Paula Knipe was born in 1917 in Payson, AZ and grew up on the Rail X Ranch in The Rincon Mountains, just outside of Tucson. Her dad, Fred Knipe, left his architectural career in MA when he decided to move west from Fairhaven looking for adventure in the wild west. He bought a ranch outside of Tucson and, from time to time, worked as a Park Service Ranger to make ends meet.
In the 1940s, Fred conceded defeat to the tremendous difficulties inherent in ranching and returned to his prior career as an architect. He designed several well-known buildings in Tucson, including the First Baptist Church on Speedway Boulevard. Paula moved with her family from Payson to Tucson in the 1920s and eventually attended The University of Arizona, where she met Cabot.
Cabot Sedgwick came from a long-time Massachusetts family. One of his ancestors signed The Declaration of Independence, and his great great grandfather gained some notability when he won freedom for a slave woman who was aptly named Elizabeth Freeman. Mum Bett, as she was known to her beloved charges, lies buried in the Sedgwick graveyard in Stockbridge, MA.
Cabot suffered a rheumatic heart condition and breathing troubles as a boy and so was sent to live in Arizona in an effort to improve his ill health. He stayed at the Circle Z Ranch, still located off the Patagonia Highway, and he was a member of the first graduating class of the School for Boys in Tucson. It was then Cabot fell in love with the wild west, ranching and horses.
Cabot returned to the east coast for one semester at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, but the west beckoned, so he returned to Tucson and attended the University of Arizona as an undergraduate. Cabot also went on to earn his law degree from the College of Law at the University of Arizona. (Those who knew him would not be surprised to learn that Cabot was class president while in attendance at the U of A, and he was absolutely always the life of the party!)
Cabot and Paula embarked on a long and adventurous life together in 1935. Cabot served in the Diplomatic Corps as U.S. Foreign Ambassador, so they lived an international life in Central and South America, the Caribbean, Europe and Asia all the while raising five children. Through their travels, they never forgot their first love: the Arizona country-side. In 1955, when the land became available, the Sedgwicks purchased 3,500 acres from the Peck family, called it the Santa Fe Ranch, and built their home on a high hill overlooking the Santa Cruz River.
When Cabot retired from the Foreign Service, he and Paula returned to the Santa Fe Ranch and took up ranching and service to their community full-time. Paula served as a member of the Arizona Cowbelles, the Pimeria Alta Historical Society, and the Hilltop Art Gallery. Cabot also served on numerous boards and became an integral part of the Nogales, Santa Cruz County and State of Arizona communities. It was especially in these activities that Cabot and Paula inculcated in their children a spirit of service and charged them to continue to care for the land and for those less fortunate than themselves.
The Cabot and Paula Sedgwick Foundation, approved as such by the Internal Revenue Service in 2007, is the legacy of these two amazing people. In their names and in dedication to their memories, the Foundation is committed to: preserving the land; advancing research in environmental science and agriculture; encouraging safe, healthy, active living; and sharing the importance and the privilege of learning with the leaders of tomorrow, our children.