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"Old Tucson; a hop, skip and jump history from 1539 Indian settlement to new and greater Tucson"

by Estelle M. Buehman



It may be asked what has such a chapter heading to do with Old Tucson, and I answer "much every way," for as the life history of some great man whose individuality and public spirit have permeated all progressive movements in the country or town where he lives, so Tucson, being the oldest, largest and most important point in Arizona, every- thing pertaining to territorial affairs was transacted by residents, or men coming to, or going from this place as a center of attraction and effort.

In 1847, by treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, all that territory north of the Gila river, now included in Arizona,was ceded to th United States, while in the years 1853-1854, under the early administration of President Franklin Pierce, who desired a further concession from Mexico,' se'dt the Hon. James Gads- den as minister to that country for this pufpose.

His object was to secure a railroad route to the Pacific ocean, acquire the ownership of Guaymas, and the control of the Gulf of California. There were three different propositions submitted, the first of which, being the most southern, and granting larger territory, would seem, in looking back now at the transaction to have been most desirable and valuable to the United States. This concession, commencing at latitude 30 0 , center of the Rio Grande, running directly west to Gulf of California, and in- cluding one-third of the Mekican states of Chihuahua and Sonora and the entire peninsula of Lower California, north, to line indicated, for $25,000,000.

The second embraced about the same territory as the one finally adopted, but with the additional advant- age of a seaport at the head of the Gulf of Califor- nia for $15,000,000. But even the last and third pro- position, called the Skeleton Treaty, caused a great deal of friction in the United States Senate at $10,000,000,for when urged by some of the broader minded members the advisability of a port of entry on the Gulf for the United States, it was answered that "a port at Yuma, on the Colorado river, would be all sufficient." A big bluff!

However, the real trouble, back of a seeming penuriousness, was the growing spirit of unrest because the subject of slavery was even then looming upon the political horizon, and it was feared that South- ern extension would intensify the brewing trouble, 'when if it could have been seen that the stupendous problem of slavery would settle itself in the end, regardless of extension in any direction, it is likely that our boundary line on the south would have been quite different from what it is at the present time. Be that as it may, the transaction brought upon Mr. Gadsden much ridicule for the purchase of that "worthless desert" as it was termed, unknow- ing of its rich mineral deposits, agricultural and grazing possibilities. It resembled the later pur- chase of Alaska for the United States, by Wm. H. Seward, for $7,000,000,for that piece of "frozen land," regardless of the fact that the seal fisheries alone were well worth the cost of purchase, aside from its vast wealth of mineral resources as subse- quently developed.

There is a trait or principle in human nature that seems to make true those lines,

"All great men have been sneered at, jeered at, Before their deeds were cheered at."

Subsequent to the ratification of the Gadsden Purchase, the territory was attached to the county of Donna Ana, New Mexico.

The Americans who were in Tucson at that time, and aided in its acquisition, came under employ- ment of GovernorManuel Gandara, of Sonora, Mexico, and were engaged in ranching, stock raising and in building houses for the Mexicans, who were manufacturing blankets by hand. Those pioneers were John W. Davis, John Clark, Dr. Colton and a few others. The general immigration of Americans began in 1856, and that year the population of Tucson was about four hundred, some thirty of whom were Americans, while in 1859 Bishop Salpointe reported six hundred, an increase of two hundred in three years, in spite of the Apaches, but the country at large was now waking up to the importance of Arizona.

In 1855 American troops had taken possession of Tucson and Tubac. The Mexican colors had been lowered, and the stars and stripes unfurled to the Arizona breeze.

Besides the few Americans noted, others whose names are just as familiar were conspicuous in early times. Chas. D. Poston, whom many of us remember in later years, was one of the first arrivals in 1856. He came for the purpose of opening up and operating rich silver m ines. Hon. G. H. Oury; Hon. Wm. S. Oury; Hon. Estevan Ochoa, from whom we have Ochoa street named; the Pennington family, from whom also we have Pennington street named; Gen'l Stone, who immortalized his name in Stone avenue; Dr. C. H. Lord and W. W. Williams, the latter two of whom engaged in the first banking business in Tucson; Peter R. Brady, associated in later years in the Pima County Bank with the Jacobs Brothers; Wm. Kirtland, who first raised the American flag in Tucson; Hon. Hiram Stevens, who was sent to congress in 1875, and served two terms; Samuel Hughes; Sylvester Mowry, who owned and worked for many years the Mowry mine, still in operation; John G. Capron, who with twenty-five other citizens left Tucson on what proved to be a filibustering trip to the relief of Ex-Governor Crabbe, at the time of the Crabbe massacre in Old Mexico, and interestingly but pathetically remarks that, being only a sergeant at that time he had all the hard work to do"; Solomon Warner, of whom we will speak later; General Wadsworth; Col. Ed. Cross, editor and duellist; and C. H. Meyer, from whom we have Meyer street named. Men—brave, daring and courageous—many who in different ways distinguish- ed themselves, in the civil war, in public life, or as wealthy and honored citizens.

