|Birth: ||Jul. 13, 1898|
|Death: ||Aug. 4, 1905|
BY KENNETH ARLENE
THE PHOENIX GAZETTE
PAGE A22; FRIDAY, JULY 18, 1975
McNARY -- The great scout, C.E. Cooley, called it "the greatest tragedy of Northern Arizona."
When boys and girls fresh from the cities gather around the evening fires at summer camps in the tall pines of the White Mountains, the tragic story is told.
A part of the lore and legend, it serves as a warning of what could happen should the children stray.
THE TRAGEDY of seven-year-old Katie Lavora Hatch is also notched in song, with words by Lyman Hancock:
Listen to me, all ye people,
while a sorrowful tale I tell.
Late it happened in Arizona,
of a family I knew well.
They did go up to White River,
catching fish, having pleasure there,
'Til at length their little Kathryn strayed
from them, they knew not where.
Most of those who knew little Katie Lavora three score and 10 years ago are gone now. But their children and their children's children speak of the girl as if the tragedy were an event of yesterday.
"MY MOTHER-in-law knew Lavora," Lloyd Johnson, of McNary, told us. "In fact, she was with the Hatch family the day when Lavora disappeared.
"My mother-in-law, her name was Gladys Brown, was pregnant at the time, and when he daughter was born a few months later, she named the infant Lavora in memory of Lavora Hatch."
Johnson, a patrolman for the Apache Police, then led us to the place where the tragedy began 70 years ago. A monument marks the spot.
It was July 15, 1905. John Hatch, his brother, Ezra, and their families were en route from their homes in Taylor to the White Mountains to fish. Their travel was along the Springerville-Fort Apache wagon road.
NOON FOUND them at the edge of Gooseberry Creek, three miles east and a half mile south of present-day McNary. McNary was then known as Cluff Cienga.
There are two versions of what happened during the next few minutes.
One is that while lunch was being prepared, the children in the party "went around a hill in search of water."
The other is that the children were "out gathering flowers."
But the undisputed fact is that Katie Lavora Hatch became separated from the others in the dense forest growth.
ONE ACCOUNT of the next few hours reads like this:
"In a few minutes the camp was apprised that she was missing and all hands went in search.
"A courier was sent to gather in the men that could be found in the vicinity, making a party of about 10 or 11 men, on Indian man and three Indian women.
"The trail of the little one was finally found leading down into the White River Canyon, one of the roughest, wildest looking places, filled with lava formations and rattlesnakes.
"Into this canyon the searchers plunged all afternoon. And all night long they climbed hillsides and traversed glens without finding more than here and there a trace ..."
KATIE LAVORA Hatch was one of nine children of John and Mary Jane Standifird Hatch.
As a Mormon colonizer, John Hatch had crossed the Colorado River on ice at Lees Ferry while driving 30 head of cattle into Arizona in 1878.
Katie Lavora's mother had reached Arizona in 1879. Her first home was near the town of Shumway, in an 18-by-30-foot dugout with holes in each side. Cloth covered the windows.
John Hatch and Mary Jane Standifird were married at St. George, Utah, in 1885. It was said that in his day John Hatch helped prepare more people for burial than any other man in Taylor.
NEWS OF THE search for Katie Lavora spread only as rapidly as it could be carried by couriers on horseback. But many were the men who joined the search.
"They scoured the countryside ... everyone going his own way," one participant related. "But after any hopes of finding her alive were gone, they rode systematically in lines."
Another pointed out:
"The nature of the formation made it next to impossible to find tracks, even with the best of Indian trailers.
"A few tracks now and then showed she had gone down the side of the canyon, about three miles, then gone down Gomez Creek to its junction with the White River, where all tracks and signs were lost."
"THEY SEARCHED" only the north side of the river as everyone seemed sure that she would not cross the river, and they drug the river until they were sure that she was not in it."
Days became a week, then two weeks and July turned into August. But the search continued.
A correspondent of the Desert News in Salt Lake City wrote:
"By this time the whole country was aroused and every man who could possibly do so, joined the search.
"AMONG MANY others, Mr. C.E. Cooley, who has been an old time friend of the Mormon people, quickly offered his services, supplies, etc., as well as his influence among the Indians.
"The number of searchers soon reached 100 white men and many Indians. Every foot of country for miles around was walked or rode over by men drawn up in lines 50 feet apart, and thus the search continued from day to day with untiring efforts and without any slackness in the energies of the men in line."
The search eventually did spread to the south side of the river.
"CHARLEY SAVAGE, riding for cows ... found one of the little girl's shoes. He immediately reported the find and the search began on the south side."
She did wander from the wagon,
down the cliffs and over rocks.
Down the gama through the thicket,
'til at last the river she crossed.
No one thought she'd cross that river,
no one thought a watch there to keep
On that little child of seven,
for the stream was wide and deep.
But she surely crossed that river
and she wandered on and on
'Til all worn out and disheartened,
to weep and die she lay her down.
FINALLY, AT 12 o'clock noon, on Aug. 4, exactly 20 days to the hour after Katie Lavora's disappearance, the search ended nine miles from where it had started.
The Salt Lake newspaper described the scene in this manner:
"As the line was moving along in a terrific storm, amid thunder and lightning, a halt was called to allow some of the boys a chance to seek temporary shelter.
"While there, one of the riders noticed something which looked like human hair. The father rode forward a little and beheld the remains of his lovely little girl, who had died at the root of a pine tree, on the south side of the White River, three miles from the mouth of Gomez Creek."
ANOTHER WRITER tells us the men were riding in line when Andrew Perkins "found a lock of her hair. He passed it to the one next to him and told him to pass it on to her father.
"When the father received this lock of hair, he spurred up and rode ahead of the others as if he knew where she was, for he rode straight to her, bared his head, dismounted and kneeled beside his child.
"Andrew and the others said it was the most touching scene they had ever witnessed. There were no covered heads and few dry eyes in that band of rugged westerners."
I did join that noble company
searching for the little child
With George Bailey for our leader,
many days in the mountain wild.
After many days of searching,
we did hear that joyful sound:
Come this way, our leader shouted,
for the loved one now is found.
Farewell Katie, farewell forever.
No one will ever know
How you suffered, how you hungered,
Or whither your steps did go.
THE BODY was brought 50 miles to Taylor, where services on Aug. 6 drew "the largest gathering of people ever seen at a funeral" in that area. The drive to the cemetery was made by 500 people traveling in 56 wagons and carriages, with 15 horsemen following.
"Andrew Perkins, the man who found Katie's lock of hair, is now 88 years old and a resident of Taylor.
**I found this at this website:
Click here to view Hatch Family Folklore
John Hatch (1860 - 1946)
Mary Jane Standifird Hatch (1867 - 1947)
Lorenzo John Hatch (1886 - 1975)*
Ezra Roscoe Hatch (1888 - 1976)*
George Phineous Hatch (1891 - 1980)*
Mary Jane Hatch Gibbons (1893 - 1974)*
Catharine Lovara Hatch (1898 - 1905)
Orlando Wallace Hatch (1901 - 1990)*
Annetta Hatch Lewis (1903 - 2001)*
Sterling Grant Hatch (1906 - 1983)*
Created by: ihavethegenealogybug
Record added: Jun 27, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 38791594