Collection: History Of Arizona

History of Arizona

The following collection provides 28 biographies extracted from the History of Arizona by Thomas E. Farish in 1915, as well as histories on the 6 mining districts found within Arizona. If you’d like to peruse the more historical portions of the manuscript then I suggest you view The History of Arizona at our sister site which provides the first two of the eight volume set.

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Biography of Jackson McCracken

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now Jackson McCracken, a member of the Walker Party, served in the First Legislative Assembly of Arizona Territory in 1861, as a member of the lower house from Yavapai County. He was born in South Carolina in 1828. After his arrival in the territory with the Walker Party, he spent his time in mining and prospecting. Evidently, he was not very fastidious as to dress or personal appearance, for the following story is told of him: After his election, some of his constituents went to him and told him that he was now a member of the First Legislature of the great Territory of Arizona, and he should be dressed and equipped in keeping with the dignity of the office. He replied: “I am in the hands of my constituents.” For answer they said: “All right Jack, we’ll attend to you.” So they formed a committee, took Jack down to Granite Creek, where they had a tub made from the end of a whiskey barrel, filled with water and soap. They gave him a good wash, scrubbed him down with a horse brush, wiped him off well, dressed him up with clean underclothing and a hand me down suit; took him to a barber and had his whiskers and hair trimmed properly, and turned him over to...

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Biography of James Pennington

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now James Pennington, familiarly known as “Old Pennington,” was also one of the pioneers of Arizona. The Pennington family consisted of James Pennington, his wife and five children, three daughters and two sons. They moved from Tennessee into Texas, and from thence pushed westward through New Mexico into Arizona and settled upon the Sonoita near Fort Buchanan in the year 1857 or 1858. During the time of the abandonment of the country by the Americans “he occupied,” says Ross Browne, “a small cabin three miles above the Calabasas, surrounded by roving bands of hostile Indians. He stubbornly refused to leave the country; said he had as much right to it as the infernal Indians, and would live there in spite of all the devils out of the lower regions. His cattle were stolen, his corrals burned down, his fields devastated; yet he stood it out to the last. At times when hard pressed for food, he would go out in the hills for deer, which he packed in on his back at the risk of his life.” Frequently, in his absence, his daughters stood guard with guns in their hands, to keep off the Indians who besieged the premises. About this time, Miss Lucera S. Pennington, was married to a Mr. Paige, and was living with her...

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Biography of Peter Rainsford Brady

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now Among the early pioneers of Arizona, none bore a more prominent part in its development than Peter Rainsford Brady. He came, on his paternal side, from good old Irish stock. His mother, Anna Rainsford, was from Virginia. He was born in Georgetown, District of Columbia, August 4th, 1825; received his education, in part, at the Georgetown College, later entering the Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, from which he was graduated about the year 1&44. After cruising around the Mediterranean Sea in the United States vessel “Plymouth,” he resigned from the navy, and left his home October 26th, 1846, for San Antonio, Texas, where he enlisted as a Lieutenant in the Texas Hangers, and served with distinction in the Mexican “War. After the war Mr. Brady joined a surveying party under Colonel Andrew B. Gray, who made a survey from Marshall, Texas, to El Paso; thence across the country to Tubac and from the latter point made branch surveys, one to Port Lobos on the Gulf of California, and the other to Fort Yuma and San Diego. Mr. Brady served as a captain on this expedition, and was prominent in many Indian fights. When the work was completed, the company disbanded at San Francisco. Mr. Brady was of an adventurous spirit, and in his younger life preferred...

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Biography of Samuel C. Miller

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now Samuel C. Miller as we have heretofore seen was one of the Walker Party, the first to discover gold in northern Arizona. He was the youngest member of this exploring band, and was, in many respects, a very remarkable man. He was born in Peoria, Illinois, November 4th, 1840. At the age of fifteen, he crossed the plains to the Pacific coast with his father and mother, making the entire journey on foot. He was naturally a frontiersman, which may account for the fact of his joining the Walker party at the age of twenty-one years to explore the wilderness of Arizona. During the days of Indian dominancy, he had many thrilling experiences with the savage tribes, the most notable of which was the killing of Wauba Yuba, at which time he was one of the largest freighters in the Territory, owning a large number of mule teams, and engaged in hauling from the Colorado River to the different army posts, mostly under Government contracts. During this time, he had many adventures with the Indians, the principal one, as has been noted, being the killing of Wauba Yuba, the Hualapai chief, the following account of which is taken from the Journal Miner of October 13th, 1909, and may be considered the personal statement of Mr. Miller...

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Biography of Charles D. Post

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now 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...