Many lost their lives in brave and desperate encounters with the Indians, for life in Tucson in those days was no sinecure.

There were often captives to be rescued, homes and lives of the owners, or those of their neighbors, to be defended; lasting friendships were formed, and what belonged of helpfulness to one, his neighbor could count on as his also. The record of those perilous days cannot be written. In the days of toil and nights of anxiety no one thought of keeping historical records, and they are lost in the oblivion and mystery that surrounded life in this frontierland, but we know enough to believe that the bravery and hardships of those early settlers would equal the heroism of any age in the world's history. Not only from Tucson, but from one end of the territory to the other, their only epitaph the eloquence of bleaching bones and ruined homes.

In March of 1856 Solomon Warner opened the first store in Tucson. He brought in thirteen pack mules from California, laden with merchandise for this purpose, and for many years much of the necessary supplies for Tucson were brought in that way from Guaymas and Hermosillo under the protection of troops. These pack mules were commonly called burros, and must have been a left-over legacy from the extinct civilization of bygone ages, since I've never heard of their introduction to Arizona. They seem to have been a native production, and like Topsy, to have just "growed." The burro is never too early nor too late in the world's history to be both useful and interesting, and is so unique in ap- pearance, behavior and characteristics, that he deserves a chapter by himself, but content myself with the insertion of the following sympathetic descrip- tion which I found somewhere:

"Burro is the Spanish name for the animal known in English as the ass. The term itself (burro) is a corruption from our word borrow. The people were exceedingly poor (although pious), and the only luxury they could indulge in to any extent was bor- rowing. But the people had in fact nothing but 'asses and rosaries,and as they must borrow,the former being constantly in demand became such common objects of borrowing, that the beast finally took the name of the custom, and fell heir to its present perverted name of burro.

"We could wish that a more expressive and correct term than either burro or ass had been applied to the animal. As they perambulate our streets daily and hourly, loaded to the muzzle with their burdens of wood or small boys, with their ears erect and their countenances suffused with a perfect glow of deep study and concentrated inquiry into the nature and origin of this world, we have sometimes thought they deserved a better name. We look among allt he beasts here and we think we find none so useful and worthy of commendation as the burro. He is so adapted to the wants of the poor. His original price is small and he costs nothing to keep. Pastures which from its barrenness, would give a sound horse the staggers, and cure a mule of kicking, will produce contentment in the bosom of the burro, and he will grow fat on cold adobe walls, made with straw.

"But the most pleasing feature of this docile crea- ture is his humility, his meekness and his submis- siveness. Whether he gets these qualities from the ancestor who bore his Godlike burden over the spread garments and palm branches into the high- gates of old Jerusalem, we know not. It may be. And the glorious fact may have tinged with blissful contentment the blood of all his race, even unto this day.

It is sometimes said he is stubborn, but if those who say this could know, as the burro knows, the everlasting height, and depth and length and breadth of the consummate meanness of the human race, they might also, after a few centuries of endurance, exhibit something resembling stubbornness or slight uncertainty in their actions.
"Besides his cheapness and small attendant ex- pense, the burro more nearly meets the demands of the poor than any other animal. He bears his burden on his back. He needs no gaudy attachmentof chariot, or harness or stable. He rarely strays. He supplies the poor man's fire. He furnishes his frugal living. After warming and feeding his task-master he completes his usefulness by singing that master and his household to sleep. How he will sing! Verily he lifts up his voice and howls. One burro can rend the air and make the welkin ring. There is only one thing which the burro cannot do. He can- not stop braying after he has once commenced until he has finished the tune. He is all right as long as he totally abstains from braying, and has the most perfect control of all his faculties.

But let him once cross the Rubicon of his bray, and nothing short of instant death can help him until he has finished. We have seen a burro with tears in his eyes, and his whole form convulsed with a futile endeavor to cut a bray off just one or two notes short. It was use- less. He can do most anything else. He can wag one ear at a time. He can wag both ears at once. He can wag his tail and one ear at a time. He can wag his tail and both ears in unison. He can wag his tail and not wag either ear. But what satisfaction is there in all these graceful accomplishments when he can't manage his bray. He is so ashamed of his weakness that he sometimes gets desperate, and so you will frequently see him braying and run- ning at the same time. This is caused by a foolish idea on his part that he may possibly run the end of the bray down.

"But all in all, the gentle burro has not his equal among the beasts of the field. His lot is humble, and yet he has borne a God upon his back. His task is lowly and still so well performed that if we can all make the same showing at the going down of our sun, it shall be well with us, notwithstanding what may be the dictum of stoled priest or high altar, or misinterpretedBook."

It was Solomon Warner also, who later built and owned the flour mill, the ruins of which are still to be seen on the west bank of the Santa Cruz river, and in fact, the village at that time was located in what is now the southwestern part of the city—as from time immemorial "Old Tucson." One authority claims that it was situated a half mile further up the river, while another locates it a mile further up, but the old mill is a pretty fair landmark, as well as the old mission Escala Pura, in the valley also, on the west bank of the river. The presidio, or fort, was in the vicinity of Levin's park, west of the old Zeckendorf store.

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