CHAPTER VIII. EARLY DAYS OF PRESCOTT.


Up: Contents Previous: CHAPTER VII. FEDERAL GOVERNMENT'S TREATMENT OF ARIZONA. Next: CHAPTER IX. CONDITIONS IN ARIZONA IN 1863 and 1864.


[page 187]

GOVERNOR GOODWIN—HIS BROAD AND LIBERAL POLICIES—PRESCOTT SELECTED AS CAPITAL—SELECTION OF TOWNSITE AND SALE OF LOTS—FIRST HOUSE—BEAR PEN—FIRST HOTEL AND RESTAURANT—FIRST STORE—FIRST SALOON—FIRST SUNDAY SCHOOL—FIRST DAY SCHOOL—FIRST COURT—FIRST LEGISLATURE—FIRST ELECTION—FIRST PUBLIC BUILDING: “GUBERNATORIAL MANSION”—DESCRIPTION OF ARIZONA BY J. ROSS BROWNE—JOSEPH EHLE, PIONEER—LOUNT PARTY—EARLY SETTLERS—FIRST BOARDING-HOUSE—DESCRIPTION OF PRESCOTT BY GENERAL RUSLING.

John N. Goodwin, Arizona's first Governor, was born in South Berwick, Maine, fitted for college at the Berwick Academy, entered Dartmouth College in 1840, and was graduated in 1844. He studied law in the office of John Hubbard, and commenced the practice of his profession in his native town in 1849, in which he was successful. In 1854 he was elected to the State Senate of Maine, and in 1855 was appointed Special Commissioner to revise the laws of Maine, and in 1860 was elected to Congress. In March following the passing of the Act creating the Territory of Arizona, Mr. Goodwin was created Chief Justice for this Territory, but, following the death of Governor Gurley, President Lincoln, on the 20th of August, 1863, appointed Mr. Goodwin to the place made vacant by the death of Mr. Gurley. Mr. Goodwin served in this capacity until 1865, when he was elected


[page 188]

Delegate to Congress to represent Arizona, and went to Washington, never returning to Arizona.

Probably no better choice could have been made for Governor of the new Territory. The position of Governor at that time was surrounded with many difficulties.

There was a mixed population in Arizona; probably the greater portion of the native Americans were Southern sympathizers, and, had harsh measures been pursued, it would have been easy to have stirred up an embryo rebellion, instead of which the Governor was a peacemaker. He united all factions in the support of his administration, with the ultimate purpose of redeeming the territory from savage dominion. He was industrious, democratic in all his views and a typical Westerner, as far as his habits were concerned, for he was in no sense a Puritan or hide bound in his views. He enjoyed a toddy, liked a game of draw, and was pleasant, affable and courteous to everyone.

Upon the arrival of the Governor's party at Fort Whipple, then located in the Chino Valley, he began at once to make a personal tour of the Territory, with a view to a permanent location of the Capital. He visited La Paz and all the settlements along the Colorado River, and from there went to Tucson and other settlements in the South, and finally selected Prescott as the site for the Capital.

While at Tucson he incorporated the town by proclamation, and appointed William S. Oury, of Virginia, who had served under Sam Huston at the Battle of San Jacinto, whose brother had served in the Confederate Congress as a Delegate


[page 189]

from Arizona, and who himself was a strong sympathizer with the South, as mayor of Tucson.

The ravages of the Apaches continued without cessation and with increased violence after the withdrawal of the California Column into what is now New Mexico. Governor Goodwin appointed King Woolsey as Colonel of the militia of the territory, with the title of Lieutenant-Colonel, whose expeditions will be noted in a future chapter. Woolsey was a Southerner, and when the Albert Sidney Johnson party passed through Arizona in 1861, en route to the Confederacy, Woolsey joined the party, but was taken down with smallpox at Tucson, and for this reason was left behind. John T. Alsap, a Kentuckian, was appointed the First Treasurer of the Territory.

These things I mention to show that Goodwin, in the selection of his men paid no attention to what their feelings might be in the struggle then going on; all he asked, and that he received, was loyalty to the new Territory and to the government which he established, and never was such confidence betrayed.

Prescott was selected as the capital, because it was in the center of the country in which the placers had been discovered which were then being worked, and to which locality had been attracted a population from both the East and the West, of adventurous Americans. The name was given in honor of the great American historian, by Secretary McCormick. The town itself was in the heart of the Indian country, but a more picturesque spot for a future city could not have been selected. For a number of years it was unsafe to venture any considerable distance from


[page 190]

the town, unless in sufficient numbers to repel the attacks of the Apaches. He who did otherwise, did so at his peril. Lying always in ambush and picking off their victims, and driving off the animals belonging to the white settlers, escaping through their knowledge of the country from their pursuers, the Indians were always ready to seize upon any advantage an unguarded moment might afford. Sometimes guards were posted nightly throughout the town, and men slept upon their arms, expecting Indian attacks at any moment. The town itself escaped such a calamity, but not so with her citizens whose business affairs called them beyond the limits of safety.

