Survey of Pima and Maricopa Reservation.

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Source: 41st Congress, 3d Session, House of Representatives, Document No. 139


the Secretary of the Interior,
in Relation to
the Proposed extension of the survey of the Pima and Maricopa
Reservation in Arizona

February 21, 1871. Referred to the Committee on Indian Affairs and ordered to be printed.

Washington, D. C., February 17, 1871.


I have the honor to transmit herewith a copy of a report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, dated December 4, 1870, and accompanying papers, in relation to the proposed extension of the survey of Pima and Maricopa Indian reservation, in Arizona.

In view of the necessity of enlarging the reservation, as represented and explained in the papers, and agreeably to the recommendation of the Commissioner in the premises, the matter is respectfully submitted to Congress, with the request that the said extension of the reservation, as delineated upon the map of survey made by Lieutenant Richard H. Savage, Corps of Engineers United States Army, be authorized.

To enable this Department to compensate the settlers (twenty-five in number, who are located on the lands embraced in the proposed extension of the reservation) for their improvements, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs recommends that an appropriation be made by Congress of$30,000, or so much thereof as may be necessary for that purpose, in which recommendation I concur.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

C.DELANO, Secretary.

Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Washington, D. C., December 14, 1870,


In report to the honorable Secretary of the Interior, dated June 1, 1869, upon the subject of the proposed extension of the reservation set apart for the confederated bands of Pima and Maricopa Indians, in the Territory of Arizona, in accordance with the provisions of the act of Congress of February 28, 1869, (Statutes at Large, vol. 11, p. 401,) it was stated that this act, which authorized the setting apart of the reservation in question, contains the following proviso: "That the said reservations shall not exceed one hundred square miles in extent," and that, as originally surveyed in 1859, the reserve was limited to that area; that reliable information had been received from the agents of the Department, and Hon. J. R. Goodwin, Delegate I Congress from that Territory, that there is not within the limits of this reservation a sufficient area to supply the land for agriculture and pasture necessary for these tribes, and that it appears from the correspondence on the subject, that the reservation does not include as much land as was claimed by the Indians, but that they were assured by the agent who had the survey made that the same was intended to inclose their villages and planting-grounds, and that if they held a valid title to any lands beyond the present survey it would be a matter for future consideration by the Government; and further, that full justice would be done by the United States Government in this and every respect, and the instructions of the Department in regard to this and the removal of intruders from the present reservations of the Indians in question were requested.

Under date of June 9, 1869, the papers submitted with said report were returned by the honorable Secretary, who approved the recommendation of this office, that the superintendent, with the assistance of the agent, make such enlargement of the reservation as may be deemed necessary, and report the same to this Department, to be submitted to Congress for appropriate legislation.

Under date of August 4, 1869, Colonel George L. Andrews, superintendent of Indian affairs for Arizona, was instructed to cause the extension of the reservation to be made and surveyed as above, and directed to avoid conflict, as far as possible, with other ,claims, but that when it was found unavoidable in protecting the interests of the Indians, to inclose lands claimed by settlers, and also to make a full report of all the facts, defining accurately the boundaries of the proposed extension; and in cases of conflicts, gibing particulars in detail, so that the Department would be fully advised, and accompanying the same with a plat, with the boundaries of the reserve, the proposed extension, and the location of any conflicting claims accurately marked thereon.

In accordance with such instructions, Superintendent Andrews ahs transmitted to this office the report and papers called for, together with a map of the survey made by Lieutenant Richard H. Savage, Corps of Engineers United States Army, showing the proposed extension, which will embrace 81,40.16 acres, and which added to 64, 000 acres, the contents of the present reservation, will make a total of 145, 140.16 acres.

In view of the necessity for such extension, I respectfully recommend that Congress be requested to authorize the same as defined made by Lieutenant Savage, for the description of which see copies of papers inclosed herewith.

In making the extension it has been found necessary to take in certain claims of settlers, twenty-five in number, as appears from "Report on claims and improvements," herewith; and without discussing the validity of such claims, it is sufficient to say that it will probably be impractical to dispossess the claimants without compensating them for their improvements, and I therefore recommend that Congress be also requested to make an appropriation of $80,000, or so much thereof as may be necessary for that purpose.

A copy of the report of Superintendent Andrews, together with copies of the following papers, are herewith inclosed for the information of the Department, viz:

Report on general features of Pima and Maricopa Indian reservation, and its proposed extension by Lieutenant Richard Savage, Corps of Engineers United States Army.

Description of the boundaries of the proposed extension by same.

Reports on claims and improvements, by same.

Detailed report on claims and improvements by Captain F.E. Grossmann, United States Indian agent.

