The Baron of Arizona ransomwares Phoenix, builds a fake news family tree
John Marion Sears fell victim to the scams of James Addison Reavis, the Baron of Arizona. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Reavis
The Baron of Arizona
The Peralta Grant, with various counterfeit documents forged by Reavis would have given him ownership of 18,750 square miles of land around Arizona and New Mexico. Quitclaims would sold to current landowners, railroads and banks to get him to forfeit his claim. His fraud includes possibly the first case of using forged petroglyphs, church records, fake news and fake family crests as land claims. When that didn’t work, he married Doña Sophia Micaela Maso Reavis y Peralta de la Córdoba, the third Baroness of Arizona who was moonlighting as a servant in California at the time.
In fact, a photograph showing Dona Maria standing in front of a well decorated rock at zero ground is the earliest picture of the petroglyphs.
This Peralta Grant was a bogus claim based upon counterfeit documents that, if successful, would have given James Addison Reavis ownership a rectangular 18,750 square mile chunk of land 50 miles to the north, 50 miles to the south and 250 miles to the east of the marker, to just west of Silver City, New Mexico. Around 1885, to substantiate his claim, Reavis made a secret midnight ride to the Estrellas from his mansion at Arizola (near Casa Grande) and chiseled out a cedula (certificate) along with a Peralta Coat Of Arms. This was later ‘discovered’ to prove that the grant did, in fact, exist. The claim was examined by the U.S. government and after several years declared fraudulent, but not before Reavis had caused quite a bit of excitement and managed to pocket up a half-million dollars. It is interesting that the proof documents, dating from 1760, specifically name the Sierra Estrellas by name.
Like John M. Sears, James Reavis was also a Missouri native. James Reavis was also a cousin of Elisha Marcus Reavis, the Hermit of the Superstition Mountains.