Today in History – February 29

On February 29, 1704, between 200 and 300 French soldiers and their Native American allies raided the tiny frontier settlement of Deerfield, Massachusetts. The assault was a tiny skirmish in Queen Anne’s War—a broader conflict between France and England. As a precaution, the townsfolk had sheltered in the town’s palisade but they were surprised by the mid-winter attack and Deerfield quickly fell to the invaders. Some fifty English men, women, and children were killed and over 100 residents began a forced march through heavy snows to Canada (New France).

Old Fray [sic] House, Deerfield, Mass., built in 1698. c1900. Detroit Publishing Company. Prints & Photographs Division

Deerfield’s minister, Reverend John Williams, his wife, and five children, were among the captives. Although approximately twenty prisoners died along the way, including Mrs. Williams, the minister survived the trip. Held for more than two years in captivity—first by the Abenaki Indians, next in French Catholic communities near Montreal–he and nearly sixty other colonists were ransomed by Massachusetts Governor Joseph Dudley.They arrived by boat in Boston in November 1706. Williams memorialized his Canadian experience in The Redeemed Captive Returning to Zion. First printed in 1707, the book was reprinted again and again.

Several young Deerfield captives never returned to their families. Instead, they joined either Native American or French society. Four Williams children were released; one child, Eunice Williams, remained in Canada. Eunice took the Mohawk name A’ongote, which means “She (was) taken and placed (as a member of their tribe).” Eunice married a Mohawk man when she was sixteen; they had three children.

Captivity Narratives

Reverend Williams’ testimonial was neither the first nor the last popular account of a captivity experience. Captivity narratives were frequently bestsellers and were among the first American books published; the genre profoundly influenced the nation’s literary imagination.

The Captivity of Mrs. Rowlandson. Illus. in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, June 1857, v.15, p. 34. Prints & Photographs Division

Mary White Rowlandson’s widely read treatise The Soveraignty and Goodness of God, Together with the Faithfulness of His Promises Displayed: Being a Narrative of the Captivity and Restauration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson was published in Massachusetts and London in 1682. Held hostage by Native Americans for eleven weeks, she was ransomed for £20. Rowlandson’s effort was followed by similar works depicting women as hapless victims of mysterious savages.

In 1823, James E. Seaver’s A Narrative of the Life of Mrs. Mary Jemison challenged the traditional narrative. Seaver related the true story of Mary Jemison who, in 1758, was carried off by the raiding party of French soldiers and Shawnee who killed her parents. Adopted by a Seneca family, she refused to return to “civilization.” Eventually, Jemison married a Seneca warrior and became one of the largest tribal landowners.

In 1713, Queen Anne’s War ended when Great Britain, France, and Spain settled the War of the Spanish. England gained North American assets including Newfoundland and French Acadia (renamed Nova Scotia). France and England did not fight in America again until the 1754 French and Indian War. All of these wars were colonial counterparts of widespread European conflicts.


Today in History – February 28

On February 28, 1827, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad became the first U.S. railway chartered for the commercial transportation of freight and passengers. Investors hoped that a railroad would allow Baltimore, the second largest U.S. city at that time, to successfully compete with New York for western trade. New Yorkers were profiting from easy access to the Midwest via the Erie Canal.

Put in your water, shovel in your coal,
Put cha head out the window and watch the drivers roll
I’ll run her ’til she leaves the rail
For I’m eight hours late with the western mail.

Casey Jones.” 1 California Gold: Northern California Folk Music from the Thirties Collected by Sidney Robertson Cowell. American Folklife Center

Buckhorn Wall, 2500 Feet above Sea Level. William Henry Jackson, photographer; commissioned by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, [1892?]. Detroit Publishing Company. Prints & Photographs Division

Construction began at Baltimore harbor on July 4, 1828. Local dignitary Charles Carroll, the last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence, laid the first stone.

The initial line of track, a thirteen-mile stretch to Ellicott’s Mills (now Ellicott City), Maryland, opened in 1830. The Tom Thumb, a steam engine designed by Peter Cooper, negotiated the route well enough to convince skeptics that steam traction worked along steep, winding grades.

