CHAPTER XII. EARLY SETTLEMENTS (Continued).
FIRST SETTLEMENT IN LOWER SAN PEDRO VALLEY—MILITARY PROTECTION WITHDRAWN—INDIAN DEPREDATIONS—WM. A. BELL'S DESCRIPTION OF SETTLEMENT—FISH'S DESCRIPTION OF EARLY SETTLEMENTS—RUSLING'S DESCRIPTION OF EARLY ARIZONA—YUMA—TUCSON—EHRENBERG—LA PAZ—CASTLE DOME LANDING—DESCRIPTION OF PRESCOTT BY BEN C. TRUMAN—“SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER'S” DESCRIPTION OF PRESCOTT—ARIZONA HISTORICAL SOCIETY—BIOGRAPHY OF BEN H. WEAVER—HOOPER & CO., FIRST MERCANTILE ESTABLISHMENT IN ARIZONA—MEMBERS OF—BIOGRAPHY OF EDWARD N. FISH.
“The occupying of the lower San Pedro (the term lower is used to distinguish it from the settlements above Benson made later on), was the earliest of any point in this district. On December 15th, 1865, Mark Aldrich, John H. Archibald, F. Berthold, Jarvis Jackson, John Montgomery and H. Brown, of Tucson, came into the lower San Pedro valley, and located lands. They immediately put in a crop of wheat and barley. In February, 1866, they commenced work on the ditch which was to carry water to their lands. Things went on quite well, and by the 25th of April, all were ready to plant a crop of corn. Houses had been erected and a few
“The first Indian depredations were in the next year, 1867, when some Mexicans were attacked while plowing, and one was killed. Some weeks later the Indians killed the herder, and drove off one horse and four yoke of oxen. Things began to look very discouraging, and some of the settlers in the lower part of the valley talked about leaving, but a petition was gotten up for troops, and General Crittenden sent ten men to aid them. The Indians continued to be troublesome, and in September they stole three more horses. The grain crop this year was not as good as the year before. It amounted to about 250,000 lbs., mostly corn.”’’
William A. Bell, in his work entitled “New Tracks in North America,” being, as he himself calls it, a journal of travel and adventure whilst engaged in the survey for a southern railroad to the Pacific Ocean during 1867-68, and who, while engaged in this work, visited the San Pedro Valley in 1867, says:‘‘
“I visited a farm in the San Pedro Valley before leaving Camp Grant; it was only four miles from the fort, and yet all the crops that autumn had been cut down and carried off before they were ripe by the Aravaipa Apaches, and all that remained of the stock was a few pigs. Half a dozen soldiers were kept at this ranch all the
“In the early days of American occupation Arizona was considered by all Americans an utterly barren and worthless waste of shifting sands and rock-ribbed mountains, probably rich in minerals, but of no agricultural value whatever. The early explorers, trappers, and pros, pectors, had no thought of seeking farms in Arizona, but having come to these sandy and rocky wastes in search of silver and gold, they began to till the soil in spots to supply their necessities, and found it wonderfully productive wherever water could be obtained. Since that period progress has been constant, though at times not very rapid. It is known that the lands around the Pima Villages have been cultivated for over three hundred years, raising two crops a year, and still they produce as plentifully as ever, and their cultivation may extend centuries back of that period. The soil formation is as variable as that of California, ranging from the white pebble to the red clay and black alluvium, differing greatly from the geological rules in other sections of the Union. Sands are found along streams where fine soil might be expected, while the dark, strong formation is often found upon the mesa, where only vegetation of semisterility
Joseph Ehle, and his son-in-law, John H. Dickson, took up a claim in Skull Valley in the fall of 1864. The next spring they plowed and put in some corn, but the Indians ran them out of the place. In the spring of 1866 they put in about 50 acres of corn. It yielded nearly 50 bushels to the acre, which they sold to the government for the soldiers stationed nearby, at ten cents per pound.
