University of New Mexico.

New Mexico historical review (Volume 34) online

. (page 12 of 27)
Online LibraryUniversity of New MexicoNew Mexico historical review (Volume 34) → online text (page 12 of 27)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


the time, there was no other substantiation of his charge. He
concluded that since the grant was originally made under
fraudulent conditions, it should now be forfeited. It is difficult
to understand why, if his story of these past nefarious deal-
ings were true, he now took his stand on the side of righteous-
ness. Only an attitude of repentance, or the fact that he had
had a falling out with his Southern Pacific friends, could ex-
plain this change of heart. Even though he was able to present
no evidence to prove his charges, Newell's allegations made an
impression on some Congressmen who were adverse to the
transfer. On the whole, however, the allegations were
ignored.

A letter from a Southwestern oil agent, I. E. Dean, al-
though making no charges against Huntington and Gould,
voiced definite objections to the transfer of the grant to the
Southern Pacific of California. The oil interests seemed
anxious to keep as much acreage as possible open to general
speculation, even though no important oil strikes had yet been
made in the Southwest. 29 San Diego officials also expressed
their disapproval of the transfer of the grant because such a
move would leave the town off the main line of the thirty-sec-
ond parallel railroad. The Southern Pacific of California did
not intend to build its line into San Diego. These citizens
hoped a Congressional refusal to approve the negotiations for

28. Letter from J. J. Newell to the Secretary of the Interior, May 12, 1883, L and
RD, GLO, NA.

29. Letter from I. E. Dean, Oil Agent, to the Attorney General of the United States,
July 27, 1883, L and RD, GLO, NA.



126 NEW MEXICO HISTORICAL REVIEW

a land transfer would serve as partial punishment for depriv-
ing this city of a direct connection. 30 At a later date they were
to display a more kindly attitude toward the California road
when it constructed a branch line into the city.

The year 1882 and part of 1883 passed with no further
discussion of forfeiture proceedings. In June, 1883, in a letter
to the Secretary of the Interior, Huntington challenged the
adverse attitudes displayed toward his company's acquiring
the land grant by direct transfer. Since the Southern Pacific
had taken over the construction and had completed it before
the time limit had expired, Huntington insisted that the
patents should be issued. 31 By August, 1883, it was fairly ob-
vious that Congress would make no decision concerning trans-
fer or forfeiture that year. 32 Meanwhile, letters continued to
come into the office of the Secretary of the Interior strongly
opposing the proposed transfer. Representatives W. T. Rose-
crans of California, T. R. Cobb of Indiana, and Poindexter
Dunn of Arkansas voiced the opinion that if the request were
approved the Southern Pacific of California would immedi-
ately mortgage the land. While such a procedure might be
justified during periods of construction, it merely became a
speculative venture after the completion of a railroad. They
charged that such schemes deprived the people of the United
States of their public domain in order to "line the pockets"
of a few wealthy land promoters. 33

In the fall of 1883, Senator William P. Kellogg of Louisi-
ana announced that direct action would be taken in Congress
to bring about the forfeiture of the grant during the session
beginning in December, 1883. 34 This Senator had had an in-
teresting career, first as a brigadier-general in the Union
Army, and later as a carpetbagger politician in New Orleans.

80. Telegram from the Council of the City of San Diego to the Secretary of the
Interior, May 27, 1883, L and RD, GLO, NA.

81. Letter from C. P. Huntington, President of the Southern Pacific Railroad of
California, to the Secretary of the Interior, June 8, 1883, L and RD, GLO, NA.

82. The Commercial and Financial Chronicle, XXVII (August 5, 1883), p. 121.

83. Letter from W. T. Rosecrans, T. R. Cobb, and Poindexter Dunn, Representa-
tives from California, Indiana, and Arkansas, respectively, to the Secretary of the
Interior, June (no day), 1883, L and RD, GLO, NA.

34. Report by Senator Kellogg of Louisiana on the Forfeiture of the Texas and
Pacific Railroad Lands, undated, L and RD, GLO, NA.



LAND GRANT 127

He had been elected to the Senate in 1868, then served a short
term as governor of Louisiana, and was a Senator again. 36 On
December 10, Louis Payson of Illinois introduced a bill in the
House for forfeiture of the Texas and Pacific grant. 36 Kellogg
did not seem inclined to introduce a companion measure in the
Senate. His motive seemed to be to let the forfeiture measure
pass the House before coming up for debate in the upper
chamber.