River Hills, Trough of the Potomac. William Henry Jackson, photographer, commissioned by Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, [1892?]. Detroit Publishing Company. Prints & Photographs Division

On May 24, 1844, Samuel F. B. Morse used the Baltimore & Ohio (B&O) Railroad right of way to send the first telegraphic message from the Supreme Court room in the Capitol at Washington to his assistant, Alfred Vail, in Baltimore.

Baltimore and the Ohio River were connected by rail in 1852, when the B&O was completed at Wheeling, West Virginia. Later extensions brought the line to Chicago, St. Louis, and Cleveland.

Rapid development of rail power propelled westward expansion. As early as 1852, six lines carried passengers and freight across the Appalachian mountain range. By 1869, the Central Pacific line and the Union Pacific line joined to create the first transcontinental railroad. Although pioneers continued to travel west via covered wagon, settlements grew quickly as rail transport increased the frequency and speed with which people and supplies could move across the vast continent.

In the 1890s, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad commissioned William Henry Jackson to photograph a series of scenic views along the B&O route in western Maryland. Search Detroit Publishing Company on Baltimore & Ohio railroad to explore these spectacular views of the Allegheny Mountains.

Casey Jones,” Byron Coffin Sr., vocals, and Mrs. Byron Coffin, Sr., piano; recorded by Sidney Robertson Cowell in Alameda, California, on April 6, 1939.California Gold: Northern California Folk Music from the Thirties Collected by Sidney Robertson Cowell. American Folklife Center
Forms part of a group of field materials documenting Byron Coffin Sr., Mrs. Byron Coffin Sr., and Byron Coffin Jr. performing Barbary Coast tunes, American popular songs, and ragtime music. Byron Coffin’s stage nickname was “Casey Jones.”


Today in History – February 27

Mathew Brady photographed presidential aspirant Abraham Lincoln before his February 27, 1860, speech at Cooper Union in New York. Harper’s Weekly published Brady’s image as a woodcut on its cover with a biographical profile of Lincoln and the title Hon. Abram Lincoln, of Illinois, Republican Candidate for President. [Photographed by Brady.]

From the first, I regarded myself as under obligation to my country to preserve the faces of its historic men and mothers.

Mathew Brady quoted in George Alfred Townsend, “Still Taking Pictures. Brady, the Grand Old Man of American Photography. Hard at Work at Sixty-Seven.” The World (New York). Vol. 31, Issue 10,827, Sunday April 12, 1891, p 26.

Abraham Lincoln, candidate for U.S. President…Before Delivering His Cooper Union Address in New York City. Mathew B. Brady, photographer, February 27, 1860. Prints & Photographs Division

When he became President, Marshal Lamon said: ‘I have not introduced Mr. Brady.’ Mr. Lincoln answered in his ready way, ‘Brady and the Cooper Institute made me President.’… I remember when I took Mr. Lincoln, in 1859, he had no beard. I had to pull up his shirt and coat collar; that was at the Tenth-street gallery

Mathew Brady quoted in George Alfred Townsend, “Still Taking Pictures. Brady, the Grand Old Man of American Photography. Hard at Work at Sixty-Seven,” The World (New York). Vol. 31, Issue 10,827, Sunday April 12, 1891, p 26.

M.B. Brady’s New Photographic Gallery, Corner of Broadway and Tenth Street, New York. Illus. in: Frank Leslie’s illustrated newspaper, Jan. 5 1861, p. 108. Civil War Glass Negatives and Related Prints. Prints & Photographs Division
Brady’s Daguerrean Gallery. Mathew Brady’s Studio, [ca. 1854]. Daguerreotypes. Prints & Photographs Division

Brady studied photography under Samuel F. B. Morse, a friend of Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre who had recently introduced the daguerreotype process to America. In 1844, Brady opened his own elegant gallery and studio on Broadway in New York City. He excelled at portraiture and actively sought sittings with prominent figures in the spheres of art and politics.

