It has become apparent that the email problem is not yet fully corrected. (See article further down in this newsletter.) I sent out this newsletter 2 days ago and have discovered that very few subscribers actually received this newsletter. The email problem may be solved so am trying to send the newsletter again to all subscribers. I apologize if this is the second copy of my newsletter. Hopefully this one will work. I have also extended the contest deadline.

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The Man Who Owned Arizona - Almost!

On March 28, 1883 a man named James Addison Reavis walked into the Surveyor General of the United States in Tucson, Arizona. The clerk asked Reavis what he wanted. Reavis laid his flat leather carrying case on the counter and declared that he was there to claim the Peralta Grant.

"The Peralta Grant?" asked the clerk.

Reavis answered "The Peralta Grant, to which I hold title, was conferred in 1758 to Miguel de Peralta by King Ferdinand of Spain.” He then opened the case and laid out before the clerk documents to support his claim and advised that the originals of documents before him were in the archives of the churches of Seville, Madrid and Cadiz in old Spain and Guadalajara and Mexico City. The documents detailed that the Peralta Grant was comprised of ten million acres that is located in Arizona and parts of New Mexico.

Astonished, the clerk related that he was only able to register deeds of up to 160 acres and that only Mr. Joseph Robins could handle a claim as large as requested.

Robins examined the documents and all looked authentic. Now he was in a quandary of what to do. It appeared that in fact Mr. Reavis DID in fact own millions of acres in Arizona and New Mexico! However, Robins was not about to just hand over the title that easy. An extensive investigation was launched. An envoy was sent to the churches in Seville, Madrid and Cadiz in old Spain and Guadalajara and Mexico City. Upon examination, the documents that supported Reavis’ claim WERE in these institutions! It appeared that in fact Reavis DID have rightful claim to the ten million acres after all!

From time to time, many of us have read about or heard on the news of how someone secreted documents out of an institution’s archives and then selling them. Reavis did just the opposite - he secreted forged documents INTO various institutions that would help support his claim. His plan was well thought out. He created documents of a family he “invented” including birth , marriage, and death certificates for a mother, father, children, grandchildren, and their descendents over the generations. The family was not just your "ordinary" family, but rather from royalty. He also created a land grant for ten million acres in what would later become Arizona and New Mexico. His forgeries were excellent and he even thought to obtain actual paper, but blank, from the various eras that the documents were to have originated. Using original documents to compare, he then created forgeries for his “royal” family.

After completing all the necessary documents, he then headed for Spain and later Mexico City. Representing himself as a newspaper reporter, he gained access to the various archives. He presented an image of being a scholarly gentleman and quickly gained the trust from the monks who were assigned to guard the archives. Often, Reavis was left alone for hours to do his crafty work.

Once Reavis had filed his claim, he placed large advertisements in various Arizona and New Mexico newspapers. In the ads, he introduced himself, told about the Peralta Grant, and announced that he had no intention to place hardships on the people of Arizona and New Mexico. He offered to file quitclaims from land owners for a small fee. Word had spread of how ironclad his ownership of the Peralta Gant so landowners flocked to his office set up in Phoenix. For a typical farm or ranch, he sold them a quitclaim for only $50. Larger landowners hired legal teams to fight the claim. However, even the lawyers were fooled by the documents and advised their clients to settle as quick as possible. In addition, the Southern Pacific Railroad paid him a right-of-way fee for $50,000 for the rails to cross his land. The Silver King Mine entered into a contract with Reavis for $25,000 a year for royalties for the silver they were mining from his mine. Extending the reach of his fraud, he often went to San Francisco and sold shares in his Peralta Grant. It has been estimated that Reavis received at least $300,000 annually from this fraud.

