On Saturday, March 3, the George Redondo Proctor Western Heritage Collection was dedicated at the Historic Hacienda de la Canoa Ranch. Over 100 family members and friends gathered to celebrate what would have been George Redondo Proctor’s 100th birthday and the opening of Southern Arizona’s finest ranching collections. This area, the Santa Cruz River Valley, has served as a gateway through the Sonoran desert for thousands of years. In the desert you go where there is water.
The San Ignacio de la Canoa was established in 1820 as a land grant between Spain and Tomas and Ignacio Ortiz. It was finalized in December of 1821; after Mexico’s independence from Spain. The land grant originally consisted of four sitios (about 17,800 acres) and Ignacio Elias Gonzales, commander of the military post of Tubac began the survey at “el paraje (place) de la Canoa”.  The Santa Cruz river did not run all the time and Canoa was a known landmark where water could be found. The water would be close to surface and puddle in areas around Canoa. Canoa is Spanish for canoe.
Tomas Ortiz and Fredrick Maish worked out a land deal for the Canoa Ranch but was not completed until after Ortiz’s death in 1876. Tomas married Josefa Elias Gonzales, the daughter of the commander of Tubac and surveyor of the land grant. Tomas and Josefa had two daughters, Rosa and Serafina. Serafina Ortiz married Antonio Redondo. They had two daughters, Rosa and Virginia. Rosa Redondo (Tomas Ortiz granddaughter) negotiated the remaining of the ranch cost after Tomas Ortiz died. Not following the family line? You are not alone. George Redondo Proctor’s great uncle is Antonio Redondo, making Serafina Ortiz his great aunt.
George Redondo Proctor had a long eventful life and was a detailed story teller. In the future we will have a full write up on George but you can get a glimpse of the man thanks to a Range Magazine article by Frances K. Russell. I want to focus on his desire to preserve the land and what encompassed it. So much of his life revolved around nature’s landscape and he saw a dramatic change over his lifetime. In his later years, he had a dedicated Proctor Museum on his property in Patagonia, AZ. Frances K. Russell, George’s wife, was influential in keeping his things organized and getting this group of cultural objects a public destination.
This need to keep up the family folklore and significance of homesteading artifacts ran in the family as his sister, Margaret “Ita” Proctor Redondo collected or maintained many of these artifacts. “She was a talented artist and avid historian who loved to collect and restore antiques. In 1993 The Arizona Historical Society awarded her for outstanding Historical article of the year. She attended The University of Arizona and later worked for Hughes Aviation during World War II.” – Obituary – Yup, she was a Rosie the Riveter. Ita could work on anything; take a look at the spinning wheel in the Canoa Foreman’s family room. She whittled and carved the necessary pieces to complete the vintage antique. She also had a knack for finding metates y manos. You can read her article in the Journal of Arizona History online but will need to sign up for account on JSTOR.org
The last three plus years Robert Vaughn from the Pima County Natural Resources Parks & Recreation – (Special Projects and Trades Manager) had the tedious task of moving this large personal collection from Patagonia, AZ. Over 80 boxes and several truck loads were cataloged and packed up. Structural restorations were completed in the Foreman’s house and the tack room was prepared to host an assortment of cowboy/vaquero items. The Foreman’s house is the oldest surviving building at the Canoa Ranch today. Charles A. Proctor would have used these quarters in 1886-1898 (roughly). The building required quite a bit of TLC from the crew at Pima County NRPR. The George Redondo Proctor Western Heritage Collection had numerous volunteers aiding Mr. Vaughn and Pima County NRPR. If you get a chance, I recommend putting in a couple hours as a volunteer. Educational and rewarding. Of course, you can donate too.
NOTE : The response to the family reunion was impressive and honestly a bit overwhelming. In a good way. We have much to share and it had been way too long. Possibly 25 years if Kitt Peak was the last? I apologize if I didn’t get a chance to speak with you. Many of us are in agreement that we should try to do this annually. I have compiled the contact information gathered on Saturday and will send out a digital copy of the BIG family photo taken. If you wish to have a physical copy please contact me. Printing costs apply. At some point, a video clip will be compiled and posted. Thank you fam: Burch, Bustamante, Dowdle, Proctor, Quiroga, Redondo, Ronstadt, Valenzuela and other extended lines I missed!
Lucindas Nice Things – Quilts by Denny Peterson and Bill Meek
NutHouse Graphics – Family photo restoration and family tree banner by KK Proctor
 The Smoke Signal – Fall 1979; page 2