CHAPTER III. EARLY SETTLEMENTS.
ALONG THE GILA RIVER: ADAMSVILLE AND FLORENCE-CHARLES ADAMS, FOUNDER OF ADAMSVILLE-NAME CHANGED TO SANFORD-WILLIAM DUMONT FIRST POSTMASTER-RESENTMENT AGAINST CHANGE - BICHARD BROS., AND THEIR FLOURING MILLS-REPUTED THAT LEVI RUGGLES BUILT FIRST HOUSE IN FLORENCE-DISPUTE OF AUTHORITIES OVER SAME-CHARLES G. MASON, FIRST SETTLER IN FLORENCE - JOSEPH COLLINGWOOD OPENS FIRST STORE - DESCRIPTION OF RUGGLES' RESIDENCE - IRRIGATING CANALS IN AND AROUND FLORENCE - PAT HOLLAND - PIONEERS-FIRST CATHOLIC CHURCH IN CENTRAL ARIZONA-FLORENCE NAMED BY GOVERNOR MCCORMICK IN HONOR OF HIS WIFE-DISCOVERY OF SILVER KING MINE-FIGHT WITH, AND DEFEAT OF, PINAL APACHES-PRIMROSE HILL KNOWN AS "POSTON'S FOLLY" - MARICOPA WELLS - PRE-EMPTION OF BY JOHN B. ALLEN-MORGAN'S FERRY-MRS. CLIFFORD'S DESCRIPTION OF "MONTEZUMA'S FACE"-MARICOPA CHARLEY'S RIDICULOUS PURCHASES.
This History of Arizona, so far as it relates to the settlement of the Gila and Salt Rivers, in the absence of printed records, is taken from interviews with old settlers, in Arizona parlance, "old-timers," and I have had to rely upon their
The first settlements in the Territory, included within the boundaries of Maricopa County as originally established in 1871, were made along the Gila River at Adamsville and Florence. Some claim that the first building erected was at the old town of Adamsville, about three miles west of Florence. From the best evidence at hand, both towns were located in the same year, 1866. During that year Charles Adams located at what was afterwards Adamsville. He took out a ditch there and irrigated his quarter section of land and it soon became a prosperous village. In the winter of 1866-67, the first store was opened, according to James M. Barney, the names of the proprietors I have not been able to ascertain. In the early part of 1871 the district was of sufficient importance for a postoffice. William Dumont was the first postmaster, but the postoffice name was changed to Sanford in honor of Captain George B. Sanford of the First United States Cavalry, who was, for many years, in command at Fort McDowell and the record of whose combats with the Indians has been previously noted. This action of the postoffice department caused much criticism throughout the Territory. The Arizona "Miner," in 1871, said that ‘‘"at a spot in the Valley of the Gila, situated between Florence and Sacaton, some five years since, a pioneer named Charles Adams located a piece of ground, erected a shanty, and proceeded to divest his property of the offensive shrubbery, preparatory to the sowing of a crop of grain. The location was in
Ruins of Adamsville.
‘‘"The entire piece of property originally located by Mr. Adams was subsequently sold by him, but the town still retained the name of Adamsville, and all were satisfied until early in the present year, Territorial Delegate McCormick to satisfy a personal grudge of a political character against Mr. Adams, concluded to have the name changed. With this object in view he managed to have the name of the postoffice changed from Adamsville to Sanford. His hope and intention was that the town would for convenience sake, adopt the name of the postoffice, when his purpose would have been accomplished. The object, too, has been partly secured, but not so firmly rooted that it may not be eradicated. The name of that town is Adamsville; and you, pioneers, who would protect and preserve the memory of one another from the spoliatory hands of the vandal politician, refer to it as such. Address your letters, when you have occasion to write thither, to Sanford, P. O., Adamsville, and let outside despoilers see and understand that they may not manipulate this simple heritage which you would hand down to posterity."’’
After the departure of Mr. Adams, the founder of the place, who moved to the Salt River Valley, Adamsville became the headquarters of the Bichard Brothers, well known business men of the Gila Valley, who erected a modern flouring mill at that place. The Bichards were the first traders with the Pima Villages, and about the year 1865, became the owners of a primitive flouring mill at Casa Blanca, which was destroyed in the winter of 1868 by one of the great floods which occasionally occurred in the Gila Valley. Before its destruction this mill was used to grind corn and grain furnished by the Pima Indians. The Bichards constructed a new mill at Adamsville in 1869, which was provided with the most improved machinery of that day, shipped in at great expense from the Pacific Coast, and it was called "The Pioneer Flouring Mill." This mill was the first modern flouring mill erected in the Territory.
