MEMOIR OF THE PROPOSED TERRITORY OF ARIZONA.
SYLVESTER MOWRY, U. S. A., DELEGATE ELECT.
WASHINGTON: HENRY POLKINHORN, PRINTER. 1857.
“The NEW TERRITORY of ARIZONA, better known as the GADSDEN PURCHASE, lies between the thirty-first and thirty-third parallels of latitude, and is bounded on the north by the Gila River, which separates it from the territory of New Mexico; on the east by the Rio Bravo del Norte, (Rio Grande), which separates it from Texas; on the south by Chihuahua and Sonora, Mexican provinces; and on the west by the Colorado River of the West, which separates it from Upper and Lower California. This great region is six hundred miles long by about fifty miles wide, and embraces an area of about thirty thousand square miles. It was acquired by purchase from Mexico, during the mission of General Gadsden, at a cost of ten millions of dollars. In the original treaty, as negotiated by General Gadsden, a more southern boundary than the one adopted by the Senate of the United States in confirming the treaty, was conceded by Santa Anna. The line at present is irregular in its course, and cuts off from our Territory the head of the Santa Cruz river and valley, the Sonoita valley, the San Bernardino valley, the whole course of the Colorado river from a point twenty miles below the mouth of the Gila river, and, worse than all, the control of the head of the Gulf of California, and the rich and extensive valley of Lake Guzman, besides a large and extremely valuable silver region, well known both to Mexicans and Americans–the planchas de la Platte. General Gadsden’s line included nearly all the territory south of the Gila river to the thirty-first parallel of latitude–all the advantages above mentioned–gave us the mouth of the Colorado river, and probably a port near the head of the gulf at Adair’s Bay. We have no accurate survey of the west coast of the Gulf of California, but I am strongly of opinion that the original line conceded by Mexico would have thrown a portion of the gulf into American hands, by cutting off an arm of it extending east and north from the main body of water. A port on the gulf is of great and immediate necessity to our Pacific possessions. Of this hereafter.
The proposed boundaries, of the Territory of Arizona, are the 34th parallel of latitude, with New Mexico on the north, from the 103d meridian west to the Colorado; Texas on the east; Texas, and the Mexican provinces of New Mexico and Sonora on the south; and California on the west. The new Territory would thus contain within its borders the three largest rivers on the Continent,west of the Mississippi©-the Rio Grande, Gila, and Colorado of the west, and embrace 90,000 square miles.
The Gadsden purchase is attached by act of Congress to the Territory of New Mexico. At the time of its acquisition there was scarcely any population except a few scattering Mexicans in the Mesilla valley, and at the old town of Tucson, in the centre of the territory. The Apache Indian, superior in strength to the Mexican, had gradually extirpated every trace of civilization, and roamed uninterrupted and unmolested, sole possessor of what was once a thriving and populous Spanish province.
Except the report of Col. A. B. Gray, there is scarcely anything in print with reference to the early history of Arizona, beyond the scanty but valuable notes of Major Emory and Hon. John R. Bartlett, in their reports, and in the appendix to Wilson’s late book, “Mexico and its Religion.” To this last I beg to refer any reader who desires accurate information respecting the Northern Mexican provinces, presented in a straightforward common-sense style.
In the possession of the writer of these notes is a map drawn in 1757, just one hundred years ago, presented by the Society of Jesuits to the King of Spain. The original of this map is now in the archives of the Mexican Government. It was copied, with the notes relating to the Territory, and to Sonora, Chihuahua, and Sinaloa, by Capt. C. P. Stone, late of the United States Army. The map bears the inscription, “Carte levee par la Societe des Jesuites, dediee au Roi d’Espagne en 1757.”
The copy of the map and the accompanying notes are certified as accurate by the officer of the Mexican Government in charge of the archives.
My information, therefore, upon the early history of this comparatively unknown domain, is accurate and reliable. As early as 1687, a Jesuit missionary from the province of Sonora, which, in its southern portion, bore already the impress of Spanish civilization, descended the valley of Santa Cruz river to the Gila. Passing down the Gila to its mouth, after exploring the country, he retraced his steps, penetrated the country north of the Gila river for some distance, and ascended the Salinas or Salt river, and other northern branches of the Gila. The explorations of this energetic priest did not stop here. Proceeding east, he explored the valley of the San Pedro and its branches, thence along the Gila to the Mimbres, and probably to the Rio Grande and the Mesilla valley. Filled with the enthusiasm of his sect, he procured authority from the head of the order in Mexico, and established missions and settlements at every available point. In a report to the government of the viceroy of Spain, made during the early settlement of the province, I find the following language: “A scientific exploration of Sonora, with reference to mineralogy, along with the introduction of families, will lead to a discovery of gold and silver so marvellous thatthe result will be such as has never yet been seen in the world.”
The reports of the immense mineral wealth of the new country, made by the Jesuits, induced a rapid settlement. There are laid down on the map before me more than forty towns and villages. Many of these were of considerable size. There were a few north of the Gila, and several on the lower Gila, near the Colorado. The Santa Cruz and its tributary valleys teemed with an agricultural and mining population. Thousands of enterprising Spaniards cultivated the rich valley of the San Pedro, and scattered settlements flourished at every suitable stream and spring at the foot of the mountains towards the Rio Grande. The notes before me say: “All these settlements and missions were founded in fertile valleys, and by streams and springs, which produced luxuriant crops of wheat, corn, and beans, and in many parts grapes and other foreign fruits were cultivated.”
In the western part of the Territory were the missions of St. Pierre, St. Paul, St. Matthias, St. Simond, St. Francisco, Merci, the ranches of Eau Cheri, Eau de la Lune, and others; on the Santa Cruz the missions of San Xavier del Bac, Santiago, San Cayetano, and San Philipe, the towns of Tueson, Tubac, Reges, San Augusta, and many others. San Xavier del Bac is still in existence. It is a mission church of great size and beauty, magnificently ornamented within; forty thousand dollars in solid silver served to adorn the altar. Upon the San Pedro river were the missions of St. Mark, San Salvadore, San Pantaleon, Santa Cruz, and the towns of Quiduria, Rosario, Eugenia, Victoria, and San Fernando–the latter at the mouth–with many more. To the east some small settlements were found on the Valle del Sauz, on the Mimbres, at the copper mines north of the Mimbres, and to the south the immense grazing and stock-raising establishment of San Bernardino, where since have been raised hundreds of thousands of cattle and horses. The Indians in the vicinity of the missions were reduced first to obedience by the Jesuits, and then to slavery by the Spaniards.
The notes referred to above contain the names and localities of more than a hundred silver and gold mines which were worked with great success by the Spaniards. The survey of the Jesuit priest about 1687 was repeated in 1710 with renewed discoveries, and consequent accession of population. From this time up to 1757 the conquest and settlement of the country was prosecuted with vigor, both by the Jesuits’ Society and Spanish government.
The missions and settlements were repeatedly destroyed by the Apaches, and the priests and settlers massacred or driven off. As often were they re-established. The Indians at length, thoroughly aroused by the cruelties of the Spaniards, by whom they were deprived of their liberty, forced to labor in the silver mines with inadequate food, and barbarously treated, finally rose, joined with tribes who had never been subdued, and gradually drove out or massacred their oppressors. A superior civilizationdisappeared before their devastating career, and to day there is scarcely a trace of it left, except scarcely visible ruins, evidence everywhere, of extensive and hastily-deserted mining operations, and the tradition of the country. The mission of San Xavier del Bac, and the old towns of Tueson and Tubac, are the most prominent of these remains. The labors of the Jesuits to civilize the Indians are still evident in the mission Indians, the Papagos and Pimas, who live in villages, cultivate crops of corn and wheat, and who, in the Christian and human elements of good faith and charity, are, to say the least, in no way inferior to the Mexicans. After the massacre of four of Crabbe’s unfortunate party near Sonoita by the Mexicans, the Papago Indians buried carefully the bodies to which Mexican inhumanity had denied this last charitable office. It is a curious and suggestive fact that the latitude of places upon Gila, Santa Cruz, and San Pedro, determined by the Jesuits about 1750, has lately been verified by the observations of Park Michler, and Emory. The instruments used by the Jesuits were constructed by them, the lenses being made from pebbles.
