1817 – 1910
It is hard to find anyone Who came to the Arizona Territory who is more colorful or more of a character the Bear Howard.
His arrival in Arizona was not so much of his own desire or planned far in advance. It stood to reason if you were running from the law, the Arizona Territory was always a good option. After killing a Mexican sheepherder over a grazing dispute, Bear found himself in jail. His daughter, Martha, got him out of jail by baking a file into a birthday cake. (That really happened!!!) Bear, along with his entire family, headed to Arizona. He built a cabin in the 1880s using sandstone rock in Oak Creek Canyon, where the West Fork hiking trail is today.
|West Fork hiking trail at Oak Creek Canyon|
He got his name from the large number of bears he had killed. This was one of his primary means of livelihood. Whether feeding hungry miners in California or hungry lumber men in Arizona, Bear Howard found that bear meat was tasty and one bear would go a long way.
He was a big man. At 6’6”, he towered over most men. He was strong and powerfully built. Story is he had a hot temper and a personality that was larger than life.
Bear had been a widower for many years when he tried marriage again. He married Elizabeth Ragsdale James. The marriage lasted only three months. She was tired of the smelly hound dogs lying around the house. Bear chose the dogs.
Bear was in remarkably good health and lived to be 93. He spent the last years of his life living with his daughter Martha and her husband in Yeager County near Prescott.
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Thanks for stopping by to read about Bear Howard - I live in Arizona and I love writing about its history.
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