An Arizona Auto Adventure:  Clarence Boynton’s 1913 Travelogue

An Arizona Auto Adventure: Clarence Boynton’s 1913 Travelogue

Would you like to go on an automobile adventure in Arizona in 1913? On August 29, 1913, Clarence N. Boynton and Dr. William Warner Watkins, along with their wives and the Watkins’ nine-month-old daughter set out on a driving trip in Dr. Watkins new 1913 Studebaker SA25 touring car. The trip was planned to cover a circle of approximately 1,000 miles in central Arizona. It was “no country for an auto.”
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Like many travelers of the time, Clarence Boynton apparently carried a notebook and a pencil in his pocket to record this journey.  The travelogue, which he entitled “An Account of the Watkins-Boynton 1,000 Mile Tour Through Northern Arizona, August 28 to October 3, 1913,” and was written during the trip, chronicles the 36-day, approximately 1,000 mile Arizona adventure Clarence and his wife Mariquita made with Clarence’s friend, Dr. William Warner Watkins, his wife Bessie and the Watkins’ nine-month old daughter, Merial.  There were reportedly two purposes for the trip: first, Dr. Watkins had a 1913 Studebaker SA25, and he was an “autoist” who loved auto travel; second, Clarence Boynton had come to Dr. Watkins’ sanitarium in Phoenix, Arizona to be treated for pulmonary tuberculosis, and Dr. Watkins was anxious to show off the remarkable recovery of his patient.  Dr. Watkins and Clarence Boynton had been on a shorter trip earlier in the year, which is briefly mentioned in the journal, so they had some idea of what they were in for.  This was no casual trip for the faint of heart or the physically frail.  It was an adventure for all, including baby Merial.  The journal clearly shows that the Watkins and the Boyntons all had a true pioneering travel spirit in the tradition of those who came before by foot, on horse or muleback, by wagon train, stagecoach or the railroad.  As Clarence Boynton wrote in his account, it “was no country for an auto.”

The stories of the places and experiences of the Watkins and the Boyntons have been expanded and enhanced by the author with text describing the places traveled to and through, and with period appropriate advertisements, maps and photographs.   The additional text is intended to add detail about the places to which they traveled and to give a sense of the time and place of the trip.   Contemporary photographs by the author have also been included where appropriate.

2013 | SOFT COVER | 206 pages | 200 illustrations


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