Large Photograph Album
Ranching and Hunting Adventures
Guided by Doc McKinnon and Ambrose Means
Mexico and Arizona
Very Good images - Nicely captioned
Extraordinarily Rare Photographs of Two Famous Wilderness Trailblazers
Mexico's Baja Peninsula, Arizona, 1922.
Uncommon and substantial album of original ranching and hunting expedition
photographs taken on a six week horseback journey, first throughout the Baja California
peninsula and then exploring the wilderness of Arizona, guided by none other than
Doc MacKinnon and Ambrose Means.
Qto. Oblong album by Johnson of London, half calf over green cloth boards,
ruled and titled in gilt, marbled endpapers, measuring approximately 11 x 15 inches.
Contains 247 black and white photographs, measuring approximately 3 x 5 inches,
each captioned in manuscript, with frequent travel dates inscribed in top margins.
With a map of America printed in 1916 mounted to rear end paper, featuring red ink
marks delineating regions visited by the traveller. Also, loosely placed within,
a full page newspaper leaf from a May 1923 issue of the Market Harborough Advertiser (England)
featuring articles on tuberculosis testing on Canadian cattle, and agricultural topics.
Professional repair to boards, spine in particular, wear to map, otherwise in
Very Good Condition, photographs retaining clean and crisp images.
The author of these photographs is Major Clarence John Henry (1895-1973),
honorary attaché to the British Embassy and his journey to America affords him
connections with several significant American Southwest pioneers, and famous
Wild West personalities, including, seen in this album,
Ambrose Means - cougar hunter, early western show actor, and pioneer
Grand Canyon Guide; and Doc McKinnon - legendary bajacalifornio
dentist and Samaritan. We also find images of the homestead of Newt House -
Baja Coast Trader of Cattle and Mining Supplies, best known for his association
with the ever famous Hussong's Cantina.
Remarkable and scarce, this album chronicles a hearty adventure, six weeks
of nomadic riding, tenting, and sport hunting, guided by two legendary American
men whom are rarely seen in photographs, Doc McKinnon and Ambrose Means.
From March 3rd to April 17th, 1922, innumerable miles are traveled on horseback,
often where there is no trail, throughout harsh land of deserts, high mountains,
and scarcity of water, in desolate regions of the Baja California peninsula,
the northwest tip of Sonora in Mexico, and through vast regions of Arizona.
The party initially consists of head guide MacKinnon [Doc McKinnon],
Lucero an aged but tough Mexican packer, "Poker Charlie" the Chinese cook,
S.R.B., Mr. Binton, Wilson, G.J.M., Jack, Charlie Hart, and the photographer,
British diplomat and later international merchant, Major C.J. Henry.
The album begins with unimaginably small-town views of Ensenada, a coastal city
in Mexico, now the third-largest in Baja California, where the party of six men
would meet their first guide, the legendary Dr. Charles S. (Mac) McKinnon,
a dentist who practiced in Santa Rosalia for over thirty five years from the
1920s on, served thousands of people in communities as far south as La Paz.
Australian born 'Doc McKinnon' was esteemed for his altruistic commitment,
reputed for his in depth knowledge of the terrain, every twist in the trail,
every water hole, and every rancher, and as such, became the main person to
consult before undertaking any journey in the Baja.
"Doc McKinnon" is identified in 27 photographs.
After roping, horseshoeing, and completing other ranch duties with the vaqueros
of Circle Bar Ranch near Ensanada, they proceed east to El Rayo, near Constitution
1857 National Park, then to a ranch in Ojos Negros, a town in the valley of the same name.
[Circle Bar Ranch of San Diego held renewable twenty year leases on over one
million acres of the holdings of the Baja California Colonization and Development
Company, whose colonies displaced poor Mexican farmers and ranchers without papers.]
Views continue through rocky terrain pierced with various gnarled cacti,
and further south to Palmita in Baja California Sur, from where a storm is
observed before entering the desert. Mountains are seen in the distance,
and camp is made at the foot of Tenajo (Tinaja Valdez). Mountain sheep,
antelope, and a jack rabbit are captured in the canyon region.
Two weeks into the adventure, a lone deserted Indian adobe hut is passed,
and the party is looking down at the Arroyo Grande valley in the center of
Baja California Sur, Mexico, where they camp for a few days. Here they
shoot one of their mules; more antelope are hunted; and finally, a notable
source of water appears, albeit not easily accessed.
On March 20th they reach the Sierra de San Pedro Mártir (Mountains of
Saint Peter the Martyr, declared a National Park in 1947). Laden with ample meat,
and returning north, they reach Valle Trinidad, southeast of Ensanda on the 23rd,
where they enjoy a hot sulphur springs, the first decent bathing opportunity,
and the ranch owned by Newt House, their next guide, famed cougar hunter and
roper, who has been described as "a character such as John Wayne."
A Cocopah Indian, one of Mr. House's vaqueros, appears to be asleep on his horse.
They visit the mining town of El Alamo, southeast of Ensenada, in Mexico's
Baja California Norte gold mining district, where some of the most important
mining companies are the International, the El Paso, the Independencia, and the Alamo.
The mountains on the approach to Ensanda, afoord a view of Isla Todos Santos on March 24th.
Evidently the photographer and his friend identified only as S.R.B. undertake a long
journey from Mexico to Arizona, for a second and similar rancher-style hunting adventure.
Captions begin again on April 8th as the party are departing from the homestead of
Ambrose Means in Williams, Arizona, whom will be there guide all the way to
Sycamore Canyon. Ambrose Means is seen in 17 captioned photographs and at least one other.
