American Z-Men: Charles Poston

American Z-Men: I
by Dr. Stephen Flowers

Charles Debrille Poston (1825-1902) is called the Father of Arizona. He was a Kentucky lawyer who went out to the west to mine for silver and had a mining operation in Tubac in the Arizona Territory from 1853 to 1861. He ruled the town like an emperor, printed his own money and said of the community: “We had no law but love and no occupation but labor. No government, no taxes, no politics.” Following the Civil War he went abroad and worked in government posts in Asia. While in India he learned of the Parsees and became a devotee of their ideas. He wrote two books on them “The Parsees” (1872) and “The Sun Worshippers of Asia” (1877). Poston was a tireless promoter of Arizona and helped get it recognition which led to its eventual statehood. For this reason he is called “The Father of Arizona.” He maintained good relations with the Apaches and promoted their interests as well. From 1877 to 1879 he held a post at Florence in Arizona. There he found a place called Pimrose Hill and dreamed of building a Zoroastrian Temple to the Sun on its summit. The hill was topped with a blue and white flag of his design bearing a red sun. He began building and even appealed to the Shah of Iran for help. Funds ran out and he began to decline in productivity. He held a variety of civil posts during the latter part of his life and slipped into obscurity. Toward the end of his life he was recognized and given a pension. His dying wish was to be buried on his beloved Pimrose Hill. Upon his death he was buried in a pauper’s grave in Phoenix. In 1925 the governor of Arizona had his remains taken to Pimrose Hill and there he was interred beneath a native stone pyramid. The hill was renamed “Poston Butte.”

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