«Item type text; Electronic Dissertation Authors DeJong, David Henry Publisher The University of Arizona. Rights Copyright © is held by the author. ...»
“Inform the chief and captains that the United States loans their people these arms; that if they make good use of them in defending themselves from hostile Apaches, and in making vigorous and effective campaigns against those savages, the arms will be presented to them, and that thereafter a reasonable amount of ammunition will be issued to them.”252 When the arms from Fort Yuma arrived, Fergusson promised to distribute them as well, noting the Pima and Maricopa would be “very serviceable as auxiliaries” to the main body of U.S. troops.
By this time the Civil War campaigns in Arizona were over. Throughout the remainder of the war, maintaining supply lines and reopening the Overland Mail routes required additional protection. When gold was discovered in Western Arizona, prospectors flocked into Yavapai and Apache country. Joseph Pratt Allen was delighted that many of the gold fields were close to “the granary of Arizona, the Pima villages.”253 New discoveries of gold near Prescott brought additional miners—and Apache raids seeking to drive the intruders from the land. But while Apache raids increased north and west of the Pima villages, the villages were quiet.
251 “Charles Poston to William Dole,” dated New York, April 16, 1863, RG 75, M234, Roll 3. When arms were distributed, Poston complained it occurred without “consulting their legal guardian on the subject or even inviting his presence.” Poston was clearly involved in a power scheme and the Pima and Maricopa were in the middle. See “Poston to Brigadier General James Carleton,” dated Pima Villages, March 10, 1864, in RG 75, M234, Roll 3.
252 “D. Fergusson to Lieutenant George A. Burkett,” dated Tucson, Arizona Territory, April 17, 1863, in War of the Rebellion, Series I, Volume L, Part II, p. 405. Burkett was to take receipt from each captain for the arms issued and have Abraham Lyons (the Indian agent) witness their marks or signatures. Fifty-eight old pattern dragoon coats and jackets and 415 pompoms were to be taken to the villages to be used as trade items.
253 John Nicholson, editor, The Arizona of Joseph Pratt Allyn, (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1974), p. 162.
132 When miners petitioned the California volunteers for protection from the Apache and Yavapai, Carleton refused, informing them that until the Navajo campaign concluded, “soldiers cannot be sent.” Irate miners then petitioned Territorial Governor John Goodwin to act. Goodwin in turn requested military escorts from President Lincoln, suggesting to the President that Pima and Maricopa volunteers be recruited for the task since they had an intimate knowledge of the land and were familiar with Apache warfare.254 In the meantime, Arizona rancher King Woolsey led thirty men on a punitive expedition against the Apache. Sending a scouting party to the Pima and Maricopa villages for food rations, Woolsey managed to recruit fifteen Maricopa and twenty-five Pima to join the expedition.255 By 1864, quasi-settled areas of the territory—largely mining camps—were “completely paralyzed by hostile Indians.” When Brigadier General John S. Mason arrived in Arizona, he found most settlers south of the Gila River had fled to Tucson while those living north of the river had almost entirely abandoned their settlements.
Exploration and exploitation of the territory’s mineral wealth virtually came to a halt.256 In an attempt to open the territory, Mason proposed to blanket Arizona with light cavalry to steer hostiles into the arms of the U.S. Army. This had worked with success during Kit Carson’s infamous 1863 march through Canyon de Chelly and the Navajo Nation, and James Carleton’s Gila Expedition in 1864.257 By 1865, the situation was much different, as Goodwin’s plan to arm the Pima and Maricopa had been approved by U.S. Provost
Marshal, James B. Fry. Mason proposed using Pima and Maricopa allies in the field for the express purpose of engaging the Apaches.
Territorial Governor Goodwin initially approved of six companies of volunteers, although just five were actually raised: Companies A, B, C, E, and F. Some 200 Pima and Maricopa—more than one-quarter of the adult men—enlisted for a one year tour of duty.258 Thomas Ewing, then a teamster in the Pima villages, enlisted 97 Maricopa and formed Company B, with six additional Maricopa warriors later enlisting. John D.
