University of New Mexico.

New Mexico historical review (Volume 17) online

. (page 2 of 33)
Online LibraryUniversity of New MexicoNew Mexico historical review (Volume 17) → online text (page 2 of 33)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


306, 307, 308 (note)
Young, Brigham, mention, 193, 210

Zuni, books found (1692) at, 235, 260-1



ERRATA

Page 37, title, for 1867 read 1866
" 177, line 23, for indefinite read infinite
" 235, " 17, for 1622-1663 read 1661-1662

241, 28, for to read too

278, 8 from bottom, after have insert been
" 281, correct initial, Richard A. Greer.



The Historical Society of New Mexico

(INCORPORATED)
Organized December 26, 1859



PAST PRESIDENTS

1859 COL. JOHN B. GRAYSON, U. S. A.
1861 MAJ. JAMES L. DONALDSON, U. S. A.
1863 HON. KIRBY BENEDICT

adjourned sine die, Sept. 23, 1863



re-established Dec. 7, 1880

1881 HON. WILLIAM G. RITCH
1883 HON. L. BRADFORD PRINCE
1923 HON. FRANK W. CLANCY

1925 COL. RALPH E. TWITCHELL

1926 PAUL A. F. WALTER

OFFICERS FOR 1942-1943

PAUL A. F. WALTER, President

PEARCE C. RODEY, Vice-President

LANSING B. BLOOM, Corresponding Secretary
WAYNE L. MAUZY, Treasurer

Miss HESTER JONES, Recording Secretary

FELLOWS

PERCY M. BALDWIN EDGAR L. HEWETT

RALPH P. BIEBER FREDERICK W. HODGE

LANSING B. BLOOM J. LLOYD MECHAM

HERBERT E. BOLTON THEODOSIUS MEYER, 0. F. M.

MARION DARGAN FRANK D. REEVE

AURELIO M. ESPINOSA FRANCE V. SCHOLES

CHARLES W. HACKETT ALFRED B. THOMAS

GEORGE P. HAMMOND PAUL A. F. WALTER



/, I



NEW MEXICO
HISTORICAL REVIEW



VOL. XVII



JANUARY, 1942



No. 1




PALACE OF THE GOVERNORS



PUBLISHED QUARTERLY BY

THE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF NEW MEXICO

AND

THE UNIVERSITY OF NEW MEXICO






NEW MEXICO
HISTORICAL REVIEW

Editor Managing Editor

LANSING B. BLOOM PAUL A. F. WALTER

Associates

PERCY M. BALDWIN GEORGE P. HAMMOND

FRANK T. CHEETHAM THEODOSIUS MEYER, 0. F. M.

VOL. XVII JANUARY, 1942 No. 1

CONTENTS

Arizona's Stand on the Santa Fe Compact and the Boulder Dam

Project Act _. _ Donald R. Van Petten 1

Notes upon the Routes of Espejo and Farfan to the Mines in

the Sixteenth Century Katharine Bartlett 21

London to Salt Lake City in 1867: The Diary of William Driver

Edited by Frank Driver Reeve 37

Ralph Elmo McFie: From Las Cruces to Davao

Maude McFie Bloom 64

Necrology

Mark B. Thompson - 87

Arthur Earle Carr 87

William Clifford Reid 89

Crestus E. Little 90

Oliver M. Lee 91

LeRoy Samuel Peters 92

Notes and Comments _ 94



Subscription to the quarterly is $3.00 a year in advance; single
numbers (except Vol. I, 1-4, and II, 1) may be had at $1.00 each.

Volumes II-XVI can be supplied at $4.00 each; Vols. I-II are
out of print in part.

Address business communications to Mr. P. A. F. Walter, State
Museum, Santa Fe, N. M.; manuscripts and editorial correspondence
should be addressed to Mr. Bloom at the University of New Mexico,
Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Entered as second-class matter at Santa Fe, New Mexico
UNIVERSITY PRESS, ALBUQUERQUE, N. M.



