CHAPTER XII. EARLY PIONEERS AND SETTLERS (Continued)
J. W. (Jack) Swilling—Lieutenant in Confederate Army—Member of Walker Party—Discovers Rich Hill—Built First Canal from Salt River—The Town Ditch—One of Founders of Phoenix—Built Tempe Canal—Discovers Other Mines—Accused of Holding Up Wickenburg Stage—Arrested and Confined in Yuma Prison—Dies in Prison—His Statement—Samuel C. Miller—Member of Walker Party—Kills Wauba Yuba, Hualapai Chief—Becomes Rancher—Edward G. Peck—Secures Hay Contract at Fort Whipple—Member of Expedition Under King Woolsey—Guide and Scout for Military—Discovers Peck Mine—Jackson McCracken—Cleaned Up for the Legislature—Discovers McCracken Mine—Goes to California and Lives on Proceeds of Sale of Mine—John T. Alsap—Followed Mining and Prospecting—Accompanies King Woolsey on Expedition Against Apaches—First Territorial Treasurer—Member of Territorial Legislature Three Times—Probate Judge of Maricopa County—District Attorney of Maricopa County.
During the Rebellion, Swilling was a lieutenant in Captain Hunter's company of volunteers in Baylor's regiment, and occupied himself with thirty of his men, in protecting settlers and others from the Indians along the Rio Grande in Southern New Mexico, and along the road to Tucson, Arizona. When the Confederates were driven out of New Mexico, Mr. Swilling remained in Arizona, and a few months afterwards, was carrying the express for the soldiers and acting as guide for them through the country. The following winter, he joined the Walker Party.
He was one of the party that accompanied Colonel Jack Sniveley, a veteran of the Texas War of Independence, and General Houston's private secretary, in a prospecting trip when the mines of Pinos Altos were discovered, and Swilling, it is said, was at the head of the party that discovered Rich Hill, near Weaver Creek, in the lower part of Yavapai County, in the year 1863. Be this as it may, Jack Swilling accumulated quite a fortune, either from these placers or others.
In 1871, Swilling organized a company which built the Tempe Canal. Shortly after this, he moved to the Black Canyon and located a farm, and improved it. In the meantime, he had married a second time, and moved his family to his new home. During his residence at this place, the Tip-Top, the Swilling and other mines were discovered and the town of Gillett started up three miles from Swilling's residence, when he again moved, this time to Gillett, having located valuable property there.
Swilling was known as a kind hearted, generous man, public spirited, and always ready to assist any needy man, or any public enterprise. He went on periodical sprees, however, in which he drank heavily and also used drugs. The year preceding his death, he was drinking heavily, and, while on one of these jamborees, in April, 1878, his wife formed a plan to get him out of town and sober him up. She secured the services
Mr. Swilling, who died at Yuma, August 12th, 1878, it seems had a presentiment that his days on earth were done, and were to end within the walls of Yuma Prison and was, therefore, incited to write the following statement for publication, which we give verbatim et literatim:
Jack Swilling, whose doors have always been open to the poor alike with those of the rich and plenty, looks forth from the prison cell to the blue heavens where reigns the Supreme Being who will judge of my innocence of the crime which has been brought against me by adventurers and unprincipled reward hunters. I have no remorse of conscience for anything I have ever done while in my sane mind. In 1854, I was struck on the head with a heavy revolver and my skull broken, and was also shot in the left side, and to the present time carry the bullet in my body. No one knows what I have suffered from these wounds. At times they render me almost crazy. Doctors prescribed, years ago, morphine, which seemed to give relief, but the use of which together with strong drink, has at times—as I have been informed by my noble wife and good friends, made me mad, and during
This statement is most pathetic and appeals to the sympathies of everyone. Had Swilling lived in our day, there is no doubt but that an operation would have restored him to normal health. That he was a good man and useful citizen who was hounded to death in a frontier community of self-seeking, unscrupulous and avaricious enemies, goes without saying.
