The Territorial Years – Part 3

Rim Country Influence in the Territorial Years

Samuel A. Haught II, Duett Ellison Hunt, George W.P. Hunt


Samuel A. Haught II – First Gila County Territorial Legislator

Sam and his wife, Dagmar, lived on the H-Bar ranch in Rye.  Ten thousand head of cattle grazed on their ranch land from Rye to Sunflower.

Tragedy struck the family when a drifting cowboy, infected with diphtheria, passed through one day and stayed for dinner.

The drifter drank from a common water dipper.  Within 3 weeks, Sam and Dagmar’s 4 children (Ollie, Oscar, Otto and Valta) died of the disease.  Although 2 more children were born (Mildred Juanita and Jim Sam), Dagmar never fully recovered from the loss of her first 4 children.

In 1905 Sam was elected to the Territorial Legislature representing Gila County.  At the time he was involved in a number of business ventures in addition to running the ranch.

He was the postmaster, owner of the general store and was involved in mining.  Dagmar became postmistress in 1907.

Sam traveled 3 days on horseback to attend the sessions of the 23rd Territorial Legislature in Phoenix.  A session lasted 60 days.  Sam remained in Phoenix during the sessions.

Although Sam served only 1 term, he helped secure significant improvements for Gila County. 

He assisted funding efforts for the road between Globe and Pleasant Valley.

Sam also helped obtain funding for the Gila County Courthouse in Globe. 

Globe County Courthouse during Territorial years
Photo courtesy of Steven C. Price

In commemoration of their contributions., the names of Samuel A. Haught (Member of the Territorial House of Representatives) and G. W. P. Hunt (Member of the Territorial Council) are engraved on the front of the courthouse.

Life was difficult for Dagmar while Sam was serving in the Legislature in Phoenix. 

Her unhappiness, combined with her grief over their children lost to diphtheria, resulted in a divorce in 1909.  The H-Bar ranch was sold.  Dagmar moved to Los Angeles with their children, Mildred and Jim Sam.

Samuel A. Haught eventually moved to a ranch west of Young on Walnut Creek.

Sam met and married Carrie Hunnicutt.  Carrie had 3 children from a previous marriage.  She and Sam later had 7 more children.

Arizona’s First Lady – Duett Ellison Hunt

Duett Ellison Hunt Arizona Territorial pioneerHelen Duett Ellison was born November 10, 1867.  She was 1 of 6 children born to Col. Jesse and Susan Ellison.

The family come from Eagle Springs, Texas to Arizona in the early 1880’s.  They settled first in the area that came to be known as Ellison Creek before moving to Pleasant Valley.

Raised on a ranch, Duett was familiar with all aspects of frontier life.  She was regarded as a skilled pioneer woman who could handle a gun….and fend for herself.  In 1899 she shot a bear on a hunting expedition and posed with her kill.

After a long courtship, Duett married George W.P. Hunt on February 24, 1904. 

George first visited the Ellison ranch in 1890 while campaigning for the office of Gila County recorder.  George spent much time in the political arena.  Duett was very involved helping on the family ranch.  There never seemed to be an opportune time for a wedding.

Finally George got tired of waiting.  He invited Duett to meet him in Holbrook where they married.  George was 44.  Duett was 36.

In the same year George was elected mayor of Globe.  The couple took up residence there.

George and Duett had 1 child, Jesse Virginia Hunt, born June 26, 1905.

Duett served as Arizona’s First Lady throughout most of George W. P. Hunt’s 7 non-consecutive terms as Governor.

She died in April 1931 – 2 years before the end of her husband’s last term.


George WP Hunt Arizona's First Govenor and Territorial LegislatureGeorge Wiley Paul Hunt – Arizona’s First Governor

The child of an affluent Missouri family, George W.P. Hunt was born in 1859.

Financial ruin came to the Hunt family.  The Hunt Plantation was destroyed during the guerilla warfare of the Civil War.  Further financial devastation resulted from the financial panic of 1873.

At age 18 George was lured west in pursuit of gold.  He found employment waiting tables in Colorado, working for the Santa Fe Railroad in New Mexico, and working in the Old Dominion Mine in Globe, Arizona.

Settling in Globe, George waited tables in a Chinese restaurant.  He tried being a cowboy.  Eventually he took a job as a delivery boy at the Old Dominion Mercantile Store. 

By 1900 he was president of both the Mercantile Store and the Old Dominion Bank.  In 1904 George married Duett Ellison and became the first mayor of Globe.

George’s entrance into the world of politics resulted from pressures by friends in Globe.  A reluctant candidate for the Territorial House of Representatives in 1891 – he was easily elected to the Territorial Council (Senate).

By 1904 he had served 4 terms in the Territorial Legislature (Territorial Assembly).  He was elected to the Council again for the period 1905 through 1910.  George served as council president during 1905-1906 and 1909-1910.

At the time the territory attained statehood George W.P. Hunt was the best known politician in Arizona.

Politically he was considered a Populist/Progressive.  He championed numerous social reforms during his career.   a A man of the common people, George was generous, big-hearted, devoted to the downtrodden and outcast.

He detested snobbery and pretension.  It has been said that people either liked him or hated him.  No major scandal marred his reputation.

Governor Hunt supported educational opportunities by encouraging the legislature to provide free textbooks for school children.  He was a strong advocate for prison reform.  In an effort to improve self-respect and restore dignity, George replaced black and white striped prison uniforms with gray ones.  He allowed prisoners to work building roads.  The workers were not paid wages but offered shorter prison terms as payment for work performed.

George believed strongly in states’ rights.  He resisted the encroachment of federal power.

George W.P. Hunt died December 24, 1931.  He is buried with his wife, Duett, in Papago Park in Phoenix. 

They are entombed in a pyramid. 

(George became intrigued with the pyramids he had seen during his travels in Siam while serving as the U. S. Minister.)

Part 3 of a 3 part series


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