General Rusling, in his work, “Across America,” says: “The military posts, like the smaller settlements, were lonely places, and far removed from civilization. At Fort Mohave, early in 1867, the only white woman was the wife of an officer. She was the only white woman within a hundred miles of the place.”
He visited Arizona in the winter of 1866-67 on a tour of inspection of the Pacific coast, being then a Brigadier-general in the United States Army. Besides his report he kept a private journal. Of Arizona, on page 400 of his work, he says:‘‘
“The population of the Territory was variously computed at from three to four thousand only, of whom the majority by far were Mexicans and their descendants. The other whites were mainly Arkansans and Texans, many of whom, no doubt, exiles from the east ‘for their country's good.’ Of course this was not a very favorable basis for a commonwealth, and the Territory, it appeared, was about at a standstill. As evidence of this there was not a bank, or banking-house, or free school, or Protestant church, or missionary even, throughout the whole of Arizona, a region some four or five times as large as the great State of New York.”’’
Yuma, at that time, was the main point of the southwest, and the center of trade for most of the Territory. In 1866 the place contained a population of about five hundred inhabitants, all told. Many of the settlers were of a worthless class. They knew how to drink and swear, and were not of that class which was termed
On page 361, Rusling says: “Both sexes, as a rule, were naked from the waist up, and many of them were superb specimens of humanity, but all seemed corrupted and depraved by contact with the nobler white race. The open and unblushing looseness and licentiousness of the riffraff of Arizona City with these poor Indians was simply disgusting, and it is a disgrace to a Christian government to tolerate such orgies as frequently occur there, under the very shadow of its flag. Great blame attaches to the army, in former years, for ever admitting these poor creatures within the precincts of the post there at all.”
In 1866 the headquarters of the military were removed from Prescott to Tucson. The town received somewhat of a boom for, in Arizona, particularly, prosperity seemed to follow the flag. The entire population of Arizona was engaged in something tributary to the United States Paymaster. Mexicans got out wood, hay and beef for the army. They would come into
At the commencement of the year 1867 there were about half a dozen stores in the place, well stocked with all kinds of merchandise. Coal oil was $8 per gallon, sugar seventy-five cents a pound, coffee a dollar and a half, a bar of soap fifty cents, boots fifteen to twenty dollars a pair, flour sixteen to eighteen dollars a hundred pounds. Twenty-five cents was the smallest piece of money in use, just as a nickel is here to-day. These prices were in gold.
Tucson was the headquarters of the military, and the chief depot for the several posts. Stores for Camps Lowell, Cameron, Wallen, Bowie and Grant were all received here from Yuma. The total cost from San Francisco to Tucson for transportation, was twenty cents per pound in coin. These prices were ruinous to every enterprise, and was the main thing, next to the Apaches, against the Territory, and the merchants and officials were clamoring to get transportation from a gulf port, either La Libertad
During the rule of Maximilian in Mexico, there was a considerable influx of Liberals into Tucson from Sonora, but when Juarez came into power, many of them returned to their former homes. Many of the acquisitions made from these parties did not help to promote good order, for they were desperate, undesirable characters. This added to the disorder and few men died a natural death, and this led to the formation of a Vigilance Committee in Yuma, and a Law and Order Society in Tucson, whose object it was to protect society against robbers, thieves, and murderers. There is no record that any of these societies ever took the law into their own hands, but the mere fact that the law-abiding citizenship along the border being organized into these societies had, no doubt, a most salutary effect upon the lawless class.
