By Al Bates

The first official census of Arizona as a separate political entity was conducted in the Spring of 1864 under orders from newly-arrived Territorial Governor John Goodwin. Today's Yavapai County was included in Judicial District Three (which covered almost all of Northern Arizona) and was counted by the Rev. Hiram Reed, Arizona's first postmaster.

Less than a year earlier, Central Arizona north of the Gila River was void of any Anglo or Mexican settlements. The only inhabitants of what would become Yavapai County were roving groups of Yavapai and Apache Indians. Then came the discovery of gold, and an influx of newcomers began. The first census for the vast area north of the Gila showed a total of 1088
people--mostly men--gathered in small communities called Antelope, Lynx Creek, Fort Whipple, Granite Creek, Kirkland Ranch, and the Agua Fria Ranch. The census tells us quite a bit about these people: name, age, sex marital status, place of birth, length of residence, citizenship, occupation, and financial holdings. What it does not tell us is anything about race or ethnicity. The 1864 census was color blind. The single bit of racial information it contains is that Miss Santa Lopez, age 17, gave her occupation as the "mistress of Negro Brown." On the other hand, the entire Native American population of Arizona was completely ignored. 

The prospect of gold had drawn people born in many corners of the world. There were miners from Chile, Austria, Holland, and England; U. S. Army soldiers from Ireland, Scotland, Norway, Denmark, Africa, and Russia; a confectioner from Switzerland; traders from Prussia and Italy; a cabinet maker from Germany; a silversmith from France; and a sailor from Mexico. The most common occupations were soldier (256), miner (185), and laborer (136). Farmers (47) were a distant fourth, followed by merchants and traders (36). 

The range of other occupations was broad if not always deep. There were butchers (6) and bakers (2 cooks) and candlestick makers (2 jewelers and the silversmith). Some other occupations were : photographer, "bummer," hotel keeper, Indian hunter, and whiskey seller. "Whatevers" outnumbered attorneys three to two. 

Those born in the U. S. were the largest single group at a little over half the total, while Mexico and former Mexican territory accounted for almost 30 percent. Germany and Prussia accounted for the largest non-western-hemisphere group at 5 percent of the total. They were mostly young adults, averaging just over 30 years old; but the ages ranged from 2 weeks to 66 years. Women averaged a bit younger at just under 24 years; the oldest woman was 58. Most of the 215 married men had left their wives behind, some in far distant places such as Spain, France and Russia but there were 18 married couples in the area when Rev. Read started his count and 19 when he finished. It was during the census that Rev. Read exercised his ministerial prerogative and performed the first marriage in the area at Lynx Creek. 

The 49 women and girls on the census rolls were outnumbered 22 to one, and unmarried women outnumbered the married ones by 27 to 20 (two of the ladies either did not know, or would not give, their marital status). One married woman had left her husband behind in New Mexico. 

Most of the women did not list an occupation, but of those single women who did list an occupation, "Mistress" (17) was by far the leader. There was but a single laundress counted in the entire third judicial district. Not all those enumerated were willing to divulge personal information. Charles L. Johnson refused to answer any of the questions because "it is a trick of the governor to get the capital up here!" Joseph F. Black also refused "because Johnson did."Most of the individuals listed little or no property. The two wealthiest individuals were Manuel Yseria, merchant, who listed $1000 in real estate and $12,000 in personal estate; and Nelson Van Tassal, merchant, who listed $12,000 in personal estate. 

At the other end of the spectrum was a miner named Thomas Goodman who listed real estate valued at just 25 cents. 

Illustrating image

This couple may be unidentified in the Museum's collections, but they were probably counted in the early census. There were 4622 non-Indians tallied in the Arizona Territory in 1864. Fill out your form on April 1, 2000 and continue the Yavapai county tradition over 140 years old.