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Full text of "The Penningtons, pioneers of early Arizona; a historical sketch"

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PENNINGTONS: PIONEERS ' 
OF EARLY ARIZONA 




THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 

OF CALIFORNIA 

LOS ANGELES 



THE PENNINGTONS 

PIONEERS OF EARLY ARIZONA 



A HISTORICAL SKETCH 
BY 

ROBERT H. FORBES 



PUBLISHED BY THE 
ARIZONA ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

1919 



/Oif 




Larcena Pexxingtox (Mks. \\m. F. Scott), about 1872. 



THE^ENNINGTONS 



PIONEERS OF EARLY ARIZONA 



A HISTORICAL SKETCH 
BY 

ROBERT H.^ORBE^^ 






PUBLISHED BY THE 
ARIZONA ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

1919 



Copyright, 1919, by 
Arizona Archaeological and Historical Socieiy 



PRESS OF 

THE NEW ERA PRINTING COMPANY 

LANCASTER, PA. 



6 I I 



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ILLUSTRATIONS 

Frontispiece: Larcena Pennington (Mrs. William F. Scott), about 
1872. 

1. Old Fort Buchanan, December 7, 1914. 

2. The Pennington home on the Santa Cruz in 1861 ; a stone house 

loop-holed for defense. 

3. The old Apache trail, east of Helvetia, Arizona. 

4. A scene in Tubac (1915), once the principal town in Arizona. 

5. Jane Pennington (Mrs. William Crumpton), about 1885. 

6. The ruins of the Sopori ranch house, built on high ground, and 

looped-holed for defense. 

7. The Canoa, an important station in early days, and the scene 

of many tragedies. 

8. The Sopori cemetery showing the graves of James and Ann 

Pennington. 

9. Tumacacori Mission from the Southwest, 1915- 

MAPS 

1. Map of New Mexico and Arizona, 1858, showing old wagon 

routes. Compiled from maps of the War Department, and 
other sources. 

2. The Ferguson map of Tucson, 1862, showing original Spanish 

names of streets. Arroyo Street is the original name of 
Pennington Street. 

3. The Foreman map of Tucson, 1872, showing American street 

names. 

4. Sketch map of old Fort Crittenden, with localities named by 

John H. Cady, once a soldier at Crittenden. 



Ill 



293404 



THE PENNINGTONS 



About the year 1832 two of the common people, 
Elias Green Pennington of South Carolina and 
Julia Ann Hood of North Carolina, young and of 
good courage, joined fortunes for better or worse 
and turned their faces westward with the tide of 
emigration that followed in Boone's footsteps across 
the Appalachian ranges, through the dense forests 
of Kentucky and Tennessee to the Mississippi. 

The young people made their first home near 
Nashville, where they engaged in pioneer farming 
for about five years. But the West again tempted 
them; they loaded their household goods and farm- 
ing tools upon wagons drawn by slow moving oxen, 
and, with their three young children, Jim, Ellen and 
Larcena, started for Texas, whose independence had 
recently been achieved, and whose vast extent and 
unknown resources attracted the adventurous spirits 
of that day. After a journey of many camp fires 
the hopeful and vigorous young family settled on 
new land near Honey Grove, Texas, about forty 
miles east of Bonham in Fannin County. Here 
Pennington remained about fifteen years, farming 
and freighting from Shreveport and Jefferson to 
Bonham. The growing family soon increased to 
twelve children, eight girls and four boys, — an ac- 

1 



2 The Penningtons 

tive, resourceful, strong-willed sort, no doubt, — well 
suited to the exigencies of frontier life, which in 
Texas at that time was not without danger from the 
Comanches, and close to the incidents of the Mexi- 
can War. 

But as the country became more thickly settled, 
the growing number of near neighbors, wath their 
fence-jumping and crop-destroying cattle, annoyed 
Pennington, who, like most frontiersmen, wanted 
room, and wild game, and freedom from the disad- 
vantages of too close association with his fellows. 
So, leaving his family behind, he cruised to the 
West and South in search of still another and more 
secluded home, finally choosing a location about one 
hundred and fifty miles southwest, near Keechi, not 
far from the Brazos River. During his absence the 
mother died and was buried at Honey Grove, leav- 
ing the family, the youngest a child in arms, in the 
care of the older children. So, diminished by one, 
the Penningtons, thirteen in number, again loaded 
their wagons and restlessly pushed on to a newer 
frontier. Here they remained three or four years 
when it was finally resolved, early in 1857, to join 
a wagon train for Golden California. 

The train, which was well equipped and provi- 
sioned, was commanded by one Sutton, the Penning- 
tons having three wagons drawn by oxen and mules. 
The road led westward bv easy stages and without 
misadventure until they encountered the flooded Rio 
Pecos, which they were obliged to ford. Sturdy 



Pioneers of Early Arizona 3 

Jim, the oldest boy, and his father's right hand man, 
guided his oxen through the flood, swimming his 
horse beside them and encouraging the leaders by 
his speech as only he knew how^ until they dragged 
the wagons through. 

A number of cattle driven with the train were 
drowned at this point, but the most serious damage 
was to the family Bible and to the children's school 
books, which were injured by the water. Once 
safely through, loads were unpacked, water-soaked 
articles were dried, the wagons repacked and the 
journey resumed. From the Pecos the route lay 
through Paso del Norte, up the Rio Grande to Me- 
silla, through Cooke's Canyon and westward across 
rolling plains to the boundary of present-day Ari- 
zona, into which they passed through Doubtful 
Canyon. From this point they crossed the San 
Simon Valley, threaded the long and dangerous 
x'\pache Pass, pushed on across the Sulphur Spring 
valley to Dragoon Springs, crossed the San Pedro, 
probably south of modern Benson, and finally, in 
June, 1857, reached Old Fort Buchanan on the So- 
noita, where Captain Ewell was then in command. 

