CHAPTER I. CONDITIONS IN 1865.
No account of conditions in a country, state or territory can be so well stated in after years as related by someone living in the country at the time. On June 1st, 1865, Richard C, Mc-Cormick, then Secretary of the Territory, wrote a letter to the “New York Tribune,” which was printed in that paper, and afterwards reproduced in pamphlet form under the title of ARIZONA: ITS RESOURCES AND PROSPECTS. It gives a concise, succinct account of conditions in the territory at that time, and is here reproduced:‘‘
“Sir,—I have pleasure in responding to your request for a brief and comprehensive account for The Tribune, of the resources and prospects of the Territory of Arizona, as now estimated by those familiar with the same. I think with you that such an account will be acceptable to the people of the Atlantic coast, the mass of whom have only a vague and unsatisfactory notion of the boundaries, the climate, the means
“To be rightly appreciated, Arizona must be taken as a whole. Those who know it only as ‘The Gadsden Purchase,’ those who have no knowledge of more than the Colorado River district, and those who are only familiar with the newly-opened central and northern regions, are incompetent to furnish that complete view of the Territory which is necessary to a correct understanding of its varied and extensive resources, and to a proper estimate of its progress and prospects.
“In the beginning, I wish to correct the common impression that Arizona, as erected into a territory, contains only the tract of land acquired under the treaty with Mexico in 1854, and familiarly known as ‘The Gadsden Purchase.’ While but half of that tract is included in the Territory (that portion west of the 109° longitude, the remainder being in New Mexico), a region of country north of the Gila River, and vastly greater in extent, is comprised within the same. The general lines of the Territory are thus defined in the organic act, approved February 24, 1863:—‘All that portion of the present Territory of New Mexico situate west of a line running due south from the point where the southwest corner of the Territory of Colorado joins the northern boundary of the Territory of New Mexico to the southern boundary line of said Territory of New Mexico.’ In other words, all of New Mexico, as formerly existing, between the 109° longitude and the California line, embracing 120,912 square miles, or 77,383,680
“The locality of this broad area pre-upposes great metallic wealth. The mountain ranges are the prolongation of those which southward in Sonora, Chihuahua and Durango have yielded silver by millions for centuries past, and which northward in Nevada are now amazing the world by their massive returns of the precious ores. The general direction of the mountains and the veins is northwest and southeast, and there are numerous parallel ranges which form long valleys in the same direction. These and the broad and level bottoms of the rivers, which may be easily and cheaply irrigated by acequias or artesian wells, under which treatment the soils return an immense yield, and are independent of the seasons, produce, so far as tested, every variety of grain, grass, vegetables, fruits and flowers. While it has some barren and desolate country, no mineral region belonging to the United States, not excepting California, has, in proportion to its extent, more arable, pastoral and timber lands. Those who have asserted to the contrary have been either superficial and limited in their observations, or willfully inaccurate in their statements. In the language of a recent editorial in The Arizona Miner:
“‘For its extent, there is not a section in the United States which more abounds in glades and vales, and widespreading plains, suitable for cultivation, and only awaiting the hand of industry to blossom as the rose.’
“In order to a simple description and clear understanding of the whole Territory, I will speak of it in the several divisions created by the First Legislative Assembly, convened at Prescott, in September last. That body authorized the organization of four counties, each to be named after a leading tribe of Indians residing within its borders.“PIMA COUNTY.
“This county is bounded on the east by the line of the Territory of New Mexico; on the north by the middle of the main channel of the Gila River; on the west by the line of 113° 20′ west longitude, and on the south by the Sonora line. The seat of justice is established at Tucson.