From 1757 down to 1820, the Spaniards and Mexicans continued to work many valuable mines near Barbacora, and the notes in my possession speak of many silver mines, most of which contained a percentage of gold. “The San Pedro gold mine in 1748 was worked with extraordinary success.” Among the mines anciently worked, as laid down in the authorities heretofore referred to, were the Dolores, San Antonio, Casa Gordo, Cabrisa, San Juan Batista, Santa Anna, (which was worked to the depth of one hundred and twenty yards,) Rosario, Cata de Agua, Guadaloupe, Connilla, Prieta, Santa Catarina, Guzopa, Huratano, Arpa, Descuhidara, Nacosare, Arguage, Churinababi, Huacal, Pinal, and a great number of others which it would only be tedious to mention.
The most celebrated modern localities are Arivaca, (also anciently famous as Aribac,) Sopori, the Arizona mountains, the Santa Rita range, the Cerro Colorado, the entire vicinity of Tubac, the Del Ajo, or Arizona copper mine, the Gadsonia copper mine, and the Gila river copper mines. These last are situated directly upon the Gila, only twenty-five miles from its mouth. The writer assures the public that there is no room for doubt as to the authenticity of these statements, or the immense resources of the new Territory in silver, copper, and probably gold. As late as 1820, the Mina Cobre de la Plata, (silver copper mines,) near Fort Webster, north of the Gila, were worked to great advantage; and so rich was the ore that it paid for transportation on muleback more than a thousand miles to the city of Mexico.
Every exploration within the past few years has confirmed the statements of the ancient records. The testimony of living Mexicans, and the tradition of the country, all tend to the same end. Col. A. B. Gray, Col. Emory, Lt. Michler, Lt. Parke, the Hon. John R. Bartlett, late of the United States Boundary Commission, all agree in the statement that the Territory hasimmense resources in silver and copper. Col. Emory says in his report:
“On account of the Gold Mania in California I kept the search for gold and other precious metals as much out of view as possible, scarcely allowing it to be a matter of conversation, much less of actual search. Yet, enough was ascertained to convince us that the whole region was teeming with the precious metals. We everywhere saw the remains of mining operations, conducted by the Spaniards, and more recently by the Mexicans.”
The report enumerates at considerable length the various localities examined by Col. Emory’s party, and others, of which there could be no doubt.
In view of these authorities, it is hoped that those who will not believe upon any evidence, will be content in their own incredulity. The most authentic reports of these immense mineral resources have been used as authorities against their existence. The authors of these denials either have never read what they pretend to quote, or think no one else has. The Hon. T. Butler King, who was the first to reveal to an incredulous public the wonders of the California gold mines, has had the singular good fortune to be also among the first to publish correct and authentic information relating to the silver treasures of Arizona. His report upon the resources of the new Territory has all the charm to the reader that his California report had, and its brilliant predictions will be as fully realized. To Gray and Emory is the country most indebted for the earliest and most important discoveries.
The agricultural resources of Arizona, are sufficient to sustain a large mining population, and afford abundant supplies for the great immigration which will follow the development of its mineral resources. The whole valley of the Gila, more than four hundred miles in length, can be made with proper exertion to yield plentiful crops. The Pimos Indians, who live in villages on the Gila, one hundred and seventy miles from its mouth, raise large crops of cotton, wheat, and corn, and have for years supplied the thousands of emigrants who traverse the Territory en route to California. These Indians manufacture their cotton into blankets of fine texture and beautiful pattern, which command a high price. They also grind their corn and wheat, and make bread. In fact, the Pimos realize in their everyday life something of our ideas of Aztec civilization. A town will probably grow up just above the Pimos villages, as there is a rich back country, and the streams afford a valuable water power for running mills.
The valley of the Santa Cruz traverses the territory from South to North, sinking near the town of Tueson, and probably finding its way to the Gila, as a subterranean stream. This valley, of the richest land, is about one hundred miles long, in many places of great width, and has on each side of it many rich valleys of limited extent, watered by streams from the mountains, which flowinto the Santa Cruz. The valleys and Ranches of Arivaca, Sopori, Calabazas, and Tueson, are those at present most thickly settled. These produce all the fruits known to a Southern clime–grapes, wheat, corn, and cotton in great abundance. The San Pedro river and valley is also one of great richness, and is reported by Lieut. Parke as capable of sustaining a large population. The Valle de Sauz, still farther East, more limited than the San Pedro or Santa Cruz, can be made available for a considerable population. The Mimbres River also can, by a small outlay, be made to irrigate a large surface and supply a moderate settlement. The various springs laid down by Gray, Emory, Parke, and Bartlett, will all afford water for small settlements, and their supply can be much increased by a judicious outlay of money. The Rio Grande valley is very rich, and in places of great width. The Mesilla valley already contains a population of about five thousand souls, and there is ample room for many more.
If, as proposed, the Northern boundary of the Arizona Territory should enclose the Northern branches of the Gila, an agricultural region will be opened to settlement sufficient in itself to sustain the population of an immense agricultural State. Col. Bonneville, who is now at the head of a large force exploring this region, writes to the Secretary of War that it is the finest country he has ever seen, “valleys capable of sustaining a population of twenty thousand each, teeming at every step with evidences of an immense population long ago-and an ancient and superior civilization.” The Hon. John R. Bartlett says of the “Salinas,” one of the Northern branches of the Gila, that it alone will supply food for a great State. It must be recollected, in this connection, that the great mineral wealth of Arizona will call for and amply repay for the redemption and expensive cultivation of all the available lands, and that irrigation produces immensely greater crops than the other method of planting. Throughout the whole of Utah, irrigation has been resorted to with the greatest success. The soil in Utah, in no place that the writer saw it, could in any way be compared to that of the bottom lands of Arizona.
Captain Whipple in his valuable report of exploration for the Pacific Railroad, published by order of Congress, crossed the upper part of the region alluded to, and which is watered by the Rio Verde and Salinas. He fully sustains me in my remarks on those rich valleys.
“We are in the pleasantest region we have seen since leaving the Choctaw country. Here are clear rivulets, with fertile valleys and forest trees. The wide belt of country that borders the Black Forest, and probably extends along the Rio Verde to the Salinas and Gila, bears every indication of being able to support a large agricultural and pastoral population. The valley of the Rio Verde is magnificently wooded with furs and oaks, affording excellent timber. Ancient ruins are said by trappers to be scattered over its whole length to the confluence with the Salinas. We, therefore, seem to have skirted the boundary of a country oncepopulous, and worthy of becoming so again. Besides the advantages already enumerated, the mountains in this vicinity bear indications of mineral wealth. Vol. 3, p. 93.”
The notes before referred to, in the possession of the writer, speak of great farming and grazing establishments scattered over the whole face of the Territory, between 1610 and 1800, which produced abundant crops of cereals, fruits, and grapes. These statements are confirmed by the testimony of Major Emory and his report, where he enumerates several of the most extensive–by Gray, Bartlett, Parke, and Col. Bonneville. Many of the Ranches, deserted by the Mexicans on account of the Apache Indians, have upon them large, well-built adobe houses which must have cost the builders thousands of dollars. Many of these have been occupied under squatter titles by emigrants within the last few years. Of others, only the ruins remain, having been destroyed by the depredations of the Indians, or by the heavy rains of the succeeding years.
The greater portion of these lands on the Santa Cruz and San Pedro are covered by Mexican titles-©and many of these again by squatter claims. It is absolutely necessary that Congress should by some wise and speedy legislation settle, upon some definite basis, the land titles of Arizona. Until this is done, disorder and anarchy will reign supreme over the country. The present condition of California is in a great degree to be attributed to the want of any title to the most valuable real property in the State, and the millions which have been spent in fruitless litigation should teach a lesson of great practical value. Let those Spanish grants and Mexican titles which have been occupied in good faith be affirmed in the most expeditious and economical manner to the claimants, and they will immediately pass into American hands, and become productive. The remainder of the country should then be thrown open to settlers. No better code of mining law exists than the Spanish, adopted in the Senate bill introduced by the late General Rusk, and passed at the last session of Congress. A judicious and liberal donation law, giving to the actual settler a homestead, and to the enterprising miner and “prospector” a fair security for the fruit of his labors, will at once make of Arizona a popular, thriving and wealthy State, affording new markets for the productions of our Atlantic States, and yielding annually millions in silver and copper.
