“It took work and it wasn’t all roses, but that is past history.” According to an article published by the California Farmer on Dec. 21, 1957, J.O. Combs, senior partner of Combs, Combs, & Clegg of Queen Creek, thought it was interesting that they had been able to make a productive ranch out of “...jack rabbit sagebrush land that could have been bought for 5 cents an acre” when he first came through 30 years before.
“We arrived via horse-drawn wagon from Texas,” J.O. said. “Dad had a string of some 50 horses. A jackass burro was my sole possession. I remember that we camped not far from here at the only well in this part of the country, and Dad paid 10 cents a head straight across the board. The guy was so tickled to have so much business that he invited the whole family to dinner, free.”
The first section of land was purchased in 1943. The first well was drilled in 1947, and some land was cleared and leased out. In 1948, a second well was drilled, and in 1951 the partners took over and produced their first crop, half on leased land, half on their own.
By the late ‘50s, there were 1,870 acres of land cleared and in production, feed pens for 1,400 steer, 12,000 hens in cages, a hog enterprise of undetermined proportions, and over $400,000 worth of miscellaneous machinery bought and paid for. And, every partner had a home of his own – “all a mile apart,” says Combs, “so that each family could settle its troubles in private.”
When we think about Combs today, we’re usually planning a holiday feast, a special breakfast with maple syrup sausages, or a summer campout featuring bratwurst from Greg Combs’ Pork Shop. This area is rich with history and holds a special place in San Tan folklore.