PHIPPS, JOHN WILLIAM - Navajo County, Arizona | JOHN WILLIAM PHIPPS - Arizona Gravestone Photos

John William PHIPPS

Phipps Grave Cemetery
Navajo County,

Recent discoveries show he was born in Virginia in 1838. When he died is not known and his exact burial location is in some dispute. But most likely this is his final resting place.

On April 18, 1885 he became the first settler in what is now Pinetop, Arizona when he landed in lovely meadow fed by a spring. He chose the area because it was the closest place to Fort Apache Indian Reservation where he could legally establish a saloon to service the soldiers from the fort.

He built a combination saloon, home and general store to supply the soldiers, Indians, and any travelers in the area. He also hauled fright to Ft Apache and farmed several acres.

Around 1886, William Penrod moved his family into Phipp’s meadow in an effort to establish a Mormon colony. In a few years the population grew from one to more than fifty.

The area was first called Penrodville over William Penrod’s objection. There was already a US Post office called Penrod, so they also objected. So the Post Office was known as Mal Pai, Spanish for bad land because of the malapai volcanic rock in the area.

John Phipps, the saloon keeper, was the first postmaster. The Mormons objected and his position only lasted only two months. Edward E. Bradshaw was named the postmaster of Pinetop.

The naming of Pinetop is also under controversy. The Ft Apache soldiers, having to climb a mountain to get to the saloon, were known to say, “Let’s go to the top of the pines.” They shortened this to Pinetop.

Another theory, put forward by one of the Penrods is that Walt Rigney, who ran Phipps store and saloon, had a pointed head and his hairdo made his head look like a pine tree.

Contributed on 3/10/09 by goldwing.traveler
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Submitted: 3/10/09 • Approved: 3/10/09 • Last Updated: 10/23/12 • R66338-G0

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