Arizona Pioneer & Cemetery Research Project

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Version 012909-2



aka "Last Roundup”

Gila County, Arizona


By: Kathy Block

APCRP Historian



Photo by: Kathy Block


In March, 1996, while exploring in the Mazatzal Mountains area southwest of Payson, Arizona, Ed and I accidentally discovered "The Last Roundup" cemetery. It is located west of Arizona State Highway 87 north of Rye, Arizona. Turn west just south of the split into a divided highway north of Rye, then, where the pavement of the access road ( which used to be an old trail to the mining camp of Marysville and Payson)  turns to gravel, turn right or north onto forest road 414. The cemetery is located to the left off this scenic drive soon after the turn. The road that continues straight ahead leads to the Bar-H Ranch or Haught Family Ranch, whose family members are interred in the cemetery. Although the cemetery was originally on government ground, the family bought the land from the Forest Service.



The cemetery can be walked into from under a large ornate wrought iron arch reading "Last Roundup." It cannot be seen from highway 87. Members of the Haught family have been buried in this cemetery since 1890. There are eight Haughts and one Chilson interred here.


The Haught Family Ranch was established by Samuel Ache Haught, Jr. and his wife Dagmar Gordon Haught in 1885. The couple, married in Dallas, Texas in December 1882, were urged by his uncle, Fred Haught, who came to the area earlier, to drive 115 head of cattle for 1400 miles .Sam was proud that "I never lost a cow." They settled at the mouth of Dude Creek and established a trading post, expecting the Mineral Belt Railroad to come along "Tunnel Creek", which was a tunnel cut thru the Rim at the head of East Verde River. Sam Haught built his house to withstand any Indian attack. He said, in a report to the Arizona Historical Society, "My place on Tunnel Creek . . . was well fortified for I built a stone wall and kept port holes in my double log cabin through which I could shoot." The planned railroad failed to come thru after 5 years, so Sam moved his family down along nearby Rye Creek and homesteaded the Bar-H Ranch. He built a two- story ranch house, which later burned to the ground, out of redwood ordered from Oregon for $20,000, a large sum in the 1890s!


Photo by: Kathy Block


In 1890 Sam's father, Samuel A. Haught, Sr. (1822-1890) died and was the first burial in what became "The Last Roundup" cemetery.(NOTE: the site gives the death date on headstone as Jan. 1, 1900. Don't know which is the correct date! Main reference for this writeup gives 1890 as the year.) Two years later, tragedy struck the Haught family. A drifting cowboy came by and ate dinner with the family. They didn't know he was infected with diphtheria. He drank from the common water dipper.


Four of the Haught children came down with the disease soon after. A local doctor from Payson said he could "smell" the disease from the bedroom door and left, fearing the disease! That August of 1892 four of the six children of Sam and Dagmar died and were buried on the hillside overlooking Rye Creek and the Bar-H Ranch. They were Oscar, 13 days short of 6 years old; Ollie, who was 2 months short of 9 years; both on August 15, 1892; then 5 year old Otto, followed by 11 month old Valta, on August 21 and August 27, 1892.


The two brothers have a double headstone; buried near them are their younger brother and sister. Sam's mother Isabelle (1830-1904) died and joined Samual Senior in the cemetery. The last burial is Fred Chilson, (1923-2005) of the family which later bought the H-Bar Ranch.


The parents, Sam and Dagmar, had two surviving children, Mildred and Jim. Sam became a successful cattle rancher, with over 10,000 head at one time, was elected to the Territorial Legislature.  Dagmar divorced him in 1909, unable to cope with the stress of the death of the children and also an affair Sam had while away from home. 


Eventually Sam Junior decided to move away from the bad memories and pain of the childrens' deaths. He sold the Bar-H to the Chilson family and moved with his two living children to Big Walnut Creek in the Sierra Anchas, west of Young, Arizona. 


Sam eventually remarried, in 1911, to a woman named Carrie who had 3 children of her own.  Before his death in 1945, they had 7 more children, from 1912 to 1926. Carrie died in 1977 after marrying again!


Sam Brown in "A cemetery called 'The Last Roundup;", The Payson Roundup newspaper,   May 27, 2008, stated poetically at the end: " We return to that beautiful spot above Rye Creek, with the Mazatzal Mountains majestically forming the backdrop for the little Haught cemetery. Again we realize how fragile our lives can be, and how much suffering these pioneers went through, who paved the way for us and our comforts in the Rim Country."


Homer Haught died October 2, 1998

The date of death has been added to this ornate headstone.

Photo was taken by Kathy and Ed Block in 1996


     Arizona Pioneer & Cemetery Research Project

Internet Presentation

Version 012909-2


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