Higley General Store

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Higley General StoreThe community of Higley was named after one of its early landowners, Stephen Weaver Higley, born May 3, 1857. The Higley (General) Store building, which still stands near the southwest corner of Higley and Williams Field roads, was built in 1910. While working as a stagecoach shotgun guard in 1872, Stephen accepted a job offer from a Santa Fe railroad passenger. In 1891, he transferred to construction work from the main line of the Santa Fe in New Mexico to the Prescott & Phoenix Railroad with headquarters in Prescott, Arizona.

Stephen is credited with building the Santa Fe railroad line from Cadiz, CA to Congress, AZ, where it joined the Ray-Hayden-Christmas railroad line running through Higley. In 1905-1906 he bought an estimated 8,300 acres of land in the area believing it to be very fertile soil for farming. The original town site consisted of 40 acres and is believed to have been donated by him.[1]

Women in front of the storeThe first Post Office was in a back corner of the Higley Store. Interestingly, there are multiple spellings for the name of the first Postmaster, appointed on January 11, 1910; it’s spelled either Lawrence H. Sarey[2], Laurence H. Sorey[3], or Lawrence H. Sorey[4], depending on the source.  When the first rural route was established in 1915, his daughter, Matilda, served as its first carrier.  

A tragedy also struck the family that same year. His wife, Anna M. Sorey, at age 40 was stricken suddenly by taking a dose of strychnine by mistake.  “She had been troubled with liver complaint and had arisen early to take some liver pills.  She seized the wrong bottle by mistake and swallowed the deadly contents before she had any intimation of danger.  Despite every effort she died before doctors could reach her.”[5]

Excerpts from the following were used for this article:

[1] HIGLEY, ARIZONA - A Rural Community, by Sue Sossaman
[2] ARIZONA TERRITORY - Post Offices & Postmasters, by John and Lillian Theobald
[3] ARIZONA PLACE NAMES, by Will C. Barnes
[4] CHANDLER ARIZONAN, dated Friday, July 9, 1915
[5] USPS flyer dated Jan. 15, 1995, by the Higley Quality Work Life/EI Tea