CHAPTER XI. SALT RIVER VALLEY PROGRESS; CHURCHES AND SCHOOLS.
FLOURING MILLS-CROPS - MARYVILLE - EARLY CHURCHES AND MINISTERS-REV. ALEXANDER GROVES - REV. FRANKLIN MCKEAN - DESCRIPTION OF OLD TIME RELIGIOUS SERVICE-EDWARD IRVINE DESCRIBES MEETING WITH PASTOR GROVES - QUESTION OF SUNDAY LABOR-QUARTERLY CONFERENCE OF METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH SOUTH AT PHOENIX FIRST CHURCH CONFERENCE IN VALLEY - FIRST CATHOLIC PADRE-REV. CHARLES H. COOK, MISSIONARY TO PIMAS-SIXTH TERRITORIAL LEGISLATURE PASSES LAW FOR ESTABLISHMENT OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS - PUBLIC SCHOOL OPENED IN PHOENIX - BUILDING OF SCHOOLHOUSE - HAYDEN'S FERRY SCHOOL - CHRISTMAS TREE FOR SCHOOL CHILDREN - MISS CAROLINE G. HANCOCK, PIONEER TEACHER, BIOGRAPHY OF.
After the reclamation of the desert lands in the Salt River Valley had been proven a success, and an abundance of water for all lands under cultivation at that time was supplied by the river, the price of flour and of barley attracted the attention of farmers, and plans were made for the manufacture of wheat into flour. Flour mills were already in successful operation in portions of the Territory. In the early part of 1870, flour mills were producing a good quality of flour, and competing successfully in the local markets with
The first two flouring mills erected in this valley were established on the north side of the Salt River. The largest of these, known locally as the Hellings' Mill, was located up the valley about three miles from the present city of Phoenix at what was then known as Mill City. Toward the latter part of February, 1870, Jack Swilling, in a letter from the Phoenix Settlement to the "Prescott Miner," referred as follows to the contemplated establishment of a grist mill in the Valley:
‘‘"The farmers of this vicinity have already sowed 1,200 acres of barley, and 150 acres of wheat, and both wheat and barley are looking well. The settlers expect that a flouring mill will be erected here next spring."’’ The site for this mill was selected in August of 1870 and the foundations for the mill building were laid only a few months later. Work progressed slowly upon the plant for about a year. In the Tucson Citizen of January 7th, 1871, there appeared the following:
In the month of October, 1871, the freight train of Miller Bros., Sam and Jake, of Prescott, left that place for Ehrenberg on the Colorado River, to haul the machinery for the mill. This machinery had been shipped in deep water vessels from San Francisco to the mouth of the Colorado, transferred at that point to freight barges, and towed up the river to Ehrenberg, from where it was freighted overland to the Valley. Lumber for the construction of the buildings at Mill City was brought from near Prescott, and on their return the wagons were loaded with grain and other commodities raised in the valley, and needed to supply the market in and around Prescott with these necessities.
Toward the end of the year 1871, the Hellings Mill was in full blast, being the second to turn out flour from Valley raised wheat. Upon its completion the "Prescott Miner," under date of December 16th, 1871, contained the following:
‘‘"Good news: A great work has been completed in Salt River Valley, Maricopa County; nothing less than the erection of the finest flouring mill this side of San Francisco, which was put up at a cost of nearly $70,000 through the praiseworthy energy of Wm. B. Hellings & Co. This mill, we learn by letter from John W. Swilling, is now making flour of excellent quality."’’
The demand for flour from the Hellings Mill was, during the first year of its operation, greater than the supply. Two grades of flour were made, the best being sold for eight cents per pound at the mill, and the second quality for seven cents; "semetilla" a coarser product, was sold for five cents, and bran for three cents. The
Near the north bank of the Salt River, about opposite the Mormon town of Lehi, was located in early days the little settlement of Maryville, often called Rowe's Station. The founder of Maryville was William Rowe, a sturdy rancher who came to the Valley in 1868. Mr. Rowe built the station on the main travelled road from the Gila to Camp McDowell, and there domiciled his large family. Several hostile Apache tribes,
One of the first shooting scrapes to take place at the "Maryville Crossing of Salt River," as the place was sometimes called, occurred on February 1st, 1873, when James C. Beatty was killed by Richard McGregor. The trouble began in a wordy dispute, Beatty making the first move to shoot, but getting the worst of it. McGregor came out of the encounter uninjured, and afterwards surrendered himself to the authorities at Phoenix. He was exonerated.
