George Lewis Stevens, 1930s. Photo courtesy Louise Stevens Easley

Ever wonder about the origin of the names of the canyons along Highway 82 from Patagonia to the Sonoita crossroads? Roskruge’s 1893 map of Pima County lists only Casa Blanca Wash, Adobe Cañon, and Buchanan Cañon on the west side of the railroad tracks and Hog Cañon and Cottonwood Cañon on the east side. The 1905 USGS Patagonia Quadrangle map identifies Casa Blanca Canyon on the west and Corral and Monkey Canyons on the east. The 1958 USGS Elgin Quadrangle map lists Stevens and Smith Canyons, south of Casa Blanca Canyon, and Wood Canyon, north of Casa Blanca, on the west side of 82. This article tells the story of George Lewis and Lucy Reagan Stevens, who ranched in what is now known as Stevens Canyon.

George Lewis Stevens was born in 1880 in Iowa. He moved to the Patagonia area in the early 1900s with his brother Harry. The brothers worked in the local mines and by 1915 were working their own claim, the Blue Eagle copper mine, in Alum Gulch. George, who was also known as Lou or Lew, filed a homestead claim in Township 21S, Range 16E, Sections 30 and 31. 

Lucy Reagan Stevens, 1920s. Photo courtesy Patagonia Woman’s Club and the Patagonia Museum

In 1913 George, age 32, married Lucy Reagan, age 18, who was born in 1895. Their wedding notice notes: “Miss Reagan has lived in Patagonia and Santa Cruz County all her life, and is very popular with the young people. The groom is the deputy county ranger, stationed at Patagonia, and is an oldtime Arizona boy, well liked for his sterling qualities and good disposition.” [The Border Vidette, 3/15/1913]. The 1920 Census lists George’s occupation as Livestock Inspector. He and Lucy were the parents of two daughters, Mignon, born in 1914, and Louise, born in 1915. George’s patent on his 316 acres was granted on January 16, 1920. 

The 1930 U.S. Census has separate listings for the couple. Lucy is listed as divorced, head of household, and her occupation was cattlewoman. Mignon and Louise live with her. George is living in Montana Camp (later called Ruby), and his occupation is U.S. Mounted Inspector for the Custom Service. Daughter Louise wrote in her memoir: “In 1929, Lucy and her husband were divorced, but the property was never divided. He continued to work for the U.S. Customs Service and she managed the ranch. In the fall, after the stock was shipped and all expenses were paid, Lucy divided the profits 50-50 with her ex-husband.” [“And Then There Was Patagonia” by Louise Stevens Easley, 2001].

The 1940 U.S. Census lists Lucy as living on 3rd St. in Patagonia. She was quite active in the Patagonia Woman’s Club, serving as President in 1938. In 1940 George is back ranching at the Stevens ranch. He never told his first family that in 1941, at age 60, he married Edilia Chapparo, age 21. They had a daughter, Edilia Louise Stevens in 1942. 

George died in 1944 without a will. As Louise recalls: “A long court battle ensued because of no will, a second wife, a minor child, the ranch never having been divided.” When the case settled, “Lucy received an undivided half interest in the ranch, and the other half was divided three ways to Mignon, Louise, and the second wife.” [“And Then There Was Patagonia” by Louise Stevens Easley, 2001].

Mignon and Louise attended Patagonia schools and became teachers. Mignon graduated from Arizona State Teacher’s College in Tempe in 1932 and returned to Patagonia to teach. In 1940, age 26, she married Joseph L. Grier and moved to California. Joseph and Mignon had two children: Carol Ann and Joseph Stevens Grier. When Mignon retired she returned to the Stevens ranch where she lived until her death in 1988.

Louise married Howard Taft Easley in 1936, when she was 21. When Howard returned from WWII, he and Louise both attended Arizona State Teacher’s College in Tempe and became teachers. Louise taught in Willcox and Tucson. Howard became a U.S. Marshall after teaching a short while. In retirement Louise and Howard returned to Patagonia and cared for Lucy until her death in 1984. 

George and Mignon are buried in the Patagonia Cemetery along with Harry Stevens who died in 1916 of gas asphyxiation, presumably from his mine. Lucy and Louise are buried in the Nogales Cemetery where Lucy’s parents, James and Mary Louise Reagan are buried.