“Westward Bound with the Bloxtons. Settling the Arizona Territory: One family’s Amazing Journey West,” by Pat Garber provides a fascinating look into the lives of an Arizona pioneer family: Don Alonzo Sanford, his wife Louisa Jane Bloxton Sanford, and several family members who lived with the Sanfords, or worked on the family ranches and businesses. It is based on a collection of diaries and letters saved for over a hundred years by family members.
Author Pat Garber is the great-granddaughter of Don Alonzo and Louisa (Lou). She spent a year in Patagonia organizing and preserving the collection which she later donated of the University of Arizona, Special Collections.
Lou Sanford is the primary focus of the book – her life, hopes, and challenges are revealed with quotes from her diaries and letters from 1875 through 1919.
She arrived in Arizona in 1875 to live on the Stock Valley Ranch located on Cienega Creek north of the Empire Ranch. She became a mother, lived on several of Sanford’s Arizona ranches, in Washington, DC, and Tucson, and spent a great deal of time on her own with the children as Don Alonzo’s business interests kept him traveling. She was close friends with several Tucson notables including Edward & Marie Fish, Sam and Atanacia Hughes and L.C. and Josephine Hughes.
Of special interest to local history buffs are the chapters that focus on the correspondence of Lou’s brother, cousin, and brother-in-law who worked on Sanford’s Sonoita Creek Ranch (now the Circle Z). The letters describe interactions with well-known Patagonia names such as R. R. Richardson, John Cady, Colin Cameron, and the Gatlin brothers, and significant events in the history of Patagonia.