At the advent of the Civil War, Brady recognized the historical imperative of comprehensive documentation of the conflict. In spite of the inevitable physical and financial perils and risks, Brady organized a corps of photographers and assistants to document the characters, events, and settings of the battles of the war:

My wife and my most conservative friends had looked unfavorably upon this departure from commercial business to pictorial war correspondence, and I can only describe the destiny that overruled me by saying that, like Euphorios, I felt that I had to go. A spirit in my feet said ‘Go,’ and I went.

Mathew Brady quoted in George Alfred Townsend, “Still Taking Pictures. Brady, the Grand Old Man of American Photography. Hard at Work at Sixty-Seven,” The World (New York). Vol. 31, Issue 10,827, Sunday April 12, 1891, p 26.

Brady supervised his large corps of talented traveling photographers and preserved their negatives, augmenting the images with others that he bought from private photographers freshly returned from the battlefield, always seeking to tell the sweeping saga of history as it occurred. When photographs from his collection—which were, in fact, the work of many people—were published, whether printed by Brady or adapted as engravings in publications, most images were credited “From a photograph by Brady.”

In his endeavors to share the images of the war with the public, Brady shocked many by displaying photographs of battlefield corpses from Antietam. He posted a sign on the door of his New York gallery that read, “The Dead of Antietam.”

Brady succeeded in his goal of truly comprehensive photo-documentation of a war, but he paid a great price for his collection. He risked his fortune on the Civil War enterprise and fell into bankruptcy. Brady said, “No one will ever know what I went through to secure those negatives. The world can never appreciate it. It changed the whole course of my life.” He died in poverty in 1896. The New York Seventh Regiment Veterans Association paid a portion of his funeral expenses.

Go into the Gallery when you may and you will see crowds gathering around these pictures, some with tearful eyes, some with eyes that brim with pride and all with swelling hearts. To one who has moved in the scenes represented, these pictures are pregnant with strange, sad reminiscences…You recognize the very sycamore to whose base a young Lieutenant had crawled to die. You knew him…

Photographic Phases.External New York Times. vol 11, no. 3300, July 21, 1862, p 5.

Brady’s Photo Outfit in Front of Petersburg, Va. 1864(?). Photographed 1864. Civil War Glass Negatives and Related Prints. Prints & Photographs Division
Portrait of Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, Officer of the Federal Army. Brady National Photographic Portrait Galleries (Washington, D.C.), between 1860 and 1865. Civil War Glass Negatives and Related Prints. Prints & Photographs Division

If the men themselves whose physiognomies are here displayed, would but meet together for half an hour in as calm a frame of mind as their pictures wear, how vastly all the world’s disputes would be simplified; how many tears and troubles might mankind still be spared! And why should they not? For here at one end of the grand saloon behold a company of famous men who have in very truth so met. These are the dead of history.

A Broadway Valhalla: Opening of Brady’s New Gallery.External New York Times. Vol. 10, No. 2822, Oct. 6, 1860, p. 4.

Mathew Brady’s and his colleagues’ photographs document the sites and the carnage of the battles of the war quite powerfully. However, because of the long exposure times necessary to make readable images, capturing action on film was difficult, if not impossible. The public relied on written accounts and on images rendered by sketch artists printed in the news publications of the day, to get a sense of the battles. Among the writers was Walt Whitman, whose portrait Brady captured after the war.

Walt Whitman…. Mathew Brady, photographer, 1875. Prints & Photographs Division


Today in History – February 26

On February 26, 1919, Congress passed An Act to Establish the Grand Canyon National Park in the State of Arizona. The Grand Canyon of the Colorado River in northwestern Arizona is one of the earth’s greatest natural wonders. Comprising over 1 million acres of northwestern Arizona, the park includes the most spectacular area of the 277-mile canyon cut by the Colorado River. Still inhabited by Native peoples with at least 2,000 years of history in the area, some of the tribes of Grand Canyon region are the Hopi, Navajo, Zuni, Paiute, Havasupai, and Hualapai.

