1915 History of Arizona
History of Arizona, by Thomas E. Farish, published in 1915consisted of eight volumes. One chapter from Volume 1 is provided here.
EARLY MINES AND MINING.
CHAPTER XVII. [Page 277]
Exploring parties sent out by the Government, particularly those along the
southern part of what is now Arizona, gave some attention in a casual way to
the mineral resources of the country, and these reports reaching San
Francisco, probably much magnified, gave rise to the organization of the
first exploring party sent into what is now Arizona. Some time in the latter
part of the year 1854, a company was formed by Major B. Allen, J. D. Wilson,
William Blanding, A. S. Wright, and others, which was known as the Arizona
Mining & Trading Company, under the direction of E. E. Dunbar. The
expedition was outfitted in Los Angeles in October, 1854, and started,
twenty men strong, for Fort Yuma. The names of these men, as far as is at
present known, were E. E. Dunbar, McElroy, F. Rondstadt, P. Brady, G.
Kibbers, George Williams, Joe Yancy, Dr. Webster, Porter, Charles Hayward,
Bendel, Cook, and one other. Taking the road by Tinaja Alta, they heard of
the Ajo copper mines, about 90 miles south of east of Yuma. There they left
six men to hold possession as best they could. The remainder continued to
prospect the Arizona mountains for the celebrated silver mine known as the
Planchas de la Plata, that had been abandoned by the Mexicans, of which it
is stated, in Ward's Mexico, that a piece of native silver of 2700 pounds
had been taken out by the Spaniards. After several months of continued
search, this mine was discovered. They found first a piece of pure silver of
about four ounces and a few days thereafter a piece of nineteen pounds was
taken out of old shallow diggings, overgrown by stout oak trees. About this
time the party at the Ajo copper mine was attacked early in the morning by a
company of Mexican soldiers, headed by the Prefect and other authorities,
who demanded the delivery of the mine, as owned by the Mexicans. The
boundary line under the Gadsden purchase had not yet been established, and
the Mexican threatened to take the mine by force if it was not surrendered
within two hours. Mr. Hay ward's spirited answer to them was: "We don't
think of surrendering; if you want to fight, let us begin before the sun
gets hot," and this settled the question. The troops retired to the Presidio
del Altar, Sonora, just in time to receive the news of the discovery of the
long lost Planchas de la Plata by the rest of the American party. The
Mexicans immediately ordered the Americans to leave the country, and they,
being well aware that they were on Mexican territory, thought it prudent to
The Ajo mine was worked continuously from 1855, and the first shipment from it was of exceedingly rich ore, which was made to San Francisco in 1856, by the Arizona Mining and Trading Company.
In 1856 a Mexican from San Francisco organized an outfit to work the mines near Tucson. He first worked a copper mine about thirty-five miles west from there, and then a silver mine near San Xavier del Bac. The entire party, after much delay, arrived at Yuma, and was afterwards lost with man and beast, in the territory between Maricopa Wells and the copper mine. Only one, a man by the name of Cook, escaped. This crippled the enterprise so that it came to a standstill.
About this time, Mr. Herman Ehrenberg, whose name is linked with the early history of Arizona, and who had been, for some time, prospecting along the Gila and in Sonora, formed in New York the Sonora Exploring and Mining Company, of which Samuel Colt, of Hartford, William T. Coleman, Chas. D. Poston, and Major Hartley were directors. This company, of which Major Heintzelman was president, is said to have received $100,000 from the Texas and Pacific Railroad Company for the opening up of mines in Arizona. The representatives of the company arrived, with Mr. Poston, as manager, Ehrenberg and Brunkow, as mining engineers, in Arizona, in 1857, and took up headquarters in the deserted town of Tubac, which had been evacuated by the Mexican troops, leaving the quarters in a fair state of preservation, minus doors and windows, which they hauled away.
