Well this is not exactly something one can do without clearance. I must say I was able to do it only because my husband was able to get clearance to drive the length of the fence to some historic border posts.
The fence between Mexico and US has been in the news for many years now. It was never completed, but from what I gathered, they did not really need to go the length of the border as it is endless. It is a rather imposing structure running miles along the Mexico/US border in Arizona
On a hill overlooking the ranch and the route from Mexico the United State established a military outpost in 1911, during the beginning of civil unrest in Mexico. The outpost was manned until 1923. If you go up the steps to the top of the hill you can see the remains of the fort.
When Slaughter first came to this ranch he noticed several natural springs. He envisioned an endless supply of water and built the dam that formed the pond you see here. This pond, an oasis of water in the desert, is home to two endangered species of fish and numerous species of birds. It is also a great place to sit on one of the benches and enjoy the peaceful surroundings and the fresh air.
The porch was a very popular part of the house. John, Viola, the kids, and the workers on the ranch, loved to sit on the porch and look out on the mountains. One day John was sitting there and noticed a huge cloud of dust in nearby Mexico. It was Pancho Villa and his army on a forced march. When they reached the outskirts of the ranch they started killing cattle for food. John rode out there to see what they were doing. When he returned his saddlebags were full of gold coins Villa paid him for his cattle. Today, you can stand on the porch and if you look hard you can see the small seven strand fence separating the US from Mexico 200 yards away.
The story of Apache May is very tragic. Texas John Slaughter led a raid on a band of Apche who had been attacking settlers and ranches in the area. When they enetered the camp, they found it hastily abandoned. In their haste to leave, the Apache had left behind a beautiful baby girl. John took her home and he and Viola named her May. As she grew, May would stay right by John whenever possible. When she was 6 she was playing by a campfire and her clothes caught on fire. She died of her injuries. People who knew John said he was devastated by her death.
The hallway was filled with photographs, extracts from articles about the ranch and other items. The two items I found most interesting was this old telephone, which they said was still operational, and the flag. This flag has 48 stars and was the first flag in the state of Arizona to reflect Arizona's statehood in 1912.
The last room on the right was the Guest Bedroom. It is now used for a display room to show items from the Slaughter home and the time period. The room directly across the hall was Addie's room before she married Dr. William Greene. It to has displays in it.
Go back the way you came through the Living Room and enter the hallway at the end. The first room on the right is Grandma Howell's Bedroom. It has furnishings and accessories like those in the room when Grandma Howell was there.
This is the kitchen where the Chinese Cook and sometimes Mrs. Slaughter would make food for the family and the ranch hands. In the summer they would move the stove outside so they did not make the house too hot.
The Dining and Living Rooms were the centerpieces of the house. The main sources of light were from the fireplace and candles on the dining room table. When not used for eating, the dining table was used for another of Slaughters passions, poker. The Slaughters also loved music and the rooms were frequently rearranged so everyone could play music and dance.
The next part of the tour takes you to the Ranch House itself. The house was built in stages. There are a lot of photographs of the ranch house and the Slaughters on display throughout the house. I will lead you through the house room by room.
The building to the left of the Wash House was the Ice House. 300 pound blocks of ice were wrapped in Burlap and Sawdust and brought from Douglas by wagon. The room was used to store any items that would require refrigeration or freezing today. The milk, water, and pickle jugs shown here are similar to the ones used by the Slaughters. The screened in area was usedto protect beef, cheese, and vegetables from insects.
The building on the right as you look at them was called the Wash House. It is actually misnamed because the clothes were not washed there but were dried and ironed there. The clothes were boiled in large metal tubs outside then brought to this room. The implement shown here are the type used during that time. The irons were either heated on the stove, or some models were hollow and you put hot coals inside them. They were called "asd irons" possibly because it was a sad job using those hot heavy irons.
The next stop on the tour is the Commissary/Cook's Quarters. Before Douglas was founded the area ranchers and homesteaders had to go all the way to Bisbee for supplies. The Slaughter's established this commissary on their ranch to sell dry goods such as rope, tack, beans, flour, salt, sugar, chaps and other items to their neighbors saving them a long trip. The other half of the building was where the cook lived. The Slaughters hired cooks, usually Chinese to feed the large number of people working the ranch. One of the best remembered was Joe Lee May a very tempermental man who would not allow anyone to enter "his" kitchen except Slaughter's wife, Viola. The commissary is now used to show a video about the Slaughter's and their ranch.
Just to the left as you exit the granary, you will see some large dark stones with holes in the middle. These are ancient Indian Metates found in washes on the ranch. The ancient Native Americans used these stones to grind grain for food.