From a Reader: A Special Copy of an Old Book

Courtesy of Bill Wheeler

Our April issue, on Sonoita-Patagonia, featured a reprint of a story originally published in the September 1966 issue of Arizona Highways. The story, San Ignacio del Babacomari, was written by Frank Cullen Brophy and recounted the history of the Babacomari Ranch, which the Brophys still own today. And it spurred Bill Wheeler of Upland, California, to send us an email.

"In the second paragraph on page 39, Brophy includes a brief quote from the book by Arizona pioneer Captain James H. Tevis, Arizona in the Fifties (meaning the 1850s, of course)," Wheeler writes. "I found this interesting because I have a copy of Tevis' book in my personal library. It's a very engrossing and enlightening book, and it really gives the reader an idea of just how challenging — and dangerous — it was to live in Arizona during its earlier years."

Wheeler says he bought his copy of the book many years ago in a used-book store. Inside it, he found a name label for a Mrs. A.S. Baillie in Paris, Missouri, who he assumes is the person who owned the book. But there's also a handwritten inscription that appears to have been written by the author's daughter, Minnie Tevis Davenport.

"It makes me wonder if Mrs. Davenport sent this copy of the book to Mrs. Baillie as a gift and decided to add the brief inscription about her father and a few details about his years in Arizona," Wheeler says. "Additionally, on the dedication page in the book, it appears that Minnie Davenport also added some notations, additions and one correction to the names on the page (which I believe were probably all relatives of Captain Tevis."

Wheeler scanned the book's dust jacket and the pages he mentioned, and sent the photos our way. We sure appreciate that and thought we'd share them with all of you. It does look like he's got a very special copy of a very old book on his hands.

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