CHAPTER XIII. EARLY SETTLEMENTS (Continued).
WELLS AND OSBORN PARTY—BIOGRAPHY OF E. W. WELLS—SETTLEMENTS IN WILLIAMSON VALLEY, WALNUT GROVE, KIRKLAND VALLEY, PEEPLES VALLEY AND SKULL VALLEY—SHABBY TREATMENT OF SETTLERS BY THE GOVERNMENT—“MINER” EDITOR—FIRST MORMON SETTLEMENTS—HINES' DITCH—WOOLSEY AND MARTIN PURCHASE AGUA CALIENTE RANCH—TAKE OUT DITCH—BIOGRAPHY OF GEORGE MARTIN.
The Wells and Osborn party, of which E. W. Wells was captain, and John P. Osborn, James M. Swetnam, Joseph Ehle and others, were members, was organized in Colorado, and arrived in Prescott in July, 1664. Captain Wells remained in the Territory about three years, when he returned to the East. John P. Osborn was accompanied by his wife and seven children. Osborn had three or four ox teams, all loaded down with flour, hams and bacon, also a herd of cattle. Most of the cattle the Indians confiscated. Mr. Osborn sold the remainder to butchers in Prescott. When Mr. Osborn arrived at Prescott, bacon was worth seventy-five cents a pound, flour a dollar, and so on, which gave him quite a capital to commence business. As has already been stated, he built the first hotel in Prescott, and afterwards took a prominent part in laying out the city of Phoenix. He was born in Tennessee on the 25th of March, 1815, and was eighty-five years old at the time of his death.
JOHN P. OSBORN & WIFE.
EDMUND W. WELLS.
According to Mr. Neri Osborn, when the party arrived in Prescott, the only families in that country were Sanders and his family, and Leib and his wife, and the woman who followed King S. Woolsey from California, and afterwards married John Boggs. This was the first marriage in Prescott. The second marriage in Prescott was Mary J. Ehle to John H. Dickson.
Edmund W. Wells, who was born on a farm at Lancaster, Ohio, in 1846, a son of the captain of the Wells and Osborn party, accompanied the party, and drove the team belonging to his father across the plains.
Shortly after his arrival in Prescott, he, with his associates, under contract with the military authorities, supplied them with posts and timbers, taken from the surrounding pine forests, for building a stockade fort and corrals at Fort Whipple in the vicinity of Prescott. He was subsequently employed at the Fort as clerk in the Quartermaster and Commissary Department, and later was transferred to the Rio Verde Valley upon the establishment of Camp Lincoln, afterwards Camp Verde, at that point.
He became interested in farming and ranching in the new and only settlement on the Verde River and Clear Creek, under the protection of Camp Lincoln, but after two years he abandoned farming and again took a clerical position.
In 1867 he was appointed Clerk of the United States District Court for the Third Judicial District of Arizona, which position he held until 1874. He was elected and served two terms as Recorder of Yavapai County, and, in the meantime, during his leisure hours, studied law under Chief Justice William F. Turner, and also under Captain Joseph P. Hargrave, and was admitted to he bar in the Supreme Court of the Territory in 1875. Soon after the expiration of his term as Recorder, he formed a law partnership with Judge John A. Rush, a mining lawyer of prominence on the Pacific coast, with whom he was associated for fourteen years. He was elected and served two terms as District Attorney of his county, and several years as Assistant United States Attorney for Arizona, and, at two different terms, represented his county in the upper house of the Territorial Legislature. In 1887 he was a member of the Commission appointed by the Governor to review, revise and codify the Territorial Statutes. In 1899 he retired from the practice of law, but in 1891, was appointed, by President Harrison, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Arizona. During Governor Brodie's administration, Judge Wells was Attorney-General of the Territory, and in 1910, was one of the few Republicans chosen as Delegate to the Constitutional Convention.
In 1882, in connection with Hugo Richards, Sol Lewis, and W. E. Hazeltine, he became associated in the Bank of Arizona at Prescott which was the first organized Bank in the Territory, and is, to-day, one of the most prosperous banking institutions of the State, Judge Wells being its President.
From the start he was an active business man, always interested in stock-raising, mining and other enterprises, in which he was uniformly successful, and in which he has accumulated a competent fortune. In 1869 he was married to Miss Rosalind G. Banghart, a native of Ontario, Canada, and a daughter of George W. Banghart, a well-known pioneer. The result of this union is five children, three daughters and two sons. Two of his daughters are married, one living in Prescott, and one in Phoenix, Arizona. The third daughter is unmarried. One son resides in Yavapai County, and is engaged in mining, the other is engaged in business in Los Angeles, California, where he resides.
