CHAPTER XIII. EARLY SETTLEMENTS (Continued).


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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.


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His wife was born in 1820, on the 21st of January, and died in December, 1912. Both of them are buried in Phoenix, three sons surviving them, William, Neri, and John. His grandson, Sidney P. Osborn, is now Secretary of State of Arizona.

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.


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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.


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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.

Judge Wells, at the age of sixty-nine years, is still active in business, and is largely interested not only in mines in Yavapai County, but in real estate in the Salt River Valley.

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.

During the year 1865 there were settlements made not only along the Verde, but also in Williamson Valley, Walnut Grove, Kirkland Valley, Peeples Valley, and Skull Valley. These valleys


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were mostly named for the first settlers, except Skull Valley, which was named on account of a massacre of the Indians by the United States soldiers, which occurred in that valley before any settlements were made in northern Arizona. Settlements were also made at the Woolsey ranch, afterwards, and at present, known as the Bowers ranch, about twenty miles from Prescott. In all of these valleys there was more or less grain and other supplies raised. In 1865 and 1866, large crops were raised and harvested, and notwithstanding assurances had been made by the quartermasters of the United States troops that they would provide a market for the products of the farmers, the latter were left with their crops on their hands during these years. Although the government was paying twenty cents per pound for barley and corn, the most it would offer these farmers was ten cents. The consequence was that the farmers were compelled to sell their products at about a half of what the government was paying to others, and at an actual loss, because the losses of many of these ranchers of stock and crops taken by the Indians far exceeded the price realized for the remainder. This was in the era of reconstruction, just at the close of the war, when all those in authority seemed to think it was their duty to line their pockets as far as possible. On this subject, in an editorial dated January 26th, 1867, the “Miner” says:

‘‘

“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


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planted, and risked their lives, are to be fully remunerated. This conclusion was based upon the fact that the government contracts to a large amount, probably one-half the production of Northern Arizona, were offered to our citizens at about sixteen dollars per hundred pounds. These contracts were used by our people and closed, I believe, in accordance with terms made here, and sent to California for approval. Subsequently, all the grain contracts were repudiated by ‘red tape.’ This we knew some months ago, but we could not understand how our people could be deprived of the sale of their grain until very lately, but it now appears very plain. Parties whose names we withhold for the present, are believed to be secretly interested in these affairs in California. The result is that crops of our farmers, now on their hands, are being sold at prices far below cost, while California grain is used for the supply of the military posts at prices far above what was ever expected to be realized by our farmers. These are truths, we are sorry to say, but think the remedy is not far distant. As matters now stand, there appears a great wrong, in fact, there are a series of wrongs. The Government, through its quartermasters, offered to buy the produce of our country, reserving the red tape right to back down on any unfair bargains. The next wrong is the going out of the Territory to purchase grain at all, at any price, while it is to be had here. What are our farmers here for? What in the name of common sense is the object of our government in sending a military force here? Is it not that our country, in order


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to be valuable, may be developed and produce a revenue to the U. S.? Where are the hostile Indian tribes, and who or what class of men are doing most to bring about these great ends? Is it not our ranchmen? Who, more than our farmers, are the sufferers from Indian murders and raids? These questions require no answers at our hands. The wrongs and frauds practiced upon our government are getting too palpable and glaring to be longer concealed. It is time such things were ended. Let every man view the subject in one aspect only. Consider our public enormous national debt, for the payment of which every one is daily taxed, and then answer if the thieving upon our public treasury should not cease?

“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.


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Leihy. It may have been impossible for him to comply with the requirements of the Indians, but of one thing there is no doubt, that the position of Commissioner of Indian Affairs, notwithstanding the meagre salary of fifteen hundred dollars a year in greenbacks, was for many years a very lucrative office in Arizona. This will be fully demonstrated in future pages of this history, dealing with this matter.

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


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from the Muddy Valley commenced on the first of February, 1871. They had done a vast amount of work in the construction of irrigation ditches, and were cultivating about three thousand acres of land. A variety of fruit trees had been set out, with quite a large number of shade and timber trees, all of which, with all the buildings they had erected, were abandoned. The settlers scattered, some going to southern Utah, while a few, in a later period, came to Arizona, settling on the Little Colorado River. Mr. Fish states that he secured the above information from David Brinkerhoff, who had been one of the settlers on the Muddy, and he further states that Mr. Ninian Miller, of Snowflake, then a boy, was one of the settlers who abandoned the Muddy.

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


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contract at Camp Goodwin. Hines and Hooker had about all the hay, grain, beef and freight contracts in this section. Hines did but little here in the way of farming. Camp Goodwin was vacated about 1870 on account of sickness, and Hines' ditch was abandoned at the same time.

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


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1856, his knowledge of drugs gaining him the position of hospital steward. After his discharge from the army in 1856, Mr. Martin located in Yuma, assuming control of the sutler's store at that place, which position he held until 1859. When the placer mines were discovered at Gila City, he opened a general merchandise store, taking advantage of the need for supplies. After the war between the states broke out he went into partnership with King S. Woolsey on the Agua Caliente ranch, and at the end of three years disposed of his interest in the ranch to Woolsey. He then entered the employ of Hooper & Company at Yuma, having charge of their store there until 1872, when he established a drug business in Yuma, which he transferred to Tucson in January, 1884. He was a resident of that city until the time of his death. He was prominent in local affairs, serving as county supervisor and county treasurer of Yuma County, and also as city treasurer and member of the city council of Yuma.

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.

Mr. Martin died in Los Angeles, California, March 30th 1907, and is buried in Tucson.

Up: Contents Previous: CHAPTER XII. EARLY SETTLEMENTS (Continued). Next: CHAPTER XIV. MINES AND MINING—POSSIBILITIES OF THE TERRITORY—RESUMPTION OF MAIL AND STAGE LINES.




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