In this period of doubt and uncertainty, with a gloomy future ahead of the town, within the town itself optimism prevailed, and every settler was doing his best in his particular line to oil the wheels of progress, moving steadily and firmly along the line of improvement, and seeing in the distance a great prosperity awaiting them. When harrassed with difficulties they would firmly take their stand prepared to retain any advantage already gained, holding always to the merited prestige which their city had attained, never for a moment retrograding, but always advancing, even though at a plodding gait, until the Indians were finally quieted and permanent safety assured.

The following is taken from an historical address delivered before the Prescott Library Association, Feb. 27, 1877, by the Hon. E. W.Wells:

‘‘

“Upon the arrival of the corps of Federal Civil Officers early in the year 1864, they found they had been preceded, by some months, by


[page 191]

small numbers of miners and prospectors, who had penetrated, from the west, these mountains and forests in search of mines, accounts of almost incredibly rich deposits of gold having been given them by friendly Indians, who had made incursions into the interior of this section of the Territory, and who warned the whites of the dangers to be met with in an attempt to make a search for those bonanzas, because of the fathomless mountains being filled with lurking savages. As is always the case, with men of adventure and daring, the more they were impressed with the dangers to be encountered, the stronger their inclination to meet and grapple with them, and, taking their lives in their hands, they broke the way over the mountains making their camp at and a short distance above the present site of Prescott.

“The proceedings under which the townsite was selected, the name of Prescott chosen and lots disposed of, were as follows:

“A meeting of citizens was held at Granite Creek on Monday evening, May 30th, 1864, in response to the following call:

“‘Notice: There will be a public meeting held at the store of Don Manuel, on Granite Creek, on Monday evening, May 30, 1864, for the purpose of considering and adopting the best mode of disposing of lots in the proposed town, to those wishing to purchase under the recent act of Congress.

“‘Granite Creek, May 27, 1864.

“‘By order of

“‘MANY CITIZENS.’


[page 192]

“‘The Meeting convened at the time and place designated, Robert W. Groom being chosen to preside, when the following resolutions were unanimously adopted:

“‘Resolved: That in the judgment of this meeting, the two quarter sections of land upon the east bank of Granite Creek, the northerly line of the same, beginning at a point half a mile, more or less, southerly from the cabin of Messrs. Sheldon, Smith and Forbes, and lately surveyed for a townsite by R. W. Groom, are in a central and eligible location, and that we approve of their selection for the aforesaid purpose.

“‘Resolved: That we invite the citizens of the Territory and those persons who may hereafter in become such, to unite with us establishing a town at this point, the name whereof shall be Prescott, in honor of the eminent American writer and standard authority upon Aztec and Spanish-American History.’

“And it was further resolved that it being to the best interest of all concerned that the lots be sold and disposed of under the act of Congress, and that on account of the great delay which must attend communication with the Secretary of the Interior, (owing to the lack of mail facilities), and in the absence of a Register and Receiver of the Land Office in this district, that Messrs. Van C. Smith, Hezekiah Brooks, and R. W. Groom, were appointed to act as Commissioners to represent the interests of the Government and of the citizens of the Territory inlaying out, appraisement and disposition of the lots.

“Prescott, as thus selected, is located near the intersection of the 34th degree of latitude, with the 112th degree of longitude; the lots number


[page 193]

1016; the streets all run with the cardinal points of the compass, and are named after persons either identified with the former or present history of this part of the Territory, such as Montezuma, Cortez, Marina, Alarcon, Coronado, Whipple, Aubrey, Leroux, Walker, Lount, and a number of others.

“Messrs. James A. Halstead of Fort Yuma, William F. Scol, of Tucson, and Charles M. Dorman, were appointed appraisers, who, dividing the lots into three grades or classes, valued them at $7.50, $10 and $15 respectively.

“The lots were sold at public auction to the highest bidders, the pilgrims, who were now increasing in numbers, paying liberal prices, and investing fully to the extent of their means. The terms of sale were one-third of the selling price to be paid down, which was held by the Commissioners to cover costs of survey, etc., and the remaining two-thirds to be paid when the proceedings of the citizens of the town were legalized by the Government.

“The first sale of lots took place on the 4th day of June, 1864. Seventy-three lots were sold for a total amount of $3,927.50, while their appraised value was $910.

“About the corner lot upon which now stands the large brick house occupied by J. Goldwater & Bro., will always linger a certain interest as being the first lot sold in the town, which was knocked down for the full sum of $175. The sale of lots continued from time to time until nearly, if not quite all, were disposed of, at healthy prices.

“The population of the town increased somewhat rapidly, considering the circumstances of


[page 194]

the surrounding dangers and difficulties incident to a camp in a hostile Indian country.

“The people were of a free, reckless aria jovial disposition, and to-day I know of not an incident more enjoyable than that of witnessing the meeting of two or more of the old pioneers and hearing them relate of the good old times of the Puritan days of Prescott.

“The future certainty of the town now being a settled fact, attention was turned to the building of houses aria making other improvements and preparations for the accommodation of the fast growing business, of a promising place with mining and agricultural surroundings.