The Presidio of Tubac was about ten leagues south of the mission church of San Xavier del Bac, on the Santa Cruz River, on the main road to Sonora and Mexico. The forests of the Santa Eita Mountains were invaded and pine lumber sawed out with whip saws, to furnish material for doors, windows, tables, chairs, bedsteads, and such other necessary articles of furniture as might be required in their bachelor housekeeping quarters. The quarters would accommodate about three hundred men, and the corrals were sufficient for all the animals necessary for the settlement. The old quartel was used as a storehouse, and the tower, of which three stories remained, was used as a lookout. The Santa Cruz River rolled by the eastern side of the Presidio, and fuel and grass were abundant throughout the valley and on the mountain sides. It was about a hundred leagues to Guaymas, the seaport on the Gulf of California, where European merchandise could be obtained, there being no frontier customhouses at that time to interfere with free importation of supplies.
The headquarters of the company, in the autumn of 1856, were made comfortable, a store of provisions was laid in for the winter, and the exploration of the company for mines was ready to begin. "The mines in the Santa Rita mountains had," says Col. Poston, “been previously worked by the Spaniards and Mexicans, as was evident by the ruins of arrastres and smelters. Gold could be washed on the mountain sides, and silver veins could be traced by the discolored grass."
When it became known in Mexico that an American company had arrived in Tubac, Mexicans came in great numbers to find employment, and skilled miners were obtained at from fifteen to twenty-five dollars a month and rations. Flour, beef, beans, sugar, barley, com and vegetables, were imported from Sonora at moderate prices. Many Mexicans, formerly soldiers of the Presidio of Tubac, had holdings of land in the valley and returned with their families to cultivate their “milpas." By the first of January following, an unofficial census of the valley of the Santa Cruz, in the vicinity of Tubac, showed a population of about a thousand souls. Col. Poston says:
"We had no law but love, and no occupation but labor. No government, no taxes, no public debt, no politics. It was a community in a perfect state of nature. As 'syndic' under New Mexico, I opened a book of records, performed the marriage ceremony, baptized children and granted divorces.
“Sonora has always been famous for the beauty and gracefulness of its senoritas. The civil wars in Mexico, and the exodus of the male population from Northern Mexico to California had disturbed the equilibrium of population, till in some pueblos the disproportion was as great as a dozen females to one male ; and in the genial climate of Sonora, this anomalous condition of society w^as unendurable. Consequently the senoritas and grass widows sought the American camp on the Santa Cruz River. When they could get transportation in wagons hauling provisions, they came in state; others came in on the hurricane decks of burros, and many came on foot. All were provided for.
"The Mexican senoritas really had a refining influence on the frontier population. Many of them had been educated at convents, and all of them were good Catholics. They called the American men *Los God-dammes' and the American women 'Las Camisas-Colorados.' If there is anything that a Mexican woman despises it is a red petticoat. They are exceedingly dainty in their underclothing — wear the finest linen they can afford; and spend half their lives over the washing machine. The men of Northern Mexico are far inferior to the women in every respect.
“This accretion of female population added very much to the charms of frontier society. The Mexican women were not by any means useless appendages in camp. They could keep house, cook some dainty dishes, wash clothes, sew, dance and sing. Moreover, they were expert at cards, and divested many a miner of his week's wages over a game of monte.
“As Alcalde of Tubac, under the government of New Mexico, I was legally authorized to celebrate the rites of matrimony, baptize children, grant divorces, execute criminals, declare war, and perform all the functions of the ancient El Cadi. The records of this primitive period are on file in the Recorder's office of the Pueblo of Tucson, Pima County.
"Tubac became a sort of Gretna Green for runaway couples from Sonora, as the priest there charged them twenty-five dollars, and the Alcalde of Tubac tied the knot gratis, and gave them a treat besides.
"I had been marrying people and baptizing children at Tubac for a year or two, and had a good many godchildren named Carlos or Carlotta, according to gender, and began to feel quite patriarchial, when Bishop Lane sent down Father Mashboef (Vicar Apostolic) of New Mexico, to look after the spiritual condition of the Arizona people.
"It required all the sheets and tablecloths of the establishment to fix up a confessional room, and we had to wait until noon for the blessing at breakfast; but worse than all that, my comrades, who used to embrace me with such affection, went away with their rebosas over their heads without even a friendly salute.