When Camp McDowell was abandoned as a military post, the travel along the road passing by Maryville Station became uncertain, and finally of no importance whatever. With the decline of the McDowell country as a centre of military activity, the gradual abandonment of Maryville took place, its sturdy settlers going to more active localities. Some twenty-five years ago an old adobe ruin, near the deep worn McDowell road, still marked the site of Maryville, one more of the vanished settlements of Arizona.
The Methodist Episcopal Church South, was the first Protestant organization to establish itself permanently in the Salt River Valley. The first regularly ordained minister of this church appointed for Arizona was the Rev. Alexander Groves.
This was in 1870, soon after the Los Angeles Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, and almost immediately the reverend gentleman set out for Prescott, Arizona, the future field of his labors. He made the journey across the desert from California on
In February, 1871, the Rev. Franklin McKean, another minister of the same denomination, arrived in Phoenix, and immediately began his work. As was said at the time, the settlers were "pleased to know that this church will hereafter take great interest in our spiritual welfare." The Rev. McKean gradually aroused interest throughout the Valley in religious work and preached to appreciative audiences at whatever ranch house seemed most convenient. From the time of his arrival concerted religious effort in the Salt River Valley may be said to date, and it has never been dormant since.
In October, 1871, the Rev. Groves left Prescott for California, to attend the annual conference. During his stay in Prescott he had been able to establish a church organization, but he did not return to that place as the Conference sent him to the Salt River Valley, where he was afterwards held in high esteem. After his departure from Prescott Chaplain Gilmore, of Fort Whipple, and Chaplain White, of Camp Verde, continued
When the Rev. Groves reached the Salt River Valley, he took up his abode upon a ranch, farming and preaching alternately. With his coming the Valley, for a time, had two preachers, as the Rev. McKean was still in this vicinity. Until an adobe building of fairly good size was completed in Phoenix on the southwest corner of Center and Monroe Streets, most of the early Methodist services were held in the open air, or under the shade of brush "ramadas" in various parts of the Valley. The following is a good description of an old time religious service, held at "Barnum's Grove," north of Phoenix:‘‘
"Parson Groves held religious meetings Friday and Saturday evenings, and three separate services on Sunday (September 15th, 1872), in the pleasant grove on the ranch of Thomas Barnum. During the Sunday services quite a number attended from Phoenix. After morning service an impromptu table was arranged, and an excellent dinner, gotten up by Mrs. John Osborn, Mrs. Griffin, Mrs. Thomas Barnum, and Mrs. Rodgers, was served to the visitors, who did ample justice to the viands. The intervals between the services were occupied in singing and recreation. Those who lingered to the last sat down to a pleasant supper with Mrs. Barnum, and all departed much pleased with the day's proceedings."’’
"All along, as I went, I passed excellent farms which bore evidence of having produced abundant crops the year past, and of active preparations being made for extensive sowing during the coming season. On Hiltibrand's ranch, I surprised Parson Groves, black as a negro, busy with fork and axe, clearing off the mesquite brush. The parson works thus during the week, and preaches at Phoenix nearly every Sunday, and, occasionally down at Mesquite and up at Barnum's Grove, walking backwards and forwards a distance of ten or twelve miles each way."’’
This teacher of the gospel would also take loads of potatoes and other products raised in the valley to the Bradshaw Mountains for barter among the miners and prospectors of that region. He made his living in this way, but everywhere he went he preached the doctrine of friendship, charity, and love, more like the Peter Cartwrights of the West than the well-paid preachers of to-day. He was conscientious and adhered strictly to his interpretation of the spiritual laws as laid down in the Bible.
In the middle seventies the question of Sunday labor came up in the Valley, and caused some discussion and some feeling among the church brethren. In a correspondence from Phoenix, under date of January 26th, 1875, the following is found:
"The public school is now open under the management of Miss Nellie Shaver. The Sabbath school is conducted by the Rev. Mr. Groves, in the absence of Miss Florence Tweed, who is on a visit to Tucson. The Rev. S. M. F. Herrett announced from the pulpit yesterday forenoon that until further notice, there would be no more church services on Sunday morning because the people are so busy working, thus virtually approving of Sunday labor. In the evening, Mr. Groves announced from the pulpit that he would hold services, himself, every Sabbath in the forenoon. Parson Groves has always been a firm standby in the church, and now when Godliness is on the decline, refuses to go over and join the world, but bravely rears the banner of the Cross and stands firmly at his post."’’