Rust Camp, Grand Canyon. West Coast Art Co., c1909. Panoramic Photographs. Prints & Photographs Division

The first bill to create Grand Canyon National Park was introduced in 1882, and again in 1883 and 1886 by Senator Benjamin Harrison. As president, Harrison established the Grand Canyon Forest Reserve in 1893. President Theodore Roosevelt created the Grand Canyon Game Preserve by proclamation in 1906 and Grand Canyon National Monument in 1908. Senate bills to establish a national park were introduced and defeated in 1910 and 1911; the Grand Canyon National Park Act was finally signed by President Woodrow Wilson in 1919. The National Park Service, established in 1916, assumed administration of the park.

Before the middle of the nineteenth century, very little was known about the geography of the Grand Canyon. Because of its remote location, the area in and around the canyon was not explored or mapped in detail by Europeans, although it was probably visited in 1540 by the Spanish expedition of Garcia Lopez de Cardenas, who searched with Vasques de Coronado for the seven legendary cities of Cibola. In 1776, two Spanish priests, Francisco Dominguez and Silvestre de Escalante, crossed the Colorado River while exploring the area, but little knowledge of the region was passed down in written form to later generations. The primary source of information about the magnificent canyon was an oral tradition sustained by the reports of fur trappers and traders and so-called “mountain men,” most of whom were escorted through the rugged terrain by Native American guides.

Only one early visitor, Warren Augustus Ferris, is known to have produced a map showing the Grand Canyon. Drawn in 1836, it was not published until 1940, too late to be of use to the geographers and explorers who first traveled to the Colorado River and the canyon during the late nineteenth century. Ferris did, however, write and publish several articles in the 1840s, one of which described the canyon. His account added to the available information about the existence and approximate location of the Grand Canyon and helped to increase interest in further exploration of the area.

View of the Grand Canyon from the South Rim, Grand Canyon Village, Arizona. Carol M. Highsmith, photographer, [between 1980 and 2006]. Highsmith (Carol M.) Archive. Prints & Photographs Division


Body cam captures 6-year-old’s tearful pleas during arrest

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A police officer’s body camera shows a 6-year-old Florida girl crying and begging officers not to arrest her as one fastens zip ties around her wrists at a charter school.

The video that Kaia Rolle’s family shared with the Orlando Sentinel and other media outlets Monday shows the girl being arrested in September for kicking and punching staff members at her Orlando charter school.

“What are those for?” Kaia asks about the zip ties in the video.

“They’re for you,” Officer Dennis Turner says before another officer tightens them around her wrists and Kaia begins weeping.

Turner was fired shortly after the arrest. Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolon said at the time that Turner, a reserve officer, didn’t follow department policy of getting the approval of a watch commander to arrest someone younger than 12.

“Help me. Help me, please!” Kaia pleads through tears.

As she is being walked to the vehicle, she cries, “I don’t want to go in a police car.”

The second officer, who has not been identified, responds, “You don’t want to? … You have to.”

“Please, give me a second chance,” Kaia says.

The video shows the officer lifting the sobbing girl into the back seat of the police vehicle and putting a seat belt around her.

A short time later, Turner returns to the office to talk to Lucious & Emma Nixon Academy administrators, who appear dismayed by what they have witnessed in the school office.

The officer tells them that the juvenile detention center where Kaia was headed is “not like you think.” Turner tells the administrators he has made 6,000 arrests, including a 7-year-old.

When school employees tell the officer that Kaia is 6, not 8 like he thought, he replies, “Now she has broken the record.”

Turner had worked in the police agency’s reserve unit, which is mostly made up of retired officers who pick up extra-duty jobs for pay. Because he was a reserve officer, he was not a member of the collective bargaining unit, and the police union didn’t represent him, Shawn Dunlap of the Fraternal Order of Police Orlando Lodge 25, said in an email Tuesday.

School resource officers came under close scrutiny in Florida after former Broward Deputy Scot Peterson failed to engage a shooter at a Parkland high school in 2018. He was charged last year with child neglect, culpable negligence and perjury. That case is ongoing.

