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Chino Valley Review | Chino Valley, Arizona

home : features : community April 28, 2016


1/15/2014 10:04:00 AM
First Territorial Capital's 150th anniversary:
Historical Society to re-enact Gov. Goodwin's 1864 arrival
Courtesy photoMembers of the Chino Valley Historical Society, Sue Mitchell, left, and Bobbi Wicks, show their period dress of early Chino Valley.
Courtesy photo
Members of the Chino Valley Historical Society, Sue Mitchell, left, and Bobbi Wicks, show their period dress of early Chino Valley.
Photo courtesy of Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records,history and Archives Division, PhoenixMembers of the 1863 Governorís Party that arrived Jan. 22, 1864 at Del Rio Springs, the location of Arizonaís First Territorial Capital north of Chino Valley, standing from left, Henry Fleury, Milton Duffield and Almon Gage, and seated from left, Joseph Allyn, Governor John Goodwin and Secretary Richard McCormick.
Photo courtesy of Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records,

history and Archives Division, Phoenix

Members of the 1863 Governorís Party that arrived Jan. 22, 1864 at Del Rio Springs, the location of Arizonaís First Territorial Capital north of Chino Valley, standing from left, Henry Fleury, Milton Duffield and Almon Gage, and seated from left, Joseph Allyn, Governor John Goodwin and Secretary Richard McCormick.
150th Anniversary of Arizona Territorial Government
Jan. 22, Wed., 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. at Del Rio Springs Ranch near original Fort Whipple site. Off Highway 89, 3.6 miles north of Road 3 North, turn right at Del Rio Drive. Seating under a heated tent.

Schedule of Events

10:30 a.m. - event opens

10:50 a.m. - opening remarks

11 a.m. - historic presentation

11:30 a.m. - Governor Goodwin arrives

11:45 a.m. - remarks by government officials

12:30 p.m. - closing remarks

12:45 p.m. - chuck wagon lunch

Free to attend and RSVP for free chuck wagon lunch to 636-1622 or e-mail cvhistoricalsociety@gmail.com. Presented by Chino Valley Historical Society. Sponsored by Del Rio Springs Ranch owners Bob O'Rear and Jim Brown.

Salina Sialega
Chino Valley Review

Some Chino Valley residents know this and some don't: Fort Whipple was first located at Del Rio Springs north of Chino Valley. The first military personnel arrived on Dec. 10, 1863, and officially established the post on Dec. 23, 1863. Gov. John Goodwin's party arrived Jan. 22, 1864, to the lush location. The post later moved to Prescott.

As part of the area's sesquicentennial observance, from10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., on Jan. 22, at the ranch that is the original Fort Whipple site, the Chino Valley Historical Society will re-enact the governor's arrival.

The event is free and open to the public (space is limited) and will be inside a heated tent at the Del Rio Ranch, 3.6 miles north of Road 3 North off Highway 89 (turn right and follow road around to parking areas and follow signs to event). Ranch owners Bob O'Rear and Jim Brown are sponsoring the event.

Activities include historic displays, an historic presentation by John Krizek and members of the Chino Valley Sesquicentennial Committee and a portrayal of Gov. Goodwin's arrival by Neil Thomas of the Prescott Regulators, complete with 18-gun salute. Other re-enactors are from various groups, including the Arizona Roughriders.

A free chuck wagon lunch will end the day's celebration. People need to RSVP for the lunch by phone, 928-636-1622, or email: cvhistoricalsociety@gmail.com.

Historical Society President Kay Lauster stated, "This is a significant event for the Town of Chino Valley, as well as for our state," because the arrival of the governor's party established Arizona's First Territorial government at Del Rio Springs.

She said people should know that "choosing Del Rio Springs was not a mistake. You've heard the stories that they stopped here mistaking little Thumb Butte for Thumb Butte (in Prescott). They are just that, stories. Del Rio Springs was chosen for its abundance of water and grasslands."

Arizona had just become an official U.S. Territory on Feb. 24, 1863, and soon after leaders sent a surveyor and a military party to inspect the "gold regions" of Central Arizona and to look for the best location for a post. They suggested Cienega Creek at Del Rio Springs because it had, according to the society's website, "good water, fire wood within two or three miles, and building timber of the best quality: any amount of hay can be cut. The neighborhood abounds in deer, antelope, turkeys and other varieties of game."

According to the society, "In November 1863, General Carleton dispatched a military party led by Major Edward Willis to Chino Valley along with 30 cavalrymen to establish the first post in central Arizona. After a stormy, six-week journey from Santa Fe, the headquarters of the command, the party arrived at Del Rio on Dec. 10 and the post of Ft. Whipple was officially established there on Dec. 23, 1863.

"Gov. Goodwin's party, having left Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, in the fall of 1863, learned upon their arrival in New Mexico that they would not be going to their original destination of Tucson, but would instead put the new territorial capital in the unsettled central mountains of Arizona, near where gold had been discovered earlier that year.

"Once they left eastern Kansas they were beyond the reach of the railroads and with hundreds of head of cattle and all their wagons, it was slow travel."

Gov. Goodwin explored the area and concluded, according to the society's website, "a more strategic location of the fort was necessary for the protection of the miners and ready access to construction lumber." In May 1864, the local newspaper, The Miner, announced that Fort Whipple would be moved to Prescott.

The arrival of Governor Goodwin's party and the establishment of the first Fort Whipple was a seminal event in the history of the Town of Chino Valley and the State of Arizona.



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