In the year 1873 the Methodist Episcopal Church South was regularly organized by the Rev. Groves. On the 15th day of May, of the same year, the Phoenix Townsite Commissioners, Messrs. Griffin, Alsap and Hancock, donated to the Church, Lots 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12, in Block 65, the certificates of donation being made out to W. H. Franklin, Edward Irvine, Major Charles H. Veil, Capt. William A. Hancock, and G. A. Reuter, as trustees. These lots, however, were not built upon until 1878.
One of the most successful church gatherings of the early days was the quarterly conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, which was held at Phoenix in the courthouse, commencing on Friday evening, December 5th, 1873, and closing on the following Sunday evening. The attendance was very good in spite of rain and mud.
On Sunday evening the house was full-half the congregation, at least, being ladies-at which time the sacrament was administered. On Sunday, December 7th, the Sunday School was reorganized. Although the library was, at that time, small, two ladies each promised a donation of books to it. On the evening of December 8th, after the close of the conference, the Rev. A. B. Gill lectured at the courthouse on "Theology." The Rev. Gill, a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, had reached the valley from California on November 22nd, 1873, with the intention of residing in Phoenix for some time. The first Church Conference ever held in the valley was that of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, at the "Mesquite" in May, 1872, and lasted four days.
Forty years have made a great change in the religious life in Phoenix. Many, if not all, the denominations are represented, and the ministers are not compelled, as Parson Groves was, to toil for his bread, and preach the gospel without remuneration. His successors suffer no hardships, nor through the sweat of their brow earn their daily bread, laboring from sunrise to sunset, but are employed at liberal salaries, and speak to fashionable audiences, in costly edifices, comfortably and luxuriously furnished, which are now scattered over the city in all directions.
The first Catholic Padre to come into this section was in 1872. He held a "misa" in the valley on Sunday, April 12th, 1872, and one in the town of Phoenix on the Tuesday following. Having performed his pastoral duties in Phoenix, he visited the settlement around Tempe,
The Rev. Charles H. Cook, a minister of the Presbyterian Church, began his work as a teacher and missionary to the Pimas in the year 1871, and continued to occupy this field with great success for many years thereafter. An account of his labors will be given in a future volume.
In the early days of the settlement of the Salt River Valley, there were but few children of school age and the need of public schools was not pressing, but as the population increased, and with it the influx of many families, it became evident that schools would have to be established, not only for the resident boys and girls, but also as an inducement to encourage further immigration into the valley. The first intimation that the settlers desired educational facilities for their children is contained in a brief paragraph written from the Salt River Valley August 13th, 1870, and appearing in the "Prescott Miner" of August 27th, following:
In the early part of 1871, the Sixth Territorial Legislature passed a new law for the establishment of public schools throughout Arizona, which will be found in a succeeding chapter under the head of Territorial Legislation, and which contained the following provisions:‘‘
"The public school year shall commence on the first day of January, and end on the last day of December. No school district shall be entitled to receive any portion of the public school moneys in which there shall not have been taught a public school, for at least three months, within the year ending the last day of December previous."’’
In order to meet this requirement the residents of Phoenix and vicinity opened in the latter part of the year 1871, a semi-public school, sustained by private contributions. This school was held in the first county courthouse which had been completed only a month or two before, on South First Avenue, just off Washington Street. January 1st, 1872, it became a real public school, as from that time it was maintained by direct taxation as proposed by the new school law. John T. Alsap, Probate Judge of Maricopa County, was ex-officio county superintendent of Schools, and the following is condensed from the first report he made to Governor Safford, at the time ex-officio Territorial Superintendent of Public Instruction:
"The liberality shown in maintaining free schools in Salt River Valley, is in the highest degree worthy of imitation all over the Territory, and, we believe, will prevail. We freely accord much credit to Judge Alsap for the splendid progress of the free school system at Phoenix, but, by his own report, he shows how well the citizens there second all his efforts. He makes a good showing for the ‚border statesmen‚ of Maricopa County."’’