"It was 'muy triste' in Tubac, and I began to feel the effects of the ban of the Church, when one day after breakfast, Father Mashboef took me by the arm (a man always takes you by the arm w^hen he has anything unpleasant to say), and said:
" 'My young friend, I appreciate all you have been tr3dng to do for these people, but these marriages you have celebrated are not good in the eyes of God. '
“I knew there would be a riot on the Santa Cruz if this ban could not be lifted. The women were sulky, and the men commenced cursing and. swearing, and said they thought they were entitled to all the rights of matrimony.
"My strong defense was that I had not charged any of them anything, and had given them a marriage certificate with a seal on it, made out of a Mexican dollar, and had given a treat and fired off the anvil. Still, although the Pope of Rome was beyond the jurisdiction of even the Alcalde of Tubac, I could not see the way open for a restoration of happiness.
''At last I arranged with Father Mashboef to give the sanction of the Church to the marriages and legitimize the little Carloses and Carlottas with holy water, and it cost the company about $700 to rectify the matrimonial situation on the Santa Cruz.
“An idea that it was lonesome at Tubac would be incorrect. One can never be lonesome who is useful, and it was considered at the time that the opening of mines which yielded nothing before, the cultivation of land which lay fallow, the employment of labor which was idle, and the development of a new country, were meritorious undertakings.
"The table at Tubac was generously supplied with the best the market afforded, besides venison, antelope, turkeys, bear, quail, wild ducks, and other game, and we obtained through Guaymas a reasonable supply of French wines for Sunday dinners and the celebration of feast days.
"It is astonishing how rapidly the development of mines increases conmerce. We had scarcely commenced to make silver bars, — 'current with the merchant' — when the plaza of Tubac presented a picturesque scene of primitive commerce. Pack trains arrived from Mexico, loaded T\ith all kinds of provisions. The rule was to purchase everything they brought, whether we wanted it or not. They were quite willing to take in exchange silver bars or American merchandise. Sometimes they preferred American merchandise. Whether they paid duties in Mexico was none of our business. We were essentially free traders.
"The winter was mild and charming, very little snow, and only frost enough to purify the atmosphere. It would be difficult to find in any comitry of the world, so near the sea, such prolific valleys fenced in by mountains teeming with minerals. The natural elements of prosperity seem concentrated in profusion seldom found. In our primitive simplicity we reasoned that if we could take ore from the mountains and reduce it to gold and silver with which to pay for labor and purchase the productions of the valleys, a community could be established in the country independent of foreign resources. The result will show the success or failure of this Utopian scheme.
"The usual routine at Tubac, in addition to the regular business of distributing supplies to the mining camps, was chocolate or strong coffee the first thing in the morning, breakfast at sunrise, dinner at noon, and supper at sunset.
"Sunday was the day of days at Tubac, as the superintendents came in from the mining camps to spend the day, and take dinner, returning in the afternoon. One Sunday we had a fat wild turkey, weighing about twenty-five pounds, and one of my engineers asked permission to assist in the cocina. It was done to a charm, and stuffed with pine nuts, which gave it a fine flavor.
“As we had plenty of horses and saddles, a gallop to the old mission of San Jose de Tumacacori, one league south on the Santa Cruz River, afforded exercise and diversion for the ladies, especially of a Sunday afternoon. The old mission was rapidly going to ruin, but the records showed that it formerly supported a population of 3,500 people, from cultivation of the rich lands in the valley, grazing cattle, and working the silver mines. The Santa Cruz Valley had been and could apparently again be made an earthly paradise. Many fruit trees yet remained in the gardens of the old mission church, and the 'Camp Santo' walls were in a perfect state of preservation.
“The communal system of the Latin races was well adapted to this country of oases and detached valleys. Caesar knew nearly as much about the government machine as the sachem of Tammany Hall, or a governor in Mexico. At least, he enriched himself. In countries requiring irrigation, the communal system of distributing water has been found to produce the greatest good for the greatest number. The plan of a government granting water to corporations, to be sold as a monopoly, is an atrocity against nature; and no deserving people will for long submit to it. The question wall soon come up whether the government has any more right to sell the water than the air.
