Skip to main contentSkip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.

Street Smarts: Successful cattleman the namesake for Kinney Road

  • Updated

Heading northwest off Ajo Highway is a road named for a big-time cattleman and supporter of the creation of Tucson Mountain Park.

Jack C. Kinney was born in 1872 to Bartholomew and Mary (Berry) Kinney, both of whom were from Ireland. He was born in Dixon, Ill.,  but moved to Texas with his family as a child.

At 11 years old, Kinney left home and worked on a ranch in Texas. By age 15, he was earning top cowhand money of $40 per month. He was one of the few old-time trail drivers who drove cattle northward to Montana.

In 1890, he found work on a ranch in Wibaux, Mont., but after a short time he left to attend Iowa State University, where he studied cattle breeding for two years before returning to Wibaux.

After an accident made riding difficult, he bought a barbershop. It prospered, and as a result he was able to buy a small ranch in Wibaux. His next move was to buy a small grocery store in town, which he stocked with beef from his own herd. He also established a small livery stable and feed business.

In 1899, Kinney married Alice Brophy in Montana and they had three children: B. Harris Kinney, J. Lester Kinney and Kathryn (Kinney) Barkley.

In 1903, he founded the First National Bank in Wibaux, and in 1912 he roped another one in when he bought a majority share in the First State Bank of Lemon, S.D. During this time, he also served in the Montana Senate.

In 1913, he moved to Arizona. He bought La Osa Ranch south of Tucson in 1915, along with several other ranches, and created La Osa Cattle Co. He lived at the ranch until 1928, when he sold it and moved to Red Rock, where he bought the old Aguirre ranch and lived there until his death.

Together with Leighton Kramer, the namesake of Kramer Avenue, he helped organize the first Tucson rodeo and the Tucson Rodeo Parade in 1925. He served many times as grand marshal of the parade and as head of the Tucson Rodeo Committee in the 1930s.

He served on the Pima County Board of Supervisors from 1928 to 1932, the last two years as chairman. In 1932, he also ran for governor of Arizona but lost.

During his time as a county supervisor, Kinney worked with Cornelius B. Brown (aka C.B. Brown), the namesake of Brown Mountain in Tucson Mountain Park), and Sen. Carl Hayden to establish Tucson Mountain Park west of Tucson in April 1929.

Kinney died in 1949 and is buried at Holy Hope Cemetery.

A letter dated Nov. 27, 1961, from the Pima County Parks and Recreation Department to Tucson Newspapers Inc., the joint operation between the Tucson Citizen and the Arizona Daily Star, says the main road in Tucson Mountain Park is named in honor of Jack Kinney.

McCain Loop, near Kinney Road, is named for J.C. McCain, the first ranger of Tucson Mountain Park.


Emails from John and Joyce Barkley (grandson and granddaughter-in-law)

William Ascarza, “Tucson Mountains,” Arcadia Publishing, 2010

Letter from Pima County Parks and Recreation Department to TNI, dated Nov. 27, 1961 (Tucson Citizen Archives)

Sam Negri, “Movers and Shakers: The Creation of Tucson Mountain Park,” Pima County, 2010

Paul L. Grimes, “Tucson Rodeo Parade & Museum,” The Tucson Rodeo Parade Committee, 1991

“J.C. Kinney, Former GOP Candidate, Dies,” Arizona Daily Star, July 18, 1949

“J.C. Kinney, Cattleman, Dies After 2-Week Illness,” Arizona Daily Star, July 19, 1949

Jack C. Kinney Papers 1872-1949 (Arizona Historical Society)

Frank M. King, “Jack Kinney: One of Arizona’s Famous Cattle Ranch Operators,” The Longhorn, July 15, 1943

C.B. Brown memories:

Ed Smith file.

Bonnie Henry, “Another Tucson,” The Arizona Daily Star, 1992

Email from Bob Stewart, chairman of the Tucson Rodeo Parade Committee

Email from Gary Williams, general manager of the Tucson Rodeo

Tucson Mountain Park info:

Lone Wolf:

Subscribe to stay connected to Tucson. A subscription helps you access more of the local stories that keep you connected to the community.

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

Listen now and subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | RSS Feed | Omny Studio

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


News Alerts

Breaking News