The voters of District No. 1, having failed to elect Trustees on the first Monday of 1871, according to the act passed during that year, the school superintendent made the following appointments, on June 10th, 1871: William H. Kirkland, James A. Young, and John P. Osborn, who were duly sworn in and assumed the duties of their office, the first in the county to serve in that capacity.
In the following year School District No. 1 elected the following trustees: Captain William A. Hancock, John P. Osborn and J. D. Rumberg, all well-known residents of Phoenix and vicinity. On August 5th, 1872, these gentlemen met at the office of Capt. Hancock and finding their certificates of election correct, organized the school board by the selection of Capt. Hancock as Clerk and Treasurer. At this initial meeting of the trustees, plans for the early construction of a
In addition to the two public schools in operation at this time, "Gus" Chenowith had a private school in his own house. The two public schools closed for the summer season about the beginning of July, and on the 3rd of that month J. R. Darroche, the first master of the Phoenix school, was, by the Board of Supervisors, appointed County Recorder to succeed J. L. Mercer, who had resigned. After a vacation lasting through the summer months, the fall term opened on October 14th, 1872, under the auspices of J. Parker, the second master of the local school. A Phoenix resident who visited the school on November 22nd, wrote as follows:‘‘
"Yesterday afternoon I visited the public school in town, and found it in a flourishing condition under the management of J. Parker. About twenty-six children belong to the school, of whom twenty were in attendance. They showed great proficiency in their studies."’’
On March 8th, 1873, a meeting of the voters of District No. 1 was held in the courtroom on South First Avenue, for the purpose of selecting trustees for the ensuing two years, and of discussing plans looking to the erection of the long desired schoolhouse. The trustees elected at this meeting were J. D. Rumberg, of the first board, Benjamin F. Patterson, and George Roberts, two well-known ranchers. Preliminary steps were taken toward starting the work on the proposed schoolhouse, which was deemed a necessity by all of the settlers. Judge Alsap was authorized by the trustees to purchase lumber and other material and attend generally to the details of the construction of the schoolhouse, and on August 25th, 1873, he entered into a contract with John Casey for the erection of the adobe walls of the building. A man named J. L. Hunt put on the shingle roof; Richard Pearson made the windowsashes, the school desks, and did other carpenter work; Thomas Williams did the plastering, while H. Sayers whitewashed the walls. A man by the name of Curtis, H. Franks, J. Goldwater & Bro., Wormser & Wertheimer, and Charles W. Stearns, contributed building
At the time of Miss Shaver's arrival the Phoenix school building was nearing completion. She reached Phoenix in the latter part of October, 1873, coming from the State of Wisconsin, and on November 3d she appeared before the school authorities, passed a very creditable examination, and on the 8th was formally employed and entered upon her duties in the new schoolhouse, on the 10th day of November, 1873. Miss Shaver came to Phoenix highly recommended from her home in the East. On the 21st of November, 1873, the following item appeared in a contemporary newspaper:‘‘
"Miss Shaver, the new teacher, is progressing finely. She now has thirty-five scholars, with the prospect of an increase. The new schoolhouse, in which the children are being taught, is an adobe, twenty by thirty feet in the clear, and sixteen feet high, with a good shingle roof. There are three windows on each side, one large double door in one end, and a fireplace in the other. The floor is dirt, but the trustees intend putting in one of plank as soon as they can
In 1871 the children of school age in Maricopa County numbered 103; in 1872, from the county assessor's figures, 313; while in 1873, the school census returns, carefully compiled, showed the number to be 302, 157 boys and 145 girls. Of these children 232 resided within the Phoenix District, and the remaining 70 within the Mesquite District. Of this number, however, but a comparatively small percentage, about twenty per cent, attended the public schools during the year 1873. In 1874 the number of school children in Maricopa County was placed at 323, of which 243 belonged in District No. 1, and 80 in District No. 2. James A. Young took the first county school census in the latter part of 1871; J. R. Darroche in 1873; J. D. Rumberg in 1874; and George E. Freeman in 1876.