In addition to the produce of Arizona, the immediate vicinity of the agricultural region of Sonora affords an abundant market for all necessary supplies, including sugar, which is manufactured by the Mexicans in great quantities from the cane. Guyamas, which one day will be ours, is one of the largest ports for the export of flour on the Pacific coast north of Chili. She also exports several millions in silver annually, which finds its way direct to the English market. Under an intelligent system, the Sonora mines would yield a hundred millions a year, and the supply is inexhaustible. If any reader doubts this statement, refer him to the statistics of Humboldt, Ward, and Wilson, most unquestionedand valuable authorities. Both Humboldt and Ward note the fact that the silver deposites grow richer as they are traced farther North. There can be no doubt that the most extensive and valuable mines, both of pure silver and silver mixed with copper and lead, are within the limits of Arizona.
The yield of the silver mines of Mexico, as computed by Ward and Humboldt from the actual official returns to the Government, from the conquest to 1803, amounts to the enormous sum of $2,027,955,000, or more than two BILLIONS Of dollars. Again, Ward says: “I am aware that many of the statements in this and the preceding books respecting the mineral riches of the North of New Spain, (Sonora, including the ‘Gadsden Purchase,’ Chihuahua, and Durango,) will be thought exaggerated. THEY ARE NOT SO; they will be confirmed by every future report, and in after years, the public, FAMILIARIZED WITH facts which are only questioned because they are new, will wonder at its present incredulity, and regret the loss of advantages which may not always be within its reach.”
Of the present mining operations in the Territory of Arizona, the most considerable, in point of labor performed and results, is “The Arizona Copper Mining Co.” This company is incorporated by the California Legislature, with a capital of one million of dollars. The President is Major Robert Allen, U. S. A. The mines are old, and very celebrated in Mexico under the name of El-Ajo. This company, at an expense of $100,000, have supplied their mines with an abundance of water, extracted several hundred tons of ore, and erected buildings, smelting furnaces, and other appliances to facilitate their operations. They employ about one hundred men, mostly Mexican miners. Their supplies of breadstuffs and beef are obtained by contract from Sonora. These mines are situated one hundred and thirty miles from the mouth of the Gila River, and about sixty miles south of it. The ore varies in richness from thirty to sixty per cent, and the proceeds of some sales in London were quoted as being the highest prices ever paid for ore in that market. A portion of this mine is owned by English capitalists, and it is without doubt one of the most valuable in the world. The profits may be easily calculated, when it is known that the ore costs delivered in Swansea, England, not exceeding $125 per ton, and is worth from $200 to $375 per ton. Of course these profits will be greatly increased when the company is in a position to smelt its ores at the mine. The Sonora Exploring and Mining Company was organized in 1856, with a capital of two million dollars ($2,000,000). Its principal office is in Cincinnati, Ohio, and its seat of operations at Tubac, in the Santa Cruz valley. This company is managed in its mining operations by Chas. D. Poston, Esq., a gentleman of much experience on the Pacific coast, and of great energy of character.
The Rancho of Arivaca, containing several valuable silver mines, and seventeen thousand acres of valuable land, has been purchased by this company. It has also acquired the titles to a number ofother valuable mines of galena ore, and copper containing silver and gold. Hitherto, the exertions of the company have been directed principally to explorations and cleaning out the old mines, but they have at present above ground, ready for smelting, several thousand dollars worth of their ores. Prof. Booth, U. S. Assayer, as well as other distinguished authorities, have, after thorough experiment, given to the company certificates of the great richness of the ores already shipped to the east. The annual report of the Sonora Mining Co. is full of interest to the general reader. The Sopori mine is another very valuable property. It is owned by Messrs. Douglass, Aldrich, and another. Want of capital has prevented the extensive development of this mine. It affords its proprietors a handsome profit, worked in the smallest and cheapest manner. The vein is of great size, has been traced several rods in length, and pays about one dollar to the pound of ore. The writer has examined specimens from the “Sopori,” taken at random, and so rich is the ore that the native silver can be cut out of it with a penknife, as out of a Mexican dollar. Undoubtedly the Sopori mine is destined to yield hundreds of millions. It is a peculiarity of the ores in this district that they run near the surface, making mining of comparative small cost. The Sopori mine is surrounded by a fine country, well watered and wooded. The “Gadsonia Copper Mining Co.,” after taking out a few tons of exceedingly rich ore–averaging over eighty per cent.–was obliged to suspend operations on account of the cost of transportation. When the Territory shall be organized and capital protected by law, these mines will be worked to advantage. “The Gila River Copper Mines” are more favorably situated than any other yet opened, being directly on the Gila River, only twenty-five miles from its mouth. The ores can be taken from the mine, immediately shipped upon flat boats or a light draft steamer, and transported down the Colorado River to the head of the Gulf of California, when they can be transhipped to England at small cost. Upwards of twenty veins of copper ore have been opened, and the assays give results varying from 30 to 70 per cent. These mines are owned by Messrs. Hooper, Hinton, Halstead, and another. Several thousand dollars have been already expended in prospecting and opening veins, and it was anticipated by the proprietors that the first cargo would be shipped to Swansea, England, this year.
Smelting works will eventually be built at the mines, or at Colorado City, opposite Fort Yuma, and the profits of this company must be very great. The vicinity of the Colorado, and the abundance of wood and water, give the proprietors facilities for conducting their operations at small cost.
Silver mining is also carried on in the vicinity of Mesilla Valley, and near the Rio Grande. Many other mining operations are constantly being commenced; but the depredations of the Apache Indians have almost entirely snatched success from the hard-working miner, who, besides losing his all, is often massacred in some ferocious manner.
No protection, either civil or military, is extended over the greater portion of Arizona. This checks the development of all her resources–not only to her own injury, but that of California and the Atlantic States–by withholding a market for their productions, and the bullion which she is fully able to supply to an extent corresponding to the labor employed in obtaining it.
A. B. Gray, Esq., late U. S. Surveyor under the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, for running the Mexican Boundary, and subsequently Exploring Engineer and Surveyor of the Southern Pacific Railroad, has probably seen more of the proposed Territory of Arizona than any other person, his statements in reference to that region, embodied in a report to the Hon., the Secretary of the Interior, from actual field reconnoissances six years ago, will be read with much interest, particularly as since then, repeated developments in that country have proved the correctness of his judgment; his opinions are, therefore, of much importance, as expressed in his able report. It will be recollected that this was then Mexican Territory. Colonel Gray says:
“The public, I think have been misled by misrepresentations made in regard to the resources of the region of country lying along the Gila and upon the line proposed for a railroad at or near the parallel of 32 degrees north latitude. That portion of country east of the Rio Grande I can say but little of from personal observation, having been over but apart of the ground near the eastern division in Texas, and that in the vicinity of El Paso. At both these points, however, a fine country exists. Upon the Gila river grows cotton of the most superior kind. Its nature is not unlike that of the celebrated Sea Island cotton, possessing an equally fine texture, and, if anything, more of a silky fibre. The samples I procured at the Indian villages, from the rudely cultivated fields of the Pimas and Maricopas, have been spoken of as an extraordinary quality. Wheat, corn, and tobacco, together with beans, melons, etc., grow likewise upon the banks and in the valleys bordering the Gila and its tributaries. The sugar cane, too, I believe, will be found to thrive in this section of the country west of the Rio San Pedro. A sort of candied preserve and molasses, expressed from the fruit of the cereus giganteus and agave Americana was found by our party in 1851, as we passed through the Pinal Llano camps and among the Gila tribes, to be most acceptable. The candied preserve was a most excellent substitute for sugar. It is true that there are extensive wastes to be encountered west of the Rio Grande, yet they are not deserts of sand, but plains covered at certain seasons of the year with luxuriant grass, exhibiting green spots and springs not very remote from each other at all times. There is sufficient water in the Gila and its branches for all the purposes of irrigation when it is wanted, the streams being high during the season most needed. The Rio Salado, a tributary of the Gila, is a bold and far more beautiful river than the Gila itself, and, from the old ruins now seen there, must have had formerly a large settlement upon its banks. “To many persons merely travelling oremigrating across the country, with but one object in view, and that the reaching their destination on the Pacific, the country would generally present a barren aspect. But it will be recollected that the most productive fields in California, before American enterprise introduced the plough, and a different mode of cultivation from that of the natives of the country, presented somewhat similar appearance. Many believed, at first, from the cold and sterile look of the hills, and the parched appearance of the fields and valleys, over which the starving coyote is often seen prowling in search of something to subsist on, that California could never become an agricultural district, but must depend upon her other resources for greatness, and trust to distant regions for the necessaries of life required for her increased population. It was natural enough, too, that this impression should be created in those accustomed to a different State of things, and particularly when it is considered that the very season of blossom and bloom of our Atlantic States was the winter of California; but these same fields and hills have a very different appearance in January, February, and March, clothed as they are in the brightest verdure and no one now will pretend to say that California does not possess within herself great agricultural as well as mineral wealth. This, I believe, will some day be the case with the country from the Rio Grande to the Gulf of California, adjacent to the Gila. Senate Ex. Doc. No. 55, 33rd Congress, 2nd Session.”