Also joining the party here is a man named Bob Smoots, and cattle rancher Joseph A. McDaniel
(1888-1947) of Williams, Arizona, who is seen in 7 photographs. [Previously, he had served
with the 8th U.S. Infantry during the First World War.] Interestingly, although it is April,
photographs taken at Williams indicate a substantial snowfall.
The following day the men are at the Barney homestead in the Gila Valley, Arizona.
This could be the ranch established near Thatcher by Alfred Alonzo Barney (1865-1942),
whom had settled there at age 22, in 1888, with his sister Rachel, and his father
Danielson Buren Barney (1831-1922), the latter being a pioneer of Utah and Arizona,
a soldier in the Indian Black Hawk War, and whom in 1890 had to take temporary refuge
in Mexico because to avoid persecution for polygamy. Or, it may be the 160 acre homestead
of Walter Turner Barney (1836-1922) at Solomonville, who died there at age 85, only 6 weeks
after this visit would had taken place. W.T. Barney took part in the Walker Indian War,
built sawmills, and was President of the Barney Genealogical Society established in 1921.
On April 11th at the homestead of Nick (Nicholas) Perkins in Garland Prairie,
near Williams, where he had only recently settled as a newlywed.
Nick is a son of Marion Alexander Perkins after whom the town of Perkinsville
was named when in 1900 he established a cattle ranch there. M.A. Perkins also opened
a shortline railway station in 1912, financed by US Senator William Andrews Clark Sr.,
to service his copper smelter in Clarkdale and his copper mine in Jerome.
The Perkins family also sold beef to the miners in Jerome.
One day later they make camp at J.D. Dam Lake, approximately 20 miles southeast of Williams,
and the following day, April 13 they are in Sycamore Canyon, taking in splendid views, and
finding a mound of stones and a mountainside which the photographer captions "An old Indian Fort"
and which was most likely a cliff dwelling. After the one week excursion, the album concludes
with views from the return journey to Nick Perkins' home, still seizing all possible shooting
opportunity, tracking a bobcat, then lion along the way.
Ambrose Isaac Means (1878-1941) was born in Eureka Springs, Carroll, Arkansas,
to Isaac Means and Arcada Ellen Blackburn. Ambrose Isaac married Miriam Elizabeth Whiting
and had 4 children. He died in Williams, Arizona, USA. After his days of world championship
roping, he joined Buffalo Jones (Charles Jesse Jones) on his two expeditions in Africa,
in 1909 for a game hunting expedition to Kenya, and an attempt to capture a gorilla in
the Belgian Congo in 1914. He then appeared in "The Young Buffalo Wild West Shows" of
Tom Mix and Annie Oakley fame. His adventures were told in "Lassoing Wild Animals in Africa"
by Guy Scull, and "Lord of Beasts" by Robert Easton.
In 1917 he also participated in a two-party hunting expedition funded by the government,
Jim Owens and Rex Beach leading one each, to kill menacing cougars on the North Rim of
the Powell Plateau in the Grand Canyon. Burros were provided by William Bass;
horses for eight men were provided by Ambrose Means,
The hunting party killed 450 cougars, resulting in an unmanageable
growth of the deer population. The National Geographic Society made a film about this hunting
expedition called "Ambrose Means and the 1917 Cougar Hunt."
In 1930 Ambrose Means returned from the Northwest to Arizona, and made his living by
becoming a guide in the Grand Canyon, offering both hunting and sightseeing adventures.
His advertisement stated, "After years in the Northwestern States, I have a first class outfit...
I will take you through a country where you can hunt lion, bear, deer, and turkey... Some of the
places to visit are Grand Canyon, Painted Desert, Cliff Dwellings, Indian Ruins..."
Newt House came to Baja California, presumably from Texas, as a very young man,
though little is known of him for certain, other than the fact that he settled in the Baja,
and became a Mexican citizen. It has been said by his contemporaries that he was previously
involved in a range war in Texas, in which his side was ambushed and nearly annihilated,
Newt organizing his own ambush to even the odds. Newt had been to Tijuana, and it was also
said, obtained a permit from the "rebeltosos" to pass several cattle to a specific bearer
in the United States, under the false assumption that they would make a revenue.
Even his closest friends did not ask him any questions.
An Ensenada local, Newt House is best known however for his association with Hussong's Cantina,
owned by John (Johann) Hussong of Germany, and for trading supplies up and down the Baja coast
by horse and carriage. In June of 1891, while traveling together on a trading expedition to a
nearby gold mining camp, John's carriage flipped over, and Newt fractured his leg. John brought
Newt to Ensenada's only bar to recuperate.
Major Clarence John Henry (1895-1973) was British diplomat,
international merchant and world traveller. Serving as honorary attaché to
British Ambassador to the United States Sir Auckland Geddes, he traveled
to New York with him from 1920-21 for the investigation of the treatment
of British immigrants at Ellis Island, and for negotiations which would
lead to the Washington Treaty of 1922. At nineteen years of age he joined
the Regular Army on 24 November 1914, and after some years of service,
he joined the diplomatic service.
Following his diplomatic tour to America, he went on an extensive horseback
hunting expedition far into the wilderness of both Mexico and Arizona.
Then, in the mid 1920s he became a shipping merchant, and made voyages
to the Egypt, the Middle East, and Africa.
Major Henry lived in Stoneygreen Hall, Sudbury, Suffolk.
He married twice, first in 1939 to Barabara, widow of Captain Lan MacDonald
who died in 1969; subsequently in 1970 he married Ada Boyle.
His father, Sir John Henry was a justice of the peace in Leighton Buzzard
parish, and died in 1968.