Genealogy Trails

Navajo County, Arizona
History


Navajo County has an area of 9,826 square miles, and is nearly the size of the State of Maryland. By the census of 1900 the population was 8,829 or less than one to each square mile of territory. The boundaries of this county are as follows: on the north by the State of Utah, on the east by Apache County, on the south by Graham and Gila Counties, on the west by Gila and Coconino Counties.

There are parts of two Indian reserves in this county, viz.: Moquis and Navajos. Nearly the whole county is mountainous and it is claimed there are fine prospects of coal, as well as most of the other minerals. Holbrook is the county-seat, and is a place of some considerable importance, being situated upon the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad. This county was formed out of Apache County by act of the Territorial legislature, March 21, 1895. The county proper or so much of it as is not included in Indian reservations, is about one hundred miles long north and' south, by some fifty east and west. The main industries are cattle and sheep raising and cultivating the soil.

Scattered throughout the county are many points of special interest, such as the world famous Petrified Forest, the Painted Desert, the great Natural Bridge in the northern part, while scattered from one end of the county to the other are ruins of prehistoric cities. North of the line of the railroad that crosses the county are indications of a heavy deposit of coal. Coal is also found near Show Low and in the White Mountains, but so far not in quantity and only of inferior quality. There are several salt lakes some thirty miles south of Navajo Station on the Atlantic Railroad, where an excellent dairy and table salt are produced.

The people pay great attention to schools and upon an average have their public schools taught by efficient teachers, seven months in each year. There are a goodly number of places of religious worship, mostly of the Latter- day Saints (Mormon) persuasion. So far there is but one newspaper published in the county, styled Winslow Mail. With the hardy, industrious, economical and honest population, this county will, in a very short time, be a great wealth producer.

Source: The History of Arizona By Sidney Randolph De Long
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NAVAJO COUNTY
By W. H. Clark

Navajo County, located in the northeastern part of the State, about the center of the Great Colorado Plateau, was created by act of the Eighteenth Legislature after one of the most bitter fights ever witnessed in the Territorial Legislature over county division. This fight was carried to the closing hours of the session, and was used as a club to prevent the removal of the territorial prison from Yuma.

Navajo County has an area of 9,826 square miles, is about 240 miles from north to south and about 53 miles from east to west. At the time of its organization, as shown by the tax roll, the total assessed valuation was $370,000, the population about 4,000, and it carried an indebtedness of practically $100,000 as a heritage of unrest from the parent county. Today it has a population of more than 15,000, a valuation of nearly $4,000,000, and an indebtedness of about $30,000. There are 1,122,968 acres of surveyed, and 393,363 acres of unsurveyed land, making a total of 1,516,331 acres within the county that are unappropriated, thousands of which are the richest, choicest and most fertile lands to be found in the Southwest. There is also plenty of water with which to irrigate these lands, only a small outlay being required to build storage reservoirs to impound the waters of the streams and make a large agricultural section in the heart of the county. An investment in any of these irrigation projects, all of which are feasible, will bring returns a thousand fold. The county is simply studded with reservoir sites and abounds with splendid lands awaiting but the magic touch of capital to develop them.

About one-third of the county is heavily timbered with yellow pine, spruce, fir, oak, aspen, cedar and juniper, the first named three predominating. The stand of yellow pine is estimated at over 4,000,000,000 feet board measure.

The Navajo Southern Railway Company and the Navajo Lumber & Timber Company, incorporated under the laws of Arizona, with headquarters at Holbrook, have recently made the largest purchase of timber from the Forestry Service and the Department of the Interior that has ever been made, and are about ready to place a bond issue of $2,000,000 for the purpose of building a standard guage common carrier railway 75 miles long to reach the heart of the timber belt. Every foot of this railway will be in Navajo County, and the largest mills in the southwest will be constructed to handle the timber, it being compulsory, according to the government specifications, to have mills which will cut not less than 50,000,000 feet of timber each year, the cutting to commence within two years from the date of the signing of the final contract with the government. The foregoing development will mean the employment of about 800 persons, and an immense payroll to be distributed throughout the county. It is estimated that the county school and road funds will be benefited to the extent of $25,000 annually, as 25 per cent of the stumpage value will revert from the government to those funds.

An irrigation project is now under way, by means of which close to 50,000 acres of land will be irrigated, and it is thought that work will commence during 1913.

The Aztec Land & Cattle Company, located near St. Joseph, has several thousand acres of their lands consolidated, which they are cutting into small farms and selling on long term payments. Two artesian wells have recently been struck, one of them flowing water five feet above the surface. The company sells perpetual water rights with their lands in this artesian belt.

Dry farming is now being carried on extensively in the higher altitudes of the county, beginning about Snowflake and extending to the top of the mountains, the acreage increasing every year. Much credit for this development must be given to the 'State University, as the experiment station established some years ago near Snowflake has had much to do with the success of the dry farmer in this county.

Navajo County schools are second to none in the State, and are growing rapidly. During the fiscal year 1909-1910 the receipts for school purposes were $25,642.15 and the expenditures $21,291.70; and during the succeeding fiscal year the receipts were $30,524.91 and the expenditures $29,780.38, which shows that the schools of the county are enjoying a healthy growth.

The raising of livestock on open ranges is considered the main industry of the County, and shipments of cattle and sheep annually run well up into the thousands. In addition, the wool shipments are enormous.

In the northern part of the county lies the Navajo Indian reservation and the Moqui (Hopi) reservation, containing quaint and interesting villages that attract people from all parts of the globe to witness their peculiar religious ceremony known as the Snake Dance, which occurs each year between the 18th and the 22nd of August. But before the positive date is announced the sun must cast a shadow in a given place when shining over the rock, and as the writer understands it they hold the dance a certain number of days after the shadow is cast.

The weird Painted Desert is another of nature's wonders. It lies to the west in the northern part of the county, and must be seen to be appreciated, with its beautiful, shifting scenery. Closing the eyes for a moment only will cause all the beautiful scenes before one to change as if by magic. To the east is the wonderful, awe-inspiring, silent beauty of one of the world's seven wonders, the Petrified Forests of Arizona ; and to the south the beautiful virgin pine forests of the White Mountains, the largest solid area of forestry in the United States, which will soon be one of the greatest pleasure and recreation spots of the western country. These forests are becoming famous for hunting bear, mountain lion, wolf, bob cats, coyotes, deer, turkey and other smaller game, while the festive, speckled brook trout abounds in the streams.

The Navajo County of today, with nearly $4,000,000 worth of assessable property, 15,000 population, with her lumber and coal development in view and irrigation projects being promoted, it seems safe to say will soon be in better shape financially than any other countv in the State.

Source: Who's Who In Arizona





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