The Orlando case drew yet more attention to the role of police in schools.

Jeff Kaye, president of California-based School Safety Operations Inc., said in an email that the officer would not only have been fired in some other states but possibly charged with a crime, such as oppression under color of authority.

School administrators might have been better served by contacting the child’s parents and working with a counselor, rather than calling police, Kaye said.

“As long as everyone is safe, take a deep breath, slow things down, and make good commonsense decisions,” Kaye said. “I can’t think of any reason to ever arrest a 6-year-old child, but I say that based on my training and experience and not that of others.”

Kaye said he’s had several several school districts contact him since the video’s release saying they want to re-examine their school resource officer programs, because they don’t want something similar to happen in their schools.

Officials have said that Turner also arrested a 6-year-old boy at another school on the same day as Kaia’s arrest for misdemeanor battery in an unrelated incident. However, the boy’s arrest was halted by superiors before the child made it through the full arrest process.

State Attorney Aramis Ayala said last September that she was dismissing misdemeanor battery charges against both children.

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BCPS Selected to Join Verizon Innovative Learning Schools Program

February 25, 2020

BCPS Selected to Join Verizon Innovative Learning Schools Program

Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) has been selected to join Verizon Innovative Learning Schools, the education initiative of the Verizon Foundation, which addresses barriers to digital inclusion by providing free technology, access and innovative learning programs that transform students’ lives while revolutionizing learning. As part of the program, Verizon will equip every student and teacher at five middle schools with an iPad and up to a four-year data plan on each device to empower 24/7 learning. The five schools are Glades Middle School, Margate Middle School, McNicol Middle School, New Renaissance Middle School and Nova Middle School.

The comprehensive education package includes access to technology-rich curricula that provide a personalized learning experience and extensive professional development for teachers. The Verizon Innovative Learning program also provides each school with a full-time, dedicated technology coach from Digital Promise to train teachers on effectively integrating technology into all aspects of learning, across all subjects.

Since 2014, Verizon, in partnership with Digital Promise, has launched this initiative in 152 middle schools nationwide. The program aims to enhance student engagement and improve student academic performance.

“This is an incredible opportunity for our students to further develop their technology proficiency and problem-solving skills, BCPS Superintendent Robert W. Runcie said. “For many of our students who don’t have this accessibility at home, this levels the playing field and gives them the tools and skills they need to expand their digital literacy and continue learning beyond the classroom.”

Over the course of the initiative, Verizon Innovative Learning will also provide opportunities for students to learn emerging technologies such as augmented and virtual reality, artificial intelligence, 3D design and the Internet of Things.





“Committed to educating all students to reach their highest potential.”

Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) is the sixth-largest school district in the nation and the second-largest in the state of Florida. BCPS is Florida’s first fully accredited school system since 1962. BCPS has nearly 270,000 students and approximately 175,000 adult students in 241 schools, centers and technical colleges, and 89 charter schools. BCPS serves a diverse student population, with students representing 204 different countries and 191 different languages. To connect with BCPS, visit, follow us on Twitter @browardschools, on Facebook at and download the free BCPS mobile app. 

About Verizon Innovative Learning

Verizon Innovative Learning, Verizon’s education initiative targeting Title 1 middle schools, addresses barriers to digital inclusion. The program provides free 1:1 devices, free internet access and a technology-driven curricula with the goal to transform the learning experience. Through exposure to cutting-edge technology, the program enables students to develop the skills, knowledge, and confidence needed to build an innovative workforce of the future. Since 2012, Verizon Innovative Learning has committed a total of $400 million in STEM education efforts in support of digital inclusion. In 2019, Verizon launched its first 5G-enabled Verizon Innovative Learning classroom, with the goal of 100 by 2021. For more information visit or find us onFacebookInstagram or Twitter.


Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” is published

Month Day
September 27

Rachel Carson’s watershed work Silent Spring is first published on September 27, 1962. Originally serialized in The New Yorker magazine, the book shed light on the damage that man-made pesticides inflict on the environment. Its publication is often viewed as the beginning of the modern environmentalist movement in America.