The first house built in Florence was in 1866, by Levi Ruggles. Ruggles came to Arizona during that year as Indian Agent. He was a member of the Council in the Legislative Assemblies of 1873 and 1877, and was also Register and Receiver of the Land Office. He was a native of Ohio, and his wife was Cynthia M. Thorn. He was one of the principal merchants
Elliott's History of Arizona (1884), says: ‘‘"Charles G. Mason was the first settler in Florence; built the first adobe house there in the summer of 1866. In March, 1869, Joseph Collingwood opened the first store in Mason's Building. Levi Ruggles located in Florence in October, 1868."’’ He afterwards built a fine residence there which is thus described in the work last named:‘‘
"It is a real pleasure to visit the beautiful home of Col. Levi Ruggles, the Patriarch of Florence. It is a perfect little paradise, and shows what can be done in this ‚desert‚ land with water, labor and taste. He has a very fine variety of grafted trees, which show a vigorous and healthy growth. His peach, apricot, almond, plum, quince, pear, olive, fig, and pomegranate trees are remarkably strong and healthy, and the amount of young fruit they now show is simply marvellous. The trees will not be able to stand up under the load, and it will be necessary to shake some of the fruit off. We do not believe it possible to find fruit to surpass, either in size or quality, that grown in this orchard. The yield is regular and certain. It is the same each year. The same is true of every other orchard in the valley. There are no failures in the fruit crop, and it does not take long to make a good orchard here. Many kind of trees will bear the second year, after setting out. It is pre-eminently a fruit country.
"Colonel Ruggles also has some very choice varieties of the grape, which, like the fruit trees, are remarkable in their growth and yield here. On his muscatel vines are clusters of grapes a foot in length now, and when these clusters shall have attained their full growth, they will be at least sixteen inches long, and weigh four or five pounds.
This part of the Gila Valley advanced rapidly. Among the first business men located there were Joe Collingwood and E. N. Fish, who did business under the name of E. N. Fish & Co. They started in business in 1868, it being a branch of their business in Tucson. They had government contracts and wanted wheat and barley, the demand for which caused the rapid settlement of that locality. The settlers were backed by the merchants, who induced them to take up land, and furnished them credit, wheat and barley being the principal crops which they raised. The farming was principally done by Mexicans. All the ditches around from Florence down to Adamsville and below, were built by peon labor, who received a dollar a day and their rations. It was pick and shovel work. The settlers usually paid themselves out of debt with one crop of grain.
"The first ditch was taken out to irrigate the lands around Blackwater, about twelve miles below the town of Florence on the south side of the river, probably known as the Blackwater Ditch. This ditch was built in the middle sixties, and covered about five hundred acres of land. It was about three miles long. The second ditch was the Walker Ditch on the same side of the river, the south side. It was about the same length as the Blackwater Ditch, and covered about four hundred acres of land. This seems to have been taken out shortly after the Blackwater Ditch about 1867. The next ditch on the south side was the White Ditch, which was taken out before the Walker Ditch, but I am giving them in their rotation along the river. It covered three or four hundred acres of land, and was about the same length as the others. The fourth ditch on the south side was the Adamsville Ditch, which was probably about four miles long, and covered about four or five hundred acres of land in the old town of Adamsville, four miles below Florence. The fifth ditch was known as the Chase & Brady Ditch. It was four or five miles in length. At the lower end of the ditch was the farm and mill of Peter R. Brady. The mill was run by water from this ditch which was built about 1868 or 1869. It covered nearly a thousand acres of land. The next ditch was the Alamo Juan Maria, which was taken out about 1868. ‚There was water in that ditch, I think,‚ says Mr. Brown, ‚in 1868, and it ran through the upper part of town. It was six miles in length and covered about two thousand acres of land.'
"Pat Holland, who built the Holland Ditch, became one of the large land owners around Florence, and did a great deal towards the development of Pinal County. He was afterwards supervisor of the County, and during the early eighties dealt largely in hogs in addition to his farming, supplying many of the neighboring mining camps with pork.