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In speaking of the resources of this region for a railroad, in the same report, Gray says:
“The valley of Mesilla, extending from about twelve miles above the true boundary of the treaty to the parallel of 32 degrees 22 minutes north latitude, lies wholly within the disputed district, and is, for its extent, one of the most beautiful and fertile along the whole course of the Rio Grande. The town of Mesilla, only a few years old, contains several thousand people, and is a prosperous little place. It was not settled until after the cession of this territory to us by the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Portions of the valley are highly cultivated, and produce the grains and fruits of our most thriving States. In connexion with the land on the east side of the river, the valley of the Messilla is capable of sustaining a considerable population. It is situated centrally with regard to a large district of country of lesser agricultural capacity. The section of the Rio Grande in the vicinity of El Paso and the valley of Mesilla, is proverbial for the production of fine vegetables and fruits. Indeed, about El Paso, it is a complete garden with flourishing vineyards, equalling in excellence those of the most celebrated grape growing countries.
“By a judicious disposition of military stations along this line, only a few troops would be required to protect the great northern frontier of Sonora and Chihuahua, and enable us to carry out thellth article of our late treaty with Mexico more effectually, and at the same time prevent any depredations which the Indians might be disposed to commit on the road. Soon after, the settlement of the country would make the presence of the military unnecessary, either for the safety of a railway of the security of the frontier. The strong holds of the Apaches, and their pathway to Mexico, would be cut off.
“A wagon road established from the Gulf of California would enable supplies to be transported along this line at one-half of the present cost. The saving of one-third or more distance, through a comparatively unsettled country, in transportation is an important consideration in the construction of a railway, more especially when men and materials, to a great extent, must be brought from very remote points. The navigation of the Gulf of California is said to be very good. The trade-winds from the northwest, encountering the highlands of the peninsula of Lower California, and forming a counter current under its lee, enable sailing vessels to proceed advantageously along that coast. Returning, by keeping on the eastern aide, or along the shore of Sonora, they could avail themselves of the prevailing winds, which regain their usual direction after sweeping across the wide expanse of water. The trade of the Gulf, with its pearl fisheries and other resources, would be speedily developed.
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“The advantages of such a thoroughfare are obvious. Five years would hardly elapse before inestimable benefits would be realized; and, should war threaten our Pacific possessions, a few days would suffice to send from the Mississippi valley an army that would defy any force that the most formidable power could array against us. The fine cotton region of the Gila, the rich copper, silver, and gold mines of New Mexico and Sonora would be at once developed, bringing a vast district of country into cultivation which now presents a fruitless waste, owing to Indian depredations and the absence of means of communication and protection. Mexico has tried for a century past to insure safety to her inhabitants in this region, but notwithstanding the expense she has incurred in keeping up her garrisons, she has failed to afford them protection.
“The deserted appearance of the country from El Paso to the Colorado is no criterion by which to judge of its value. The beautiful valley of San Xavier, or Santa Cruz, some two years ago when I passed through it, was entirely deserted. The once thriving towns of Tumacacori and Tubac had not the sign of a living soul about them except the recent moccasin track of the Apaches. The orchards and vineyards of the once highly cultivated fields and gardens bore the marks of gradual decay and destruction. The ranchos of Calabazas, of San Bernardino, and numerous other places on this frontier, presented the same melancholy aspect, the result of the inability of Mexico to protect this portion of territory from the inroads of thesavages. There are now but a few settlements throughout this district of country, but were it protected by a power that could and would defend it, what is now a waste in the hands of the savages might become a thriving country, with safety insured to its inhabitants.” Senate Ex. Doc. No. 55, 33rd Congress, 2nd Sess.
I quote the following language of Gray, from subsequent explorations made by him, three years after his first expedition, and contained in his report to the Southern Pacific Railroad Company. It was chiefly from the discoveries made by Gray, in this adventurous expedition, through regions unknown for many years past, between the Rio Grande and Gulf of California, together with the Gadsden Treaty, that induced parties at great expense to emigrate there, and commence working the vast mineral deposites, such as the Arabac silver mines, the Ajo copper mountain, and others, but which, through lack of proper protection and means of communication, have been greatly retarded in their development.
After crossing the dividing ridge of the continent west of the Rio Grande, Gray thus alludes to the country:
“There were large haciendas and fine cattle ranches in this neighborhood, until a war of extermination was declared by the Apaches against the Mexicans. Remains of the old San Pedro ranch are seen at this day; also the “Tres Alamos;” and the ruins of the hacienda of Babacomeri, whose walls and towers are still standing. These were among the wealthiest of Sonora in horses, cattle, sheep, etc., but it has been many years since. It is a fine grazing region, with wild cattle and mustangs constantly seen roaming over the plains. The district from San Pedro to Santa Cruz valley, nearly due west from our present crossing (latitude 31 degrees 34 minutes), will be to the Pacific slope what the region of Fort Chadbourne, in Texas, will be to the Atlantic. The mountains and hills are covered with splendid timber of the largest size, and for all purposes; and the valleys are full of springs, and the finest grass. To Tubac, a town in the valley of Santa Cruz, it is 69 miles. This is by following the San Pedro about a league, passing over a few insignificant spurs, and ascending the Rio Babacomeri; thence continuing westward by a gradual rise over delightful plains to the divide between that and the Sonoita or Clover creek, and along the latter, until it loses itself in the porous earth, a mile from the Santa Cruz river, and by the broad valley of that stream to Tubac.”
* * * * * * * *
Of the line of Gray’s exploration from the Rio San Pedro, he says:
“It passes through the most desirable region, with the hills and mountains for forty miles, containing inexhaustible quantities oftimber. We noticed tall cedar and oaks of every description; one kind more interesting than the others, being a white oak from twenty to forty feet in the body. Pine and spruce, with superior white ash and walnut, were found, and the most gigantic cotton-woods, particularly on the Sonoita. * * * * “The mountains in the neighborhood are filled with minerals, and the precious metals are said to abound. The famous Planchas de Plata and Arizona silver mines, which the Count Raouset de Boulbon attempted to take possession of, are in this section of country, not many miles below the present limits, and at several of the old ranchos and deserted mining villages which we visited, were found the argentiferous galena ore and gold. The Sierra Santa Rita runs along to the east of the Santa Cruz valley, and forms a part of this interesting region. It is very high and bold, filled with fertile valleys and flowing rivulets, and covered with a dense growth of timber. I saw much of this district, when here in 1851, on the survey of the boundry.”
* * * * * * * *
The country bordering immediately the head of the Gulf of California, through which Gray was probably the first to penetrate, lies adjacent to the proposed Arizona Territory, but not a part of the same, being a portion of the State of Sonora.©ªHe thus describes that section:
“The Indians represent rich Placers existing throughout this region, and large numbers of them had lately come in with considerable quantities of the dust. They were trading it for trifles to the Mexicans. I got some specimens of it which was the same as the California Gold. This was not the time of year (June) for them to work the mines, but in the fall, after the rain has commenced. The greatest drawback to the profitable working of the Placers of this district, is the scarcity of water. If artesian wells succeed, there is little doubt that it will create an important change. West from Tuseon and Tubac, towards the Gulf of California, the country presents more the appearance of a barren waste or desert than any district I have seen. It nevertheless has occasional oases, with fine grazing lands about them, and the mountains, which are more broken and detached, have distinct marks of volcanic origin. The ranges though short, have generally the same parallel direction as those further east. It is the country of the Papago Indians, a peaceful and friendly tribe, extending down to the Gulf coast, where they are mixed up somewhat with the Cocopas of the Colorado. From Sonoita I explored to the Gulf shore, near the mouth of Adair Bay. It was 62 miles, following a dry arroya most of the way, and the point at which I struck the Gulf was in latitude 31 degrees 36 minutes 34 minutes. The “Bay” is about 15 miles across, and from all I could learn, 15 miles long, and represented as having four fathoms of water. It is completely encircled by a range of sand hills, reaching north-west to the Colorado river and south-east as far as the eye could discover. These “sables” are probably eighty or ninety miles in extent, by five to tenbroad.