Samuel C. Miller as we have heretofore seen, was one of the Walker Party, the first to discover gold in northern Arizona. He was the youngest member of this exploring band, and was, in many respects, a very remarkable man. He was born in Peoria, Illinois, November 4th, 1840. At the age of fifteen, he crossed the plains to the Pacific coast with his father and mother, making the entire journey on foot. He was naturally a frontiersman, which may account for the fact of his joining the Walker party at
While it is doubtless a fact that the actions of the Hualapais, or some of them, have of late been strange, and the fate of Clower is greatly to be deplored and must be revenged, we think the conclusion that the tribe wished to wage war with the whites is premature, and that the killing of Wauba Yuba will prove an unprofitable step. If, after an appeal to him for the delivery of the supposed murderer and incendiary he had not been given up, it might have been well to make an example and to have taken Wauba Yuba as a hostage, and perhaps to have executed him, but to kill him in cold blood before he had time to make an explanation or to prove his innocence and readiness to aid in bringing the culprit to justice, was a harsh and, we fear, a most unfortunate measure. It will exasperate the Hualapais and probably lead to an interruption to travel upon our only practicable road (in the absence of water on the La Paz road) to the Colorado.’’
Whether the killing of the Indian chief was justified or not, the result was very disastrous as far as the Americans were concerned, for the Hualapais and all of the tribes of the Colorado River immediately went upon the warpath and that portion of Arizona was the scene of much bloodshed for many years thereafter, until these tribes were finally subdued by General Crook.
Just before the advent of the railroads into the territory, Mr. Miller disposed of his freighting interests and engaged in mining and ranching. He located a ranch in the early days about a mile and a half from Prescott, in what is now known as Miller Valley, where he lived for many
Edward C. Peck was born in Canada in 1834. When a young man he came to the United States and in 1858, he joined a party of emigrants en route to California. He came over the old Santa Fe trail as far as Albuquerque, New Mexico, at which point they decided to strike westward along the Whipple trail and emigrant route between Albuquerque and Los Angeles. Without any serious mishaps, the party reached the villages of the friendly Zunis. Although warned against the Navajos and Apaches, the party contiued their journey to the west. They reached the little Colorado and crossed to the west side at Sunset, near the present town of Winslow. They then travelled down the west bank of the little Colorado to the mouth of the Canyon Diablo, from which point on they were continually harassed night and day by Apaches. By the time the party reached Antelope Springs, near the present city of Flagstaff, the Indians had become too numerous to proceed further. The emigrants decided to retreat at once. They travelled all night in comparative safety, which was a disappointment to the Indians, who expected to murder the party at their leisure. The party travelled altogether at night until they reached the Zunis, where they stopped for sometime to recuperate their wornout animals and themselves, following hunting and trapping until the fall of 1863, when Peck returned to Arizona in company with two others, Collier and Farrington. Peck secured the first hay contract at Fort Whipple, which was then located in Chino Valley. It was for three hundred tons of hay at thirty dollars a ton, to be cut with hoes. After completing his hay contract, in the forepart of 1864, he and his partners moved to Granite Creek to a point just above the Point of Rocks, two or three miles from where Prescott now stands. Here they built a cabin and cared for loose stock at three dollars a head. King Woolsey, a member of Governor Goodwin's staff, was selected to lead an expedition of a hundred men against the Apaches. Their rendezvous was at Woolsey's ranch on the Agua Fria, now known as the Bowers Ranch. The command was divided into squads of ten men to each squad, with a captain over it. Peck commanded one of these squads. Afterwards, when General Frank Wheaton commanded the Northern District, with his headquarters at Fort Whipple, Peck was his general guide and scout at that fort. He knew the country well and was invaluable as a guide, being cool, cautious and brave. After retiring from the army, he was shown in Prescott some rich silver ore. After examining it carefully, he said: ‘‘I know a place where you can get tons of ore as good as that is.’’ The result was that he and two or three others went out and Peck showed them what afterwards became the Peck mine, where there were tons and tons of ore that would go from one thousand to two thousand dollars a ton. For a time his mine paid largely, but it became involved in ligitation, and Peck retired from it a poor man. He died in Nogales, December 13th, 1910, at the age of 77 years. Could the history of his life in Arizona be written in detail, it would be as romantic and interesting as that of Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett and other early pioneers in our country.
