To begin, W.R. “Bob” Beloat and his brother, John R., came west from Arkansas to California in 1886 but they didn’t stay there long; they came to Arizona to the Chino Valley north of Prescott. Determined it was too cold, they came down to the Gila River, where he filed on the first homestead in 1891. The Beloats were the first white men to drive a herd of cattle to the west valley in the Buckeye area. His family filed on their second homestead in 1901.
John R. got pneumonia after helping move a herd of cattle across the Salt River at Hayden’s Ferry and died. He lies in the oldest marked grave in the Liberty Cemetery in Buckeye.
W.R. “Bob” and his wife Mary had 14 children. They built the big house that still stands east of the intersection of Beloat and Airport roads east of Buckeye, at the headquarters of what is now Bales Hay Sales. Even that big house might have been a tight fit for 14 children!
Bob started out grazing cattle
Meanwhile, Thomas Bales came to Arizona from Idaho in 1916 because he had arthritis and needed a warm climate. He arrived in Vicksburg in a rail car, lying on a stretcher. He and his wife and four children settled there and ran cattle all the way from Parker on the Colorado River to the Harquahala valley. The family drilled 17 small wells that pumped water with gasoline engines. One of the sons, Harvey, would lead a pack train carrying gasoline to service those wells.
During a drought in the 1920s, they brought the cattle
John Beloat’s daughter, Alberta, met Wallace Bales at Buckeye Union High School in the mid-30s. They married and had three children.
Alberta’s brothers, James and Kenneth, were ranchers and ran cattle over about 200 sections of land, centered on land they owned in deep Rainbow Valley. At roundup time they would start gathering cattle somewhere around the Gila River, move as far north as Wickenburg, circle to the Harquahala Valley, move on down to Gila Bend and circle on back to Rainbow Valley.
Wallace and Alberta bought half a section of land in Rainbow Valley. Wallace drilled the first water well for agriculture there in 1958. The family drilled two more wells over the years and increased their holdings to 500 acres of deeded land plus state leased land. Also around this time they began farming the Beloat home farm and bought it in 1975.
Their son Steve Senior farmed with the family but in 1990 he leased a cattle ranch near Rio Rico, where he ran a cow-calf operation for 11 years before he sold out there. He ran the feedlot at the home place for years and grew alfalfa and grain.
In turn, Steven Jr. started as an employee on the farm in 1985, took over management of crop production about the turn of the century. He helped to oversee the cattle feeding operation until 2002 when my dad shut it down. He continues to farm cotton,