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Biographical Sketch of A. F. Banta

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now A. F. Banta was born in Indiana in 1846, and came to the Territory in 1863. He was one of the chief Government guides and scouts, with headquarters at Fort Whipple, from 1865 to 1871. He was a member of the 10th Legislature, and introduced and passed a bill organizing the county of Apache, of which he became District Attorney, holding the office two terms, 1879-80 and 1889-90. He was Probate Judge of the same county in 1881-82; a member of the Legislature in 1883-84; Justice of the Peace at St. John in 1876; at Springerville in 1877-78, and County Assessor in 1880. He was the chief guide of the Wheeler Exploration Expedition, and also the 100th Meridian Expedition in 1873. He served as United States Marshal and Deputy Sheriff in the 80’s. He was the first postmaster at Springerville during President Hayes’ administration. At various times he has been an editor. His last adventure of this kind was editing the “Observer” at St. Johns, Apache County. His personal adventures would fill a volume. In the enjoyment of all his faculties, and in perfect health for one of his age, he is still scouring the country and prospecting. The writer saw him a few weeks ago when he was organizing an expedition to find what is...

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Biographical Sketch of Charles H. Meyer

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now Charles H. Meyer was a German, and settled in Tucson in 1854. From 1875 he served several times as City Recorder. His court was unique; every man, when first brought before him for any misdemeanor, he would treat leniently, sometimes giving him a lecture, but for the second offense, he usually imposed a heavy fine, and in addition, would send the offender to the chain gang. If the prisoner demurred to the sentence, the judge would generally double the time on the chain gang, saying: “Veil, I gifs you thirty days more on the chain gang for contempt of de court.” By this method he kept Tucson an orderly city during his terms in office. He had the first drug store in Tucson, which he conducted for many years. One of the principal streets of the city, Meyer Street, is named for him. He died in Tucson September 7th, 1903, having been a resident of that town for forty-seven...

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Biography of Edward C. Peck

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now Edward C. Peck was born in Canada in 1834. When a young man he came to the United States and in 1858, he joined a party of emigrants en route to California. He came over the old Santa Fe Trail as far as Albuquerque, New Mexico, at which point they decided to strike westward along the Whipple trail and emigrant route between Albuquerque and Los Angeles. Without any serious mishaps, the party reached the villages of the friendly Zunis. Although warned against the Navajos and Apaches, the party continued their journey to the west. They reached the little Colorado and crossed to the west side at Sunset, near the present town of Winslow. They then travelled down the west bank of the little Colorado to the mouth of the Canyon Diablo, from which point on they were continually harassed night and day by Apaches. By the time the party reached Antelope Springs, near the present city of Flagstaff, the Indians had become too numerous to proceed further. The emigrants decided to retreat at once. They travelled all night in comparative safety, which was a disappointment to the Indians, who expected to murder the party at their leisure. The party travelled altogether at night until they reached the Zunis, where they stopped for some time to recuperate...

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Biography of William S. Oury

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now William S. Oury was born in Wythe County, Virginia, on August 13th, 1816. In early life he drifted to the west and was with General Sam Houston, at the battle of San Jacinto. He came to Arizona in 1856, and engaged in stock raising and trading. He bore his part in the early history of the Territory, and was a member of several expeditions against the Indians. He organized the expedition against the Indians which resulted in what has been called the “Camp Grant Massacre.’ ‘ The following is his own story concerning it; and is a paper read by him before the Society of Arizona Pioneers on April 6th, 1885: “Having been chosen by our President to give a paper upon some events connected with the early history of Arizona, the writer has selected for his theme the so called Camp Grant Massacre, believing it to be one of the events most important in its result to the peace and progress of our Apache cursed land. To give a mere recital of the act of killing a few more or less of the bloodthirsty savages without the details of the causes and provocations which drove a longsuffering and patient people to the adoption of remedial measures so apparently cruel in their results, would be a...

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Biography of Charles O. Brown

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now Charles O. Brown, who has been mentioned in these pages already, was born in New York, and when but a young man came west. He is said to have been a member of the Giant on band which was engaged in gathering scalps of the Indians in Chihuahua, for which they received $150 each. Reference to this band has been previously made. Brown had gone to California when Glanton and his associates were murdered by the Indians at Yuma. It is not certain when he returned to Arizona, probably about the year 1858. He was a saloon man and a gambler, a dead shot, and it is said that he had several notches on his gun. He was in Tucson at the time of the Confederate invasion, and remained there after the Confederates left. When the California Column arrived he was, as before stated, given a monopoly for the selling of liquor and gambling in Tucson by Colonel West. From there Brown went to the Mesilla Valley, where he married a Mexican woman of good family, and settled permanently in Tucson about the year 1864 or 1865. He was very prosperous in his saloon business, his saloon becoming the popular resort of all classes when the prospectors, miners and adventurers began to flow into the southern...

