DRAFT – George Lee Mileham

Born: March 23, 1927, Fort McDowell AZ       Died:  Jan 30, 1981, Cave Creek, AZ

Real cowboys are hard to find, and George Mileham was one of the last of the breed.  George was born in Fort McDowell, Arizona, on March 23, 1927.  He was a tough, hard-riding, hard-drinking, smart, straight-shooting real man.  He wasn’t a “dude wrangler”.  He couldn’t play guitar and his hat wasn’t fancy – George was the genuine article.

As a boy, George learned much of the culture and language of the Indian children with whom he went to school and became life-long friends with many of them.  By high school, he was working as a cowboy and going to school at the same time.  Eventually, “cowboying” won over school when he went to work at the Box Bar Ranch.

George cowboyed at the Rio Verde Ranch in the early 1940’s before joining the Navy during WWII.  When enlisting, he gave his occupation as “cowboy”.  He served on everything from destroyers to cruisers to battlewagons.  During his time in the Navy, George received numerous citations and medals, including the Purple Heart.  When George was honorably discharged from the service, he returned to Arizona and began work as a lineman for the Salt River Project until his retirement in 1959.

In 1959, George moved his wife, Bernice, and young family to Cave Creek, where he managed the old Bronco Ranch with Jim Paul until 1971.  A broken back, as well as an accumulation of other injuries and surgeries, forced George into semi-retirement that year.  However, for the next ten years, George kept his hand at riding the range at various ranches, sitting around a campfire swapping cowboy yarns, and reciting poetry.

George had quite a reputation, and it wasn’t all for being a good cowpoke.  “There’s such a thing as bein’ kind of wild, but somebody told George, “You weren’t wild – you were crazy.” George could never stand getting there second saying, “I wish now I hadn’t got there at all a lot of times.”  Following his January 1981 death, George was buried with full military honors at the Cave Creak Cemetery.