Walter Grover CLEVELAND 1931-2021

Born February 14, 1931 in Cleveland Canyon, Bisbee, Cochise County, Arizona, the sixth and last son of William Jasper and Helen Lucille Cohen Cleveland.

Walter's father is listed on the birth certificate as age 51, birthplace Mendocino, California, occupation Laborer for State Highway Dept.; and mother is listed as age 30, birthplace Canyon City, Colorado, occupation Housewife.

When Walter was born the family consisted of father, mother and 6 boys: George born 1916, James K born 1917, Calvin Henry born 1919, Charles Thomas (known as Tom) born 1920, Robert L born 1924, and Walter born 1931.

In 1933, Walter's mother left the family, taking him and his older brothers Bob and Tom with her to her mother's house in Bisbee. (Read more about her story on the Helen Cohen page.)

The photo at left was taken about 1934, from left is Calvin, Bob, Grandmother (Cohen) Potter, and Tom, with Walter in front.


By 1936, Walter, Bob and their mother were living in a tent around 16th Street and East Van Buren in Phoenix, AZ; a wood frame with tent over it, with "stepfather" Bob Roland. From a story written by Walter -

"Mom worked at an NRA sewing room, $44.00 per month, but split with someone else – each of them working 2 weeks each month. We were not alone, there was a lot of people in the same situation. I failed to mention that Mom either had a new husband or a boyfriend, I’m not sure which. His name was Bob Roland. One day Mr Roland was baby sitting me while Mom worked at an NRA sewing room. The wages were $44.00 a month but she could only work 2 weeks and then someone else worked 2 weeks and they split that 44 bucks….. Anyway that Mr Roland took me to a local saloon and parked me on the sidewalk while he went in and mingled with the "boys". I don't know how long I sat on the sidewalk but he finally came out with another man and this is when James L. (John) Reed came into our lives. A few days later Bob and I were shipped back to Bisbee via a friend of the family that happened to be in Phoenix and owned a car. So back to Nana's we went. “
"Nana and Rube lived on Sims Road in Bisbee at that time and my Dad was the City Blacksmith in the Bisbee Pump house located just below the hill from Nana’s place. I would sneak off down the hill and have lunch with my Dad, a time which I really enjoyed."

Early in 1938, Walter, now age 7, rejoined his mother, now married to John Reed, at the Wilson Ranch, four miles up the Paria River in Arizona. From a story by Walter-

"I’m not sure how long I was with Nana and Rube, a few months at the most, when one day I was packed up, put on a Greyhound bus and I was on my way to joining my Mom and her new husband, James L. (John) Reed at the Wilson Ranch (George & Mary Fisher) 4 miles up the Paria River." ... "While at Wilson Ranch, John built a rock house over a spring (the spring house) – a little smaller than the cellar at Oak Thicket ranch. Lived in a small two room house on south side of the river, near a sand hill – one room for living, the other for saddles, etc."

After about a year John Reed was offered a job at Lonesome Dell Ranch at Lee's Ferry, where they then lived until sometime in 1940.

More to come....