CHAPTER IV. SETTLEMENT OF THE SALT RIVER VALLEY.
DESCRIPTION OF VALLEY-ANCIENT RUINS AND CANALS-ADVENT OF THE SWILLING PARTY-ORGANIZATION OF THE SWILLING IRRIGATING CANAL COMPANY-TAKING OUT OF CANALS AND PLACING LAND UNDER CULTIVATION-BIOGRAPHY OF "DARRELL DUPPA" WHO NAMED PHOENIX - DESCRIPTION OF DUPPA'S AGUA FRIA STATION-KILLING OF JAMES NELSON BY "JIM" SMITH-JOHN LARSEN-THOMAS J. L. HOAGUE - FRANK METZLER-JACOB DENSLING-TOM MCGOLDRICK-OTHER EARLY SETTLERS-EARLY WATER CLAIMS-"THE PHOENIX DITCH COMPANY"-"SALT RIVER DITCH COMPANY"-"PRESCOTT DITCH COMPANY"-"HAYDEN MILLING AND FARMING DITCH COMPANY"-"VIRGINIA FARMING DITCH COMPANY"-"SALT RIVER FARMING DITCH COMPANY"-"MONTEREY DITCH COMPANY" - THOSE WHO FOLLOWED THE SWILLING PARTY-FIRST FLOURING MILLS IN THE SALT RIVER VALLEY.
After the location of the capital at Prescott, a journey was made from the capital to Wickenburg and thence across what is known as the Salt River Valley to the Pima and Maricopa Indian Villages. This valley is about fifty miles in length east and west, and fifteen miles wide from north to south, containing approximately seven hundred and fifty square miles, and over four hundred thousand acres of land, with the Salt River running through it, near
In the spring of 1867, John Y. T. Smith had a contract to deliver hay to Fort McDowell, which had been established in 1865. He built the first house in the valley as a hay ranch, laid out a road through the valley to Fort McDowell, and had a few cattle grazing near his camp.
In September, 1867, John W. Swilling, whose name appears many times in this history, was travelling from Camp McDowell to Wickenburg, and stopped at Mr. Smith's hay camp for a few days. He was impressed with the many possibilities attending the irrigation of this fertile valley, which appeared almost level, with the waters of the Salt River flowing through it. It seemed an easy task to throw these waters over the fertile desert, which was all that was necessary to make this desert valley blossom as a rose. A market for all its products was assured, for grain, at that time, was brought in from California
MAP OF SALT RIVER VALLEY, ARIZONA SHOWING THE LOCATION OF ANCIENT, CANALS AND CITIES.
The Vulture mine was producing well in gold, and was employing a large force, which with the military posts at McDowell and at Prescott, afforded a ready market for all that could be produced in the valley.
These facts impressed themselves upon the mind of Swilling, and, upon his return to Wickenburg, resulted in his organizing the Swilling Irrigating Canal Company, with a nominal capital of ten thousand dollars, consisting of fifty shares valued at $200 each. Among those who became stockholders in the enterprise were Henry Wickenburg, the discoverer and owner of the Vulture mine, L. J. F. Jaeger, of Yuma, and one Latimer. Both the latter were engaged in hauling from the Vulture mine to the Hassayampa. The others who interested themselves with Swilling in this enterprise, were, for the most part poor men, with nothing but stout hearts and willing hands to forward the enterprise. Soon all preparations were completed and the company of hardy adventurers started from Wickenburg for their destination, on a winter's day in the early part of December, in the year 1867. The company was in command of the intrepid and optimistic Swilling, and was composed of the following individuals: Peter Barnes, -- Chapman, Brian P. D. Duppa, Jacob Denslinger, Thomas J. L. Hoague, James Lee, John Larsen, Frank S. Metzler, Thomas McWilliams, Thomas McGoldrick, Michael McGrath, Antonio Moreas, James
These were the pioneers who first entered the valley of the Salt River, whose soil is of the richest and most productive to be found in the great southwest. They laid the foundation of the agricultural community which they called Phoenix, since it was evident from its surroundings that it was being built upon the ashes of a forgotten civilization.
