True Western hospitality shines at Cartwright’s, where we honor the spirit and passion of those who came before us. We aim to carry on the legacy of the settlers who came before us by proudly bearing their name. The struggles and achievements of the Cartwright family helped build Cave Creek and the Phoenix area, and we respect them by serving only the finest foods and providing excellent service in a distinctive setting.
It was the year of the Golden Spike, 1869, and the Cartwright chapter in American history was just beginning.
Reddick (Red) Jasper Cartwright, a Union Army veteran, decided to head west with his wife Beulah and their three children. They started on a 2000-mile, four-month journey from Coles County, Illinois to Northern California, joining other wagons traveling from Iowa, Nebraska and Missouri. It was one of the longest covered wagon train trips in the settling of the West.
Following the Oregon Trail through the Sacramento Valley, they settled in a small northern California town called Goose Lake. A few years of sweat and toil in harsh weather took a toll on Red, Beulah and their children. When a severe winter storm froze their cattle to the ground in 1874, they packed up once again and headed south. Along the way they took in an orphaned boy named Tom Brockman. Later, Tom would marry their oldest daughter, Addie.
They crossed the deserts of California, Nevada and Arizona, passing through Lee’s Ferry and the mining town of Oatman. Swollen streams and impassible roads were always difficult, but the biggest fear was of Indian attacks. With massacres behind them and in front of them, they forged on. Exhausted and broken, and after several harrowing close calls, they arrived in Prescott three months after their journey began.
The family moved to Phoenix in 1877, and it was in the Valley of the Sun where Red resumed farming. There were only two buildings in Phoenix at the time that were not built from mud with brush roofs, and their one-room adobe house was no exception. They cleared the land and farmed near what is now Maryvale for the next five years. Sometime later they acquired a grainery with a brick floor and an inside stove from one John Montgomery.
In the late 1800s, mining companies began springing up in the desert foothills, and the military expanded north. Beef was in high demand to fill the need to feed hundreds of hungry men each day. In 1887, Red traded his acreage for 160 head of prime Texas range cattle. He and his son Jackson (Manford) who was 16, drove their short-horns for three days and two nights to the head of Cave Creek.
Following the road along the Cave Creek to the head of Seven Springs, they reached their destination. The Cartwright Range was settled in 1887 and bore the “CC” (Cartwright Cattle) brand. The road to the ranch was so difficult that it took four days and six horses to pull each load of hay. By the time they got there, they had already fed most of their hay rations to the horses. It wasn’t until 1928 that a graded road ran all the way up to the ranch.
For 100 years, the Cartwright Range was one of the largest cattle ranches of the many that sprung up in the desert foothills, and it has been said that it was the oldest Arizona ranch to remain in the same family for over three generations.
Today, the spirit of the Cartwright’s lives on at Cartwright’s Sonoran Ranch House. Hard work and the unremitting determination to appreciate the delicate and integral balance between the land, the animals and the people who call the desert foothills home have been a trademark at Cartwright’s since the turn of the century. The integrity and fortitude that built a legacy is carried on through the history, sustainable food sources, and welcoming atmosphere at Cartwright’s Sonoran Ranch House.