Carson received a master’s degree in zoology from Johns Hopkins University in 1932 and spent the next several decades researching the ecosystems of the East Coast. She rose through the ranks of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and published many works on the environment, including The Sea Around Us. In the late ’50s, she became concerned by reports of the unintended effects insecticides were having on other wildlife, and the Audubon Society approached her about writing a book on the topic. Silent Spring was the result of this partnership and several years of research, focusing primarily on the effects of DDT and similar pesticides. Carson was diagnosed with breast cancer during this time, causing the book’s publication to be delayed until 1962.

READ MORE: The Early Environmentalists

Silent Spring did not call for an outright ban on DDT, but it did argue that they were dangerous to humans and other animals and that overusing them would dramatically disrupt ecosystems. Carson met with staunch criticism, largely from the chemical industry and associated scientists. She was called “a fanatic defender of the cult of the balance of nature” and “probably a communist,” among other things, but the firestorm around her drew attention to a problem Americans were finally ready to acknowledge. 

Despite her illness, Carson made a slew of media appearances and testified before President John F. Kennedy‘s Science Advisory Committee, finding more supporters than detractors. Though she died only two years after the book’s publication, the movement she helped popularize blossomed over the next decade. Her successors fought for the creation Environmental Protection Agency, formed in 1970, and her arguments were instrumental in securing a nationwide phase-out of DDT, which began in 1972. Carson’s work on pesticides not only drew attention to their unintended consequences but also familiarized the public with the extent of the harm mankind could inflict upon nature, one of the most important lessons our species has had to learn.

READ MORE: How Nixon Became the Unlikely Champion of the Endangered Species Act


Today in History – February 25

On the morning of February 25, 1779, Lieutenant Colonel George Rogers Clark, elder brother of explorer William Clark, accepted British Lieutenant Governor Henry Hamilton’s unconditional surrender of Fort Sackville at Vincennes, Indiana.

Clark Statue, Army and Navy [Soldiers’ and Sailors’] Monument, Indianapolis, Ind. c1904. Detroit Publishing Company. Prints & Photographs Division

Despite a 1763 prohibition against settlement of Kentucky and points west, hundreds of colonists and their families drifted beyond the Appalachians. With the Revolutionary War under way, these pioneers were vulnerable to attack from both British and Native American forces.

Clark believed that Hamilton rewarded Indians for raids on American settlements. With the support of Virginia’s Governor Patrick Henry, Clark marshalled volunteers from among the frontiersmen and successfully attacked British outposts along the Mississippi River.

To capture Fort Sackville, Clark relied on his men’s expert marksmanship and a classic military bluff. Although he commanded only two hundred buckskin-clad pioneers, Clark raised flags enough for a company of six hundred. Believing himself overwhelmed, Hamilton surrendered and was imprisoned at Williamsburg. The British never regained control of the fort.

Clark’s success was noted by Governor Thomas Jefferson, of Virginia, and General George Washington:

Sir: On the 4th Instant I had the Honor to receive your Letter of the 19th of June. Your Excellency will permit me to offer you my sincere congratulations upon your appointment to the Government of Virginia.

I thank you much for the accounts Your Excellency has been pleased to transmit me of the successes of Cols. Clarke and Shelby. They are important and interesting, and do great honor to the Officers and Men engaged in the Enterprises. I hope these successes will be followed by very happy consequences. If Colo Clarke could by any means gain possession of Detroit, it would in all probability effectually secure the friendship or at least the neutrality of most of the Western Indians.

Letter from George Washington to Thomas Jefferson, July 10, 1779. Series 4, General Correspondence, 1697 to 1799. George Washington Papers. Manuscript Division

Clark’s bold defense of the trans-Appalachian frontier during the Revolution frustrated British attempts to drive Americans out of the region and legitimized American claims to the Northwest Territory—land ceded to the United States by the Treaty of Paris in 1783.

