William Jasper CLEVELAND 1879 - 1947

W J Cleveland

Photo gallery coming soon!

Born on December 12, 1879 in Ukiah, Mendocino County, California, the only son of George William and Rebecca Potter (Gordon) (Hildreth) Cleveland.

When William Jasper was still young, possibly as early as 1881, his mother, Rebecca Potter Cleveland, left his father George in California and travelled with William Jasper to Arizona. The journey was made in stages, stopping off at Oatman, and Gold Fields, where Rebecca ran boarding houses for the miners {from article in Arizona Cattlelog, February 1968}.

Although this is the family story, there is some evidence that George initially moved with Rebecca and their son to Arizona. In 1882 a George W. Cleveland, age 34, is registered to vote in Pima County, Arizona; in 1884 a George Cleveland, age 36, working as a Millman registered to vote in Contention, Cochise County, AZ; and in 1886 a George Cleveland, age 38, working as a Millman at Grand Central Mill registered to vote in Cochise County, AZ.

It is also likely that several Hildreth children, from Rebecca’s second marriage, moved with the family to Arizona: in 1881, the following children may have still been with Rebecca – John R. Hildreth age 17, Nettie E. Hildreth age 15, Annie L. Hildreth age 11, and William W. "Bill" Hildreth age 9. Nettie Hildreth married Charles A. Whipple in Pinal County, AZ on 16 July 1883. A Kate L. Hildreth, probably Annie, married Sam Land in Charleston County of Cochise Territory on August 4, 1887.

Family stories state they continued on to Fairbank, where Rebecca ran laundries. They left Fairbank when she was put out of business by the Chinese, who were able to do the washing cheaper. Rebecca and son William Jasper moved on to Charleston and finally Bisbee, Arizona.

The family arrived in Bisbee, AZ some time before February 1888, when Master Willie W Hildreth sent a letter to his uncle W J Hildreth, Ukiah City, CA asking for some money. William Jasper's half-brother Bill Hildreth would have been about 16 years old.

William Jasper ‘Mac’ “homesteaded 320 acres in the Mule Mountains before he was old enough to legally prove up on it”, so his half-brother Bill Hildreth filed for him. It's been said that Bill Hildreth signed the ranch over to Mac just before he died in 1939, but W.J. Cleveland is shown on the tax rolls as early as 1908. (William Jasper would have been 28 years old in 1908).

W J Cleveland

In 1900 W. J. Cleveland registered an Affidavit of Work for work done on the Bell Mine in the Warren Mining District between October 1898 and January 1899.

Arizona voter registrations in both 1902 and 1904 show William J. Cleveland registered as a miner, with a residence of Bisbee, precinct 2.

William Jasper's mother died on February 21, 1905 in Bisbee, Cochise County, Arizona.

W. J. Cleveland is first seen in Cochise County tax rolls in 1908.

In 1909 W.J. Cleveland, age 30, birthplace California, registered to vote with a residence in Lowell, Arizona.

There is a William J CLEAVLAND, age 37, born in California, listed in the 1910 Federal Census as a resident of Bisbee, Cochise County, Arizona with an occupation of miner.

William Jasper's father, George William CLEVELAND, died in 1912 in Siskiyou County, California.

On December 1, 1914, William Jasper married Helen Lucille COHEN (age 14), in Bisbee, Cochise County, Arizona. Helen was born in Canon City, Colorado in 1900. Her father was from Germany and her mother was born in Tennessee (from 1930 Federal Census). Note: The application for a marriage license shows Helen's age as 16. Dora C. Fletcher signed the consent form as mother of Hellen Cohen.

MAC and four boys

Their first son, George, was born on 27 October 1916 in Bisbee, Cochise, AZ, followed by James K. born 16 November 1917.

On September 12, 1918, William Jasper, age 38, registered for the WWI draft, listing his occupation as "Cattleman", employed by "Self, Over Divide, Bisbee, Arizona". {Registration Card}

A third son, Calvin Henry, was born 18 March 1919; a year later came son Charles Thomas, born 25 July 1920; followed four years later by Robert, born 26 March 1924.

The image above shows one of the brands used by W. J. Cleveland, from the Brand Book of the State of Arizona, 1920. Other brands included the X Slash J and OHO brands.

The photo at the left with a donkey, is left to right, Charles Thomas about 4 years old, James about 7, George about 8, and Calvin about 5.

According to the 1930 Federal Census, the family was living in Bisbee, Cochise County, Arizona: William CLEVELAND age 50, Rancher; spouse Helen age 30, Children: George age 13, James age 12, Calvin age 11, Thomas age 9, Robert age 6; residence Bisbee, Cochise Co., AZ.

Then in 1931, a sixth son, Walter, was born.

In 1933, at the age of 33, Helen COHEN CLEVELAND left William Jasper. She left their youngest sons, Robert and Walter, with her mother in 1936 to move to Phoenix. See the history page for Helen L. Cohen for more information.

William Jasper Cleveland applied for a Social Security number in 1937.

The Bisbee Directory of 1938 lists William J Cleveland as a blacksmith for WPA, residence in Bisbee, Arizona.

In 1941, William Jasper, age 62, registered for the WWII draft, with his place of residence listed as "Over the Divide 3 miles from Bisbee, Cochise County, Arizona." {Registration Card}

William Jasper's son, Charles Thomas, served in the U. S. Naval Reserve during WWII, and was killed when the ship SS Stephen Hopkins was attacked by two German raiders on 27 September 1942.

William Jasper and several of his sons remained in Bisbee until at least 1946 according to entries in Bisbee District Directories of 1942 and 1946.

  • William J Cleveland (age 63) - rancher living in Tombstone Canyon west of the Divide, Bisbee in 1942. James K (age 25), Calvin H (age 23), and Robert L (age 18) are all listed as "residing with his father".
  • William J Cleveland (age 65) - owner Oak Thicket Ranch in Tombstone canyon west of the Divide, Bisbee in 1946. Calvin H (age 25) and Robert L (age 20) are also listed.

Some time in 1946, William Jasper moved to Yuma, Arizona.

William Jasper Cleveland died on December 30, 1947 in Yuma, Yuma County, Arizona and is buried in Bisbee, AZ.

The photo at left shows five brothers in 1948, from left to right: George, James, Calvin, Robert, and Walter.

Helen Lucille Cohen Cleveland died July 10, 1957 in Tularosa, New Mexico.



1 – 1930 United States Federal Census
2 – 1940 United States Federal Census
3 – Ancestry Family Trees
4 – Arizona, County Coroner and Death Records, 1881-1971
5 – U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007
6 – U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918
7 – U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942
8 – Web: Arizona, Find A Grave Index, 1861-2012