The Cochise County Rock

Monthly Newsletter of the Sunsites Gem & Mineral Club

“Finding and Grinding Rocks in Cochise County, Arizona since 1962”

November 2007

This issue edited by Don Hammer


November Meeting is Monday the 12th

Our November meeting will be Monday, November 12 at 7 pm at the Sunsites Community Center. Our archeologist member, Casey Dennis, will speak on early Native American cultures in Cochise County. The focus of the program will be southwestern archaeology, starting with the coming of the first men into the new world and finishing with those cultures practicing agriculture in southeastern Arizona prior to the first Spanish contact.

Casey Dennis is a third generation native, she was born in Arizona and raised on a cattle ranch in Cochise County. She became interested in archaeology as a child as there are a number of sites on the ranch which her father was interested in. Following discharge from the United States Air Force she used her GI Bill to obtain a bachelors degree in anthropology from the University of Arizona. She spent the next portion of her professional life as a field archaeologist, adjunct faculty member and Elderhostel coordinator for Yavapai College in the Verde Valley of Arizona. Five years ago she retired and moved back to the ranch.

Ms. Dennis' program will be at 8 pm on Monday November 12 at the Sunsites Community Center. The public is invited to hear her presentation on local archeology.

November Field Trip

The November field trip on Saturday November 17 will go to the Commonwealth Mine in Pearce. Meet at the vacant lot north of the Old Pearce Store at 9 am and plan to leave at 9:15 for the collecting site just a couple of miles from the store. We will be looking for lacy agate and amethyst that were abundant when we visited this site a few years ago. Bring water, lunch, lawn chairs, sun protection, bags or pails and digging/rock breaking tools. 4WD is not necessary.

October Field Trip Report

Seventeen members and three guests met at the old Arizona Restaurant parking lot a few minutes before nine on October 20 and piled into 8 vehicles following Paul McKnight to the Oak Creek ranch where each registered as per Game & Fish regulations and then proceeded up Oak Canyon. As promised the road was suitable for cars and in a few minutes we were all parked in a row on one side of the road. Then Paul led us across the road to an abundance of chalcedony that was eroding out of the hillside. Everyone got plenty of chalcedony and even some slabable pieces were found. We then continued up the canyon to the creek crossing for nice specimens of layered (sedimentary) rocks and one nice piece of jasper. Nestled in the foothills of the Chiricahuas, the scenery alone was well worth the trip. Consequently many members pulled out lawn chairs and picnicked in the shade of the oaks along with several mule deer.

Christmas Party

The Club Christmas Party will be on December 17 at 6 pm in the Sunsites Community Center. Don Hammer has two 20 lb turkeys in his freezer and we're looking for volunteers to cook the turkeys. Potluck for everyone else: those with last names beginning with A – H bring a salad, I – P bring a vegetable dish and Q- Z bring a dessert. We need help on the decorating, setup and cleanup committees and if you can help with any of these call Hanni Sigel (826-1009). Come on out and join your fellow members in kicking off the holiday season.

October 2007 Minutes

The meeting was started with our speaker Laura White giving us a talk about changes for roads in the National Forest. They are going over all the roads presently being used in the Forest area. There will be maps available online. Laura had some maps of the local areas available for us to see.

Following the speaker, we had intermission and enjoyed refreshments.

The regular meeting started at 8 p.m. Chuck Merritt was a new guest to our meeting. Paul asked for approval of the minutes as published in the newsletter. It was approved. Walter gave a financial report that showed no changes since the last report. Debby made a motion to accept the report, Irvin seconded the motion, motion carried.