“The first house on the townsite reaching completion was the office of the ‘Arizona Miner,’ which was finally torn away aria its place occupied in the building of the brick store house now owned by T. H. Loisilon, the first brick building in the town. The building erected for the ‘Miner’ office was made of boards sawed by hand in what was termed a saw pit. From this office the first number of the ‘Arizona Miner’ issued in Prescott, was sent forth on the 22nd day of June, 1864, by Tisdale A. Hand, the publisher, who, some time afterwards died of consumption. The ‘Miner’ was issued semi-monthly, and was, in size a little larger than a sheet of foolscap paper.

“Among the first houses built in the town and now standing, was the little log house, sailing under the classical name of the ‘Bear Pen,’ on Granite Street, in early days of mining speculation, the California Street of Prescott. The Bear Pen is an object of interest, not only on account of its claim of prehistoric tendency, but


[page 195]

chiefly, you may say, as being the headquarters in early times of the aristocratic and inflated monopolists known as the ‘desulphurizers’ and ‘concentrators,’ and where they, by their midnight orgies, affected to a considerable extent, the money, mining, and ‘grub’ market on the following day. The trade of the organization was the talking of the buying and selling mines, negotiating loans, and concocting designs on square meals. They also dealt largely in slander and wildcat feet, and were rather successful in the brokerage business, that is, they were as methodical in closing up a boarding-house as they were systematical in breaking a healthy mining capitalist who wasn't a good judge of rock.

“The means of communication with the west and east were by the Pioneer Pony Express, via La Paz to California, established July 28th, 1864, by Robertson and Parish, and Duke & Co.'s Pony Express, running via Mohave to California, established July 30th, 1864. These expresses were of a semi-monthly occurrence, while Fort Whipple had a military express running semi-occasionally to the East, via Fort Wingate, New Mexico, the advantages of which were kindly extended to the civilians. Notwithstanding the riders of these mails were usually accompanied with escorts of soldiers, they were frequently attacked by Indians, often killed and the mails captured, plundered and destroyed.

“The first hotel and restaurant in the town was called the Juniper House, with Mr. Geo. W. Barnard as proprietor, who, on the 4th day of July, 1864, opened out for the season with a grand flourish on a goodly supply of fresh venison,


[page 196]

red peppers and frijoles. Not only in commemoration of the day of copious patriotism, but as well to celebrate with honor and solemnity the opening day of a popular business, the following was the bill of fare on that day:

“‘BREAKFAST.

“‘Fried Venison and Chili;

“‘Bread and Coffee With Milk.’

“‘DINNER.

“‘Roast venison and Chili;

“‘Chili Baked Beans;

“‘Chili on Tortillas;

“‘Tea and Coffee

“‘with Milk.’

“‘SUPPER.

“‘Chili, from 4 o'clock on.’

“Being the chief manipulator of the culinary department, the proprietor entrusted the collection of ‘pay for meals’ to his assistants, whose faithful attention to business soon closed the hotel doors for repairs.

“The first store was opened by Manuel Yesera, in the south end of town, at the stand so long and happily known as Fort Misery.

“The first well regulated saloon was opened by Tom Hodges, on Cortez Street, who sold drinks and segars, and took ‘Burros’ in payment, much after the manner as was done with Davy Crockett's coon skin.

“The first Sunday School was organized on the 7th day of August, 1864, in a log cabin where now stands the White House, by Rev. H. W. Reed, postmaster and pastor. Church service


[page 197]

had, prior to this date, been regularly held every Sabbath at the same place. Here the old, tried, and fossilized veterans, who inclined to feelings of piety, were wont to assemble for encouragement in hearing the good word spoken, and it was truly a charming and pleasant sight to see, here at a place in the far-off wilderness, girls with their bright cheery faces and new gowns, and boys with greased hair and new buckskin foxed trousers, answer to the ring of the triangle hung to a pole at the church door.

“Parson Reed quit the settlement some time in 1864, leaving us without church service except as an occasional lay brother might be moved in that behalf, until the field was occupied by Post chaplains and other reverend gentlemen, resulting in the present perfect and happy system of religious teachings.

“The first day-school was opened in the fall of 1864, by Mr. Alex. Malron, but it failed to assume the form and character of a school until taken hold of by Mrs. L. A. Stevens in 1865, under whose skillful management and the industry of her successors, it was developed into an institution of no little celebrity.

“Dr. James Garvin was the first Alcalde or Justice of the Peace, and the first court was convened in the month of July, 1864, for the purpose of trying who hadn't the right to a bronco mule. Several days were spent in sly maneuvering and juggling in the manipulating of witnesses and jurymen, with a view of getting a fair trial. When the issues were made up and the trial had, it resulted, as is not infrequently the case, in the attorneys getting away with the bronco, leaving the clients, court and officers, to


[page 198]

divide the payment of the costs among themselves, and set up the liquor to the jury to boot.