Jackson McCracken, a member of the Walker Party, served in the First Legislative Assembly of Arizona Territory in 1864, as a member of the lower house from Yavapai County. He was born in South Carolina in 1828. After his arrival in the territory with the Walker Party, he spent his time in mining and prospecting. Evidently, he was not very fastidious as to dress or personal appearance, for the following story is told of him: After his election, some of his constituents went to him and told him that he was now a member of the First Legislature of the great Territory of Arizona, and he should be dressed and equipped in keeping with the dignity of the office. He replied: ‘‘I am in the hands of my constituents.’’ For answer they said: ‘‘All right Jack, we'll attend to you.’’ So they formed a committee, took Jack down to Granite Creek, where they had a tub made from the end of a whiskey barrel, filled with water and soap. They gave him a good wash, scrubbed him down with a horse brush, wiped him off well, dressed him up with clean underclothing and a hand-me-down suit; took him to a barber and had his whiskers and hair trimmed properly, and turned him over to the Legislature, a man
McCracken was an indefatigable prospector. With few advantages in early life he became a wanderer in the west, prospecting through Colorado and New Mexico until finally he reached Arizona. He discovered the Del Pasco mine, and also the McCracken mine, both of which are well known in Northern Arizona. He blazed the trail for others to follow and was among the first to set foot upon the soil where Prescott now stands. He went to San Francisco late in the seventies, and, on the 28th of December, 1882, was married to Mrs. Josephine Clifford, whose former husband had been an army officer stationed in Arizona, where she had a sad and varied experience. Immediately after their marriage McCracken and his wife located the Monte Paraiso ranch in the Santa Cruz Mountains in California, and invested their money in clearing the land, setting out vineyards and orchards, building roads, etc. The ranch was located about three miles above the station at Wrights in a redwood forest. It was, indeed, a paradise; a home surrounded with orchards and vineyards, gardens and groves, and an abundance of water, fountains and reservoirs. The house was the finest in the mountains, and Mrs. McCracken, being of literary taste, at one time associated with the old Pioneer Monthly Magazine as one of its editors, their home became a place of resort for men like Ambrose Bierce, Bret Harte and others, who always found there a hearty welcome.
In 1899 a forest fire swept over that portion of the Santa Cruz Mountains, destroying their home and ranch and the forest. McCracken came near losing his life because he had ventured into the forty acre timber tract trying to save the forest by back-firing. His hair and long beard were singed and the boots on his feet were burned before he got out. ‘‘This forest fire,’’ says his wife, ‘‘was remarkable as wine had been used to extinguish the flames when they reached the Meyer winery building.’’
They created an indebtedness in rebuilding their home, which filled McCracken with worry and anxiety, under the strain of which his health failed and his life came to a close on December 14th, 1904, at the age of 80 years. He was buried on the ranch in a spot he had selected for himself long before. The accompanying picture shows him and his favorite dog on the Picture Rock. To the right, as you look at the picture, a little forward, is his grave. This rock was his favorite resting place, and he wanted to be buried at the foot of it. Standing by the grave a group of young firs rises behind you, and you look through an avenue of olives out on the Bay of Monterey.
John T. Alsap came to Arizona a few months before the organization of the Territory, and settled in what is now the city of Prescott. He was born in Frankfort, Kentucky, in 1832. He was graduated in 1854 from the New York College of Medicine as a bachelor of law and physician,
WILLIAM SANDERS OURY.