WILLCOX Cowboy Hall of Fame inductees


Edward J. Moyer spent his entire life in this valley. From 1882 until 1969, some 87 years he dedicated his life to cowboying.

Ed was horn at Fort Grant, Arizona, October 31, 1882. Being born in 1882, he certainly grew up in the wild, wild west. You realize he was already 30 years old when Arizona became a State. His father, Samuel J. Moyer, was a sergeant in the US Calvary stationed at Fort Grant.

The Moyer place where Ed grew up was just below the 76 Ranch. You know, growing up in the late 1880s, there were no modern conveniences to speak of. They did everything horseback. If you wanted to go to town, you rode to town. If you put out salt, you packed it on a horse or a mule. Ed grew up working for his father, breaking his own horses and working cattle. They were gone from daylight to dusk. They were horseback all day long. The good thing about it for Ed was that he just loved horses.

Ed worked for Mrs. W.T. Webb, owner of the 76 Ranch. She appointed him the foreman. In those days, the 76 Ranch was 120 sections or 76,800 acres. Half of the ranch was a dude ranch and half was a working cattle ranch. It was not uncommon for as many as 80 dudes to be a part of the activities.

On the dude ranch side of the operations, Ed loved to tell the dudes wild and windy stories bout the old west, and the life of the old western cowboy. In fact, Ed was known for his windy stories. His nephew, Bill Duncan, said he has been told too many wild stories by Uncle Ed. Bill is not sure if you can believe them or not.

On Saturday nights, Ed loved to take the dudes to the old Bonita store for an evening of dancing and partying. Ed loved those dances at Bonita.

We need to examine the facts a little closer. In my research for this story I was told by two different individuals that Ed Moyer was so bowlegged he could hardly walk. Now we don't know if it was because of Ed's extended time in the saddle or if it was genetic. But, Oh yeah! He was bowlegged as all get out. It has also been confirmed that Ed Moyer loved to dance with the dudes at the Bonita store. My question is, "How can this be?"

Tonight you are learning an inside secret about many a cowboy. It doesn't matter if they are bowlegged, knock kneed, or pigeon toed, take them to a dance and play a little music and most can put a little giddy-up in their step.

Ed must have had a lot of giddy-up, as he would dance all night long. He also was certainly a colorful person who loved to kid around. He just liked to have fun. Nothing came easy for Ed. As a teenager he lost his eyesight in one eye. But those who knew him said, "He may have had only one eye, but he could see further and tell more about a cow than any two eyed man." Others said, "As the 76 Ranch foremen, he was a working cowboy. He would get in there and ride right with ya. Ed was a good horseman. He knew his cattle. He knew the range, and he knew how to take care of it. He never entered the rodeo events, but on the open range he was one of the best."

One of our current Hall of Fame members, Mr. Eddie Whelan, worked with Ed Moyer on the 76 Ranch. Eddie Whelan was 13 years old when Ed Moyer took him under his wing. They worked together for seven years. Eddie said, "Ed was a good ranch foreman. He'd tell us what to do and then let us go do what needed to be done. He wouldn't bother ya if you did your work." Boy, they were cowboys back then, making those long cattle drives moving cattle from the ranch to railroad shipping yards in Willcox.

When Mrs. Webb passed away and the ranch was sold, Ed retired from cowboying and moved to Willcox. He bought a home and settled down to a quiet life, but still telling stories to his friends that would drop by to visit.

Ed Moyer passed away February 3, 1969, and is buried in the Sunset Cemetery in Willcox. Ed Moyer was a bowlegged, one eyed, fun loving man who dedicated his whole life to cowboying.