James Pinkerton McAllister

Cochise County Treasurer 1889-1892

James Pinkerton McAllister was born in Londonderry County, Ireland on August 25, 1842, the son of John McAllister and Elizabeth Pinkerton. His father died when Mr. McAllister was an infant and he lost his mother when he was only 10 years old. James attended the National School of Ireland until age 15, then sailed to America in February 1857.

His work experience included working on a farm in New York for a year, on a riverboat in Pittsburgh and joining the Pittsburgh Fire Department as a driver. He then headed to San Francisco in 1860, where he was lured not by the gold of California, but by the curiosity to gaze upon the giant redwood “Big Trees.” After mining for several years in California, James began a journey by foot of two hundred miles over snow-clad mountains to Nevada.  He swam across the ice-cold Stanislaus River, wore snowshoes, slept in a buffalo robe and finally arrived at Virginia City, Storey County, Nevada, where he apprenticed himself to the Fulton Foundry. For nineteen years he worked with Fulton, advancing to general manager. During his time in Nevada, he was naturalized; married his wife, Elizabeth on June 4, 1873; and fathered three children – Lillian Jane McAllister, Franklin Allister McAllister and Anna Elizabeth McAllister. In June 1892, Miss Lillian McAllister graduated from Tempe Normal School now Arizona State University.

James relocated his family to Tombstone in 1882, purchased a plant and began the operation of the Tombstone Foundry and Machine Shop. He served on the Tombstone School Board, was elected to the Cochise County Board of Supervisors 1885-1886 and was elected to serve as Treasurer 1889-1892.  In 1891, he had a fruit farm in Phoenix.

In late 1893 McAllister moved to California and became a successful businessman owning McAllister Iron Works of Los Angeles. Treasurer McAllister died May 1914, following an operation for appendicitis.

Treasurer’s office photo