“Pima County embraces all of ‘The Gadsden Purchase’ within the Territorial lines, excepting the small portion west of 113° 20′ west longitude (which is in Yuma County), and is the best known portion of Arizona. This comes from its early settlement, the development of its mines, and the extensive travel through its length during the running of the Southern or Butterfield Overland Mail. Its silver veins are among the richest on the continent. Some of them have been worked for centuries, and if they have not constantly yielded a large return it has been more from a lack of prudent management
“Wood and water if not immediately at hand may usually be had at a convenient distance. The Santa Rita Mountains have fine pine forests, and between Tubac and San Xavier is a timber district some miles in width, extending from the Santa Cruz River to the base of the mountains. The timber is mesquit and of a large size; for mining purposes it is well adapted; for building it is too hard and crooked. The cotton-wood is found on the margin of all the streams; it is of rapid growth, and well adapted for building. The adobe or sun-burnt brick is, however, the favorite building material. It is easily and inexpensively made, and laid in thick walls furnishes an enduring and comfortable house; better suited to the climate than any other. The agricultural and pasture lands of Pima County are very extensive. The valleys of the Gila, and Santa Cruz, the San Pedro, and other streams, are large and equal in fertility to any agricultural district in the United states. The San Pedro Valley, over one hundred miles in length, is, perhaps, the best farming district south of the Gila River. The Sonoita Valley,
“‘This valley was traversed by the earliest Spanish explorers in 1535, seduced by the flattering accounts of Cabeza de Vaca, Marco de Niza and Coronado, led their adventurers through it in search of the famed cities of Cibola, north of the Gila; and before the year 1600, its richness having been made known, it was soon after occupied as missionary ground. Remains of several of these missions still exist. The mission church of San Xavier del Bac, erected during the last century, is the finest edifice of the kind in Arizona. Tumacacori, a few miles south of Tubac, was the most extensive mission in this part of the country. The extensive buildings, irrigating canals, and broad cultivated domain here at once attest its advantages.’
“In each of these valleys there is an abundance of water for irrigation, and both whites and Indians had raised large crops with little labor. Some of the old ranches now owned by parties engaged in working the mines, are noted for their exuberant growth of every variety of cereals, vegetables and fruits.
“Tucson, the principal settlement of Pima County, is in the Santa Cruz Valley. It was a prominent station upon the Butterfield route. Of late years it has been much improved, and the recent opening of several rich mines in close proximity to the town will give it increased business and importance. Its population is largely Spanish, and the same may be said of all the settlements in Pima County.
“Their growth is somewhat retarded, as is the prosperity of the whole country, for the want of an American port upon the Gulf of California, by which route goods and machinery might be speedily and economically received. The great oversight of the United States in the failure to acquire such a port when it might have been had without difficulty or expense is keenly and constantly deplored, and it is the hope of every one living in or interested in Southern Arizona that the government will by negotiation (if coming events do not afford other means) soon secure either the port of Libertad or Guaymas, or both. Indeed, the geographical relations of the State of Sonora to Arizona and our access to the Pacific are such
“From Libertad it is but one hundred and fifty miles to the mining regions of the lower portion of Pima County, and from Guaymas the distance is about three hundred miles; both roads are easy and supplied with grass and water. The transportation of mining supplies from Los Angeles or Fort Yuma as is now necessary in order to escape the heavy duties imposed in Sonora, although entirely practicable, involves much more of overland travel and consequently increased delay and expense.“YUMA COUNTY.
“This county is bounded on the east by the line of 113°, 20′ west longitude, on the north by the middle of the main stream of the Santa Maria, to its junction with Williams’ Fork, thence by the middle of the main channel of said stream to its junction with the Colorado River; on the west by the main channel of the Colorado, and on the south by the Sonora line. The seat of justice is established at La Paz. Of the two counties upon the Colorado (Yuma and Mohave) this has at present the largest population. Until 1862 it was comparatively unknown for any distance above Fort Yuma; indeed, the Colorado had barely been explored. Ives had been up with his little steamer, trappers had taken the beaver, and the Steam Navigation Company had sent government supplies to Fort Mojave, but there were no intermediate settlements, and the Colorado River mines, now widely known, were unheard of.