Tucson was badly governed in the early days. “For some time,” says Fish, “the Mexican Alcalde dealt out justice in the old-fashioned way. This did not suit the Americans, and the whipping-post had seen its day. Judge Chas. Meyer (an account of whose administration is given in a preceding volume), and Jimmy Douglass were appointed to effect a change. The first thing they did was to establish a chain-gang, and enlist in its ranks every offender that was caught. Jimmy did the most of the catching,
It is claimed that as early as 1858 one R. Jackson put up a flouring mill in Tucson. The mill, however, was the property of Captain Roulett & Brothers. It was erected at an enormous expense. The timbers were hewn out of cottonwood logs, and it was roughly but strongly built. Wheat was brought from Sonora, and commanded enormous prices. At that time it was claimed that there were but eight or ten Americans in Tucson. A modern flouring mill was
Ehrenberg, a hundred and thirty miles above Yuma, named for Herman Ehrenberg, was started in 1863, and called Mineral City. In the early days the California & Arizona Stage Line crossed the Colorado at this point, the ferry being established as far back as 1862. A considerable amount of freight was landed at this point for Prescott and the interior.
“On the whole, Prescott is an interesting as well as thriving and delightful place. Good order prevails to a greater extent than in any mining town I ever visited. The people, for the most part, are industrious and properous. The climate is charming, and the site is picturesque. The country around and about seems like an enchanted land. From Capitol Hill, about four miles outside the city, a panorama of exquisite loveliness and long drawn beauty dazzles the view of the beholder. Sixty odd miles to the north San Francisco Mountain uplifts
“San Francisco Mountain belongs to the Mogollon Range, and, looming up, as it does, it seems to be a detached spur rather than a connecting link of the above-named chain, North-west of this mountain, at a distance of about fifty miles, are the Moqui Indians, celebrated for their industry and for their uniform goodwill and peaceful disposition toward the whites. Fifty miles to the northwest is Bill Williams' Mountain, nine thousand feet high, and between it and the San Francisco Mountain, are other well-known earth giants. The most noted are Mts. Kendrix and Sitgreaves. The country between here and the San Francisco Mountain is valuable and consists of mountain, forest and plain, while here and there are groves of pine and juniper. Looking to the west a thimbleshaped mountain, called Mt. Thumb Butte, some four miles from the town, is the prominent attraction. Picacho Mountain, between Blue water and Prescott, situated as it is in a forest of towering pines, is detached from its neighboring mountains. To the right, ten miles further,
“I promised in my letters a description of the town of Prescott which is situated on the banks of Granite Creek, in an amphitheater formed by the mountains and hills which surround it. The site is well chosen and prettily laid out. It looks huge, but has somewhat of an embryo appearance
“The present merchants are Gray & Co., also of San Francisco and La Paz; Campbell & Buffum, a branch of the Los Angeles firm; Mr. Hardy has a large store here, well stocked with hardware, and Wormser & Co. appear to have a pretty good business. After these, one or two small traders, three or four small drinking saloons, a hotel and a restaurant may be said to comprise the entire business of the place.
“Of public buildings there are none, except an old log building used as a courthouse and for sundry other purposes, too numerous to mention. We have no jail. That is speaking well for the morals of the community; and no church, perhaps that speaks the other way, but I am not quite sure. The courthouse answers the purpose very well, with a lager beer saloon attached. This useful courthouse is situated on one side of what is termed the ‘Plaza,’ a large quadrangle, that looks green and pleasant in the summer. A large flagstaff graces the same, from which floats the Star Spangled Banner.
“The Governor's residence is on the opposite side of the creek, and is by far the most substantial private dwelling in Prescott. Fort Whipple is situated a little over one mile from town, and is a substantial adobe structure, and is, at present, occupied by a detachment of the 14th Infantry, commanded by Captain Krautz
“I had almost omitted to mention what I con sider one of the most useful institutions in Prescott, ‘The Arizona Historical & Pioneer Association.’ This association was incorporated two years ago by an act of the Legislature of Arizona, as ‘The Arizona Historical Association,’ for the purpose of collecting and preserving the war relics and evidences of a very remote civilization that abound in the Territory. They have established a library and reading-room, which is well supported by both home and foreign papers, farmers' periodicals, and a few standard works. The shelves contain several specimens of the rich and various minerals found in the Territory of Arizona. There are some curious relics from the past, and it will, some day, be a valuable collection.”’’
