The life of A.J. Doran, Part 2

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The Pinal County Courthouse in Doran’s time.

A.J. Doran

The Pinal County Courthouse present day.

Pinal Nugget

After serving his two year term as sheriff, Doran decided to run for Pinal County Supervisor. He was selected as the candidate by the Republican Party. His deputy, J.H. Scanland, was chosen to run for Sheriff. Doran was elected and would serve two terms as chairman of the board. Scanland would lose to Pete Gabriel.

Doran continued to be active in his business ventures which included mining and construction. One of the mines he owned was the Jackrabbit Mine near Casa Grande. He was also partners with F.A. Adams in the construction business. In 1885 they built the school house in Florence and in 1891 they built the Pinal County Court House which still stands today. In 1886 Doran was elected to the Territorial Legislative Assembly as the representative of Pinal County. While running for office theTucson Weekly Citizensaid of him, “Mr. Doran does not make as much noise as some of his opponents, but he saws a whole lot more wood.” He would go on to serve in the legislature off and on until 1896. He was appointed a Lt. Colonel in the Arizona National Guard by Territorial Governor John N. Irwin. He would serve in that position for seven years.

In 1895 he was elected president of the Lower House. He also moved to Yavapai County that year. In October of 1895 he was robbed while riding in a stagecoach at Dry Lake, eight miles from Casa Grande. The year before Doran had also been riding a stage near congress when it was robbed. This time Doran attempted to wrestle the gun away from the Mexican bandit. The Mexican was able to pull his arms free and get the drop on Doran. He threatened to shoot him but did not pull the trigger. After the Mexican was arrested, Doran went to visit him. Years later he helped the bandit get a commutation of his sentence from life to 12 years.

He would become a member of the Arizona Historical Society. In 1896 he was chosen by the Republican Party as their candidate to the United States Congress. He would lose the general election. He would then become less active in politics while handling his many business interests which included a real estate business partnership with the former Governor of Mississippi Ridgley C. Powers.

In 1899 he became the superintendent of the Montgomery Mining Company owners of the Accidental Mine on Lynx Creek. He also had interests in other mines including the Little Jesse mine near Prescott, the Nighthawk mine in Mohave County and the Bulldog mine in the Superstition Mountains.

Doran was selected as the chairman of the board for the Territorial Commission to the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. The board began preparing exhibits for the fair in 1902. Doran was a delegate to the statehood convention representing Mohave County. He fought against the movement for joint statehood with the New Mexico Territory. In 1906 he was elected to the Territorial Legislature as a representative of Yavapai County. Doran helped found the Pioneer Home in Prescott and was named its first superintendent in 1909. He would oversee its construction and grand opening in 1911. To live in the Pioneer Home, you had to be 60 years old and had lived in Arizona for 25 years. Old miners were given preference in the early years. He resigned the position in 1912 to attend to his mining interests. Ironically he would be living in the home in 1918 when he died at the age of 78. His health had been deteriorating for a few years after he had been seriously injured in an automobile accident in Los Angeles. He was buried in Prescott’s Pioneer Home Cemetery.

The newspapers called him the Prince of the Hassayampers.The Weekly Journal Minerin Prescott said of him, “Arizona has lost one of its strongest men, one of her ablest citizens and one of her staunchest industrial builders in Major A.J. Doran.”

John Hernandez (436 Posts)

John Hernandez lives in Oracle. He is retired and enjoys writing and traveling. He is active in the Oracle Historical Society. He covers numerous public events, researches historical features and writes business/artist profiles.


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