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  • Writer's pictureBill Cowan

The Melvina Munds and Myron Carrier Family, Munds Park Pioneers

Updated: Jun 24, 2021

The View From Here

 Photo courtesy of Frank Benedict
Myron and Melvina (Munds) Carrier

Melvina Munds was born in Roseburg, Oregon, on November 18, 1858, the 1st child of William Madison and Sarah (Cox) Munds. She followed her father and younger brothers, Jim, Neil, and John, to Arizona in 1876 at age 18.

Myron Carrier became a doctor following imprisonment in a Confederate prison. He and his wife Melvina Munds homesteaded the south half of Munds Park in 1892.

Myron Aldelbert Carrier arrived in the Verde Valley 5 years later in 1881 and first stayed with the William “Bill” Nichols family, who had a herd of milk cows near Jerome. Carrier had been born in Oneida County, New York, December 22, 1842, and as a young man had served in the Union Army; Co. A., 117th Regiment, New York Infantry. The unit was originally stationed around Washington, D. C., but then moved south and fought in various battles. Carrier was taken prisoner and spent time at Libby Prison in Richmond, Virginia, known for having windows with bars open to the elements, thereby increasing the inmates’ discomfort. Carrier was freed in a prisoner exchange but blamed his lingering poor health on his Confederate prison experience.

Following the war, Carrier traveled west in a wagon train spending a winter just outside Salt Lake City trapping. After much thought about seeing so much sickness and misery in Libby Prison, he returned east to take up the study of medicine. It was there he married Harriet Jane Lindsay, September 27, 1867. The couple moved first to Nebraska, where two daughters, Nellie Moroa and Ethel Jane, were born and then to Michigan, where Dr. Carrier practiced medicine for seven years. Harriet Carrier died in 1881, and Myron left his children with relatives in New York to come to Arizona, arriving in the Verde Valley shortly thereafter. He invested in mining claims and cattle and provided medical service for the rapidly growing community in the Verde.

Melvina Munds and Myron Carrier were married on September 27, 1884, in a ceremony conducted by Rev. J. T. Pierce in Flagstaff. The couple then spent summers at Munds Park and lived winters in Spring Creek near her father along a tributary of Oak Creek. The couple was rarely apart.

Myron Carrier was active in the Democratic Party and was elected Yavapai County Assessor in 1886, which he held through 1888. He was also elected many times to serve as a district supervisor representing the Upper Verde District of the Democratic Party.

Myron and Melvina Carrier homesteaded the North 1/4 of Section 22, an area 1/4 mile by 1 mile, that today encompasses the south side of Munds Park and Lake Odell. The patent was issued January 20, 1892.

The Carriers built a log cabin and corrals near Munds Canyon’s head in Munds Park and were granted a patent to their homestead in the summer of 1891. Myron was partners with Oak Creek rancher Frank Owenby on a herd of cattle branded DC Bar, which ran in Munds Park’s vicinity along with other Owenby cattle branded ONB.

Myron’s two daughters came to the Verde to be with their father, and both married well. Nellie married colorful William Loy, the brother of Jim Mund’s wife, Hattie. Ethel Jane married Lee Hawkins, the dashing first dentist in Jerome, known for his love of contraptions as well as owning the first automobile in the Verde Valley. Melvina and Myron also had two daughters, Hazel and Iva. Unfortunately, Hazel died in Jerome in the spring of 1892 and was buried next to her Uncle Neil here in Munds Park. Neil was killed while riding a bucking bronco at Willard Springs in 1886.

Ethel Jane Carrier married Jerome’s first dentist, Lee Hawkins, who had a love for all things mechanical.

Jerome began to boom in the early 1890s. The Carriers moved into Jerome, where Myron served as the community doctor with an office in the Red Cross Drug Store. He was soon appointed Jerome Health Officer, which meant he had the authority to establish smallpox quarantines and regularly inspect the prostitutes and cribs in Jerome. He also kept a horse and buggy at the ready to make house calls from Clear Creek below Camp Verde to the upper end of Oak Creek. Life in Jerome was a happy and fulfilling time for the Carriers. William Munds was elected to be the first Mayor. Melvina, her stepmother Cornelia and her sister-in-law Fannie all served in Diamond Chapter 7 of the Order of the Eastern Star, putting on plays and doing other community service projects in the community.

In 1898 the Carriers sold their Munds Park Ranch to Flagstaff banker and sheepman E. S. Gosney, who soon sold to Charles H. Odell for whom Lake Odell is named. Most of the original Northernaire subdivision, the golf course, and the Pinewood Club House are situated on the original land homesteaded and loved by Melvina and Myron Carrier – Important Arizona Pioneers.

If you get out into our spectacular Northern Arizona backwoods, please try to make the place better for your presence - do not litter and try to leave the area cleaner than you found it.

Enjoy Northern Arizona!!

This article on the history of Munds Park is part 2 of a 12 part series.


Bill Cowan's book on the Verde Valley History is available at Candy’s Creekside Cottage in McGuireville, Arizona and from Amazon, eBay, and various other retailers, including the Verde Canyon Railroad.


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