"The farthest ditch west of Florence, not on the reservation, was known as the Swiss Ditch, and it was built in the early seventies, probably 1871. Joe Spinas, who is still alive, had two brothers, and they took out the ditch. There were five shares of stock in the ditch; Joe had one, and his brothers, Andres and Yacob, each had one, and there were two Mexicans who each had one. Each share represented a hundred and sixty acres of land. This ditch covered a little more land than the five quarters, and in addition to these five quarters, it covered a part of Antonio Lopez' hundred and sixty acres. This ditch was three or four miles long. The
Among the pioneers of this locality were the following: J. W. Anderson, who came to Florence in 1869 and farmed in 1870 under the Holland Ditch, after which he went to work for E. N. Fish & Co. Mr. Anderson was an educated man and a polished gentleman. I knew him well. He was a man of undoubted integrity and ability. He was a native of North Carolina. He left that State in his early youth, at the age of nineteen, first going to Wisconsin and Minnesota, when, attracted by the gold discoveries in 1849, he started with a company for the Golden State. They came by way of Tucson, passing through there in 1850, and went from Tucson, via the Pima Villages, to Yuma, where they were delayed somewhat on account of the Yuma Indians, who were hostile at that time. They arrived in California in the fall of 1850, and he went into the mining country, where he remained prospecting and mining for about two years, when he went into Oregon and
Peter R. Brady settled in Florence about the year 1869. His biography has heretofore been given in these pages. He was active in prosecuting the Reavis suit, an account of which will be given in a succeeding volume.
Joe Collingwood was the manager for Fish & Co., when they started business in Florence in 1869. In 1877 Fish & Co., closed out their business in Tucson, and the business in Florence was continued under the name of J. Collingwood & Co. Silverberg, of San Francisco, and Hammerschlag, were his partners. Collingwood bought them out and conducted the business until his death about the year 1882.
Granville Wheat settled in that part of the country in 1859; he was with the Butterfield Stage Line. He died in or about the year 1909. He was born in Kentucky, right on the Divide between the Green River and the Columbia, in 1829. He came to California in 1849, and to Arizona in 1859. He came into the Territory as a teamster, driving a team for the Butterfields. He was teaming in and around Tucson and was in charge of a trading post for Toole at the old Maricopa Crossing. He was the first sheriff elected by Pima County; was sheriff at the time of the Camp Grant Massacre. He was present at the massacre, and at the trial before Judge Backus. He came into Florence in 1868; bought a relinquishment from a Mexican, which is now a part of the town of Florence. Wheat was one of the first Supervisors when the county of Pinal was created.
John C. Harris came in November, 1869, settling at either Blackwater or Sanford. He was around both places. He worked for Bichard Bros., at Whitewater, where their first little mill was located. Lige Bichard, another brother, died in the Pima Villages about ten years ago. Harris worked there for two and a half years. He was in the army and at the close of the war he started west. After he got into the western country, he located first in Nevada, where he worked as a carpenter. From there he went into the Honey Lake country in California. Saving some money he went to San Francisco, and finally to San Diego, then in company with another man he came to Arizona, coming afoot from San Diego to Yuma, where they bought
Joe Spinas is among the old settlers and is still living at Florence engaged in the cattle business. He is reputed to be wealthy. He married Sylvester Andrada's daughter, and has two daughters by her, Mrs. Phil Nicholas, and Mrs. Ed. Devine. His wife died several years ago.
Sylvester Andrada, who took out the Sylvester Ditch, was among the first settlers. He first came into the Gila Valley in 1863, and afterwards located there in 1868. He was a Mexican, said to have been born near Altar, in Sonora. He became naturalized and was a first class
Victorio Lopez was another early Mexican settler. In the fight between Gandara and Pesquiera for the Governorship of Sonora, he, being a Gandara man, was on the losing side. He came to the Gila Valley in 1868, and settled on 160 acres of land under the Swiss canal. He was married and had four boys and one daughter.
Martin A. Stiles was the first Receiver of the Land Office in Florence. According to Mr. Brown, he could neither read nor write, and was a very unreliable man. Ruggles conducted the business of his office. Stiles was killed at the ranch belonging to his wife, by his stepson, Bob Bible, about the year 1883.
In 1870 the settlers in and around Florence were as great in number, or greater, than those in and about Phoenix, and in the Legislature of 1871, which created the county of Maricopa, as will be seen further on, they made an effort to create the county of Pinal, embracing the Salt River Valley, with Florence as its county seat. At that time the population of Florence was estimated to be five or six hundred. Here the Catholics built their first Church in Central Arizona, known as the Assumption Church.