NEW MEXICO HISTORICAL
REVIEW

VOL. XVII JANUARY, 1942 No. 1



ARIZONA'S STAND ON THE SANTA FE COMPACT
AND THE BOULDER DAM PROJECT ACT

By DONALD R. VAN PETTEN

THE COLORADO River and its tributaries form a system in
the southwestern part of the United States, the impor-
tance of which can hardly be over-estimated. Its potentiali-
ties for power and for irrigation are of paramount impor-
tance in the industrial life of the Colorado Basin. Seven
states Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mex-
ico, Wyoming, and Utah contribute in varying amounts to
its flow. This vast territory may be divided into the upper
and lower basins. The upper is comprised of Colorado,
Wyoming, Utah, and New Mexico states in which the
vast river and the tributaries to its upper reaches rise
among the mountains, where precipitation, especially in
the form of snow, is heavy, and where the opportunities for
irrigation are limited by the character of the terrain. The
lower basin is composed of Arizona, California, and Nevada
states whose valleys possess an excellent climate and
soil where, particularly in the first two, an immense acre-
age is susceptible to irrigation. Of these three lower basin
states, only Arizona contributes materially to the normal
flow of the river. While the sources of the Colorado are all
in the United States, its final channel, delta, and mouth are
in territory belonging to the Republic of Mexico.

At its mouth, the river has built an immense delta from
the materials eroded from the canyons, and by this means
has formed a dike across the Gulf of California. This cuts



2 NEW MEXICO HISTORICAL REVIEW

off entirely the northern end of the gulf, which forms a deep
bowl below sea level, and includes the Imperial and Coachella
valleys, together with a large lake at the lowest point the
Salton Sea. This body of water has an area of about 150,000
acres, and its surface is approximately 250 feet below sea
level. 1

The river itself flowed down along the eastern edge of
this depression, in a river bed which was being gradually
built up by deposits of silt above the level of the surround-
ing country. In the early summer, when freshets, fed by the
melting snows in the far-away mountains, came, the anxious
farmer in the Imperial Valley lived under the constant ap-
prehension of waking some fine morning to find his house
and farm under water.

This catastrophe did occur in 1906, when the breaking
of a main levee caused a disastrous flood which inundated
50,000 acres of farms. By 1922, due to silt deposits, the bed
of the channel of the river as it flowed to the gulf was four-
teen feet higher than it had been in 1906, and the levees were
kept correspondingly high by the people of the Imperial
Valley. Once the water poured into the valley, it could
escape only by evaporation, and all the cultivated land and
thriving towns would be submerged beyond hope of recovery.

The threat of such an event is realized, when it is under-
stood that this valley is the largest single irrigated unit in
the United States, and that the danger zone of the Colorado
River is the home of more than 75,000 people, who have re-
claimed more than one-half million acres of land, and have
built more than thirty towns and villages. The value of their
annual crops exceeds one hundred million dollars, and the
potential value of their homes, lands and improvements is
more than eight hundred millions. 2

There was another unique feature of the Imperial Val-



1. Colorado River Commission of California, The Boulder Canyon Project
(Sacramento, 1930), p. 13.

2. E. A. Hampton, "The Battle with the Colorado," Review of Reviews, Nov.,
1922, p. 525.



THE SANTA FE COMPACT 3

ley besides its topography, which made it necessary to seek
help from the national government. The main canal con-
ducting water from the Colorado River at Yuma to the Im-
perial Valley, several miles to the west, crossed the inter-
national boundary into Mexico, and extended from fifty to
sixty miles westward with laterals at various points which
diverted water across the border again to California lands.
As a result, political and operating complications devel-
oped. The concession from the Mexican government to the
Imperial Valley Water Users provided that when a foreign
government became interested, the concession was auto-
matically withdrawn, a provision that would make it neces-
sary for another route to be chosen if the United States
government became interested in the water supply for the
valley. It was further required that levees be maintained on
the Mexican side, and permission given by Mexican officials
whenever it was necessary or desirable to transport ware-
house equipment across the border; moreover, a duty was
charged on each carload of rock that went across the line
for the levees. There was a contract allotting Mexican soil
a right to one-half of the water flowing in the main canal.
It has been estimated that $112,000,000 was spent by the
Americans to maintain the levees in Mexico prior to 1922.
In President Theodore Roosevelt's message to congress con-
cerning the 1906 disaster he stated that the Imperial Valley
would "never have a safe and adequate supply of water until
the main canal extends from Laguna Dam." 3 The problem,
therefore, was two-fold : to control the flow of the river, and
to settle international questions with Mexico having to do
with canal and water rights. The United States government
was the logical agency to undertake the solution. 4



3. Cong. Record, 59 Cong. Vol. 41, Part 2, p. 1029. The Laguna Dam is several
miles north of Yuma. When the canal was first built, it was considered impossible to
carry it through the sand dunes which lie between the river and the Imperial Valley.

4. Winifred Smith, The Controversy between Arizona, and California over the
Boulder Dam Project Act (unpublished master's thesis, University of Southern Cali-
fornia, Los Angeles, 1931), pp. 15-19.



