The Bayless family were pioneers in Arizona. William H. Bayless and his sons, Charles and John, were involved in cattle and sheep ranching in Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota before coming to Arizona in 1883. With Jehiel W. Berkalew, they established Bayless and Berkalew to manage land holdings and ranching operations in southern Arizona. John Bayless married Elizabeth Shields, daughter of J. F. Shields, a Civil War officer with the 13th Kansas Volunteers.
This collection includes correspondence, legal papers, financial records, land patents, and account books of William Henry Bayless and his sons relating to their cattle and sheep ranching operations in Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Arizona. Also includes letters written to J.F. Shields during the Civil War, poetry written by Shields during the war, and letters to Elizabeth from John Bayless.. Personal materials consist of photographs and personal papers, including estate documents.