At left, Charles and Carmen Mapes with eldest son John, circa 1911. At right, Charles and Grace Mapes. Photos courtesy of

The scrapbook titled “Pioneer Park Names of Pioneers and Donors of Trees” is dedicated to Charles J. Mapes. The unsigned dedication statement states, “He was the first person in Patagonia that was ecology-minded. He planted walnut trees on the street where he lived.” His Patagonia address in the 1950 U.S. Census was 371 Pennsylvania Avenue; in 1940 he was living on Naugle.

Charles Joseph Mapes was born in Boone, CO in 1882 to John and Celona Mapes. John worked for the Southern Pacific Railroad and was transferred to Arizona around 1882, eventually becoming a railroad foreman in Nogales. Charlie began working as a Southern Pacific water boy at age 12; at 18 he was working as a construction hand. [Arizona Republic, 3/29/1953; 1900 U.S. Census]. 

In 1909 Charlie was the SP section foreman in Calabasas when he was called upon to assist in the investigation of the murder of Edwin Egan by Casiano Romero. Charlie assisted in the arrest of Romero and testified that the shoe tracks made by Romero were identical to those found at the murder scene. [The Oasis, 10/23/1909]. Ten years later, still at Calabasas, Charlie took Jose Maria Fuentes into custody when Fuentes broke into a boxcar used for storage. [The Oasis, 4/11/1919].

In 1906 Charlie married Carmen Bejaraño. They had eight children who lived past infancy. Their eight-year-old daughter Alicia was tragically killed in 1924 when the handcar she and Charlie were riding jumped the track. [Pioneer Park Names of Pioneers and Donors of Trees]. Carmen died in 1928, age 45. 

In 1930 Charlie married Grace Conley, a widow with seven children. In 1938 Charlie took medical retirement from the Southern Pacific due to a heart condition and settled in Patagonia. He and Grace raised a total of 17 children – 12 of their own and 5 orphans.

When Patagonia was incorporated in 1948, Charlie was appointed to its first city council. [Arizona Republic, 5/27/1948]. He also served on the elementary school board. Charlie remembered the establishment of Patagonia in 1900, and worked on the rail line that ran from Patagonia to Nogales. “The rail link with Nogales was destroyed in 1928 during a gigantic flood of Sonoita Creek in which 14 iron bridges were washed away. The track never was replaced.” [Arizona Republic, 3/29/1953]. Charlie died in 1954, age 72. Grace died in 1959, age 75. Both are buried at the Patagonia Cemetery.