CHAPTER III. MY ARRIVAL AT YUMA—DESCRIPTION OF THE TOWN...


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MY ARRIVAL AT YUMA—DESCRIPTION OF THE TOWN—ITS FORMER HIISTORY—THE COMING SANITARIUM—DR. LORYEA'S OPINION—THE RAILROAD ENTERPRISE—ITS VICISSITUDES—A WATCHFUL GUARDIAN OF THE NIGHT—LO! THE POOR INDIAN.

HERE I am at Yuma! and while waiting for the arrival of the Aztec party, I will contemplate some, the land I am going to roam.

That part of the Territory of Arizona over which our travels were now to extend, was acquired by the Gadsden purchase from Mexico in 1853; and, save the regret that the instrument of purchase did not record a section of country as far south as Guaymas, which would have given us a port on the Gulf of California—a ‘‘Golden Gate’’ to Arizona—the purchase was a most condign and satisfactory one. At the time of the purchase, Mr. Gadsden did not receive himself, this compliment from the people, but


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rather abuse and ridicule; an abuse evidently given from ignorance. This suggests how often chastisement is given in ignorance. How long—Oh! how long, will the human race—that noble race—that man—in his vast system of philosophy, education and science—that being with a reputed psychological existence, be elevated to know how, when, and where to chide. Then indeed will our God-soul be elevated toward its rightful sphere. Then will judges be well deserving the potent ‘‘Honorable,’’ and, the preachers claim ‘‘Reverend’’ to their names. Then will parents make men and women of their offspring, and be truly proud of their issue. As it is, where is the man who would dare originality or individuality to the full extent of what his experience, education and goodwill would seem to urge, for fear of reprimand from an unphilosophic world? There are a few such; they die persecuted—perhaps a martyred death for the benefit of an enriched and selfish world; while that world lives the very embodiment and verification of the sheep element; following where they have been led, and grazing on the products of a good and fertile soil. Poor Arizona! How near you came to being lost to us. But Ho! for Arizona! is our sentiment


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now. Although in many places in our country, within certain limits are combined so great a variety of climate and topography that one may in certain sections, experience all the diversity of traveling abroad; especially is this applicable to the southern portion of the Pacific coast. In one short day you come from the snows of the Sierra to the tropic of the desert, where in July the thermometer will range about an average of 120° Fahr. in the shade, and 170° in the sun. One peculiar feature of Arizona's climate might be mentioned here.

Although the thermometer may often range much higher than in some other known place, the heat is felt very much less. An incident of mine will amply illustrate the fact. In '73 I went to Southern California for the first time; I had some friends whom I visited and who were farmers. Having once lived on a farm, the inclination presented itself to me to see how much of my rural tuition I had, in my now roving propensities, retained. I made a request to go into the hay field the next day, and help pitch hay ‘‘just to see how it felt’’ as I said, ‘‘after a fifteen years rest.’’ The next day I was told by my friend in an insinuative sort of way that it was going to be a very


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hot day he thought, and he did not think an eastern man like me could stand it to work in the sun. Now this was the very worst thing he could have said to me if he had not wanted me to go, for I always pride myself on my physical strength and powers of endurance. I was bound to go. I worked until noon, and pitched hay all the time too. The thermometer, I learned when we went to the house to dinner, was 118° Fahr. I could not believe it at first. I had suffered some from the heat—in fact considerable. But it was rather a burning, outward heat as from the rays of the sun; and not an inward bodily heat as if suffocating. And although I perspired freely, the big drops rolling down my cheeks and brow, I did not suffer as much, nor feel as fatigued, as when walking in New York under a thermometer of 95 degrees in the month of July or August.

This is the nature of the heat in these locations. The rarity and dryness of the atmosphere, it is well known, is the chief cause for this favorable condition, and especially has Arizona these qualifications. When a person hears another speak of the thermometer being 110° or 115° in Southern California or Arizona,


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he must not imagine that those ‘‘poor mortals’’ there are suffering what he would be in New York or Baltimore under a thermometer of 90°. Yuma itself, in conjunction with the Colorado River which runs along side, from the cause just alluded to, is Nature's Russian or Turkish bath. The very Indians take their sun bath here every day. For centuries this people have been reclining at certain times of day on their heated sand-mounds, at a high temperature, and checking the heat by a plunge in the cooling waters of the Colorado. For centuries they have been working wondrous cures from the aid of these medical properties of the soil and atmosphere. A private letter written me concerning this location as a natural Sanitarium, by Dr. A. M. Loryea, M. D. of the celebrated Hammam baths of San Francisco, comprehends some of the principal merits. Dr. Loryea says:—

‘‘“* * * * My experiences in Arizona were very satisfactory. The heat there, though high, is endurable in consequence of the dryness—hence its adaptability as a place of residence to those afflicted with Renal affections, especially Bright's Disease of the Kidneys. The skin acting vicariously for the lungs, exhaling carbonic acid and absorbing oxygen, Consumptives


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INDIANS TAKING THEIR SUN-BATH AT YUMA.


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would there find relief. One does not take cold and my patients there in the last stages of renal and lung affections slept out of doors all and every night with perfect freedom. Malaria does not exist in Yuma, so that we have every advantage obtainable for invalids and hence many term it ‘Nature's Turkish Bath,’ or the great Sanitarium of America; and patients who may visit these need not ‘abandon hope’ but have every assurance if not being cured of their ‘‘many thousand ills that flesh is heir to’’ but at least of being ameliorated and measurably benefitted. Of course all class of affections, such as Rheumatism, Sciatica and Neuralgia are resolved by the heats of Yuma.”’’

