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In 1877, the co-founder of the settlement that was to become the City of Buckeye led a party of six men, three women and ten children, from Creston Iowa, bound for Arizona. The leader of this party was Thomas Newt Clanton whose purpose for coming west was to foster good health. It was a good move for him – he lived in Arizona for 49 years before his death at the age of 82.

(Note: While the Clanton group may have left from Creston, which is on the west side of the state, the family was from Madison County, Iowa, which is on the east side. TN’s father, Isaac, was one of the original settlers in Madison County and is buried there. TN was born in Buchanan County, Missouri.)

Development in what would become Buckeye Valley received its first great boost with the construction of the Buckeye Canal. In May 1885, Malie M. Jackson and his partners J.L. Spain and Henry Mitchell laid out the canal, which was named Buckeye in honor of Jackson’s native state of Ohio. Later that year M.E. Clanton, TN’s brother, and others organized the Buckeye Canal Company and paid Jackson and his partners $300. TN Clanton built the first 5 miles of the canal, which was completed in 1886.

After first living in Big Bug and Phoenix, Clanton and his family moved to the Buckeye area in 1887. In March 1888 the Buckeye Post Office was established with TN’s daughter, Cora Jane Clanton, as postmaster. The post office was named for the Buckeye Canal. In September 1888 TN Clanton and OL Mahoney filed a plat for the Town of Sidney. However, because the post office was called Buckeye the residents continued to refer to the area as Buckeye. In 1910 Sidney was replatted as Buckeye.

Advances in transportation put Buckeye on the map. In 1910, the Arizona Eastern Railroad came to Buckeye; the first car in 1911; a steam rail line connected it to Phoenix by 1912; and a state highway by 1915. The coming of the railroad was so significant that the business district was moved to accommodate the location of the railroad station. As a result, Buckeye was booming. By 1912, major buildings were constructed, along with expansion of the business community.

Buckeye was incorporated in 1929 and included 440 acres. The first mayor was Hugh M. Watson. Watson started the Buckeye Valley Bank. His son, Hugh Watson, Jr. served as mayor from 1956 to 1958.

In 1935, the Buckeye Chamber of Commerce started the Helzapoppin Days, which became a local tradition. The festivities included street dances, parade, carnival, and a rodeo. Proceeds were given to local churches that distributed the funds to the needy and for scholarships. Celebrities such as cowboy singing star Gene Autry attended the events. Similar local holidays, such as the annual Pioneer Days, are still celebrated in Buckeye today.

City of Buckeye • 530 East Monroe Avenue • Buckeye, AZ 85326 • Phone: 623-349-6000
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