“Notwithstanding it appears to be the most desolate and forlorn-looking spot for eighty miles around the head of the Gulf, the sand hills looking like a terrible desert, nature seems even here, where no rain had fallen for eight months, to have provided for the sustenance of man, one of the most nutritious and palatable vegetables.
“East of the Tinaja Alta or high tank range, lie the famous Sierras del Ajo, now United States territory. These mountains derive their name from the vast deposits of red oxide and green carbonate of copper found about them, and which the Indians have made use of to paint (ajo) themselves with. The mines are unquestionably of great value, and must become important, more particularly from their being situated in the neighborhood of the contemplated railway. The tall Cereus Giganteus and Agave Americana are found in abundance. From the latter plant the natives make the pulque, mezcal and agua-diente; and the petahaya or cereus, produces a fruit from which is made a very pleasant preserve. At the Pimo and Maricopa villages are found wheat, corn, tobaco, and cotton, besides melons, pumpkins, beans, etc. The nature of the soil for great distances in the Gila valley is of a reddish loam; some parts coated with a beautiful crystallization of salt, a quarter to half an inch thick. This seems to be more particularly the case below the Maricopa villages and toward the Rio Salado. The cotton, of which I procured specimens, though cultivated by the Indians in the most primitive manner, exhibited a texture not unlike the celebrated Sea Island cotton. Its fibre is exceedingly soft and silky, but not of the longest staple. Large tracts of land on the Gila and in other portions of this district, appear to possess the same properties of soil; and where, I have no doubt, the finest cotton will soon be extensively raised and brought to its highest state of perfection by proper cultivation.”
The climate is thus referred to by Gray:
“One of the most favorable features upon the route in the vicinity of the 32nd degree proposed for the Pacific railway is, its accessibility at all times, admitting of labor being performed in the open air at each season. The nature of the climate through Texas to the Rio Grande has already been referred to, and from thence to the Santa Cruz valley half way to the Colorado, over the elevated plateau of the Sierra Madra, it is equally salubrious and temperate. The rainy season falls in the summer months, and but seldom is snow seen even upon the mountain tops. Towards the Colorado river it is much drier and more torrid, but by no means unhealthy; nor does it prevent out door work the whole of the day during the heated term of summer.
“The great riches of the country, however, are a total waste at the present time, but which the Pacific railroad will at once develop, and make to itself the foundation of a vast revenue. Irefer to its metallic wealth, the silver, gold, and copper mines that abound in almost every mountain and valley, between the Rio Grande and the Gulf of California.
“The ores of Chihuahua and Sonora [now Arizona. S. M.] are chiefly sulphuret (lead or iron), or native silver in porphyritic or stratified limestone rocks passing at greater depths into igneous rocks. From loose piles lying upon the surface and evidently picked over, I procured specimens of silvier and copper. Three samples representing points on the line of our exploration about equi-distant from each other, viz.: the Rio Grande, the neighborhood of Tubac, and within 90 miles of the junction of the Gila and Colorado rivers, were submitted to Dr. I. K. Chilton, of New York, for analysis. He found in one sample of lead ore (argentiferous galena), by fire assay 71 per cent. of lead, and the “LEAD YIELDED SILVER EQUIVALENT to 128 ounces, 1 dwt. to the ton” (of 2000 pounds).
“In another, he found the lead obtained from it to yield silver in the proportion of 72 ounces 5 dwts. to the ton or 2000 pounds.
“The copper specimen was the red oxide, and yielded as follows:
“The Papagos and Pimas Indians, by proper management, might be made very useful, in working upon the road where there is not much rock excavation. They are unlike the Indians of Texas, or the Apaches, living in villages and cultivating the soil, besides manufacturing blankets, baskets, pottery, etc. Quiet and peaceable, they have no fears except from their enemies, the Apaches, and are very industrious, much more so than the lower order of Mexicans, and live far more comfortably. It is astonishing with what precision they construct their acequias–irrigating canals–some of them, the acequias madre, of very large size, and without the use of levelling apparatus, but simply by the eye. Their gardens and farms too are regularly ditched and fenced off into rectangles and circles, with hedges and trees planted as if done by more enlightened people.”
The population of the new Territory of Arizona is at present not far from eight thousand, and is rapidly increasing. The Mesilla Valley and the Rio Grande are probably the most thickly populated, containing about five thousand people. A majority of the Mesilla inhabitants are Mexicans, but they will be controlled by the American residents, whose number and influence is constantly on the increase. The Santa Cruz Valley, in which are situated the towns of Tueson, Tubac, Tumacacari, and the mining settlement of Sopori and others, is, next to Mesilla, the mostthickly settled. Tueson was formerly a town of three thousand inhabitants; but the majority have been driven off by the Apache Indians. It is fast becoming a thriving American town, and will before long be a place of more importance than ever before. Real estate is already held at high rates, and the erection of buildings shows that American energy is about to change the face of the last half century. Tubac had been completely deserted by the Mexicans. It has been reoccupied by the Sonora Exploring and Mining Company, and now boasts a population of several hundred. The Calabazas valley is also fast filling up with an American population, and another year will see the whole centre of the Territory dotted with settlements. Many of the fine claims on the San Pedro River have already been located by emigrants under the general pre-emption law, but until protection is afforded to the settlers, but little progress will be made in agricultural pursuits. The Apache Indian regards the soil as his own, and having expelled the Spanish and Mexican invader, he feels little inclination to submit to the American. A small settlement of Americans is growing up at Colorado city, opposite Fort Yuma, at the junction of the Gila and Colorado rivers. This point is destined to be one of great commercial and pecuniary importance. Situated at the present head of navigation, at the point where the overland mail route crosses the Colorado, and where the Southern Pacific Railroad must bridge the stream, it is a necessary stopping place for all travel across the country. Here are transhipped all the ores coming from the Territory, which find their way to market down the Colorado to the Gulf of California, thence by steamer or sailing vessel to their destination. Here all supplies of merchandise for the Territory are landed, and from this point forwarded to their various owners. A thriving commerce has already sprung up between Arizona and San Francisco. In almost any daily paper in San Francisco may be seen vessels advertised for the mouth of the Colorado. Two steamers find active employment in transporting government stores from the head of the Gulf of California to Fort Yuma, and goods to Colorado city for the merchants of Tueson, Tubac, Calabazas, and for the mining companies. Should the exploration of the Upper Colorado by Lieutenant Ives, United States Army, now in progress, prove successful, Colorado city will become still more important, as the surplus products of the rich valleys of New Mexico, Utah, and California to the north, will all find a market down the Colorado. Property in this new city is held at high rates, and by the last San Francisco News Letter is quoted at an advance. The population of Arizona Territory has much increased within a few months by emigration from California. The massacre of Henry A. Crabbe and his party by the Mexicans at Cavorca created a desire for revenge throughout all California. Companies have been formed, and large parties are settling in Arizona, near the Mexican line, with the ulterior object of overrunning Sonora, and revenging the tragedy in which was shed some of the best blood of the State. The appropriation by the last Congress of two hundred thousand dollars for the construction of a wagon road from El Paso to Fort Yuma, and the two mail contracts, semi-monthly and semi-weekly, which involve an expenditure of nine hundredthousand dollars per annum, will afford employment to a host of people, and draw at once to the neighborhood of the route an active and energetic population. The new wagon and mail route traverses the Territory of Arizona throughout its entire length. Along the mail route, at intervals, military posts will be established. These and the necessary grazing stations will create points around which settlements will at once grow up, and the country, now bare, will show everywhere thriving villages. The Southern Pacific Railroad, which will be built because it is necessary to the country, will find its way easily through Arizona.