“The health of the people was, generally speaking, good, hence there was little need for drugs and medical treatment. The same results were too often swiftly reached by the Indian arrow and lance, and the too free imbibing of the ardor of youth.

“The First Legislature of the Territory was convened at Prescott September 26th, 1864, at the mention of which comes the reminiscences of the first political campaign, in the electing of the members of the first Legislature. Partizan feeling and strife hadn't then been nourished into life as a bridge over which the incapacitated might gently glide into office, but the man of the period was popularly chosen on account of his merits alone, which consisted not simply in book learning and local fealty, but of the then selfish requirements, to wit: The sufficient state of cleanliness, and the possession of garments of such purity as would be suitable and creditable to the high station he sought. One of the chosen candidates was possessed of an ample fund of the former qualifications, but was found largely wanting in the latter, and it was discovered that his opponents in other locations had woven his shortcomings into political capital against him. A public meeting was at once called, and as the result of the deliberations thereof, our candidate was taken to the creek, vigorously scrubbed, gorgeously robed with articles donated for the occasion, put astride a mule, and sent forth to do battle. It is needless to say that he was elected by a large majority,


[page 199]

served with distinction through the whole term, and became the idol of his constituency.

“The first election was held on the 18th day of July, 1864, 149 votes being polled in Prescott.

“On the 16th day of March, 1864, while in charge of a herd of stock, Joseph Cosgrove was attacked by Indians, within rifle shot of where you are now sitting, and killed. This was the first attack made by the Indians in the vicinity of Prescott, and signalized the uprising of a vicious and powerful foe and the beginning of a lasting, cruel and brutal war. Notwithstanding Prescott's flattering beginning, it was not the destiny of her people to escape the ravages of a bitter enemy, whose pleasure it was to be at peace or at war as best suited them, a race of beings which history gives no account of ever being civilized, subdued, or conquered—wily, cunning and dangerous enemies by nature and by instinct, murderous by inheritance, and thieves by prescription. In the death of Cosgrove the settlers came to realize the earnestness of the Indians' bold threat to check the growth of the town, and of meeting with resistance any further approach of the whites into their country. The cloud of anxiety, uncertainty, and apprehended dangers which overhung the town for so many long and gloomy years cannot be told.”

’’

The first public building erected in Arizona was what was known as the “Governor‘s Mansion” in Prescott, a description of which is given in the Arizona Graphic of October 14th, 1899, as follows:

‘‘

“No matter whether the pioneer lives north or south of the Gila, he will regard with interest


[page 200]

this reproduction of one of the old landmarks of the days of '60. The tenderfoot, too, will join in the lock step and feel at least a kindly interest in the men who blazed the trail and set the ball a-rolling, as it were, in the westward march of American principles, to build up the country and advance its progress. Arizona may cherish in the line of personal reminiscences such men as Woolsey, Weaver, Walker, Carleton, Crook, Townsend, and a score of other equally famous Indian fighters, whose cunning and dash forever put a stop to Indian deviltry, but the pretty side of Arizona, in its Hassayampa era must be recorded behind the old log walls of the first gubernatorial mansion to be erected in what was distinctively a ‘wild and woolly west.’ It was in this antique structure that Arizona, officially and judicially, first found a permanent home, and where, also, the Territory for the first time breathed easily and purely, and from whence was inaugurated a form of government becoming to the conditions that faced it in privation and danger.

“Considerable discussion has prevailed, for some reason, or other, that Arizona had its first capital located at Navajo Springs, from the fact of the proclamation being dated at that point in '63; that Chino Valley, likewise, must be rated in the same regard, because the governor hobbled his horse on the plains there for a few weeks; that Tucson was officially designated at Washington as the seat of government because, we suppose, it was even that day the same old, ‘Ancient and honorable pueblo’ it is still. The fact of the matter is, the gubernatorial party were nothing but official tramps, and from the


[page 201]

lips of survivors of that expedition we are informed that while Tucson was semi-officially mentioned, the governor was to be guided in his choice by a consideration of questions in geographical location, population, industrial and other matters before making a permanent home. In short, the capital of Arizona was to be on wheels. Accordingly, the governor moved from Navajo Springs to Chino. A few weeks afterward the Rich Hill gold excitement turned itself loose, and on the recommendation of General Carleton the governor again ‘broke camp’ and selected Prescott as the seat of government, arriving here in May, 1864.

“The first government contract was that of calling for proposals for the building of the ‘Gubernatorial Mansion,’ being published in the Arizona Miner in June, 1864. The contract was awarded to Messrs. Blair, Hatz and Raible and the work inaugurated. In appearance, the building of that day is identical to the picture here shown, with the possible exception of the weatherboarding in front and a few minor changes. Some idea may be had of the dangerous task to face these contractors when it is stated that an armed guard was maintained over the workmen to guarantee them security from the Indians. In the line of expenses, for nails and material generally, the cost was simply fabulous—$1.75 a pound being the price of tenpennies, while other wares were measured proportionately. The result of Arizona‘s first contract was that it faced a busted combine and had an unfinished house. In other words, the contractors went $1,500 behind and with only the ‘broad canopy’ overhead for a roof. As there


[page 202]

was no board of control or democratic watchdogs of the treasury lurking near, a new specification was inserted in the contract, and the work went on.

