For many years, I have been coming to the Chiricahua Mountains, passing an important piece of history! Until, just recently when my husband pulled over at a small graveyard on the side after entering freely.
See, Sometimes we pass a great story, but this time, I knew I had a great one. It has a love story between two Swedish immigrants searching for a dream, a dream to achieve and succeed.
They were the Ericsson’s, Neil and Emma. It all started when Neil became a stowaway on a ship to America. He came from a Swedish farming family. During the Apache wars, he enlisted in the Army.
He then met his future wife, Emma at the Ft. Craig in New Mexico.
After they got married, they moved into a cabin on Bonita in 1888.
They had a daughter, Lilian. Neil has a hard time finding work, so he had to travel to Bisbee where he got into construction, building homes. He also worked at the Queen mine in the smelter. Emma came out to Bisbee, but was having trouble and always got sick. Emma really loved the Chiricahua landscape, (who can blame her, it’s gorgeous) Neil visited her at the cabin as much as possible. They had a son and daughter named Helen Hildegard. President Roosevelt established Chiricahua Federal reserve and Neil became one of the first Forest rangers. He worked at the Cochise stronghold in the Dragoon Mts. For seven years, building houses and lookout towers and also both Neil and Emma worked at Walnut Canyon, but in their hearts, they loved Chiricahua so much!
The Faraway ranch began in 1886 for the couple and became a guest ranch in the 1920’s inviting people to stay there and explore the Chiricahua area. Even Buffalo soldiers stayed and many others!
The Faraway ranch was sold for a whopping five hundred thousand-to the National park service. Neil and Emma’s kids all died within an 18 month time frame in 1977-78. But the legacy goes on and you can walk the many trails, just be aware, as bears, jaguars and many other animals live there as well! Check it out sometime!
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