Arizona history-Jan. 16-22

January 12, 2022 GMT

Sunday, Jan. 16

On this date in 1900, the Gila Valley Bank, predecessor of the Valley National Bank, opened its doors in Solomonville.

On this date in 1922, Isaac Polhamus, veteran steamboat captain on the Colorado River, rancher and Yuma resident for 66 years, died.

Monday, Jan. 17

On this date in 1805, Spanish troops, commanded by Lt. Antonio Narbona, invaded Canyon de Chelly, killing 93 Navajo warriors and 45 women and children. The bones of the slain were left in the cave where they were killed. The area became known as the Canyon de Muerto.

On this date in 1877, Gov. Anson P.K. Safford signed the bill moving the Territorial capitol from Tucson to Prescott.

On this date in 1912, the last remaining parts of the old scaffold used in the Cochise County Courthouse yard at Tombstone were cut up for kindling wood. The scaffold had been built in 1884 by C.J. Ulmer for the hanging of the Bisbee murderers.


Tuesday, Jan. 18

On this date in 1854, the General Jessup river steamer was the first to reach the Black Canyon on the Colorado River.

On this date in 1862, Confederacy President Jefferson Davis signed the Enabling Act, making Arizona a Confederate Territory.

On this date in 1927, the Tucson Daily Star announced that Senor Juan Evaristo Anchondo had developed a self-lighting cigarette which was ignited by briskly rubbing the tip over a striking surface on the package.

On this date in 1952, the Great Seal of the Navajo Tribe was adopted by the Tribal Council. The winning entry was submitted by John Claw, Jr.

Wednesday, Jan. 19

On this date in 1895, the Nogales Oasis newspaper noted that in Phoenix, “there are now several restaurants offering a square meal for the sum of 15 cents.”

On this date in 1921, the Phoenix Police chief issued an order that all pedestrians on the street after 8 p.m. were to be stopped and searched for concealed weapons in an effort to combat crime.

On this date in 1926, Margaret Rowe Clifton, author of Arizona’s state song, died.

Thursday, Jan. 20

On this date in 1862, the Colorado River started rising. Two days later, it rose 3 feet (1 meter) in three hours, reaching its peak on Jan. 23. Fort Yuma became an island and Colorado City, now Yuma, was washed away.

On this date in 1889, Burton C. Mossman, who was to become the first captain of the Arizona Rangers, arrived in Holbrook to become manager of the Aztec Land and Cattle Co., better known as the Hashknife Ranch.

On this date in 1912, 44 delegates representing every labor organization met in Phoenix and formed the Arizona State Federation of Labor.

On this date in 1912, work also began on the El Paso and Southwestern Railroad terminal in Tucson.

On this date in 1961, Stewart Udall becomes the U.S. secretary of the Interior and the first Arizonan to serve in a president’s cabinet.


On this date in 2009, former Gov. Janet Napolitano is confirmed as the U.S. secretary of Homeland Security and Arizona Secretary of State Jan Brewer becomes the new governor.

Friday, Jan. 21

On this date in 1877, Allen’s Camp, Ariz. changed its name to St. Joseph after the Prophet, Joseph Smith.

On this date in 1921, the first serious accident in the history of Bright Angel Trail at the Grand Canyon occurred. Three pack horses loaded with hay, grain, provisions, bedding and 116 pounds (52.6 kilograms) of dynamite fell over the wall of the canyon and were killed on the rocks below. The supplies were for a construction camp at the foot of the trail where the National Park Service was building a bridge across the Colorado River.

On this date in 1934, Jesse W. Ellison, who established the Q ranch in Gila County, died.

Saturday, Jan. 22

On this date in 1864, Gov. John Goodwin arrived at Fort Whipple, where he and newly appointed officials set up the first temporary capital for the Arizona Territory.

On this date in 1870, the Weekly Arizonan made the somewhat puzzling statement that “business is, today, at a higher ebb than it ever before reached in Tucson.”

On this date in 1903, a head-on collision of the Southern Pacific east and west bound passenger trains at Vail Station killed 22 people and injured 45.