Arizona Territory

The Territory of Arizona (also known as Arizona Territory) was a territory of the United States that existed from February 24, 1863 until February 14, 1912, when the remaining extent of the territory was admitted to the Union as the state of Arizona. It was created from the western half of the New Mexico Territory during the American Civil War.

Territory of Arizona
Organized incorporated territory of the United States



Flag of Arizona Territory
Location of Arizona Territory
A map of the Arizona and New Mexico territories, showing existing counties
Capital Fort Whipple (1863–64)
Prescott (1864–67)
Tucson (1867–77)
Prescott (1877–89)
Phoenix (1889– )
Government Organized incorporated territory
 •  1863–1866 John Noble Goodwin
 •  1909–1912 Richard Elihu Sloan
Legislature Arizona Territorial Legislature
 •  Arizona Organic Act February 24, 1863
 •  Statehood of Arizona February 14, 1912


Following the expansion of the New Mexico Territory in 1853, as a result of the Gadsden Purchase, several proposals for a division of the territory and the organization of a separate Territory of Arizona in the southern half of the territory were advanced as early as 1856. These proposals arose from concerns about the ability of the territorial government in Santa Fe to effectively administer the newly acquired southern portions of the territory.[1]

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Wpdms arizona new mexico territories 1863 idx
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Gadsden Purchase Cities ZP
Gadsden Purchase 1853

The first proposal dates from a conference held in Tucson that convened on August 29, 1856. The conference issued a petition to the U.S. Congress, signed by 256 people, requesting organization of the territory and elected Nathan P. Cook as the territorial delegate to Congress. In January 1857, the bill for the organization of the territory was introduced into the House of Representatives, but the proposal was defeated on the grounds that the population of the proposed territory was yet too small. Later a similar proposal was defeated in the Senate. The proposal for creation of the territory was controversial in part because of the perception that the New Mexico Territory was under the influence of southern sympathizers who were highly desirous of expanding slavery into the southwest.

In February 1858, the New Mexico territorial legislature adopted a resolution in favor of the creation of the Arizona territory, but with a north-south border along the 109th meridian, with the additional stipulation that all the Indians of New Mexico would be removed to northern Arizona.

In April 1860, impatient for Congress to act, a convention of 31 delegates met in Tucson and adopted a constitution for a provisional territorial government of the area south of 34 degrees north. The delegates elected Dr. Lewis S. Owings as provisional governor.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, sentiment in the territory was in favor of the Confederacy. Territorial secession conventions were called at Mesilla and Tucson in March 1861 that adopted an ordinance of secession, established a provisional Arizona Territory with Owings as its governor, and petitioned the Confederate Congress for admission.

The Confederacy regarded the territory as a valuable route for possible access to the Pacific Ocean, with the specific intention of capturing California. In July 1861, a small Confederate force of Texans under the command of Lieutenant Colonel John R. Baylor assaulted Fort Fillmore at Mesilla in the eastern part of the territory. After the fort was abandoned by the Union garrison, Baylor's force cut off the fleeing Union troops and forced them to surrender. On August 1, Baylor issued a "Proclamation to the People of the Territory of Arizona", taking possession of the territory for the Confederacy, with Mesilla as the capital and himself as the governor. Baylor's subsequent dismantling of the existing Union forts in the territory left the white settlers at the mercy of the Apache, who quickly gained control of the area and forced many of the white settlers to seek refuge in Tucson.[2]

On August 28, a convention met again in Tucson and declared that the territory formed the previous year was part of the Confederacy. Granville H. Oury was elected as delegate to the Confederate Congress. Oury drafted legislation authorizing the organization of the Confederate Territory of Arizona. The legislation passed on January 13, 1862, and the territory was officially created by proclamation of President Jefferson Davis on February 14.

The following month, in March 1862, the U.S. House of Representatives, now devoid of the southern delegates and controlled by Republicans, passed a bill to create the United States Arizona Territory using the north-south border of the 107th meridian. The use of a north-south border rather than an east-west one had the effect of denying a de facto ratification of the Confederate Arizona Territory. The house bill stipulated that Tucson was to be the capital. The final bill passed the Senate in February 1863 without the Tucson-as-capital stipulation, and was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln on February 24, the date of the official organization of the US Arizona Territory.


The first capital was established in 1864 at Prescott, in the northern Union-controlled area. The capital was moved to Tucson in 1868, and back to Prescott in 1877.[3] The capital was finally moved to Phoenix on February 4, 1889.[4][5]


The boundaries for the original territory, if they had kept their same size, would have made present-day Las Vegas part of Arizona. However, in 1867, Congress transferred the Arizona Territory's northwestern corner, specifically most of its land west of the Colorado River, to the state of Nevada.[6] This reduced the territory to its current area.