Upon reaching their journey's end, a place was selected for the head of the proposed ditch on the north bank of the river, nearly opposite the site of Tempe. Here, in the early part of December, 1867, the Swilling party started work with a will, but after spending about $500 in construction work, found it necessary to cut through solid rock, which could only be done at a very heavy expenditure of time and labor, consequently this first location was abandoned and a new head started several miles down the river and close to the spot where John Y. T. Smith had previously located his hay camp. This second location proved to be in every way successful.
In a few months quite a stretch of canal was completed, which was known, locally, as the Swilling Ditch, with a rock and brush dam across the channel of the river to divert the water into the ditch. This rock and brush dam was only temporary and cheaply constructed since every rise in the river washed it away and it had to be replaced. This ditch, afterwards known as the Salt River Canal, according to the
In the early part of 1868 ground was prepared for cultivation, and water for irrigation was ready about March of that year, enabling a few of the settlers to harvest small crops of corn and barley during the summer. According to James M. Barney, the first fields to be put in cultivation were owned by Charles L. Adams and "Frenchy" Sawyer, the former having, some years before, been the founder of a flourishing little settlement near the Gila River, called Adamsville.
The first crops proved the fertility of the soil, and quickly the news spread to other parts of the Territory that the Salt River Valley offered inviting opportunities to the farmer and home builder, and many emigrants were soon headed that way.
With an abundant supply of water at hand the land placed under cultivation increased rapidly. Within a short time after the first settlement, here was located the largest and most promising agricultural community in the Territory, a veritable oasis in the desert.
A biographical sketch of John W. Swilling has been given in a previous volume of this history, but it might not be amiss to give a short sketch of other members of this pioneer party, the most of which is gathered from information given me by James M. Barney of the Surveyor General's office at Phoenix, who has been very industrious in gathering data concerning this valley and the Territory for many years:
"The man who first named the present settlement did so with a last gasp at his classics, calling it ‚Phoenix,‚ and did well in so doing. Today's civilization rises from the ashes of the past. It is doubtful if the new will surpass the old masonry, water ditches or pottery, but it will infinitely go beyond it in production, in refinement, in the useful arts, in population, and in the space that it will fill in the history of Arizona and that of the American continent."’’
But little is known of Duppa's early history, although it is said by Mr. John McDerwin, in 1914 a resident of Mohave County and at one time among Duppa's intimate friends, ‘‘"that the latter was the son of an English nobleman and, at an early day had entered the English army, reaching the rank of Colonel
Coming with the first settlers, Duppa squatted upon a piece of land in the valley, and farmed it for several seasons. On February 1st, 1871, he settled on the quarter section immediately to the west of Jake Starar's place, which he afterwards sold to John B. Montgomery, and it was later known as Montgomery's addition to the city of Phoenix.
He next conducted what was called the "Agua Fria Station" on the Phoenix-Wickenburg road, which was known to travellers for its good appointments. Here he had much trouble with roving bands of hostile Indians and once, in March, 1872, when out cutting hay at some distance from the station with one of his Mexican helpers, they were attacked by a band of fourteen savages, and in the fight which followed Duppa was wounded in the leg. In John G.
