CHAPTER XVI. EARLY SURVEYS.


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ARIZONA MADE PART OF SURVEYING DISTRICT OF NEW MEXICO—DEPUTY SURVEYOR PIERCE MAKES CONTRACT FOR SURVEY OF CERTAIN LANDS—SELECTS “INITIAL POINT”—MILITARY PROTECTION WITHDRAWN—WORK ABANDONED—PIERCE RECOMMENDS SUBDIVISION OF SALT RIVER VALLEY—ARIZONA ATTACHED TO SURVEYING DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA— CONTRACTS FOR SURVEYS MADE WITH WILFRED F. INGALIS AND GEORGE P. INGALLS—FIRST APPLICATION FOR PRE-EMPTION OF HOMESTEAD LAND BY JOHN B. ALLEN.

Under the act organizing the Territory of Arizona, it was made a separate surveying district, and Levi Bashford was appointed the first Surveyor-General. On the 2d day of July, 1864, Congress passed an act attaching Arizona to the Surveying District of New Mexico, then presided over by General John A. Clark, and making provision, at the same time, for the carrying on of necessary surveying operations within this Territory. On the 15th day of December, 1866, General Clark entered into a contract with Deputy Surveyor William H. Pierce for the survey of certain lands in Arizona, for a sum not to exceed seventy-five hundred dollars. Commencing at the “Initial Point,” which Deputy Surveyor Pierce was instructed to select for the starting-point for Arizona surveys, and which consisted of a substantial monument of stones, eight feet in diameter at the base, four feet


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around the top, and eight feet in height, which stood upon the summit of a conical hill some 150 feet in elevation, on the south side of the Gila, opposite the mouth of the Salt, in latitude 33° 22′ 57′′ north, and longitude 120° 18′ 24′′ west, Mr. Pierce pursued his work until the military protection was withdrawn, and he was compelled to quit the field. General Clark was the first to recognize the suitableness of this “Initial Point,” for the initiation of the Arizona surveys, and touched upon the matter in his official report of 1865. Joseph S. Wilson, then Commissioner of the General Land Office, replying to the various suggestions contained in that report, thus wrote to General Clark on September 11th, 1866:

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“As it is deemed expedient to initiate surveying operations in the Territory of Arizona, the recommendation made in your report to this office, under date of May 24, 1865, suggesting that the monument erected in 1851 by the Mexican Boundary Commission, situated at the confluence of the Gila and Salt Rivers, be used as the initial point, is concurred in by this office; from that point you will establish the base and meridian lines for the public surveys in Arizona, calling this special meridian by the name of the Gila and Salt River Meridian.”

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With one or two exceptions, all of the public surveys in Arizona are initiated from this point, which lies within the present boundaries of Maricopa County.

Deputy Surveyor Pierce performed most of his work during the month of January, 1867, and among his assistants were Andrew Napier, Robert Johnson, Albert Ashley, Charles H. Gray,


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Jesse Wilsey, and George Henderson, all of whom took an oath for the faithful performance of their duty before John H. Archibald, at Tucson, then Clerk of the First Judicial District, comprising the county of Pima. In describing the country along the Salt River, near which some of his lines extended, Deputy Surveyor Pierce wrote as follows:

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“Salt River is, at this season of the year, at least, a large stream, nor do I think that it entirely dries. It has, moreover, a very heavy fall of, I should think, twelve to fifteen feet to the mile, which renders it especially valuable for irrigation. I consider this valley—six to ten miles wide, and extending from its mouth upwards to the mountains about forty miles—as containing some of the best agricultural land I have yet seen in the Territory, and would recommend that it be subdivided at an early day.”

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As these observations were made in January of 1867, the possibilities for irrigating this valley were thus definitely noted almost a year before the first settlers arrived.