The road over which the little caravan passed 
was a dangerous one, a guard always being placed 
at night, with a double guard at Apache Pass, of 
sinister hi.story. For fear of the Apaches little 
hunting was done, but an occasional animal was 
slaughtered out of the driven herd. The train was 
well supplied with bacon, flour, dried fruits and 



Pioneers of Early Arizona 5 

other provisions; and with a small stock of house- 
hold goods and farming tools. Progress was slow. 
Fifteen miles was a good day's journey, the distance 
travelled being governed by the watering places 
along the road. 

The Arizona of 1857 was a wilderness almost un- 
known to Americans except along overland lines of 
travel. There were a few squalid Mexican settle- 
ments, and the Missions of the Santa Cruz valley; 
beaver hunters from the north and east had crossed 
it; and following the Gadsden purchase the gov- 
ernment began the establishment of military posts 
within the newly acquired territory, at that time at- 
tached to Dona Ana County, New Mexico. Almost 
all business related in some way to the United States 
army. Contracts for wild hay were let by the gov- 
ernment to supply the cavalry, and whipsawed lum- 
ber was brought down from the mountains for the 
construction of military posts under whose protec- 
tion little farms began to produce home grown sup- 
plies. Freighting was perhaps the most important 
business of that day, military supplies, merchandise 
for trade, machinery for the mines, and commodi- 
ties of all kinds, were brought hundreds of miles 
from East and West, by means of slow moving ox 
teams. There were but few domestic cattle at this 
time, although there were considerable numbers of 
wild horses and cattle. These were sometimes 
hunted, and sometimes were captured by means of 
extended lines of horsemen converging upon cor- 



6 The Penningtons 

rals arranged to receive them. Antelope, deer, 
bear, and wild turkeys were numerous, and the 
Apaches regarded the whole of this vast region as 
their hunting ground. 

In its general outlines, of course, the country was 
the same then as now, but in details it differed 
greatly. Everywhere the plains were grass covered 
to an extent unknown at the present time, the ranges 
being now as a rule over-grazed. The valley bot- 
toms were covered by a dense growth of perennial 
Sacaton grass, oftentimes as high as the head of a 
horseman and so thick and tall that cattle, horses 
and men were easily concealed by it. Indeed, in 
early days it was necessary to drive cattle out upon 
the mesas at the time of the rodeos, where they 
could be seen and handled. The uplands were well 
covered with a variety of nutritious grasses, such as 
the perennial black grama, and the many annuals 
that spring into growth during the summer rainy 
season. The abundant vegetation, both on high- 
lands and in valley bottoms, restrained the flood 
waters resulting from the torrential storms of the 
region, so that there was no erosion in valley bot- 
toms. Instead, the rainfall soaked into the soil and 
made grass. Sloughs and marshy places were 
common along the San Simon, the San Pedro, the 
Santa Cruz, and other streams, and even beaver 
were abundant in places where it would now be im- 
possible for them to li\'e. The abundant grass 
made range fires common, these often being set by 
the Indians to drive game. 



Pioneers of Early Arizona 7 

In comj^arison with modern Arizona, shorn of its 
grass by cattle and with its bare valley bottoms torn 
open by erosion, the ])rimitive wilderness of sixty 
years ago was verdure clad and beautiful, and 
doubtless attractive to the adventurous Americans 
who entered, j^rcsumably under the protection of 
their government, just before the Civil War. 

At Fort Buchanan, the hardships of the journey 
began to tell upon our travelers. Some of the ani- 
mals ga\'e out and Larcena Pennington fell ill with 
mountain fever. The family, with their three 
wagons and their cattle, were thus forced to drop 
out of the train. While waiting for the stricken 
sister to recover the men undertook a contract for 
wild hay for the Fort, which, of course, was garri- 
soned by cavalry. Laboriously, with scythes, hand 
rakes, forks and wagons they completed their con- 
tract, but were then obliged to wait weeks for their 
pay. Meantime, the Apaches raided them and 
drove off their stock, leaving them in grim earnest 
in the heart of an unknown and dangerous country. 

Let us pause for a moment to become better ac- 
quainted with the members of this hardy family at 
the time when adverse fortune called upon them to 
face a life of hardship and adventure most remark- 
able even among the annals of the pioneers. 

Pennington, himself, was a South Carolinian, of 
Revolutionary stock, and English descent. He was 
an exceptional figure — tall, straight and strong, 
weighing about 190 pounds. His features were 



8 The Penningtons 

aquiline and handsome, eyes blue, full bearded, in 
later years clean shaven. He was a man of great 
determination and courage in the midst of the dan- 
gers that surrounded him, although, perhaps from 
policy, he avoided as much as possible direct en- 
counters with the Indians that overran the country. 
He was a good farmer, hunted in time of need for 
his family, and for much of the time kept wagons 
and teams busy in the freighting business in what 
is now southern Arizona. He was affectionate to 
his family, and by those who knew him personally, 
is described as having been a sober and very quiet 
man. 

