Soon after Juan de Onate's arrival in 1598 sheep became the staple production of New Mexico.Sheep most likely moved into what is now Arizona by the Navajo in the early 1600s.The first breeding sheep, however, arrived in Arizona with Padre Eusebio Kino about 1700. From this point on sheep were raised, traded and purchased throughout New Mexico,Mexico, Arizona and California. In the middle of the 1870's Arizona's reputation as a sheep range was generally acknowledged. The 19th century brought increasing numbers of white settlers who quickly took over the sheep industry. Arizona was an open range country during the period of 1880-1890. With the completion of the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad land was no longer as open. This and the growing number of cattle increased already evolving tensions. Sharing mutual interests,sheep men in Arizona met in Flagstaff on October 1,1886 and organized the Arizona Sheep Breeders and Wool Growers Association. This group acts to this day as the official organization for Arizona's woolgrowers.
From the guide to the Arizona Wool Growers Association, 1880-1980., (Cline Library. Special Collections and Archives Department.)