After several revisions to the bill as introduced in Decem-
ber, the House Committee on Public Land reported to the
House on January 22, 1884, with the recommendation that it
pass. Debate was started in the lower chamber on January 31,
1884. After some discussion as to whether the committee
report was to be read, a decision was reached to dispense with
the reading and print it in the Record. T. R. Cobb of Indiana
represented the temper for forfeiture by declaring that he
believed it should take no more than five minutes to pass the
legislation. 37 It is obvious from the lack of debate that the
House was in a receptive mood for declaring the Texas and
Pacific's Federal grant void.

Huntington's correspondence with his associate Leland
Stanford, incorporated into the House committee report, re-
vealed the manner in which Huntington had labored to ar-
range for a transfer of the Texas and Pacific grant to the
Southern Pacific of California. His attempt to stir up Con-
gressional hostility toward the Texas and Pacific was well
planned and carried out in its initial stage. As early as No-
vember 10, 1875, Huntington made it clear that the Texas and
Pacific had to be stopped from building its line westward
from El Paso. He announced in a pious vein that "The Texas
and Pacific Railroad is in no way a Southern Pacific road, but
a road if built by the Government would prevent the Southern
States from having a road to the Pacific for many years." 38

35. Dumas Malone (ed.), Dictionary of American Biography, (Charles Scribner's
Sons, 1933), pp. 305f.

36. U. S. Congress, Congressional Record, 48th Cong., 1st Sess. (Washington:
Government Printing Office, 1884), p. 64.

37. Ibid., p. 787.

38. Ibid., p. 790.



128 NEW MEXICO HISTORICAL REVIEW

This pronouncement was in direct contrast to what Congress
intended the Texas and Pacific to become when it was finished
a southern railway which would prevent the Central Pa-
cific-Southern Pacific monopoly from spreading eastward
from California. Included were other similar letters covering
the period between 1874 to 1878, during which the Texas and
Pacific had attempted to obtain further federal aid.

The House Committee also demonstrated that the Cali-
fornia group had openly declared its intentions to build east
to El Paso without federal assistance. A Huntington letter of
November 28, 1874, maintained that the Southern Pacific of
California would ". . . build east of the Colorado to meet the
Texas Pacific without aid, and then (we shall) see how many
members (of Congress) will dare give him (Thomas A.
Scott of the Texas and Pacific) aid to do what we offered to
do without." 39 The committee further declared that Hunting-
ton had attempted to obtain unfavorable Congressional action
against the Texas and Pacific when it was attempting to get
additional aid to finance land-grant bonds. In a letter to David
Colton, one of Huntington's associates in the Southern Pacific
Company, dated November 19, 1874, Huntington stated, "I
think the Texas Pacific or some of their friends will be likely
to take the ground that the Southern Pacific is controlled by
the same parties that control the Central Pacific (which of
course it did). ... I am disposed to think that you had
better come over and spend a few weeks at least in Washing-
ton." 40 By Colton's visit Huntington must have hoped to con-
vince official Washington that the interests of the Southern
Pacific of California and the Central Pacific were completely
separate with respect to their dealings with the Texas and
Pacific. The existence of this letter was evidence enough to
convince the House Committee that there had been a long
standing plot on the part of the California company to gain
control of the Texas and Pacific and its lands. The Texas and
Pacific, the committee concluded, was still in existence as a
corporation and the Southern Pacific of California could not,
therefore, legally claim to be the successor of the original

39. Ibid., p. 789.

40. Ibid.



LAND GRANT 129

grantee. 41 The spirit of the times precluded the Californians'
gaining land for which they had no previous claim.

If any argument were needed to convince the skeptical
that the Texas and Pacific land grant should be returned to
the public domain, it could not be found in the documents
published in the House Committee's report. The forfeiture bill
passed the House on January 31, 1884 by the overwhelming
margin of 261 to 1 with 58 abstaining. 42 The only vote cast
against the bill was that of Samuel F. Barr of Pennsylvania. 43
There is no indication as to why he took such a unique stand ;
moreover an explanation of the one negative vote hardly
seems important in view of the large majority in favor of
forfeiture. After the vote was recorded, several House mem-
bers made it clear that certain of their colleagues who were
unable to attend when the vote was taken wanted to be placed
on record as having supported the measure. 44

After the House approved the forfeiture, the attorneys of
the Southern Pacific of California protested that the rail-
road's representatives were not given time to present their
case adequately before the House Committee. 45 Before this
charge could be carried any further, the Senate Committee on
Public Land gave that chamber their conclusions on the for-
feiture bill. 46 The report, submitted in March, 1884, took ap-
proximately the same stand as that of the House Committee.
The only major difference between the House and Senate re-
ports was that the latter included an amendment to delay
entrance on the land for two years after it was forfeited. This
stipulation was inserted to enable all land claims to be ad-
justed before new claims were made. The session of 1884
adjourned before action could be taken by the Senate on the
legislation.