The territory was admitted to the Union as the 48th state on February 14, 1912.

Territorial proclamation

Proclamation to the People of Arizona.[7]

I, John N. Goodwin, having been appointed by the President of the United States, and duly qualified, as Governor of the TERRITORY OF ARIZONA, do hereby announce that by virtue of the powers with which I was invested by an act of the Congress of the United States, providing a temporary government for the Territory. I shall this day proceed to organize said government. The provisions of the act, and all laws and enactments established thereby, will be enforced by the proper Territorial officers from and after this date.

A preliminary census will forthwith be taken, and thereafter the Judicial Districts will be formed, and an election of members of the Legislative Assembly, and the other officers provided by the Act be ordered.

I invoke the aid and cooperation of all Citizens of the Territory in my efforts to establish a government whereby the security of life and property will be maintained throughout its limits, and its varied resources be rapidly and successfully developed.

The Seat of Government will, for the present, be at or near Fort Whipple.

Signed at Navajo Springs, Arizona
December 29, 1863

— By the Governor: Richard C. McCormick, Secretary of the Territory

See also


  1. ^ Paul Bisceglia, Arizona's Role in the Civil War, University of San Diego. History 173 - U.S. Civil War from accessed September 29, 2018.
  2. ^ Colton, Ray C.: The Civil War..., pp. 15-19.
  3. ^ Wagoner, Jay J. (1970). Arizona Territory 1863-1912: A Political history. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. p. 113. ISBN 0-8165-0176-9.
  4. ^ Wagoner, Jay J. (1970). Arizona Territory 1863-1912: A Political history. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. p. 245. ISBN 0-8165-0176-9.
  5. ^ Kathleen Garcia, ed. (2008). Early Phoenix. Arcadia Publishing. p. 18. ISBN 0738548391.
  6. ^ "History". Lincoln County Nevada. Retrieved December 28, 2018.
  7. ^ Wagoner p. 32–33 & front piece


External links

Coordinates: 34°03′N 111°05′W / 34.05°N 111.09°W

1901 Arizona football team

The 1901 Arizona football team was an American football team that represented the University of Arizona as an independent during the 1901 college football season. In their second and final season under head coach William W. Skinner, the team compiled a 4–1 record and outscored their opponents, 115 to 19. All five games were played against the Tucson and Phoenix Indian Schools. The team captain was Leslie Gillett.

1905 Arizona football team

The 1905 Arizona football team was an American football team that represented the University of Arizona as an independent during the 1905 college football season. In its first and only season under head coach William M. Ruthrauff, the team compiled a 4–2 record and shut out its first four opponents, but were then outscored by two California colleges, 96 to 5. The team captain was John M. Ruthrauff. The team was declared the Arizona Territory champion.

Arizona Territorial Legislature

The Arizona Territorial Legislature was the legislative body of Arizona Territory. It was a bicameral legislature consisting of a lower house, the House of Representatives, and an upper house, the Council. Created by the Arizona Organic Act, the legislature initially consisted of nine members in the Council and eighteen members in the House. The legislature initially met once a year, but this was changed by the U.S. Congress to biannually in 1869. In 1881, the membership was expanded to twelve Council members and twenty-four Representatives.The Arizona Territorial Legislature was replaced by the Arizona State Legislature after Arizona achieved statehood.

Arizona Territory's at-large congressional district

Until statehood in 1912, Arizona Territory was represented in the United States House of Representatives by a non-voting delegate.

Bisbee massacre

The Bisbee massacre (a.k.a. the Bisbee murders or Bisbee raid) occurred in Bisbee, Arizona on December 8, 1883 when five outlaw Cowboys robbed a general store. Believing the general store's safe contained a mine payroll of $7,000, they timed the robbery wrong and were only able to steal about $800 to $3,000 along with a gold watch and jewelry. During the robbery, members of the gang killed four people, including a lawman and a pregnant woman. Six men were convicted of the robbery and murders. John Heath, who was accused of organizing the robbery, was tried separately and sentenced to life in prison. The other five men were convicted of murder and sentenced to hang.

Unsatisfied with Heath's sentence, a lynch mob forcibly removed Heath from jail and hanged him from a telegraph pole on February 22, 1884. The other five men were executed on March 28, 1884. They were the first criminals to be legally hanged in Tombstone. The graves of the five murderers is part of the popular Boothill Graveyard tourist attraction in Tombstone.