In 1887, Joseph Robins died and Royal Johnson was promoted to fill his position. Johnson never did believe the authenticity of the Peralta Grant. He hired experts to make the trip to Spain and Mexico City and examine the documents. In 1889 the experts filed their reports. The claim was false! Reavis was arrested and placed on trial for fraud and found guilty. He was sentenced to two years in prison. Upon his release from prison, he settled in a rooming house in Denver and lived in poverty. In 1899 he moved back to Phoenix, Arizona, the scene of the crime. Residents regarded him as a "harmless nut." Update

The server administrator moved the account to a new server on August 20. (The domain name remains the same and your old bookmarks will still work.) All of a sudden, no email was coming through. It took a little over two weeks and several telephone conference calls to get the email configured correctly so that email once again came through OK. Thus, if any of you sent me emails between these dates, please resend as I did not receive it.

I am still working on the panoramas I took while in Kentucky and Tennesse the end of June. Little did I know how much was needed beyond the typical computer. I had to add RAM and get a better graphics card. Thus, output was put on hold until I could afford the upgrades to my computer. I am now ready to begin outputing the panoramas.

The last week of September I will be in Springfield, Illinois shooting more panoramas. I have made arrangements for a special permit for filming in the Abraham Lincoln home and neighborhood. I hope to do five panoramas from five different vantage points in the neighborhood as well as 180 degree panoramas of each room inside the Lincoln home. (The rooms are too small to do 360 degree panoramas.) I also hope to do panoramas of the Lincoln Law Office, Old Capitol Building, Lincoln Tomb and several at New Salem.

A Sign of the Times

  • You pull up in your own driveway and use your cell phone to see if anyone is home to help you carry in the groceries.

  • You haven't played solitaire with real cards in years.

  • You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your family of three.

  • You e-mail the person who works at the desk next to you.

  • Your reason for not staying in touch with friends and family is that they don't have e-mail addresses.

  • You accidentally enter your password on the microwave.

  • Every commercial on television has a web site at the bottom of the screen.

  • Leaving the house without your cell phone, which you didn't have the first 20 or 30 (or 60) years of your life, is now a cause for panic and you turn around to go and get it.

  • You get up in the morning and go on line before getting your coffee.

  • You're reading this and nodding and laughing.

  • Even worse, you know exactly to whom you are going to forward this message.

  • Treasure Chest Contest

    Each issue will contain a new clue to what the answer is. The answer can be either a person, place, or thing that relates to American history. The first with the correct answer will win the Treasure Chest prize. (See below.)

    Contest Rules

    1) To enter the Treasure Chest Contest, send an email to with your answer to the contest.

    2) The email with your Treasure Chest Contest entry should contain "Treasure Chest Contest" as the subject line.

    3) Only one guess per subscriber for each newsletter issue.

    4) Failure to follow the above three rules will result in the entry being disqualified for that issue.

    5) The contest ends when the first subscriber with the correct answer, and who follows the above rules, is submitted. Thus, the contest could remain active for several issues.

    Treasure Chest Prize

    Multi-format Player

  • Includes Wireless Remote Control
  • Component, S-Video, & Composite Outputs
  • Stereo Audio and Coaxal Digital Audio Ports

    DVD Movies

  • Ten different classic movies on DVD

    $20 Credit For HistoryBuffAuction

  • Bid on what you want from the auction - Up to $20*
  • To see examples visit

    * In the event that the winner is under 18 years of age, the credit will be issued to the parent or guardian for bidding purposes.


    1) I was born/made in England.

    2) A direction on a compass enters into the equation.

    3) Eat, drink and be merry - or upset!

    August Brain Teaser

    Inside the drawer of a dressing-table in a dark room, there are 28 black socks and 28 brown socks. What is the minimum number of socks that you must take out of the drawer to guarantee that you have a matching pair?

    Answer: Three.

    September Brain Teaser

    This is a most unusual paragraph. How quickly can you find out what is wrong with it? It's so usual, you would think nothing is wrong with it. In fact, nothing is wrong with it! It's unusual, though. Study it. What is so unusual about it? Do you know?

    Answer: Next issue. (No prizes offered for correct answer.)

