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home : blogsold : verde heritage May 26, 2016

Verde Heritage
By Glenda Farley, Cottonwood, AZ
Local historian Glenda Farley guides us on a journey back in time to discover fascinating moments that make up our Verde heritage and history.
Sunday, March 3, 2013

1870: ROAD TO NEW MEXICO; Generals T. C. Devin and F. Wheaton, Captain Kauffman.

Verde Heritage

"For years past, the people of this section of Arizona have cried aloud for the building of a wagon-road from Prescott to New Mexico, via Camp Verde, --- the shortest route, --- but, owing to poverty --- brought on them by Indian raids and high prices, they have been unable to build the road themselves, and Congress has refused to do it for them, although it is a work of national necessity, and one that, if completed, would be of great benefit to the entire country."

"That energetic, far-seeing officer, General Thomas C. Devin, saw, while in command of this sub-district, that the building of this road was a necessity, as well for the convenience of the troops as for the citizens, and he set men at work upon it, east of the Verde, but was soon compelled to abandon the work, on account of the paucity of the troops at his disposal, and the activity of the Indians. With him, it was a favorite project, and he never abandoned the idea of opening it until relieved of his command by General Frank Wheaton. The latter officer was not slow to acquaint himself with the wants and necessities of the country, and, since his arrival here, has labored assidiously to have the route opened. But, like General Devin, he has been cramped for men, and, until quite recently, unable to do anything practical in the matter."

"Some time ago, he started a force of infantrymen to work upon that portion of the route this side of the river, and, we learn that they have about finished the job. We also learn that company E, 8th Cavalry, consisting of 63 men, under command of Captain Kauffman, started from Fort Whipple, one day this week, for the purpose of opening the route between the Verde and Little Colorado rivers, and prepare it for the passage of troops. Ed. Peck accompanied the command as guide, and will, most assuredly, select a good route for a road. Captain Kauffman is said to be an energetic officer, and will take pride in having the work thoroughly done. In April next, five or six companies of the 8th Cavalry, and as many of the 3rd, will pass over it, and from that time on, we may reasonably expect to see freight trains, immigrants, etc., come that way, as, by it, the distance between Prescott and Albuquerque will be shortened some 50 or 60 miles. The country through which the route passes is well watered, timbered and grassed."

(The Weekly Arizona Miner; Prescott; March 5, 1870; page 2, column 2.)

"FROM CAMP VERDE: Return of Company E, Eighth Cavalry --- The Wagon Road Route, Etc."

"A short time ago, Company E, of the Eighth Cavalry, and some citizen employees, left Fort Whipple under the command of Captain Jacob Kauffman, with orders from General Wheaton commanding this sub-district, to proceed to Camp Verde, fifty or sixty miles east from Fort Whipple and Prescott, and, if possible, find a good route for a wagon road over the Mogollone chain of mountains."

"The Captain and command got back several days ago, after having carried out the General's orders, as fully as possible. They found a most feasible route to the top of the range, but were there confronted with deep and narrow canyons, which will have to be bridged. After crossing said canyons, there would be no obstacles to encounter between them and the place the new would join the old road. We understand it to be Captain Kauffman's opinion that the expenditure of $3,000 or $4,000 would make a very good wagon road over the new cut-off route, --- a road, too, that would shorten the distance between Prescott and Albuquerque, New Mexico, at least fifty miles. The command would have headed the canyons and proceeded further towards the Little Colorado, but for the muddy state of the country. The men were delighted with the country; and well they might, for it is a beautiful mountain region, covered with grass and heavily timbered. Pure gypsum and iron ore were found on the range; also indications of coal"

"After satisfying himself regarding the feasibility of the route selected by him, Captain Kauffman made a couple of scouts after Indians, succeeded in killing three or four, and making prisoners of two --- a man and little girl."

"We have not heard what disposition Congress has made of Mr. McCormick's bill for the building of this road, and the road to Wickenburg via Walnut Grove, but we know it to be the earnest desire of citizens and the military that all be granted. Congress has, so far, done nothing for this Territory in the way of road building, and it is high time it were doing something."

(The Weekly Arizona Miner; Prescott; April 2, 1870; page 3.)

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