The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 36, July 1932 - April, 1933 Page: 174
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
doned, and rich mines containing gold and silver lay idle. The
beautiful old mission church of San Xavier, near Tucson, had no
priest nor worshippers save the superstitious Papago Indians.
Tubac had been completely abandoned, while the population of
Tucson, which once was a thriving outpost of Mexican civiliza-
tion, had dwindled to about three hundred inhabitants.4 The
adobe houses of these towns were dilapidated and falling in ruins.
The fertile bottom lands of the Santa Cruz River, which formerly
had been irrigated and extensively cultivated, were now neglected,
so that in 1858 Tucson was suffering from a scarcity of food."
Yet life sprang up in this desolated region when American
miners began to enter it shortly after the purchase by James
Gadsden. Fort Buchanan was established twenty miles to the
east of Tubac, and dragoons under Captain Ewell were stationed
there to give protection from the Apaches. As early as 1857 the
Overland Stage ran through Tucson, bringing regular communi-
cation with the outside world.6 Also the emigrant road to Cali-
fornia from Missouri, Arkansas, and Texas passed by Tucson
and on to San Diego.
The first town in the Gadsden Purchase reached by the trav-
eller crossing the plains was Mesilla, opposite Fort Fillmore on
the Rio Grande. It was famed for its fertile valley and its dark-
eyed prostitutes. The American element in this town was over-
whelmed by the Mexicans, numbering only a hundred in a popu-
lation of four thousand.' Consequently the juries and the local
officers, with the exception of the sheriff and the clerk of the
court, were Mexicans. The jail stood in the center of town and
was a very frail building. Criminals often escaped, to the great
delight of the inhabitants, for such a jail delivery saved the ex-
pense of boarding them. Mesilla had a life apart from the rest
of the Gadsden Purchase, for it depended on agriculture and
'Bartlett, J. R. (U. S. Boundary Commissioner), Personal Narrative of
Exploration and Incidents in Texas, New Mexico, California, Sonora and
Chihuahua (New York, 1856), II, 295-304.
"Phocion R. Way, Diary of a Trip to Arizona and of a Residence at
antat Rita within the Gadsden Purchase. June 12, 1858. Manuscript,
"Lockwood, Frank C., and D. W. Page. Tucson--The Old Pueblo
(Phoenix, 1931), p. 36.
'The Weekly Arizonian, Tubac. September 29, 1859. (Partial file in
the Library of Congress.)
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 36, July 1932 - April, 1933, periodical, 1933; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101093/m1/194/: accessed December 13, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.