Jim, the oldest of the children, was a tall, raw- 
boned, red-faced young fellow, not so large as his 
father, quiet and hard-working. He was especially 
skillful with oxen. His friend Oteno speaks of 
seeing him unload logs from the Santa Rita moun- 
tains by sending the two leading spans to the back 
of the load where they pulled off the logs one by 
one while the wheel oxen held the wagon in place. 
In all this they were guided mainly by the voice of 
their driver. 

Jack, the second boy, seems to have taken part in 
many enterprises of the time, — freighting, handling 
cattle, washing gold on the Hassayampa. He was 
affectionate and loyal to his family and friends. 
On one occasion, at the Cooke's Canyon ambuscade 
in i86i, when one of his party was wounded and 
about to be left to the Apaches, though only a boy 



Pioneers of Early Arizona 9 

of eighteen, he leveled his rifle upon his companions 
and compelled them to rescue the wounded man. 
Green was a tall, quiet boy who liked to be with his 
father. He seems to have been especially loved by 
his sisters. He also was affectionate and loyal, 




Mary Pennington. 



losing his life finally in defense of his father's body 
at the time of the ambuscade on the Sonoita. All 
of the men were especially kind and chivalrous to- 
ward the women of their household, a trait consis- 
tent with their southern origin. 



10 The Penningtons 

Of the daughters, the older took charge of the 
motherless family. One of them, Ellen, taught the 
younger children to read, others helped the men 
with field work, sometimes they did sewing for the 
officers' wives at the Fort. There were eight of 
them in all, vigorous and capable, able to ride and 
handle firearms, cheerfully making the best of the 
hard life they were obliged to endure. 

Thus equi])ped in experience and character the 
Penningtons, with stout hearts, set about making a 
home and a living for themselves in the midst of an 
Indian infested wilderness. A ditch was taken out 
of the Sonoita below Buchanan, and a small field of 
corn, pumpkins, squashes, beans and vegetables was 
planted. The money for the hay contract came, 
more animals were purchased and the family moved 
o\'er to the Santa Cruz, where we hear of them in 
the old Gandara house at Calabasas in September, 
1859; at the stone house near the Mexican line in 
i860; on the Sonoita a few miles below Buchanan 
in the same year; at the stone house again and at 
the Mowry mine in 1861 and 1862. They moved 
often, from restlessness, from fear of the Indians 
and because of the slender advantages to be gained 
here and there from a change. 

At first they escaped personal injury, although 
the Apaches were seen from time to time, and their 
fields were occasionally robbed of green corn and 
vegetables. Indeed, the Indians themselves stated 
subsequently, at a time of truce, that they spared 




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12 The Penningtons 

the Penningtons for a time because the}^ could usu- 
ally steal of them the provisions the}^ needed on 
their way to and from Mexico. 

Meanwhile, in December, 1858, Larcena Pen- 
nington married John Hempstead Page, in Tucson, 
which at that time was a little adobe town of a few 
hundred souls, mostly Mexicans. Mr. Page was 
then engaged, in partnership with Captain Rey- 
nolds, in whip-sawing j^ine lumber in Madera Can- 
yon in the Santa Ritas, and in hauling it to Tucson 
— a perilous but paying business at a time when the 
U. S. quartermaster paid 25 cents a foot for boards. 
And so it happened that, in March, i860, Mrs. Page, 
desiring to escape the chills and fcxxr that then pre- 
vailed in Tucson, ])ersuadcd her husband to take 
her with him for the next load of lumber. It was 
doubtless a jolly party — Page, his wife, the little 
Mexican girl, Mercedes, whom Mrs. Page was teach- 
ing to read, and Reynolds, that tra\'elled the old 
road under the big mesquites, up the Santa Cruz to 
the Canoa, then turned eastward and drew near to 
the mouth of the canyon behind their slow moving 
oxen. 

Self-reliant and careless, after the manner of that 
day, they gave little thought to danger or to the 
party of five Apaches that were c\-en then watching 
them from the hills flanking the mouth of the can- 
yon. They pitched their tent that night beside the 
running stream flowing from the canyon and in- 
stalled a few items of bedding and furniture they 






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14 The Penningtons 

had brought along. This camp was not at the Big 
Rock where still stand the ruins of a stone house 
and corral, but was about two miles below. The 
night passed without incident and breakfast was 
disposed of early next morning. Reynolds took his 
gun and went after game, while Page, about ten 
o'clock rode up the canyon to see about his next load 
of lumber. 

Mrs. Page and little Mercedes were thus left 
alone, exposed to the Indians, who had been watch- 
ing them since the day before. Soon after her hus- 
band's departure, Mrs. Page was resting in her 
rocker in the tent, when her little dog began to bark. 
Then a scream from the child outside, who had 
been gathering bright colored oakballs, warned her 
of danger. The little girl was quickly caught by 
the approaching Indians and, immediately, Mrs. 
Page saw them entering the doorway. She sprang 
to the bed and seized a pistol that lay under the 
turned-up covers, but the weapon was wrested from 
her before she could shoot. She tried to run but 
was stopped. One of the Indians spoke a little 
Spanish, and by words and signs told her (what was 
not true) that they had just killed Mr. Page as he 
drank at a spring, and that the saddle they carried 
was his. Mrs. Page began to scream for help, but 
one of the Apaches put his lance to her breast and 
threatened to kill her if she did not stop. The In- 
dians then proceeded to loot the camp, cutting open 
sacks of flour, scattering the provisions and making 



Pioneers of Early Arizona 15 

ready to go with whatever they could take away. 
The camp was quickly spoiled, and the Apaches, 
with their prisoners and plunder, began their fliglit. 
A little way from the ruined camp they stopped to 
rip open a feather bed they had been trying to carry. 
Until this time Mrs. Page had remained unterrified, 
feeling a certain contempt for her savage captors; 
but when she saw her precious feather bed thus cru- 
elly assailed, she seemed to realize fully her danger 
and screamed again, but her captors once more 
stopped her by threatening her with their lances; 
and the party started along a well beaten trail that 
led along the side of the mountain, almost north. 