Paul gave a report on the September Field Trip. 5 cars made the trip up to the old marble mine. Paul thanked Larry and Irvin for their help with smoothing out the wash for vehicles to pass safely. Paul brought samples of rocks found. No one from the club attended the Bisbee Mine trip. Our next Field Trip will be on October 20 to Oak Creek behind the Riggs Ranch. Paul and Beth spoke with the Riggs family. They did much work on the road that accesses the Forest. It washed out really bad, and needed attention several times this summer. They set it up so we will have passes to access the forest. We will meet at the restaurant at the intersection of Rt. 191 & Rt. 181. at 9 a.m. A member requested we revisit this site, and samples of rocks found are also on the table. Paul said he and Carol agreed to be on the Nominating Committee. Larry made a motion to approve the committee, Don seconded the motion, motion carried.

The Christmas party will be December 17 and there are sign-up sheets for someone to cook turkeys and other food. There will be a Gem and Mineral show in Sierra Vista next weekend for those that chose to attend.

We held our Rock raffle including the magazines as last time. Meeting was adjourned at 8:25p.m.


Carol Pontious, Secretary

Editor’s Note

In the July/August Newsletter Paul thanked several members for their contributions towards making the Club successful but modestly did not include his efforts. Since we have many new members, it may be well to point out that Paul chaired the Continuation Committee when the previous administration attempted to terminate the club and disperse it’s assets and he successfully negotiated a settlement with that administration allowing us to keep the Club assets. He has also served two terms as President as well as a couple of years and several months when I was absent, as Newsletter Editor.

I'm not sure how I overlooked it when we revised the By-laws a couple of years ago, but most organizations include the immediate past President on the Board. In some cases 2 or even 3 past Presidents. The Board has approved the following amendments to the Club By-laws and will bring them to the membership for approval at the November General Meeting:

Section 1.0 The elective officers shall be the President, Vice-President,

Secretary, Treasurer and one (1) Delegate-at-large. The Board of Directors shall consist of five six members: the four officers of the Club, and the Delegate-at-large and the immediate past President as a non-voting member.

Section 1.3 Elective officers and Board members, shall serve for a term of one (1) year and for not more than two (2) consecutive terms in any one office as President.

The annual Meet the Clubs event will be held from 2-4 pm on November 10 at the Sunsites Community Center. Carol Pontius and Joan Hammer will bake pies for our admission fee. If you can help manning the Club table please call Don Hammer (384-3105).

The Nominations Committee of Carol Pontius and Paul McKnight will present the following slate for approval at the November meeting:

President – Don Hammer

Vice President – Henri Van den Bos

Secretary – Diane Brower

Treasurer – Walt Sigel

Delegate-at-large – Jack Light

Lapidary and Silversmithing

Interested in lapidary? Irvin Pontious is our lapidary coordinator. Call him at 824-0110. Silver smithing? Call Don Hammer 384-3105.

Club Calendar


12 Regular Meeting

17 Field Trip

29 Board Meeting


17 Christmas Party


3 Board Meeting

14 Regular Meeting

20 Field Trip

Upcoming Regional Events

Lake Havasu City – November 10-11. Community Aquatic Center. Contact Jay Cole 928.764.2854

Green Valley - November 30-December 1 Arts & Crafts Fair. West Social Center. Contact John Vandegrift 520.207.2646.

Wickenburg - 7th annual Gem & Art Fair. Wickenburg Community Center. Contact 928.684.5451.

Mesa – January 4-6, 2008. Annual Flagg Gem & Mineral Show. Mesa Community College. Contact Ray Grant 480.814.9086

Quartzite – January 4-13, 2008. Rock, Gem & mineral Show.

Globe – January 18-20, 2008. 1st Annual Gila County Gem & Mineral Show, Gila County Fairgrounds 3 miles north of junction US60 & US70. Contact Andy Clark 928-473-3042.

Club Officers for 2007

President Paul McKnight 520 824-4054

Vice-President Jack Weller 520-826-0625

Secretary Carol Pontious 520 824-0110

Treasurer Walt Sigel 520-826-1009

Delegate at Large Jack Light 520-384-4774

Hospitality Coordinator Hanni Sigel 520-826-1009


P.O. Box 87

PEARCE, AZ 85625