Table of distances in Gila Valley, Arizona Territory, and bearings Pima and Maricopa survey by Lieutenant Savage.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Acting Commissioner.

Hon. C. Delano,
Secretary of the Interior.

Office Superintendent Indian Affairs, Arizona Territory,
Arizona City, August 18, 1870.


I have the honor to transmit this day, by Wells, Fargo & Co.'s express, a tin case containing one general map of the survey for the extension of the Pima and Maricopa Indian reservation, and one map showing, on a larger scale, in detail, the claims of the various settlers affected by the proposed extension.

Also, inclosed herewith the following named-documents pertaining thereto, by Lieutenant Richard H. Savage, Engineers Corps United States Army, surveyor, viz:

Description of boundaries, %e. Bearings Pima and Maricopa Indian reservation survey; Report on claims and improvements; Report on general features, and table of distances in Gila Valley, Arizona Territory, by Captain F. E. Grossmann, United States Army, United States special Indian agent for the Pimas and Maricopas; A report on lands and improvements dated May 23, 1870. These several reports are so full and exhaustive and express so clearly my views on the subject, I need add but a few general remarks.

Upon my arrival at the reservation in April last I caused Antonia Azul and his chiefs to be assembled, and from them learned they wished to include in the reservation all that land south of and lying between the Gila River and a line drawn from the Perial Mountains through a point near Bluewater, and about forty miles south of the river, to Gila Bend, an area I roughly estimate at 5,200 square miles. Land north of the river they manifested no desire to acquire. I also learned that mesquite lands, for sake of the beans, range for their animals, land upon which crops can be raised, and water for irrigation, were the principal objects they desired to attain. No promises were made the chiefs, or expectations as to the ultimate results of our labors were expressed or implied, but the greatest care was taken to have them understand the exact situation, and that under no circumstances were their people to go on to or use in any way the new land until their agent informed them they could do so.

Antonio, on behalf of himself and his chiefs, expressed in conclusion his full belief that they would now obtain the land which had been so long and so many times promised them, and immediately gave me a name signifying "Land-giver," Accompanied by the agent and officers of the surveying party, I passed the next few days in examining the country, keeping in view the instructions of the honorable Commissioner, the wants and necessities of the Indians, and the claims of the settlers.

It will be observed that the portion of the extension (western) selected on account of its mesquit growth does not conflict with the claims of any settlers, either present of prospective; neither is the location such as to render it liable to be traversed by roads for a long time, if ever. The extension on the east contains nearly all the arable land and water privileges it is proposed to add to the reservation, and it is thought that its curtailment will defeat every object desired to be attained in this connection, viz:

to increase the Indians' facilities for raising corps, to deprive them of all excuses for depredating upon the settlers, to quite their complaints about the settlers using the water, and to protect the interest of the settlers.

The largest area proposed to be added to the present reservation will be found to be on the south, between stations "6," "10," and "11." (See general map.) The objects desired to be attained here were to meet the wants of the Indians for a range of their stock and afford them hunting-ground for hares, rabbits, and other small game, and still keep them within the limits of their reservation. The soil is sandy, and at the time of my visit entirely devoid of anything green, if I may except the few live mesquit trees, which appear here and there among the vast number of dead ones. I was informed, however, that during the rainy season a temporary growth of grass appears; and finally, so long as the Indians control the river front-and they now control more than two-thirds of it-this laud can be of no possible value to anyone else.

So far I am informed, the island of Gila now appears upon a map for the first time, it apparently having been entirely ignored in all previous surveys, a circumstance as singular as inexplicable.

The necessity of this extension being made, and at an early day, is patent to very just and disinterested person familiar with the subject, and that the proposition will meet with opposition persistent, strenuous, and powerful, appears to be equally so.

Trusting that I have succeeded in carrying out the instructions of the honorable commissioner to his entire satisfaction, the results of our efforts and labors are herewith respectfully submitted.

Lieutenant Colonel United States Army, Superintendent.

Hon. E. S. Parker,
Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Washington, D.C.

Report upon the general features of the tract of land in Pima County, Arizona territory, known as the Pima and Maricopa Indian reservation, surveyed under the direction of Sylvester Mowry, esq., commissioner, in 1859, by A. B. Gray, esq.; and the proposed extensions of the same, surveyed under the direction of Brevet Colonel George L. Andrews, lieutenant colonel United States Army, superintendent Indian affairs Arizona Territory, by Second Lieutenant Eugene O. Fechit, Second United States Artillery, and Brevet Second Lieutenant Richard H. Savage, United States Engineers.

