In 1856, a Muslim Syrian of Greek origin named Hajji Ali was hired by the U.S. military to open a camel route from Fort Defiance, New Mexico and Fort Mohave in Western Arizona to California. Dubbed “Hi Jolly” by U.S. soldiers, Ali went on to work as a prospector and then a scout for the U.S. Calvary. He eventually settled in Quartzsite, Arizona where a monument still stands in honor of his service. His memory lives on in everything from children’s books written at the turn of the century, to the country ballad “Hi Jolly” written in 1963 by Randy Sparks.
On his way from Holtville to El Centro California in 1923, a Muslim Arizonan named Mir Alam found a bundle of traveler’s checks worth $50 (a sizeable sum in 1923). Instead of taking them for himself, he returned the checks to the bank they were issued from. When asked why he returned them Alam reportedly remarked, “I believe in being square with every son of a gun in the world.”
In 1893, a case of Indian embroideries was installed in Phoenix’s Women’s building. The embroideries were the work of Muslim women from Guntar India, sold to the Women’s Building for their profit. The Arizona Republican described the embroideries as “very beautiful”.