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Formation of the Territory of Arizona

Territory of Arizona is Made

In 1856 the first meeting to discuss the New Mexico Territory being split into the Territory of Arizona and Territory of New Mexico was held.

February 24, 1863, President Lincoln signed into law a bill providing for the Territory of Arizona with a boundary separating it from New Mexico at approximately 109 degrees longitude.

In March 1863 President Lincoln appointed territorial officials.  John A. Gurley was appointed governor but died in August 1863.

John N. Goodwin was appointed to replace Gurley as governor.  The Goodwin party of appointed officials travelled to the Arizona Territory by wagon train in December 1863.

The party stopped at a waterhole called Navajo Springs where they held a brief ceremony on December 29th to officially establish the Territory of Arizona.  The officials took the oath of office.  Secretary Richard C. McCormick delivered a brief speech and hoisted the Stars and Stripes.

McCormick also read the Governor's Proclamation announcing a census would be taken, judicial districts formed and an election held for members of the legislature.

Governor Goodwin added to the proclamation that "the seat of government will be for the present at or near Fort Whipple".

During Arizona's 49 years as a territory, the location of the capital would be changed so many times that it was referred to as "the Capital on Wheels".  The rivalry between the older and newer portions of the territory may have incited the political battles to change the location of the Capital.

Part 1 of a 3 part series

John N Goodwin

John N. Goodwin US Congressman from Maine and 1st AZ Territorial Governor

The Territorial Years - Section 1

AZ State Seal

The Territorial Years - Section 2

The Move Toward Statehood

In 1910 Congress passed legislation enabling a constitutional convention for Arizona.

The constitution created by the 41 Democratic and 11 Republican delegates called for:

 - legislators of both houses to be elected every 2 years to serve a 2-year term

-  low pay for the Governor

 - popular elections of judges

 - all officials, including judges, subject to recall

Voters overwhelmingly approved the constitution February 9, 1911.

President Taft Vetoes Resolution for Statehood

Congress passed a joint resolution calling for statehood for Arizona and New Mexico in August 1911.

President William Howard Taft vetoed the measure.  He opposed the provision for the recall of judges in Arizona's constitution.

The following December Arizona voters exempted judges from recall and elected the following slate of state officials:

 Governor - George W. P. Hunt

 Secretary of State - Sidney P. Osborn

 U.S. Senators - Marcus A. Smith and Henry F. Ashurst

 U.S. Representative - Carl Hayden

Appeased by the exemption of judges from recall, President Taft signed the proclamation making Arizona the 48th state on February 14, 1912.

Shortly after becoming a state the voters of Arizona amended their constitution to once again make judges subject to recall.  They also voted at this time to provide women with the right to vote in local, state and national elections.










The Formation of Gila County

One of the items of business for the 1st Territorial Legislature in 1864 was marking the state into 4 counties:





Yavapai took up nearly half of the entire territory.  In later years boundaries of these counties would be changed.

In 1881 Gila, Graham and Cochise counties were created.  Gila County was formed from land taken from what had become Pinal (created in 1875) and Maricopa (created in 1871) counties.  The newly formed Gila County was much smaller than it is today.

Later, land from Yavapai County was added to Gila County.  The new boundaries gave Gila County the geographical shape it has today.

Part 2 of a 3 part series

Gila County AZ boundaries
AZ State Seal

The Territorial Years - Section 3

Rim Country Influence in the Territorial Years

Samuel A. Haught II - First Gila County Territorial Legislator

Sam and his wife, Dagmar, lived on the H-Bar ranch in Rye.  Ten thousand head of cattle grazed on their ranch land from Rye to Sunflower.

Tragedy struck the family when a drifting cowboy, infected with diphtheria, passed through one day and stayed for dinner.

The drifter drank from a common water dipper.  Within 3 weeks, Sam and Dagmar's 4 children (Ollie, Oscar, Otto and Valta) died of the disease.  Although 2 more children were born (Mildred Juanita and Jim Sam), Dagmar never fully recovered from the loss of her first 4 children.

In 1905 Sam was elected to the Territorial Legislature representing Gila County.  At the time he was involved in a number of business ventures in addition to running the ranch.

He was the postmaster, owner of the general store and was involved in mining.  Dagmar became postmistress in 1907.

Sam traveled 3 days on horseback to attend the sessions of the 23rd Territorial Legislature in Phoenix.  A session lasted 60 days.  Sam remained in Phoenix during the sessions.

Although Sam served only 1 term, he helped secure significant improvements for Gila County. 

