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Apache County, Arizona
History

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This county has a superficial area of 11,520 square miles, or nearly one-fourth that of the Empire State of New York. St. Johns is the county-seat, and is a Mormon town, not on the line of any railroad, but is a nice town of some 600 inhabitants and a place of considerable commerce. Much of this county is mountainous, and is well adapted to the raising of cattle, sheep and goats, and along the streams is some fine land for farming. As yet it is but sparsely settled, and the altitude is so great that the winters are as severe as more northern locations. A large part of the northern portion of the country is taken up by the Navajo Indian Reservation. This county was set off from Yavapai by the tenth session of the legislature in 1879.

Until March, 1895, this county embraced what is now (1902) Navajo County, but at the former date that was set apart and established as a separate county. Apache County is justly noted for its great natural resources and advantages. In the future this county is destined to have a large population. As before stated, Navajo Indians occupy the northern portion of the county; in fact, much of the whole county, as they care but little for reservation boundaries, driving their flocks and herds where they please and where grazing is best.

The southern part is fine grazing land, while the more northern is cut up into gorges and canons by floods of past ages. The population of this county, by census of 1900, was 4,200.

There are something over two hundred miles of irrigating canals taken out of an average width on bottom of two feet and a depth of water running one foot. The average fall of water in these canals is nine feet per mile. This county has undeveloped water resources sufficient to reclaim large bodies of land that are now practically unproductive, which will eventually be rendered fruitful and serve the purposes of man in the matter of rendering homes possible for an industrious and thriving population, where now are but arid wastes abandoned to the coyotes, lizards, horned toads and other beasts and reptiles. Coal is found in the mountains in this county in vast quantities, but until better transportation facilities are afforded, the deposits cannot be successfully worked, and for the time are of no value. At some future day this portion of Arizona will rival Pennsylvania or England in the production of coal.

The population of Apache County by census of 1900 was 8,297, and now would probably reach fully 10,000. There are fifteen public schools in the county, employing thirty- two teachers; number of pupils, 1,244; average school months per year, six. There are nine churches in the county, four Catholic and five Mormon, or Latter-day Saints.

Over much of this county, but more especially along the valley of the Colorado Chiquito, are to be found numerous ruins of a pre-historic people.

In the vicinity and just south of the town of St. Johns can be traced the ruins of two towns of considerable size, that probably contained a population of from three to four thousand each. These ancient people, from undoubted evidence found in the ruins, were in their earlier stages phallic worshipers, and in their more advanced stage worshipers of the sun, showing that the different branches of the human race in their upward progress from cannibalism, savageism, etc., have in all climes and in all ages traveled over about the same track; some are yet upon the scene, struggling toward an ideal higher civilization, whilst others have passed out into eternal night and are known only by a few moldering relics left behind. The religions of later ages, as humanity has progressed have endeavored to stamp out knowledge of these early forms of worship, through an idea, perhaps, that it might lead to the tracing of some of their cherished, sacred and original forms and ceremonies to these primitive beginnings, and cast a suspicion that all these stately forms of now overshadowing religions can be traced to the same primitive root. Wherever such ruins are found, in either Arizona or New Mexico, their main entrance faces east, and all are built of stone with mud for mortar. Other ruins are to be found some twelve miles south of St. Johns, on the west bank of a stream called by the Mexican people "San Cosmos," and from all indications of like antiquity indicating that in their day these must have been flourishing towns.

Farther south, near the village of Springerville, are other ruins, exhibiting same characteristics, which show that at least some among these ancient peoples possessed engineering skill, as here were large reservoirs for the storage of surplus waters of the Colorado River. What is now known as Becker's Lake was one of these reservoirs, and the ace- quia leading from the river to the lake can yet be traced. (Prof. A. F. Banta.)

As a matter of fact, there are many ruins to be found scattered over most of Apache County, not only on the plains and along the valleys of the various streams, but up among mountain peaks the dwellings of the cave-dwellers, the autochthon of the human race, are to be found. These are the mute records of the earliest of the human race, who shall translate their story for the knowledge of later generations ?

The altitude of this county is such that all streams flow rapidly, being from four to ten thousand feet; and in consequence all vegetable and animal matter is washed away, rendering the country free of all malarial diseases; asthma and scarlet fever are not known.

The undeveloped resources of the county are lumber and the precious minerals.

The hills and mountains abound in black-tailed deer, antelopes, bears and mountain lions. Grouse, wild turkeys, etc., are plentiful, and the mountain streams are filled with trout of the finest variety.