Patrick Henry. George B. Matthews, artist. Photograph of painting, c1904. Detroit Publishing Company. Prints & Photographs Division


Today in History – February 24

Arizona, formerly part of the Territory of New Mexico, was organized as a separate territory on February 24, 1863. The U.S. acquired the region under the terms of the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and the 1853 Gadsden Purchase. Arizona became the forty-eighth state in 1912.

Remains of the Homes of Ancient Cliff Dwellers in Canyon de Chelly…. Carol M. Highsmith, photographer, April 15, 2018. Highsmith (Carol M.) Archive. Prints & Photographs Division

By the 1880s, the Arizona Territory was bustling with fortune seekers hoping to strike it rich. The discovery of gold in 1863 near Prescott, which became the territorial capital in 1864, and the 1877 discoveries of silver at Tombstone, near Tucson, and copper at Bisbee, brought back many of those who had traveled through Arizona in 1848 on their way to the goldfields of California.

Traveler Emma H. Adams, of Cleveland, Ohio, visited Tucson in 1884. She described it as “a queer old town,” but was struck by the cosmopolitan atmosphere of the desert outpost:

Americans, Mexicans, Germans, Russians, Italians, Austrians, Frenchmen, Spaniards, Greeks, the Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, the African, Irishman, and Sandwich Islander are all here, being drawn to the spot by the irresistible mining influence.

To and Fro in Southern California, by Emma H. Adams. New York: Arno Press, 1976[c1887], 55-56. “California as I Saw It:” First-Person Narratives of California’s Early Years, 1849 to 1900. General Collections

Adams spent ten days in Tucson before traveling on, via the Central Pacific Railway, to Los Angeles. She describes her journey from New Mexico through the desert to Tucson, including a visit to the Mission San Xavier del Bac, in chapters eight and nine of her travel journal, which documents rail trips to the west taken from 1883 to 1886.

San Xavier Mission, Tucson, Arizona. West Coast Art Co., c1913. Panoramic Photographs. Prints & Photographs Division

The San Xavier del Bac Mission, completed in 1797, is one of the most famous monuments to the early Spanish presence in Arizona. Jesuit missionary Eusebio Kino laid the foundations for a church on the site around 1700. Spanish missionaries first ventured into Arizona in 1539. With the exception of occasional forays among the Native Americans living in the northern part of the state, the Spanish presence in Arizona was limited to scattered missions, ranches, and forts in the Santa Cruz Valley south of Tucson. By the time the United States acquired Arizona, many remnants of Spanish influence in the state were gone. Most persons of Hispanic descent living in Arizona today immigrated to the state from Mexico after 1900.

Phoenix is the capital of Arizona’s nearly 114,000 square miles. The state has one of the fastest growing economies and is home to a diverse population. Native Americans maintain a strong presence in Arizona with twenty-two distinct tribes including Navajo, Hopi, Maricopah, Apache, and Pima.

Hopi Woman Making Pottery, c1910. Detroit Publishing Company. Prints & Photographs Division

Learn More

  • How hot was it? Read a story of Arizona’s hottest days in “Them Petrified Buzzards,” a tall tale told by Uncle Steve Robertson and transcribed by interviewer Earl Bowman on December 15, 1938. Also read recollections of encounters with Native Americans in Arizona and other parts of the Southwest. Search on tribal names such as Navajo, Hopi, and Apache in American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936 to 1940. This collection offers the life stories of men and women from a variety of regions, occupations, and ethnic groups.
  • Listen to guitarist Jack Bryant play his composition “Arizona” as recorded on August 17, 1940, at the Firebaugh FSA Camp. The recording and a transcript of the lyrics are found in Voices from the Dust Bowl: The Charles L. Todd and Robert Sonkin Migrant Worker Collection, 1940 to 1941
  • When President Theodore Roosevelt visited Arizona in 1913, the Hopi Indians honored him with a performance of one of their tribal dances. It was recorded on film and can be found under the title Hopi Indians Dance for TR at [Walpi, Ariz.], 1913 in Theodore Roosevelt: His Life and Times on Film.
  • View more images of Arizona’s striking landscape. Search the pictorial collections on Arizona, Grand Canyon, or petrified forest. A similar search on the term mission will produce a variety of images and documentation related to Spanish missionaries’ efforts in the Southwest.
  • Native American tribes and their culture are documented in the following collections:
  • Use the search tools provided with the collections to narrow in on tribal names and locations