“The discovery of gold of the Gila River, about twenty miles from its junction with the Colorado, attracted considerable attention, and prompted the laying out of Gila City, but it was not until 1862 that emigration started up the Colorado. At that date the finding of rich placers at Chimney Peak, twenty miles above Fort Yuma, and at various points from eight to twenty miles back of the site of the present town of La Paz, one hundred and ten miles from the fort, drew a large number of miners and prospectors from California and Sonora. The subsequent discovery of multitudinous silver and copper mines upon and adjacent to the river, in what are now known as the Yuma, Castle Dome, Silver, Eureka, Weaver, Chimehuiva, and La Paz mining districts, and the opening in 1863 of the interior country (Central Arizona) have given it an activity and importance second to that of no portion of the Territory. As yet its settlements are all upon the river. La Paz, the chief of these, is a busy commercial town of adobe buildings, with a population about equally American and Spanish. It has some stores that would not do discredit to San Francisco, and enjoys a large trade, extending up and down the river and to Central Arizona.
“Castle Dome, Mineral City and Olive City, all upon the Colorado, between Fort Yuma and La Paz, are mining towns yet small, but destined to become of consequence as the depots of mining districts of great richness, which cannot long remain undeveloped.
“The face of Yuma County is for the most part mountainous and barren, although the Colorado bottom, and occasional valleys are fertile, and the Indians have fine crops. Wood sufficient for fuel and for present mining operations is found in the mountain ravines and along the streams.
“A main highway from the Colorado to Central Arizona starts from La Paz, and is one of the smoothest natural roads I have ever seen. Its course to the Hassayampa River (one hundred and ten miles) is almost an air line, and in the whole distance there is nothing to obstruct the passage of the frailest vehicle or of the heaviest train. It lacks a sufficiency of water and of grass for animals, and a company chartered by the Legislature is taking steps to provide wells and feeding stations. The road will connect at La Paz with that from San Bernardino, which is smooth, with but little sand, and already provided with tanks and stations. The whole distance from San Bernardino to Prescott, the capital of the Territory, is less than three hundred and fifty miles. Emigrants from California to Central
“Sixty miles from La Paz, on the road to Prescott, are the Harcuvar Mountains, which contain numerous valuable copper lodes, and the Penhatchapet Mountains, wherein very rich gold quartz has been found.“MOHAVE COUNTY.
“This county is bounded on the east by the line of 113° 20′west longitude; on the north by the parallel of 37°north latitude; on the west by the line of the State of California and the middle of the main channel of the Colorado River, and on the south by Williams’ Fork and the main channel of the Santa Maria River above its junction with the latter stream. The seat of justice is established at Mojave City. This county lies directly north of Yuma County and is of the same general character.
“Ascending the Colorado, the first point of interest is Williams’ Fork, the southern line of the county. It is the largest tributary of the Colorado, and has its rise in the interior country almost as far east as Prescott. It is not navigable but usually has a good body of water. Some of the richest copper mines in the Territory are near to its bank, and have already been extensively and profitably worked. Quantities of the ore sent to Swansea have give a larger return than was expected, and it is clearly demonstrated that it will pay to ship to that place, or to Boston, if reduction works cannot be reached at a nearer point.
“Fort Mojave, upon the Colorado, one hundred and sixty miles above La Paz, is a noted point, and one of the longest occupied in the Territory by the whites. Within a mile of the fort is Mojave City, a sprightly town laid out and chiefly built by the California volunteers stationed at the fort for two or three years past. There are some good agricultural lands in the vicinity, and gardens abound. The visit of the chief of the Mojave Indians (Iretaba) to New York and Washington in 1863-4, gave him such an exalted opinion of the white man and the power of the general government, that he has not ceased to urge his people to the most friendly relations, and to habits of industry and enterprise.
“Hardyville, nine miles above Mojave, upon the Colorado, is a young, but active and hopeful settlement. It has a large trade from the quartz mining districts around it, and even from the Wauba Yuma district, forty miles in the interior, and from Prescott, the capital, one hundred and sixty miles inland.
