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This weeks Look at Arizona's Past...

Chapter 56 Land Surveyor Weekly From #02: From Hon. Miguel A. Otero. - House of Representatives, Jan. 29, 1859. Dear Sir,—In compliance with your request on yesterday to furnish you in writing what, in my opinion, was two years ago the population of that portion south of the Territory of New Mexico bordering upon the Rio Grande, and now within the limits of the proposed Territory of Arizona, and also what I believe may now be the population embraced within that region of country, excluding the western part of that Territory, I take pleasure in stating to you that the number of people residing in what is generally known as the Mesilla Valley, on both sides of the Rio Grande, could not have been less than 7000 people at that time, when I canvassed that portion of New Mexico for Congress two years ago. I had a good opportunity of judging of the amount of population in it at that time. The vote cast there was about 1000; but I am free to say that that is no criterion by which to estimate or judge of the amount of population living there, because there were no more than one half of the voters who were able to vote in consequence of the rainy weather at that time. Many, too, were challenged on the ground that they were foreigners, and did not vote. If the weather had permitted it, and a full vote have been cast, it could not have been less than 1500 or 1700 votes.

I learn farther that since that time much immigration has gone into the country, and I have no doubt that there are now at least 2000 votes in the Mesilla Valley, and about 8000 inhabitants. - As to the population on the western portion of the proposed Territory, I had no opportunity to learn. It is my belief, however, that the population west of the Mesilla Valley can not be less than 2000 inhabitants, making, therefore, the whole population of the Territory about 10,000 or 11,000 inhabitants. It may be even greater than this, when we take into consideration not only the unsettled condition of the Mexican states bordering on that Territory, the establishment of the Overland Mail through it, both of which considerations must naturally conduce to the increase of population, but also the discoveries of gold diggings in the Gila River. These facts, doubtless, have contributed much to the settlement of the country. - Such, sir, is briefly my judgment with regard to the population of the Territory of Arizona. You know that I have no reason to overestimate the number of inhabitants there; and what I state is no more than an impartial statement of fact, which you are at liberty to make such use of as you may best think. - Truly yours, etc. Miguel A. Otero. - Sylvester Mowry, Esq.

From S. W. Inge Esq. My Dear Sir,—I have received your letter stating your intention to republish simultaneously here and New York your lecture upon Arizona and Sonora, and asking me to give you my impressions of Sonora formed during a recent visit to that state. The republication of your lecture in view of the general attention now being directed to the countries bordering upon the Gulf of California will be opportune, and I regret my inability to add any thing of value to the information it will embody. - My exploration of Sonora was limited to the territory lying between Guaymas and the rich mineral district of San Xavier. The section of Sonora included between the lines of 27 Degrees and 30 Degrees north latitude presents a remarkable combination of advantages. The climate is every where salubrious, from the Gulf to the Sierra Madre, and so mild and genial that the fruits of the tropics ripen in the month of January in the foot-hills of the mountains 120 miles from the Gulf. - The surface is generally level, diversified here and there by isolated mountains, conical or table-topped, which give grandeur to the landscape without occupying much of the arable area. The soil is of great depth and richness, resembling in many localities the lands of the Caney and Bvazos in Texas, but happily exempt from the malaria of the latter. The sugar-cane and other valuable staples of the tropics, and of the states bordering on the Gulf of Mexico, may be successfully cultivated. As in Alabama, the cereals will mature into a golden harvest separated only by a hedge or a highway from the snowy fleece of the cotton-plant. The mineral wealth of this state is traditional, and my examination of the district of San Xavier has confirmed the truth of tradition. In this respect Sonora is entitled to precedence of all the states of Mexico. - Having these natural elements of wealth and greatness, with a sea-port unsurpassed in convenience and security, I anticipate for Sonora the same rapid and wonderful development that has been realized in California. - Very respectfully yours, S. W. Inge. -- Hon. Sylvester Mowry, San Francisco.

From Major C. E. Bennett, U. S. A. - San Francisco, Feb. 20th, 1863. - Dear Sir,— In compliance with your request, I take pleasure in stating that I resided in Arizona several months. During the past year I traveled from California to the Rio Grande and back, via Tucson. - Some portions of Arizona are valueless tracts of land, but the greater part of the country lying between Tucson and the Rio Grande is the finest pasture-land in America. With water, which I have no doubt can be obtained in ample quantities by Artesian boring, there are large portions that would become valuable agricultural districts. The valleys of the Rio Grande, Gila, San Pedro, Santa Cruz, and Mimbres Rivers will sustain a large population; and I am informed that the valleys north of the Gila River are rich, and heavily timbered. I constantly heard of great mineral wealth, but from my connection with the army had no personal experience in the mines. The road to the Rio Grande from Tucson is the finest natural road in the world. - I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant, - C. E. Bennett, Major 1st Cav. C. V., U. S. A.

From Sam. F. Butterworth, Esq. - New York City, May 25,1864. - Sir,—Since reading your work upon Arizona and Sonora, I have made an extended journey into those regions to examine certain mines, accompanied by three accomplished metallurgists and mining engineers. I take great pleasure in saying that I find your work accurate and reliable, and in reference to the mineral and agricultural resources of those portions of Arizona and Sonora visited by me, that your statements are confirmed not only by my own observations, but also by the written opinions of the eminent scientific gentlemen who accompanied me. - I have the honor to be your friend and servant, Sam. F. Buttekworth. -- Hon. Sylvester Mowry, of Arizona, etc., etc.

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 56 Land Surveyor Weekly From #02: From Hon. Miguel A. Otero. - House of Representatives, Jan. 29, 1859. Dear Sir,—In compliance with your request on yesterday to furnish you in writing what, in my opinion, was two years ago the population of that portion south of the Territory of New Mexico bordering upon the Rio Grande, and now within the limits of the proposed Territory of Arizona, and also what I believe may now be the population embraced within that .........Continue to complete Chapter

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