"The antipodes of Townsend's rancho, as its proprietor was the antipodes of Townsend himself, was the ‚station‚ of Darrell Duppa at the ‚sink‚ of the same Agua Fria, some fifty miles below. Darrell Duppa was one of the queerest specimens of humanity, as his ranch was one of the queerest examples to be found in Arizona, and I might add, in New Mexico and Sonora as well. There was nothing superfluous about Duppa in the way of flesh, neither was there anything about the station that could be regarded as superfluous, either in furniture or ornament. Duppa was credited with being the wild, harum-scarum son of an English family of respectability, his father having occupied a position in the diplomatic or consular service of Great Britain, and the son having been born in Marseilles. Rumor had it that Duppa spoke several languages, French, Spanish, Italian and German; that he understood the classics, and that, when sober, he used faultless English. I can certify to his employment of excellent French and Spanish, and what had to my ears the sound of pretty good Italian, and I know, too, that he was hospitable to a fault, and not afraid of man or devil. Three bullet wounds, received in three different fights with the Apaches, attested his grit, although they might not be accepted as equally conclusive evidence of good judgment. The site of his ‚location‚ was in the midst of the most uncompromising piece of desert in a region which boasts of possessing
While a resident of this city much of his private business was supervised by Captain Hancock, who acted as his legal adviser under an agreement dated October 28th, 1877. In this agreement the party of the first part appears as "Darrell Duppa, Holsingbourne House, County of Kent, England." In 1910 a number of the old settlers of this vicinity realizing the part that Duppa had played in the early settlement of the valley, erected a small and simple monument at the head of his grave to mark his last resting place.
He took an active part in the selection of the "Phoenix Townsite," and at the mass meeting of October 20th, 1870, was chosen a member of the committee which decided upon the location and name of the townsite.
Duppa, unlike the majority of his transplanted countrymen, became thoroughly American and was permeated with the "spirit of the west," being fearless, just and generous, and entirely free from the arrogant and bullying instincts of the average Englishman.
"The late ‚Lord Duppa,‚ as he was commonly known, was the most scholarly man in the Territory of Arizona. He was a linguist and could read readily the ancient classics in the original, besides several of the modern languages. At one time he possessed well worn copies of Juvenal, Ovid, Homer, etc., in the original, but
"Jim" Smith, another member of the Swilling Party, was the first to shed human blood in the settlement when, on the 2nd day of August, 1869, he shot to death another settler by the name of James Nelson. After the committal of this crime, Smith fled to the northern part of the county where, it was thought he joined a renegade band of Indians. He was never brought to justice for his bloody deed. A few days after the murder, on August 7th, the "Miner" had the following:‘‘
"Jim Smith-We have been told that Jim Smith, who shot and killed James Nelson at Phoenix, on the 2nd inst. was seen at Walnut Grove recently. If Smith is still in the county or Territory, he ought to be arrested."’’
"A white man, supposed to be the murderer, Jim Smith, visited Davis's ranch on the upper Hassayampa a short time ago, and informed the man on the place that he had not eaten anything for three days. Not having much provisions cooked, the ranchman asked his visitor to wait awhile and he would get him a good meal. The latter replied that he could not wait, but would take a piece of bread and meat. Upon receiving these he immediately left. The fellow was dressed in buckskin, had a Henry rifle, and his description answered to that of the murderer, Jim Smith. Shortly after this transpired, the
John Larsen, a citizen of Swedish descent, was the first member of the Swilling Party to permanently settle upon a homestead claim, taking up his residence the 24th day of February, 1868, on the northeast quarter of Section 11, Township 1, North, Range 3 East.
Thomas J. L. Hoague, called "John" Hoague, for short, was the first notary public to be appointed for the Phoenix Settlement, Gov. Richard C. McCormick signing his commission on the 25th day of May, 1868, less than six months after the coming of the Swilling Party. Hoague was among the first to start building a habitation in the valley, and by April of 1868, had erected two small houses in the centre of the settlement.