“The mines of the several districts contiguous to Mojave and Hardyville, and of El Dorado Canyon, sixty miles further up the river, are among the most noted and promising in the newly known portions of Arizona. The ledges are many of them very large; the ores both of gold and silver, the latter predominating, are surprisingly rich. Considerable money has already been expended in opening the lodes, one or two mills are in operation, and others are contracted for. Immediately upon the river there is a dearth of wood, but a supply may be had from the Sacramento and Wauba Yuma districts, and from the Vegas, thirty miles north of El Dorado Canyon, or from the Buckskin Mountains, one hundred miles north. Rafted down the river, it would cost but little more than for the cutting.
“The navigation of the Colorado above El Dorado Canyon has only been attempted (excepting by Ives) since the Mormon trade began to attract attention and assume importance. It has now been ascertained by trial that steamboats may ascend at all seasons to a point one hundred miles north of Hardyville, and less than four hundred miles from Great Salt Lake City, by a road over which goods may be hauled without difficulty. At this point upon the River a town named Callville is just begun. It will be the depot for Utah, and, of course, more convenient than Hardyville. Callville is but a little more than one hundred miles south of St.
“The Colorado is the largest river between the Mississippi and the Pacific, and the only navigable stream in Arizona. Its position between the Territory and California, its connection with the Gulf and the Pacific, the vast mineral wealth of its banks, and the important trade of Arizona and Utah, make it a most valuable highway, and one to the navigation of which careful attention should be given. With a constantly changing channel, a swift current and a bed of quicksand, it requires experience, patience and skill to conduct the steamers with safety. These are necessarily of light draft and limited accommodation for freight. It is believed that those now in use may, by remodeling, be greatly improved in speed and capacity, and that freight may be delivered at much less cost of time and money than is now required. In the upper part of the river are a few obstructions, for the removal of which a small appropriation has been asked from Congress.
“The present rates of freight are from two to three cents per pound from San Francisco to towns as high up the river as La Paz, and four cents to Hardyville; probably six to Callville. Ore is carried to San Francisco for from $20 to $25 per ton. This is considerably cheaper than transportation can be had by the roads across California. As yet there is only an irregular
“This county is bounded on the east by the line of the Territory of New Mexico; on the north by the parallel of 37° north latitude; on the west by the line of 113° 20′ west longitude; and on the south by the middle of the main channel of the Gila River. The seat of justice is established at Prescott, which is also the capital of the Territory. Yavapai County embraces a part of Arizona as yet unknown to the map makers, and in which the Territorial officers arrived hard upon the heels of the first white inhabitants. Until 1863, saving for a short distance above the Gila, it was even to the daring trapper and adventuresome gold-seeker a terra incognita, although one of the richest mineral, agricultural, grazing and timber divisions of the Territory; and abundantly supplied with game. Yavapai County is nearly as large as the State of New York. The Verde and Salinas Rivers, tributaries of the Gila, which run through its center, abound in evidences of a former civilization. Here are the most extensive and impressive ruins to be found in the Territory. Relics of cities, of aqueducts, acequias and canals, of mining and farming operations and of other employments indicating an industrious and enterprising people. Mr. Bartlett refers to these ruins as traditionally repoeted
“‘The district in question lies at the junction, and in a measure forms the delta of the Salinas and Gila Rivers. It lies but a little above the bed of the river, and might be, in consequence, easily irrigated. The arable bottom land is from two to four miles in width, and is overgrown with mesquit, while on the river’s margin grow large cottonwoods. The river is from eighty to one hundred and twenty feet wide, from two to four feet deep, and both rapid and clear. In these respects it differs from the Gila, which is sluggish and muddy for two hundred miles.’
“‘A portion of the Gila Valley is occupied by two tribes of Indians, noted for their good traits, the Pimas and Maricopas. The lands cultivated extend from sixteen to twenty miles along the river, centering at the Pima villages. Irrigating canals conduct the water of the Gila over all the district. The Indians raise wheat,
“In timber lands Yavapai County exceeds all others in the Territory. Beginning some miles south of Prescott, and running north of the San Francisco Mountain, is a forest of yellow pine, interspersed with oak, sufficient to supply all the timber for building material, for mining and for fuel that can be required for a large population.