Location.- The district of land known as the Indian reservation for the Pimas and Maricopas, and which was surveyed in 1859, under the general direction of Hon. Sylvester Mowry, commissioner, by A. B. Gray, esq., is in Pima County, Arizona Territory, and is situated in the valley of Gila. The original reservations were in the form of an extended lozenge, containing 64,000 acres, and traversed from southeast to northwest by the river, its form being derived from the purpose of setting aside these Indians land capable of irrigation and hence successful cultivation. The extensions proposed are laid out to meet the growing want of tribes, who are certainly not diminishing in number.

Latitude and Longitude.-A prominent, camp No.9, of Colonel Emory's boundary survey., has the north latitude of 33° 9' 28", and the west longitude of 113° 11' 15", as determined by Colonel Emory.

Elevation.-The longest line in the tract, as resurveyed and extended, is thirty-nine survey, miles in length, from the south east to the northwest corner. On this line there is a uniform slope to northwest of about 8 feet in a mile.

The elevation of Ambrosio Arvizo's house (White's ranch) above tide water is 1,202 feet, and that of Sacaton is 1,066 feet, as determined by the preliminary surveys of the Kansas Pacific Railroad Company, under direction of W. J. Palmer.

The valley varies from five to thirty miles in width, with a slope to the river of about 50 feet from the bases of the adjoining hills.

Mountains.-These hills on the south are known as the Sierras Sacatones, and those on the west as the Sierras Sacatones, and those on the as the Sierras Maricopas . On the north a mass of hills with axial lines from northwest to southwest, stretches to the thirty-fifth parallel. These hills are somewhat 2,000 feet in height, pyramidal in general form, with notable exceptions in the case of one or two perfectly conical peaks. The toughness of the bald igneous rocks, composing the mass of these hills, gives them a permanent sharpness of outline. An utter absence of trees of any kind is a distinguishing feature.

River.-The Gila River bisects this tract of land, and is of average width of 100 feet. It is not navigable, its ordinary flow being insufficient even for canoeing, and boats are only used on it during freshets. The Gila Island divides the stream, its branches being about 50 feet in width. This is a river of uncertain regimen continually cutting its banks and changing its bed. The melting of mountain snows and the tropical violence of rains which fall occasionally, cause a sometimes dangerous overflow. The drainage is such that all the water falling on the valley is at once carried through water-courses, dry ordinarily, into the river. There is a cable ferry at Morgan's Station, with a boat for ferrying loaded teams, used in these times of over flow. Under the normal condition the river is easily fordable, but the amount of shifting wash gives a dangerous quicksand, and in many parts of the bed. The banks are of the average height of 6 to 10 feet, and soft and alluvial in their formation. There is a scanty supply of fish, suckers, and a variety of that family known as "Gila salmon." There are no permanent streams on the reservation limits which discharge into the Gila.

Irrigation.- A system of irrigation canals is in the use, the most important of which are beginning at the eastern limit of the reservation, the White Acequia, and the Walker Acequia, or the Acquia Madre, as it is called, these watering the cultivable lands on the south side of the Gila in the eastern extension of the reserve on the south of the river, and one or two are projected on the northern bank.

Climate.- The climatic influences are generally favorable to health, the cereals needing steady irrigation here. Rains uncertain, and violent fall between July and September, but long intervals elapse without a fall of water. There falls no snow in this valley, and the summer period is one of distressing heat, the thermometer rising to 130° F. in the sun.

Island of the Gila.- An important natural feature is the fertile island in the valley, nearly twenty-nine miles in length, and of average width of one mile. This furnishes the most desirable location on the reservation for farming, the northern portion being already under cultivation by the Indians, and also the southern end. The middle portion as yet is uncleared, being overgrown with cottonwoods, willows, and mesquit. It is also objectionable on account of the quantity of the alkalies prejudicial to farming. These portions furnish a range for pasturing cattle.

>Character of the lands inclosed.- The inclosed tract may be classed as farming land, pasture, mesquit land, and desert.

Farming land.- Grains as wheat, barley, and oats, are raised in abundance; root crops and tubers are as yet little cultivated-the Irish potato failing, while the sweet potato grows well. Fruit trees are not numerous, but a few tropical trees (the fig, &c.) promise well. The Indian agriculture is very primitive in methods.

The country is deficient in natural grasses, several succulent plants, commonly called the gayeta, sacaton, and gramma grasses, being gathered by hand by the Indians, and furnishing the forage use din this section. The wheat crop of the present year was estimated at two million pounds by a trader.

Pasture.-The tract between Sacaton and Blackwater Village, on the south of the river, and a limited area similarly situated below Maricopa Mills, furnishes all the pasturage save the browsing on the Gila Island.

Mesquit land.- The extension to the west of the old reserve, containing 13,120 acres was made to supply the growing wants of the Indians the mesquit tree furnishing an important article of food. The mesquit bean, of which a species of meal is made, and the uses of the tree for firewood and also to furnish a black gum for paint and other uses, make a large tract bearing this shrub necessary.

