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Biography of Michael Goldwater

One of the earliest business men to settle permanently in Arizona was Michael Goldwater, who came to Arizona in 1860, locating at La Paz on the Colorado River. At that time he was associated in business with Mr. B. Cohen, and founded a large forwarding and trading business besides being Government contractors and merchants. They erected the first mill upon the Vulture Mine, and when it was completed, Mr. Goldwater, with Mr. James Cusenberry, the superintendent, took charge of the property, and ran the mill for about ninety days, paying off all the debts upon it and then turning it back to the owners.

In 1870, having large Government freighting contracts and the Colorado River having receded from the town of La Paz, Mr. Goldwater laid out the townsite of Ehrenberg on the Colorado River, as a result of which the town of La Paz was soon abandoned.

In 1869 Mr. Goldwater secured a contract to supply Camp Whipple and Fort Verde with corn, but a corner having been made in the market, he was unable to obtain the corn in the Territory, except at a great loss, and travelled overland to New Mexico, where he bought his supply and freighted it in by ox teams to Verde and Whipple.

In 1870 he opened a mercantile business in Phoenix, the first store of any size in what is now the Capital city. After about four years, he disposed of his business in Phoenix, to J. Y. T. Smith, King Woolsey and C. W. Stearns, retaining his business in Ehrenberg. In 1876 he opened a store in Prescott, which is still carried on by his sons. For many years he was associated in the freighting business with Dr. W. W. Jones, one of Arizona’s early pioneers. He served a term as Mayor of Prescott in the early eighties.

Like many pioneers Mr. Goldwater travelled over the country with his own team of horses and buggy, and had many a narrow escape from hostile Indians. As a business man, his career was above reproach; practical, active and far seeing, and having great faith in the future of Arizona, he laid the foundation for a fortune, not only for himself, but for his family. To the Mexicans he was known as “Don Miguel” and to all others as “Mike.” His friends were not confined to any one nationality. In 1883 he retired from business, turning his interests over to his sons, and went to San Francisco to live, where he died in 1903. He is survived by two sons, Morris Goldwater and Barry Goldwater, who, under the firm name of M. Goldwater & Brother, conduct large mercantile businesses in Prescott and Phoenix, and are very prominent in financial and business circles in the State, as will be shown as this history progresses.

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