Confederate Arizona

Confederate Arizona, commonly referred to as Arizona Territory, and officially the Territory of Arizona, was a territory claimed by the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War, between 1861 and 1865. Delegates to secession conventions had voted in March 1861 to secede from the New Mexico Territory and the United States, and seek to join the Confederacy. It consisted of the portion of the New Mexico Territory south of the 34th parallel, including parts of the modern states of New Mexico and Arizona. Its capital was Mesilla along the southern border. The Confederate territory overlapped the Arizona Territory later established by the Union government in 1863.

The physical geography differed in that the Confederate Arizona Territory was approximately the southern half of the historic New Mexico Territory. The Union-defined Arizona Territory was approximately the western half of what had been New Mexico Territory, and became the basis for the future state.

The territory was officially declared on August 1, 1861, following the Confederate victory at the Battle of Mesilla. The Confederate hold in the area was broken after the Battle of Glorieta Pass, March 26–28, 1862, the defining battle of the New Mexico Campaign. In July 1862, the government of the Confederate Territory of Arizona relocated to El Paso, Texas. With the approach of Union troops, it withdrew to eastern Texas, where it remained for the duration of the war. The territory continued to be represented in the Confederate Congress, and Confederate troops continued to fight under the Arizona banner until the war's end.

Fort Grant, Arizona

Fort Grant is a state prison and a former United States Army fortification in the U.S. state of Arizona. Fort Grant is located on the southwestern slope of Mount Graham in what is now Graham County. The post is named for Ulysses S. Grant, the 18th President of the United States.

Fort Yuma Indian Reservation

The Fort Yuma Indian Reservation is a part of the traditional lands of the Quechan people. Established in 1884 from the former Fort Yuma, the reservation, at 32°47′04″N 114°38′43″W, has a land area of 178.197 km2 (68.802 sq mi) in southeastern Imperial County, California, and western Yuma County, Arizona, near the city of Yuma, Arizona. Both the county and city are named for the tribe. As of the 2010 Census the population was 2,189. In 1910, the community of Bard, California was created after the eastern part of the reservation was declared surplus under the Dawes Act.

In 2009, the Quechan Tribe opened a large gaming resort, the Quechan Casino Resort, on their reservation land.

Guadalupe Canyon Massacre

The Guadalupe Canyon Massacre was an incident that occurred on August 13, 1881 in the Guadalupe Canyon area of the southern Peloncillo Mountains – Guadalupe Mountains. Five American men were killed in an ambush, including "Old Man" Clanton, the alleged leader. They were believed to belong to the Cowboys, an outlaw group based in Pima and Cochise counties in Arizona. Two men survived the attack. The canyon straddles the modern Arizona and New Mexico state line and connects the Animas Valley of New Mexico with the San Bernardino Valley of Arizona. During the American Old West, the canyon was a key route for smugglers into and out of Mexico.

The two survivors said they had been attacked by Mexicans. Historians generally believe that the smugglers were killed by Mexican military forces patrolling the border to try to reduce smuggling. Some sources repeat the assertion of attorney William McLaury, who was part of the prosecution related to the 1881 gunfight at the O.K. Corral, in which two of his brothers had been killed. He wrote that Wyatt Earp and his two brothers had killed Clanton and his associates, and this has been repeated in some sources.

List of United States Representatives from Arizona

The following is an alphabetical list of members of the United States House of Representatives from the state of Arizona. For chronological tables of members of both houses of the United States Congress from the state (through the present day), see United States Congressional Delegations from Arizona. The list of names should be complete (as of January 3, 2015), but other data may be incomplete. It includes members who have represented both the state and the Territory, both past and present. Statehood was granted in 1912.

List of governors of Arizona

The Governor of Arizona is the head of government and head of state of the U.S. state of Arizona. In his role as head of government, the governor is the head of the executive branch of the Arizona state government and is charged with enforcing state laws. The governor has the power to either approve or veto bills passed by the Arizona State Legislature; to convene the legislature; and to grant pardons, except in cases of impeachment. The governor is also the commander-in-chief of the state's military forces.Twenty-two people have served as governor over 26 distinct terms. All of the repeat governors were in the state's earliest years, when George W. P. Hunt and Thomas Edward Campbell alternated as governor for 17 years and, after a two-year gap, Hunt served another term. One governor, Evan Mecham, was successfully impeached, and one, Fife Symington III, resigned upon being convicted of a felony. The longest-serving governor was Hunt, who was elected seven times and served just under fourteen years. The longest single stint was that of Bruce Babbitt, who was elected to two four-year terms after succeeding to the office following the death of his predecessor, Wesley Bolin, serving nearly nine years total. Bolin had the shortest tenure, dying less than five months after succeeding as governor. Four governors were actually born in Arizona: Campbell, Sidney Preston Osborn, Rose Mofford, and Babbitt. Arizona has had four female governors, the most in the United States, and is also the only state where female governors have served consecutively. Because of a string of deaths in office, resignations, and an impeachment, Arizona has not had a governor whose term began and ended because of "normal" election circumstances since Jack Williams was in office, from 1967 to 1975.