"In the spring of 1857 a garden containing about two acres was prepared at Tubac, and irrigated by a canal from the Santa Cruz River. By the industry of a German gardener, with two Mexican assistants, we soon produced all the vegetables, melons, etc., that we required, and many a weary traveler remembers, or ought to remember, the hospitality of Tubac. We were never a week without some company and sometimes had more than we required; but nobody was ever charged anything for entertainment, horse-shoeing, and fresh supplies for the road. Hospitality is a savage virtue, and disappears with civilization.”
The ore in the Santa Rita Mountains proved to be too low grade to be profitably worked at that time, so the explorers turned their attention to the west side of the Santa Cruz River, and soon a vein of silver copper glance, called by the Mexicans “petanque" was discovered that yielded from the grass roots seven thousand dollars a ton. This mine was afterwards named in honor of the president of the company, "Heintzelman," which, in German mining lore, is said to be the name of the genius who presides over mines.
The products of the mine, after smelting, which contained about fifty per cent of silver, were shipped to San Francisco, via Guaymas, where the silver was sold at from 125 to 132 cents per ounce for the Asiatic market.
Silver bullion being rather too weighty for purposes of exchange, the company adopted the Mexican system of “boletas.” Engravings were made in New York and paper money printed on pasteboard about two inches by three, in small denominations, twelve and one-half cents, twenty-five cents, fifty cents, one dollar, five dollars, and ten dollars. Each boleta had a picture by which the illiterate could ascertain its denomination, viz.: twelve and one-half cents a pig; twenty-five cents, a calf; fifty cents, a rooster; one dollar, a horse; five dollars, a bull; ten dollars, a lion. With these boletas the hands were paid off every Saturday, and they were taken as currency at the stores, and among the merchants in the country and in Mexico. When a run of silver was made, anyone holding tickets could have them redeemed in silver bars, or in exchange on San Francisco. This primitive system of flat money had an excellent effect. Everybody holding these boletas was interested in the success of the mines, and the entire community was dependent for its prosperity upon that of the company. They were all redeemed and retired from circulation.
In the autunm of 1857 a detachment of the First Dragoons arrived in the Santa Cruz Valley, and established Fort Buchanan. The officers were Colonel Blake, Major Stein and Captain Ewell. Coincident with the arrival of the military on the Santa Cruz was the arrival of a citizens' train of wagons laden with supplies — twelve wagons with twelve mules each — belonging to Santiago Hubbell, of New Mexico. These wagons took back a return freight of ores from the Heintzelman mine to the steamboat landing at Kansas City, for which they were paid twelve and a half cents a pound. The ores were in rawhide bags, and a ton to the wagon. This was the first shipment of ore from this part of what is now Arizona, and was a very long haul for mule teams. On their arrival in the States, they were distributed to different cities for examination and assay, and gave Arizona its first reputation as a producer of minerals. The average was $1500 per ton in silver, besides a good deal of copper.
The first mining machinery brought into Arizona was by this company.
Sylvester Mowry, in his address before the Geographical Society, in 1859, said:
“The Heintzelman Mine — so called after the president of the company — bids fair to become more famous than any of the great mines of Old Mexico. From a late letter it is claimed that the ores thus far smelted yield the astonishing average of $950 per ton. I saw this mine in September of last year. About two hundred tons of the ore had already been extracted, and the yield from one small furnace was about one thousand ounces per week. At a cost of $39,000 the company have brought from. San Francisco and erected amalgamating works, from which they expect to obtain $3,000 per day— a million a year. This mine has the most extraordinary reputation throughout Sonora. I found, in traveling through the state, that almost every shop-, keeper knew the value of the ore. It was obtained from the miners, who had stolen and sold or exchanged it for goods."
