About Ralph Henry Cameron
Ralph Henry Cameron (October 21, 1863 – February 12, 1953) was an American Republican politician, and a delegate and Senator from the state of Arizona. 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.
Ralph Henry Cameron was born in Southport, Lincoln County, Maine on October 21, 1863. At an early age he moved to the Western US and became interested in mining and cattle, expanding an old Havasupai trail into the Bright Angel Trail, a hiking trail in Grand Canyon National Park, for the use of which he charged hikers a large toll to traverse public land. He had a mining claim to the area and claimed that this entitled him to charge for entrance and egress. The government prevented him from continuing the toll practice and he had a running dispute over his many incursions onto Federal land.
He moved to Arizona Territory in 1883, and became Sheriff of Coconino County in 1891 and from 1894 to 1898, as well as the chairman of that county's Board of Supervisors from 1905 to 1907. In 1908, he was elected to the United States Congress as the delegate from Arizona, and he served in that regard until 1912, when Arizona was admitted into the Union as a state.
Cameron was opposed to the Grand Canyon becoming a National Park. He proposed that two hydroelectric dams and one platinum mine be built in the Grand Canyon. Cameron then resumed his mining interests in Phoenix, Arizona for the next 8 years, until he ran and was elected for Senator of Arizona, besting Marcus A. Smith for the title. He served in that position until 1926, when Carl Hayden won the election over him. Cameron was unsuccessful in his attempt to regain the title in 1928, and spent the next 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.