Surveyor-General Clark, in his report dated July 19th, 1867, to Joseph S. Wilson, Commissioner of the General Land Office, said:

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“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


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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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Under an act of Congress approved March 3d, 1867, the Territory of Arizona was attached to the Surveying District of California, and on the 29th of March, 1867, all the original archives in the Santa Fe office, relating to the surveying service in Arizona, were transmitted to the Surveying District of California, then under the supervision of General L. Upton. The constant demand of the settlers in Arizona for the survey of their lands induced General Upton, soon after assuming charge of the Arizona district, to let several contracts for that purpose.

In the land to be surveyed under these early contracts was included the greater portion of the Salt River Valley. Three separate contracts were entered into by General Upton for the performance of this work; the first with Wilfred F. Ingalls, bearing date the 18th day of February, 1868; the second with George P. Ingalls, bearing date the 29th day of February, 1868, and the third, called a joint contract, was with both of the above named, and bore date of July 10th, 1868. Each of the above contracts was for the sum of seventy-five hundred dollars.


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Wilfred F. Ingalls was a brother, and George P. Ingalls, a cousin, of the Hon. Frank S. Ingalls, who, for many years, and up to a few months ago of the present year, 1916, was United States Surveyor-General for the District of Arizona.

After being awarded these contracts the Messrs. Ingalls, who then resided near Oakland, California, had a wagon especially constructed for use in the work contemplated; one of the principal features of which was a box-like compartment built in the rear for the carrying of firearms to be used in case of attack by roving bands of Indians.

Before leaving San Francisco, General Upton had arranged with General McDowell for a military escort to protect the party in their surveys. They arrived in Yuma in due time and, after having their outfit overhauled at the shop of Chris Horner, the well-known blacksmith and wheelwright, they continued up the Gila, along the overland road, with Maricopa Wells as their destination.

They made no request for a military escort befor leaving Yuma, where the 14th Infantry was stationed, but made the journey along the Gila accompanied only by a few men. Upon reaching Maricopa Wells, the Messrs. Ingalls established their headquarters at that place, which was, at that time, the most important station between Arizona City (now Yuma) and Tucson.

The two deputies conducted their surveying work in the Salt River Valley under many difficulties, the Indians stealing several horses from them, and retarding the progress of their work. At the close of the day's labor the party of surveyors


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would make camp near the river, where the only available water supply could be found, and, after they had disposed of their evening meal, would extinguish the camp fires and in the darkness would move the entire camp to higher ground in order to mislead any prowling Indians who might have marked by their fires, the location of the river camp. Observing this precaution at all times, no open attack was made upon the party.

On the 27th of March, 1868, Deputy W. F. Ingalls commenced the work of subdividing the township around the Phoenix settlement, completing the same on the 4th day of April. From April 8th to the 16th, he sectionized the township to the east, in which the city of Tempe is now located. During the performance of this work his principal assistants were Robert Bryant, Thomas L. Taylor, Faustino Gonzales and Antonio Espinosa. Deputy G. P. Ingalls, with his party, consisting of Edward Livingston Bridges, Ridgely Tilden, Canufo Soto and Louis Ganalo, the first two coming with him from California, was also at work in the vicinity. Bridges was later killed in Nevada. It is said that Ridgely Tilden, some years ago, was still a resident of Arizona, living somewhere around the Globe country.

It may be stated in this connection that John B. Allen made the first application for the preemption of homestead land in Arizona. Under date of July 27th, 1864, he sent from Tucson to the Surveyor-General of Arizona the following:

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“The Surveyor-General of Arizona is hereby notified that, in pursuance of law, I, John B. Allen, of the First Judicial District, in the Territory


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of Arizona, have pre-empted a tract of land containing one hundred and sixty acres, lying about two miles west of the southwest corner of the Pimas and Maricopas reservation, and enclosing what is known and designated as the Maricopa Wells.”

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John B. Allen was an old pioneer and a business man in Tucson. Like all pioneers he had many ups and downs during his life. He was a pioneer merchant of Tombstone, and after that settled in Florence and represented the Territory several times in the Legislature. He was a man of great energy and force of character; too generous for his own good; universally respected on account of his integrity and loyal worth. He passed to his reward about twenty years ago, regretted by a host of pioneers who had known him in those early days which tried the mettle of the hardy adventurer.

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