B. H. Weaver
Mr. Osborn says: “There was a great deal of killing in the early days, but it was not as people generally imagine it. It was not done in a spirit of mischief, but usually where two fellows had a grievance, and decided to fight it out.”
One of the early comers to Prescott was Ben H. Weaver, who came to that city with Secretary McCormick upon the latter's return to Arizona from a visit to California, in 1865. Mr. Weaver was born in Palmyra, Michigan, in 1837. When he was fourteen years of age he was apprenticed to the printer's trade, and was connected with Michigan newspapers for about four years. He tried farming in Illinois for about three years, and then returned to Michigan. In the year 1859 he started with horse teams with the intention of going to Pike's Peak, but changed his plans and kept on through to California. In 1860 he went to Virginia City, Nevada, but returned to California and, in 1861, enlisted in the California Volunteers, being assigned to the quartermaster's department, and travelling
In the fall of 1862 Mr. Weaver returned to California and took a contract for carrying the Government and military mail across the desert for a hundred miles to and from Yuma. After one year in this service he became connected with the “Wilmington (Cal.) Journal,” where he stayed for about a year. As above stated, he came to Arizona with Secretary McCormick in 1865, and then took a position on the “Arizona Miner,” the first newspaper published in the Territory of Arizona. After working on this paper for about a year, he commenced farming in the Chino Valley, but soon afterwards, with John H. Marion, purchased the “Miner,” retaining his interest in that paper until 1874, when he established a general merchandise store on Montezuma Street in Prescott, in which enterprise he was successful for fourteen years, after which he became connected with the transfer and freighting business.
During his early life in Arizona Mr. Weaver had many experiences with the Indians. He had one fight with them while he was farming in the Chino Valley when the Indians ran off his stock. With five neighboring ranchers he pursued the Indians and succeeded in putting them to rout. On another occasion, while engaged in freighting between Prescott, Mohave and Ehrenberg, in the year 1867, one of his wagons broke down. Its load was transferred to another wagon, and the driver of the broken-down wagon was directed to return to Mohave, the starting point. This driver was overtaken by the Indians and murdered, and four of his six mules killed. Another time while accompanied only by his partner, Mr. Adair,
Mr. Weaver held many positions of trust, among them being those of coroner, county supervisor, and school trustee. He was married in 1868 to Miss Caroline Stephens, who came to the Territory in 1864 with her parents. This union was blessed with five children, one son and four daughters, who are still living. Shortly after the birth of the first child Mrs. Weaver, hearing a noise in their yard at night while Mr. Weaver was at the printing office, and thinking it was Indians, took the child on one arm, and with a revolver in the other hand, and a candle, went into the yard to investigate. Mr. Weaver arriving about that time, found his wife, as described above, searching for Indians. Instead of Indians they found a burro which had caused the alarm. I recite this simply to show the terror which the Indians inspired in the minds of all the early settlers. Had it been really Indians Mrs. Weaver's life would have paid the forfeit of her rashness.
“One of the early business houses of Arizona City was the mercantile establishment of George F. Hooper, first established in the year 1851, when much travel to the California gold fields passed by that place.
“The business continued to expand from the start until—besides the original founder—the firm was represented by the following partners: Francis J. Hinton, Maj. William H. Whiting, James M. Barney and John S. Carr.
“On December 1st, 1868, George F. Hooper sold out his interest to his partners, the firm name then becoming Hinton, Hooper & Co., and so continued until May 1st, 1869, when Hinton withdrew from the partnership, which then became known as Hooper, Whiting & Co. Under this partnership Maj. Hooper looked after the firm's interests at San Francisco, Gus Whiting after its business in New York, Jim Barney was in charge at Arizona City, while Johnny Carr looked after its Arizona branches, which were then established at Fort Yuma on the California side of the Colorado, at Maricopa Wells, Sacaton, Sweetwater, and Camp McDowell.
