Chapter 35 Land Surveyor Weekly From #05: Both exploring and emigrant parties had occasional troubles with the Apaches, who could not always resist the temptation to steal animals, though their chief fury was directed against the Mexicans, and they often professed friendship for the Americans, and even aided them for compensation. Large parties with due vigilance had no serious difficulty in Apacherla, but small and careless companies were sometimes less fortunate;'® and after 1854 depredations seem to have increased. The most notable, or at least the best recorded, of their outrages before that date was the Oatman massacre of 1851. Roys Oatman, with his wife and seven children, left Independence, Missouri, in August 1850, with a party of about 50 emigrants, part of whom remained at Tucson and the rest at the Pima villages, while Oatman and his family went on alone in February 1851. He was passed on the 15th by John Lecount, by whom he sent a letter to Major Heintzelman at Fort Yuma, asking for aid. A few days later while encamped on the Gila just below the big bend, at a place since known by his name, he was visited by a party of Indians who seemed friendly at first but soon attacked the family, and killed father, mother, and four children, leaving one son, Lorenzo, aged 14, stunned and presumably dead, and carrying off as captives two daughters, Olive aged 16, and Mary Ann a girl of 10. The Indians are said to have been Tonto Apaches, though there was some doubt on this point not yet entirely removed, I think. Lorenzo Oatman recovered and found his way back to the Pima villages, thence going with the other emigrant families to Fort Yuma, and to San Francisco. The commandant of the post, on the receipt of the letter, sent two men with supplies ; but on hearing of the disaster did not feel at liberty to pursue the savages or attempt the captives' recovery, because the massacre had been committed on Mexican soil. The captive girls were carried northward into the mountains, and after a time sold to the Mojaves. The younger died after a year or two, but Olive was kept as a slave until 1857, when, chiefly by the efforts of a Mr Grinelly she was ransomed, brought to the fort, and joined her brother, the two soon going east to live in New York. Her sufferings as a captive had of course been great, though her fate was in some respects less terrible than might have been expected. A volume founded on her statements and those of her brother had a very wide circulation.
The number of emigrants crossing the Colorado near the Gila junction before the end of 1851 has been probably overestimated at 60,000, but they were very numerous. They and the Indians and the soldiers made this the most busting point in the country for several yeara The Indians were not at first openly hostile, though they required constant watching, and the different tribes were often at war with each other, but rendered the emigrants some aid in crossing. Lieutenant Cave J. Coutts, commanding an escort to the boundary surveyors imder Whipple, established Camp Calhoun on the California side at the end of September 1849, and for two months greatly aided the worn-out and hungry gold-seekers, whose arrival is noted almost every day. The 1st of November there arrived a flat-boat which had made the voyage down the Gila from the Pima villages with Mr Howard and family and two men, a doctor and a clergyman, on board. During this voyage, also, a son was born to Mrs Howard, perhaps the first child of American parents bom in Arizona, and named, as Coutts tells us, Gila. The lieutenant is understood to have purchased the craft, which plied as a ferry-boat during the remainder of his stay, and was then transported to San Diego, where it was used on the bay. Such was the history of the first Colorado ferry. After the departure of Coutts, the Mexican surveying party remained till the end of the year, and the ferry service-perhaps with another boat — was continued by the officer commanding the escort.
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:
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.
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."
Chapter 35 Land Surveyor Weekly From #05: Both exploring and emigrant parties had occasional troubles with the Apaches, who could not always resist the temptation to steal animals, though their chief fury was directed against the Mexicans, and they often professed friendship for the Americans, and even aided them for compensation. Large parties with .........Continue to complete Chapter
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