4 NEW MEXICO HISTORICAL REVIEW

THE SANTA FE COMPACT

The quarrel which rose between Arizona and California
concerning the development of the Colorado River, was
caused by political and economic rivalry. There has never
been any questioning of the fact that the harnessing of the
river to prevent floods, to give power, and for the purposes
of de-silting was a very desirable thing, from the standpoint
of both states.

Arizona always has considered the Colorado River as
her greatest natural resource. For many miles, it flows
through this state, and for many more miles it forms the
western boundary. Although large in territory, thousands
of her acres are unfit for use, and many more are in the con-
trol of the federal government as Indian reservations, forest
reserves, or as federal lands. Her population is small, and
her prosperity at present is dependent largely on the uncer-
tainty of mining operations. The time is surely coming when
the copper mines will be depleted. Then a change will have
to be made from a mining to an agricultural economy. When
that day comes, the necessity for an available supply of
irrigation water and for an abundance of power for pump-
ing and drainage purposes is imperative. 5

Because of these facts, Arizona looked with suspicion
on every move which might jeopardize her future. As far
back as 1918, the Imperial Irrigation District made an
arrangement with the secretary of the interior providing
for an extension of the Imperial Canal to Laguna Dam, and
pledged itself to build an all-American canal to the valley
from that point. No construction was begun, since finances
were not available. It was hoped that a board appointed in
accordance with a contract between the secretary of the in-



5. Much of the material given in this paper is the result of study made by the
author as a member of the Arizona house of representatives during the years 1928-
1932. During the sessions of both the ninth and tenth legislatures, he was a member
of the committee on agriculture and irrigation. The author is also indebted for a
great deal of information to an unpublished master's thesis by Rollah E. Aston,
Boulder Dam and the Public Utilities (The University of Arizona, Tucson, 1936).



THE SANTA FE COMPACT 5

terior and the district would report favorably for govern-
ment construction of this canal.

This board did make an investigation and reported
favorably on building a main canal entirely in the territory
of the United States. Accordingly, the Kettner bill, provid-
ing for such a canal financed by the government, was intro-
duced in congress in 1919. Because it did not provide for
storage on the Colorado, the bill failed to pass. Congressmen
did not know how adequate the water supply was, nor the
number of acres susceptible to irrigation.

To obtain this data, congress approved the Kincaid Act
on May 18, 1920, which provided for "an examination and
report on the condition and possible irrigation development
of the Imperial Valley in California." 6 $20,000 was appro-
priated by the act, and the Imperial Valley contributed
$100,000. The secretary of the interior was directed to con-
duct the investigations, and to make recommendations as
to the feasibility of constructing a dam on the river. He was
to report in detail the character and probable cost and the
best location for such storage works.

Albert B. Fall of New Mexico conducted the investiga-
tion and made the report on February 22, 1922. Referring
to the opposition he met with in various quarters, he stated
that it had been delayed not only by "physical limitations but
by human considerations." 7 He had personally gone to San
Diego, California, to hold hearings so that free opportunity
might be given for the expression of different views. Mr.
Fall stated that he concurred most heartily in the recommen-
dations of the report, which were in part:

That the United States construct a high-line
canal from Laguna Dam to Imperial Valley, to be
reimbursed from the lands benefited.

That the government undertake the construc-
tion of a reservoir at or near Boulder Canyon to be



6. Ralph L. Griswell, "Colorado River Conferences and Their Implications,"
Colorado River Development and Related Problems, p. 12.

7. Letter of Transmittal, Senate Document 142, 67 Cong. 2 Sess.



6 NEW MEXICO HISTORICAL REVIEW

reimbursed by the revenues from leasing the power
privileges incident thereto.

That the Secretary of the Interior be empow-
ered to allot the various applicants their due propor-
tion of the power privileges and to allocate the
costs and benefits of a high line canal. 8

It might be remarked here that the Boulder Canyon
damsite was not utilized in building the present Hoover or
so-called Boulder Canyon Dam. It is located at the mouth of
the Black Canyon. Officials of the Imperial Irrigation Dis-
trict reported that the selection was made by government
engineers. 9

The states concerned with the development of the river
early realized that differences would arise, and that it would
be best to settle those differences among themselves. One of
the agencies for this purpose was the Southwest League,
which emerged as a permanent organization from a confer-
ence of representatives from the seven states called by the
governor of Utah in January, 1919, for the purpose of dis-
cussing the utilization of water from the Colorado River
and its tributaries. 10 This organization believed that the
development of the resources of the Colorado River basin
was basic for the future progress and prosperity of the
southwest.