The town of Florence was located about half a mile from the Gila River, and was in the center of a very rich agricultural country which, like the Salt River Valley, would grow almost anything with irrigation. It was an adobe town, built in the Mexican style. One-half of its population, at least, were Mexicans. It was
"The town has a homelike promise in its out of doors aspect. It lies in the Gila Valley, encircled by a wide stretch of delicious green and ripening fields of grain and alfalfa. To the northwest is a high, extensive plain. To the south, and trending east, are the usual ranges of low volcanic and granitic mountains, while across to the south, the eye can discern the far outline of the Picacho Peak. To the north, and trending west, can be seen a range of bold outline, marked on the map as Superstition Mountains. There is a wide expanse of undulating plain to the east, and southwesterly the stage road to this place skirts near the foot of the volcanic hills already noticed. A considerable quantity of land in the valley is under irrigation."’’
Mr. Mason was one of the very few frontiersmen who braved the terrors of the Apache and staked out a farm on the fertile bottom lands of the river. Sullivan remained at the place some time, and frequently showed the black ore, since familiarly known amongst the miners and prospectors of the region, as "nugget silver," to Mr. Mason, but without telling him exactly where he had found it. Mr. Mason supposed that he would go back to the place, and, no doubt, expected to go with him and participate in the benefits of the discovery, but one day Sullivan suddenly disappeared and was not heard of for years after. He was supposed to have been killed by the Apaches, or to have perished on the desert, in the attempt, perhaps, to return to the place where he had found the rich silver ore.
The ownership of the location of the Silver King claim was then equally divided between the four survivors of the party of five, each holding one-fourth. The mine was worked continuously for many years, and was one of the greatest producers in the Territory. Its ore was milled about ten or twelve miles from the mine, but Florence was really the shipping point, and benefitted very largely through its proximity to the Silver King Mine. Here supplies were bought and the rich ore shipped to San Francisco for reduction and refining. The story goes on:‘‘
"One day in 1882 an aged man came slowly into the thriving settlement at Picket Post, and with great interest wandered about the Silver King Mill, where twenty stamps were pounding out silver from the rock. The man was evidently in need of help, and soon went to the office of the company and announced himself as Sullivan, the old soldier, the original discoverer of the vein, and humbly asked for work. Although long before he had been given up as dead, and very few of his old acquaintances survived, he was identified beyond a doubt, and was immediately taken into the company's service by the day. His story was briefly told as follows: On leaving Mason's ranch he crossed the wide deserts to the westward as far as the great Colorado river, and beyond it into California. Being penniless he had sustained himself by working as a farm hand in California. Always hoping to obtain sufficient means to return to Arizona and secure the benefits of his discovery, he had labored on year after year, looking
The neighborhood of Florence was, for a long time, the scene of Apache troubles until a decisive issue was made in the early seventies, in which their power was forever broken in that region. General Stoneman was stationed, with several companies of United States soldiers, at Picket Post, the present site of the Silver King Mills, thirty miles north of Florence, in the Superstition Mountains. The post was in a valley, on Queen's Creek, easily overlooked from a high ledge of the mountains known as Tordillo Peak, and all of Stoneman's movements were noted in the inception. On top of the mountain was a rancheria of Apaches. These occasionally poured down some unknown pathway upon the settlers along the Gila Valley, stealing, burning, and killing, and when pressed by troops, would vanish in the canyons. The location of the village was suspected, from a solitary Indian now and then seen perched upon these peaks, watching proceedings at the post, from which his station was inaccessible. All attempts by Stoneman to get at them were fruitless. At length, emboldened by their successes, they raided a ranch near Florence, and drove away a band of cattle. The Florentines armed and followed, till, after several days of patient pursuit, they found the trail that led to the rancheria. The Indians, doubtless feeling
The above, condensed from Elliott's History of Arizona, is undoubtedly the fight which Captain Walker, in command of a company of Pimas, had with the Pinal Apaches. It is doubtful whether more than three or four white men were in this expedition.
