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Biography of Charles D. Post

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Charles D. Post on, whose name is thoroughly identified with the early history of Arizona, and to whom we have had occasion to refer to heretofore, and will, in future volumes record his further activities, was born in Hardin county, Kentucky, April 20th, 1825. He was left motherless when twelve years of age, and soon thereafter was placed in the County Clerk’s office, where he served an apprenticeship of seven years. He was in the office of the Supreme Court of Tennessee, at Nashville, for the next three years, where he studied law and was admitted to the bar. Upon the annexation of California, and the discovery of gold in that State, he decided to seek a home in that favored land, and upon his arrival in San Francisco was employed in the customhouse. After the Gadsden Purchase, he came with an exploring party to Arizona. After examining the Territory, he was favorably impressed with its richness in gold and silver. He returned to California, and from thence journeyed to New York, Kentucky and Washington, where he spent a year in interesting capital in the new Territory.

In 1856, having accomplished the task he had assigned himself, Mr. Poston returned to Arizona, provided with funds for prospecting and opening mines, which were furnished by a New York company. Afterwards he was transferred to the New York office when the civil war broke out, for, as we have seen, all work upon these mines was then abandoned. Upon the organization of the Territory in 1863, he was appointed by President Lincoln, Superintendent of Indian Affairs. This office he held for about one year, when he was elected first Delegate to Congress from the Territory of Arizona. At the conclusion of his term, he made a tour of Europe, and visited the Paris Exposition of 1867. Returning to Washington, he engaged in the practice of law there. When the news of the Burlingame Chinese Embassy came over the water, it aroused an ambition to see the historic places of Asia, and in company with J. Ross Browne, an old friend and the then minister to China, he crossed the ocean, bearing with him a commission from Mr. Seward to visit Asia in the interests of immigration and irrigation, and was also the bearer of dispatches from the Chinese Embassy to the Emperor of China.

Before the inauguration of President Hayes, Mr. Poston was appointed by President Grant, register of the United States Land Office of Arizona, and he also served as consular agent at Nogales, Mexico, and Military agent at El Paso, Texas. The five years subsequent were spent in Washington, where he promoted the interests of Government irrigation, a measure which has since been so perfected that it is making homes for many thousands of our citizens upon the arid lands. For some time prior to his demise, he lived in Phoenix, where he died on June 24th, 1902.

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