It is unknown when the ranch first began operating as a working cattle ranch, but it was most likely in the early 1870’s. The ranch headquarters was first built in 1883.
In the 1860’s, Date Creek was on the main route between Prescott, AZ and California and was a stopping point for travelers.
Fort Date Creek, a now abandoned military outpost, is a few miles away. Established as Camp McPherson January 23, 1867 as a temporary post 60 miles southwest of Prescott in Yavapai County. It was created to protect travelers on the road from La Paz to Prescott. The post was moved north 25 miles and was renamed Camp Skull Valley in March of 1867. On May 11, 1867 the camp was returned to its original location and renamed Camp Date Creek. It would be moved two more times along Date Creek. The post was given up in 1874.
In Prescott on July 4, 1888, home of the world’s oldest rodeo, a cowboy named Juan Leivas won rodeo’s first professional title. Juan was awarded a trophy for all-around cowboy having won both the steer roping and bronc riding contests at the “cowboy tournament” as it was then called. Leivas was a Date Creek Ranch cowhand.