St. Johns, the county-seat and principal town, was first settled by Mexicans coming from the Rio Grande in New Mexico in 1872. Ten years later the Mormons, or Latter- day Saints, began to come in and settle in the valleys in the vicinity, and continued to come in until they became quite numerous, and engaged in growing fruit, grain, hay and vegetables of many kinds. The raising of cattle and sheep was gone into extensively, therefore wool and beef cattle are largely exported. The fruit consists of peaches, pears, apples and grapes. The production of honey is large and increasing.

By means of ditches, canals, aqueducts, or acequias, water is brought from the Colorado Chiquito (little). Several irrigating companies, among them the "St. Johns," supply water at fair rates. The reservoirs of this company cover some sixty acres.

The town of St. Johns has an altitude of 5,700 feet, and, therefore, no extreme heat can be looked for. Nights are always cool, and a thick blanket is pleasant to sleep under in the warmest of weather.

Springerville, situated about thirty-five miles southeast of the county-seat, has an altitude of 6,500 feet above sea- level. It is in a round valley and is one of the most flourishing settlements on the Colorado Chiquito. Around it is a fine country for agriculture, where grains, fruits, vegetables, etc., grow in abundance. Canals from the Colorado supply water in abundance. Becker Lake, one and one-half miles in length by half a mile in width, and twenty-five feet in depth, furnishes an excellent natural reservoir. Fine fish, trout and carp, are found in abundance therein. There are other considerable towns, as Concho and Nutrioso, surrounded by beautiful farms and room for many more.

Alpine, in the extreme southeastern part of the county, is surrounded by a fine tract of soil, but as the altitude of this place is about 9,000 feet, they in ordinary seasons need but little irrigation, as the rainfall is sufficient to supply the necessary moisture for wheat, oats, barley, etc. This is the northeastern county of Arizona, being bounded on the east by New Mexico; on the south by Graham County; on the west by Navajo County, and on the north by Utah. For about 250 miles this county borders New Mexico on the east, and Navajo County on the west, and is about sixty miles wide. Taxable property of 1903 amounted to $1,003,- 905.38.

Source: The History of Arizona: From the Earliest Times Known to the People of Europe to 1903 By Sidney Randolph De Long, Arizona Pioneers' Historical Society Published by The Whitaker & Ray company, 1905Apache County

This county has a superficial area of 11,520 square miles, or nearly one-fourth that of the Empire State of New York. St. Johns is the county-seat, and is a Mormon town, not on the line of any railroad, but is a nice town of some 600 inhabitants and a place of considerable commerce. Much of this county is mountainous, and is well adapted to the raising of cattle, sheep and goats, and along the streams is some fine land for farming. As yet it is but sparsely settled, and the altitude is so great that the winters are as severe as more northern locations. A large part of the northern portion of the country is taken up by the Navajo Indian Reservation. This county was set off from Yavapai by the tenth session of the legislature in 1879.

Until March, 1895, this county embraced what is now (1902) Navajo County, but at the former date that was set apart and established as a separate county. Apache County is justly noted for its great natural resources and advantages. In the future this county is destined to have a large population. As before stated, Navajo Indians occupy the northern portion of the county; in fact, much of the whole county, as they care but little for reservation boundaries, driving their flocks and herds where they please and where grazing is best.

The southern part is fine grazing land, while the more northern is cut up into gorges and canons by floods of past ages. The population of this county, by census of 1900, was 4,200.

There are something over two hundred miles of irrigating canals taken out of an average width on bottom of two feet and a depth of water running one foot. The average fall of water in these canals is nine feet per mile. This county has undeveloped water resources sufficient to reclaim large bodies of land that are now practically unproductive, which will eventually be rendered fruitful and serve the purposes of man in the matter of rendering homes possible for an industrious and thriving population, where now are but arid wastes abandoned to the coyotes, lizards, horned toads and other beasts and reptiles. Coal is found in the mountains in this county in vast quantities, but until better transportation facilities are afforded, the deposits cannot be successfully worked, and for the time are of no value. At some future day this portion of Arizona will rival Pennsylvania or England in the production of coal.

The population of Apache County by census of 1900 was 8,297, and now would probably reach fully 10,000. There are fifteen public schools in the county, employing thirty- two teachers; number of pupils, 1,244; average school months per year, six. There are nine churches in the county, four Catholic and five Mormon, or Latter-day Saints.

Over much of this county, but more especially along the valley of the Colorado Chiquito, are to be found numerous ruins of a pre-historic people.