    PS: If you make any money by winning bets on these brain teasers, a little commission would be nice :-)

    August Contest

    GRAND PRIZE QUESTION: Who was the first United States president to be inaugurated in the White House rather than on the Capitol steps?

    GRAND PRIZE ANSWER: Rutherford B. Hayes

    ALTERNATE PRIZE QUESTION: Which United States president was the first to be born in the 20th century?

    ANSWER: Depending how the question was interpreted, the answer could be either Lyndon B. Johnson (he was the first to be born in the 20th century but the second to become president) or John F. Kennedy (he was the first to become president but also born in the 20th century.) Thus, I accepted either as being correct.

    Forty-eight people entered the contests. Twenty-one people either had the incorrect subject heading or the wrong answer to the question. Four prizes went unclaimed.
    The August contest winners were:
    • Rich Cunningham - Oregon
    • Sandra Hoffman - New Jersey
    • Imad Khachan - New York
    • Ben Susser - New jersey
    • Thomas Rowley - California
    • John Martin - Massachusetts

    This Issue's Question

    To enter the Grand Prize Contest, answer the question: The United States had a president who was once a King. Who was he?

    To enter the Alternate Contest, answer the question: Who was the Baby Ruth candy bar named after?

    Contest Rules

    • Contest entry deadline is Tuesday, September 19, 2006. Later entries will be disqualified. Winners will be notified by email within 24 hours after the contest deadline. Winners' names and states will be published in the next issue of the newsletter.

    • Subscribers may enter all three contests, but can only win one prize.

    • To enter either contest, email your answer to

    • If entering for the Grand Prize, enter "Contest Entry Grand Prize" for the subject heading.

    • If entering for alternate prize contest, enter "Contest Entry" for the subject heading.

    • Alternate contest entries with prize desires such as "any prize is OK," "any of the historic newspapers" etc. will be disqualified. You MUST select ONE prize. The Grand Prize is considered as only one prize.

    • If entering both contests, send separate emails.

    • From subscribers entering the alternate contest, submitting the correct answer, correct subject heading, submission received by the deadline, as well as advising which ONE alternate contest prize they want to win, EIGHT will be selected to win ONE of the alternate contest prizes below.

    • From subcribers entering the Grand Prize contest, one will be selected to win the prize from those submitting the correct subject heading, correct answer, and by the deadline.

    • Subscribers to this newsletter that won a prize in my trivia contests in the last 90 days are ineligible to win.
    Grand Prize
    (One winner will be selected)

    • Original historic newspaper from the aftermath of the sinking of the Titanic

    • 2-DVD set with 4 documentaries about the Titanic produced by the History Channel
    Alternate Contest Prizes
    Alternate Contest Prizes (Only one of each offered)

    Little House on the Prairie DVD

    2-Hour Movie:

    I'll Be Waving as You Drive Away

    1960's & 1970's Music CD

    3 CD Set

  • Tequila - The Champs
  • Tom Dooley - Kingston Trio
  • The Lion Sleeps Tonight - Tokens
  • I'm Henry VIII I Am - Herman's Hermits
  • When a Man Loves a Woman - Percy Sledge
  • Indian Reservation - Paul Revere and the Raiders
  • This Diamond Ring - Gary Lewis and the Playboys
  • Sugar, Sugar - The Archies
  • Plus 22 More!

  • DVD

    The Jackie Robinson Story (1952)

    Staring Jackie Robinson as himself

    CD ROM Game

    Axis & Allies
    World War II Game
    Original Historic Newspapers

    Original Daily National Intelligencer (Washington, DC) historic newspaper from 1843

    Original Baltimore American historic newspaper from 1857

    Original The Sun (Baltimore) historic newspaper from 1866

    Original The Salem Gazette historic newspaper from 1879
    That's it for this issue.

    Rick Brown, a nonprofit organization, now accepts donations online with contributions through PayPal or any credit card.
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