Cave Creek had its own version of Annie Oakley. Her name was Catherine J. Jones. She was about five feet tall (about the same height as Annie Oakley) and was known as “Cattle Kate.” The sharp-shooting deputy sheriff was never completely dressed unless she had her .38 Colt, she called her “thumb-buster,” (her .410-shotgun was always nearby). Cattle Kate was a dead-aim, everyone knew it or learned very quickly; an encroaching moon-shiner understood her accuracy after losing a portion of his ear.
Catherine moved to Arizona, from Des Moines, Iowa, before women could vote (1920). She married a ranch-hand named Elliott, had one daughter, Vera, and started a life near the Creek on a small homestead. Elliott worked for a neighbor, Theodore B. Jones (Ted) who seemed to have some family wealth and was also a mining engineer and prospector. He owned a mine near the Phoenix Mine located in today’s Spur Cross Conservation area. Elliott was not happy working for Theodore Jones, nor his Cave Creek life, so he fled to California. Not long after Elliott’s abandonment Theodore and Catherine were married.
Catherine and Theodore separately homesteaded two contiguous sections of land in 1925 (one section is 640 acres). This spread included the namesake “Cave” on the Cave Creek stream. In 1906, Ted rebuilt Spur Cross Road (as we see it today) to access some of his mining interests. The original road hugged the Cave Creek stream which flooded frequently. Interestingly, Cave Creek’s first Dude Ranch (of three), known as Spur Cross Ranch (1928), was named after the road, not the other way around. In any event, the Jones’ named their large spread Willow Springs Ranch. A Hopi Chief translated “Willow Springs” for the Jones’ and the welcomed new name was Cahava Ranch. Their former ranch today, teaming with modern homes, is still known as Cahava Ranch. A picture of the regal Hopi Chief would hang in their living room until Ted died and Catherine finally moved in with her daughter in her twilight years. Cave Creek historian, Patrick Grady, informs us the original Jones’ home was unfortunately demolished in 2008.
Catherine Jones was a skillful rancher, deputy game warden, deputy sheriff, loving wife, and generous friend. She painted beautiful landscapes and was a noted published poet. Cattle Kate was an important part of Cave Creek history. She will never be forgotten.