On the Colorado River, ninety miles from its mouth, and on its east bank, is located the old city of Yuma, in Arizona. On the opposite shore, or California side, on a high elevation, is situated Fort Yuma. This location which has heretofore lain mute with a history that perhaps rarely extended beyond its own domain, except by an occasional exploring party, or an inhabitant who had fortunately made his escape from the ravages of Indians or Mexican desperadoes, has now gained for itself a place in the history of the Pacific Coast.


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On the 29th of September—of the year, 1877—this point became the present terminus of the Southern Pacific Railroad of California. Since that time the two great signals that govern the destinies of armies, have been called into requisition by the event. ‘‘Halt!’’ and ‘‘Forward March!’’ have been given with all the pomp and pomposity of military tactics. The occasion for these conditions seems to have been some misunderstanding between the military and civil authorities; but this being now settled, and the road fairly into Arizona, it is simply our pleasure to notice the likely results and interesting incidents from the fact.

The likely results are that a complete, through, southern, trans-continental route will steal an existence upon us, as unawares, as did the first and original road across the Continent in '69. When we realize the vast interest, to all the different sciences, the two Territories of Arizona and New Mexico are constantly opening up to the geologist as a mining district; and to the historian, in the different races of human beings suggested by the many and unique ruins constantly being discovered, we hail the event. The legendary spirit connected with many of these


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old and pre-historic ruins, is interesting beyond degree; and the subject so engrossing that we dare not attempt a description in tiffs present limited space.

The bridge over the Colorado looms in plain sight to the inhabitants of both sides of the river, a lasting monument of the indomitable pluck adextremum, of the American people.

The completion of this bridge was associated with some pleasing incidents on the night of September 29th. From the misunderstanding between civil and military authorities before alluded to, orders were issued to the military headquarters at Fort Yuma, not to allow any of the Southern Pacific's rolling stock whatever, to cross the Colorado River, and to stop the construction of the bridge. Sentinels were placed at the bridge to keep vigilance. Nobly did our country's servant perform his duty until his bed time came. Then all was ‘‘quiet on the’’—Colorado. Our sentinel slackened his martial tread, and stooped to catch the slightest sound; and in the stillness of the night, the yelp of a stealthy coyote, or the screech of a hawk was his only reward, except perhaps, the snore of the bridge-engineers, which in this case must have been a little unnatural, as it was


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feigned. Thinking that ‘‘all was well,’’ our sentinel thought to steal a little sleep. No sooner had he succumbed to his own alluring thoughts, than the same surreptitious spirit to ‘‘steal’’ was evinced by the sturdy engineers. In a moment, they were ‘‘to arms’’ or rather to their tools; stole a march, and in the space of three short hours the last quarter of a mile of track was laid, including a section of one of the most substantial bridges on the coast. Well did they steal their march. And well, do we think, our sentinel must have slept. The right of way to this Company for crossing the Colorado ended on the following day, the 30th of September. On the 29th at eleven o'clock at night, they ran the first steam cars over this bridge from California into Arizona. Since then, it has been authentically decided that they had the right to do so, and the work of extending the road on through Arizona is about to commence with the same indomitable pluck characterizing the road to its present terminus.

Distance often gives an erroneous interpretation, as well as an enchantment. We think this is somewhat the case writ Yuma. Yuma is the new name for Arizona City. It is not an Indian village; though


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AN INDIAN BELLE OF THE YUMA INDIANS.


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an-Indian village exists contiguous to it, and a full representation of the old Yuma tribes constitute an equal half of its daily population. Blanketed and half-nude Indians associate as intimately with the whites (what few there are here) as do the Mexicans themselves.

The town itself, is strictly of Mexican origin, and savors of all the looseness and primitiveness characteristic of the smaller, out-of-the-way towns in the Republic of Mexico.

Standing on the promontory where the fort is located on the California side, and looking over, and at an angle of perhaps 20°, one sees a mass of one story buildings, built of adobe, and roofed with mud, the floors of which were originally the ground, but which have been, by the more thrifty foreigners of all classes recently arrived, replaced by board ones. Some are whitewashed, and present a cleanly appearance; while others are the embodiment of the filth of the greaser. One or two genuine Spanish houses built in the quadrangular form with the garden plot in the center, and two stories high with a veranda, where flower-stands bedecked with flowers, cheer this otherwise barren place. The town of Yuma


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was first founded about 1855, and was then called Colorado City. In 1858 it contained about half a dozen houses, according to Ives' report on government explorations. The name was then changed to Arizona City, and afterwards to Yuma City, in honor of the government fort across the river. It now numbers about two thousand people of all classes, including Indians.

The hour of eight, every morning now, when the train comes in, is an interesting one in Yuma. There is then congregated, with eager eyes, Indians, Chinese, Americans; Jew, Gentile, and Pagan. In fact, most every nation and condition of men on the earth, one might be inclined to say, is represented. The same conglomeration, characteristic of all embryo places of the West, is here seen. It seems to us that now would be a good time for the study of the Psychologist in Yuma, as it is interesting to the traveler.

At night the Indian huts and camp fires may be seen glimmering around the city. As one approaches these and sees, crouched together, a handful of half-clothed, beggarly Indians, a feeling of sadness steals over him. They will sit with stoic stillness and stare at you with an awe-stricken expression


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INDIAN GROUP,


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as if they knew that their hour for final extermination was at hand. The fires perhaps, may be fading into dying embers. Upon this you will look and muse. For how typical, in its fading, is it of the very race to which it has given warmth and life. You count one, two, three, four, five remaining embers in the heap. There are just five Indians in the group. As quickly as those embers, must these Indians fade away under our civilization; and we wonder, that if, in our civilized state, were we truly so, this would be the case.

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