WILLCOX Cowboy Hall of Fame inductees
JOSEPH JACKSON "JOE" BULL (51)
1996 COWBOY HALL OF FAME POSTHUMOUS AWARD
Joe Bull was a true cowboy. His calling was one of hard work, long hours, loneliness, and meager pay; however he knew the real rewards of independence and the satisfaction of an ordinary man doing extraordinary things. He was a true chip off the old block, a combination of the historic and the contemporary; the myth and reality. He wore a wide-brimmed hat, denims, and boots. His quiet demeanor reflected a life spent mostly outdoors in touch with the raw elements of nature. Joe was born on a cold day in the little town of Pima, AZ. Just a few days before Christmas in 1902. He was given the name of Joseph Jackson Bull after his father, quite a name for such a little tike like Joe, but he would fill a man's shoes soon enough, as his father died seven (7) months prior to his birth and his mother was given the task of raising a family of five.
Joe went to school in Pima until a prank he pulled on the teacher ended his formal education. I wanted to know what could he have done to bring his school days to such an abrupt halt. I was told Joe's mother suffered with arthritis and in those days the miracle cure was a gadget that created an electrical shock. You would attach the wires to the body then turn the handle to generate the charge and the electrical currant created was suppose to help relieve the arthritis pain. Well this was fine and dandy until Joe took the electric charger to school and proceeded to attach the wires to the seat in the out house. When the teacher went in, Joe tried to cure her arthritis. Whether she needed it or not!!
Joe started working when he was 14, and it was about this time that his mother re-married. Wes Follet became Joe's stepfather, and was the only father Joe knew. Wes was a rancher in the Sunset area, and this is where Joe's love for ranching emerged. Joe began to work as a cowboy for the 3 C's Cattle Company, which covered an area from Fort Thomas to the Chiricahua Mountains. Joe worked on the ranches in the area, the Eureka's, the Mills ranch, and was sent to work cattle with the Hooker ranch when they needed extra help. Joe loved to ride and work in the mountains.
By 1926, Joe had managed to obtain 100 head of cows and it was about then when he married Lorene Byrd. So here was Joe, with 100 head of cows and a new bride. Life was good. They lived in a 12 x 14 room, up in a canyon miles from anywhere. They made $60.00 a month and they rode the range together every day.
Joe and Lorene worked hard and saved their money until they had $2500 dollars set aside, enough to purchase the Baker place. Joe and stepfather Wes proceeded to build a one room cabin and this was Joe and Lorene’s home for a number of years. In the next few years, many changes faced this pioneer couple: First there was the birth of Monroe and with Monroe came all the extra bills so Joe went to work for Dud Wear. Now with a family of three, they added another room on to the cabin and they also added a front porch. It wasn't a mansion, but it was a pretty nice home. Five more years passed by and then along came their daughter Lorene, but then so did the depression. To help make ends meet they raised turkeys and Joe applied for a job at Fort Grant. Joe started at the Fort as a dairy man, but within a year he was asked to become an assistant to the Superintendent.
The money earned at this new job was saved and Joe and Lorene were able to purchase two more sections of land and they were also able to purchase the ranch Joe's parents had lived on. This became their permanent home, and this home was blessed with a bouncing baby boy named Craig.
Joe worked hard taking care of the cattle and the three ranches he had purchased. He was top cowboy for over 75 years. He was an independent man, a man who loved the outdoors, and a man who was loved by all of those who knew him. He was a man the west couldn't tame.
He never knew a stranger and all strangers were welcome in his home. He never turned a person away who needed help. He enjoyed cooking, and he pit barbecued for Rex Allen Days for many years.
Joe cooked, cleaned, tended the cattle, and cared for his wife (who had been crippled with arthritis for any years) until she passed away. He lived out the rest of his life as a cowboy.
He set many fine examples of good living for his family, friends, and neighbors and left a great legacy for them to follow.
The day before he passed away he was outside shoeing a colt that he was breaking. He never quit.
Those who know him knew that he loved people, he loved the land, and he loved his cattle, and he just never ever quit being a cowboy.
Joseph Jackson "Joe" Bull
Prepared by Eddie Browning