41. U. S. Congress, House Committee on Public Land, Forfeiture of the Texas and
Pacific Land Grant, House Report 62, to accompany S. 3933, 48th Cong., 1st Sess.
(Washington : Government Printing Office, 1884), p. 1.

42. U. S. Congress, Congressional Record, 48th Cong., 1st Sess. (Washington :
Government Printing Office, 1884), pp. 795f.

43. Ibid., p. 796.

44. Ibid.

45. Sen Diego Union, February 13, 1884.

46. U. S. Congress, Senate Committee on Public Land, View of Minority on For-
feiture of Texas & Pacific Lands, Senate Report 607, to accompany S. 3933, 48th Cong.,
1st Sess. (Washington : Government Printing Office, 1884), p. 1.



130 NEW MEXICO HISTORICAL REVIEW

On February 13, 1885, discussion on the forfeiture bill
was begun in the Senate. 47 Huntington still refused to con-
cede that the conveyance of the land grant by the Texas and
Pacific was illegal. He argued that the transfer of the grant
was no different in principle from the transfer of a mort-
gage on the land ; the latter course, it was argued, had been
taken by several other railroads. 48 John T. Morgan of Ala-
bama refuted the stand taken by the Southern Pacific by
asserting that while a mortgage might be disposed of at the
will of a corporation, the only manner in which the public
domain could be legally transferred from one company to
another was by an act of Congress. Morgan maintained that
land grants were made at the will of Congress and remained
under its jurisdiction until the patents were issued. Only then
could acreage be disposed of at the discretion of the railroad. 49

Although there was no disagreement among the senators
as to whether or not to declare a forfeiture of the federal
grant, a lengthy discussion ensued on the recommendation of
the Senate Committee to withhold the land grant from public
entry for a period of two years after the forfeiture was ap-
proved. 50 Senator John Sherman of Ohio formally introduced
the recommendation of the Senate Committee as an amend-
ment to the bill passed by the House. 51 Briefly, the amendment
stipulated that at least two years should be allowed to adjust
land claims before the acreage was opened to entry. John In-
galls of Kansas believed that it should be made clear in the
amendment that the lands would be used only for homestead
entry after that period. 52 A Senator from Kentucky, James
Beck, indicated that the amendment had been so phrased that
it denied entry to the grant for two years except for pre-
emption claims. 53 If the phrasing were thus interpreted it
would give speculative land interests a fling at the acreage
before it became available for homesteading. Sherman and

47. U. S. Congress, Congressional Record, 48th Cong., 2nd Sess. (Washington:
Government Printing Office, 1885), p. 1620.

48. Ibid., p. 1878.

49. Ibid., p. 1887.

60. Ibid., p. 1895.

61. Ibid.

52. Ibid.

53. Ibid.



LAND GRANT 131

Ingalls both denied that any such interpretation was in-
tended. The amendment had been worded, they maintained,
so as to deny entry on the forfeited land under any of the
existing land laws. 54

John Miller of California maintained that the lands under
discussion were not fit for homesteading but were more suited
for grazing land or as a potential source of mineral wealth.
Although the soundness of the Californian's argument must
be respected, the mere mention of denying acreage to the
homesteader caused a veritable explosion within the land re-
form group in Congress.

Debate in this vein might have continued indefinitely
except for the overwhelming strength of the forfeiture advo-
cates, who wanted the bill passed immediately whether or not
it contained all the stipulations proposed. The amendment in-
troduced by Sherman was defeated by a vote of forty-one to
twelve. This meant that entry could be made on the public
domain immediately after forfeiture. 55 The twelve members
who supported the amendment represented a group who be-
lieved that forfeited land should be administered by the courts
before it was opened for public entry. These twelve insisted
that the fundamental rights of private property were being
tampered with by permitting Congress to assign the grant
directly to the Executive Department before all contested
claims were settled. Under executive control claims would
be settled by administrative decisions of the Department of
the Interior and the General Land Office. From the distribu-
tion of the twelve votes two from the South, two from the
Midwest, three from the far West and five from the East it
can be seen that the East cast no significant number of votes
which might lead to a charge of sectional support for the
amendment. 56 Although ten of the twelve votes were regis-
tered by members of the Republican Party, the fact is only
relatively more significant than the geographical distribu-
tion of the ballot, since Republicans cast a majority of their
strength against the amendment.