In the vicinity and just south of the town of St. Johns can be traced the ruins of two towns of considerable size, that probably contained a population of from three to four thousand each. These ancient people, from undoubted evidence found in the ruins, were in their earlier stages phallic worshipers, and in their more advanced stage worshipers of the sun, showing that the different branches of the human race in their upward progress from cannibalism, savageism, etc., have in all climes and in all ages traveled over about the same track; some are yet upon the scene, struggling toward an ideal higher civilization, whilst others have passed out into eternal night and are known only by a few molder- ing relics left behind. The religions of later ages, as humanity has progressed have endeavored to stamp out knowledge of these early forms of worship, through an idea, perhaps, that it might lead to the tracing of some of their cherished, sacred and original forms and ceremonies to these primitive beginnings, and cast a suspicion that all these stately forms of now overshadowing religions can be traced to the same primitive root. Wherever such ruins are found, in either Arizona or New Mexico, their main entrance faces east, and all are built of stone with mud for mortar. Other ruins are to be found some twelve miles south of St. Johns, on the west bank of a stream called by the Mexican people "San Cosmos," and from all indications of like antiquity indicating that in their day these must have been flourishing towns.

Farther south, near the village of Springerville, are other ruins, exhibiting same characteristics, which show that at least some among these ancient peoples possessed engineering skill, as here were large reservoirs for the storage of surplus waters of the Colorado River. What is now known as Becker's Lake was one of these reservoirs, and the ace- quia leading from the river to the lake can yet be traced. (Prof. A. F. Banta.)

As a matter of fact, there are many ruins to be found scattered over most of Apache County, not only on the plains and along the valleys of the various streams, but up among mountain peaks the dwellings of the cave-dwellers, the autochthon of the human race, are to be found. These are the mute records of the earliest of the human race,—who shall translate their story for the knowledge of later generations ?

The altitude of this county is such that all streams flow rapidly, being from four to ten thousand feet; and in consequence all vegetable and animal matter is washed away, rendering the country free of all malarial diseases; asthma and scarlet fever are not known.

The undeveloped resources of the county are lumber and the precious minerals.

The hills and mountains abound in black-tailed deer, antelopes, bears and mountain lions. Grouse, wild turkeys, etc., are plentiful, and the mountain streams are filled with trout of the finest variety.

St. Johns, the county-seat and principal town, was first settled by Mexicans coming from the Rio Grande in New Mexico in 1872. Ten years later the Mormons, or Latter- day Saints, began to come in and settle in the valleys in the vicinity, and continued to come in until they became quite numerous, and engaged in growing fruit, grain, hay and vegetables of many kinds. The raising of cattle and sheep was gone into extensively, therefore wool and beef cattle are largely exported. The fruit consists of peaches, pears, apples and grapes. The production of honey is large and increasing.

By means of ditches, canals, aqueducts, or acequias, water is brought from the Colorado Chiquito (little). Several irrigating companies, among them the "St. Johns," supply water at fair rates. The reservoirs of this company cover some sixty acres.

The town of St. Johns has an altitude of 5,700 feet, and, therefore, no extreme heat can be looked for. Nights are always cool, and a thick blanket is pleasant to sleep under in the warmest of weather.

Springerville, situated about thirty-five miles southeast of the county-seat, has an altitude of 6,500 feet above sea- level. It is in a round valley and is one of the most flourishing settlements on the Colorado Chiquito. Around it is a fine country for agriculture, where grains, fruits, vegetables, etc., grow in abundance. Canals from the Colorado supply water in abundance. Becker Lake, one and one-half miles in length by half a mile in width, and twenty-five feet in depth, furnishes an excellent natural reservoir. Fine fish, trout and carp, are found in abundance therein. There are other considerable towns, as Concho and Nutrioso, surrounded by beautiful farms and room for many more.

Alpine, in the extreme southeastern part of the county, is surrounded by a fine tract of soil, but as the altitude of this place is about 9,000 feet, they in ordinary seasons need but little irrigation, as the rainfall is sufficient to supply the necessary moisture for wheat, oats, barley, etc. This is the northeastern county of Arizona, being bounded on the east by New Mexico; on the south by Graham County; on the west by Navajo County, and on the north by Utah. For about 250 miles this county borders New Mexico on the east, and Navajo County on the west, and is about sixty miles wide. Taxable property of 1903 amounted to $1,003,- 905.38.

Source: The History of Arizona: From the Earliest Times Known to the People of Europe to 1903 By Sidney Randolph De Long, Arizona Pioneers' Historical Society Published by The Whitaker & Ray company, 1905

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