According to biographer Warren L. Hanna’s “The Life and Times of James Willard Schultz (Apikuni),” Schultz was 48, a middle-aged man, just beginning his second career as an author, when he first visited Greer. The abundance of wildlife — grizzly and black bears, mule deer, pronghorn antelope, mountain lions, and wild turkeys — and the remoteness and unique beauty of Arizona’s White Mountains led to Schultz becoming the first tourist to build a cabin in the Greer area.
The site Schultz selected was a small open meadow with a veritable garden of wildflowers above the clear waters of the Little Colorado River. There were countless butterflies fluttering everywhere, which inspired Schultz to give his cabin a Blackfoot name, “Apuni Oyis,” or Butterfly Lodge. To reach it, he had to travel 116 miles from the railroad in Holbrook — first by wagon and later in open touring-car “taxis.”
James Willard Schultz wrote thirty-seven books before he died in 1947 on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming just one month before his 88th birthday. Many were published in serial form in both children’s and adult magazines, and were synonymous with adventure in the American West. Young readers eagerly waited for his next installments in Youth’s Companion, American Boy, Boy’s Life, and Forest & Stream.
Pioneers in the White Mountains region fondly remember his “In the Great Apache Forest: The Story of a Lone Boy Scout,” a wonderful tale about George and Hannah Crosby (teenage children of Molly Butler’s first marriage) and their adventure as summer rangers under Apache Forest Supervisor Fred Winn on Mount Thomas (now known as Mount Baldy) during World war One. It was published in 1920.
Books by James Willard Schultz