01. The Need for a Territorial Veterinarian

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    Chandler and Its FoundingIn the late 1880s, the Arizona Territory was experiencing one of the most severe droughts in its history.  From 1885 to August 1887, rainfall in the Territory  was more than six inches below average.1

    Compounding this problem were ranchers who drove their cattle herds from Texas and New Mexico across Arizona's eastern border.  The starving herds ate what little grass the drought had left.  To deal with this issue, the territorial government passed the Stock and Sanitary Lawin 1887, which created the Livestock Sanitary Board of Arizona and called for the hiring of a Territorial Veterinary Surgeon.

     In 1887, C.M. Bruce and William C. Barnes, sanitary commissioners for the ArizonaTerritorial government, travelled to Washington, D.C. to go to the United States Department of Agriculture.  They met with Dr. Daniel E. Salmon, the Chief of Animal Husbandry to discuss potential candidates for Territorial Veterinarian.  Salmon looked no further than a young Canadian veterinarian in Detroit, Alexander J. Chandler.

    On August 8, 1887, Chandler arrived in Territorial capital Prescott, and was quickly appointted by Governor C. Meyer Zulick as the first Veterinary Surgeon for the Territory of Arizona.

    When Dr. Chandler arrived in Arizona, he found that the lack of rainfall had reduced the amount of range and water needed below what Arizona cattle needed.2 The maurading Texas cattle were threatening the entire Arizona cattle industry. Chandler immediately ordered physical inspections of all cattle crossing into the eastern border of Arizona, effectively putting a stop to the Texas cattlemen's practice of grazing their herds in Arizona.3

    But the drought persisted, and range conditions worsened day after day. Chandler became increasingly discouraged as Arizona cattle continued to die, and within 30 days, Dr. Chandler resigned his position as Territorial Veterinary Surgeon. 

    1. From Stevens, Robert Conway, A History of Chandler, Arizona, University of Arizona Press, 1954, citing "Climatological Record for Phoenix, Arizona," United States Weather Bureau 
    2. Ibid., p. 15  

    3. Arizona Republic, March 30, 1952


    Exhibit Home   02. Dr. Chandler's Arrival in Arizona Territory ► 


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