Against the backdrop of Victorian London, a
member of the British aristocracy asks the Qajar emissary to London as to
whether it is true that there are people in Persia who worship the Sun.
Not to be outwitted, the Qajar ambassador quips back at the duchess “I am
not sure about that, but next time the glorious rays of Sun grace the
skies over London on a summer day, lets take a stroll through the city,
and from the number of people sitting on Park benches or on the grass with
their faces fixated towards the Sun and their eyes closed, we can see
where the Sun Worshippers really are.”
Charles D. Poston, 1863[iii]
Several years later, a trans-Atlantic telegram
arrives at the court of Nassir-ul Dinshah Qajar, asking the Shah of Persia
for assistance with funds to be used for building the first Fire temple in
19th century North dedicated to the religion of ancient Iran.
The Qajar king who was more on the take, retorts that religion is no
longer widespread in Iran. Not to be hampered by that rejection, the
originator of that telegram turns to one of the native American tribes in
whose religious practices Sun played a central role. With that source not
panning out either, the man still very determined uses his remaining
wealth towards the construction of a pathway to an existing Apache
structure on an Arizona hills that looks more like an Egyptian Pyramid
that a Zoroastrian Temple. That structure known as Poston Butte still
stands and is accessible from State highway 79 North of Florence,
Some 23 years after his death, the metal
casket containing the remains of Poston was moved and buried at that spot
in Arizona that he seems to have had selected as the site for the first
North American Fire temple. The man behind that initiative was a
significant individual in the history of the US and Arizona. For Charles
D. Poston, known as the father of Arizona, was able to convince president
Abraham Lincoln and the law makers in Washington, D.C. to declare Arizona
a territory in late 1863, and to serve at its first delegate to the US
congress 1864-1865. That initiative paved the way for Arizona becoming the
48th state of the union in 1912. In a true sense, Charles
Poston was a western pioneer, explorer, silver mining entrepreneur,
journalist, and expert at Indian affairs and irrigation.
Poston Visualized the tower ruin of the Apache
structure as a temple where Indians once worshipped a sun god somewhat
akin to the fire temples of Ancient Iran. The idea started after his
travel to the Far East where he came to learn about Zoroastrianism,
the ancient Persian religion that uses fire as a divine symbol. Back in
the US, he started giving speeches and writing articles promoting fire
Debrille Poston's final resting place at the summit of Poston Butte
near Florence, Arizona
Charles Poston was born in Kentucky,
studied law which he practiced in Tennessee until he was lured to
California in 1950 in search of gold. He spent a few years in the Far
East as a part of a US trade delegation, and finally become attached to
Arizona, the Apache land.
With the loss of his first wife and daughter,
his personal fortune on the decline he seems to have turned to ancient
Persian for spiritual inspiration.
His legacy includes three books he wrote and
published in London, Europe in the
Summer-Time (1868), The Sun
Worshipers of Asia (1877), and Apache Land (1878).
This article was posted on 12. 4. 2004.
Until then Arizona was part of State New Mexico.
Picture courtesy of http://www.picturehistory.com/find/p/19050/mcms.html
He seems to have made contact with the Parsis of India who played a
notable role in South-East Asian trade.
Picture courtesy of
information on Poston can be found at various sources including
Arizona Highway, Oct. 2002 issue or at http://home.southwind.net/~crowther/Dibrell/CDP.html