64. Ibid., p. 1897.

55. Ibid.

56. Ibid.



132 NEW MEXICO HISTORICAL REVIEW

The forfeiture bill was finally passed by the Senate with
a vote of fifty-six to two, 57 becoming law on March 2, 1885,
three years after the deadline for completion of the railroad. 58
Support given to the termination of the Texas and Pacific
grant presents an interesting contrast to the way in which
Congress voted when the grant was approved. The ballot on
the forfeiture showed no sectional or party rivalry in either
house. There was, of course, a conflict in the Senate between
the pro- and anti-land grant forces. The two senators voting
negative refused to accept the trend of public opinion against
corporations which had not completed construction on time.

During the period of uncertainty when no one knew
whether or not the transfer to the California line would be
legalized or the grants forfeited, individual settlers were
anxious to obtain judgment on disputes that had arisen over
the validity of their claims. Administrative decisions in the
Department of the Interior assumed great importance. For
instance, the Secretary decided that a pre-emption claim
within the grant area of the railroad was valid even if the
final payment had not been made by the time the grant was
withdrawn from public entry. 59 A later decision made it clear
that pre-emptors did not need to have the final patent to lay
claim to acreage within the grant area if the original settle-
ment had been made before the withdrawal of the acreage
from public entry. 60

By an order of March 17, 1885, the Secretary of the In-
terior ordered the Commissioner of the General Land Office
to notify the local land offices to begin the process of return-
ing the grant of the Texas and Pacific to the public domain. 61
The General Land Office immediately put into operation the
local administrative machinery needed to return the grant to
public entry. It was to be many months, and in some areas
years, however, before all the acreage again became available
for settlement by the individual land seeker. Public notices

57. Ibid,

58. Ibid., p. 2409.

59. The Department of the Interior, Decisions of the Department of the Interior,
III (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1895), 122.

60. Ibid., 164.

61. Letter from the Secretary of the Interior to the Commissioner of the General
Land Office, March 17, 1885, L and RD, GLO, NA.



LAND GRANT 133

were published announcing that tracts were to be disposed of
either by direct sale for $1.25 per acre or under the conditions
of the homestead act. 62 There is no evidence that speculators
were responsible in any way for delaying the return to public
entry of the acreage which was being held pending settlement
of private claims. The settlement of all claims, however, took
considerably longer than was anticipated by that amendment.

The total acreage returned was about 18,500,000. 63 This,
of course, represented a serious blow to Huntington's plans
for the Southern Pacific of California. The forfeiture had
been brought about by the reaction that had taken place
against land grants in general, although the immediate fac-
tors making such a movement possible were the failure of the
original grantee to construct the line on time and the attempt
to transfer the grant without the approval of Congress. In the
forfeiture process it is interesting to note how closely the
executive and legislative branches cooperated in collecting
information and drawing up the necessary legislation.

The loss of the land grant did not destroy the effective-
ness of the Southern Pacific-Central Pacific monopoly of
West coast trade. Huntington's "coup d'etat" failed but the
loss of 18,500,000 acres did not alter the fact that the South-
ern Pacific had succeeded in extending its empire east to New
Orleans. The grant thus failed completely in fulfilling the two
purposes for which it had been created : the prevention of a
monopoly of Pacific coast trade by California railroad inter-
ests and the building of a thirty-second parallel line in Ari-
zona, New Mexico and Texas which would be free from
control by Huntington and his Southern Pacific railroad
associates.



62. Arizona, Daily Star (Tucson), March 24, 1885 ; Los Angeles Daily Herald, March
26, 1885; Rio Grande Republican (Las Cruces, New Mexico), March 28, 1885.

63. U. S. Congress, House Committee on Public Land, Forfeiture of Certain
Railroad Lands, House Report 2476, to accompany s. 1430, 50th Cong., 1st Sess. (Wash-
ington : Government Printing Office, 1888), p. 1.



ARIZONA'S FIRST NEWSPAPER,

THE WEEKLY ARIZONIAN, 1859

By MARVIN ALISKY *

WHEN newspapers came to Arizona, the land area bearing
that name was merely the western portion of the Terri-
tory of New Mexico. Not until four years after Arizona ac-
quired its own journalism did it achieve governmental status
as a territory. But unlike New Mexico, Arizona first acquired
a newspaper in the English language, not in the Spanish
language.