  • View nineteenth-century railroad maps and U.S. Geological Survey maps of Arizona in the Maps Collections. Many of these maps can be viewed with technology that permits the viewer to “zoom in” or magnify points of interest. “Bird’s-eye” views of cities such as Phoenix are also part of this collection.
  • Learn more about gold discoveries and gold rushes in other states. Search on gold in Today in History.


Today in History – February 23

United States General Zachary Taylor was victorious over Mexican General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna in the Battle of Buena Vista on February 23, 1847. Named for a nearby hacienda, the Battle of Buena Vista was fought near Monterrey in northern Mexico. On the evening of February 21, General Taylor received a message from General Santa Anna offering to accept an American surrender and be spared the battle. Taylor reportedly replied: “I decline accepting your request.” For the next two days, the Mexican army of over 15,000 troops assaulted the smaller U.S. force of only 5,000 men. The agile field artillery and advantageous battle position, however, favored General Taylor against overwhelming odds. By nightfall of February 23, the exhausted and dispirited Mexican army retreated; Taylor elected not to pursue the troops and remained to secure the region.

“A little more grape Capt. Bragg”—General Taylor at the Battle of Buena Vista, Feby 23d, 1847. John Cameron, artist; New York: Lith. & pub. by N. Currier, c.1847. Popular Graphic Arts. Prints & Photographs Division

General Winfield Scott landed at Veracruz in March and headed west toward Mexico City. At the Battle of Cerro Gordo in April, he defeated the Mexican army; Santa Anna again escaped capture. Despite strong resistance, Scott pressed forward and captured the Mexican capital in September, securing U.S. victory in the Mexican American War.

Samuel McNeil, an Ohio shoemaker who ventured to California, tells of General Taylor’s bravery on the battlefield in his book McNeil’s Travels in 1849, to, through and from the Gold Regions, in California:

I must mention one circumstance that happened there, which shows the extraordinary coolness of Gen. Z. Taylor in battle. He saw a small cannon ball coming directly towards his person. Instead of spurring “Old Whitey” out of its way, he coolly rose in his very short stirrups and permitted the ball to pass between his person and the saddle. Col. Wyncoop has mentioned this circumstance in his book, and if he lies wilfully [sic], you may be sure that the shoemaker lies unwilfully [sic].

McNeil’s Travels in 1849, to, through and from the Gold Regions, in California. By Samuel McNeil. Columbus: Scott & Bascum, printers, 1850. p15. “California as I Saw It”: First-Person Narratives of California’s Early Years, 1849 to 1900. General Collections

On February 2, 1848, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed in Mexico City, ending the war. Five years later, the Gadsden Purchase set the current boundary between the U.S. and Mexico.

Taylor’s victories at the Battle of Buena Vista and the 1846 Battle of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma, won him national fame that contributed greatly to his election as president in 1848. Scott, too, ran for president but was defeated in 1852 by another veteran of the Mexican American War, Franklin Pierce.

Zachary Taylor, Half-length Portrait… Mathew B. Brady, ca. 1844-1849. Daguerreotypes. Prints & Photographs Division
Winfield Scott, Head-and-shoulders Portrait… Mathew B. Brady, ca. 1851-1860. Daguerreotypes. Prints & Photographs Division

Numerous junior officers in the U.S. army who fought in Mexico later served in both the Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War: Union Generals Ulysses S. Grant, George B. McClellan, John C. Fremont, George G. Meade, William Tecumseh Sherman, Joseph Hooker, George H. Thomas, and Henry W. Halleck; and Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee, Joseph E. Johnston, “Stonewall” Jackson, Braxton Bragg, Albert Sidney Johnston, James Longstreet, A. P. Hill, and Jubal A. Early. Jefferson Davis fought at the Battle of Buena Vista.