Pacific Coast Business Directory

Arizona Territory Area and Resources

The Territory of Arizona is bounded on the north by Utah, east by New Mexico, south by the Mexican State of Sonora, and west by California and Nevada, and lies between the parallels 31° 20' and 37° of latitude and 109 and 115° and 115° longitude. Area 105,120 square miles. Capital, Tucson. Counties: Mariberg, Mohave, Pima, Yavapai and Yuma. Principal towns; Camp Bowie, Castle Dome, Cerbat, Ehrenberg, Florence, Phoenix, Pueblo, Viejo, Sanford, San Pedro, Tubac, Wickenburg and Yuma. That portion of the territory north of the Gila was acquired from Mexico with the conquest of California and confirmed by the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo at the conclusion of the Mexican war in 1848. The portion south of the Gila was obtained in 1853 by the treaty known as the "Gadsden Purchase," and the Territorial Government was organized in 1853. The physical features of Arizona are peculiar and find few, if any, comparisons in the United States. The western portion is dry and barren and the heat of summer is improving with the altitude. In the elevated regions rains are more prevalent and large areas of arable and grazing lands are found and forests of timber.

The principal rivers the Colorado, Gila, Salt, San Juan or Colorado Chiquito, San Pedro, Santa Cruz, Bill Williams Fork and Verdie, with some smaller streams. The Colorado is one of the great rivers of the continent, formed by the junction of the Grand and the Green in Utah, the former having its source in Colorado Territory and the latter in Idaho, giving the length from the most distant sources to the sea of about 1,500 miles. This great river constitutes the western border of the Territory and is navigable for a distance distance of 600 miles from its mouth, estimating by the meanderings of the stream. The Colorado is distinguished for the deep gorge through which it flows in its northern part, its rapid current, its barren and burning valley through its navigable portion, and its dangerous "tide rips" at its mouth. Limited areas of the valley in Arizona and California have a soil of surprisingly fertile elements, and when irrigated, produces a most luxuriant growth of vegetation. The principal northern affluent is the San Juan or Little Colorado, flowing northwesterly from New Mexico, and entering the main stream about 50 miles south of the Utah boundary. Much of the region through which it flows is broken by deep canons but the country affords a large area of excellent grazing lands. Bill Williams Fork enters the Colorado a little north of the 84th degree of latitude, sometimes a powerful stream, but generally lost in evaporation or sinking in the sand before reaching the river. This is formed by two principal branches, the main one flowing from the south, and the other, the Santa Maria, flowing from the north, and joining about 25 miles before entering the Colorado. The upper valleys of those streams contain some good grazing lands but the extent and capacity is quite limited.

The Gila rises in the Sierra Madre, in New Mexico, and after a westward course of about 500 miles empties into the Colorado at Yuma, 175 miles from its mouth, being the principal branch of that stream and watering a country of much greater value. Along its course are numerous valleys of large areas of fertile soil, and susceptible of a high degree of cultivation, although through the arid region of the lower portion the sandy deserts often crowd to the water's edge. Pueblo Viejo is in the most eastern of these basins, or valleys, which contains about 70,000 acres of most excellent farming land. Florence, Sanford Gila Bend and the Pima Reservation, are in others. Salt River is the most important branch of' the Gila' and is a beautiful, rapid stream, sadly misnamed, as it is of pure fresh water, flowing through one of the largest, best cultivated, and most productive valleys of Arizona. This has its source in the White Mountains, in the central part of the Territory, and flows southerly to the main river. The San Pedro rises in Sonora and runs northwesterly through a valley of fine agricultural land, which is bordered by an extensive area of gently undulating hills and mesas, clothed with a luxuriant growth of gramma grass and most favorable for grazing. The Santa Cruz is west of the San Pedro and runs parallel to it, and in its upper part through a similar country, but, upon entering the dry region near Tucson, entirely disappears. The Verde, Date Creek, Hassayampa, Walnut, and others north of the Gila, are small streams and in a, country where water is so scarce, are regarded as important.

The mountain system of Arizona is irregular and peculiar. From the low and torrid valley of the Colorado the land rises in the northern and eastern part to a high plateau of 0,000 or 7,000 feet of elevation, broken by valleys, mountain peaks, ridges and table lands. Among the peculiar features are the many flat-topped hills or "mesas," often extending into broad plains, sometimes producing only cactus or the bitter date, palm, or similar vegetation of the desert, and in other sections growing the juniper or pine, or covered with grass. The mountains bordering the Colorado are of barren, rugged rocks having little or no vegetation, and presenting an appearance of wild desolation, but beneath the repulsive' surface are vast treasures of gold, silver, copper and lead to redeem the country from utter condemnation

In the east and about the head waters of the Gila are the Mogollon, Sierra, Ancha, Apache, Pinal and White Mountains; south of the Gila are the Chiricahua, Dos Cabesas, Dragoon, Patagonia, having an altitude of 10,000 feet; Huachuca and Santa Catarina; in the north are the San Francisco, whose snow covered peaks rise 13,000 feet above the sea, the Black Forest. Cerbat and other mountains.

Arizona has been denominated the land of the cactus and Apache. These have been its most prominent features. The first is the most detestable plant that curses a desert country, growing to excess and in countless varieties, over hill and plain, of the barren region of the west; and the other the most cruel and implacable of savages. More extended explorations of the country have shown a much greater area than was formerly believed is susceptible of cultivation or occupation by the grazier, that the cacti of the west give way to the grasses and trees of the central and eastern part; and by the skill and energy of the brave General Crook, the terrible Apache has been subdued, and Arizona is added to the habitable and inviting. Territories of the Union. Its great mineral wealth is traditionary, and developments, as they progress, give proofs that the bright hopes are well founded. In almost every mountain range, from the northern borders to the Mexican frontier, from the Colorado to the Sierra Madre, gold, silver, copper, lead and precious stones are found. The mining districts of Cerbat, Mineral Park, and McCracken' are in the north; Santa Rica, Patagonia, Sacaton, Oro Blanco, and Montezuma, are in the south; Castle' Dome and Eureka in the west; Wickenburg, Bradshaw, and many others, in the interior. Over this vast extent of country are but a few thousand people, where millions could make their homes and be prosperous. The Apaches, until recently, savagely contested exploration and occupation, but their subjugation has rendered travel comparatively safe, and the country invites enterprise, development and railroads.

Pacific Coast Business Directory | Arizona Territory Index

Source: Pacific Coast Business Directory for 1876-78, Compiled by Henry G. Langley, San Francisco, 1875.


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