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William Gentry Poindexter

William Gentry Poindexter, born at Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee, December 27, 1824, son of George and Mary Poindexter, married Rosa Aros Morales (1848-1925), daughter of Casimiro and Tomasa Morales, at Roods Ranch, Yuma County, A.T., June 28, 1868, by Marcus D. Dobbins, Justice of the Peace; remarried at Tucson, Pima County, A.T., March 24, 1870; Children, William, Martha and Joanna or Jennie. Came to Arizona from California, 1862; served as Sergeant at Arms, House of Representatives, 2nd Arizona Territorial Legislature, at Prescott, December 9 to 30, 1865; engaged in freighting and carrying the United States Mails between Prescott and Hardyville on the Colorado River; had a ranch and stage station at Fort Rock, Yavapai County, on that route, which was attached by the Wallapai Indians in the Spring of 1866.

The caretaker at the ranch was killed and horses and mules valued at $1,450 were driven off by the Indians; in the fall of that same year he joined with J. J. Buckman, his young son, Thad Buckman, Patrick McAteer, Charles May and a soldier from the 14th U.S. Infantry in defending that station from a day long attack by about 100 Wallapais.

Listed, U.S. Census, 1870, at Arizona City, Yuma County, A.T., occupation, Mail Carrier, property valued at $5,000; appointed by the Governor of Arizona Territory as Supervisor of Yuma County and served from June 5th to December 31, 1870; moved to Pima County in 1874 where he engaged in mining and later established a cattle ranch between Sopori and Arivaca; his house was built upon a hill and the place was used as a Stage Station; on September 2, 1874, at coroner’s inquest held at Cababi, in the Papago Country, to investigate the murder of two men he gave the following testimony:

I am a resident of Cababi district, county of Pima, and Territory of Arizona. I knew Michael Layden and George Hughes in their life time. I knew George Hughes perfectly well. I have known Layden about one month. I arrived in the Cababi district on the 20th day of August, 1874, with a Mexican by the name of Juan Morales and our families, together with a boy. I came directly from Sonora to the district. We all went immediately to Layden’s cabin for the purpose of spending the day there. It was about 7 o’clock in the morning when we arrived.

We found no one at the cabin but a large pool of blood in front of the door. We then supposed that a murder had been committed. We then followed a trail, over which we supposed something had been dragged to an old shaft about forty yards in the rear of the house. Upon arriving at the shaft we discovered the body of Michael Layden lying at the bottom of the shaft.

In a letter written at Cababi on October 3, 1874, he stated:

Since I have been here I have sunk a well through solid rock a distance of thirty feet, thus demonstrating the fact that water can be had in the Cababi district without taking that of the Indians. I have a fine well of water, in fact the finest in the district, and right in the midst of all the mines. He was Justice of the Peace at Arivaca in 1880; a letter that he wrote to Charles D. Poston from “Rancho de Poindexter” on February 8, 1884 reads: I am glad to see the long delayed step taken by you to Organize the Pioneers of Arizona. This should have been done long ago. I was away from home when the first call was announced or I should have been on hand.

I came to Arizona in 1862 and have permanently resided here ever since, sometimes in one place and sometimes in another, and at a time too when in many places, as you well know, that one could not safely call his scalp his own. I desire to be numbered as one among the many old Pioneers of Arizona. Hoping the Organization a long existence and lots of good success. I remain yours most respectfully.

He joined the Society of Arizona Pioneers at Tucson on April 30, 1884, and was a member of Tucson Lodge No. 4, F. & A.M. by demit from Visalia Lodge No. 128, Tulare County, California in 1881; died at the County Hospital, Tucson, Pima County, Arizona Territory, September 23, 1887, aged 62; buried in the Cemetery at Tucson.

The following obituary appeared in the Tucson Arizona Star of October 19, 1887:

W. G. Poindexter was a native of Tennessee; was a veteran of the Mexican war; was Sheriff of San Joaquin County, California, and member of the California Legislature in the early history of that State. He came to Arizona and in 1868 had the contract for carrying the United States mail between Mohave and Yuma and was a Supervisor of Yuma County, during the same period. He came to Pima County about 15 years ago, and lived nearly all these years at Arivaca, where he was engaged in mining and ranching until a short time previous to his death. His demise will be learned with regret by many old time Arizonans, who knew Mr. Poindexter as a quiet, honest, conscientious old gentleman, and we believe he was without a single exception respected by all who knew him.

In reporting his death the Tucson Arizona Citizen stated:

He was one of Pima County’s land marks and was engaged in many a bloody Apache strife in her defense. At the famous Picashe Massacre he was one of the very few left to tell the tale of Indian savagery. He was a Mexican War Veteran and a man of many friends. Although well advanced in years and suffering from an injury received some months since by the overturning of a wagon, his death was wholly unexpected.

Sources of Information
Parish, T. M. – History of Arizona, 1916, Vol. 4, pp. 133-134
Barney, J. M. – “The Fight at Fort Rock” – Dunbar’s Weekly, March 27, 1942.
Arizona Pioneers Historical Society – Membership book, Old Vol. P. 75.
2nd Territorial Legislature, 1865 – Home Journal, p. 27.
Probate Court of Pima County, A.T., - Docket No. 465.
U.S. Court of Claims – Indian Depredation Docket No. 2271.
The Adjutant General of the Army – Military service records.
U.S. Veterans Administration – Pension records W. O. 7238.
Board of Supervisors of Yuma County – Minute Book, Vol. 1, p. 189.
The Arizona Citizen, Tucson, November 19, 1870, 2:2, May 8, 1875, 3:4; October 22, 1887, 3:1 (obituary).
The Arizona Star, Tucson, January 29, 1880; October 19, 1887 (obituary).
The Arizona Sentinel, Yuma, October 22, 1887, #”2 (death notice).
The Arizona Miner, Prescott, July 11, 1868, 3:3 (marriage).

Additional Sources of Information
The Arizona Miner, Prescott, December 12, 1868, 2:4’ May 28, 1870,
2:1; April 27, 2:3 and August 17, 1872, 2:3.
The Arizona Sentinel, Yuma, June 1, 3:2 and November 16, 1872, 3:2.
The Arizona Citizen, Tucson, October 10, 1874, 2:1; February 27, 1:3
and June 19, 1875.

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