John Spring, a Swiss volunteer wounded in Civil War action, was sent to Arizona with the Regular Army of 1866 and became the most versatile and articulate of frontier reporters. A fine education
and a broad knowledge of the world combined with an urbane pen to enable this pioneer educator, desert farmer, sutler, and brewer to be also a court translator, a correspondent for metropolitan U.S.
newspapers and European periodicals, and a hardy soldier amid Apache perils.
Spring was an acute observer and presents the incidents in an interesting manner. His style is clear and fast-moving. . . . Spring has left a fascinating and enjoyable account of life in the [Arizona] territory.
—Southern California Quarterly
Professor Gustafson has provided an introduction that sparkles with new and interesting information about Spring's many-sided life.
—Arizona and the West
An impressive addition to the new literature [on the history of Arizona]. . . . Spring acutely observe[s] such things as the social customs of the Apaches and the Mexicans, or the social life of Tubac and Tucson, matters which many other observers, concerned with the outlaw and off-reservation Indian, have ignored.
—Pacific Historical Review
John Spring first saw Arizona from an encampment on the west side of the Colorado River at "a small town called Yuma
. . . then called Arizona City . . . it did a thriving fandango and saloon business during the period of continual going and coming of troops and teamsters." Southern Arizona, as Spring first saw and
described it, was "a country where every highway, every path, every hamlet, and nearly every rancho could tell (had they the gift of speech) of devilish deeds, of crafty ambuscade, murdered settlers
Supported by knowledge of several languages and wide reading, John Spring was able to extend his reporting to geographical and botanical description, to detailed reports of
agriculture in the Santa Cruz Valley, and mercantile activity in Tucson. But he returned always to people--an irresistible center of interest for John Spring.
The lively and authentic serial
reports of John Spring to the National Tribune in Washington, D.C., have been assembled and edited in this volume by A. M. Gustafson.