Charles Utting

Charles Horatio UTTING 1867-1944

Updated December 2011 (Additional information & photos)

Utting Siding sign

Around 1997, when I was using a dial-up Internet connection and both the Net and I were much younger (Lycos, the Google of its day, only knew of a grand total of 5 million web pages worldwide) I ran a search for ‘Utting’ to see what would turn up.

One of the things that turned up was a reference to an Arizona railway siding on the old Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe railroad called Utting Siding at lat/long N 33°50'20" W 113°53'13". Intrigued, I decided to try and find the reason for the name.

Utting siding, AZ, USA

In the event, there didn’t seem to be any information available as to how the siding was named, but the upside was that a lady I contacted in Yuma swung past Utting Siding with her husband and took photos for me. (It’s amazing how far strangers will go out of their way to help with genealogical research.)

Twelve years passed and in an idle moment I ran another Google search for ‘Utting’ and ‘Yuma’, and one of the hits was an extract from the New York Times dated 9 August 1911:

KERMIT ROOSEVELT TO HUNT. The text reads: “LOS ANGELES, Cal., Aug 8. – Kermit Roosevelt, second son of ex-President Roosevelt, is to go after game in the wild regions, near the Gulf of California. In letters today to friends here young Roosevelt, who has been spending some time in Silver City, New Mexico, stated he would leave Yuma, Aug. 9, for a ten day hunt, returning to this city after he has bagged a few mountain sheep.

As most of the trip will be on horseback, Kermit will take to Yuma with him his own saddle, which he has used in Arizona and New Mexico. He will also be equipped with two high power guns, one of which was used by his father on the latter's trip after African lions. Ciriano Dominguez, an experienced guide of Yuma, will conduct Kermit to the Gulf's mouth.

The party will include A. L. Verdugo, Dr. R. R. Knotts, C. H. Utting, R. L. King, and Albert Andrade, all of Arizona.

Success - an Utting in Arizona, but why would he be in Kermit Roosevelt’s hunting party? A further search revealed several more clippings:

KERMIT IN PINACATE MOUNTAINS. "Yuma, Ariz. Aug.11. - Kermit Roosevelt and his guides left last night on his hunting trip to the Pinacate mountains, 150 miles southeast of ths place. In the party are Charles Utting, a former rough rider, Winn Proebstel and two Mexican guides. The route was to Wellton 30 miles east by rail, and thence by horse. Kermit said he would be gone at least two weeks and possibly four. El Paso Herald

GUARD FOR YOUNG ROOSEVELTLOS ANGELES, CAL., Aug. 18. – E. P. Durning, a ranchman, of El Centro, who is stopping at the Hayward Hotel, says the recent reports of Americans being shot in Mexico have caused the people of the Imperial Valley to send out a searching party for Kermit Roosevelt, who is in Lower California on a hunting trip … ...”. NY Times

(Apparently, one hundred people volunteered, of whom ten were sent out to accompany Roosevelt for the rest of his trip.)

YUMA Ariz., Aug. 18 While no direct word has been received from the Roosevelt hunting party since they left here, last week, and although some apprehension is felt for the safety of the party because of the aggressiveness of the revolutionary bands that have crossed the border since that time, it is believed that the news from Los Angeles is exaggerated.

C. H. Utting, Clerk of the District Court here, returned from the vicinity where young Roosevelt is hunting with reassuring news, although he had not seen the party. He said he had heard of them and that young Roosevelt was enjoying himself killing sheep.” NY Times

KERMIT ROOSEVELT O.K. Fears for Safety of Ex-President's Son Set at Rest. Yuma, Ariz., Aug. 19 - "Fears for the safety of Kermit Roosevelt, son of former President Roosevelt, and his hunting party in Lower California and Sonora, on account of Mexican political unrest, were allayed yesterday when C. H. Utting, clerk of the district court, returned with word that the hunters were all well. Utting said young Roosevelt began hunting along the boundary last Saturday and today was in the Pinnacle mountains, about 60 miles southeast." The Auburn Citizen, New York.

KERMIT ROOSEVELT ON THE WAY HOME “YUMA, Ariz., Aug. 26. – Heavily tanned by his two weeks’ hunting trip in the Sonora Desert, Kermit Roosevelt left for the east last night with four Mexican sheep as trophies.” NY Times

About this time, another contact in Arizona reported that he had tracked down a Charles Utting and, from there on, it got even more interesting.

Looking for information on Kermit Roosevelt’s hunting trip I came across the online text of his book “The Happy Hunting-Grounds”. I have edited out the section (below) relating Roosevelt’s trip to the Sonora Desert which contains the following extracts:

“I wished to hunt the mountain-sheep of the Mexican desert, hoping to be able to get a series needed by the National Museum.

