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. J. F. Shields was a Civil War officer with the 13th Kansas Volunteers. His daughter, Elizabeth, married John Bayless.
This collection includes correspondence, legal papers, financial records, land patents, and account books of William Henry Bayless and his sons relating to 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 later letters to his daughter from her husband, John Bayless. Personal materials consist of photographs and personal papers, including estate documents.