It is no exaggeration to say that the mining companies, in their own interest, will be forced to subscribe enough to the stock of the company to insure its success. The Arizona Copper Mining Company is now paying $100 per ton for the transportation of its ores from the mines to Colorado city. One year’s freight money at this rate would build many miles of the road. The silver mining companies will be only too glad to get their ores to market at so cheap a rate, as their proportion of the subscription to the railroad. Iron and coal are both found in the Territory,–the former especially in great abundance. Texas has guaranteed the road to El Paso, by her generous legislation; Arizona will build it, with her mineral wealth, to Fort Yuma, the eastern boundary of California, and California will do the rest. The first terminus of the Southern Pacific Railroad will doubt less be on the Gulf of California, at the Island of Tiburon, or more probably Guyamas. A steam ferry across the Gulf, a short railroad across the peninsula of Lower California to a secure harbor on the Pacific, (where a steamer will take passengers and freight in four days to San Francisco,) is the most natural course of this route. In view of this probability, all the available points for such a terminus on the Gulf have been, or are in progress of being, secured by capitalists, either by obtaining grants from the Mexican Government, or by purchase from private individuals. Already Guyamas is owned in great part by English and American capitalists. A port on the Gulf of California is necessary to our Pacific possessions, and must be ours sooner or later. The longer it is delayed, the worse for American progress on the Pacific. Arizona needs it at once, as a depot for the export of her ores, and for the import of goods for the supply of her population.
The Mormon war has closed for years the great emigrant road to California and Oregon, over the South Pass and Salt Lake valley, leaving open only the route along the 32d parallel of latitude, through Arizona. This route is by far the most practicable at all seasons of the year, and the closing of the South Pass route by the Mormon difficulty is an additional and urgent argument in favor of the early organization of this Territory. Fifty thousand souls will move towards the Pacific early in the spring, if the route is opened to a secure passage.
The present condition of Arizona Territory is deplorable in the extreme. Throughout the whole country there is no redress forcrimes or civil injuries-©no courts, no law, no magistrates. The Territory of New Mexico, to which it is attached by an act of Congress, affords it neither protection nor sustenance. The following extracts from letters received by the writer tell the story of the necessity for early action on the part of Congress, in urgent terms.
TUBAC, GADSDEN PURCHASE, August 15, 1857.
Affairs in the Territory have not improved. A party of Americans (our countrymen) had made an “excursion” into Sonora, captured a train of mules, and killed several Mexicans. Upon their return to the Territory with their ill-gotten booty, the citizens formed a company and took the property away from them, and returned it to the owners in Magdalena, [a town of Sonora©©Ed.] and delivered the robbers up to Major Steen, commanding first dragoons, to be held in custody until Courts should be organized. They have again been turned loose upon the community. In justice to Major Fitzgerald I must say he was in favor of retaining them in custody, and has generally maintained favoring law and order in the Territory, but as he is only second in command he has no absolute authority.
We have no remedy but to follow the example so wide spread in the Union, and form a “Vigilance Committee”–contrary to all good morals, law, order, and society. Can you do nothing to induce the government to establish authority and law in this country, and avert this unhappy alternative?
It is not desired by any good citizens, and tends to anarchy and mobocracy, causing disloyalty in our own citizens and bringing the reproach of foreigners upon our republican institutions. It is impossible to progress in developing the resources of the country under this state of affairs. The greatest objection the capitalists of San Francisco have to aiding me in the development of silver mines, is the insecurity of property, want of protection from government, and general distrust of fair and honest legislation.
They have no confidence that the guarantees of the GADSDEN TREATY will be respected by the United States, in regard to land titles under the Mexican government.
The silver ore brought to San Francisco from our mines, has been tested by a dozen different officers, in as many different ways, and no result falls BELOW FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS PER TON OF ORE.
Senator Gwin goes on to Washington soon, and will corroborate my statements. He has a piece of the silver, the first smelted in San Francisco, showing $8,735 20–EIGHT THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED AND THIRTY-FIVE 20-100 DOLLARS PER TON OF ORE. Mr. Dunbar is getting the petition to Congress signed–and moving in the affairs of the Territory in connection with Mr. Ehrenberg and ourfriends–but the government came near “crushing us out” by sending a Custom House Collector to consume and destroy what little we had saved from the Apaches. Can nothing be done to rid us of a Custom House? It is no protection. The Territory (as yet) produces nothing but minerals–and we have to pay duty upon every article of consumption. This is a very onerous tax upon our first feeble efforts to develop the resources of this remote and unprotected country.
Very truly yours, C. D. Poston.
To Lieut. Mowry, U. S. A., Washington, D. C.
“We are living without the protection of law or the ameliorations of society. New Mexico affords us no protection. We have not even received an order for election. Every one goes armed to the teeth, and a difficulty is sure to prove fatal. In this state of affairs it is impossible to hold a convention.”
Tueson, Oct. 1, 1857.
We are pleased to hear that the prospect for Arizona is so bright. If you should succeed in getting a separate organization for Arizona, you will lay the people under many obligations to you. You have no doubt received many petitions for Congress, and also your certificate of election as delegate for this purchase. You received the entire vote; there was no difference of opinion among the voters.
Your ob’t serv’t, J. A. Douglas.
Lt. Mowry, U. S. A. Tueson, Oct. 25, 1857.
I send you the last petition from the Territory. The work is now in your hands, and we say, God speed it.
G. H. Oury.
Tueson, Arizona Territory, Oct. 17, 1857.
Every thing begins to look up in the Territory notwithstanding the difficulties we labor under. The Indians the other day came within eight hundred yards of Fort Buchanan and remained some time, and when they left carried off with them all the horses and mules in the valley for six or eight miles below. Try your hand in this matter of our Territory, and see if some change cannot be wrought to some benefit–we need it greatly.
Very truly yours, G. H. Oury.
Tueson, Oct. 2, 1857.
We have heard from Mesilla and they fully concur with us in all we have done, showing that you are the person chosen to act for them and to represent their interest in this matter. The people here are very much elated at the turn things are taking, and every one seems to be highly pleased with the course you have pursued. An election was held on the first Monday in September, at which you received all the votes given, and a certificate of your election, signed by the judges and clerks, has been forwarded to you. The country is being settled very fast, and there is somewhat of a stir to obtain cultivated lands. The lands already under cultivation are now fifty per cent. higher than a short time back. The great misfortune we labor under is want of protection. Thousands and thousands of acres of land, as rich and fertile as any on the face of the globe, lie idle and useless because they are not protected from the Apaches. We want only one thing besides the Territorial organization, and that is PROTECTION.
Very truly yours, S. Warner.
Oct. 8, 1857.
The guerilla warfare on the Sonora frontier continues with increased aggravation. We look for the happiest result from the exploration of this interesting region of the Colorado, about to be explored by Lieut. Ives, U. S. A. The ores from the Heintzelman mine took the premium at the mechanics’ fair in San Francisco, just closed, where the ores from California and the western coast were on exhibition. So, Arizona leads California, the great mineral State.
All we need is good government and honest, liberal legislation to make Arizona equal in production of precious metals, if not exceed, California.
Yours truly, C. D. Poston. Lt. Mowry, U. S. A.
Fort Yuma, June 2, 1857.
News has just come in from the Arizona which represent an awful state of affairs. During the time Mr. Belknap was below at Sonora it was unsafe for him to go out unless accompanied by his friend, Don Gaudaloupe Orosco, and even then it was very dangerous. No news from Sonora nor even an arrival for the last twenty days. God knows what is going on; though of one thing we are certain–no American, never mind whatsoever he may be, can go into Sonora, with or without a passport.
Very sincerely yours, P. R. Brady.
Aug. 5, 1850.
The condition of the purchase has been extremely bad since the unfortunate and injudicious expedition of Crabbe into Sonora, and at the present time is but little better than a field of guerilla warfare, robbery and plunder.
The exasperated state of feeling between the Mexicans and Americans prevents intercourse and commerce, upon which the Territory is dependent. Americans are afraid to venture into Sonora for supplies, and Mexicans afraid to venture over the line. Americans who had nothing to do with the fillibustering invasion have been treated badly in Sonora and driven out of the country, and Mexicans coming into the purchase with supplies and animals have been robbed and plundered by the returned fillibusters.
The Americans in the Territory are by no means harmonious on these subjects–some in favor of filibustering and others opposed to it; some in favor of murdering and robbing Mexicans wherever found, and others opposed to it.
It results that we are in a state of anarchy, and there is no government, no protection to life, property, or business; no law and no self-respect or morality among the people. We are living in a perfect state of nature, without the restraining influence of civil or military law, or the amelioration of society.
