Early Gilbert AZ

courtesy of Town of Gilbert

courtesy of Town of Gilbert

 I just finished a delightful book, Early Gilbert in Stories and Photos, a compilation of interviews completed in 1995 for a Gilbert AZ oral history project. Interviewed were folks who came to Gilbert and nearby Phoenix, Mesa and so forth, in the very early years of the town’s growth – some in covered wagons. The book was edited by the director of the local Gilbert library and the project was the work of the town itself, to commemorate it’s 75th anniversary. Tribune newspapers contributed the design and layout.

I read about Ola Sawyer, who came to Arizona from Oklahoma in 1918 with her parents in what she called “covered wagons with motors.”  She talked about the first placed her family camped. “We were right against the Sacaton Reservation. I would watch those Indian ladies making those baskets and that pottery. How they would do that! I didn’t get very close because I didn’t know if I should. ”

John Freestone’s father George migrated by covered wagon train to the Gila River Valley with his family when he was eleven. His mother traveled to AZ from Utah at about the same age. “I can remember my mother saying how frightened she was when they let the covered wagons down into the Grand Canyon to have it floated over Lee’s Ferry crossing on the Colorado River. ”

Many other great stories. The book is available in the Maricopa County Library. The Town of Gilbert’s Web site also has information and photos about its early years.

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Published in: on April 28, 2009 at 6:13 am  Leave a Comment  

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