“The building as it stands to-day has a frontage of fifty feet anda depth of forty feet. It is two stories in height, and has some eleven rooms. Its cost was about $6,000 originally. During the regime of official life it was occupied by Governor Goodwin, deceased; Secretary McCormick, who still lives in New York; Chief Justice Turner, living in Ohio, and Assistant Secretary Fleury, deceased. After the removal of the capital from Prescott to Tucson, some four years later, Judge Fleury ‘held the fort,’ so to speak, and a remarkable fact which is linked with his life and his first home in Arizona, is that from 1864 to the day of his demise, in 1896, not a night in all those years had passed without the roof of the old mansions sheltering him. How Judge Fleury obtained possession of the place no one knows, nor does anyone seem to care. His title was valid enough, however, to permit him to mortgage the house, which he did to the late Chief Justice French, the latter granting him the right to live therein during life. After the death of Judge French, the will of the latter provided for the transfer of the property to the Congregational Church of Prescott, in the event of Judge Fleury apos;s death, and not until then. From 1864 to 1896 the gubernatorial mansion was a rendezvous and a generous home for hundreds. It made but little difference to Judge Fleury whether the person was poor, rich, honest or otherwise, everybody was sheltered or cared for, in winter or summer, with


[page 203]

a generosity that terminated in the financial ruin of the giver.

“The house treasured many relics of the past in Arizona, and with its quaint, colonial makeup and arrangement in furniture, and other fixtures, was indeed an inviting place for the curious. Today it is occupied by a family and is an uninteresting center. No one seems to care to view it or consider what it was. This is only characteristic, however, of Arizona and its coldblooded regard for things that have a sacred historical value. The building in its interior has been ransacked and pillaged from stem to stern by relic hunters, and nothing remains to cherish either the day or the dead. The property has been publicly advertised for sale, and the Territory will be short sighted indeed if it does not purchase the old house and again throw it open to the old as well as the new, and maintain it as a museum, if nothing more. The cost of the old house would be a comparative trifle, and the sentiment involved a noble one. Unfortunately, there are no public funds available for such a purpose, and, apparently, the property could be acquired by the Territory only by act of the legislature.“

’’

Arizona, as it was in 1863, was not an attractive place for law-abiding, industrious citizens. It was, in all respects, a wild and barbarous country, to a great extent under the control of savages who resisted every step of the white man's progress. J. Ross Browne, who accompanied Charles D. Poston and Milton J. Duffield from California to Arizona, thus describes the Territory as it presented itself to his mind at that time:


[page 204]

‘‘

“No country that I have yet visited presents so many striking anomalies as Arizona. With millions of acres of the finest arable lands, there was not at the time of our visit a single farm under cultivation in the Territory; with the richest gold and silver mines, paper money is the common currency; with forts innumerable, there is scarcely any protection to life and property; with extensive pastures, there is little or no stock; with the finest natural roads, travelling is beset with difficulties; with rivers through every valley, a stranger may die of thirst. Hay is cut with a hoe, and wood with a spade or mattock. In January one enjoys the luxury of a bath as under a tropical sun, and sleeps under double blankets at night. There are towns without inhabitants, and deserts extensively populated; vegetation where there is no soil, and soil where there is no vegetation. Snow is seen where it is never seen to fall, and ice forms where it never snows. There are Indians the most docile in North Aamerica, yet travellers are murdered daily by Indians the most barbarous on earth. The Mexicans have driven the Papagoes from their southern homes, and now seek protection from the Apaches in the Papago villages. Fifteen hundred Apache warriors, the most cowardly of the Indian tribes in Arizona, beaten in every fight by the Pimos, Maricopas, and Papagoes, keep these and all other Indians closed up as in a corral; and the same Apaches have desolated a country inhabited by 120,000 Mexicans. Mines without miners, and forts without soldiers, are common. Politicians without policy, traders without trade, storekeepers without stores, teamsters without teams,


[page 205]

and all without means, form the mass of the white population. But here let me end, for I find myself verging on the proverbs.”

’’

The population of Arizona was confined to a great extent to La Paz on the Colorado, Tucson, the Vulture Mine, and the placer mines in and around Prescott. As we have seen, gold was the great incentive, and it having been discovered in large and paying quantities in all the ravines around Prescott, this was the inducement which caused the Government to locate the capital permanently at Prescott, for naturally there would be a fort also, which was established at Whipple, and all immigrants and miners were protected to some degree.

There was located a short distance up the canyon from Prescott a town, which was called Goodwin in honor of the Governor, but which was afterwards known as Gimletville, the name given to it by the Prescottites. Samuel C. Miller erected the first house in this town.