There have not been many conflicts and murders, because every man goes armed to the teeth, and a difficulty is always fatal on one side or the other. In the midst of all this, the Government has blessed us with a custom house at Calabazos to collect duties upon the necessaries of life which, by chance and “running the gauntlet,” we may get from Sonora.
God send that we had been left alone with the Apaches. We should have been a thousand times better off in every respect.
In this state of affairs it is scarcely to be expected that the people will meet together in a convention; there was no arrangement for that purpose up to the time of my leaving, and none could be made.
We have never had any orders of election from Santa Fe, nor heard of any convention.
Yours truly, C. D. Poston.
Major Fitzgerald, U. S. A., whose long experience on the Pacific coast makes his opinion very valuable, in a letter dated Fort Buchanan, Arizona, Sept. 17th, 1854, says:
“The citizens of this country are very desirous of a territorialorganization, with its courts, &c. Murders are committed and stock is stolen by white men with impunity. There is no court nearer than the Rio Grande (300 miles) to take cognizance of crime. Some few of the emigrants of this year have remained in the Santa Cruz valley. More would have done so, no doubt, if they had not started from the States originally with stock for the California market.
The country around us is now beautiful. It has been raining almost daily since the 1st of July, and the vegetation is most luxuriant. Many of the Mexican citizens come over the line for purposes of trade, bringing flour, fruit, and leather. If there was no custom house at Calabazas, these articles could be had very cheaply.
We have very excellent gardens, and plenty of vegetables. There is said to be a good deal of cultivable land on the upper Gila, and if a territory is created, it should embrace this. This would also include a large part of the Colorado valley above the junction of the Gila. That you may succeed in your wishes with regard to Arizona, is the sincere desire of
Your friend and obliged serv’t, E. H. Fitzgerald.”
Lt. Mowry, U. S. A.
A subsequent letter from Major Fitzgerald dated Oct. 1st, says Tueson contains rising five hundred inhabitants, the remainder of the Santa Cruz altogether enough to make considerable over a thousand, independent of the population towards and upon the Gila and Colorado, of which he remarks,
“You know more than I.” “There is not a doubt but that upon the location of the mail route, there will be a considerable emigration to this country, and if a portion of Sonora be organized, large numbers will come both from the East and West. The country is an excellent one for stock of all kinds, of which there were great numbers where the Apaches were gathered under the wing of the Catholic church. The valleys of Santa Cruz, San Pedro, and Upper Gila, and also that of Messilla, contain large bodies of productive lands, and all the cereals grow luxuriantly therein. THAT THERE IS MUCH SILVER IN THE TERRITORY THERE IS NO DOUBT, but it requires capital to develop it. As yet but little progress has been made in mining. Evidences of old works are seen on many of the water courses, but operations have not yet been recommenced, except at Arizona, Sopori, and Ariaola, principally because the country is very partially settled, and it is not safe to be at any distance from the mass of the population, and the troops. Copper ore is found in many localities, but little gold is yet discovered. If the road from El Paso to Fort Yuma be located by Parke’s route, as many suppose, A FINE COUNTRY WILL BE OPENED on the Gila and Lower San Pedro, which will produce ample supplies. The Territory presents no difficulties of importance tothe successful establishment of the road. Frequent stations and PROPER PROTECTION ARE ONLY REQUISITE TO ENSURE SUCCESS AS COMPLETELY AS THE MOST SANGUINE ANTICIPATE. Should Sonora, or even a portion of it be organized, this will be one of the most pleasant localities of our country. A delightful climate, plenty of fine fruit, facility of supply by a port on the Pacific, semi-weekly mails from the east and west,–are only some of the attractions which it would possess.
Sonora is quiet. Many of the wealthy men there are in favor of annexation, it is said, but they have to keep silent on the subject for fear of noisy patriots, who would proclaim them traitors at once, if they made a parade of their inclinations. The San Antonio and San Deigo mail passes through Tueson once a fortnight, and seems to have met with no important obstacle yet. A drove of mules accompanies it, which are harnessed in turn. When regular stations are established its speed will be much increased. My last letter was not written with a view of the use being made of it you mentioned, yet if it answers a good purpose, I have no objection. It was but a careless note, but its contents were truths, nevertheless.” (This note demonstrated the facility of supply for the Territory from the Pacific.) “Most truly your friend,
(Signed,) E. H. Fitzgerald.”
Tubac, Gadsden’s Purchase, 22d Oct., 1857.
“We have of late been seriously annoyed by the Apaches. Nearly all the animals belonging to the citizens residing around Fort Buchanan have been driven off by the Apaches. They are very impudent, and commit their depredations in broad day-light, talk to the people while they are driving off the animals, and always escape without being molested.
The other day they came within 800 yards of the Fort and looked down upon it.
In order to bring them to terms the Government ought to enlist 1000 Pinos and Papagos to accompany the military. Indians are the only persons who can successfully traverse these mountains and hunt up their hiding places. If this is not done, they will surely break up our settlements here. Forts ought to be established in the very heart of the Apache country, in the places fit, and used by them for cultivation. If this is done we will soon bring them to terms.
Until now, our mining establishments have not been molested by them, and we are going on in high glee. This is undoubtedly the richest silver mining country in the world. If the United States will make just and liberal laws for us; give us protection; remove those trifling and unprofitable custom houses on the frontier, at least for 5 or 6 years; procure us a transit through Sonora to Guaymas, and hasten along the rail-road to California,this will indeed be a prosperous country, and will astonish the world with its production of silver and copper. But with such terrible obstacles as those mentioned above and the great length of transit to transport goods over the roads which we have to take at present, progress only is possible for such as find mines of the extraordinary and incredible richness of the Heintzelman vein. If the present promises of few of these mines are realized, by working them on a scale commensurate with their extent and richness, I have no doubt but that they will equal in production the whole silver exports of Mexico.
I think an appropriation ought to be made to sink artesian wells through the Papagos country, between San Xavier and the lower Gila. This route cuts off about 100 miles from the best route via the Pinos villages. It is laid down on my map, as a rail-road route, now at the office of the Sonora Exploring and Mining Company, at Cincinnati, Ohio.
The country consists of a succession of plains and isolated mountain ridges, none of which need to be crossed. In fact it is a dead level to Fort Yuma, and, in consequence, no grading is necessary. There is scarcity of water, but the soil in general is excellent and grass abounds all along the line, while the mountains teem with minerals of the richest description. The oxides and the sulphurets of copper are the most beautiful and richest in the world. Silver undoubtedly exists of equal richness.
All the foothills contain gold, but I hardly think it will be extracted by the whites, as the localities are devoid of water, and they are not probably rich enough to pay without sluicing on an extensive scale.”
I am, sir, very respectfully, your most obedient servant, Herman Ehrenberg.
To Lieut. S. Mowry, U. S. A.,
Delegate elect from Arizona,
Washington, D. C.
The only comment the writer has to make upon these statements is, that two years’ residence among and acquaintance with the people of Arizona, has convinced him of their absolute truth. At the last session of Congress a petition was presented, praying for a separate Territorial organization. The necessity for some legislation was admitted by both Senate and House; and bills creating a separate judicial district and land offices, passed both Houses, but owing to some minor differences and the lateness of the session, the bills failed to become a law.
With an increased population and prolonged grievances, the people of Arizona are again about to present themselves as supplicants for that right inherent in the American heart–the right of selfgovernment–and of protection under the law. Their petition sets forth in brief, plain terms, their situation and necessities, and prays simply for a separation from New Mexico and a Territorial organization under the name of Arizona. As a matter of necessity for the successful carriage of the mail across the country, this Territorial organization is imperative. No contract for labor or supplies can be enforced in the present condition of the country. Courts of law must be established, with officers to enforce their mandates, or the contractors will be utterly unable to carry out their contract.
