Desert Messenger

January 18, 2012

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Page 26 Desert Messenger celebrates the arizona's centennial with Voices from The Past in Quartzsite, AZ Excerpts from "In the Shadow of Saguaros" by Rosalee Oldham Wheeler NELLIE T. BUSH PAYS A VISIT It was official. On April 2, 1940 Charles Mott signed a Bill of Sale making Charles and I the owners of the Mott Apiary in Quartzsite. After spending a year with him learn- ing about the bee business we were excited about owning our own business and home. Mr. Mott was involved in everything and knew everybody in the Northern Yuma County (which became La Paz County in 1983.) Soon after filing the bill of sale a Ford sedan pulled into the yard and out stepped a tall, handsome couple. I glanced at Mr. Mott who had a grin on his face. "Rosalee, go find Charles, you are about to meet two of the most important people in Yuma County." Then, shaking his head, he changed his mind, "Maybe all of Arizona." Wow! I dashed out to the honey-house and told Charles he needed to come inside and met some important people. Mr. Mott introduced us to Nellie T and Joe Bush. She was well-dressed, not fancy but proper as my mother would say. They asked us to call them Joe and Nellie and were perfectly comfortable in our humble home asking questions about why we choose to come to Quartzsite and become beekeepers. Cold drinks were out of the question since the Servel gas refrigerator we ordered hadn't arrived but I did have some nice glasses into which I poured some of our delicious water hand-pumped from the cistern at the back door. Mr. Mott and the Bushes were having a conversation about politics when she announced the purpose of their visit. She had come to register us to vote casually mentioning that she had been a delegate to the 1932 Democratic National Conven- tion when Franklin Roosevelt received the nomination for president. "Oh, oh," I thought, "How do I tell this nice lady that I am a Lincoln Republican from Illinois?" "Oh, that's okay Rosalee, I'm a Democrat born in Missouri but I never vote a straight ticket. How about you Charles," she want- ed to know, "are you a Republican too?" To my surprise Charles told her that he would register as a Democrat. And that's the way it would always be, Charles a Democrat and me a Re- publican and we never voted a straight ticket either. From then on I paid attention to Nellie's position on the issues because she sincerely cared about the people, especially children. After getting her teach- er's certificate from the Tempe Normal School (now ASU) she taught school in Glendale. Nellie and Joe were married in 1912 and moved to Parker in 1915 where she taught school while earning a license to pilot fer- ryboats (the first woman in the nation to do so) so she could help Joe in the family business of hauling cars and freight across the Colorado River. They lived in a house- boat and money was so tight that in 1915, for the birth of their son Wesley, Nellie had January 18, 2012 to pawn her wedding ring to pay the hospi- tal and the train ride to Phoenix. The Bushes brought many services to Northern Yuma County including a ho- tel, power plant, and a water company. In 1918 Nellie became the justice of peace in Parker and in 1920 was elected to the state legislature, 14 years as a representative and two more as a senator. She became the coroner, "Because we need one." Northern Yuma County also needed a lawyer so Nel- lie enrolled in a correspondence course to study law at the Univer- sity of Arizona and was admitted to the Arizona Bar. She later took law courses at the University of California and passed the California Bar. In 1934 Nellie was State Senator Nellie Trent Bush - 1934 hailed the "Admiral of the Arizona Navy" when Governor Moeur, want- ing it known that Cali- fornia planned to take more than its fair share of Colorado River water, proclaimed martial law on the Arizona side of the river authorizing the Bush ferry boats to bring National Guard troops across the river thus halting work on the Parker Dam. Nel- lie continued to be active in the debate over water rights serving on the Arizona Colora- do River Water Commission and later as a member of the Colorado River Basin States Committee, a seven state policy group. SEE NELLIE ON PAGE 27 Personal, Cost-effective Service for ALL Your RV Needs! Quality, Friendly, Beauty Salon Nu Vu CUTS, PERMS COLORS, PEDICURES NOW OFFERING: • Shellac Nails Walk-ins Welcome! 500 S. Quartzsite Blvd. Quartzsite Open Mon - Fri. 8-5 928-927-5201 since 1988 Redmond, OR & AZ RV & TOW WIRING SERVICE & REPAIR DOMETIC Recall Updates FACTORY AUTHORIZED MOBILE RV SPECIALIST Call for Appt. 541-974-4469 RV & TRUCK REPAIR BEST AUTO SERVICE YOU CAN DEPEND ON! 585 N. Central Quartzsite Open Mon-Fri 8-5 928-927-8787 Johnny DelPino, Owner $15 OFF any A/C Service or Inspection COUPON T$20 Rotate and Balance of Must present coupon at time of work • Expires 1/15/12 ires on any car or light truck (up to 3/4 ton) TRY OUR NEW PEDICURE SPA CHAIR

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