He assisted funding efforts for the road between Globe and Pleasant Valley.

Sam also helped obtain funding for the Gila County Courthouse in Globe. 

In commemoration of their contributions., the names of Samuel A. Haught (Member of the Territorial House of Representatives) and G. W. P. Hunt (Member of the Territorial Council) are engraved on the front of the courthouse.

Life was difficult for Dagmar while Sam was serving in the Legislature in Phoenix. 

Her unhappiness, combined with her grief over their children lost to diphtheria, resulted in a divorce in 1909.  The H-Bar ranch was sold.  Dagmar moved to Los Angeles with their children, Mildred and Jim Sam.

Samuel A. Haught eventually moved to a ranch west of Young on Walnut Creek.

Sam met and married Carrie Hunnicutt.  Carrie had 3 children from a previous marriage.  She and Sam later had 7 more children.

Arizona's First Lady - Duett Ellison Hunt

Helen Duett Ellison was born November 10, 1867.  She was 1 of 6 children born to Col. Jesse and Susan Ellison.

The family come from Eagle Springs, Texas to Arizona in the early 1880's.  They settled first in the area that came to be known as Ellison Creek before moving to Pleasant Valley.

Raised on a ranch, Duett was familiar with all aspects of frontier life.  She was regarded as a skilled pioneer woman who could handle a gun....and fend for herself.  In 1899 she shot a bear on a hunting expedition and posed with her kill.

After a long courtship, Duett married George W.P. Hunt on February 24, 1904. 

George first visited the Ellison ranch in 1890 while campaigning for the office of Gila County recorder.  George spent much time in the political arena.  Duett was very involved helping on the family ranch.  There never seemed to be an opportune time for a wedding.

Finally George got tired of waiting.  He invited Duett to meet him in Holbrook where they married.  George was 44.  Duett was 36.

In the same year George was elected mayor of Globe.  The couple took up residence there.

George and Duett had 1 child, Jesse Virginia Hunt, born June 26, 1905.

Duett served as Arizona's First Lady throughout most of George W. P. Hunt's 7 non-consecutive terms as Governor.

She died in April 1931 - 2 years before the end of her husband's last term.

George Wiley Paul Hunt - Arizona's First Governor

The child of an affluent Missouri family, George W.P. Hunt was born in 1859.

Financial ruin came to the Hunt family.  The Hunt Plantation was destroyed during the guerilla warfare of the Civil War.  Further financial devastation resulted from the financial panic of 1873.

At age 18 George was lured west in pursuit of gold.  He found employment waiting tables in Colorado, working for the Santa Fe Railroad in New Mexico, and working in the Old Dominion Mine in Globe, Arizona.

Settling in Globe, George waited tables in a Chinese restaurant.  He tried being a cowboy.  Eventually he took a job as a delivery boy at the Old Dominion Mercantile Store. 

By 1900 he was president of both the Mercantile Store and the Old Dominion Bank.  In 1904 George married Duett Ellison and became the first mayor of Globe.

George's entrance into the world of politics resulted from pressures by friends in Globe.  A reluctant candidate for the Territorial House of Representatives in 1891 - he was easily elected to the Territorial Council (Senate).

By 1904 he had served 4 terms in the Territorial Legislature (Territorial Assembly).  He was elected to the Council again for the period 1905 through 1910.  George served as council president during 1905-1906 and 1909-1910.

At the time the territory attained statehood George W.P. Hunt was the best known politician in Arizona.

Politically he was considered a Populist/Progressive.  He championed numerous social reforms during his career.   a A man of the common people, George was generous, big-hearted, devoted to the downtrodden and outcast.

He detested snobbery and pretension.  It has been said that people either liked him or hated him.  No major scandal marred his reputation.

Governor Hunt supported educational opportunities by encouraging the legislature to provide free textbooks for school children.  He was a strong advocate for prison reform.  In an effort to improve self-respect and restore dignity, George replaced black and white striped prison uniforms with gray ones.  He allowed prisoners to work building roads.  The workers were not paid wages but offered shorter prison terms as payment for work performed.

George believed strongly in states' rights.  He resisted the encroachment of federal power.

George W.P. Hunt died December 24, 1931.  He is buried with his wife, Duett, in Papago Park in Phoenix. 

They are entombed in a pyramid. 

(George became intrigued with the pyramids he had seen during his travels in Siam while serving as the U. S. Minister.)

Part 3 of a 3 part series

Gila County Courthouse in Globe, AZ
Duett Ellison Hunt
AZ Governor George P Hunt
AZ State Seal
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