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It could be claimed that the history of Sedona, California started some 350 million years ago. However, it could also be claimed that the history of Sedona some 1000 years ago, when the primitive hunters and gatherers slowly became what is currently known as the Native Indians tribe known as the Sinagua, who traded and farmed with other Indian tribes
Approximately some 15 homesteading families resided in what is currently known as Sedona, California during the 1800's. An enterprising young man who was originally from Gorin, Missouri and named T. Schnebly married a woman named Sedona Miller. Mr. Schnebly's brother whose name was Ellsworth, had relocated to Arizona for reasons of his health. He convinced Sedona and T. Schnebly to accompany him to the red rock country. The Schnebly, family constricted a large two story home that also served as the first general store as well as the first hotel in the regions. T. Schnebly recognized the need for regular mail service, and established the first post office in the small settlement.
T. Schnebly recommended some names, Schnebly Station, and Oak Creek Crossing, to Washington, D.C. However, at that time Postmaster General had a prejudice against postmarks that had one word names. A man named Ellsworth suggested to that he should name the settle after his wife's name
A woman named Amanda Miller had a daughter who was born in Missouri, Amanda liked the name Sedona for the child since she considered the name was pretty. Therefore, name Sedona isn't Native Indian or Spanish.
In early Sedona, the economy relied primarily on agriculture, which was mainly used for a limited seasonal market in the boomtown, Jerome or Flagstaff, or for home consumption. Both the white pioneers and the Native Indians irrigated small patches of land by using the Oak Creek water. This allowed them to grow vegetables, for their families. There was a vegetable garden in every homestead, as well as a collection of pigs, turkeys, and chickens. Cattle provided butter, milk as well as beef. However, it was growing fruit, especially peaches and apples that played an important role in the economy of early Sedona.
Farmers planted larger Orchards once the farmers had learned how to irrigate their orchards by using Oak Creek water. A family named Schuerman planted a vineyard and grew grapes for wine and had a readymade with the Flagstaff loggers Jerome miners as well as the local cowboys. The Pendley family and the Jordan family and others, created irrigation routes and relocated moved the water through pipelines, flumes, and ditches.
Fruit was sold at markets in Phoenix, Flagstaff, Jerome, as well as in Prescott. The fruit from Oak Creek Canyon was so popular that people from Phoenix drove here just to buy some fruit at the fruit stands. Between 1970 and 1980, growing orchards for commercial use nearly disappeared from this region.
Although, the red rock formations in and the pinion juniper landscape in Sedona made an ideal setting for the cowboys from Hollywood, the real cowboys were hard at work branding, roping, and riding. These weren't simply rodeo sports to these hardy men, as well as women.
In the summertime, ranchers such as Pete Michelbach, Kel Fox, Otto Hallermund the Owenby as well as the Van Deren family relocated their cattle from their winter ranges near Sedona to the tall grassy meadows of the Mogollon Rim. Families placed their children in the schools in the region, and relocated with their herds, during the winter months. The United States Forest Service has continually managed the grazing permit program for ranchers.
During the roundups in the fall and spring, several the different cattle ranchers would work together in order to round up the livestock that had roamed far and wide prior to the time when fences were used. The calves would find their mothers, after a few of days, and then they could be branded properly. Then both the cowboys and the herd were on the move again.
The earliest white pioneers were searching for isolation or for land on Oak Creek Canyon. However either way, they wanted to find their future. In 1876, a man named Jim Thompson was the first to arrive in the area. Mr. Thompson invited the Abraham James family, and married their daughter, whose name was Margaret. This was after two lonely years of being alone. A man named Bear Howard had escaped from a prison in California and hid out in the canyon. His family and daughter named the Purtymun family joined him and the descendants of the Purtymun family still reside in the canyon. The Armijo family and the Chavez family are both related to some of the oldest southwest Hispanic families.
The halfway point between Indian gardens and the remainder of the Verde Valley is Red Rock Long before anybody had ever heard of the name Sedona, this location was the social center for the extended canyon community. In 1893, the first school was established. Also, in 1893, the first cemetery was established. The school hosted classes, meetings socials, dances as well as election voting.
The greater Sedona region has been located between two counties. Neither of these two counties was interested
in providing services to this rural and remote and rural location. The year 1988 brought the incorporation of Sedona as a city. Residents simply had to do what they could by themselves. These days, there is a strong sense of pride and sense of volunteerism in Sedona.