“At Yuma, on the Colorado River, in the extreme southwestern corner of Arizona, I gathered my outfit. Doctor Carl Lumholtz, the explorer, had recently been travelling and hunting in that part of Mexico. … The postmaster, Mr. Chandler, and Mr. Verdugo, a prominent business man, had both been more than kind in helping in every possible way. Mr. Charles Utting, clerk of the District Court, sometime Rough Rider, and inveterate prospector, was to start off with me for a short holiday from judicial duties. To him the desert was an open book, and from long experience he understood all the methods and needs of desert travel.

“Utting told us of an adventure that took place here, a few years ago, which very nearly had a tragic termination. It was in the winter season and there was an American camped at the tanks, when two Mexicans came there on their way to the Tule tanks, twenty-five miles away, …

“As the sun grew hotter we hunted farther up on the mountains, but we saw no more sheep, and returned to camp with Utting, who met us at a ravine near the border.

“I got Dominguez and the horses and brought in the sheep, which took several hours. That afternoon we were back at Tinah'alta, with a long evening's work ahead of me skinning out the heads and feet by starlight. Utting, who was always ready to do anything at any time, and did everything well, turned to with a will and took the ewe off my hands.

It seems pretty clear from these extracts that Charles Utting was handy to have around and Kermit Roosevelt was clearly pleased to have his company.

Kermit Roosevelt’s description of Utting as ‘sometime Rough Rider’ had me looking for a roster of troops who were members of the Rough Riders.

The 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry (better known as the Rough Riders) was one of three regiments raised in 1898 for the Spanish-American War, in which it was the only one of those regiments to see action. The volunteers, raised mostly from the American Southwest, were generally experienced horsemen and competent shots, and Lieutenant-Colonel of the regiment was Theodore, later President, Roosevelt.

I eventually located a roster of volunteers on a website dedicated to the Spanish American War, which listed ‘Uttling [sic], Charles H. - Troop B - Sgt.

On another site I found details of Charles’ enlistment; men volunteered in their thousands and the rejection rate was high.

MUSTER-IN ROLL - B TROOP San Antonio, Texas, May 17, 1898
Name: Utting, Charles H., Rank: Sergeant, Age: 30
Place of Birth: Nofa City [sic], Calif., Residence: Phoenix
Date enrolled: April 30th, Occupation: Cowboy

Due to political intervention, only eight of the twelve companies of Rough Riders were sent to Cuba. Many of the horses and mules were left behind, and the men had a hard time carrying supplies which should have been transported by animal. In his description of the fighting at San Juan, Theodore Roosevelt (in his book “The Rough Riders”) refers to ‘lieutenants of B Troop from Arizona,’ hence it would appear that Charles Utting’s troop would have been among those who saw action in Cuba.

The fact that Roosevelt Snr. had been so impressed by the men of the Rough Riders in Cuba, makes it very likel, that he suggested Kermit take one or more ex-troopers with him on his hunting trip, explaining Charles Utting’s presence in the group.

So who was Charles Utting? The entry in the 1900 U.S. Census for Township 2, Maricopa County, Arizona, shows Charles as a farmer, age 32 and head of family, married to Abby (in 1899), no children. His place of birth is California (in 1867), his father’s and mother’s birthplaces are England and California, respectively.

From 3 newspaper cuttings, one of which is from the Tucson Citizen dated 5th May 1902 (?) it seems that Charles was appointed a deputy United States marshal on the preceding day, replacing a man called Frank Reno.

(These cuttings, and the letter mentioned shortly come from the personal collection of Major James H. McClintock who commanded Troop B of the Rough Riders, and were kindly provided by the Arizona Historical Foundation.)

Reading between the lines, it seems that ex-Rough Riders were strongly favoured to fill positions as deputy U. S. Marshals, to the point of displacing non-ex-Rough Riders already in those posts, hence the comment about regretting 'the necessity of [Reno's] displacement for a Rooseveltite Rider'.

The letter accompanying the newspaper cuttings is from Major McClintock to Col. Myron H. McCord, the then U.S. Marshal in Phoenix. Dated 5th April 1902 it reads:

'My Dear Colonel,
Chas. H. Utting is an applicant for a Deputyship under you. For your own sake, in securing the best possible sort of subordinate, and for Utting's betterment as well, I hope you can see your way clear to his selection. He is an old-time Arizonan, is thoroughly acquainted with the Territory, has held several of the most responsible positions with credit, and is a rustling and reliable Republican to boot. Of his faithfulness and personal courage I can testify. He was one of my senior sergeants in the late war. He handled his squad with bravery and good judgementand at last was in command as ranking non-com. when the President visited.
Very sincerely,

A list of Arizona Public Offices and Officers gives Charles as ‘Board of Control, Clerk’ on 4th May 1904, and in the Prescott Evening Courier of 26 June 1905 it is reported that he 'succeded Walter Gregory, resigned, as secretary at the territorial prison at Yuma'.