At one of its meetings in Denver during August, 1920,
representatives from Arizona and California presented a
resolution which the league passed, in which it was stated
that the questions inherent in the development of the Colo-
rado should be settled by a compact between the interested
states, and that the legislatures of the states should author-
ize the appointment of a commission to enter into such a
compact. This agreement would then be ratified by the



8. Ibid., p. 21.

9. Black Canyon is nearer the mouth of the river than Boulder, and consequently
nearer the metropolitan district of southern California where much of the market for
power was to be found. This was a sore point with Arizona objectors who felt that
much more Arizona land could be brought under irrigation if the dam were placed
at Boulder higher up the river.

10. Reuel L. Olson, The Colorado River Compact (Boston, 1926), p. 12.



THE SANTA FE COMPACT 7

various state legislatures and by the congress of the United
States. The next year, the legislatures and the congress gave
approval to the plan. In May, 1921, the various governors
of the interested states requested President Harding to
name a chairman of the proposed commission, and he pro-
posed Herbert Hoover.

Santa Fe, New Mexico, was decided upon as the place of
meeting, and June, 1921, as the time. The sessions of the
Colorado River Commission extended over a period of nearly
eighteen months, and were attended at various times by all
the governors of the interested states except one, and all
their attorneys-general. 11 On November 24, 1922, a compact
was signed, subject to the ratification of the seven state
legislatures and of congress.

In general, it was found that the interests of the lower
basin states encroached on those of the upper basin. It was
felt that the lower basin states would be able to develop
their irrigable lands faster than the upper basin states.
According to Supreme Court decisions the beneficial use of
water establishes a priority right to its use against a later
encroachment, regardless of state boundaries. To protect
themselves, the upper basin states desired the compact to
guarantee them a fixed amount of water, regardless of prior
appropriations.

It was so arranged. The water of the river was divided
between the upper and lower basin rather than among the
several states, the dividing point being Lee's Ferry, one mile
below the mouth of the Paria River. 12 This plan, adopted to
avoid the long wrangling which would have resulted from
any attempt to apportion the water among the states, was
suggested by Mr. Hoover and Mr. Delph Carpenter of
Colorado.

The division of water was based on data showing an



11. Herbert Hoover, "The Colorado River Problem," The Community Builder,
March, 1928.

12. Olson, op. cit., p. 21.



8 NEW MEXICO HISTORICAL REVIEW

annual average flow of 17,400,000 acre feet. 13 Article III,
paragraph (a) of the compact apportioned to each of the
basins, 7,500,000 acre feet, while paragraph (b) gave the
lower basin the right to increase its beneficial use of water
by 1,000,000 acre feet per year. Since the annual run-off of
the river, measured at Yuma, has varied between 10,100,000
and 26,000,000 acre feet during an eighteen year period, 14
it was stipulated that the states of the upper basin would
not cause the volume of water flowing past Lee's Ferry to be
less than a total of 75,000,000 acre feet for any period of ten
consecutive years. It was further provided that if Mexico
received any right to further supplies of Colorado River
water by treaty, such water was to be supplied from the
unapportioned surplus. But if this proved insufficient, the
upper and lower basins were to bear the deficiency equally.
The agreement was to remain in force forty years, but might
be changed by unanimous consent of the same authority by
which it was drafted. 15 A bill for approval of the compact
was introduced in congress December 18, 1922, but did not
get out of committee. By the end of January, 1923, the com-
pact had been ratified by all the interested state legislatures,
except that of Arizona.

THE OPPOSITION OF ARIZONA

In the absence of precise data, there was general appre-
hension in both California and Arizona that the water
supply of the Colorado would be inadequate to irrigate all
the land which was susceptible. As early as 1916, Mr. E. C.
LaRue, an authority on the Colorado River question, after
reviewing certain investigations and surveys of the river
made by the government, confirmed such a fear. Additional
data collected by Mr. LaRue and others in recent years seem
to indicate that this conclusion is correct. 16



13. An acre foot of water is the amount of water necessary to cover one acre
to the depth of one foot.

14. Senate Document 142, 67 Cong., 2 Sess., p. 220.

15. Olson, op. cit., p. 40. Time later changed to fifty years.

16. Smith, op. cit., pp. 110-111.



THE SANTA FE COMPACT 9

Arizona, as the weaker in wealth and population, felt
that if there were not enough water for both states, she
would be compelled to sacrifice her interests for those of
California. Accordingly, Arizona's opposition to the com-
pact dates from the first proposal for the division of water
between the two basins rather than among the states
severally. Arizona's water commissioner, Mr. W. S. Nor-
viel, who represented Arizona at Santa Fe, felt that the
water to be allotted to Arizona should be settled beyond
question by the compact, and cast the only negative vote
when the division between basins was proposed. 17 However,
he was finally won over, and a unanimous approval was
given.

