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 24 Land Surveyor Weekly From #02: The history of Arizona since 1859 has two aspects — one of great and steady improvement, the other of calamity and decline. The first was the natural result of the development of the great natural resources of the Territory ; the second of fortuitous circumstances, and the shameful abandonment and neglect of the country by the administration at Washington. The uninterrupted success of the Great Overland Mail brought in its train a constantly increasing immigration. The valleys of the Santa .Cruz, Sonoita, San Pedro, and Mimbres were rapidly filling up with farmers, while on the Gila many thousand dollars were expended in taking out acequias, and redeeming the rich bottom lands at available points. The Federal Government promised protection, and did, in fact, establish new military posts to protect the infant settlement. These posts, however, were poorly garrisoned. The troops were mostly infantry — almost useless to pursue or punish the Apaches.

The small cavalry force in the Territory, although most ably handled by Captain R. S. Ewell, First Dragoons, United States Army (since Major General Ewell of the Confederate Army), was entirely unable to make a campaign with decisive results against the Indians. In spite of this serious drawback new mines were opened, capital obtained in the East for their development ; the farmers flourished and built permanent improvements, and each year showed a decided advance upon the last.

The change came suddenly and without warning. The Overland Mail was withdrawn, then the troops, and the settlements in the valleys above-named succumbed almost at once to the attacks of the Apaches. Many lives were lost ; property of all description was abandoned ; crops to an enormous amount were left standing in the fields, never to be gathered. Never was desolation so sudden, so complete. In my late journey from Tucson to Guaymas, I passed over one hundred and fifty miles of beautiful country, studded with ranches and farms, where at every step were found comfortable houses, out-buildings, fences, and tilled fields utterly abandoned and tenantless.

The mining interest suflered at the same time. Partly through the cowardice of agents and superintendents, partly through the fault of Eastern directors, the various silver mines in Central Arizona were temporarily abandoned, and I was left with a handful of men who were willing to share my fortune, and, if Fate so willed, it, be the last Americans in the Territory to fall by the lance or arrow of the Apache.

We not only survived, but we built up a great work in the heart of the country ; thoroughly demonstrated the great value of the mines ; and, what is more and better, proved conclusively that the Apaches are no obstacle to working in the Territory, compared to the great result to be accomplished. It is sufficient proof of this that I did not lose two hours' work in ten months on account of the Indians. Some valuable lives were lost, but it was by recklessly disregarding my repeated injunctions and directions.

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 24 Land Surveyor Weekly From #02: The history of Arizona since 1859 has two aspects — one of great and steady improvement, the other of calamity and decline. The first was the natural result of the development of the great natural resources of the Territory ; the second of fortuitous circumstances, and the shameful .........Continue to complete Chapter

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