For information regarding the development of the northern part of the State immediately after the settlement of Prescott, I have to rely almost entirely upon the statements of old settlers, which are oftentimes quite contradictory. The first house erected in Prescott was built by Manuel Yeserea, of New Mexico, who came with the troops which formed the escort for Governor Goodwin and his party from Fort Wingate, New Mexico. Yeserea arrived on the ground December 24th, 1863, and, according to C. B. Genung, stopped his loaded teams just where Granite Street turns to cross Granite Creek at the south end of town. On that spot he erected a two-roomed log house, and covered


[page 206]

it with dirt. One room was used as a store, the other as a living room. The survey of the town of Prescott was started from that old log cabin, and the surveyors lived in the house in the following May when they surveyed the town. Yeserea, in the meantime, having sold his goods and returned to New Mexico. Judge Howard occupied this house a little later, and called it “Fort Misery.” In it was held the first court convened in Prescott.

At this time Capt. Joe Walker and some of his party were living just across the South Granite Street bridge, in a log corral, with two sides covered and the center left open for a fireplace; this corral was just outside the present townsite.

The next store started was in a small log cabin on Granite Street, where California Jackson lived when he died. Herman Menassee was the proprietor. He was murdered by a Mexican at his store in Wickenburg some years later. About the same time Barnett and Barth started another store on Montezuma Street, about where the Scopel Building now stands, and partly in front of the Arizona Miner office. This was the first building erected in the new townsite after the survey. The building was of hewn logs, about twelve by eighteen, and was built by Steve Richardson for Secretary McCormick, to be used as a printing office, and in it was installed the plant which the Governor and Secretary had brought across theplains with them.

On Monday evening, May 30th, 1864, the citizens around Granite Creek met at the store of Don Manuel Yeserea, and the dimensions and boundaries of the town were agreed upon, and

JOSEPH EHLE.


[page 207]

the name of Prescott adopted by resolution in honor of the historian. R. W. Groom and Van C. Smith laid out the town, Groom being something of a civil engineer. In the absence of other instruments they used a frying pan. Van C. Smith, Judge Hezekiah Brooks and R. W. Groom were the commissioners for the sale of town lots. The historian, Joseph Fish, in his manuscript, says the first house erected within what was afterwards the townsite was “Old Fort Misery.” By July 4th, 1864, two hundred and thirty-two lots had been sold in Prescott at public sale, and over $12,000 was realized from such sale. R. C. McCormick paid the highest price for any individual lot, $245.00, upon which was erected the printing office of the Arizona Miner.

One of the first men to locate in Prescott was Joseph Ehle. His family consisted of his wife, one son and five daughters. Mr. and Mrs. Ehle were married in 1841 in Iowa, from whence they emigrated to Oregon, thence to Denver, and on July 28th, 1864, they arrived in Prescott, where they located permanently. Mrs Margaret Ehle was born in Ohio on October 14th, 1817, and died in Prescott on November 4th, 1905. She was survived by her husband, who died a few years afterward at the advanced age of 99 years. Mr. Ehle drove in several hundred head of cattle, which the Indians confiscated. Accounts of his death and funeral are as follows:

‘‘ “DIES JUST SHORT OF THE CENTURY MARK.

“Joseph Ehle was Oldest Mason in World in Point of Age and Membership.

“Telegrams from Los Angeles yesterday brought the sad news of the death of Joseph


[page 208]

Ehle, the pioneer of all pioneer residents of Arizona, who passed away from old age on Tuesday.

“Had he lived until next March, he would have reached the goal of one hundred years. Of remarkable vitality, this aged man attracted the admiration and the attention of the many, so well was it known throughout the nation that his long race on earth had been attended with a distinction few if any had ever attained, in fraternal circles. He was reputed to be the oldest living Mason in the world, in point of membership as well as age. It is stated by authoritative sources that he had been a Mason since 1838, joining a lodge in the state of Iowa, seventy-four years ago.

“Aside from this feature of his citizenship, the deceased was a man of that sterling integrity and patriotic zeal that brought to his side friends by the score, and to his memory the tribute of his upright dealings with his fellow-men will be a beautiful chapter to close his earthly career. About three years ago his health began to decline, and he was taken by his daughter to a lower elevation on the coast. One faculty after another failed, when the wonderful machinery of a once vigorous frame gave way, and the inevitable followed.

“The deceased arrived in Prescott early in 1864, with his late wife and several children, many of whom survive, among them being his son, John Ehle, who still makes Prescott his home. From the beginning he identified himself with building up the country and to his credit he erected the first substantial home in the then wilderness, and which until a few years ago was situated on the southwest corner of Goodwin


[page 209]

and Marina streets. This landmark has been supplanted by a modern row of brick flats. The old Ehle home, erected over forty years ago on North Montezuma Street, still remains as a symbol of his industry of other days, and which he occupied up to the last moment when he left the city a few years ago.

“The remains will be brought to Prescott today for burial beside those of his wife, who passed away nearly ten years ago. The deceased was a native of New York State.”—(“Prescott Journal-Miner,” Thursday, November 28, 1912.)

“FUNERAL OF JOSEPH EHLE.