During the long period of the deliberations of the com-
mission at Santa Fe, the republican governor, Thomas E.
Campbell of Arizona, had been defeated for re-election by
the democrat George W. P. Hunt. The latter, in presenting
the compact to the legislature for action, mentioned the fact
that Mr. Norviel had been an appointee of Governor Camp-
bell, and called attention to the lack of information on the
acreage in Arizona which potentially might be irrigated
from the Colorado. He emphasized the need for taking
plenty of time in considering ratification, as he felt that the
future of the state was at stake. The legislature failed to
ratify the compact by the margin of one vote.

This action did not indicate that Arizona was in oppo-
sition to the development of the river. She was most eager
for it. But she felt that her only bargaining power to obtain
an equitable supply of water, was to withhold her approval
until the question was settled satisfactorily. At this time
there was no suspicion that work of such magnitude would
be undertaken without the unanimous approval of all states
inerested, especially in view of Arizona's great stake in the
river.

Forty-three per cent of the Colorado River was in Ari-
zona, and only two per cent in California. Thirty per cent of

17. Olson, op. cit., p. 293.



10 NEW MEXICO HISTORICAL REVIEW

the water of the river was contributed by the former, and
practically none by the latter. Therefore, Arizona felt that
after 300,000 acre feet for Nevada had been subtracted 18
from the allotment to the Lower Basin, the remaining
7,200,000 acre feet should be equally divided between Ari-
zona and California.

This demand seemed to California unreasonable. She
countered with a proposal first to divide the water on the
basis of three-fourths for herself. Another question compli-
cated the picture. Arizona had already developed a large
irrigated acreage on the Salt and Gila rivers, tributaries to
the Colorado. This system yielded an annual beneficial use
of 2,700,000 acre feet of water, and this was used as the
basis for California's claims to the major portion of the
allotment under the compact. Later, she reduced her demand
to two-thirds, not counting the already developed water on
the Gila water shed. 19

In addition to a demand for a more equitable division of
water, Arizona asked that the basis for the division of the
revenue from the sale of power at the dam be determined,
since most of it was being demanded by California at bar-
gain prices. Another point contended for by Arizona was
the right to tax the wholesale power sold from the power-
house at the dam. 20 She further demanded that a treaty be
made with Mexico definitely limiting that country's rights
to water from the Colorado. Under the compact, she feared
that if drought should come and the share of Mexico be un-
available from the upper reaches of the river, she would



18. This was the maximum demand of Nevada, since that state had only a
limited amount of land susceptible to irrigation from the Colorado.

19. Thomas Haddock, Reasons for Arizona's Opposition to the Swing-Johnson
BUI and Santa Fe Compact (Phoenix, 1927).

20. Arizona contended that congress had admitted the sovereignty of states
over their own waters in the Federal Water Power Act, passed in 1920. The provi-
sions of that act prohibit the use of the public lands by the federal government for
building power dams unless a permit from the states in which the land is located
is secured. Maddock, op. cit., passim.



THE SANTA FE COMPACT 11

have to contribute the water she had developed and stored
in her Gila irrigation system. 21

With so many vital questions left unsettled by the com-
pact, subject to adjudication after the development of the
river had been begun, it is understandable why Arizona re-
fused to sign until some agreement had been reached. How-
ever, it is difficult to understand why she refused to accept
compromises which were offered her when she possessed
the whip-hand in negotiations, before the Swing-Johnson
Bill was passed.

EFFORTS AT AGREEMENT

In 1923, Arizona proposed to California and Nevada a
tri-state agreement supplemental to the Santa Fe Compact,
to settle the questions in dispute; but for two years, Cali-
fornia refused to discuss the matter. At last, however, a tri-
state conference was arranged for December 1, 1925, but no
agreement could be made.

In August, 1927, the governors of the upper basin
states called a conference at Denver for the purpose of set-
tling the differences between Arizona and California which
were delaying the development of the river. The governors of



Online LibraryUniversity of New MexicoNew Mexico historical review (Volume 17) → online text (page 2 of 33)