University of Arizona

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Records of the Cotton Land Company


The Cotton Land Company was incorporated on December 20, 1909 in Arizona Territory for a term of 25 years. The nature of the charter of the land company from Mohave County was to purchase and acquire lands to own, manage, improve, subdivide, sell and dispose, as well as any subsidiary business needed to achieve those ends. The 1914 overflow of the Colorado River destroyed the levee system which had been under construction by the company at that time, thus halting the development plans for the lands. From 1915 until 1939 the land was either rented to private individuals for farming or used by the company for cattle raising. Thereafter, the company held the lands pending the probate of certain estates, and then distributed the holdings to the stockholders.


Contains official records of the Cotton Land Company, and the Cotton Water and Irrigation Company, 1909-1970, relating to land development and water rights to company lands located in Mohave County, Arizona, on the east side of the Colorado River. Includes articles of incorporation, minutes, stockbooks, correspondence, maps, legal and financial documents, and photographs documenting the activities of the companies, especially in the periods between 1910-1930 and 1945-1965.

The bulk of documents in this collection relate to the history and activities of the Cotton Land Company, especially in regard to the leasing of lands, and litigation on various estate and contractual matters. The General files contain the official records of the two companies, as well as topical files relating to everyday business and the final distribution of assets as well as leases and subleases. 

The Litigation files involve claims between the company and the United States of America, John R. Mahoney, Hubert Merryweather, Bermuda Plantations, and others. The Indians files include correspondence about leases and exchanges of lands with the Colorado River and Mohave Indians during the 1930s and 1940s. 

The Taxes files contain various correspondence and forms for corporate income reporting, while the Title files contain abstract of title to land patents, deeds, and accretions involving proper-ties of the company and the Santa Fe Pacific Railroad Company. The Water Rights files include a report by C.P. Vetter on the effects of the constant rise of the Colorado River bed in the vicinity of Needles, and documents relating to the acquisition, leasing, and ownership of Colorado River water by the company.