A Look at Arizona's Past provided by an Arizona Land Surveying Company

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This weeks Look at Arizona's Past...

Chapter 132 - From #18 ; The oriole is a summer bird appearing in the valleys to the south as soon as the ash trees are fully in leaf, announcing himself with a little bar of music full of quaint beauty. You will probably hear his song weeks before you see him. Later, however, when your figs and apricots are ripe, you are able to admire his dazzling cloth of gold without any trouble whatever. But unless he brings too many of his family with him you are willing to sacrifice some of your fruit for the distinction of his elegant company.

An exceptionally companionable bird of the Lower Sonoran zone is the red-winged black bird. You find him all through the Salt River valley, frequenting, especially, alfalfa fields and city lawns, where there is water about. During the winter they congregate in great flocks, and, like most birds, are at their best in the mating time in the spring. It is then that the red epaulets on the shoulders of the male are the brightest, and the sheen of his black coat the most brilliant. How he does preen and strut before his lady, and his call of "Ok-ah-lee-ah!" is certainly the epitome of good spirits.

The yellow-headed black birds make even a more striking appearance than the red-wings. Their usual habitat is the swamps and tules, but occasionally after rains they are seen in distant localities, like Tucson and Phoenix, where their discordant notes are as unmusical as their plumage is beautiful.

Of all of Arizona's long list of handsome birds, including the pyrrhuloxia, the bunting and the tanager, there is none more beautiful than the Arizona cardinal. Though not common in the Salt River valley and other desert Chapters of the Lower Sonoran zone, he may be often seen in canyons in the lower foothills, like that at Castle Hot Springs, or about the Roosevelt Lake, where he is the admiration of all beholders.

When we reach the mountains practically all of the lowland birds have disappeared. Here our choicest song birds are the canyon wrens, whose rippling, joyous music, as they rollick down the scale, is a delight to the heart. They are fearless, friendly birds. A pair of them built a nest on a beam in our study, rearing a family within eight feet of our clattering typewriter.

Another favorite mountain bird is the blackheaded grosbeak, who is handsome in appearance and has a song both sweet and clear.

Humming birds are found all through the mountains. Indeed, altogether in the state, there are fourteen distinct species, and only eighteen species in all the United States.

The hobo of bird land is the blue jay. In Arizona he lives exclusively in the mountains. If we are camping, the Woodhouse jay, a non-crested bird, who dresses in gray-blue, will nonchalantly drop in on us almost before the provision box is opened.

The first thing he says is: "I'll stay to lunch if you don't mind," and in his anxiety to assure you that he is thoroughly at home, he will take the bacon as it sizzles in the frying pan—if you give him half a chance.

The dark blue, crested jay is also often seen in the mountains. He is a handsomer bird than the Woodhouse and with better manners.

Among the few birds that inhabit both the mountains and the lowlands is the western robin, who, if the season is rainy, is apt to winter in the warm valleys of the southern part of the state, going into the mountains for the summer.

The elegant phainopepla, with his gentlemanly suit of black and white and neat helmet, also is a mountain summer visitor, who spends the late winter season in the valleys.

The busiest birds in the mountains are the woodpeckers, after the acorns are ripe. They first bore holes in the trunk of a dead pine tree, then each gets an acorn and drives it into his hole—not, as the uninformed might suppose, to eat the acorn afterwards, that would be too simple—later a worm comes to eat the acorn, then the woodpecker returns to eat the worm.

