James Bark, Lena Frances Sears, Perry Sears
The Sears-Kay Ranch is associated with the age-old mystery of the Lost Dutchman Mine.
James E. Bark, or Jim Bark was president of the Arizona Cattle Growers Association as of 1891. He got his start in cattle raising, slaughter house and cold shipping of beef from Sears and Kay.
According to his history, most of his life was spent searching for the Lost Dutchman Mine and the treasures within, and sharing its stories. From one story, Jim Bark met Parry Sears while hunting the Lost Dutchman Goldmine on Sears ranch. Sims Ely, Harry Kay, and John Spangler Sr. all knew each other very well and socialized with each other in Phoenix. All those men at one time or another hunted Waltz’s mine on Sears ranch.
Other than cattle ranching, Bark was into politics, mining, prospecting, real estate and land speculation. He had gold mining claims up the Salt River near Box Canyon. He also made a trip to Nome, Alaska searching for gold and ended up selling cattle to the Alaskans.
In 1902, at 42, he married Leona Frances Sears, sister of William Perry Sears.
In 1908, he was buying up butcher shops in Mayer and Humbolt with (William) Perry Sears. Bark attended the World’s Fair in 1892. He wanted to learn more about railroad refrigeration. Refrigeration was changing the way the beef industry handled cattle, and Bark could see the handwriting on the wall. If he and Criswell didn’t change their methods they would lose a lot of money. One method for him and Criswell to compete was to open their own butcher shops in populated areas of the territory and bring the herds to the people.
Herds of people made it to the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. More than 27 million people attended in the 6 months it was held, although only 1,200 Arizonans registered in at the Territorial Building.
At precisely 12:20 P.M. on May 1, 1893, in Jackson Park in Chicago, a huge crowd watch breathlessly as President Grover Cleveland pushed a button, sparking to life 10,000 electric lights, and starting machinery that sent great geysers of water cascading seventy feet into the crisp morning air. — Arizona Goes to the Fair, The World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 by Bruce Hilpert
The “Greatest Refrigerator on Earth” was the 33,150 ft² Cold Storage Building, which provided cold storage downstairs and a skating rink upstairs. In an unfortunate tragedy of poor construction, the building was destroyed by fire July 10, 1893, with the loss of 12 firefighters and 3 civilians.
By 1928 he and his wife moved to Pasadena, California, since his wife didn’t like the climate of Arizona. He split his time between his business interests in California and Arizona.
James E. Bark, by Tom Kollenborn, 2003
Sims Ely Papers 1872-1970
Tom Kollenborn Chronicles
The Bark Notes
Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine