Arizona as it is; or, The coming country. Comp. from notes of travel during the years 1874, 1875, and 1876. By Hiram C. Hodge. Author: Hodge, Hiram C.
xii, -273 p. front., plates, double map. 18 cm.
Hurd and Houghton; Boston,
H. O. Houghton and company, 1877.
Arizona as it is; or, The coming country. Comp. from notes of travel during the years 1874, 1875, and 1876. By Hiram C. Hodge.
Author: Hodge, Hiram C.
ARIZONA AS IT IS;
THE COMING COUNTRY.
NOTES OF TRAVEL DURING THE YEAR 1874, 1875, and 1876.
HIRAM C. HODGE.
PUBLISHED BY HURD AND HOUGHTON. BOSTON: H. O. HOUGHTON AND COMPANY.
Copyright, 1877, By HIRAM C. HODGE.
INHABITANTS OF ARIZONA,
AND TO ALL OTHERS WHO TAKE AN INTEREST IN THE DEVELOPMENT AND PROSPERITY OP THAT WONDERFUL COUNTRY,
IS MOST RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED BY
INDIAN TRIBES: LOCALITY, NUMBERS, AND GENERAL OBSERVATIONS.
THE Indians of Arizona may be classified as river and mountain Indians ; as pueblo, or village, and roving Indians; as self-supporting, and non-self-supporting Indians ; or as reservation and non-reservation Indians. They will be described in the order of their locality, commencing with the Colorado River Indians on the southwest.
The Colorado River Indians are the Co-co-pahs, Yu-mas, Mo-ha-ves, and the Chim-ue-hue-vas, all of whom are a large, powerful, and well formed race. They are now generally quiet and peaceable, and are easily taught the simpler forms of agriculture.
The Cocopahs inhabit the country bordering the Colorado River below Yuma, both in Arizona, California, Sonora, and Lower California. They are quiet and quite industrious, raise considerable quantities of wheat, corn, pumpkins, and melons, and cut and prepare much wood for the use of the Colorado Steam Navigation Company's river steamers, below Yuma, for which they are paid from two dollars and a half to three dollars per cord.
They should not be confounded with the mountain Cocopahs, who inhabit the Cocopah Mountains in Lower California. The mountain Cocopahs are a wild, savage, and blood-thirsty race. The river Cocopahs number about 500.
The Yumas live on the Colorado River at and above Yuma, and number about 600. They cultivate some wheat, corn, pumpkins, and melons, do some work about the landing at Yuma, and cut and prepare some wood for the river steamers at Yuma, and for a distance above.
The chief of the Yumas is Pasqual, an old and quite intelligent Indian, and a firm friend of the whites, whose manners and customs he often commends to his people, and urges them to adopt.
The Yumas, like most Indians, love fire-water, which, with diseases introduced among them, is making sad havoc in the tribe. They are now peaceable and quiet, unless when under the influence of bad whiskey, and great provocation.
The Mohaves are farther up the Colorado River, and range principally between Ehrenburg and Hardyville, a distance of two hundred miles. They number about 1,500. Of this number, 900 are collected on the Colorado River Reservation, eighty-five miles above Ehrenburg, and 600 are on the river above the Reservation, in the vicinity of Hardyville and Camp Mohave. The Colorado River Reservation is two hundred and ten miles above Yuma, and was established by act of Congress, March 3, 1865. The boundaries of the Reservation were extended by an executive order of the President, November 16, 1874, and it now contains 250,000 acres of land, a large proportion of which is first quality farming land. The Reservation is now in charge of Col. William E. Morford, a gentleman well qualified for the position, and who succeeded Dr. Tonner as agent, January 1, 1876. Lieutenants Fudge and Dodt, and Mr. Lehigh, had formerly had charge of the Reservation, and Mr. Lehigh was brutally murdered by his own Indians at Bell's Canyon, when returning from a visit to Prescott. Colonel Morford seems to be the right man in the right place, and it is to be hoped that he will succeed in his efforts to make the Mohaves self supporting, which has never yet been done, although large sums of money have ostensibly been expended for that purpose. It is believed by many that the money so expended has been worse than thrown away.
The Chief of the Mohaves on the Reservation is Hook-a-row, who succeeded the celebrated Chief and friend of the whites, Ar-i-ta-ba, who died some two years since. Hookarow is a large, well-formed Indian, peaceable and industrious.
The Mohaves on the Reservation receive a portion of supplies from the Government, and raise some wheat, corn, pumpkins, and melons, and gather and use large quantities of the mesquit bean, which greatly assists in supplying them with food. Aritaba, the former chief, was far in advance of his tribe in intelligence, and was once taken to New York, Washington, etc. His wonderful report, on his return to his Indians, of what he saw, of the thousand things connected with the white men, their great cities, their great canoes, and long lines of wagons drawn with the speed of the wind by the steam horse, and the many other things he told them of, were so incomprehensible to their simple minds, they could not credit the stories, and lost confidence in him, saying the white men had bewitched the great chief.
Sic-a-hoot is the chief of the other portion of the tribe. This portion are self-supporting, and cultivate considerable wheat, corn, pumpkins, and melons; collect large quantities of mesquit beans, and perform considerable labor about the landings at Camp Mohave and Hardyville.
The Chim-ue-hue-vas are an off-shoot of the Pah-Utes, and live on and about the Colorado River, and intermix, to a considerable extent, with the Mohaves. They number about 500.
All the river Indians mentioned are fond of fish, which they take in great quantities from the Colorado River.
The Maricopas are a branch of the Yumas, which tribe they left some sixty years since on account of a difficulty with others of the tribe. They now live with the Pima Indians, on the Gila River Reservation, and will be described in connection with them.
The Mohaves, Yumas, and Maricopas speak the Mohave language, which seems to be the most perfect and original of all the Indian dialects of Arizona. That of the Cocopahs and Chimuehuevas assimilates with the Mohave.
The Hualapais 1 [1 Wal-la-pais] are a distinct and separate tribe from all others in the Territory, and now live in the mountains of Mohave County. They number 600, and maintain a miserable existence by hunting, gathering nuts, roots, and berries, and by begging and stealing. They are a small, dark race, naturally given to war and plunder. Their chief, She-rum, is a bold, bad Indian, and in former times planned and committed numerous murders among the early prospectors, miners, and immigrants. He ought long since to have been hung for his crimes.
The Pima Indians live on the Gila River Reservation, about midway between Yuma and Tucson, and with the Maricopas, who live on the Reservation with them in the most perfect harmony, number 4,326. They have from time immemorial been quite successful agriculturists, and now raise considerable quantities of wheat, pumpkins, melons, etc. In 1876 they sold nearly two million pounds of wheat at about three cents per pound. They prepare their wheat for market in a manner that would be creditable to the best eastern farmers. Not a particle of anything but the pure full formed wheat is sold by them.
The Pimas are medium sized, well formed, peaceable, and quiet, but great thieves, stealing with impunity every article left in their reach. It is laughable, as well as provoking, to have a swarm of Pimas gather around one's camp fire, and note with what patience and perseverance they will steal, or try to steal, any small article, such as a knife, spoon, fork, or other article left on the ground. The foremost in the circle will put his naked foot on the article, and when he deems himself unnoticed, will give it a throw back with his toes to an Indian in the rear, who in like manner puts his foot on the article, and thus it is passed from one to another until they think it safe to pick it up and hide it in the fold of their blankets. If caught at the game, they will laugh in one's face with impunity, as though it was a good joke.
An hour or more will often be passed by a score or more in stealing in this way some slight article, of the value of a few cents.
The Pimas have several villages, extending along the Gila River for many miles, and have a reservation of about seventy-five thousand acres, most of which is excellent agricultural land.
The Papagoes number 6,000, and live on a reservation south of Tucson which contains seventy thousand four hundred acres of land. Their villages are near the old and noted mission church of San Xavier, twelve miles south from Tucson, and in the Santa Cruz Valley. They are nominally Catholics, and have been under the care of the Roman Catholic priesthood most of the time for nearly or quite three centuries. They are self-supporting, and have been so, as far back as their history is known; have a good supply of horses, mules, and cattle, and raise considerable produce of various kinds.
Like the Pimas, they have been friendly to our people ever since the United States acquired their country, and both have ever been ready to assist in fighting the Apaches, and at times have done good service. For reasons unknown to the author, they have lately been taken from the charge of Bishop Salpointe and attached to the Pima Agency.
Under the care and charge of the Catholics, the Papagoes have been kept free from most of the many vices which prevail among all Indian tribes soon after they become acquainted with white people, and familiarized to their manners and practices.
Why the Papagoes should under these circumstances be transferred to another agency, and no doubt be eventually habilitated with them, and where they will as a natural consequence contract the same loathsome diseases so common among the Pimas, is a matter of serious consideration, and should be carefully inquired into.
At the San Carlos Indian Agency, which is on the White Mountain Indian Reservation, are gathered most of the Apache bands of Indians. This agency is on the Gila River, near its junction with the San Carlos River. It is about one hundred and seventy-five miles northeast from Tucson.
The Indians gathered at the San Carlos Agency are the Coy-o-ter-os, Pi-nals, Ar-a-vai-pas, Ton-tos, Apache Yu-mas, Apache, Mo-ha-ves, and the Chir-i-ca-huans, which include the Cochise Indians.
The Coyoteros, Pinals, Aravaipas, Tontos, and Chiricahuans, are Apaches ; and the Apacha Yumas and Apache Mohaves are a mixture of Apaches and of the Colorado River Indians. The total number at San Carlos is 4,459. Of this number 1,051 are Pinals and Aravaipas, under the chief Es-kim-in-zin ; 629 Tontos, under the chief Char-le-pan ; 1,512 Coyoteros, under the chief Bab-by-du-clone ; 297 Chiricahuans, under the chief Ta-za; 352 Apache Yumas, under the chief Snooks ; and 618 Apache Mohaves, under the chief Charley. M. A. Sweeney was at last accounts acting agent at San Carlos, and under his management the Indians are being taught habits of industry, and it is to be hoped that they will in time, at least partially, if not wholly, become self-supporting.
From Mr. Sweeney the following Indian statistics for the year 1876 were obtained :
Total number of acres of land cultivated....... 549
Brought under cultivation in 1876.............. 221
Number of tons of hay cut by the Indians....... 350
Number of horses owned by the Indians.......... 537
Number of mules................................. 22
Number of burros................................ 18
Number of sheep...............................5,000
Number of cows..................................125
Number of bulls...................................6
Number of cords of wood cut by the Indians in 1876......500
Number of pounds of wheat raised.............10,000
Number of pounds of corn....................200,000
Number of pounds of barley...................28,000
Number of pounds of beans....................13,000
Number of melons..............................6,000
Number of pumpkins and squashes...............4,000
Number of pounds of mescal gathered and roasted for food..75,000
Number of Indians under medical treatment in 1876.....3,237
Number of births in 1876.........................86
Number of deaths in 1876.........................20
Number killed in 1876.............................1
The war chief of the Apache Mohaves, named Mi-ra-ha, left the Reservation July 26, 1876, with-out leave, and was killed by Captain Porter near the Verde River, far from the Reservation.
The White Mountain Reservation embraces a large extent of country, containing two and a half millions of acres or more. Most of this vast section of country is totally useless to the Indians and can never be utilized for their civilization, and should be opened to the use of white men.
The Navajoes 1 [1 Nav-a-hoes.] are also an Apache band, and occupy a reservation in the northeastern part of Arizona, and northwestern part of New Mexico, comprising 3,328,000 acres of land. They number 9,114. They are a bold, active, warlike people ; sharp, keen, and shrewd ; naturally inclined to rob, murder, and steal, and before their subjugation lived by war and plunder. They would often go hundreds of miles to raid on other bands of Indians, and on Mexicans, and at times would drive back from their forays thousands of horses, cattle, and sheep. They now have large bands of stock. They are very ingenious and make the most beautiful and costly blankets of any of the Indian tribes, the best of which are woven in bright and gaudy colors and many devices, and worth a horse each.
South of the Navajo Reservation, both in Arizona and New Mexico, is the country of the Zunis, one of the most interesting tribes on the continent. The Zunis are worthy of special mention, and a large work could be written of them, their traditions, habits, customs, manners, religion, etc., etc.
The Zunis number a trifle over 3,000, and they live in a large and well built town, eleven miles from the eastern line of Arizona. Their town is built on a slightly elevated hill, on the north side of the Zuni River, and on the Zuni arroya or plain, which runs a northeast and southwest course in Arizona and New Mexico. This great plain is eighty miles long, and from three to ten miles wide. The Zuni River is, in. the dry season, but a small and insignificant brooklet. The houses are mostly built of adobe, many of them having well laid stone floors, and plastered and whitewashed inside. The town covers about ten acres of land. The houses are erected one on the top of another, to the height of seven stories.
The Zunis are an exceedingly peaceable and industrious people, are self-supporting, have large flocks of sheep and goats, many horses, mules, cattle, hogs, and poultry, raise large quantities of wheat, corn, pumpkins, melons, chili pepper, etc., etc., manufacture quantities of blankets, many of which they sell and trade with other Indians, and with the whites, and at times supply emigrants passing through with corn and mutton, and other articles.
Their government is patriarchal in form, and vested in thirteen wise men, or caciques, who make all the laws, rules, and regulations, for their government, appoint the governor for the town, and war, hunting, and other captains, for every general or specific purpose or enterprise.
They are a medium sized race, the men averaging about five feet four inches in height, and the women about five feet, by actual measurement of sixty or more of each sex. They are quite stout, more especially the women, are well formed, and do not have the high cheek bones so prevalent among the common North American Indians. Their language is different also from all other tribes, and their voices low and musical, quite different from the guttural of the common Indian. They are generous and hospitable to strangers, but keen and sharp in trade. Their traditions reach far back into the past for hundreds of years. One of their traditions is, that many hundreds of years since, they lived far to the southwest, evidently by their description on the great plains and valleys bordering the Gila and Salt rivers, where there are many old and interesting ruins of a long forgotten race, which will be partially described in a future chapter.
Their present town was built about one hundred and fifty years since, and near its centre is an old and venerable Catholic church, erected about that distance of time, as determined by inscriptions now legible. They had, prior to the building of the present town, seven large towns, the ruins of which yet exist, and are supposed to be the seven wonderful cities of Sibola, the location of which was long searched for by the early Spanish explorers, and which were supposed to be rich in silver and gold, so eagerly sought for by the early discoverers and explorers of the new continent. The old church is now closed most of the time, and the Zunis report that formerly Catholic priests lived with them, but have not been permitted to do so for about sixty years past. The old church is in size 115 by 75 feet, with massive adobe walls, having a choir gallery, and embellished with a number of old paintings, now badly defaced by time.
The Moqui Indians occupy a section of country in Northern Arizona, some eighty miles north of west from the Zuni village. They number about 2,000, and live in seven pueblos, or villages, which are upon high and abrupt table-land. They are in some respects similar to the Zunis, smaller in size, not near as cleanly in habits, generally quiet and peaceable, but will steal. "The table-lands where the Moquis live are from two hundred to five hundred feet high, and can easily be defended against the attacks of their enemies. One of these table-land plateaus is six miles long, and half a mile wide, on which are four of their villages. Three other quite small ones, have each one village. They are self-supporting, and raise corn and other produce in limited quantities on the plains surrounding the table-land plateaus.
The word moqui means death, and was applied to them by other tribes at a time long since, when the small-pox killed off large numbers of the tribe. Their original name was Ha-pe-ka.
In addition to the Indians already named, there are several small bands who live far down in the great canyons of the main and Chiquito Colorado rivers, who number in all perhaps 500. Among the number are the Agua Supais, and a few others whose names are unknown. But little is known of them, as but few whites have ever ventured into their almost inaccessible retreats. They raise some corn and other produce, and, like the Zunis, raise excellent peaches from peach pits brought into the country, as is supposed, by the old Jesuit priests.
There are a few refugees who haunt the Chirica-hua, Dragoon, and other mountains in the southeastern parts of the Territory, and perhaps a few more in the great Tonto basin, between Prescott and Camp Apache.
Of the Indians mentioned, the Zunis and Navajoes, live both in Arizona and New Mexico ; the Cocopahs in Arizona, Sonora, California, and Lower California ; the Chimuehuevas in Arizona, California, and Nevada, and these tribes cannot all be enumerated as belonging wholly in Arizona. The other tribes mentioned make their home in Arizona, except at times the Yumas pass some time in California on the west side of the Colorado River. The actual number of Indians now belonging to and living in Arizona is, as near as can be ascertained, as follows :
Of the Cocopahs............200
Of the Chimuehuevas..........300
One half of the Zunis..........1,500
One half of the Navajoes........ . 4,557
The Pimas and Maricopas........4,326
At the San Carlos Agency........4,459
A total of............26,442
Add refugees and stragglers........200
The Indian reservations in Arizona cover a large extent of country, including many thousand acres of the best farming lands there, also large tracts of mineral and timber lands. But a small proportion of the lands set apart for reservations can ever be utilized by the Indians, or made to assist in making them self-supporting. The extent of the several reservations is as follows :
INDIAN RESERVATIONS. 171
Colorado River Reservation..... 250,000 acres.
Gila River Reservation....... 75,000
Papago River Reservation...... 70,400
Chiricahua River Reservation..... 2,736,000
White Mountain Reservation..... 2,528,000
Navajo (one half) Reservation .... 1,664,000
Zuni (one half) claimed....... 1,000,000
Moquis claimed.......... 1,000,000
A total of..........9,323,400
In round numbers this would be 14,568 square miles, a tract large enough to make a good sized state, if densely settled.
Of the Reservations above mentioned, those of the Colorado, Gila, Papago, Chiricahua, White Mountain, and Navajo, are recognized by the Government. The Chiricahua Reservation, from which the Indians were removed the past summer, has been, or probably soon will be, opened up for the use and occupancy of the whites.
The claims of the Zunis and Moquis to reservations is founded on a claim of long occupancy and tillage for hundreds of years, and by treaties made long since with Spanish and Mexican authorities, but no official action has been taken towards a recognition of their rights by our Government. Their claims have been silently recognized by the Government, and they have never been interfered with, and most probably will not be, unless they should be removed to some more suitable locality.
The author does not desire to tread on forbidden ground, but nevertheless deems it a duty which he owes the general public, and especially the people of Arizona, to express his strong disapprobation of the present Indian policy, or more properly the want of any well-defined and permanent policy, beneficial either to Indians or the whites. The practice of setting off a large extent of country fifty or one hundred miles square, for an Indian Reservation, over which they can roam at will, encourages them in their roving, nomadic habits, and gives them opportunities for committing depredations, for plundering and theft, which they are ever ready to take advantage of.
The practice of issuing rations of beef, flour, coffee, sugar, beans, salt, blankets, and other articles, without requiring any return in labor in consideration for the same, only tends to confirm them in habits of laziness and idleness. Under this system, one half or more of the men are constantly lying around idle, basking in the sun, and living on the bounty of the Government from taxation imposed directly or indirectly on the white labor of the nation.
The idle, the shiftless, the unemployed, of all races, both Indian and white, are sure to pass most of their time in immoral practices,in gambling and all the low vices, becoming contaminated with foul diseases, and creating cesspools of filth, corruption, and degradation, instead of being raised to a higher civilization and to habits of industry, enterprise, and thriftiness. The recognition and encouragement given to tribes and tribal relations, the keeping up of distinct organizations of petty and insignificant nations within a great nation like ours, is an anomaly in the science of government productive of no good, and much harm. Under the present treatment, the Indians become neither civilized nor Christianized, but on the contrary, contract all the bad habits of the whites, filthy diseases, become impudent, and more and more improvident, having no care or thought for their own support, knowing that Government will supply all their wants of food and clothing.
A better and wiser policy would seem to be first, to give them reservations only large enough to be utilized, to break up their tribal relations as fast as possible, to teach them that they have the same rights as the whites, and no more ; that it is for their own good that each head of a family locate eighty, or one hundred and sixty acres of land, with the same right of ownership as the whites have, that they are subject to the same laws, amenable the same as whites for crimes committed, and equally protected by those laws. Then teach and impress them with the fact, that after a given number of years the issuing of rations will be wholly stopped, and that in the mean time they will be taught the rudiments of an agricultural and pastoral life.
It will no doubt take years to accomplish all this, but it can and should be done, or some other policy, equally as good or better, should be inaugurated, and then the Indians will become self-supporting, which will never be done under the present system, and our government and people be relieved from the burdens of taxation to the extent of millions annually. The present no Indian policy has never made a tribe self-supporting, and perhaps never will ; has never benefited either Indians or whites, excepting, always, an army of Indian agents, Indian traders, contractors, and the like, who fatten on the spoils and stealings both from the Indians and the Government.
When under tribal relations, gathered on reservations, and supported by Government, no Indian should be allowed to leave the Reservation unless accompanied by a proper guard, and then he should not be permitted to carry arms. The present system of giving permits to scores of Indians to leave the different reservations for days and weeks at a time, at the same time prohibiting white men from entering or crossing the reservations, without first reporting to the agent his business, or the necessity for so doing, gives great offense to the whites, and opens an opportunity for plunder and stealing by the Indians which they are ever ready to take advantage of whenever an opportunity offers.
Neither the Government nor its agents should ever make promises to Indians unless they are right and just, and when made they should ever be fulfilled. Indians are not fools, and in many things they have as correct an opinion of right and wrong as the whites. As a general thing they are truthful, and consider that a promise once made is to be kept and fulfilled faithfully. Many of the wars, murders, and depredations committed by them, have been caused by broken promises, cheating, and frauds, on the part of the whites. Many instances could be given in Arizona, and elsewhere, to substantiate this assertion.
One instance will be given that occurred in Arizona, which was feared would lead to an Indian war, but which was fortunately avoided by the presence of a large body of troops. While in command of the department of Arizona, General Crook, who is unexcelled in a knowledge of Indian character, mode of warfare, and the proper way and manner to subdue hostile tribes, had succeeded in the complete subjugation of the Tontos, Apache Mohaves, and Apache Yumas, and had gathered them on a Reservation on the Verde River, promising them that the Reservation should be their home so long as they remained good Indians. Placing implicit confidence in the promise of the General, they remained on the Reservation peaceable and quiet, made good improvements, dug irrigating ditches, and were becoming partially self-supporting, when in some unknown and unaccountable manner, an order was issued from the Interior Department at Washington, to remove these Indians, in the dead of winter, to the San Carlos Reservation, a distance of nearly two hundred miles; a special agent was sent out to accomplish the work, and the military under General Crook were commanded to assist in doing what the General had promised the Indians should not be done. The General, like a true soldier, obeyed the orders of his superiors, though it must have been extremely humiliating to him to do so, when he and all others knew that these Indians had faithfully fulfilled their promise to be good Indians. The result was, the Indians lost confidence in General Crook, and he, chagrined and mortified, soon after was fortunately transferred to the department of the Platte, where he now is.
It is to be earnestly hoped that our wise men in Washington will soon see the necessity of inaugurating and adopting a settled and permanent Indian policy, which will be just to the Indians, and just to our government and people; which will tend to make good citizens of them instead of vassals, beggars, and robbers ; which will release the white race from unnecessary and unjust taxation, and which will tend to elevate, instead of degrading the aboriginal race of our country.
CHAPTER XIV. PREHISTORIC RUINS OF ARIZONA.
of the most interesting features connected with an exploration of Arizona is the examination of the ruins of a prehistoric race, who were evidently well advanced in civilization, and possessing many of the comforts and conveniences of civilized life. These ruins consist of towns and cities, of irrigating canals, of stone implements, pottery ware, etc., and of rude hieroglyphics and pictures of men, animals, birds, reptiles, and other objects, animate and inanimate, painted on, or cut deep into rocks in different sections of the Territory.
A thorough study and examination of all the many wonderful ruins, and of matters connected with them, would take a lifetime.
In the great valleys and plains bordering the Gila and Salt rivers, the buildings were constructed almost wholly of concrete, while those in the mountains were mostly of stone. The aceiques, or irrigating canals, were of great length and size, and conducted the water from the great rivers, far over great tracts of country now incapable of cultivation for want of water, and which must at that time have been well supplied and cultivated by that old and numerous race. The stone implements consist of stone axes, stone hammers, stone rings, stone metats for grinding grain, etc. ; and the broken pottery consisted of many patterns and kinds, sizes and forms, painted and un-painted, glazed and unglazed ; some of which were of beautiful color and finish, the painting and glazing being apparently as fresh and perfect as when completed, hundreds if not thousands of years since.
The stone implements and pottery are found in large quantities in and around the old ruins, along the irrigating canals, and scattered here and there to some extent over a large portion of the territory.
A brief description of a few only of the old ruins will be given, sufficient, it is to be hoped, to awaken attention to them, and to induce some society or organization, the General Government, or some wealthy and generous individual, to take measures for a thorough exploration of them.
In traveling up the great Gila Valley, from Yuma to Tucson, many of the old ruins will be found at but little distance from the stage road. At Gila Bend, one hundred and twenty-five miles east from Yuma, and eight miles from where the Oatman family were murdered by the Tonto Indians, in 1851, are some extensive hieroglyphics, called the Painted Rocks.
This mass of rock rises from the surface of the plain to a height of perhaps fifty feet, the uppermost being a broken ledge, from which masses have fallen off, and the whole covering less than an acre of land. On the standing ledge, and on the broken masses at its base, are carved deep in the surface rude representations of men, animals, birds, and reptiles, and of numerous objects real or imaginary, some of which represent checker-boards, some camels and dromedaries, insects, snakes, turtles, etc., etc. ; and on the broken rocks at the base of the ledge are found on all sides like sculptured figures, some of which are deeply imbedded in the sand. These pictured rocks present much of interest to the thinking mind, and when examined by some one versed in hieroglyphical reading, may be found to give some clue to the time of making and the people who made them.
Farther up the Gila Valley, for a distance of one hundred and fifty miles, the whole valley is covered in places, for miles in extent, with the ruins of irrigating canals, houses, towns, and cities, on both sides of the river.
In places are found the outlines of reservoirs, embankments, raised plateaus, etc., and the houses and towns seem to have been laid out with due regard to the points of the compass, as though the builders had some knowledge of astronomy, or at least of the north star.
The best preserved building in the valley of the Gila has been designated the " Casa Grande," Great House though in size it is much inferior to many others, but being better preserved is so called. The Casa Grande ruin is forty-five feet wide, and sixty-three feet long, and the walls now standing are nearly forty feet high, or, four and a half stories. The walls are of concrete, over five feet thick at the base, and the tiers of concrete are thirty inches each in height.
The early Jesuit Fathers who explored this country in the latter part of the sixteenth and during the seventeenth centuries, described the old ruins very minutely, mentioning also the great irrigating canals, the stone implements, and the broken pottery ware scattered profusely over the plain. Their description would well answer a description at the present time. The old Fathers could obtain no information from the then existing Indians as to who built the towns and cities then in ruins, any more than can now be obtained of the Pima Indians, and in answer to questions asked by them, they received the same answer as was given the author by the Pima Indians, which was Moc-te-zu-ma.
No other answer or information could be obtained from them, and they evidently knew no more about the builders than ourselves.
The great irrigating canal, which is near the Casa Grande ruin, is almost entirely obliterated where the soil is of a rich sedimentary character, and can there only be traced by the broken pottery, as the canal is entirely filled by the rains and storms of past ages ; but where it was cut through hard, cemented, and stony ground, it is easily traced and in places open for hundreds of yards to a depth of five to ten feet, having a width of fully twenty-five feet.
The Casa Grande ruin is on the south side of the Gila River, and nearly four miles distant from it, surrounded by a great plain from twenty to fifty miles in extent. It is about twelve miles below Florence, the county seat of Pinal County. The great irrigating canal commences some fifteen miles above Florence, where the water was taken from the river, and can be traced far down the valley towards Maricopa Wells, a distance of nearly fifty miles.
It is evident that this, and numerous other canals of like character, were excavated by a numerous and industrious people, and that they carried out the earth in vessels of pottery ware on their heads, the same as the Chinese are said to do now.
No implements of iron have ever been found in or around the old ruins, nor the bones of any large domestic animal, such as the horse or ox.
They were evidently constructed in an era of time corresponding to the Stone Age of Europe.
The vegas, or beams, which supported the upper floors of the houses, were no doubt cut by them with stone axes, as the ends remaining in the concrete walls present that appearance.
These vegas, as well as the other wood-work of the interior of the Casa Grande, and other buildings examined, were burned out as though destroyed by an enemy, which was perhaps the case. On the north side of the Gila River, and extending a distance of many miles below Florence, are many other old ruins, some of the buildings being over one hundred feet in length, with a corresponding width.
About two miles west of Florence, on the north side of the river, between the homes of Mr. Stiles and Mr. Long, is a stretch of hard, stony land, through which another of the large irrigating canals was cut, and where, for several hundred yards, one can ride on horseback in the canal, which is yet so deep one cannot look over its banks on either side, when sitting on his horse.
Four miles to the west, on the line of the canal, are the ruins of another old town, the outlines of some of the buildings being easily traced. One of them is one hundred and twenty feet long, and eighty feet wide. It was surrounded by a wall of concrete and stone, portions of which now remain ; and this wall was one hundred and thirty feet long on two sides of the building, and two hundred and twenty-five feet long on the other two sides, forming a kind of court-yard inclosing the building. This court-yard was filled in on the south and east sides. with earth to a depth of four feet.
The soil in the valley of the Gila is very rich, and with the large supply of water furnished by these great irrigating canals, the valley must have been very productive, and capable of supporting a numerous population.
Sixty miles to the north of Florence, in the great valley of Salt River, at different distances from the town of Phoenix, the county town of Maricopa County, are other old ruins, more extensive than those in the Gila Valley.
In the Salt River Valley, within a radius of thirty miles, are the ruins of several large towns, some of which are over three miles in extent.
Six miles east from Phoenix, and two miles from the Hellings Mill, now owned by Major C. H. Vail, are the ruins of a large town, near the centre of which is one very large building, two hundred and seventy-five feet long, and one hundred and thirty feet wide. The debris of this building forms a mound which rises thirty feet above the surrounding plain. The walls of this building are standing about ten feet in height, and are fully six feet thick. There seem to have been several cross walls, and the whole was surrounded by an outer wall, which on the south side was thirty feet from the main wall ; on the east, sixty feet ; on the north, one hundred feet ; and on the west side, sixty feet.
On the north, and at the northwest corner, were two wings, perhaps guard or watch houses. On the south of the outer wall was a moat, that could be flooded with water from a large reservoir fifty yards, to the south. Several other large reservoirs are at different points in and around the main town, which was over two miles in extent.
A large irrigating canal runs to the south of the large building, which was from twenty-five to fifty feet wide. This canal took the water from Salt River eight miles above, and can be easily traced for twenty miles or more below.
The people who excavated these canals must have had a knowledge of engineering, as they are cut on a true and perfect grade. Several engineers who have surveyed canals for irrigation along the line of the old ones, acknowledge that they cannot improve the grade, or gain an inch of grade to the mile.
The largest of the old irrigating canals, visited and examined by the author, is some twenty-five miles above Phnix, on the south side of Salt River, near the point where the river emerges from the mountains. This one, for eight miles after leaving the river, is fully fifty feet wide. For this distance it runs in a southwest course through hard, stony ground, and enters on a vast stretch of mesa or table-land, which extends south and southwest from thirty to sixty miles, having an elevation above the river of nearly one hundred feet.
At about eight miles from where this great canal leaves the river, it is divided into three branches, each twenty-five feet wide, one of which runs an east of south course, one nearly south, and the third southwest, the three probably carrying water sufficient to irrigate the whole of the immense plateau of table land before mentioned. Two miles west of where the main canal branches are the ruins of a large town which extends along the mesa for many miles.
Near the centre of this town are the ruins of the largest building yet discovered. Its ground measurement is 350 feet by 150 feet, with outer walls, moats, embankments, and reservoirs, outside the main walls, and ruins of smaller buildings in all directions.
The presumption is, from a careful consideration of all the circumstances connected with the old ruins, that the large building, one of which is found in every town, was a temple, perhaps for sun worship, as there are many evidences that they were sun worshippers.
On the line of the branch canals, distant many miles from this one, are other ruins of towns similar to the others described. Below the great canal and the large ruins described, extending through what is called the Tempe Settlement, are other irrigating canals of nearly equal size to the others, and which were taken out of the river many miles below the large one mentioned, and along these are also the ruins of great houses and towns.
In the Pueblo Viejo, or upper Gila Valley, are the ruins of some ten or more old towns, with irrigating canals, etc., of the same character as those in the great valleys of the Gila and Salt rivers.
Some of the ruins in the Pueblo Viejo Valley are near mountain spurs where rock is abundant, and these were built of stone instead of concrete. This beautiful valley is one hundred and fifty miles northeast from Tucson, and contains about one hundred thousand acres of choice farming land, which was evidently all cultivated by the old prehistoric race.
Well towards the upper end of the valley, on a piece of table land, elevated above the river some fifty feet, are the ruins of a considerable town, large reservoirs, some round and some square, connected by canals. One of these reservoirs is two hundred feet square, and walled up on the inside ten feet in height.
The inhabitants of these old prehistoric towns were evidently cremationists, as from time to time a few burial urns of pottery ware have been found, filled with ashes and small pieces of partially burned human bones. These cremation or burial urns were quite small, about the size of a large coffee cup, urn shaped, and generally inclosed in two or three larger ones, the largest of all being from twenty to thirty inches in diameter, and turned bottom side up over the smaller ones, thus shielding and protecting them and their contents.
The ruins of this ancient race are found over a wide extent of country, from the great valleys mentioned, for a width of fifty to one hundred and fifty miles and for four hundred or more miles in length, far to the northeast, to the country of the Zunis.
Through this whole section of country, in almost every little valley among the mountains, are ruins of houses, towns, irrigating canals, and other evidences of their work, the buildings being almost wholly of stone. On the summits of the highest mountains, along this whole distance, are the ruins of what are supposed to have been their temples of sun worship, and perhaps also a place for refuge in time of danger. A few only of the hundreds examined will be described.
Some twenty miles south from Prescott, and two miles north from Walnut Grove, in sight of Captain Bartlett's house, is a mountain top with a walled in-closure of about two acres. The wall surrounding this inclosure is in places ten feet thick, and ten to fifteen feet in height. Inside this wall are the ruins of fourteen old stone houses.
Six miles southeast from Captain Bartlett's, on the east side of Milk Creek, is another mountain top, three thousand feet above the little valley below, and on this summit there is also a walled inclosure, containing about five acres. The wall is very heavy and high, and inside it are the ruins of twenty-four stone buildings from twenty to thirty feet square. The ruins of a stone causeway, leading from a south spur of the mountain to the main summit, can be traced for fifty yards. It is twelve feet wide, built up on the sides with bowlders of a ton in weight, between which were filled in smaller stones and earth.
From this summit, a grand panoramic view can be had of the surrounding country for a long distance, embracing mountains, valleys, and plains.
Several miles up the Hassayampa Creek from Walnut Grove, and some eight or ten miles south from Prescott, are many ruins of stone houses, some on the high hills bordering the Hassayampa, and some in the valleys near the creek ; some of those in the valleys near the creek are surrounded by large pine forests, and inside the walls of one of the ruins were three large pine trees of hundreds of years growth.
There are many ruins around Prescott, and one series is in the village just west of Granite Creek, on Judge Fleury's land. This series is on an elevated plateau, some two hundred feet above the creek, and they were originally fenced in by a large stone wall, most of which has been taken away for use in the town.
For a distance of sixty or seventy miles west there is a continuation of ruins of stone houses, fortifications, temples, etc., without number. They extend into the eastern part of Mohave County.
The ruins are plentiful around Williamson's Valley, Walnut Creek, Camp Hualapai, Mount Hope, and other places. The most prominent are on the summits of high mountains.
In Chino Valley, twenty miles north from Prescott, are some interesting ruins, well worthy a visit and thorough examination. Chino Valley is rich and fertile, contains a few fine farms, and was no doubt formerly a favorite locality for the ancient race, now unknown. The ruins extend for a long distance in and around the valley, there being a series of nearly a score in sight from almost any point in the valley. The springs which water the valley were long since used for irrigation, there being yet evidences of them to be seen.
Within less than one hundred feet of Mr. Bang-hart's residence are a series of ruins of stone houses, five in number, surrounded by a stone wall. The earth has accumulated around the wall and houses to a depth of several feet since their destruction, which was evidently the work of an enemy.
Mr. Banghart has partially excavated one of these buildings to a depth of five feet below the surface. The inner walls of the room were plastered, and the walls were partly of concrete and partly of stone. On the west side he found a number of large ollas 1 filled with what was evidently burned or charred beans and corn. Near the southeast corner he found portions of three skeletons, one of a large man, one apparently of a woman, and the other of a child, and near them a water olla. They were evidently killed inside their building while defending it. Mr. B. also found nearly a dozen stone axes and hammers in excavating this room. The stone of which the wall and buildings were made was trachyte, and must have been brought from a volcanic mesa, about one mile to the west, where they are abundant.
One mile north of Mr. Banghart's is a very large stone building on the summit of a hill, which was probably a temple or a fortress, also built of stone, and the stone were square dressed.
In a canyon yet a little further north are a few small cave dwellings of considerable interest, but difficult of approach. In this canon the Verde River takes its name, though there are some small tributaries many miles to the southwest and west, and along the Verde, in its winding course of nearly one hundred and fifty miles, are continued evidences of the work of the ancient people of the country. 1 A large earthen vessel, pronounced O-ya.
Four miles below Mr. Banghart's, and two miles to the north of the Hon. John H. Marion's sheep ranch, is a high hill overlooking the Verde River, and a series of ruins of stone houses, inclosed by a stone wall on the south side, which in places is twenty feet high, and twelve feet wide. The other sides of the hill are abrupt and precipitous, and two to three hundred feet perpendicular.
Three miles further to the east is one of the highest mountain peaks of the country, and its summit is inclosed by three tiers of stone wall, a few hundred feet apart. Old stone ruins of an extensive character crown its summit, and here perhaps was a great temple for sun worship for many long years.
To the east of Prescott eighteen miles, in the Agua Frio Valley, on the site of the present residence of Mr. Nathan Bowers, there was a very large ruin of a stone building, which was one hundred and sixty feet square. From the debris of this building, a large double stone house, one smaller one, and much stone wall have been erected, and there yet remains on one side, a pile of debris four or five feet in height.
On the hills around are many other old stone ruins, as well as on the summits of high mountains in every direction, and for long distances.
In the Verde Valley, forty miles cast from Prescott, and extending up and down that valley for long distances, are scores of stone ruins similar to those heretofore described. They are found also in all the contiguous valleys of Beaver, Oak, and other creeks, on the hills and the mountain summits, as elsewhere.
Opposite Camp Verde, a short half mile on the eastern side of the river, are many large stone ruins on the bluffs overlooking the river, the walls of which are standing twenty to thirty feet high, and immense quantities of broken pottery are strewn freely over the ground. Two miles down the river, and a half mile east of it, on a stretch of table land elevated above the river bottom one hundred feet or more, is what was, as is supposed, an ancient burial ground. It covers nearly one hundred acres of ground. The graves were inclosed by stones placed in an oblong circular form, from two to six feet in diameter.
Beaver Creek enters the Verde River a half mile above Camp Verde, coming in from the northeast. This section of country is a limestone region, in which are some of the most interesting cave dwellings to be found in Arizona. Beaver Creek is hemmed in much of the distance for many miles, by abrupt, perpendicular bluffs of limestone, in which are many interesting old cave dwellings. They are mostly walled up in front, and at a distance look like the natural stony bluffs.
In two of these canons, some six miles up the creek on the north side, are several caves some twenty feet above the creek, in two of which are perfect cisterns, made of cement, and almost as hard as marble, and as perfect as when made. On one of them are prints of the hands of their makers, indented in the cement while in a plastic state, and also the print of the tiny hands of a small child, no doubt made by the little one in childish glee and play. Though both man and child have long since passed away, and have been forgotten for unknown ages, the imprint of their hands remain yet to tell a long forgotten story of the unknown past. How long ago these imprints of the little hand were made, none can tell, but there they are full and fresh as when first made. The changes of time, the warring of the elements, and the upheavals and commotions of mother earth, have failed to impair or obliterate those hand pictures, and there they will probably remain for ages to come, telling their silent story of the long, long past.
Three miles below these caves are numerous others in a high bluff on the north side of the creek. This bluff is nearly or quite four hundred feet high, and is almost perpendicular.
The largest of the caves is ninety feet across in front, walled up to its very top, a distance of over fifty feet, and difficult and dangerous to enter, as the opening is nearly one hundred feet above the base of the cliff. The debris from the cave is piled up against the foot of the perpendicular wall rock for nearly one hundred feet, from which point explorers must climb the face of the vertical wall rock nearly the same distance to reach the opening to the cave. This must be done by clinging to poles and jutting points of rock, and occasionally obtaining an insecure foot-hold but a few inches wide.
When once in the cave, it is found to be divided into many rooms. The extreme height is fifty to seventy-five feet, as near as one can judge. The wall in front is laid in mortar, or cement, and near its uppermost part are two port holes, from whence the dwellers within could obtain a view of the country for a great distance around. But few whites have ever succeeded in exploring this cave, and it took us several hours to accomplish the feat in safety. When first explored there were found in it a few stone axes, metats, and other stone implements.
Continuing on to the northeast from Prescott, for two hundred miles, there are scores and hundreds of other ruins, and hieroglyphical paintings, extending to the Zuni Village heretofore described.
From what has been written descriptive of a few of the many hundreds of ruins found in Arizona, the intelligent reader will readily concur in the opinion, that sometime in the long distant past, a numerous race of a semi-civilized people lived and occupied most of Arizona, a race far antedating the present Indians, and far superior to them in industry and intelligence, and possessed of a good degree of patient resolve, and of untiring perseverance. They must have been tillers of the soil, and peaceable and quiet in their habits. Their implements of stone were well formed, and must have required great patience and long continued toil in their manufacture, as most of them were of volcanic and other hard rock. But few insignificant implements of the war and chase have ever been discovered in or around their ruins, from which fact the inference is drawn that they were a peaceable and quiet race, more inclined to the pursuits of peace than of war.
To the present time, not one of the old ruins has been fully excavated or explored. This is to be regretted, as much of an interesting and instructive character might be discovered, which perhaps might lead to some definite knowledge of the builders, as to what race they belonged, the time when they occupied the country, and their probable fate.
It is to be hoped that an official or private exploration will soon be made of these most interesting ruins, which might result in the obtaining of some such definite information respecting the ruins and their makers, of the interesting people who once tilled the rich soil of Arizona, and roamed through its mountains.