Walker, living among the Pima after his discharge from the California volunteers, recruited 94 Pima for Company C. On September 2, 1865, Companies B and C were mustered in at Maricopa Wells, with Maricopa Chief Juan Cheveria serving as captain and Antonio Azul serving as sergeant (later promoted to second lieutenant).259 Company B was dressed in a blue shirt trimmed in red while Company C was dressed in a blue shirt trimmed in blue; all Pima and Maricopa volunteers received blue military pants, black military boots and one yard of red flannel. Their primary objective was to pacify the Tonto and Pinal Apaches, for which they were to be rewarded with “Government bounty.”260 The Pima and Maricopa desire to do their part in securing Arizona Territory, believing that in so doing they were, in fact, securing their own economic well-being and protecting their own land and sovereignty. The Indians risked life and property in order to secure a stable economy for themselves and their posterity.
258 “Brigadier Jonathan S. Mason to Colonel R. C. Drum,” dated Maricopa Wells, Arizona, May 30, 1865, in War of the Rebellion, Series I, Volume L, Part I, p. 1247. Three different colored shirts were issued: 200 red, 200 yellow and 200 light blue. The Pima, Maricopa and Papago each were assigned a regimental color. Juan Cheveria led the Maricopa while Antonio Azul led the Pima. All the Indian auxiliaries were under the command of John D. Walker. Juan Cheveria requested a trip to San Francisco as his payment.
The trip was approved in May 1865. See “Jonathan S. Mason to Colonel R.C. Drum,” dated Maricopa Wells, May 31, 1865, in War of the Rebellion, Series I, Volume L, Part II, p. 1251.
259 Underhill, pp. 18-23. The three remaining companies (mostly Mexican) were mustered into service in October and November.
260 “M.O. Davidson to R.B. Valkenburgh,” dated U.S. Indian Agency, Tucson, September 30, 1865, in RG 75, M234, Roll 3.
134 For the remainder of 1865, the headquarters of the District of Arizona was variously located at Maricopa Wells, Fort Whipple, Tubac and Fort Goodwin, among others. In the fall of 1865, the central command was moved to a new post called Camp McDowell, although in 1866 Mason was frequently based in Sacaton, the most centralized location for communicating with troops in the field. Here an abundance of grain and food was available to serve the military.261 Camp McDowell, constructed with the assistance of the Pima and Maricopa, was in the heart of Apache country and served as a buffer, enabling settlement to take root along the Verde and Salt rivers as well as in areas east of the Pima Reservation. The Pima were aware their actions would encourage settlement, yet they were confident in their ability to serve as the granary of the territory. While cautious of the events around them, the Pima believed they had demonstrated their loyalty and commitment to the recently arrived American officials. When their enlistments expired in September 1866, most of the 200 Pima and Maricopa returned to their fields, although seventy chose to re-enlist in November and served as spies and scouts for the U.S. Army under General Irvin McDowell.262 Throughout the latter part of the decade, the Pima continued to tend to their fields and grow a good article of grain. J. Ross Browne, the special government agent who passed through the villages in 1864, described “large acequias tak[ing] their head near the upper boundary” of the reservation; one was on the south side of the Gila two miles 261 Constance Wynn Altshuler, Cavalry Yellow and Infantry Blue: Army Officers in Arizona between 1851-1886 (Tucson: Arizona Historical Society, 1991), p. 223.
262 Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 1867, p. 163. Not until 1924 were the seven surviving Pima and Maricopa veterans and four widows given a military pension. The Pima and Maricopa were discharged on September 11, 1866. Each soldier received $50 and was allowed to keep his firearms and equipment. McDowell and Maricopa Chief Juan Chervaria became and remained good friends. Constance Wynn Altshuler, Men and Brothers, Journal of Arizona History (19:3) Autumn 1978.