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Biography of J. W. Swilling

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now J. W. Swilling, known as “Jack Swilling,” was born in the state of Georgia in 1831. He emigrated to Missouri in early life, and there settled down. After having resided in that state some four years, his wife died, leaving one child, a girl, who afterwards married and lived in Missouri. About the year 1857, Swilling emigrated to Texas where he remained for two years, when he came to Arizona, and was in the employ of the Overland Mail Company for quite a length of time. During the Rebellion, Swilling was a lieutenant in Captain Hunter’s company of volunteers in Baylor’s regiment, and occupied himself with thirty of his men, in protecting settlers and others from the Indians along the Rio Grande in Southern New Mexico, and along the road to Tucson, Arizona. When the Confederates were driven out of New Mexico, Mr. Swilling remained in Arizona, and a few months afterwards, was carrying the express for the soldiers and acting as guide for them through the countrv. The following winter, he joined the Walker Party. He was one of the party that accompanied Colonel Jack Sniveley, a veteran of the Texas War of Independence, and General Houston’s private secretary, in a prospecting trip when the mines of Pinos Altos were discovered, and Swilling, it is...

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Biography of Charles Trumbull Hayden

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now Charles Trumbull Hayden, whose name is linked with the early history of Arizona, was born in Windsor, Connecticut, April 4th, 1825. When eighteen years old he taught school in New Jersey, and afterwards near New Albany, Indiana, and in St. Louis, Missouri. In 1848 he loaded a wagon with merchandise, and left Independence, Missouri, for Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he marketed his goods and returned in the fall. He continued in business at Independence for some time, but when the gold excitement began in 1849, he outfitted a train of ox teams, and started over the Santa Fe Trail. He arrived in Santa Fe late in 1849, and met some parties from California, who bought his outfit, consisting of fourteen wagons loaded with supplies, each drawn by six yoke of oxen. He then returned to Missouri to purchase another stock of goods and establish himself in business in Santa Fe. He was a passenger upon the first Overland Stage to Tucson in 1858, to which place he moved his stock of goods from Santa Fe and established himself in business there. He engaged in contracting with the Government for the furnishing of supplies to the soldiers and did a large freighting business to the mines, hauling supplies in, and ore out. He had many freight...

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Biography of Estevan Ochoa

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now Estevan Ochoa was a New Mexican by birth. In his early youth he went to Kansas City, where he obtained employment and acquired a fair knowledge of the English language. He started in business on his own account at Mesilla, New Mexico. He made a success of the enterprise, and thereafter started a number of branch stores in both New Mexico and Arizona. The firm of Tully & Ochoa, of which he was a member, was one of the largest mercantile establishments in Tucson. In Bourke’s “On the Border with Crook” is an account of his visit to Tucson, in which he has this to say of Estevan Ochoa: “This rather undersized gentleman coming down the street is a man with a history – perhaps it might be perfectly correct to say with two or three histories. He is Don Estevan Ochoa, one of the most enterprising merchants, as he is admitted to be one of the coolest and bravest men, in all the Southwestern country. He has a handsome face, a keen black eye, a quick, businesslike air, with very polished and courteous manners. “During the war, the Southern leaders thought they would establish a chain of posts across the continent from Texas to California, and one of their first movements was to send a...

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Biography of Samuel Hughes

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now Samuel Hughes, probably the oldest pioneer Arizonan now living, was born in Wales, British Isles, August 28th, 1829. In 1837 his father settled in Pennsylvania, where Mr. Hughes lived up to 1848, when he became a cabin boy on the Mississippi River, which vocation he followed until 1850, at which time he came to California overland from St. Louis. His first mining was done in Hangtown, California. In 1851 he went to Yreka, California. In 1852 he crossed the mountains to Rogue River Valley in Oregon, where he was one of the first to discover Rich Gulch at Jacksonville. In 1853 he kept Cole station at the foot of the Siskiyou Mountains, and remained there until 1856, when he returned to the Shasta Valley, and soon afterwards became interested in the stock business. In 1857 he was compelled to leave California for the milder climate of Arizona, being, at that time, in the last stages of tuberculosis. He started with a party from Yreka in that year. At Yuma it seemed that his lease of life had apparently expired, with no hope of renewal, but after a few days’ rest, the sick man determined to make one more effort to reach his destination, and started again with the party. At Maricopa Wells, about four miles east...

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