Through a long and active business career nothing has ever been charged against Judge Wells which reflected upon his honesty and integrity. He enjoys the friendship of a large circle of friends throughout the State. In 1912 he was the choice of his party, the Republican, for Governor, but was defeated in the election, the State going overwhelmingly Democratic.
In a degree he was identified with the early political history of the Territory in being chosen Assistant Secretary of the Council of the Territorial Legislature at its first session convening in Prescott September 26, 1864.
“We have on several occasions alluded to the grain crop of last year with pride and pleasure. First the cause and effect. That the soil of our Territory is adapted to its abundant growth, and, second, that the ranchmen who have
“We shall resume the discussion of this subject at a future time, and perhaps give some facts the people ought to know, especially in regard to the amount of produce raised in Arizona last year, with the prospects and demand for the crop of 1867.”’’
Another difficulty was the distribution of supplies to the Indians. While Leihy was Indian Agent, he claimed that all these supplies were held up on the Colorado River for lack of money to pay transportation, and it was on this account, it is said, that the Indians under his charge revolted and murdered him. How it was finally adjusted, there is no record. It is by no means certain that the Indians at that time received any of the merchandise which Congress had voted them to the extent of twenty thousand dollars, and forty-five hundred dollars for freight. I wish to cast no reflection upon Mr.
According to the Fish manuscript, the first Mormon settlers came to Arizona in 1865. They came from Utah in January of that year, and located on the lower Muddy under the care of Thomas S. Smith. They, and others who soon followed, located the town of St. Thomas. The settlements of St. Joseph and Overton were soon after founded. On May 28th, Joseph Warren Foote was appointed to preside at St. Joseph. This place was partially destroyed by fire on August 18th, 1868. When this part of Arizona was cut off and added to Nevada, the assessor of that part of Nevada came to the settlements and demanded all the back taxes that had been paid by the people to Arizona Territory. The people produced their tax receipts, but this made no difference to the collector, who refused to accept them, and stated that all the back taxes should be paid to the State of Nevada, or the property would be sold for them. This, with the excessive amounts levied by the State of Nevada, decided the settlers to abandon the country, rather than fight the matter through the courts, so the settlements of St. Joseph, St. Thomas and Overton were broken up and abandoned. The wholesale exodus of some five hundred families
Other settlements were also made, notably one at Walnut Grove, where, according to the “Miner,” for a distance of eight miles down the Creek, about five hundred acres had been placed under cultivation, and another at Postle's Ranch in the valley on the branch of the Verde River, twenty miles northeast from Prescott, three hundred acres were cultivated and a profit of twenty thousand dollars realized during the year 1866.
During this year, also, according to the Fish manuscript a man by the name of Hines took out a ditch about three miles above the present site of Fort Thomas. The government, however, paid for the making of the ditch. Hines took up some land on the bottom near where the post was located. He did this for the purpose of raising corn, hay, and vegetables to fill his
About the year 1862 King S. Woolsey and George Martin bought the Agua Caliente ranch from a man by the name of Jacobson and his partner, for eighteen hundred dollars in gold. Around the springs, for some distance, was a kind of cienega, an oasis in the desert, where the grass grew green and fresh, and it was a favorite camping place for teamsters en route to Tucson and other points in the Territory. Woolsey and Martin were the first to take out a ditch on private account for irrigating purposes, This ditch is still in, existence, and was afterward the subject of litigation between the widow of King Woolsey, and Neahr, which litigation will be treated fully further on in this history. The biography of King Woolsey has been given in a previous volume, and from members of his family and others I have been able to secure the following in regard to Mr. Martin:
George Martin was one of the earliest settlers of the Territory and identified to a great extent with its subsequent history. He was born in Loughrea, County Galway, Ireland, on the 4th of July, 1832, and received his education in his native land at the Jesuit schools and through private tuition. He came to America in 1851, and enlisted in the Second United States Infantry in New York, coming to California the following year. He remained in the army until
While a resident of Yuma Mr. Martin married Miss Delfina Redondo, a daughter of Stevan Redondo, one of the leading men of Sonora, Mexico, and a member of an old Spanish family. To Mr. and Mrs. Martin were born eight children; one of them, Andrew, served in the Upper House of the second State Legislature of Arizona.