Desert Messenger

February 1, 2012

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Page 32 Quartzsite History: George 'Buck" Conner Part II Submitted by Dinice Ross Born 11/22/1880 Streeter, Illi- nois. Died 2/4/1947 Yuma, AZ. From Coronary Thrombosis. Exhumed 5/30/2008 from behind former Best Mex/Chinese restaurant and interred into Pioneer Section, Hi Jolly Cemetery 5/30/2008 Buck Connor: Actor, Writer, Minister, Father From 1907 to 1910 Buck was with Col. Cody as his secretary and was Indian Agent for the Wild West Shows, Rose- bud Reservation – Rosebud, S. D. He handled all the Indians for the shows, known as Buffalo Bill's Wild West and Pawnee Bill's Eastern shows. Starting in 1911 Buck was in the mo- tion picture industry. He was an assis- tant director, director, story writer and actor. He appeared in approximately 85 films, including the Plainsman in 1936 starring Gary Cooper. Some of the movies he appeared in: • The Phantom Riders (1918) • The Black Horse Bandit (1919) • The $1,000,000 Reward (1920) Action (1921) NEED CASH? Jim Buys GOLD! Broken Jewelry, Old Teeth, Coins, Nuggets, etc. Across from McDonald's • Quartzsite • In the Days of Buffalo Bill (1922) • The Social Buccaneer (1923) • The Radio Detective (1926) • Hell's Heroes (1930 in film) As one of the earliest movie cow- boys, he counted among his closest friends Will Rodgers and cowboy artist Charles Russell. He traveled Vaudeville routes & Wild West shows as an expert roughrider & roper. About 1913 was the time he started writing. He collab- orated with B. M. Bower on the "Chip of the Flying U" & "Jean of the Lazy A" series and many others. Then he wrote short stories and novelettes under the name Buck Connor and was published in Adventure, Blue Book, Short Stories and other magazines now long gone. From 1910 to 1941the Motion Pic- ture industry was his vocation. This is where he met his wife Hazel. "I met Buck thru friends in Motion pictures in 1922. He was working in pictures and still writing with B.M. Bower. He went to the U. of N.M. soon after this. When he came back we renewed our friendship and were married in 1924 –.After a while we decided to go the Quartzsite and homestead. His sister" (Jessie Keiser) "and her husband, Bill Keiser sort of talked us into it. The next years were divided between Q. and Hollywood." 1931 June 16 George Washington Conner homesteaded 80 acres in Quartzsite, AZ. Some reports show he homesteaded 160 acres. They had two sons: 1st son George II born 1928 died in 1932 at age 3years 6 months of Bright's disease, Froehlich Syndrome/Bronchitis, pneumonia. 2nd son Powell "Paul" Soren Conner Born Jan 23, 1933, Yuma died Oct 13, 1999 at age 66. He and his family lived in QTZ the greater part of 23 years. Buck was an ordained Episcopal Chaplain and was chaplain of the orga- nization "The Chuck Wagon Trailers". Quality RV Onsite & In-shop RV Repairs Complete Parts Department 928-927-3490 Install Hitches, Tow Bars Electrical Troubleshooting 13 YEARS IN QUARTZSITE! Propane Stoves Refrigerators A/C Systems Welding Plumbing To be eligible for membership in the Chuck Wagon Trailers, every mem- ber must have ridden the open range before 1905. As cowboys, cattlemen, trail drivers, stage drivers or peace of- ficers they did their part in making the history of the great West. He and his wife presented the Epis- copal Diocese of Arizona with ap- proximately two acres of land, to- gether with a small adobe building. It was on this site that St. George P.E. church was built (The Little Church Beside the Road). The plaque in front of this church read "ST. GEORGE P.E. CHURCH GIVEN AND DEDICATD IN LOVING MEMORY OF GEORGE W. CONNOR II BY HIS PARENTS CHAPLAIN AND MRS. G.W. CON- NOR JANUARY 6, 1939" The last ser- vice in the church was in 1960, after that it was traded to Mr. Woods for 10 dug wells that were never dug and a promise to build a fine new church which was never accomplished. The church was then rented to Rich Ro- land for his cooler and refrigeration sales and repair shop. During a strong storm, the roof blew away and the ado- be walls melted and crumbled away in the heavy down pour, ending in a total loss. Buck also built a museum which was directly across the old highway from the Hi Jolly tomb and Quartzsite Cemetery. This was destroyed in the same storm as the church. At the time of his death, all of his art work and most of his other mementos of his ca- reers were stored in an adobe building on Judge Hagely's property (the ruins of which can be seen on the Northwest corner of Moon Mountain Road and B-10). All are missing including the double barrel shotgun that Doc Holi- day used in the famous O.K. Corral in Tombstone AZ in 1881 His loyalty to the United States was February 1, 2012 just as strong the day he died. He died of a heart attack in Yuma in 1947 and it was reported he still had a six-shooter strapped to his belt and was an honor- ary member of the Yuma County Sher- iff's Department. 2001 was the beginning of the project to have Conner's gravesite declared a state historical monument. The gravesite lay forgotten and ignored behind what was known as the Mex/Chinese restaurant on Main Street (across the street from Quartzsite Yacht Club). The site was overgrown, surrounded with rubbish, old cars and machinery, not accessible to the public and about as discarded as a gravesite can get. After many years working on this project to no avail, on May 30th, 2008, the Town of Quartzsite exhumed Buck Conner and his young son George II's remains, and then they were interred in the Pioneer Section of the Hi Jolly Cemetery, giving them the respect and honor they so richly deserved. ……He was a small man with a handle bar mustache and long, silver wavy hair. He rode tall, walked tall and filled some mighty big boots! For more information, visit the Tyson's Well Stage Station Museum, Quartzsite. QIA Bingo "Digging for Gold" starts Feb. 3 Due to the Pow Wow, there will be no Bin- go at the QIA during January. Beginning Fri. Feb. 3rd, folks have a chance to win ½ ounce of GOLD! Digging for Gold is a Pyra- mid Gold Game which will be played each Friday. Additional "Gold Chances" will be added weekly until the gold is won! Doors open at 5pm. Early Bird is at 6:30pm with Main Session at 7pm. There's a full conces- sion available from 5-8pm. Come join the fun at the QIA Bingo. 235 E. Ironwood, Quartzsite. For more information, contact Pat at 928-927-6325. Generator Repair & Sales 70 W. Main St. • Quartzsite • The BIG YELLOW BUILDING! RV Appliances Furnaces GENERATORS • Repairs • Sales • Gas, Diesel, Propane For Repairs, call Bob 623-224-7655 OIL CHANGES Motorhomes & Pickups! Call for appt. Full Selection of RV Batteries!

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