The five Indians in the party were young with one 
exception — an older man who spoke Spanish. They 
were armed only with bows and arrows, and lances. 
The prisoners were not molested except when their 
captors, evidently in high glee at their success, pre- 
tended to ambush them from behind trees or play- 
fully pointed the captured pistol at them. One of 
the Apaches melted snow in his hands for them to 
drink. Mrs. Page was pushed or pulled up steep 
places in the trail and Mercedes was carried pick-a- 
back. Their hats were restored to them from the 
plunder and fair progress was made, the savages 
seeking safety in one of their camps on the San 
Pedro. One of the Apaches, an ugly black fellow, 
was pointed out to Mrs. Page as her future owner 
and this may have accounted for the mercy shown. 

The journey continued to the northeast and north 



16 The Penningtons 

through hilly country. Mrs. Page began, secretly, 
to tear off bits of her dress and bend twigs along the 
trail to guide a following party. She told the little 
girl to do this also, but the Apaches stopped them 
and forbade them to speak to each other again. 

In this fashion they travelled all day, one of the 
party staying behind to warn them of pursuit. Mrs. 
Page talked a little in Spanish with her captors. 
The older man said that this country was once all 
theirs, but that now many of their people had been 
killed by the whites — "pong, pong, pong." Mrs. 
Page answered as best she could, keeping in good 
courage and hoping for rescue by the j^arty she 
knew must soon follow. 

Just before sunset the Apache travelling behind 
to warn the party of pursuit, ran up saying that the 
Americans were coming. The pace quickened, but 
Mrs. Page, exhausted with the day's travel, could 
not go faster. As they went up a narrow ridge 
with a steep slope on one side, they made her take 
off her spencer and heavy skirt, again telling her 
(she thought by way of warning) that the Ameri- 
cans had killed many of their people. They mo- 
tioned her to go on ; then as she turned and started 
she felt a lance in her back and sprang forward and 
fell down the steep side of the hill. The Apaches 
followed, thrusting at her with lances and striking 
her with rocks, until she lodged against a big pine 
tree and one of the Indians stunned her with a 
stone. The savages, thinking her dead, dragged 




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18 The Penningtons 

Jier behind a tree where she might not be seen from 
the trail, and taking her shoes left her in a bank of 
snow. Reviving shortly after, she heard the Ameri- 
cans on the trail above, and her husband's voice, 
referring to the trail, saying, " Here it is, boys." 
She tried to move and speak, but was too weak to 
make them hear, and they passed on, being de- 
ceived by the fact that one of the Apaches had just 
put on her shoes. They followed this false trail 
beyond the Catalina Mountains, where it was lost, 
and the party went to Tucson to equip a second, and, 
finally, a third expedition to rescue the prisoners. 
When her husband's party had passed on, Mrs. Page 
again lost consciousness and lay at the pine tree, 
she thinks, about three days. Her wounds, fortu- 
nately, w^ere cooled by the snow and, finally, she 
again revived. 

To understand the heroic and almost unbelievable 
effort for life now made by this young woman of 
twenty-three, we must remember that she was in the 
hills just east of the present site of Helvetia; bruised 
with stones and cut with sixteen lance wounds in her 
back and arms, without shoes, water or food, almost 
without clothes, and without a beaten pathway, for 
she feared to follow back along the Indian trail. 
There is no doubt of the locality for she clearly re- 
membered that, after travelling northeast and north 
all day, just before she was attacked, she saw down 
in the plain toward the setting sun, a small sharp- 
pointed hill. There is but one such landmark on 



Pioneers of Early Arizona 19 

the route and distance travelled, and that is Huer- 
fano Hill, about three miles west of Helvetia. She 
must, therefore, haxe fallen at a ])()int twelve or 
fifteen miles from the camp left tliat morning and 
she remembered that Page afterwards told her it 
was fifteen miles. 

Gathering her strength for the effort, she at- 
tended to her wounds as best she could, ate a little 
snow to slake her thirst, then crawled down the 
slope to level ground and slept. Awaking at sun- 
rise she knew the directions back to camp, since it 
was sunset when she was struck down. Being weak 
from loss of blood, and without shoes, she was soon 
unable to stand; but day by day she crept on, partly 
supporting herself on her hands and subsisting on 
seeds, herbage and wild onions, with snow water to 
drink. Night by night (unable to lie on her back 
because of her wounds) she crouched upon her 
knees and arms on the ground and dreamed of 
food; but when in her sleep she reached out for the 
pot of beans before her, she awoke to find her hands 
clutching only gravel. Once she came to a bear's 
nest and longed to lie in the mass of soft grass and 
leaves, but dared not and crept away. And so her 
terrible journey continued for about ten days. Her 
feet became filled with small stones; her bare 
shoulders were blistered with the hot sun ; her head 
was a mass of clotted blood ; and yet she kept on — 
desperately, indomitably on, to the southward. 
Then at last she came to a point on a high ridge 