"Primrose Hill stands on a mesa more than usually sandy and bleak. Coupled with this scheme of the sun temple was another, not less startling and original. It was to establish here, upon the choya cursed, sand made mesa, an ostrich farm. What the birds were to eat, besides pebbles, tarantulas, and choya burrs, is a problem which Mr. Poston never divulged to the public. Two as wild whims never entered human brain, and the regret is that he was not able to carry them out, so that the world could have seen the logical end. With their completion, his professions would have been sufficiently varied, embracing delegate in Congress, ostrich farmer, and Parsee priest."’’
Among the early traders of Maricopa Wells, as previously noted, was John B. Allen, who pre-empted a tract of land of a hundred and sixty acres, his pre-emption notice being the first of its kind within the confines of Arizona. Here Mr. Allen established a small store and grain station, which he conducted for some time, and later on Grinnell & Co., also started a similar establishment. Not far from the Wells, Henry Morgan afterwards one of the early Phoenix merchants, had a small trading post, where he bought wheat from the Indians in return for the necessaries of life. At an early day the large mercantile establishment of George B. Hooper & Co., of Arizona City, now Yuma, maintained a branch store at the Wells, where they purchased quantities of grain for their trade. Messrs. Hinton, Carr and Barney, members of that firm, at different times resided there. When the settlements along the Gila and Salt Rivers were well established Maricopa
There was a good wagon road from Phoenix to the Wells from which, before crossing the Gila river, the traveler had a good view of the Maricopa Indian Village. This road also passed Henry Morgan's trading post. Morgan also operated a ferry on this road across the Gila, known as Morgan's Ferry. At the Wells, Carr and Moore had a large store, well filled with goods of every kind; a well of good water which never dried, and around the station was a grassy valley and a mesquite grove. From Maricopa Wells could be seen the stone face of the southern end of the Maricopa Mountains, which had the appearance of the face and head of an Indian, and which the Pimas believed was a profile of their god, Montezuma. It was the custom of these Indians when water became scarce in the Gila River, and short crops seemed imminent, to beseech this god to send rain and snow, that the Gila might again fill up and enable them to raise an abundant harvest of corn and vegetables.
"Among the most beautiful of all the legends told here, is that concerning this face. It is Montezuma's face, so the Indians believe (even those in Mexico who have never seen the image), and he will awaken from his long sleep some day, will gather all the brave and the faithful around him, raise and uplift his downtrodden people, and restore to his kingdom the old power and the old glory, as it was before the Hidalgos invaded it. So strong is this belief in some parts of Mexico that people who passed through that country years ago, tell me of some localities where fires are kept constantly burning, in anticipation of Montezuma's early coming. It looks as though the stern face up there was just a little softened in its expression by the deep slumber that holds the eyelids over the commanding eye; and all nature seems hushed into death-like stillness. Day after day, year after year, century after century, slumbers the man up there on the height, and life and vegetation sleep on the arid plains below, a slumber never disturbed, a sleep never broken, for the battle cry of Yuma, Pima and Maricopa, that once rang at the foot of the mountain, did not reach Montezuma's ear; and the dying shrieks of the children of those who came far over the seas to rob him of his scepter and crown, fell unheeded on the rocks and deserts that guard his sleep."’’
Here also the Indians were accustomed to exchange their grain and other products for ballettas, tickets payable in merchandise at the store, and with the prodigality of the untutored race, spent much of their earnings in useless apparel, as illustrated by the following:
The stores always kept a supply of goods unsalable in other localities, but which were greedily purchased by these Indians. Maricopa Charley, who died only a few years ago, at that time a young man, was rather fond of dress parade. According to John F. Crampton, he came into the store one day, then owned by Moore and Carr, and seeing some hoops hanging up, asked what they were. He was told that white ladies wore them beneath their skirts. Mr. Moore showed him how they were fastened around the waist. Charley wore an old cast-off plug hat, and a "G" string. He seemed delighted, with the hoops, said: ‘‘"How much?"’’ He was told the hoops would cost him $3.50. ‘‘"I take it."’’ He then pointed to a large green umbrella and asked the price of it, and was told it also was $3.50, and said, ‘‘"I take it."’’ Then, with the hoops fastened to his waist, and the umbrella hoisted over his head, he placed himself on dress parade for about four hours, much to the amusement of the whites and the delight of the other Indians.
Maricopa Wells was a place of much importance for many years. After the building of the Southern Pacific, it was a supply point for the Salt River Valley until the building of the Maricopa and Phoenix Railroad, when its glory departed. It is now only a mass of ruins, overgrown with mesquite and other desert plants.