Crittenden merited its own enumeration district in the 1900 U.S. Census that recorded eleven households and 52 residents. Valentin Valenzuela, who operated a stage line to the nearby mining communities, and his family led the list (see May 2018 PRT issue for a Glimpses article on Valenzuela). William Powers owned the blacksmith and wagon shop, and W. K. Sprecher was the New Mexico & Arizona Railway and Wells Fargo agent. “
Crittenden is the center also of a great grazing country and many valuable herds are owned in the vicinity.” [The Oasis, 5/13/1899]. Harry Barnett was one of the ranchers who took advantage of the rich grasslands. He was described as “one of the cattle barons of the area.” [Arizona Weekly Citizen, 6/27/1891].
Blacksmith William Powell was born in Ireland in 1856. He arrived in Harshaw about 1879 and “was the owner of many valuable mining properties In the Patagonia and Santa Rita mountains and a part owner of the noted Trench mine” [Arizona Daily Star, 9/11/1927]. A life-long bachelor, he lived in the Crittenden area until relocating to Patagonia by 1920, where he was fondly known as the “Mayor.” Powell died in 1927 and is buried in the Patagonia Cemetery.
William Richard Sprecher came to Crittenden in 1893. “W. R. Sprecher…has been promoted to station agent at Crittenden. Dick is a splendid businessman and the promotion can only be accepted as an acknowledgement of his merit.” [Arizona Weekly Citizen,6/10/1893]. Sprecher married Anna Maria Parker from Illinois in 1898. The couple moved to Nogales about 1901 where they owned and operated the Hotel Arizona. Their only child, a son named Luman, was born the same year. Dick also worked as a telegraph operator. The family remained in Nogales until about 1914.
William Henry “Harry” Barnett moved to Arizona from Pennsylvania in 1882. He married Lucy Pearl Perrett in Washington Camp in 1887 and was the proprietor of the Railroad Hotel in Crittenden in 1888. Harry and Lucy had six children born between 1893 and 1903.
In 1895 Sprecher and Barnett were involved a serious altercation. The dispute began when Sprecher bought some land at a tax sale. Barnett had been the agent for the land’s original owner but had not paid the taxes. [The Oasis, 4/9/1895]. When Sprecher tried to take possession of the land he encountered a locked gate, which he broke down, and placed some of his horses on the property. Sprecher was arrested for trespassing and tried in Tucson, where he was acquitted. [Arizona Daily Star, 4/30/1895].
Returning to Crittenden, Sprecher demanded that Barnett remove the horses he was grazing on the property. Barnett refused and shot Sprecher. At a subsequent trial, Barnett was held on a $1,000 bond on a charge of assault with intent to kill. [The Oasis, 5/11/1895]. In October the charge against Barnett was “ignored.” [Arizona Weekly Star, 10/17/1895].
In 1896 Harry Barnett homesteaded 160 acres in Crittenden area, which he used for raising cattle. His primary occupation, as documented in the 1900, 1910 and 1920 census, was mining. He was the superintendent of the Happy Jack Mine: “Ore is being taken out in the shaft ore averaging one hundred dollars a ton is being found In good paying qualities.” [Arizona Daily Star, 8/16/1901].
Barnett served a few months as Santa Cruz County sheriff in 1899 and was the Patagonia postmaster in 1910. Harry and Lucy divorced around 1919 and he was residing in Patagonia in 1920. He was operating a butcher shop in Patagonia at the time of his death in 1923. Harry is buried at the Patagonia Cemetery. Lucy relocated to Texas and remarried. She died in 1935 and is buried in El Paso.