“Prescott, the capital, is in the heart of a mining district, second, in my judgment, to none upon the Pacific coast. The surface ores of thirty mines of gold, silver and copper, which I have had assayed in San Francisco, were pronounced equal to any surface ores ever tested by the metallurgists, who are among the most skillful and experienced in the city, and, as far as ore has been had from a depth, it fully sustains its reputation. The veins are large and boldly defined, and the ores are of varied classes, usually such as to be readily and inexpensively worked, while the facilities for working them are of a superior order. At the ledges is an abundant supply of wood and water; near at hand are grazing and farming lands, and roads may be
“Prescott is built exclusively of wood, and inhabited almost entirely by Americans, mainly from California, and Colorado. Picturesquely located in the pine clad mountains, it resembles a town in Northern New England. The first house was erected in June last, and now the town has some hundreds of inhabitants, and the country for fifty miles about, including a dozen mining districts and farming valleys, is largely taken up by settlers. The valleys will, it is thought, produce good crops without irrigation, as the rains in this region are frequent and heavy.
“Weaver and Wickenburg, upon the Hassayampa, the one fifty and the other seventy miles south of Prescott, and each about one hundred and ten miles east of La Paz, upon the Colorado, are mining towns and centres of a considerable
“Some of the most promising districts in the Territory have not yet been prospected at all, and others only in a most superficial manner. It is the opinion of many that the richest mines are yet unfound, and lie eastward from Tucson and Prescott; but if one in ten of those already known yield such a return, upon the introduction of proper machinery, as is promised by the indications and tests had to this time, Arizona will far excel all other territories of the Union in its metallic revenue.“CONCLUSIONS.
“For a year after the organization of its government the Territory was without a mail or postoffice. Now a weekly mail is established between Los Angeles and Prescott, and eastward to Santa Fe via the 35th parallel, where it connects with that for the Missouri River. Other routes are proposed, and will at once be authorized. A company is organized to furnish telegraphic communication between Los Angeles and Prescott, and it will doubtless be had at an early day, and so put the Territory in immediate communication both with the Pacific and the Atlantic coast. Once built to Prescott, and the project is entirely feasible, the line could soon be extended eastward to Santa Fe and Denver.
“The Indians of Yuma and Mojave Counties are all peaceable and well-disposed to the whites. The Papagoes of Pima County, and the Pimas, Maricopas, Yavapais, Hualapais, and Moquis, of Yavapai County, are equally friendly. Those not already upon reservations will be so placed at an early day, and become a producing people. A reservation for the Colorado tribes was designated
“The Apaches alone refuse reconciliation to the whites. Their depredations have been the serious drawback to the settlement and development of the Territory. Far more than any lack of agricultural lands, of water, or of timber, has their hostile presence delayed the incoming of a large white population. By frequent and vigorous onslaughts from military and civil expeditions, their warriors have, it is believed, been reduced to less than a thousand. These have their retreats in the rugged mountains eastward of the Verde and the Salinas, and on the upper Gila. Their subjugation or extermination, while a matter of some difficulty, owing to their agile movements and entire familiarity with the country, cannot be a remote consummation if the present military force in the Territory is allowed to remain undisturbed in its campaign. The difficulty hitherto experienced has been in the interruption, by some new disposition of the troops, of every movement, however well planned. I think I may safely predict that if Arizona is left in its connection with the Department of the Pacific, and under the command of General Mason, who is alive to the necessity of destroying forever the power of the Apache, it will speedily be rendered as safe for residence and business, even to its eastern boundary, as it now is from the Colorado to the Verde.