About The Historical Texts

Following is the list of uncopyrighted publications used for the History of Arizona and the Southwest. All can be easily found on-line in PDF format. Sorted by publication date they are:

  1. The Memoir of the Proposed Territory of Arizona - 1857 | By Sylvester Mowry
  2. Arizona and Sonora - 1863 | By Sylvester Mowry
  3. The Territory of Arizona_1874 | By Arizona Legislative Assembly
  4. Resources of Arizona - 1881 | By Arizona Legislative Assembly
  5. The History of Arizona and New Mexico, Volume 17 - 1889 - (Arizona Portion) | By Hubert Howe Bancroft
  6. Titan of Chasms the Grand Canyon - 1906 | By C.A. Higgins, J.W. Powell, Chas.F.Lumins
  7. Reminiscences of a Soldiers Wife - 1907 - (Arizona Portion) | By Ellen McGowan Biddle
  8. The First Through the Grand Canyon - 1915 | By Major John Wesley Powell
  9. The History of Arizona, Volume 1 - 1915 (starting Chapter VII) | By Thomas Edwin Farish
  10. The History of Arizona, Volume 2 - 1915 | By Thomas Edwin Farish
  11. The History of Arizona, Volume 3 - 1916 | By Thomas Edwin Farish
  12. The History of Arizona, Volume 4 - 1916 | By Thomas Edwin Farish
  13. The History of Arizona, Volume 5 - 1918 | By Thomas Edwin Farish
  14. The History of Arizona, Volume 6 - 1918 | By Thomas Edwin Farish
  15. The History of Arizona, Volume 7 - 1918 | By Thomas Edwin Farish
  16. The History Of Arizona, Volume 8 - 1918 | By Thomas Edwin Farish
  17. Arizona the Wonderland - 1917 | By George Wharton James
  18. The Story of Arizona - 1919 | By Will H. Robinson

The majority of the publications listed here were written with the intent to be historically accurate. This is not an attempt to make a point of historical fact by providing this information. It is intended to simply share what is documented about the American Southwest, primarily on the Arizona Territorial area.

There are no living people to speak for the time period related here. We must use recorded information to look into that era. The point-of-view of today is different from those living then. The intent here is not to provide an opinion. If one spends time reading the material listed, it will be enlightening as to life in the untamed Territory of Arizona as it was in the minds of the people of at that era.

Regarding the stories of the all of people in the Territory of Arizona it can bring out all emotions. From sympathy to anger and sadness to admiration, you will feel something. It is difficult to imagine what it would be like to be living here, or traveling through, at different times in the past. It is hopeful that all will find a least find some amusement looking through the window of the past provided here.

A little about the Arizona Land Surveyors of yester-year

It was a rough life for the Land Surveyor of yester-year. The Survey party that was sent out then consisted of a large crew. Usually between 5-7 men. There was a head Land Surveyor along with a couple of Land Surveyor trainees which pulled the chain. The chain was an actual 66 foot long chain, with 100 links, used to measure distance. It looks similar to what holding the flags at the base of the page. There were laborers to help clear trees and brush out of the way. Given the crude equipment of the time, it is amazing how accurate some of the old Land Surveyor's measurements were.

Land Surveying in Arizona Started in 1866. From a report in 1867 by Joseph S. Wilson, Commissioner of the General Land Office : "A contract was entered into with Deputy Surveyor William H. Pierce on the 15th day of December, 1866, for the survey in Arizona of 96 miles of the Gila and Salt River Meridian; 36 miles of the base line and standard and exterior township boundary lines, to amount in the aggregate to a sum not exceeding $7,500. Mr. Pierce completed the survey of the meridian from the initial corner north 24 miles, the base line from the same corner east 36 miles, and the first standard parallel north along the south boundary of township 5 north, east 42 miles, and west 42 miles, when the military protection which had been furnished him was withdrawn, and he was compelled to quit the field, the Indians infesting the country, rendering it unsafe and impracticable to continue the work without military escort. At his request, and by your order, Mr. Pierce has been released from further obligation to prosecute the work under his contract."

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Our Weekly Look into the Past of Arizona...

Chapter 132 - From #18 ; The oriole is a summer bird appearing in the valleys to the south as soon as the ash trees are fully in leaf, announcing himself with a little bar of music full of quaint beauty. You will probably .........Continue to complete Chapter

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