This is a work in progress to compile as comprehensive as possible a listing numbers and titles of individual William Hamilton Williscraft stereographs of Arizona. If you have examples that are not on this list, or valiant titles for any of the numbers or captions I would appreciate hearing from you. Ideally I would like to obtain either a xerox copy or scan for my files as well. Thanks in advance for your time and assistance.

William Hamilton Williscraft (June 15, 1844–March 18, 1920), the son of William and Sarah (Beckett) was born in Smith Falls, in Ontario, Canada. William became a shoemaker by trade, but grew interested in first mining and later photography and ranching as business sidelines. Little has surfaced about his life before he appears in Analy, California as a bootmaker in the 1870 census.

Notice of Williscraft in Arizona begins in 1875, when he and partner “Barry” are identified as working on the Cerbat mine in Wallapai district, assaying gold at $364 and silver at $83.24 per ton of ore from a shelf 20 feet underground. Six months later Williscraft had invested in a photography business in Prescott, acquiring the original Cook/Pierce gallery dating from 1864, which had supported most of the pioneer photographers who operated in Territorial Arizona, including William McKenna and Dudley P. Flanders.

The October 1, 1875, edition of the Arizona Weekly Miner carried an ad introducing the newest photographic business to locate in Prescott: “Williscraft & Co. Photographers, Old Gallery, Cortex Street.”Besides his photographic business, Williscraft operated as a “W. H. Williscraft, the boot and shoe maker.” Two months later in April, Williscraft began the display ad for his photographic business which ran adjacent to his boot and shoe ad.

Williscraft entered the photographic business more aggressively than any of his predecessors; quickly hiring an assistant in preparation for what he hoped would be a brisk business. In conjunction with operating his new
studio, he outfitted a traveling photographic studio. Though relatively common in the East, his “Flying Gallery” was the first traveling photographic gallery to appear in Arizona. Williscraft also hired at least one assistant, a Mr. Schroeder, who helped to create a traveling photographic “gallery on wheels.”

The local paper ran a positive notice a month after his initial advertisement: Flying Gallery – W.H. Williscraft has placed his Photographic Gallery on wheels and proposes to take views from various positions about Prescott. These views will be nice to send away to friends who want to see how Prescott looks."

Continuing his business expansion, he planned to construct a new building on his photographic studio property in June 1876. Unfortunately for Williscraft, neither business appeared to live up to his expectations. Despite an attempt to work with yet another studio operator, a Mr. Bull, his vision of a successful photographic business was in jeopardy. By August, he was offering “prices reduced by about 30 per cent” at his boot shop. By September, he refocused on the boot business.
The Arizona Weekly Miner noted, “Mr. Williscraft has packed up his picture taking apparatus and changed his photograph gallery into a Boot Shop.”

Though the studio building closed, he continued to work out of his “Flying Studio.” Three weeks later, he took his “Flying Gallery on the road to the Verde Valley. The Miner helped promote the excursion “Williscraft the photographer, is about to make a professional trip to Verde.”138 Unfortunately the quality of the operators and assistants varied from poor to awful with valuable subjects, such as the images of the Tonto Apache and Camp Verde, veiled in fogged or softly focused images in most extent examples.

Photographer Daniel F. Mitchell had arrived in Prescott on the C. & A. stagecoach in June 1876.139 Whether he was affiliated with William’s original business expansion, or their relationship formed later, is not clear. Given the poor quality of the Verde Valley work on Williscraft mounts, it is likely that the collaboration formed after that trip. By April 1877 a collaboration had formed, as noted in the Miner:W.H. Williscraft and D.F. Mitchell, two good photograph artists [sic] are about to leave for Mohave County. Mr. Williscraft for the purpose of engaging in mining matters, and Mr. Mitchell to take views of the country and
photographs of the people, Mr. Mitchell will return to Prescott after having accomplished his undertaking. Apparently this trip foreshadowed the departure of Williscraft and his businesses from Prescott.

