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 133 - From #18 ; When, thirty years ago, we were bouncing on a stage coach seat en route for Phoenix, Arizona, the tedium of the trip was relieved by the conversation of our seat-mate. The subject under discussion was the various venomous creatures of the state.

"Now when you git to the Lemon House," said the Arizonan, "and you take off your shoes to go to bed you wanta put 'em tops down. If you don't, by mornin' they'll be half full of them centipedes. You see, they crawl in after dark to get away from the night air." He bit off the end of a plug of Climax and continued: "The most interestin' sight, though, is to see one of them 'ere fur-bearin' tyrantulars a-sittin* in his web in the parlor winder a-catchin' flying scorpions. They charm 'em by sort of whistling at 'em. And speaking of rattlesnakes! Why, kid, they is that common and sizable in Arizony that the Injuns cut 'em up in four-foot lengths and sell 'em for cord wood."

The silence that ensued was broken by a timidlooking lady on the opposite seat, who asked the monologist if they had to split up the largest pieces to get them into the stove.

At the outset, let us assure any stranger contemplating a visit to the state that the man exaggerated! There are rattlesnakes in Arizona—eleven varieties, to be exact—ranging all the way from the big western diamond-backs, who will, if thoroughly nourished, attain a length of seven feet, down to the horned rattler, about a third of his length. This particular variety is locally known as a "Side-winder" on account of a peculiar looping motion it takes on, which moves the creature in an oblique direction. His head looks not unlike medieval pictures of the devil, and his character rather carries out the verisimilitude.

Still, to give the devil his due, it must be admitted that rattlesnakes usually are busy minding their own business, which does not include hunting down humans; and all of them are very apt to rattle before they strike, which should speak largely to their credit.

Personally, we are inclined to think that the rattlesnake family has a more severe indictment against us than we have against it. Frequently, after a member of the species has apprized us of his presence by an apologetic rattle, we have slain him for his pains. More than that, we once did one a serious injustice. We were raising young turkeys, and after missing one or two we found a rattler near their yard with a bulge in his middle that was more than suspicious. After executing on this circumstantial evidence, a post-mortem proved the bulge to be a gopher. We had sacrificed a friend!

The only man we ever knew who was killed by a rattlesnake was a gentleman who claimed to be a snake charmer, and to prove it, pulled off a corner of a screen over a box of diamond-backs in Barnes & Benham's old curio store, at Phoenix, and attempted to stroke one on the head. They buried the man the next day.

When tramping on the desert or in the mountains there is little danger from rattlesnakes if one minds his step, and when climbing over rocks one never puts his hand in a place he can't see. Although there are few more venomous creatures in the world than a rattlesnake, its bite is not necessarily fatal. When a victim is struck, a ligature should be placed above the wound at once. If bitten on the finger, ligature only the finger; if on the hand or arm, or on the foot or shank, place the ligature above the elbow or knee, where there is but one bone in the limb. Do not leave a ligature in place for more than twenty minutes, lest mortification sets in.

As quickly as possible after being struck, but only after applying the ligature, cut across the fang-punctures for about one inch, both ways, deeper than the fangs penetrate. If bitten on the finger, cut to the bone at least lengthways. Bleed the wound thoroughly and rapidly. After good bleeding, wash the wound thoroughly with potassium permanganate, in enough water to produce a deep wine color. This chemical destroys all venom with which it comes in contact. If no water is at hand, use it dry or with saliva. Now the ligature may be removed, and if fainting spells of the victim indicate its need, a hypodermic dose of strychnine may be given. Naturally, if a physician can be obtained he should be sent for at once.

The only other poisonous snakes in Arizona are the Sonoran coral snake and the annulated snake. The coral snake is slender, seldom above two feet in length, and is found in central and southern Arizona. It is marked with black, yellow and red bands encircling the body, the black always bordered on both sides by yellow. The annulated snake, though rare, has been seen in the southern part of the state. It is rather slender, about two and a half feet long, with poison fangs in the back of the mouth. Bites from all poisonous snakes should be treated as prescribed for rattlers.

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 133 - From #18 ; When, thirty years ago, we were bouncing on a stage coach seat en route for Phoenix, Arizona, the tedium of the trip was relieved by the conversation of our seat-mate. The subject under discussion was .........Continue to complete Chapter

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