In the beginning of the year 1874 the free schools of Arizona were in successful operation. Throughout the same year Miss Shaver continued to teach in the Phoenix school with marked success, and to the entire satisfaction of the school trustees. The Prescott Miner of January 22d, 1875, had the following concerning the Phoenix public schools:‘‘
Just when Miss Shaver was proving her sterling worth as a teacher, and her pupils were making the most rapid progress in all their studies, John Y. T. Smith, of Camp McDowell, came upon the scene and induced her to became his wife. Their marriage occurred on October 3d, 1875, at the home of John A. Rush, at Prescott, the ceremony being performed by Rev. A. Gilmore, a chaplain of the United States Army then stationed at Whipple Barracks. When John Marion, owner of the Prescott "Weekly Miner," heard of the marriage of his friend Smith, he made the following allusion to it:‘‘
"It comes awkward to say ‚Little Smiths,‚ but had the chaplain changed John's name to that of his bride, instead of hers to Mrs. John Smith, how convenient in wishing them joy, to add, ‚and a whole band of little Shavers.'"’’
The school trustees had to look around for another teacher, and finally selected Mrs. Alabama Fitzpatrick for the next mistress of the school. Miss Carrie G. Hancock, a sister of Captain Hancock and a resident of Sacramento, California, had also been considered as a possible successor to Miss Shaver, and had come to Phoenix for the purpose of taking charge of
In the middle seventies Boards of Examiners were organized in the various counties of the Territory for the purpose of determining the fitness of school teachers seeking employment in Arizona. At one of its first meetings, in the month of September, 1875, the Maricopa County Board granted teachers' diplomas to -- Hedgepeth, who taught for a time in the Mesquite school, Carrie G. Hancock and Allie Fitzpatrick. Mrs. Fitzpatrick assumed charge of the Phoenix school on October 4th, 1875, and shortly afterwards the following appeared in some correspondence from the Phoenix settlement:‘‘
Up to this time all the teachers who had had charge of the Phoenix school had received a compensation of $100 per month, but an effort was made when Mrs. Fitzpatrick was appointed to make a noticeable reduction. By a vote of two to one, however, the trustees kept the salary of the teacher at the original figure, thus showing that even at that early date the citizens of Phoenix were strongly in favor of having first-class public schools, and were willing to pay the price.
"On Friday last, November 26th, 1875, the usual monthly examination of the public school in Phoenix, taught by Mrs. Allie Fitzpatrick, took place, at which a number of ladies and gentlemen were present. About forty children, mostly Americans, were in attendance, who exhibited considerable proficiency in the various exercises. Perhaps one of the best features was the singing, which was good. Music should be taught in all schools. Extracts read by several of the young ladies were very appropriate, and a dialogue by Miss Marilla Murray, Miss Flora Murray and Miss Annie Kellogg was excellent. After the children were dismissed, the adults present canvassed the feasibility of a Christmas tree, with suitable presents, for the children of the school, and Mrs. Granville H. Oury, Mrs. John Smith, Mrs. Braniman, Mrs.
Of the scholars mentioned above, Flora Murray became the wife of R. L. Rosson, a physician and afterwards Treasurer of Maricopa county; Annie Kellogg married Newel Herrick, a partner of George H. N. Luhrs, and Marilla Murray is now Mrs. Neri Osborn of Phoenix.
On February 29th, 1876, the trustees authorized Judge Alsap to employ laborers to clear the school block, the brush and refuse to be piled in the adobe hole near the schoolhouse, an unsightly excavation from which had been taken the dirt to make the adobes for the building. Soon after this was done, on March 19th, a contract was given to Benjamin F. Patterson for the planting of cottonwood trees on all sides of the school block. It was about this time that Allie Fitzpatrick decided to marry John Montgomery, then a dashing and energetic young
MISS CARRIE G. HANCOCK.
Miss Carrie G. Hancock succeeded Mrs. Fitzpatrick, school opening on the 11th day of September, 1876. An order was issued at this time "that no public meetings, religious, political, or otherwise, shall be held in the schoolhouse of this district after September 11th, 1876."
Miss Hancock continued in charge of the school until March 27th, 1877, soon after which time she returned to California, and for many years was city librarian at Sacramento, but now, having returned to the Salt River Valley in 1916, she makes her home here with her nephews, Harry S. Hancock, and Herbert R. Patrick, of Phoenix.