The current Governor is Republican Doug Ducey, who took office on January 5, 2015.

New Mexico Territory

The Territory of New Mexico was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed (with varying boundaries) from September 9, 1850, until January 6, 1912, when the remaining extent of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of New Mexico, making it the longest-lived organized incorporated territory of the United States, lasting approximately 62 years.

New Mexico Territory in the American Civil War

The New Mexico Territory, which included the areas which became the modern U.S. states of New Mexico and Arizona as well as the southern part of present-day Nevada, played a small but significant role in the Trans-Mississippi Theater of the American Civil War. Despite its remoteness from the major battlefields of the east and its existence on the still sparsely populated and largely undeveloped American frontier, both Confederate and Union governments claimed ownership over the territory, and several important battles and military operations took place in the region.

In 1861, the Confederacy claimed the southern half of the vast New Mexico Territory as its own Arizona Territory and waged the ambitious New Mexico Campaign in an attempt to control the American Southwest and open up access to Union-held California. Confederate power in the New Mexico Territory was effectively broken when the campaign culminated in the Union victory at the Battle of Glorieta Pass in 1862. However, the territorial government continued to operate out of Texas, and Confederate troops marched under the Arizona flag until the end of the war. Additionally, over 7,000 troops from the New Mexico Territory served the Union.

Oakes Murphy

Nathan Oakes Murphy (October 14, 1849 – August 22, 1908) was the tenth and fourteenth Governor of Arizona Territory.

Born in Jefferson, Maine, Murphy attended the public schools.

He taught school in Wisconsin.

He went to the western frontier and finally settled in Prescott, Arizona, in April 1883 where he engaged in mining and the real estate business.

Secretary to the Governor of Arizona Territory in 1885.

He was appointed secretary of Arizona Territory March 21, 1889.

He served as delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1892.

Governor of Arizona Territory 1892-1894.

Murphy was elected as a Republican to the Fifty-fourth Congress (March 4, 1895 – March 3, 1897).

He was not a candidate for renomination in 1896.

Again Governor of Arizona Territory and served from 1898 to 1902, when he resigned.

He was an unsuccessful Republican candidate for election in 1900 to the Fifty-seventh Congress.

He died in Coronado, California, August 22, 1908.

He was interred in the Masonic Cemetery, San Diego, California but reinterred at Rock Creek Cemetery (DC) in December 1909.

Olive City, Arizona

Olive City, or Olivia, was a short-lived town, steamboat landing, and ferry crossing on the Colorado River in what was then Yuma County, Arizona Territory, from 1863 to 1866. It was located on the Arizona bank of the Colorado River, 1 mile above its rival Mineral City and 1/2 mile above the original site of Ehrenberg, Arizona, 3 miles southwest of the location of La Paz. The GNIS location of Olive City (historical) is indicated as being in La Paz County, Arizona, but its coordinates in the present-day now put it across the river just within Riverside County, California Olive City was named after Olive Oatman who had been, with her sister, survivors of the massacre of her family and a captive of the Yavapai until purchased from them by the Mohave who they lived with for several years.

Richard Cunningham McCormick

Richard Cunningham McCormick, Jr. (May 23, 1832 – June 2, 1901) was an American politician, businessman, and journalist. He served as the second Governor of Arizona Territory, three time Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives from Arizona Territory, and as a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New York. McCormick's other accomplishments include service as a war correspondent during two different conflicts and creation of two Arizonan newspapers.

Skeleton Canyon massacres

These events should not be confused with the Skeleton Canyon Shootout in 1896.The Skeleton Canyon massacres refer to two separate attacks on Mexican citizens in 1879 and 1881. Skeleton Canyon is located in the Peloncillo Mountains (Hidalgo County), which straddles the modern Arizona and New Mexico state line border. This canyon connects the Animas Valley of New Mexico with the San Simon Valley of Arizona.

The Arizona Republic

The Arizona Republic is an American daily newspaper published in Phoenix. Circulated throughout Arizona, it is the state's largest newspaper. Since 2000, it has been owned by the Gannett newspaper chain.

Tres Alamos, Arizona

Tres Alamos is a ghost town in Cochise County in the U.S. state of Arizona. The town was settled in 1874 in what was then the Arizona Territory.


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