New Mexico's first newspaper, El Crepusculo de la Li-
bertad, begun in Santa Fe in 1835, 1 naturally was published
in Spanish, 2 its potential readers being Mexicans. Arizona's
first newspaper, The Weekly Arizonian, began in Tubac in
1859, 3 carried not one story in Spanish. Only after eight
English-language newspapers had been established during an
eighteen-year period, did Arizona in 1877 finally get its first
Spanish-language newspaper, Las Dos Republicas at Tucson. 4

Just one century ago, relatively few residents, English-
speaking or Spanish-speaking, were to be found in Arizona.
Rapport between the two language groups could hardly have
been at a maximum in the aftermath of the War of 1846-1848
and the Gadsden Purchase of 1853. To officials in Washing-
ton, Tucson and Tubac were the news centers of Arizona 5 de-
spite military installations at Fort Yuma. 6 Tubac and Tucson

* Chairman, Department of Mass Communication, Arizona State College, Tempe,
Arizona.

1. Hubert Howe Bancroft, History of Arizona and New Mexico, 1530-1888 (San
Francisco, 1889), 341; D. C. McMurtrie, The Beginning of Printing in New Mexico
(Chicago, 1932), 1-10; Frank Luther Mott, American Journalism. (New York, 1947),
288.

2. Ibid., 287.

8. Estelle Lutrell, "Arizona's Frontier Press," Arizona Historical Review, VI (Jan-
uary, 1935), 15; Marvin Alisky, "Early Arizona Editors," The Quill, XLVI (March,
1958), 10.

4. Lutrell, op. eit., 22-23; PettingiU'g Newspaper Directory (New York, 1878) ;
Arizona Daily Star of Tucson referred to pioneer Spanish-language paper in a story on
July 29, 1879. Selected issues of volumes I and II of Republicas in Bancroft Library,
University of California, Berkeley.

5. Hse. Ex. Docs., 34 Cong., 8 sess. no. 76, pp. 84-35. Sen, Ex. Docs., 82 Cong., 2
sess. II, no. 1. p. 84.

6. Averam B. Bender, The March of Empire: Frontier Defense in the Southwest,
1848-1860 (Lawrence, Kans., 1952), 42 ; Ralph P. Bieber, ed., Frontier Life in the Army,
1864-1861 (Glendale, Calif., 1932), 260.

134



THE WEEKLY ARIZONIAN, 1859 135

had been military outposts for the Spanish, then the Mexi-
cans, then the Americans. Aside from the army, the vanguard
of Anglo civilization in 1859 was epitomized in Arizona by
the alliterative two E's : the engineer and the editor. 7

Mining engineers came to dig mineral riches from the
ground. Journalists came to dig mining news from the camp
sites. The printing press upon which the first newspaper was
printed was brought to Arizona by William Wrightson in
1858 upon specific direction to do so by the Santa Rita Min-
ing Company of Cincinnati. 8 The Santa Rita Company had
set up a headquarters in Tubac to expand operations in mines
in southern Arizona. Meanwhile, the home offices of the com-
pany in Cincinnati were frequented by Wrightson and his
brother Thomas, editors of the Railroad Record, a periodical
which advocated western railroad expansion and American
exploration of the newest United States territorial acquisi-
tion. 9 The company chose Wrightson as press custodian.

In 1855, the Sonora Exploring and Mining Company
opened a trading post in the former Mexican barracks in
Tubac. 10 Americans and Mexicans came from as far as the
border to buy goods at the company store. The newspapers
brought in with other supplies were passed from hand to
hand. When Wrightson brought the printing press into Tubac
in 1858, the means at last were at hand for disseminating
news of Arizona in a local publication. The Santa Rita Min-
ing Company would finance it.

On March 3, 1859, the first issue of The Weekly Arizonian
was published. 11 The four-page paper contained many adver-
tisements of merchandise which could be ordered by mail
from Cincinnati, plus advertisements for whiskey and guns

7. Lutrell, op. cit., 15.

8. Estelle Lutrell, "Newspapers and Periodicals of Arizona, 1859-1911," University
of Arizona Bulletin, XX (July 1949), 102.

9. Ibid., 63, 102 ; D. C. McMurtrie, The Beginnings of Printing in Arizona, 1860-
1875 (Chicago), 9.

10. Sylvester Mowry, Arizona and Sonora (New York, 1864), 26.

11. Volume I of the Arizonian can be found at Arizona Pioneers Historical Society


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 12 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27

Online LibraryUniversity of New MexicoNew Mexico historical review (Volume 34) → online text (page 12 of 27)