HISTORY OF THE VAN DICKSON RANCH
John Van Dickson was the son of John Dickson who came to Prescott and Skull Valley with the Walker Party in the 1860s. John Senior may have been one of the people who referred to this beautiful valley as Skull Valley because of the pile of skulls they found there from ancient battles between the Yavapai and Apache people. The young John became known as Van, and he married a school teacher named Pearl in about 1900. Van had a sixth grade education, but with the help of his educated wife, he would become one of the county’s first supervisors.
The Dicksons homesteaded their Skull Valley ranch in 1906. Van was a rancher and world-class rodeo champion and was friends with and in movies as a cowboy with Tom Mix. Van raised polo ponies at the ranch and leased them to Will Rogers.
C. Paul and Carolyn Harris bought the ranch in 1999. When Paul, a polo player, saw the flat area covered with brush, he instantly thought he could make a polo field there. Little did he know that that flat area had been a polo field before — almost 100 years ago. Coincidence or fate? Of course the ranch would be named Van Dickson.