south side of the river, the head remained undamaged. Due to greater damage of latter floods, Federal Aid was applied for and received through the Buckeye Water Conservation and Drainage District.

The other flood mentioned came January 2nd, 1979. A peak of 140,000 cfs was recorded at the company head, causing an even greater degree of damage. During this flood, extensive damage was created in the Palo Verde areas to most of the lands near the river. In some farms, boulders that were once a part of the river bed before the Valley was put into cultivation were uncovered.

On February 13th, 1980, a similar flood took place when the Roosevelt Dam released considerable water which caused even more flooding along and near the river.

In October of 1978, discussion began about the purchase of radios for Company use. It was proposed that 4 units and a base station by purchased from Motorola. A license for 10 units was agreed upon even if not all the units were needed at the present time. The units were installed in 1980, and 2 new radios were purchased August 4th, 1981, for two pickups. This communication system had proved to be more useful and time-savings, especially in water deliveries and maintenance.

In 1980, a comprehensive Ground Water Code was passed by the State Legislature. The goal of the 1980 Ground Water Code was to balance the water budget for the State and to avoid excess groundwater overdraft, although some ground has always been in this status. After the floods and the recharge of effluent, the Buckeye Valley was again waterlogged and was not overdrafting the groundwater. The Buckeye Irrigation Company and its neighbors, The Arlington Canal Company and St. Johns Irrigation District, joined together to be removed from the unreasonable groundwater requirements. The Legislature, in response to Buckeye’s call for relief, passed House Bill 2222. The bill exempted the three districts while a comprehensive study of hydrology and farming practices was completed. The study was completed in December of 1987, and the Arizona Department of Water Resources recommended the area be removed from active management and should be exempted form the groundwater conservation regulations. Special thanks for the many hours of lobbying the Legislature are due to Kyle Hindman and Robert Towner.

Active Members of

Buckeye Water Conservation and Drainage District