[Update, 2011]: In April of this year, Anne & I visited Yuma territorial prison:

Yuma Territorial Prison entrance Yuma Territorial Prison cell

In ‘YUMA, The Gate City of the Great Southwest’ published by The Yuma County Chamber of Commerce in 1906 Charles is listed as a member of the Yuma Chamber of Commerce.

On 15th February 1910, the Yuma Examiner reported: "Ed Lamonte was tried before Chas. Utting yesterday on the charge of selling liquor to Indians and held to the United States grand jury."

In the 1910 U.S.census for Yuma, Arizona, Charles is shown as age 42, a lodger at Imperial Hall (House?) on Madison Avenue, Yuma, married for 10 years (but no mention of Abby) and Clerk at the District Court.

A list of land disputes heard at Yuma County Court before Charles Utting mentions his name on dates between April 1908 and February 1911.

A report of Charles' activity as a deputy U.S.Marshal appears in the Los Angeles Herald dated June 24th 1909:




Officers Return to Yuma by Unfrequented Roads to Prevent Attack on Prisoner by the Populace

YUMA, Ariz., June 23 - Francisco Marquez, who since last Thursday has been a fugutive from justice for the murder of Peter B. Hodges in the Fortuna mountains and for whom posses of armed men, including the most prominent citizens of Yuma and experienced manhunters of the southwest, a band of indian trailers and a company of militia have been scouring the thickets of the Gila river bottom was captured today by a party including District Attorney Timmons, Under Sheriff Walter Riley, Ramon Martinez and William Neahr.

Late yesterday a party including William Ingram, C. H. Utting and Roy White, returning from an extended search for a murderer, came upon a fresh trail near the river bank, fourteen miles from this place. The men were too exhausted to proceed, but after a few hours of rest and with reinforcements they struck and followed the track until it led them to the abandoned hut of a sheep camp on the Balz ranch, only a mile of two from Marquez' own home.

The hut was surrounded, and Riley tried the door, which was locked. It was broken by one of the others, and Marquez was discovered lying asleep on the floor. Aroused by the noise, the fugutive realized instantly that he had been trapped and hastened to surrender. He was unarmed, having thrown away his gun because, as he afterward informed the officers, it was too heavy to carry.

Return March to Prison

A passing wagon driven by Francisco Beltran was hailed, the prisoner and the guards bundled in, and followed by the captors of Marquez on horseback the entire party made its way into town and by unfrequented streets to the prison. So quickly and so quietly was this done, despite the fact that every man, woman and child in Yuma has been on the alert for days for the capture of Marquez, that the gates of the prison had been safely closed upon him before his capture became known. The reward for the capture of Marquez, dead or alive, yesterday reached $1000. Los Angeles Herald

(As an aside, Marquez, who was charged with the murder of Peter Hodges, was unable to afford a defence lawyer; the judge therefore appointed two of the late Hodge's friends to represent Marquez in court! Furthermore, friends and members of Hodge's masonic lodge were apointed to the jury. Unsurprisingly, Marquez sentenced to hang in October 1909).

Along with Charles’ census data I was sent an article from the June 1955 issue of The Desert Magazine, published in Palm Desert, CA. Included in those pages was an account of a fatal 1913 bank robbery in Blythe, CA:

One of the volunteers on the posse was Charles Utting who had served in the Spanish-American war as one of Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders, and had later been appointed deputy United States Marshal in Arizona. Utting recently had moved to Blythe to open a new branch lumber yard for E. F. Sanguinetti of Yuma. He was one of the finest marksmen in the desert country and, like [deputy sheriff] Gardner, came from the mold that makes good frontier officers—cool, fearless and intelligent.

Gardner and Utting led the posse which pursued the two robbers for 60 miles and eventually arrested them in El Centro, CA.

The posse
Charles Utting (fourth from left), Ace Gardner (3rd from left)

The pages from Desert Magazine can be downloaded here (2.3Mb)

Less positively, from 'The United States Marshals of New Mexico and Arizona Territories, 1846-1912' by Larry D. Ball:

'Disturbances did occur among the Indians, but the marshals did maintain peace without the assistance of the military. Deputy Marshal Charles Utting provoked a near uprising in 1903, when he and two guides killed an alleged Papago Indian smuggler.'

The final reference I have found is in a US government journal of land reclamation, dated 1920, which says: 'The best cotton field in the valley is that of our friend Utting, a former Yuman, who has transformed an area of mesquite into as perfect a farm as one could wish to see'.