It does not appear that Williscraft returned to photography. While remaining active as a cobbler, he focused on interests related to mining while
he prepared to enter yet another business, assaying. He remained active in the Prescott community and was listed as an election judge in
Walnut Creek in the 1880 presidential election. He again changed careers, becoming a dealer in Hereford Cattle in Ash Forka few years later. In the Tombstone Epitaph of May 17, 1890, W.H. Williscraft is listed as having invented “a small mill which he will advertise in this issue. His trail in Arizona is unclear after this date. He appears to be back in Strathcona, Alberta in 1906.

William H. Williscraft died in New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada, on March 18, 1920.

(from Arizona Stereographs 1865-1930 by Jeremy Rowe, 2014)

If you have additional information about William H. Williscraft, examples of stereographs that are not on this list, or variant titles I would appreciate hearing from you. Ideally, I would like to obtain either a Xerox copy or scan for my files as well.

Thanks in advance for your time and assistance.

Please feel free to use this information but please credit this source and reproduce only with full credit information.
Thank you.

Jeremy Rowe

©Jeremy Rowe 2017

PHOTOGRAPHER: W.H. Williscraft 
MOUNT COLOR: yellow/yellow 
DATE: c. 1875–1877 
SERIES: ARIZONA VIEWS (serif block letters),/W.H. WILLISCRAFT, Prescott, A.T. (possibly the same as Kansas series) 

1. At Lunch, Montezuma’s Well 
2. In the Well, Montezuma’s Well (soldiers & wives) 
13. Apache Indian Scouts – Camp Verde, Arizona 1889 
15. Verde Valley, Looking North from Camp Verde 
16. Verde Valley & Sutler’s Store 
23. Verde (Overview) 
23. (alt) Camp Verde 
Aztec Ruins at Montezuma Well 
Courthouse, Prescott looking North-West from S.E.corner of the Plaza 
Exit, Montezuma’s Well 
Freight Teams in Prescott 
Montezuma Wells 
Mohave Squaws (same as Mitchell but no crack in neg.) 
North side of Plaza, Prescott 
N. side of Plaza, Prescott, Granite Mt. in Distance, 1877 
Officer’s Quarters at Camp Verde 
Outlet, Montezuma Wells 
(Photograph Gallery) 
Picnic Excursion to Montezuma Wells, Dec. 2nd 1876 
Post Whipple (distant overview) 
Rev. Mr. Merrill’s Residence, Prescott 

PHOTOGRAPHER: W.H. Williscraft 
MOUNT COLOR: yellow, yellow/lavender 
DATE: c. 1875–1877 
SERIES: ARIZONA VIEWS (outlined letters),/W.H. WILLISCRAFT, Prescott, A.T. (Ornate outline script on front) 

