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

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This weeks Look at Arizona's Past...

Chapter 16-From #01 : (extracts from letters) 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 territorial organization, with its courts, 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 to the 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.

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 16-From #01 : (extracts from letters) 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 .........Continue to complete Chapter

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