The reduction works of the Heintzelman mine were located on the Arivaca ranch, eight miles distant from the mine, and connected with it by an excellent road. The process used was the European barrel amalgamation for argentiferous copper ores, and was introduced by Mr. Kustel, a German metallurgist, about the year 1859. About one and a half tons per day was reduced. Six dry stamps, a steam arrastra, one reverberatory roasting furnace, four barrels, a retort, and one refining furnace, together with a ten horse-power engine, constituted the works. This was the first time where the ban-el process for the treatment of argentiferous ores was used in the United States, and, being experimental, was far from perfect. Lieutenant Mowry, in his "Arizona and Sonora," page 167, says:
“From the results obtained in 1859 on 160 tons of amalgamated ore, it appears that about $24,000 worth of silver was produced. The loss of quicksilver equaled one pound (one dollar) for every forty dollars of silver extracted. The consumption of copper was 1480 pounds; of salt, 32,000 pounds, and of wood, 300 cords. The production of silver at the Heintzelman mine is estimated at over $100,000 (not including large amounts of ore stolen and worked in Sonora)."
Besides these there were many other mines and prospects being worked in that vicinity. Tubac became one of the most prosperous towns in the territory, with a mixed population of four or five hundred, with handsome residences, storerooms, gardens and fields, and other evidences of civilized life. At Santa Rita, Sopori, and Arivaca, reduction works were employed, and a great deal of bullion was taken out. The ores were rich, easily reduced, and notwithstanding the frequent raids of the Apaches, the work of development went steadily forward until the breaking out of the civil war, when the garrisons stationed in the country were withdrawn, and the population left to the mercy of the Apaches and marauding Mexicans, who, believing that the Government of the United States was broken up, crossed the border and carried off what the Apaches did not destroy. Harassed by outlaws and exposed to constant attack from the Apaches, the mining camps were abandoned. “Tubac was reduced to a mass of blackened adobe walls, and in a few short months heaps of desolate ruins were all that was left of the prosperous mining camps of southern Arizona.”
Col. Poston says: “After the abandonment of the Territory by the United States troops, armed Mexicans in considerable numbers crossed the boundary line, declaring that the American Government was broken up, and they had come to take their country back again. Even the few Americans left in the country were not at peace among themselves — the chances were that if you met in the road it was to draw arms, and declare whether you were for the North or the South.
"The Mexicans at the mines assassinated all the white men there when they were asleep, looted the place, and fled across the boundary line to Mexico. The smoke of burning wheat fields could be seen up and down the Santa Cruz Valley, where the troops were in retreat, destroying everything before and behind them. The Government of the United States abandoned the first settlers of Arizona to the merciless Apache. It was impossible to remain in the country and continue the business without animals for transportation, so there was nothing to be done but to pack our portable property on the few animals we kept in the stables and strike out across the desert for California.
“With only one companion, Professor Pumpelly, and a faithful negro and some friendly Indians for packers, we made the journey to Yuma by the Fourth of July, where we first heard of the Battle of Bull Run. Another journey took us across the Colorado desert to Los Angeles, and thence we went by steamer to San Francisco, and thence via Panama to New York.
"It was sad to leave the country that had cost so much money and blood, in ruins, but it seemed to be inevitable. The plant of the company at this time, in machinery, material, tools, provisions, animals, wagons, etc., amounted to considerably over a million dollars, but the greatest blow was the destruction of our hopes, — not so much of making money as of making a country. Of all the lonesome sounds that I remember (and it seems ludicrous now) , most distinct is the crowing of cocks on the deserted ranches. The very chickens seem to know they were abandoned."
Another of the early famous mines located in what is now the State of Arizona was the Patagonia, afterwards called the Mowry mine. It was located in the southern spurs of the Patagonia Mountains, seventy-five miles from Tucson, and three or four miles north of the Sonora line. It was discovered in 1857 by a Mexican herder, who sold it to Captain Ewell (afterwards General Ewell of the Confederate Army) and Messrs. Brevoort, Douglass, and Johnson, who c:ave the Mexican a pony and some other traps for the location. In 1859 Colonel Titus and Brevoort became the owners by purchase, and in 1860 they sold it to Lieutenant Mowry for $25,000. Lieutenant Mowry associated other parties with him, erected buildings, furnaces, machinery, etc., and worked the mine successfully until 1862, when he was arrested by order of General Carleton, who was then in command of the Union forces in the territory, was taken to San Francisco, but was never tried on the charge of disloyalty preferred by General Carleton. There was much indignation among the people of the territory against General Carleton for the arrest of Lieutenant Mowry, and it was then charged, and is yet, that the arrest was without cause, and made on account of previous jealousies and ill feelings between Carleton and Mowry when they were in the service in former years. Be this so or not, the result of the arrest of Mowry was the ruin of all his hopes of fortune and affluence. After his release, he went to London for the purpose of selling his mine, and was taken sick and died in poverty. After the death of Mowry, his heirs, who resided in the Eastern States, being either ignorant of the mining laws, or too poor to fulfill the requirements, neglected to maintain their title, and in the year 1875 the property was relocated by Tucson parties.