20 The Penningtons 

overlooking the road that led into Madera Canyon 
and saw below her some men with an ox team near 
the camp from which she had been taken. She 
could hear their voices plainly, and the sound of 
blows struck on their wagon tires. She tied her 
petticoat to a stick and waved it and screamed, but 
could not make them hear, and they passed on. 
Again she resumed her fearful journey and in two 
days more reached the teamster's camp, where she 
found fire still smouldering in a log by the road- 
side. Then she carried a stick on fire at one end 
to her husband's ruined camp nearby, where she 
scraped up some flour and some coffee yet remain- 
ing on the ground. Tearing a square piece from 
her clothing and putting the flour on it, she went 
down to the stream nearby and mixed a little pat of 
dough and baked it at her fire. After she had 
eaten the bread and some of the coffee, and had 
bathed her wounds, she was refreshed and slept the 
night there. Next morning she started up the road 
to the sawyers' camp, probably the one at the Big 
Rock. As she drew near she was seen, but not at 
first recognized. With clotted hair and gaping 
wounds, nearly naked, emaciated and sunburned, 
she was at first mistaken for an unfortunate outcast 
squaw and the men ran for their guns. She called 
to them that she was Mrs. Page and was finally rec- 
ognized; but one. Smith, declared that she was a 
spirit, unable to believe that she could return alive 
after more than two weeks of such hardship. One 



Pioneers of Early Arizona 21 

of the men then carried lier into the cam};, where 
she was fed and washed and clothed with rough but 
sympathizing care, and a courier sent to Tucson for 
a doctor. 

llie messenger reached Tucson just as Mr. Page 
was about to start on a third attempt to find liis wife. 
He had followed the trail from the looted camp 
through the Rincons to a ]:)oint bcj-ond tiie Cata- 
linas. Then he returned and went out again; and 
again returned for still another party. These ex- 
jjcditions must ha\e taken a number of days and 
roughly confirm the statement that it was sixteen 
days from the time Mrs. Page was captured until 
her return. After two days she was taken to Tuc- 
son, where she fully recovered. The little girl, 
Mercedes, captured with her, was exchanged later 
by Captain Ewell for certain of his Apache pris- 
oners. She grew to womanhood and became the 
wife of Charles A. Shibell, well known as a j)ioneer, 
and for many years recorder of Pima County. 

But the desperate and almost incredible adven- 
ture of Mrs. Page was only a warning to the Pen- 
ningtons of disasters to come — little heeded, how- 
ever, in those days when danger was the atmosphere 
to which men and women were too well accustomed. 
For ten years, until the remnants of the broken 
family went back to Texas, the traditions of the 
Sonoita and the Santa Cruz are full of their per- 
sonalities and adventures. Only a year later, in 
March or April, 1861, Mr. Page was ambushed and 



22 The Penningtons 

killed by Apaches north of Tucson while conducting 
a load of goods to old Camp Grant. He was buried 
where he fell, at the top of the hill beyond Sama- 
niego's ranch, on the old road; and all that Mrs. 
Page ever saw of him was his handkerchief, his 
purse and a lock of his hair. Her daughter, Mary, 
was born in September of that year, and shortly 
afterward she rejoined her father's family at the 
Stone House on the Santa Cruz. This location was 
a most dangerous one, however, although the Pen- 
ningtons were strangely spared by the Apaches 
themselves while they lived here. The Indians 
were at their worst during the early sixties, the 
country being virtually unprotected by the Federal 
government at a time when the energies of that 
government were engrossed by the Civil War. 

On one occasion, about this time, Mrs. Page and 
her baby girl fled with others to the Mowry Mine, 
which was fortified and offered protection from the 
Apaches. But smallpox broke out among the refu- 
gees, Mrs. Page and her baby being among those 
attacked. Mowry nursed his smallpox patients as 
best he knew how, but nearly starved them to death 
on a scanty diet of flour and water, believing that 
"no grease" should be fed to those ill of this dis- 
ease. Most of the patients, however, recovered 
from both the disease and the treatment. Not long 
after, in June, 1862, Mowry was arrested by Fed- 
eral authorities, his mine was confiscated, and he 
was sent to Fort Yuma as a Rebel sympathizer. 



Pioneers of Early Arizona 23 

We now hear of the Penningtons, in 1862 and 
1863, at the old Gandara liouse at Calabasas. 
Next, they are in Tucson in 1863 ; in Tubac in 1864; 
at the Sopori Ranch from 1866 to 1868; at Tubac 
again in 1868; and. at Fort Crittenden in 1869. 
This restless, almost nomadic, life was characteristic 
of the time and reminds us of the story of Kirkland, 
another pioneer of that day, of whom it was said 
that after he had lived a short time in one place his 
chickens would come up and suggest another move 
by turning over on their backs to have their legs 
tied ! 

But before going further with the personal nar- 
rative in which we are concerned, let us jjause to 
take note of the conditions that confronted the pio- 
neers from i860 to 1870. 

Of government there was little, except what was 
enforced by each man for himself. Until Arizona 
became a separate territory in 1863, the Gadsden 
Purchase was attached to Bona Ana County, New 
Mexico, with the only available court of justice at 
Mesilla. Sometimes criminals were turned over to 
the army officers at the posts, but more frequently 
they were summarily dealt witJi. 

Gradually, under the new Territorial govern- 
ment, courts were established in the larger towns; 
but the annals of the time are commonplace with 
bloodshed and violence, and murderous crimes 
which sometimes met with swift reprisal, but which 
too often remained unpunished. 