“On Sunday last the solemn rites of the Masonic order were pronounced over the remains of Joseph Ehle, who was one of the oldest of Prescott's citizens and the oldest resident in the county in point of years. He died when but a few months short of the century mark. The funeral services were most impressive, there being in attendance many of the oldest and most highly respected citizens of the county, the pall-bearers being Masons, some of whom had been associates of the deceased for a half century. During his residence here, deceased has seen Prescott grow from a hamlet of log houses to the thriving little city it now is, and in his long years of residence had become endeared to all because of his integrity and unfailing friendliness. His remains now lie in Masonic cemetery, beside the body of his beloved wife, who, at the advanced age of 88 years, was laid to rest in 1905.


[page 210]

“Joseph Ehle was born in Mohawk County, New York, in March, 1813, and when still a boy went to Canada, where he learned the trade of millwright. In 1834 he returned to the United States, and made his home in Iowa, where he was married to Miss Margaret Williams. About the year 1837 he was admitted as a member of a Masonic Lodge, and for the remainder of his long life was a faithful member of the order. In 1851 he went to California, leaving his wife with relatives, and later went to Oregon, where he erected a sawmill and remained for three years. In 1860, with his wife, he went to Colorado, where they remained until 1864. In that year he headed a party bound for Prescott, coming by way of the Santa Fe trail. In 1865 Mr. Ehle erected the first gristmill in Arizona, having previously built a log residence of five rooms, at what is how the corner of Goodwin and Marina streets, Prescott. In 1865 he established the government road station at Skull Valley, but in the following year returned to Prescott.

“Of the children born there were the following: John H. Ehle, Mary J. Dickson, Amy S. Sanders, Olive B. Crouch, Sarah F. Baker, and Margaret V. Foster. There were also twenty-four grandchildren and nineteen great grandchildren.

“The pall-bearers were E. W. Wells, J. C. Stephens, Fred G. Brecht, N. L. Griffin, C. A. Peter, Sr., and Wm. N. Kelly.”—(“Prescott Courier,” Saturday, December 7, 1912.)

’’

In October, 1863, the Lount party came in from San Francisco, numbering thirteen persons. The following month a party composed of twenty-four men arrived from Santa Fe, and


[page 211]

this party was closely followed by a second from the same place, who commenced sluicing on Granite Creek. This second party came in with the military under command of Captain Pishon. Within a year after the advent of the Walker party, several families braved the perils of an overland journey, and settled on Granite Creek. The first family to arrive was that of Julius Sanders and his wife and daughter. They came in with a packtrain in March, 1864. Miss Mary Sanders afterward became the wife of Samuel C. Miller in April, 1867. Other families arriving in 1864 were, Joseph Ehle and family, Daniel Stevens and family, consisting of a wife and a son and three daughters, T. M. Alexander and wife, with three sons and three daughters, Lewis A. Stevens and wife, John Simmons and wife, with two sons and a daughter, and J. P. Osborn and wife, with three sons and four daughters. Mrs. R. C. McCormick, the wife of the Secretary, came out in the same year, and died in childbirth in 1866 in the old Gubernatorial Mansion. Captain Leib and wife came with the Governor's party a little prior to the others, and located at old Fort Whipple. Mrs. Leib afterward became the wife of Judge Hezekiah Brooks. By the end of 1864 there were twenty-eight of the gentler sex in Prescott. Neri Osborn states that the first marriage in Prescott was that of John Boggs to a woman who came from California, whose name he has forgotten. The Fish manuscript states that the first marriage in Prescott was that of John H. Dickson to Mary J. Ehle, which took place on November 17th, 1864, Governor John N. Goodwin officiating.


[page 212]

The first child born was Molly Simmons, January 9th, 1865.

William H. Read was the first clergyman to arrive in Prescott. He came with the Governor's party, and started a Sunday-school for boys, but no regular church organization was effected until June 14th, 1866, which was done by Mrs. Brooks, Mrs. Bashford and Mrs. Turner. The first ball held in Prescott was in November, 1864. The first regular meeting of miners was called for and held in Goodwin City, afterward called Gimletville, on December 27th, 1863, to make laws to suit everybody, particularly the Walker, Lount and Groom people. It is said they made all necessary laws, but could not make mines. Lumber was whipsawed at Prescott for the first buildings.

The first boarding-house for miners was pre sided over by “Virgin Mary,” who built a log house on Goose Flat, and christened it “Old Fort Misery.” Two goats furnished the milk, and the price: “Board $25 in gold, per week in advance,” hung from the latch-string. Shortly afterward a man by the name of Jackson started another boarding-house, and cut the price to $16 per week in gold. Virgin Mary could furnish goat milk for coffee, which was an attraction, and to offset this Jackson occasionally had a few stewed apples. The main diet was bread, venison and coffee. “Virgin Mary was one of two women who lived in Prescott in 1864. Her name was never known, but she received her nom de plume because of her charity and benevolence. She died about 1888 on Lynx Creek, and her grave is unmarked and forgotten.”

(“Arizona Graphic,” November 25th, 1899.)