135 below Sacaton (likely the Old Maricopa Ditch) and the other was on the north side of the river (likely the Sratuka Canal, which fed the settlements near Snaketown). These canals “with their various branches, comprise[d] nearly five hundred miles of well-defined acequias and extend[ed] over a tract of land eighteen miles in length.”263 In 1864, the Pima were especially blessed with a “bountiful crop of wheat, corn, beans, melons and pumpkins.” White estimated at least one million pounds would be sold, with wheat selling for 14 cents a pound in the mining districts. Their supply of grain “is ample for all the citizens and a portion of the troops at present in Arizona,” White added. The Pima and Maricopa used the proceeds from the sale of these goods to purchase clothing and other “articles as they require.”264 Allyn visited the villages in the summer of 1864 and estimated the amount of corn sold by the Pima and Maricopa at 250,000 pounds, in addition to the wheat White noted.
Allyn speculated that Pima grain production had quadrupled since 1860.265 Having full and complete use of the waters of the Gila River—other than minimal diversions by a handful of settlers above the reservation—the Pima would have been able to cultivate additional crops without placing any strains on their water supply or on their distribution system. After White’s mill was reopened in 1862, Pima and Maricopa wheat—sold at 3 to 6 cents per pound—was transported to Prescott for use by the miners or sold under military contracts. The Weekly Arizona Miner, a Prescott newspaper, reported that “Pimo
Flour, from the steam mill of White and Noyes, is now much used in Prescott. It is good and sweet, though not so white as some of the flour from the States.”266 By mid decade, then, the Pima provided the bulk of the wheat and corn supply for the new territory and served as volunteers in the territorial militia. Wheat was selling for $2.00 a bushel, with sales to military contractors, miners in Prescott and emigrants passing through the villages. While the grain was purchased by traders, the Pima were doing well. They were doing so well, in fact, that they informed newly appointed Indian agent M. O. Davidson that they “want[ed] no aid at the hands of the Government, except such as will promote their education, morally, in the mechanic arts, and agriculture.”267 The Pima made clear their desire to remain economically independent, cognizant that dependence would erode their industriousness. When C. H. Lord, deputy agent in Tucson, visited Azul and the chiefs in May 1866, he distributed additional agricultural implements and was informed by the leading men that “they had never been so well and appropriately thought of in the selection to meet their need.” There were “many well-todo farmers” among the Pima and Maricopa and Lord estimated they would have more than 1,500,000 pounds of grain to sell that spring.268 The Pima even expanded their area of cultivation again, reclaiming previously irrigated land above the reservation in the Blackwater area. In 1866, they sold over 2,000,000 pounds of wheat, corn and beans.269 So successful was their cultivation of crops that George Hooper, a military contractor at Fort Yuma, sought a federal license to open a trading post at the Pima
villages so that he, too, might profit by the sale of Pima and Maricopa grain. Unable to secure the required federal license, Hooper attempted to buy-out White and proposed replacing the existing mill with a larger one. White was unable to process flour quickly enough, Hooper argued, with the result that “immense quantities of flour are constantly being sent into the territory.”270 Increasing the sale of wheat and flour, Hooper added, would foster settlement of the territory. Rebuffed in securing a license, Hooper purchased the interests of Henry Grinnell and, by February 1867, operated three trading posts in Maricopa Wells, Sweetwater and Sacaton.271 Later that same spring, White sold his interest in the Casa Blanca mill to William Bichard, who then signed a military contract to annually provide 300,000 pounds of Pima flour.272 Despite disputing with Indian agents and military officials, the Pima and Maricopa cultivated their land and continued to protect the central valleys of the territory.
But their success also initiated the beginnings of their downfall. Afforded protection by the Pima and Maricopa, additional miners entered the territory, affording new opportunities for the sale of Indian wheat and corn. But this also opened the door to 270 “George Hooper to Commissioner of Indian Affairs,” dated San Francisco, March 23, 1865, in RG 75, M234, Roll 3. “George Hooper to Charles Poston,” dated San Francisco, April 12, 1865, in RG 75, M234, Roll 3.