Frank Metzler, Jacob Densling and Tom McGoldrick continued to reside in the valley for a number of years after the first settlement, all being interested in farming. The latter, before joining the Swilling Party, had been well known around the Prescott country, where he had lived for some time. In the little adobe store of Heyman Menassee, on East Washington street, in 1872, McGoldrick saved the life of Dan Twomey, who later fell a victim to Apache treachery near Camp McDowell. Twomey and Mike Connell had met in Menassee's store, and, angry words passing between them, Connell drew his pistol and pointed it at Twomey's head. McGoldrick was standing near, and, just as Connell pressed the trigger of his weapon, the former knocked
Tom McWilliams, who was an old pioneer of the Territory did not remain long in the valley, selling out his interests here about the middle of 1869. He then went to the vicinity of Gila Bend, where he engaged in digging a well on the Arizona City-Tucson stage road, on the dry and barren stretch of that highway between the Bend and Maricopa Wells. This venture did not prove very successful, however, and from there he went to the Hassayampa, some ten miles below Wickenburg, where, for a time, he conducted what was known as McWilliams' Station, and cultivated quite an acreage of ground. From the latter place he removed to Camp Goodwin. He was appointed postmaster of that post in March of 1875. Not long afterwards he passed away, being succeeded in office by H. E. Lacy.
Jack Walters, upon first coming to the West, had settled in California, where he engaged in placer mining with indifferent success. Hearing of rich mineral discoveries in Arizona, he turned his steps hither, and was around Walnut Grove and Wickenburg at an early day. Like all the pioneers he was a man of great liberality, always fair and honest, and old age found him without resources. He lived for many years at the ranch of his former partner, Johnny George, who died a number of years before him, and later
"The funeral of ‚Jack‚ Walters was held yesterday afternoon, (Nov. 24, 1909) the pall bearers being John P. Orme, Pierce W. Butler, Jake Miller, James H. McClintock, George Hamlin, and Ira M. Hoghe. He left no relatives here or elsewhere so far as is known. It is rather interesting to reflect on the personnel of those who served as pall bearers. It was desirable that ‚Old Jack‚ should be laid at rest as nearly as possible by the survivors of the days of his activity, but it was found that there were not left within the community any available persons whose residence here was contemporaneous with his earlier years in the valley, beginning over forty years ago. Nevertheless, the past was quite well represented for the youngest of those who served, has been here probably fifteen years, while one of them has lived here for nearly forty years."’’
While some members of the Swilling party remained here to become permanent farmers in the valley, the greater number, being restless, roving spirits, left for other parts after a few years, and not much is known concerning them.
After the success of the Swilling Ditch, many water claims were posted along the river throughout the valley, a few of which were utilized. These claims were recorded at Prescott, the county seat. Among the very early appropriations of water along the Salt River are the following:‘‘
"The undersigned, under the name and style of ‚The Phoenix Ditch Company,‚ hereby gives notice that they have this day claimed five thousand (5,000) inches (to be measured under two inches pressure) of the waters of Salt River, to be taken from said river at a point about three-fourths of a mile above the head of the ditch owned and used by the Swilling Irrigating Canal Company, and immediately below the rocky point that there reaches to the river, which said location was selected by J. W. Swilling and Thomas Barnum, about one year ago. The undersigned also claim right of way for their irrigating ditch, along the line selected and cleared by said Swilling and Barnum, to the old acequia or ditch, sometimes called the Montezuma Ditch, and thence, along the centre of said old ditch, its whole length, claiming fifty feet on each side. And the said Phoenix Ditch Company give further notice that they
At a meeting of the Phoenix Ditch Company, held August 11, 1870, John Smith and A. Barnett, were admitted to shares, and it was agreed to claim 5,000 inches of water additional to that already claimed. And it was ordered that notice thereof be given by publication in the "Arizona Miner." J. T. Alsap, Secretary.‘‘
"The undersigned, under the name and style of the Salt River Ditch Company, hereby give notice that they have this day claimed forty thousand inches, to be measured under two inches pressure, of the waters of Salt River, to be taken from said river at a point about five miles above the crossing of the McDowell and Florence road, on said river, and opposite a red mountain, on the south side of said river. We also claim the right of way for said ditch to a point opposite the middle of the north side of the Little Maricopa Mountain. We also claim one hundred feet on each side of said ditch, and the entire length of said ditch.