OLD FORT MISERY.


[page 213]

Christy and Van Smith erected under contract, the old capitol building in 1864, of logs, which stood for many years. This was the old capitol on Gurley Street. Arizona's first legislature met in this building. Levi Bashford owned the property for more than twenty years. The original “Montezuma” building was erected in 1864. It was used as a saloon and stood where the Cabinet saloon and the Palace barbershop were located in later years. About twenty feet back of the “Montezuma” the first boot and shoe manufacturing shop was erected. It was built and owned by John Laughlan. Judge Noyes tells how prices ranged for these articles. He bought a very common pair of hand-made boots on July 4th, 1864, for which he paid $37 in gold-dust. At this date currency was worth about fifty cents on the dollar.

D. Henderson & Co., had a general merchandise store near the creek. This place was later occupied by Fred Brecht and used for a blacksmith-shop. The first adobe buiding in Prescott was used for a saloon, but was later converted into a clothing-house by Cook and Bowers. “Old Fort Misery” on Goose Flat was the first courtroom. Coles Bashford and Judge Howard were the only lawyers. The “Bear Pen” stood opposite the residence of V. A. Stephens. Michael Wormser erected the first building on what is now the plaza. It was built of adobe and stood near the southwest corner of Goodwin and Montezuma streets. He also started what might be termed the first store in the place, buying out Chaves who had made an attempt in that direction. Hitchcock started soon after.


[page 214]

It was said that in 1865 at least three thousand placer miners were located in the various gulches around Prescott. General Rusling, in his work “Across America,” said, in 1867, that Prescott had a population of between four and five hundred. There were ten drinking-halls, but not a bank or banking-house, free school, Protestant church nor missionary in the whole of Arizona. Prescott, however, was just the reverse of Tucson in almost every particular. Tucson was composed almost entirely of adobe buildings with mud roofs and earth floors, and shutters for windows. In Prescott the houses were American; they were supplied with glass windows after the American style. The inhabitants were Americans, mostly from California and Colorado, and some of them were accompanied by their American wives who had not forgotten the lessons of diligence and thrift learned in childhood. The books in the houses were American, and the newspaper was American. Not even a Spanish advertisement could be found in its columns. In one respect only were Prescott and Tucson alike, and that was in the gambling saloons. These were open Sunday all day, night and day the game went on. Prescott was a mining town with but few comforts. Says Fish: “Of all the cities of Arizona, Prescott is the most ‘Eastern’ in its character; it never had an era of the ‘bad man,’ never a time when it was customary to serve ‘a man for breakfast,’ or when it was a safe and popular pastime to ‘shoot up the town.’ In this northern district the facilities for obtaining supplies were limited; in early days the flour and beans were brought up from the Pima villages on pack animals,


[page 215]

and the bacon, coffee, etc., were brought from Los Angeles by the same mode of transportation. But a little later most of the supplies were shipped in from the Colorado River, where they were brought up in boats. Before this prices were fearfully high; potatoes and onions sold at seventy-five cents to one dollar a pound, and it took a hundred dollars in greenbacks to buy a sack of flour. But notwithstanding the difficulties of obtaining supplies at enormous prices, the mines drew a large number here, and the place grew quite rapidly. There were Indian troubles and a lack of communication with the outside world. California papers were four weeks old, while those from the Atlantic coast were six weeks old.”

Notwithstanding all these, difficulties and drawbacks, the country began slowly to settle up, and ranches were being located in all favorable localities nearby where there was any protection given.

It will be noticed from the foregoing that many of the first buildings were used for saloons. C. B. Genung says:

‘‘

“The first hotel was started and run by George W. Bernard, now of Tempe, and was known as the Juniper House, deriving the name from the tree under which the cooking and eating was done. It was very handy as a man could load up his plate with grub and go to the shady side of the tree to eat. About the time that Bernard opened his establishment, John Roundtree and Dr. Alsap opened the first saloon. That was opened under some large pine trees that grew on the lower end of Goose Flat. It was built of cloth and timber; a small wagon sheet


[page 216]

stretched over a pole which rested in the forks of two upright posts. The bar fixtures consisted of one ten-gallon keg of what we called whiskey; a half dozen tin cups and a canteen of water. The cups had handles, loose at one end, and the loose end formed a hook by which they hung around the chain of the keg when they were not in use. A tenderfoot would expect that ten gallons of liquid would have soon been exhausted. On the contrary, it lasted until the company had Iumber sawed and a house built and opened up. This house was owned by the Osborn family of Phoenix.”This according to Neri Osborn was built by his father and used as a hotel. The members of the first Legislative Assembly offered Mr. Osborn their per diem pay for room rent which was declined. The following year George Lount and his partner C. Clark brought in the first sawmill which was operated just outside the town limits of Prescott.

’’

Up: Contents Previous: CHAPTER VII. FEDERAL GOVERNMENT'S TREATMENT OF ARIZONA. Next: CHAPTER IX. CONDITIONS IN ARIZONA IN 1863 and 1864.




© Arizona Board of Regents