James Reavis, part 1

James Reavis was a failed real estate investor, but he had a knack for document forgery. And if you lose all the land you own legally, why not acquire some more with the help of a few doctored papers?

Featured image: James Addison Reavis in 1900. He didn’t grow the impressive sideburns until a bit later than the events we covered in today’s episode. (Image source)

File:Map of Peralta land grant.jpg

A map of the land Reavis claimed was covered by the Peralta grant.

File:Cover of 1748 Peralta grant cedula.jpg

The cover of a royal decree that Reavis used in his scam. (Image source)

File:Peralta grant document 2.jpg

A piece of paper forged by Reavis and inserted into the decree to make it look like the Spanish monarchy was granting land to the Peralta family. (Image source)

File:Bird's eye view of Phoenix Maricopa Co. Arizona, view looking north-east - sketched by C. J. Dyer, Phoenix, A.T. ; W. Byrnes, litho. S.F. LCCN2003666404.jpg

A bird’s eye view of Phoenix, Arizona in 1885. It was a much smaller city then than it is now, but still well worth stealing. (Image source)

File:1893 Poor's Southern Pacific Company Pacific System.jpgFile:1893 Poor's Southern Pacific Company Atlantic System.jpg

Maps of the Southern Pacific Transportation Company’s rail system in 1893. As you can see from that single line running through southern Arizona, being able to build tracks in that stretch of desert was vitally important for a rail company that needed to connect its Atlantic and Pacific systems. (Image sources: 1, 2)


About James Reavis

Other information covered in this episode