In his just released From the Canada Del Oro to the Tortolitas, Bob Simpson undertakes a thoroughly-researched historical journey through the 144-square-mile area surrounding SaddleBrooke – from Falcon Valley and SaddleBrooke Ranch in the north to Catalina State Park. It spans the period from an 1869 Apache Indian attack on a wagon train, which had just passed through today’s SaddleBrooke, to the 1959 sale of the Rail N Ranch by Roberta Nicholas to Lloyd Golder, III. At that point, Golder turned the area focus from cattle ranching to development.
Bob’s 238-page book is rich in graphics, including satellite maps showing all the federal homestead patents in the study area. But its focus is on selected persons of unusual interest. Mariano Samaniego, Pierre Charouleau, William H. Sutherland, John Nelson and George Wilson are among the most prominent. Others such as the Uomotos and Dr. William Lackner will be new to most readers. Stories of locations (Walnut Well/Oracle Junction/Represso) are also told and early stage and mail service is extensively documented. Finally, audacious get-rich schemes – SaddleBrooke’s Phantom Gold and the Phantom Railroad – are part of local lesser-known history.
Bob is retired Foreign Service Officer and SaddleBrooke neighbor of 17 years. He published Charouleau Gap: Connecting a French Family with Its Tucson History in the spring 2016 Journal of Arizona History. He has given history talks to the Oro Valley Historical Society, the Oro Valley Library, the Tucson Corral of Westerners and is scheduled to speak to the Friends of SaddleBrooke Libraries in November 2019. His new book is available at the SaddleBrooke Gift Shop.