The great necessity of a safe and speedy overland communication with the Pacific, has directed public attention to the organization of Arizona as a separate Territory, and the desired legislation has received the unanimous endorsement of the press of the whole country. Petitions with thousands of signatures from leading citizens of the majority of the states of the Union, will be presented to Congress asking for the immediate organization of the new Territory as the best means to at once open a highway to the Pacific; and so important has this view of the question been deemed as to call from the President of the United States a recommendation in his message to Congress. No opposition has been made to the most just prayer of the people of Arizona, and it is believed that none will be made, unless it comes from New Mexico. It must be born in mind that the Gadsden Purchase was not originally an integral part of New Mexico; that it was acquired years after the treaty of Gaudaloupe Hidalgo, and was only attached to the territory of New Mexico as a temporary expedient. It must also be remembered that the Gadsden Purchase, with the portion of New Mexico which it is proposed to include within the limits of the territory of Arizona, is separated from New Mexico proper by natural boundries; that it derives no benefit from the present connection, and that any opposition to the desired legislation arises from the Mexican population, which fears the influence of a large American emigration. Moreover, that New Mexico contains upwards of 200,000 square miles, and that its organic act provides for its partition; showing clearly that Congress anticipated, at no remote day, the settlement of the country by an American population, and its erection into several territories and states. The only effect of the present connection of Arizona with New Mexico is to crush out the voice and sentiment of the American people in the territory; and years of emigration, under present auspices, would not serve to counterbalance or equal the influence of the 60,000 Mexican residents of New Mexico. New Mexico has never encouraged American population. She is thoroughly Mexican in sentiment, and desires to remain so.
As a matter of State policy, the organization of Arizona is of the first importance. Situated between New Mexico and Sonora, it is possible now to make it a thoroughly American State, which will constantly exert its influence in both directions, to nationalize the other two. New Mexico is at present thoroughly Mexican in its character and vote. Sonora, if we acquire it atonce, will be the same. By separating Arizona from it, and encouraging an American emigration, it will become “the leaven which shall leaven the whole lump.” By allowing it to remain attached to New Mexico, or by attaching it to Sonora when acquired, the American influence will be swallowed up in the great preponderance of the Mexican vote. The Apache Indian is preparing Sonora for the rule of a higher civilization than the Mexican. In the past half century, the Mexican element has disappeared from what is now called Arizona, before the devastating career of the Apache. It is every day retreating further South, leaving to us, when it is ripe for our possession, the territory without the population.
The incentives to emigration to Arizona, in addition to the charm which the discovery of mineral wealth carries to every mind, are very great. The writer, in an extended tour through the Southern States, found many people, mostly young men of moderate means, ready and anxious to emigrate. The movement is still stronger in Southwestern States, and already many a train of wagons is on its way. It will have no end for years, for so mild and healthy is the climate that emigration is practicable at all seasons. Snow never lies on the soil, and frost is almost unknown. The contracts already authorized by Congress involve the expenditure of six millions of dollars in the next six years; the troops in the Territory will cost as much more. Here is enough money in hard sub-treasury coin, to draw a large population, independent of other considerations. All ready in many places the enterprising merchant exposes his stock of goods only two months from San Francisco, but he does it with the prayer that the Apache may pass him by, and too often he sees his hard-earned profits disappear before the Indian’s successful foray.
The establishment of a firm government in Arizona will extend the protection of the United States over American citizens resident in the adjoining Mexican provinces. This protection is most urgently demanded. Englishmen in Sonora enjoy not only perfect immunity in the pursuit of business, but also encouragement. Americans are robbed openly by Mexican officials, insulted, thrown into prison, and sometimes put to death. No redress is ever demanded or received. This state of things has so long existed that the name of American has become a byword and a reproach in northern Mexico, and the people of that frontier believe that we have neither the power nor the inclination to protect our own citizens. The influence of a Territorial government, with the tide of American emigration which will surely follow it, must entirely change the tone and temper of these Mexican States.
The population of Arizona to-day, exceeds that of Washington Territory, and is far greater than was that of Minnesota, Kansas or Nebraska, at the time of their organization. An election for a Delegate has been held, at which several hundred votes were polled, and the writer returned without opposition. The unsettled and dangerous condition of the country prevented a conventionbeing held, but letters have been received from all parts of the Territory, expressing a hearty concurrence in the election on the part of those unable to vote, and an earnest desire for the Territorial organization.
A number of gentlemen at present in Washington, can testify from actual observation, to the truth of the statements here made in reference to Arizona–among them I am permitted to name General Anderson, late U. S. Senator from Tennessee, who almost alone, with rare perseverance and courage, explored, in 1850, the whole length of the Territory, Major Heintzelman, U. S. A., whose long station at Fort Yuma made him acquainted with the resources of the country, and who has shown at once his intelligence and foresight and his faith in the prospective wealth of the silver region, by large investments of capital, Col. A. B. Gray, late U. S. Surveyor of the Mexican Boundary line, I. Smith McMicken, Esq., whose residence for many years on the Mexican frontier has entitled his opinion to some weight, and A. H. Campbell, Esq., Superintendent of Wagon Roads, whose information is full and reliable. To these names it may not be improper to add that of the writer, who has for two years past, while residing at the junction of the Gila and Colorado Rivers, made the new Territory and its resources, an object of constant observation and study, and whose experience on the Pacific coast, and in the frontier Territories, and on the route across the continent, during the past five years, has enabled him to speak understandingly of the capabilities and necessities of a new country, and of a frontier people.
In five years a great State may be built upon this remote frontier, and a population gathered, such as will, when we make further acquisition of territory, spread at once over it, diffusing national sentiment and extending the area of American principles.
Aside from these considerations, justice and humanity, imperatively demand that Congress shall bear and at once answer the prayer of the people of Arizona for protection. If these considerations fail, then they offer INTEREST; for the organization of the Territory is the guarantee of a supply of silver, which will create as great a revolution in the commercial world as has the gold of California. Arizona will be known as the silver State, and the prediction of Humboldt, that the balance between gold and silver, destroyed by the California discoveries, would one day be restored, will be made good, from the resources of the Gadsden purchase.
TO THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES IN CONGRESS ASSEMBLED:
The undersigned, your humble petitioners, citizens of the United States, and residents of the Territory known as the Gadsden Purchase, respectfully represent:
That since the annexation of their Territory to the United States, they have been totally unprotected from Indian depredations and civil crimes.
That the protection of the Mexican Government has been with drawn, and that it has not been replaced by any visible protection from the United States.
That the annexation of the Purchase to New Mexico, carried with it no protection for life or property.
That the present force of United States troops, four companies of dragoons, reduced by desertion and death to about one half, is entirely inadequate to protect us against the depredations of the Apaches.
That many of your petitioners have expended their time and means in opening and prospecting rich mines of Copper and Silver, and have been driven from them by the Indians–losing their all, and also many valuable lives.
That the Territory is immensely rich in minerals, especially Silver and Copper; and, as your petitioners most firmly believe, the development of these mines will make a change in the currency of the world, only equalled by that caused by the gold mines of California.
That a great part of the Territory, between the Rio Grande and Tueson, is susceptible of cultivation and will support a large agricultural population.
That this portion of the Territory is in the hands of the Apaches, and useless, unless redeemed from their grasp and protected to the farmer.
That the highways of the Territory are stained with the blood of citizens of the United States, shed by Indians and by public marauders, who commit their crimes in open day, knowing there is no law to restrain and no magistrate to arrest them.
That this Territory, under a separate organization, would attract a large population and become immediately developed: and, that its isolation–its large Indian population–its proximity to a semi-civilized Mexican province, and its peculiar and wonderful resources, demand protection from the Government more emphatically than any other territory yet recognised.
That our soil has been stained with the blood of American citizens, shed by Mexican hands, in an armed invasion of our Territory near Sonoita, and that there is no civil magistrate or officer here to even protest against such an outrage.
That throughout their whole Territory, from the Rio Grande to the Rio Colorado, six hundred miles, there is no Court of Record, andno redress except that inefficiently administered in a Justice’s Court, for civil injuries or crimes.
That the population of the Territory is much greater than was that of Kansas or Nebraska or Washington Territory, at the time of their organization, and that it is steadily increasing, and will, under the influence of the Road and Mail Bills of the last Congress, be greatly augmented.
That there are no post routes or mail facilities throughout the Territory, and that finally, we are cut off from all the comforts of civilization–and that we claim, as a right, that protection which the United States should everywhere extend to her humblest citizen. Wherefore your petitioners humbly pray that the Gadsden Purchase may be separated from New Mexico and erected into a separate Territory under the name of Arizona, with such boundaries as may seem proper to your honorable bodies, and that such other legislation may be made as shall be best calculated to place us on the same footing as our more fortunate brethren of Kansas, Nebraska, Minnesota, Oregon and Washington, that we may be enabled to build up a prosperous and thriving State, and to nourish on this extreme frontier a healthy national sentiment. And we, as in duty bound, will ever pray.
[Signed by more than five hundred resident voters.]