24 The Penningtons 

Over all this thinly settled region hung the 
Apache scourge. During this whole decade these 
Indians })lundered and murdered almost at will. 
For a time, in 1 86 1 and 1862, even the United 
States troops were withdrawn and the Apaches, be- 
lieving this to be from fear of themselves, became 
bolder and more murderous than before. Truces 
with the goxernment, in which good behavior was 
promised in return for rations, were always broken; 
and the unsettled policy toward the Indians accom- 
plished nothing toward their reformation or control. 
The settlers in fact had a \'ery poor opinion of the 
military protection which was afforded them at this 
time and for the most i)art took the matter into their 
own hands. With what determination they did 
this is attested by the annals of such men as Pete 
Kitchen and William Rhoades, King Woolsey, Bill 
Oury, and many t)thers like them, who held this 
country at a time when it was practically abandoned 
by its own government. 

The commerce of southern Arizona at this time 
related mainly to mining enterprises and to the 
troops. Mining macliinery, supplies for military 
posts and manufactured articles for trade all had to 
be expensively freighted from tlie nearest landing 
places at Guaymas and A\ima, or overland by way 
of Texas. Government contracts for wild hay for 
the posts, and for lumber, were an important source 
of revenue to ach-enturous takers. High prices 
offered for corn and other farm products stimu- 



Pioneers of Early Arizona 25 

lated agricultural industry near the military posts; 
and the first herds of American cattle were brought 
in from Texas to make rations for the presumably 
peaceful Apaches. 

The main route of tra\el at that time was the 
California overland road which traversed southern 
Arizona from east to west and wliich connected with 
military posts, mining camps, and irrigated valleys 
throughout the region. Oxen were used at first for 
freighting purposes. They were strong and gentle, 
did not stray readily, and rec]uired no harness, 
which was very expensive in those days. They 
made the best draught animals as long as there was 
abundant grass for them along the road. In time, 
however, as the grass was eaten out, and feed had 
to be carried, niules and horses, which eat less, re- 
placed the oxen. Freight rates were 7 to 8 cents a 
pound from Yuma to Tucson; and 9 to 10 cents a 
pound from Yuma to Calabasas. From Tucson to 
Calabasas the rate was i cent, and from Tubac to 
Tucson ^ cent a jxnnul. The U. S. quartermas- 
ters paid 2^2 to T^y> cents a jjound for corn; and 25 
cents a foot for rough pine boards from the Santa 
Rita mountains. 

Under such conditions and with such incentives, 
the Penningtons, like others of their time, engaged 
in whate\'er afforded the best returns for the time 
being, moving frequentl}^ as convenience or interest 
required. From the records of the time and from 
the testimony of a few yet living who knew them, 



26 The Penningtons 

we gather a scant account of their varied and active 
life. In December, 1859, Jim Pennington located 
a homestead on the Santa Cruz and in 1865 testifies, 
" I have lived upon the same at all times only such 
as I was compelled to leave on account of Indians 
and the unsettled condition of the country." In 
August, 1 86 1, Jack Pennington appears at Cooke's 
Canyon in New Mexico in the ambush of a wagon 
train enroute for the Rio Grande. In the course 
of the fracas one of the party was wounded and 
about to be left behind, when Jack, who was but a 
boy, with his le\'elled rifle compelled his companions 
to place the wounded man in a wagon, thus finally 
saving him. In 1864 we again hear of him wash- 
ing gold on the Hassayampa; and finally, in 1870, 
he came back from Texas to aid the broken family 
to return there. 

The main occupation of the family was freight- 
ing, and the Penningtons, with their heavy wagons 
and teams of twelve to fourteen oxen, were much of 
the time on the road. Thus we hear of them — Jim 
in a fight with a small war party that ambushed him 
and captured his oxen, on his way to the Patagonia 
mine; and on other occasions at Oatman Flat on the 
Yuma road. Much of the time the men were cut- 
ting lumber in Madera Canyon in the Santa Ritas 
and hauling it to Tubac where there was a sawmill, 
to the Cerro Colorado and other mines for timbers, 
and to Tucson. At Tucson for a time they operated 
a saw pit in the street originally called the Calle del 







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Portion of Official Map of the City of Tucson, S. W. 
Foreman, Surveyor. Approved and Adopted June 26, 1872. 
Sidney R. DeLong, Mayor. William J. Osborn, Recorder. 
Traced from Original Map Sept. i, 1915, by A. L. Enger. 



Pioneers of Early Arizona 29 

Arroyo. As the name signifies, this street was, at 
least partly, in an arroyo or dry water course that 
lay immediately to the south of the old walled town. 
This depression, or arroyo, was conveniently util- 
ized as a saw pit by throwing across it timbers on 
which to sujjport the \nne logs, which were then 
whip-sawed into boards by men standing, one in 
the arroyo and the other on the log above. In 
course of time, when the streets of the old Mexican 
town were renamed, the Callc del Arroyo was called 
Pennington Street after the men whose rude place 
of business it was; and so it remains to-day. It was 
while hauling lumber to Tucson, in August, 1868 
that Jim Pennington finally met his fate. Camping 
by the road north of San Xavier, his oxen were 
stolen by Apaches during the night. Next morn- 
ing he and his teamster pursued the Indians, but 
were ambushed in the hills west of Tucson and Jim 
was killed. He was buried first at Tucson, after- 
ward at the Sopori Ranch, where a wooden head- 
board still marks his grave. 

Of the women — those who waited anxiously at 
home for the news of disaster that they continually 
expected — we also catch occasional glimpses. 