“On August 15th, 1871, the firm established a large branch wholesale and retail house at Ehrenberg on the Colorado, under the management of Col. Barney. At this place they were agents for Wells, Fargo & Co.'s Express; Peter Doll being the clerk in charge. In December of 1871 it also contained the postoffice, when Col. Barney was appointed to succeed Joe Goldwater as
Hooper, Whiting & Co.'s. Store, Yuma, Arizona, 1866.
“On October 2nd, 1871, Whiting disposed of his interest in the firm and retired, the remaining partners taking over the business and conducting it as formerly, with Major Hooper at San Francisco, Col. Barney at Ehrenberg, and Johnny Carr at Arizona City. On September 13th, 1873, Carr withdrew from the business, which was continued by Major Hooper and Col. Barney, without change.
“On September 1st, 1875, Major Hooper retired from the firm, which he had joined in May, 1866, the business being continued as formerly by the last of the partners, under the firm name of ‘James M. Barney.’
“‘The business of William H. Hooper & Co. will hereafter be conducted under the name of James M. Barney, the member of the firm who has had, for several years, the sole management of the Arizona end of the business, which has been represented in this city by Major Hooper.
“‘Colonel Barney is popularly known through the Territory and is a business man of much ability and enterprise, and backed up by ample means to conduct a large business. The withdrawal of Major Hooper does not impair the capital of the business, nor is any curtailment of its enterprise contemplated. The dissolution of copartnership has been the result of an expressed desire on the part of Major Hooper to retire into a less active life than the one in which he has been successfully and honorably engaged for
“George F. Hooper, the founder of this historic business house, after his retirement from the business became President of the First National Gold Bank of San Francisco, while Major Hooper erected the famous hostelry known as the Occidental Hotel on Montgomery Street, in that same city.
“About the middle sixties a well supplied branch store was started at Maricopa Wells, where Carr, Barney, and Hinton were in charge at different times. Prior to this period the Wells had been in possession of John B. Allen, a well-known pioneer. In 1868, when Barney was in that section, he laid out the first direct road across the desert from Florence to the Salt River, over which the firm's freight from that settlement to Fort McDowell was hauled. The Arizona Eastern railroad now traverses almost the same stretch of country.”’’
It will be remembered that the town of Colorado City, afterwards Arizona City, and finally Yuma, was claimed by California and by Arizona, but it can safely be said that Hooper & Co.'s store was the first American mercantile establishment in what is now the State of Arizona.
E. N. Fish
Edward N. Fish, who is mentioned in this chapter, was a ’49er, who subsequently came to Arizona and made the Territory his home. In 1849, with forty Massachusetts men, Mr. Fish sailed from New Bedford on the “Florida,” and rounded Cape Horn, finally arriving at San Francisco. After several years of varied occupations in California, Mr. Fish, in 1865, came to Arizona, and became a member of the firm of Garrison & Fish, post traders at Calabasas. After about a year Mr. Fish removed to Tucson, where he established a large general merchandise store. In addition to this business, he engaged in the cattle business and milling, and in order to meet the need of a reliable freighting system, he established a freight line between Yuma and Tucson, and other parts of Arizona. Mr. Fish also maintained a branch store at Florence, where he transacted a very large business. In the early days of California he was a member of the Vigilance Committee there. After coming to Arizona he was, for eight years, a member of the Board of Supervisors of Pima County, for most of which time he was Chairman of the Board.
Mr. Fish was twice married, the first time in 1862 or 1863 to Barbara Jameson, in San Francisco, the result of this union being two children, one of whom is still living. His second marriage was to Maria Wakefield, in 1874, in Tucson, Miss Wakefield having the honor of being the first white woman married in Tucson, being also the first public school teacher in Tucson. From this marriage there were born four children, three of whom are still living. Mr. Fish died in Tucson on the 18th day of December, 1914.