While in the possession of the property, Lieutenant Mowry developed and worked it quite extensively, expending about $200,000 in the work, and, although the process used by him was not the most economical, or the one best suited to the treatment of the ore, the prices obtained by him showed a net profit of over $100 per ton.
It is significant that although Lieutenant Mowry was arrested and confined in Fort Yuma for a period of some four months, he was never brought to trial, and no evidence was adduced against him, and at the end of his confinement in Fort Yuma he was unconditionally released. His property was not, however, immediately restored to him, and there may be some truth in his charges, made in an open letter to the New York World, and published April 25th, 1864, which are as follows:
"Nearly two years ago the Mowry Silver Mines in Arizona were seized by a Brigadier-General, whose name shall not disgrace this letter, and a marshal of the United States, in the name of the United States. The mines were then producing about $700 per day; in a few weeks they would have been producing $1500 per day, and by the close of the year double that sum.
"By a nice little arrangement between the brigadier-general and the marshal aforesaid, the mines were leased to a third party in the name of the government for $100 per month. Net result to the government: $100 per month, paid by the mine, and charged by the marshal for traveling expenses. Result to the brigadier-general and marshal: several thousand dollars per month. The worst of the matter is yet to come. No improvements have been made at the mines to increase their product; and instead of their producing, as they can and ought, $5,000 per day, they produce no more than they did two years ago; and this will always be the case if the government attempts to work the mines on its own account.”
Such was the encouragement given by the government of the United States to the pioneer miners in the western territory which had been acquired from Mexico under the Gadsden purchase.
Bancroft says the Mission Fathers never did any mining in Arizona. Hamilton and others claim to the contrary. The following, in reference to the first placer mining in the State of Arizona is taken from Elliott's History of Arizona, 1884:
"But there is evidence of still earlier discoveries and extensive workings. * * * Xo the north of the Quijotoa Mountains about six miles, there is an area of about three miles square, more or less, of placer ground, which has been extensively worked (from the most reliable authority) as early as 1774, by Padre Lopez, a Castilian priest, and up to 1849, when the gold excitement of California caused many to leave for the north, the remainder returning to Lower California, whence they had come. The workings of the placer are remarkable. The most of the ground is a perfect honeycomb of working shafts from five to twenty feet deep, covering the gold field — so close together that it is almost impossible to ride over the ground without danger. These shafts or pits are connected by underground workings, from which the gold was evidently taken. The deepest shafts are those furthest removed from the base of the mountain. Some of the dumps of the deep workings are very large, and have been found rich enough to work with profit, as the methods used by ancient gold miners of that region were so crude and primitive that none but the coarse gold was taken. Several parties now working on the dumps are making from $3.00 to $5.00 per day."
Gold placers were discovered on the Gila at what was called Gila City, in 1858, by Jacob Sniveley. Sniveley was Sam Houston's secretary when Houston was President of the Lone Star Republic; and commanded a force of two or three hundred men which Texas sent out to operate against the Mexicans on the Santa Fe Trail. This force was captured by the American military authorities and disbanded. Sniveley came to Arizona somewhere about the year 1857. He was a Pennsylvanian by birth, and was killed by the Indians, as will be seen later in this history.
