U.S. Military, Railroad, and Wagon Road


Later Lt. John Grubb Peake, U. S. Topographical Engineer in 1854-1855, surveyed a route from San Diego to the Rio Grande. From the Pima Villages on the Gila River, to the Rio Grande, he surveyed two routes. One was through Tucson, the second through the San Pedro valley. Peake recommended the valley route.

In 1859, a more significant event occurred in the valley, with the establishment of Camp Arivaipa at the juncture of Arivaipa

creek and the San Pedro River. This United States Camp later had other names Camp Grant Massacre 1871 but none more infamous than Camp Grant, associated with the Camp Grant Massacre of 1871. The camp was originally established to control the territory and protect the settlers.
A planned railroad route would have travelled from the Rio Grande into Arizona at "Railroad Pass (across Sulphur Springs) thence north (down) the San Pedro River, to the Gila River...". The railroad route never came to fruition as originally envisioned. Though a bright and prosperous future had been forecasted for the valley, two major impediments became manifest, and prevented development of the area:
1. two railroads were in competition to build across Arizona; one from the east (Texas Pacific) and one from the west (Southern Pacific). The Tucson route was chosen over the valley route. 
2. The ever menacing Apache.

The Leach Wagon Road brought some outside contact to the valley's few inhabitants at that time. The road was built from Franklin (outside El Paso, Texas), across New Mexico and Arizona to Fort Yuma and travelled "... across the valley of Sulphur Springs, thence west some forty five miles to the San Pedro, touching that river ...nine miles below Tres Alamos...thence down (north) the San Pedro river about 45 miles to ... Fort Breckenridge (formerly Camp Arivaipa), thence to the Gila River, a distance of 50 miles". The History of Arizona, The Whitaker & Ray Co. 1905 P/24 

The purpose of the wagon road was to supply the military posts stretching from El Paso to Fort Yuma. The road additionally, served as an important link for those earliest and hardy souls located near the route. Public lands generally were priced at double minimum price The double minimum price established by law is $2.50 per acre and lands held for sale at that price at called "double minimum lands" per acre if the lands were adjacent to a river, wagon road or railroad [ ]. (Exhibit 8.1 Cunningham).

With a valley so attractively described by earlier visitors, free land to the settlers began to have an impact on the valley during the 1870's and 1880's. In 1870 Arizona's population was 9,658. By 1880, it had grown to 40,440.

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