3. Public School House, Prescott 
3. alt. (Same number alternate view of schoolhouse) 
6. Montezuma Wells, West Side 
7. Montezuma Wells, North Side 
8. T. M. Alexander’s residence from the window of the Photograph Gallery 
10. Suttlers store, Ft. Whipple (post trader’s store w/thumb butte in distance) 
11a. Officer’s Quarters, Ft. Whipple, looking North 
12. Inspection at Camp Verde 
13. Birds eye view of Camp Verde, A.T. 
13. alt. Apache Indian Scouts, Camp Verde 
15. Indian Scouts and Pack Train camped at Camp Verde, with Apanjo(?) in the foreground 
16. SW (?) Birds eye view of Prescott 
17. Al Sieber and Mickie Free, the interpreter encamped with some scouts in the Verde Valley 
18. Verde Valley looking North 
19. Officers Quarters Camp Verde 
21. Matesal(sic) Mountains between Camps Verde & McDowell 
22. Indian Scouts Camp 
23. Inspection in front of Company Quarters, Camp Verde 
25. Sgt. Dick and six other Scouts at Camp Verde 
27. Aztec Ruins at Oak Creek. East Side 
30. Aztec Ruins at Oak Creek, West Side 
31. Verde Valley from the ruins in Oak Creek 
33. Indian Scout 
40. Looking across Montezuma Well 
41. Gatling Gun at Camp McDowell 
43. Walis Arnold’s ranch, Beaver Creek 
45. Stoneman’s Lake looking West across about the center of the lake 
47. NW End of Stoneman’s lake looking nearly West 
48. East end of Stoneman’s lake looking South across the Valley 
49. Rear View of Oak Creek Mines, Verde Valley 
52. Parade Ground, Camp McDowell 
55. Looking West from Montezuma Well 
56. Photographer’s Camp at Stoneman’s Lake at a spring (same as “Camp Scene w/Al Sieber below) 
57. Aztec Ruins on Oak Creek, Verde Valley ( Still 15 feet high and extending 200 ft. along the cliff between Oak Creek and Verde River) 
58. Rocky Mesa, Looking North 
62. Aztec Ruins and Caves on Oak Creek, Yavapai County, A.T. 
(16 apache scouts w/2 soldiers in camp) 
Apache Scouts Camp, Camp Verde 
Apache Scouts & Arapahoes, Camp Verde 
Apache Scouts Dress Parade (probably at Camp Verde) 
Aztec Ruins at Oak Creek 
Aztec Ruins at Oak Creek 
Aztec Ruins at Oak Creek, East Side 
Camp of Indian Scouts, Ft. Verde 
Camp Verde (ca 1878) 
Camp McDowell, A.T. 
Cerbat, Mohave County 
Concentrating Mill at Cerbat 
Down Beaver Creek from the Well (Montezuma’s Well) 
Fort Rock 
Ft. Whipple Overview 
Grouping of cactus 
Gurley St., Prescott 
Gurley St., Prescott (CU of buildings) 
Gurley St., Prescott (Overview) 
Head’s Block, Prescott 
Hospital, Ft. Whipple 
Hospital at Ft. Whipple 
Inspecting Indian Scouts, Ft. Verde 
Mineral Park 
Mountains in Arizona 
Mule Freighting Team, Prescott 
Oak Creek 
Officer’s Quarters, Ft. Whipple 
Prescott from the South East 
Prescott from the South West 
Sam’s Saloon on Lynx Creek 
San Carlos Scouts under Al Sieber at Camp Verde 
Scene E. of the Verde River near Stoneman’s Lake 
Stoneman’s Lake – South Side 
Stoneman’s Lake – Apache Maid in distance 
South side Parade Grounds, Ft. Whipple 
View at Cerbat – Mohave Co., A.T. 

PHOTOGRAPHER: W.H. Williscraft 
MOUNT COLOR: yellow 
DATE: 1875–77 
SERIES: W.H. Williscraft, Prescott, A.T./Arizona Views (small letters) 

Bird’s eye view of Ft. Riley, Kansas 
View from roof of Gallery, Junction City, Kansas 
View in Junction City, Kansas 
View in Junction City, Kansas 

Attributed to Williscraft 
[?] Fort Whipple – looking east A.T. 
[?] Prescott from the Southwest 

Attributed to Williscraft 
MOUNT COLOR: lavender (front)/orange (reverse) 

Arnold Ranch, Beaver Creek near Camp Verde, A.T. 
General Overview of Prescott, A.T. 
Group of Cactus, 5 Varieties 
Headquarters at McDowell 
Melvin’s Ranch, 4 miles below Camp Verde, A.T. 
Montezuma Well – South Side 
Oak Creek, empties into Verde River 8 miles above Camp Verde, A.T. 
[?] (studio portrait of Al Sieber in buckskins) 
[?] (camp scene with Al Sieber in uniform probably near Stoneman Lake) 
[?] Stoneman Lake from South Side 
[?] Stoneman Lake from North

©Jeremy Rowe 2017 - HOME  - Comments