Sylvester Mowry, in speaking of these placers at the time he visited them in 1859, says :
"The facts in reference to the present condition of the Gila gold mines in Arizona are simply these: At a point on the Gila River, about twenty miles from its junction with the Colorado, and in a succession of sand hills gold was discovered in September, 1858. The emigrants who were still on their way stopped, and, the news reaching California, others came in. I visited the gold mines early in November, and found about one hundred men and several families. A town called Gila City had been already laid out, and temporary houses of brush and adobe were in the course of erection. I examined carefully for myself, and found that several men could afford to pay laborers three dollars per day and their board to work for them. I saw more than twenty dollars washed out of eight shovelsful of dirt, and this in the crudest manner, and by an unpracticed hand. I saw several men whom I knew well would not have been there had they not been doing well, who told me they had made from $30 to $125 per day each. I purchased about $300 in gold dust out of a lot of more than $2000. A portion of this dust is here, if anyone is curious enough to wish to see it. Several hundred men have gone into the mines since I left Arizona. My letters give me no reason to suppose the mines have given out or show any signs of failure."
Pauline Weaver, the old guide and frontiersman, discovered the placers at La Paz, on the Colorado River, about the year 1861. He washed out a little of the dirt in a pan, and, not knowing what it was, took it to Yuma and showed it to Jose M. Redondo, who declared it to be gold. Soon thereafter a thriving settlement was established there, with, Hamilton says, a population of about two thousand souls. These placers have long been worked out.
In 1862, Pauline Weaver, Peeples and Jack Swilling discovered what is known as Weaver Diggings, near Stanton, which was found only by an accident. On the top of a high mountain, flat on the surface, were discovered the richest placers ever found in the State. One of the parties having lost an animal, which had strayed upon this table mountain, went in search of it, and discovered coarse gold. The ground was immediately staked out and worked, and yielded, it is said, within a small area, something over a million dollars. Weaver Creek is still worked to some extent.
In 1861 the Walker party was organized in California for mining explorations in Arizona; after a long and severe trip they arrived in Prescott, and began placer mining on Granite Creek and other creeks adjacent to the present town of Prescott. The area of these placers was quite extensive, extending to Turkey Creek and to the Big Bug District. There was a great deal of gold taken from these placers. The full account of this expedition will be given farther along in this history.
Henry Wickenburg discovered what is known as the Vulture Mine in 1863, and probably the most authentic account of this discovery is given in the Prescott Miner of June 6, 1868. This account was written by a correspondent of the Florida Press at Wickenburg from the story as told by Henry Wickenburg himself, and is as follows:
“He (Wickenburg) came in with Bloomfield in 1863, and with another companion. He left that gold seeker in a few weeks. The two men spent long months hunting for gold through the mountains. Wickenburg's companion at length became sick and weary and stayed in camp while Wickenburg prospected the hills. One hot day Wickenburg, weary and faint, sat down on a hill 15 miles from the Hassayampa, the nearest water. His spirits were all but broken and his money spent. He was attracted by the appearance of the country, and on examining it, he found his resting-place to be the croppings of a gold-bearing quartz lode, unequaled in these mountains famous for their mines. Wickenburg returned to his companion, who would not credit his story. At last they parted; the one to return with Wickenburg's crazy story, Wickenburg to remain, mining his treasure. Here, far from white men, surrounded by hostile Indians, with none but his wife to give him food, Wickenburg remained for seven months, his faith increasing in his discoveries. White men came at last, and found that Wickenburg was right. The mine was taken up, and a shrewd miner, Mr. Phillips, of New York, hurried out, and Henry Wickenburg sold his discovery, except one-fifth, which he holds, for $85,000.00. Wickenburg, through sharpers and bad investments, has lost the greater part of his fortune, but he has enough in reserve.”
In regard to the story of Wickenburg and his discovery of the Vulture Mine, the editor of the Miner saw fit to add a note as follows:
“The above, as far as we know, is correct, with the exception of the wife part. That is news to most of Wickenburg's acquaintances here. The imaginative mind of the writer blundered up that part of it to be sure, as we know Henry to be virtuous."
Reports concerning these discoveries of gold in Arizona which were, no doubt, greatly magnified and exaggerated the farther they were carried, probably induced Congress to organize the Territory of Arizona, as the Government, at that time, was much in need of gold.