C. B. Genung relates that in April, 1864, he 
found the Pennington women, with two boys and 
little Mary Page, living in Tubac. Except for 
them the place seemed to be abandoned at that time, 
and the danger from Indians was great. Every 
morning the two boys, with guns as long as them- 



30 



The Penningtons 



selves, carefully reconnoitered each side of the path 
to the spring froni which the women then carried 
the water supply for the day. The Sopori Ranch, 




Jaxe Pennington (Mrs. Wm. Crumpton), about 1885. 



about ten miles from Tubac, was also their abiding 
place from 1866 to 1868. This was an extremely 
dangerous location, being in the path of Apache 
war parties passing to and from Mexico. The 
ranch house was fortified, with stone walls sur- 



Pioneers of Early Arizona 31 

rounding it and with the walls pierced by port holes 
for guns. They were ne\'er attacked here although 
the dove and turkey calls used by the Indians as 
signals were sometimes heard. One morning the 
youngest sister, Josephine, picketed her favorite 
pony a short distance below the Sopori Ranch 
house, but she had not reached the door before an 
Apache ran out from the bushes, jumped on the 
horse and made off with him. 

Notwithstanding the danger, these brave women 
made the most of a hard situation. They cultivated 
a small field in the adjacent creek bottom, irrigating 
it from a ditch that flowed close under the little 
rocky hill on which their fortress home was perched. 
Under the walnut trees that fringed the ditch they 
did their washing, and many an hour was passed 
in sewing, which was all done by hand. 

A small separate building was set aside as a 
schoolroom, and here the older sister, Ellen, who 
had gone to school in Texas, taught the younger 
children with the help of the Bible and the battered 
school books that had been brought through the 
Pecos years before. For amusement they had to 
depend upon themselves. They had little inter- 
course with Americans except for occasional passers 
by, from whom we have several accounts of them 
at this time. 

Oftentimes, at the Sopori, at the close of day, 
when the men were due to return from a freighting 
trip, the women would watch and wait with dread 



Pioneers of Early Arizona 



33 



and apprehension, fearing disaster, until the crack 
of the long whip and a well known voice encour- 
aging the oxen, would finally reassure them. 

There was much fever in this region also, in early 
days, due to the grass grown and swampy condition 




10 

n — III 



1 U. Bvt Maj.CHVaili quarters 

2 Adjutants quarters 3. Cody's kitchen 
4 Commissary deportment 5. Ouartermosters stores. 
6. Guord house. 7 CaC quortcrs, I- USCovalry 

8. CoK quorters, \^ US. Ca/alry 

9. Cook house, CoC 10 Cook house. Co K Wimshed) 
1 1 . Suds row 12. Lt Garrett^ quarters 
13. Officers quorters 14. Sutler's store (Stevens iYo-k«) 
I 5. Old suds row 16 Pennington home 

17. &\xt^aiion corroll 18 Quchonon conifnissory 



Old Fort Crittenden. 



of the river bottoms, with consequent mosquitoes 
and malaria. A sister, Ann, died here in 1867 and 
was buried in the Sopori Cemetery. 

At about this time, also, Ellen, the older sister, 



Pioneers of Early Arizona 35 

married one Barnett, who was a member of the first 
Territorial Legislature. 

Diminished in numbers, the Penningtons drifted 
back to Tubac in 1868 and to Fort Crittenden in 
1869, probably hoping for greater security there. 

But in June, 1869, the Apaches again took heavy 
toll of this devoted family, this time killing the 
father and Green, now grown to manhood. These 
two were at work in their field on the Sonoita about 
fourteen miles below Fort Crittenden. The father 
was plowing, with his rifle slung to his plow- 
handles, while Green was repairing an irrigating 
ditch some distance away. Just after the older 
man had turned back on his land, the savages in 
ambush shot him down from behind. The boy 
might have escaped, but not knowing that his father 
was dead, remained to fight off the Apaches. He 
was mortally hurt, but finally reached the ranch 
house where he remained until rescued by cavalry 
from the fort, to which the alarm had been carried 
meantime. Green, and his father's body, were 
brought to the Fort, where eight days later the 
young man died. These two, father and son, were 
buried in the cemetery on top of a little hill just 
above the railroad cut nearest the site of old Fort 
Buchanan. Mr. Sidney R. DeLong, then quarter- 
master of the Fort, read the burial service over 
them. 

With the loss of their father and two brothers, the 
broken family now ga\e up the unequal contest with 




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Pioneers of Early Arizona 37 

adverse fortune. The remaining sisters, with a 
young brother and little Mary Page, now put their 
slender belongings together and came to Tucson. 
Here they made a last effort to escape from this 
land of tragedies and outfitted for California. At 
the Point of Mountain, twenty miles on their road, 
the widowed sister, Ellen, became ill of pneumonia 
and the party returned to Tucson, where Ellen died. 
A little later, brother Jack, who had gone back to 
Texas some time before, came for them, and they 
returned with him shortly after. Only one of the 
original party found the way in later years to Cali- 
fornia, the land of promise for which they had set 
their faces years before. 

Mrs. Page remained in Tucson, becoming the 
wife of William F. Scott in 1870, and living un- 
eventfully at the old home on South Main Street 
until her death, March 31, 191 3, at the age of 76 
years. 

