Ralph H. Cameron

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Ralph H. Cameron
Ralph Henry Cameron.jpg
United States Senator
from Arizona
In office
March 4, 1921 – March 4, 1927
Preceded by Marcus A. Smith
Succeeded by Carl Hayden
Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives from Arizona Territory
In office
1909–1912
Preceded by Marcus A. Smith
Succeeded by Carl T. Hayden
Personal details
Born Ralph Henry Cameron
(1863-10-21)October 21, 1863
Southport, Maine
Died February 12, 1953(1953-02-12) (aged 89)
Washington, D.C.
Nationality American
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Ida May Spaulding (1895-1933) div.
Elizabeth Reese (1935-1973)

Ralph Henry Cameron (October 21, 1863 – February 12, 1953) was an American Republican politician, and a delegate and Senator from the state of Arizona.

Early life and career[edit]

Ralph Henry Cameron was born in Southport, Lincoln County, Maine on October 21, 1863. He moved to Arizona Territory in 1883, where he worked first as a woodsman, then operated a store in Flagstaff. He was active in livestock transactions, mercantile business, and mining. Cameron owned and operated one of Flagstaff's earliest general stores, sold to the Babbitt Brothers in the late 1880s. Cameron was one of the first to realize the advantages of brick and stone in rebuilding the fire-plagued town, and promoted such materials in speeches and editorials.[1]

Political career, Grand Canyon legacy, and opposition to park status[edit]

Cameron played an active role in the formation of Coconino County, separated from Yavapai County in 1891. He served as county sheriff from 1891 to 1892 and from 1894 to 1898. Elected a county supervisor from 1905 to 1907, Cameron served as chairman of that body. From 1909 until 1912, the year Arizona was admitted to the Union, he was a delegate to the 61st and 62nd Congresses. During this time he successfully sponsored a bill to grant land to the Lowell Observatory. His political career culminated in 1920, when he defeated one-term incumbent Marcus A. Smith and was elected to the United States Senate. He served in the Senate for one term (1921 to 1927), and lost his re-election bid to Carl Hayden in 1926.[1]

As an entrepreneur and politician, Ralph Cameron gained national prominence in his efforts to develop private interests in the Grand Canyon and to block designation of that area as a national park.[1] He proposed that two hydroelectric dams and one platinum mine be built in the Grand Canyon.

Cameron expanded an old Havasupai trail into Grand Canyon, operating it as a toll "road." He had mining claims in the area that predated the protection of Grand Canyon as a national monument. Today, the land is part of Grand Canyon National Park; Cameron's trail has been improved and is now known as the Bright Angel Trail.

Later life[edit]

Cameron twice attempted to return to the Senate, but lost an election bid against Henry F. Ashurst in 1928 and another against Carl Hayden in 1932. He spent several years mining in North Carolina, Georgia and California for mica and gold. He then resided in Los Angeles and Yuma, Arizona until his death. He died while on a business trip to Washington, D.C. on February 12, 1953, and is interred in the American Legion Cemetery in Grand Canyon National Park.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Marcus A. Smith
Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives from Arizona Territory
1909–1912
Succeeded by
Statehood Granted
United States Representative for Arizona Carl T. Hayden.
United States Senate
Preceded by
Marcus A. Smith
United States Senator (Class 3) from Arizona
1921–1927
Served alongside: Henry F. Ashurst
Succeeded by
Carl Hayden