Chuck Pettis, left, and Fred Hambly, descendants of Peter R. Brady, pose with a painting of their forebear, who came to Tucson in 1854 as one of its earliest Anglo settlers.


Brady Avenue, one of Tucson's smallest streets, is named after a big man in Arizona history.

Peter R. Brady was born in 1825 in Washington, D.C., to Peter A. Brady of Ireland and Anne (Rainesford) Brady of England. Peter A. Brady was a close friend of President Andrew Jackson's.

Brady received his schooling in Washington, after which he was accepted into the naval training center that would become the U.S. Naval Academy. He sailed on the USS Plymouth and the USS Lexington, serving in the Mediterranean. He was discharged in May 1845.

In 1846, he moved to San Antonio and the following year joined the military again during the Mexican-American War.

In 1853, he joined Andrew B. Gray's surveying party, formed to survey a railroad route from Texas to California. The next year, he formed the Arizona Mining & Trading Co. and moved to Tucson as one of its earliest Anglo settlers.

Brady was sheriff in Tucson from 1867 to 1869. In 1873, he bought land and moved to Florence. In 1876, he became sheriff of Pinal County and four years later was named county treasurer. He served three terms in the Arizona Territorial Legislature and in 1897 acted as special agent for the government, obtaining evidence in contrary to the claims of James Peralta-Reavis, the so-called "Baron of Arizona," who attempted to defraud the government of a huge amount of land.

Brady owned a great deal of land and was heavily invested in mining throughout Arizona. He owned half of the old Pima Indian silver mine, called Vekol, near Casa Grande. He also owned a flour mill in Florence and three sizable ranches.

Brady was married twice. His first union was with Juana Mendivil (some sources say Mendibles), a native of Sonora, Mexico, with whom he had four sons. His second marriage was to Maria A. Ochoa, who bore him four more children.

Brady had a street named after him when his friend Thomas Hughes Sr. bought land in 1902 and called the neighborhood McKinley Park, now Barrio Anita.

Editor's note

Each week the Star tells the stories behind Tucson street names. If you have streets to suggest or stories to share, contact writer David Leighton at

Sources: • Special thanks to Chuck and Pat Pettis (descendants of Peter Brady). • Special thanks to Jim Turner, author of "Arizona: A Celebration of the Grand Canyon State." • Interview with Frederick Hambly (descendant of Peter Brady). • The Peter R. Brady Papers - Georgetown University. • James H. McClintock, "Arizona, Prehistoric, Aboriginal, Pioneer, Modern: The Nation's Youngest Commonwealth Within a Land of Ancient Culture," SJ Clarke Publishing, 1916. • "Plaza of Pioneers," Tucson Museum of Art, 1982. • Texas State Historical Society website: • Marriage certificate - Altar, Sonora, Mexico, • Naval Service Records (pension), National Archives, Washington, D.C.