This plain chronicle of pioneer life in old Arizona 
contains little of romance to commend it even to a 
sympathetic reader. True, the story is ennobled by 
the heroism and unselfishness which appears in it 
from time to time, — Jack, refusing to leave a 
wounded companion to the savages ; Green, sacri- 
ficing his life to help his father; the older sisters, 
taking charge of the motherless family; the men, 
constantly in danger to secure the necessities of life 
for those dependent upon them. But in the main, 
to those who lived it, the life must have seemed bar- 



293404 



38 The Penningtons 

ren and disappointing at best, and purely tragic at 
the last when death put an end to the contest for so 
many of them. 

There were compensations here and there ; and it 
is interesting to learn from the pioneers themselves 
the motives that led many of them to accept and 
even prefer the hardships and dangers of the fron- 
tier. Pennington himself seems to have wanted 
elbow room, and freedom from the constraints of 
too close association with neighbors. Another ex- 
presses it by saying that many of the pioneers hated 
civilization. Some of them came to Arizona from 
the South after the Civil War in order to get as far 
as possible from the dominion of the government 
that had defeated them. One old miner, referring 
to his youth in Arizona in the sixties, said: "Oh, 
we were just young fellows out for a time." Tom 
Gardner said, in the same strain, " Well, you see, 
there was lively minin' then, lively hoss racin' and 
lively fightin ' — everything was lively." Genung, 
tiring of the constraints of San Francisco in the 
days of the Vigilantes, said that it was excitement 
and adventure and freedom that attracted him to 
Arizona. Adventurousness, therefore, love of free- 
dom and hatred of restraint, were qualities that 
characterized many of the men. As to the women, 
there were but few American women in the country 
in those days, and these, as a rule, not from choice, 
it is safe to say. Usually they chanced here through 
militarv connections or some adverse fortune that 



Pioneers of Early Arizona 39 

diverted them from the California road. Without 
the society of their kind, often without the comforts 
of life, without the relief afforded by active adven- 
ture, and often in danger, they had no choice but 
to endure. 

As a class the pioneers were an essential factor in 
early development. They constituted an indepen- 
dent citizen soldiery that cooperated with the troops 
while the country was being reclaimed from the In- 
dians. They brought in military supplies; fur- 
nished hay and lumber to the posts ; and in many 
cases were more effective than the soldiers them- 
selves in expeditions against the Apaches. Many of 
the older mines were located and worked by them; 
and the possibilities of agriculture were also grad- 
ually shown. All this pa\'ed the way for civilized 
government, for immigration, and, finally, for the 
development of mining and agricultural industries. 
Too often the character of the pioneer unfitted him 
for the quieter conditions which he made possible. 
Too often, again, he was so broken by a life of 
hardship that he derived little benefit from the re- 
sults of his own labor. Let us, then, looking back 
over their eventful lives, give them due homage for 
what they have accomplished for us in meeting the 
dangers and in overcoming the difficulties of our 
last Frontier. 




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Pioneers of Early Arizona 41 



REFERENCES 

Letters of C. B. Genung, May 31, 1913, and June 9, 1913. 
Court of Claims of the L'nited States : Indian Depredations No. 

31 12, pp. 4-59. 
Court of Claims of the United States : Indian Depredations No. 

3112, pp. 60-182. 
Court of Claims of the United States : Indian Depredations No. 

31 12, pp. 248-332. 
Court of Claims of the United States : Indian Depredations No. 

7363, manuscript copy. 
Across America and Asia, p. 13. Pumpelly. 
The Apache Country, pp. 152-155. J. Ross Browne. 
New Tracks in North America, Vol. II, pp. 100-102 (December 

3, 1867). Bell. 
Diary of Samuel Hughes. 
County Records of Pima County, Arizona : 

Land Claims No. i, p. 51. 

Land Claims No. i, p. 59. 
Letter of L. E. Barnett, October I, 1869. 
Mrs. Scott's account of her capture by the Apaches ; taken by her 

daughter (Mrs. R. H. Forbes). 
Copy of a portion of Sam Hughes' diary, mentioning the Pen- 

ningtons in 1859. 
Narrative of Jane Pennington (Mrs. Crumpton), Santa Cruz, 

Cal., May 18, 1916. 
Narrative of John H. Cady, December 8, 1914. 

Pennington notebook, by R. H. Forbes, containing various nar- 
ratives and notes relating to the Pennington family. 
Pacific Wagon Roads. House of Representatives ; 35tb Congress, 

2d Session. Ex. Doc. No. 108. 
Los Angeles Star (Cameragraph), containing Arizona News in 

1861. (Original in Bancroft Library, Berkeley, Cal.) 
Manuscript map showing overland wagon notes of travel through 

New Me.xico and Arizona. 
C. B. Genung's map and letter, showing main line of travel about 

i860. 



42 The Penningtons 

Map (Cameragraph, 2 parts) of the Military Department of New 
Mexico, 1864. 

Map (Cameragraph) of the Territories of New Mexico and Ari- 
zona ; by the Office of the Chief Engineers, U. S. A., 1879. 

Map of Arizona Territory (Cameragraph) by authority of Gen. 
O. B. Willcox, 1879. 

Map (Cameragraph) of Southwestern New Mexico, by the Office 
of the Chief of Engineers, U. S. A., 1883. 

Official Map (Cameragraph) of the Territory of Arizona, com- 
piled by Richard Gird, 1865. 

Johnson's Map (photograph) of the United States, in 1858, show- 
ing the Gadsden Purchase as Arrizonia. 

Skeleton Map (blueprint) of Southern California, Engineer Office, 
Military Division of the Pacific, 1874. 



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