There is an abundance of mesquit in the eastern extension on both banks of the river. On the old reserve its use as fuel has thinned the groves very much.

Desert.-On the south of Sierra Blanca, and stretching to the south and east, is a rocky desert mesa, abounding in quartz rocks of all kinds, and seoriaceous and basaltic lavas ; a dry white sand, argillaceous, in some localities but mostly quartzose, is the basis of this soil. All species of cacti flourish here, and certain roots and tubers are used as food by the Indians and here gathered.

Minerals.-Sandstones, hornblende rock, quartz rocks, and many silicates and alumimates, with lavas, (all kinds) are the prevailing minerals. The metallic indications show an abundance of copper. There is much said of silver and gold, but not authentic ores are to be seen. A remarkable agreement of the variations of the needle in different townships and sections, as seen on the maps in the surveyor general's office, would indicate the absence of any considerable quantity of iron ores, although, as a coloring matter, this ingredient is in many of the soils. Selenite, miea schist, and a few feldspathic rocks are met with.

Water.-The scarcity of springs and running water is characteristic of this region. In the regions bordering it the Gila is the usual source of supply. In the flat below Maricopas Wells are several lagunas, the water of which, being too alkaline for drinking, are also unfit for irrigation. The poor water here and the alkali caused the abandonment of this flat by the Indians as a site for villages, as chills and fever prevail to an alarming extent.

Wells on this line of travel are very uncertain means of supply and the impermeable stratum which collects the water is at varying depths below the surface. It is the opinion of the geologist of the railroad surveys, that if wells are sunk deep enough water can be always obtained, only one case being mentioned in his report where water has not been found under 400 feet. I give the depth of some wells on this line of travel: At Gila Bend, 20 feet, (45 miles from Maricopa;) desert between Gila Bend and Maricopa, 200 feet, no water; Maricopa Wells, 10 feet; Bichard's. (Pima villages.) 35 feet: Scation. (no well. river near:) Adamsville, 20 feet: Blue Water Station, 90 feet; Point of Rocks Station, 90 feet. On the new line of road projected to connect directly Tucson with Gila Bend, avoiding the windings of the Gila River, water is said to be obtainable at an average depth of 25 feet.

Alkalies.-The alkalies in the soil are very objectionable and affect the western extension and portions of the southeastern tracts. No remedy is known against these effects.

Animals.-There are no wild animals of prey save coyotes; in this region an occasional deer may be found on the river banks. the hare, rabbit, and quail, with the lark and blackbird, furnish small game to the Indian hunters.

Inhabitants.-The Pimas and Maricopas are the permanent Indian inhabitants; several licensed traders and the Mexican squatters on the eastern extension make up the remainder of the population.

The lines.-The lines have been run to conform with the wants of the Indians for grain lauds, pastures, and mesquit patches; the grain lauds being in the eastern tracts, pasture in the eastern and southern portions, and mesquit lands in the south and west. There is an extensive area of land on the north, which will always be at the use of the Indian, as it does not invite settlement by the whites.

The system of irrigating canals now in use might be enlarged and improved; a carefully laid out line might bring the water on tracts covered now with undergrowth, but which would be fertile if cleaned and irrigated.

Timber.-The region is poorly timbered, there being no wood fit for milling purposes on the tracts. The cottonwood fringes the river on both banks in its entire length, and with the mesquit, furnishes the wood and fuel now in use. The palo verde willow and oagilnish give a heavy undergrowth, especially on the island.

Building material.-There being no stone fit for building use, the adobe brick is used, the mud but satisfying the wants of the Indians. The houses of the squatters, with one or two exceptions, are mere sheds of brush and poles, and have no value buthat derived from the labor of gathering the rude materials.

Curiosities.-The extensive plain north of the Gila is covered with fragments of pottery, the same abounding near the site of the "Casas Grandes," extensive ruins of a system of large buildings once inhabited. Their ruins consist mainly of a building of about 90 feet in length, 40 in width, and formerly of five stories in height. The walls are heavy mud blocks, and a well-mixed cement still glazes the interior, deep-cut windows giving light to four rooms surrounding an interior room lighted only through the door. The remains of walls and other buildings show and extensive settlement. About two miles distant from these are other ruins less extensive. Still others exist near Adamsville and near Pima villages.

The traditions of the Indians assign considerable antiquity to these remains, which, taken together with the ruins of the irrigating canals, point to an extensive settlement of this valley.

Respectfully submitted.

Lieutenant of Engineers United States Army.

Brecet Colonel Geo. L. Andrews,
Lieutenant ColonelUnited States Army,
Superintendent Indian Affairs, Arizona Territory.

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