Confederate Arizona’s Representative

Granville H. “Grant” Oury

When the Confederate Congress convened in Richmond, Virginia, there were delegates from the eleven seceded states plus representatives from Kentucky and Missouri. Yet, seated among these politicians was another gentleman:¬†Granville “Grant” Oury, the representative from Confederate Arizona, duly elected by the pro-Southern citizenry of that territory.

Granville Henderson Oury was born on March 12, 1825 in Abingdon, Virginia but went through most of his schooling in Bowling Green, Missouri where he was admitted to the bar in 1848. That same year he moved to San Antonio, Texas. The call of further westward movement persuaded Oury to decamp for Marysville, California in 1849. Trading in his lawyer duties for the mines he spent the next seven years digging for his future in the ground.

Giving up on that venture he moved again, to Tuscon, Arizona in 1856 and opened up a law practice and was also elected district judge for the New Mexico Territory. His quest for future adventure continued when he survived the filibuster-esque attempt by General Henry A. Crabb of April 1857. He survived as he was part of the relief force that was turned back from reaching Crabb after crossing the Mexican-American border in Sonoroa Province.

The next four years were some of the calmest in Oury’s life as the rest of the country headed toward the sectional crisis that would result in the dissolution of the Union beginning in December 1860. When news reached the territories of Arizona and New Mexico in 1861,the citizens of Tuscon, numbering approximately 600, and represented by 68 influential citizens elected Oury as their representative to the Confederate Congress.

Map of Confederate Arizona as decided by pro-Confederate citizens and leaders

Oury arrived in the Confederate capital in September 1862 and the reception he received was as chilly as the autumn air. He went about his duties fervently and was frequently found on the House floor lobbying for official recognition of the territory. Finally, two months after arrival, in November 1862, the issue was raised on the floor. Texas was the only supporter among the states, even though Confederate President Jefferson Davis also favored recognition. The other states delegates showed lukewarm, at best, consideration.

To add more insult to injury, Oury was still not officially recognized as a representative. He took out his frustrations in a letter to politicians from Texas:

I had thought and hoped that the people of Arizona, loyal and devoted to the South,
would receive that attention which common justice…would naturally accord them. I
find that I have been incorrect in my conclusions. Arizona, fearless of consequences
and acting upon principle, made her stand with the South…and assisted…in driving
the minions of abolitionism from her soil.

He even directed direct some of his irritation at Kentucky and Missouri:

“The same time that we [Confederate Arizona] have been knocking on her
[Confederacy’s] door for admission, the states of Missouri and Kentucky, where
treason to your cause and to your institutions are the strongest elements…have been
received with open arms, while we are neglected and refused.”

General H.H. Sibley

Before the end of the year, Oury was fed up with the life of a politician and resigned. He accepted a position as a captain in an Arizona cavalry company but was quickly tabbed for a staff appointment as colonel on the staff of General Henry Hopkins Sibley, which he would hold until 1864. After a brief sojourn in Mexico, Oury would take the oath of allegiance on On October 8, 1865 at Fort Mason, Texas.

His postwar years was spent in Arizona territorial politics until the late 1870s. In 1878 he ran unsuccessfully for a seat as a Democrat in the House of Representatives. Not to be rebuffed, two years later he did win the seat and held the position until 1885. He was also a delegate to the territory’s Democratic National Convention in 1884 held in Florence, Arizona. At the age of 65, Oury died of throat cancer in Tuscon, Arizona on January 11, 1891 and was laid to rest in the Masonic Cemetery in Florence, Arizona.

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