"The undersigned, under the name and style of the ‚Prescott Ditch Company,‚ hereby give notice that they have, this day, located a water ditch and claimed four thousand (4,000) inches of the waters of Salt River, for irrigating purposes, to be taken out on the south side of said river in Section 20, Township 1 North, Range 3 east.
"The undersigned, under the name and style of the Hayden Milling and Farming Ditch Company, hereby give notice that they have this day claimed ten thousand (10,000) inches, to be measured under two inches pressure, of the waters of Salt River, to be taken from said river at or near a butte, to the left of the main road to the Gila River from Phoenix, and on the south side of said river.
"The undersigned, under the name and style of the Virginia Farming Ditch Company, hereby give notice that they have this day claimed ten thousand (10,000) inches, to be measured under two inches pressure, of the waters of Salt River. The water to be taken from said River about two and a half miles above the Prescott Ditch Company, on the south side of the said river. And the said Virginia Farming Ditch Company will commence work on the same on the first day of March, A. D. 1871.
"The undersigned, under the name and style of the ‚Salt River Farming Ditch Company‚ hereby give notice that they have this day claimed fifteen thousand (15,000) inches, to be measured under two inches pressure, of the water of Salt River, to be taken from said river in township 1 North, Range 2 East, Sec. 23, on the north side of said river, and the said Salt River Farming Ditch Company further give
"The undersigned, under the name and style of the Monterey Ditch Company, hereby give notice that they have this day claimed ten thousand (10,000) inches, to be measured under two inches pressure, of the waters of Salt River; to be taken from said river at a point near the southeast corner of Section twenty-three (23), Township one (1) North, Range two (2) East, and thence running down a ravine in a westerly direction 600 yards, and thence in a northwesterly direction to the northwest corner of section 16, township 1 north, range 2 east. The undersigned also claim the right of way for their irrigating ditch on the line selected and cleared by said company, claiming fifty feet on each side for its entire length. And the said Monterey Ditch Company give further notice that they
As has been heretofore noted, the price of all food products for both man and beast were what would now be considered exorbitant, and, taking advantage of this condition, it is not surprising that the Salt River Valley received rapid accession to its population upon the proven success of the Swilling Ditch. Among those who followed the Swilling Party at an early date were the following:
John T. Alsap, who was the first Territorial Treasurer of Arizona; the first Probate Judge of Maricopa County; the first mayor of the city of Phoenix, and four times member of the Arizona Legislature, twice from Yavapai County, and twice from Maricopa County, being President of the Council in the 5th, and Speaker of the House in the 18th Legislative Sessions.
Benjamin F. Griffin, who came to the Valley in 1870, and was a son-in-law of William P. Murray. He came from Texas and was murdered by Mexican bandits in February of 1873, while on his way to Florence for the purpose of disposing of his crop.
William P. Murray, who came to the Valley from North Carolina in 1870. His daughters all married well-known residents of this vicinity, one becoming the wife of George W. Buck, another of John A. Chenowith, another of John T. Alsap, another of William L. Osborn, still another of R. L. Rosson, while a sixth sister became the wife of Neri F. Osborn.
Lindley H. Orme, who came to the Valley from California in 1870, and was a brother of John P. Orme, who came to this section from the Golden State in March of 1877, and of Henry C. Orme, who came here from Texas in 1879. Lindley H. Orme was sheriff of Maricopa County for eight years, and a member of the Territorial Council which secured the removal of the Capital from Prescott to Phoenix. He passed away on September 24th, 1900.
Gordon A. Wilson, who was a member of the House of Representatives from Yavapai County in the 5th and 6th Territorial Legislatures, and whose ranch was located on the north side of the Salt River near what is now known as Wilson's Crossing.
W. B. Hellings & Co., erected in the year 1871 their flouring mill in what was then known as Mill City, the ruins of which now remain just east of the State Insane Asylum near Phoenix. Bichard & Company erected a flouring mill in Phoenix, which was destroyed by fire, supposed to have been of incendiary origin in the year 1871.