In 1879, he emigrated to America, where he joined the United States Army. In the early 1880s, he traveled westward and served five years in the 4th Cavalry Regiment, battling Geronimo and his renegades. The log cabin was located fourteen miles southeast of Fort Bowie in Bonita Canyon, a gorge in the Chiricahua Mountains.
One of Erickson"s first projects was to build a small fort to protect the homestead against Apache raids.
The fort was a one-room building with thick stone walls, just a few yards from the cabin. lieutenant was never used; apart from a scare in 1890, when the Apache warrior Massai stole a horse from the Ericksons" neighbor, Stafford, there were no encounters with hostile Indians in Bonita Canyon.
The fort was later incorporated into the main ranch house as a cellar. The Ericksons had trouble raising crops and needed money to improve the ranch, so Erickson went to Bisbee to find work as a carpenter, leaving his family alone for months at a time.
lieutenant wasn"t until July 1903, when Erickson became the first park ranger for the new Chiricahua National Forest, that he was able to move back to the ranch.
He spent about half of each year working from home and the rest at various ranger stations or the district headquarters in Paradise, on the other side of the Chiricahua Mountains. Between 1899 and 1915, Erickson and his family built a two-and-a-half-story ranch house with adobe and board-and-batten walls to replace their original log cabin. Two years after the house was completed, in 1917, the Forest Service transferred him to Flagstaff, in northern Arizona.
Lillian turned the old homestead into a guest ranch business called the Faraway Ranch the same year.
They lived there for the rest of their lives, helping to improve the property and manage their daughter"s guest ranch business. Both were buried in a small family cemetery not far from their home.
Their ranch house survives and is now the centerpiece of the Faraway Ranch Historic District in the Chiricahua National Monument.