“Primarily a quartz mining country, the settler in Arizona must not expect the quick wealth often obtained from the placers. These while numerous and rich, are not, as before stated, to be depended upon. To engage in quartz mining, on his own account, he will need some means. The introduction of machinery now going forward, both from the Atlantic and the Pacific, and the extensive development of the mines, will make a demand for labor at remunerative wages. There will also be an encouragement for the trades. Mechanics of all kinds will be needed. For farmers and herdsmen there is an immediate inducement. The expense of mining operations can in no way be so speedily reduced and the general prosperity of the Territory advanced, as by the extensive production of bread and meat. This is a first necessity, and may at once be made a source of profit to those who engage in it with willing and persevering hands.
“In conclusion, I recommend Arizona to our discharged volunteers, and to all unemployed persons who seek a wholesome climate, and a new and broad field for energetic industry. To all who are ready to labor, and to wait even a little time for large success, it is full of promise. The day cannot be distant when it will occupy a first rank among the wealthy and populous states. Its mountains and valleys teeming with cities and towns, musical with implements of mining and agriculture, its great river burdened with traffic, and its people thrifty and happy, the
“The white population of the Territory is largely composed of industrious, intelligent and enterprising persons. Many families have arrived since the organization of the government, and a large emigration from the Missouri, the Rio Grande and the Pacific is expected within the present year.
‘The Territorial government is now fully organized in all its departments. Law and order everywhere prevail. The courts are in operation. Schools have been established in the leading settlements, and the printing press is doing its part to build up society and promote substantial prosperity. A code of laws unusually thorough and complete was adopted by the Legislature. The chapter regulating the location, ownership, and development of mining lands, is pronounced the best ever devised upon the subject, and is urged for adoption in some of the older Territories. It is a guarantee to those who acquire mining interests that their rights will be carefully guarded, and it will be likely to save much of the annoying and expensive litigation hitherto common in mining districts.
“This letter would, perhaps, be incomplete without some allusion to the means and expense of getting to Arizona. The emigrant by land from the Missouri may with ordinary wagons and animals make the journey to Tucson or Prescott in 90 days, going via Santa Fe. Arrived in the Territory he may sell his wagons and animals for as much, if not more, than they cost him upon the Missouri. He will experience no danger from Indians on the route if with a party of a
“The emigrant going by water may now get passage to San Francisco at a low rate, and from there he may go by land or water to Los Angeles also at a reasonable cost. From the latter point the roads to the Colorado and to Central and Southern Arizona are good. Wagons and animals may be purchased on fair terms at Los Angeles. Those who wish to take goods, mining or agricultural implements with them, can do so from the Missouri better, I think, at this time than from the Pacific, owing to the difference in the currency. All emigrants should start provided with a supply of provisions for one year, and with flannel rather than linen clothing, even for the warmest parts of the Territory.
The foregoing letter, in the main, stated the facts as they existed at the time. Very little was known of Arizona. The accompanying map will show the principal places of settlement, which were few and far between. Of course, Secretary McCormick was an optimist, but when he states that all the tribes of Indians along the Colorado were at peace with the whites, that statement can
There was a reservation established on the Colorado River in the latter part of this year, which was occupied by a portion of the Mohave tribe, but they could not be considered peaceable, for, in the following year, 1866, they killed their Indian agent, as will be seen further on in this work, and anyone who had the hardiness to attempt to make a home beyond the protection of the military, took his life in his own hands.
Secretary McCormick says there was only a thousand warriors among the hostile Apaches, In this he was clearly mistaken. To say nothing of the bands upon the Colorado, which were Yumas and not Apaches, those tribes in the eastern part of the Territory, Mescaleros, Chiricahuas, Pinalenos, Coyoteros, Tontos, White Mountain Apaches, and Apache-Mohaves, a branch of the Mohaves which had separated from their original tribe and affiliated with the Tontos, would probably muster more than two thousand warriors. They were all fighters and strategists, never venturing to fight in the open field unless they far outnumbered the foe. At no time could an immigrant party of ten or twelve, encumbered with wagons, stock and their families, enter Arizona with safety from New Mexico. Particularly was this the case with reference to the lower part of the Territory, along the old Butterfield route, where the bands of Mangus and Cochise held undisputed sway.
CHAS. B. GENUNG.