So the points in time we have are:

  • 1867 - birth (from Census data)
  • 1898 - (early) - cowboy (from enlistment data)
  • 1898 - (late) - Sgt., Troop B, Rough Riders (from enlistment data)
  • 1899 - marriage - (from Census data)
  • 1900 - farmer (from Census data)
  • 1902 - becomes deputy United States Marshal (newspaper cuttings)
  • 1904 - Clerk to Board of Control (from public office data)
  • 1905 - Secretary, Yuma Territorial Prison (Prescott Evening Courier)
  • 1906 - Member, Chamber of Commerce (‘YUMA, The Gate City of the Great Southwest’)
  • 1908 - Clerk to County Court (from land disputes data)
  • 1910 - Clerk to County Court (from Census data)
  • 1911 - Clerk to County Court (from NY Times article)
  • 1913 - Lumber yard manager (from Desert magazine)
Since I had the birthplaces of Charles and his parents, I decided to work backwards as well. Searching the 1870 U.S. Census I found A.A.R. Utting (father, age 30) and Missouri Utting (mother, age 21) with children Charles H. (age 3, therefore born 1867) and Wayne W. (age 8 months) in Yount (later Yountville), Napa, California. There were to be 3 further siblings: Carrie b. abt. 1872, Floyd b. 1877 & Adele b. 1877 d. 1878 (Adele was born in July 1877, making it almost certain that she and Floyd were twins).

McKenney's District Directory for 1878-79 (covering Yolo, Solano, Napa, Lake, Marin and Sonoma Counties) mentions ‘A. A. R. Utting, pubr, democrat’ and ‘LAKE DEMOCRAT, (weekly) A A R Utting, propr’. It transpires that A. A. R. Utting was a serial publisher, also publishing the Napa County Reporter 1874-5.

More web searching revealed Charles' mother, Missouri Hopper (born 1848, died on 13th January 1920) in Yountville, Napa County, CA, who married Alfred Utting on 30th September 1865 at Vallejo, Solano County, CA.

There are certain discrepancies in the data, but I believe that I have found Alfred Utting as a child in the 1841 UK Census, with his father, Horatio Utting (a name which ties in very neatly with Charles Horatio Utting).

Horatio and Alfred then both appear on the passenger list of an immigrant ship arriving in New York in April 1852, together with a Hannah Utting; sadly, Horatio died on the crossing (See final column of passenger list). Presumably Hannah and Alfred then made their way to California.

My final effort was to find details of Charles’ death and interment. The California Death Index shows Charles Horatio Utting as having died in Los Angeles on 26 January 1944. It also gives his full date of birth: 3 June 1867.

The website which lists the burial places of Rough Riders does not have data for Charles, but the U.S.Veterans Gravesites lists Horatio Utting (‘Charles’ seems to have been omitted, but all other details, e.g. date of birth, rank, service, match perfectly), ‘Sgt US Army Spanish American War’ to have been buried on 31 January 1944 in Section 125, Row E, Site 4 of the Los Angeles National Cemetery, South Sepulveda Avenue.

It’s almost certain that Charles Utting isn’t one of my direct ancestors, but it’s certainly been a lot of fun researching his life.

Nigel Utting, March 2010


In April 2011, Anne and I spent time in Nevada and Arizona, driving from Las Vegas to Yuma. First stop after Vegas was Searchlight, for breakfast followed by an overnight in Lake Havasu City (where the old (1831 version) London Bridge was relocated in 1971, having been purchased for $2,460,000).

London Brifge, Lake Havasu City,
London Bridge

From Lake Havasu City we drove down the I95 which turns south at Parker.

Route I95 near Parker Dam, AZ
Between Lake Havasu & Parker

At the town of Parker, I95 turns south and you are soon driving alongside what used to be the old Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroad which still spans the many washes with wooden bridges.

Wooden railroad trestle, AZ
Trestle bridge alongside I95

After turning off onto the I72 you are very close to the railroad. The countryside is dry and desert-like, with sparse scrub and hills on either side, reaching around 1600ft.

Hills alongside I72
Hills west of I95

You need to be careful! Anne opened the car door, and this was directly outside! It doesn't look well, but you never know...

Dead/dying snake

Further down I72 is the small community of Bouse (which, I didn't know at the time, has a Genealogical Society. That may prove useful).

Bouse, AZ
I72 through Bouse

I72 has wonderful, long vistas ...

I72, AZ outside Bouse

Road outside Bouse, AZ

Just south of Bouse, is Utting Siding. There was no signpost but the satnav announced our arrival and for the first time we saw the siding, conveniently occupied by a stationary line of tanker wagons.

Utting Siding, AZ
Utting Siding

Utting Siding, AZ
Utting Siding

Utting Siding, AZ
Utting Siding

Utting Siding, AZ
Looking east across the rail track at Utting Siding

And for the first time in around 100 years, an Utting at Utting Siding!

Nigel Utting at Utting Siding, AZ