Greeting him cordially, the Phoenix Gazette of December 31 advised their readers that, "Mr C.S. Fly, of Tombstone, one of the greatest artists in America, arrived in Phoenix yesterday and will remain a few days ... Mr. Fly obtained the only genuine pictures of Geronimo and has accumulated considerable money from their sale.The gazette is pleased to welcome the gentleman to the Garden City and trusts that he will conclude to locate in our city."
This invitation to move to Phoenix was one that Fly would take time to consider.Fly's Tombstone was not the town of crimson crime that some writers would have us believe.There was normal family life there comparable to that in many other western towns of that period.
The popular Nellie Cashman, "whose every heartbeat throbs with sympathy with suffering humanity the world over," was one of the many substantial, law-abiding citizens who helped to give the community as a whole a basic integrity.Camillus S. Fly and his wife, Mary E. (Mollie) Fly, fitted neatly into the pattern of respectability.
With a given name like Camillus, it is not strange that Fly preferred to use plain C.S. Fly. Sometimes he was known as Charles S. Fly.Close friends called him "Buck".Camillus probably was the name bestowed by a doting mother who had read of Marcus Furious Camillus, the great general and savior of the Roman Empire who died 365 B.C.Camillus had a sister Camelia anad brothers named Leonidas, Quintus and Flavius.The Fly children had more ordinary names such as Alice, Mary, Robert and Webster.
Camillus and Mollie Fly had no children of their own but took into their home two girls, one of whom it is said they adopted and was known as Katherine (Kitty) Fly.The recorded reminiscences of Mrs. Kitty Fly Patterson and Mrs. Cora E. Henry, the second girl, have helped to shed light on the family life and activities of these Tombstone pioneers.
Kitty Fly was seven or eight years old when she arrived in Tombstone to live with the Flys.Commenting in later years on Fly's tour of Phoenix with his "picture machine," Kitty wrote: "Mollie Fly and I ran the camera at home and had a lot of extra work to do.And when Fly came back he hadn't made much of his tour and had a vacation."
Describing a picture taken of her, Kitty recalled: "This one was taken when I was 15 years old, sitting in the kitchen window at Fly's.He took the picture ...Fly used totry out his old chemicals and I was the one who was the target."
A warmer picture of the Flys is painted by Mrs. Cora Henry.Cora's family moved to Tombstone in December of 1889 when she was nine years old.She recalled that she used to run errands for Mrs. Fly for which she would always receive a very welcome ten cent reward.About six years later, after her parents died, Cora went to live with the Flys for a time while finishing her schoolyear in Tombstone.
"Mrs. Fly was a little woman of about five feet of pure dignity, very plainly dressed, but in manner Queen Victoria had nothing on her,"Cora wrote in 1950."Mr. Fly, as I recall him, was a tall man.He never had any trouble with the Indians.In fact they always seemed glad to have take their pictures.
"I never saw a picture of Mr. Fly even in the studio.They didn't seem to connect themselves with their work in that kind of way.The Flys lived very plainly, spent almost nothing on themselves and paid cash for everything.
"Mrs. Fly always kept a little unfinished retouching at hand and when people had stayed long enough, she referred to her work in an apologetic way.She never raised her voice.She sometimes spoke of Kitty, the adopted daughter, and tears came to her eyes.(Kitty Fly had left Tombstone before Cora moved there.)
"The Flys were kind, good people.I never head them say an unkind word about anyone or do an unkind act.They were very kind to one another."(to be continued)