CHAPTER XII. EARLY PIONEERS AND SETTLERS (Continued)


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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.

J. W. Swilling, known as "Jack Swilling," was born in the state of Georgia in 1831. He emigrated to Missouri in early life, and there


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settled down. After having resided in that state some four years, his wife died, leaving one child, a girl, who afterwards married and lived in Missouri.

About the year 1857, Swilling emigrated to Texas where he remained for two years, when he came to Arizona, and was in the employ of the Overland Mail Company for quite a length of time.

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 1867, Swilling organized a company and built the first canal from the Salt River, now


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known as the "Town Ditch" which was intended to reclaim four thousand acres of land. This canal was completed in 1868, all the lands under it were located by settlers during the following two years, and quite a settlement was made in what is now the city of Phoenix. This name was given to the new settlement by Swilling, at the suggestion of Darrell Duppa, who explained to him that the name "Phoenix" was given in old mythology to a bird which rose from its ashes more beautiful and stronger than ever, and that here were the remains of an extinct civilization, long past, upon whose ashes would rise a modern civilization, stronger and more beautiful than that which preceded it.

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


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of George Munroe and Andrew Kirby to join Swilling and go into the White Picacho Mountains, and exhume the bones of his old friend, Colonel Sniveley from the place of their burial seven years previously, Sniveley having been murdered there by the Apaches while on a prospecting trip, and to bring the remains to Gillett for burial. The party went out, accomplished the object for which they went, and, during this time, the stage was held up near Wickenburg, and plundered. When the news reached Gillett that three men had stopped the mail coach, and that one large man and one small man had done the job, Swilling, in a jocular way, remarked to George Monroe: ‘‘George, that fits us, one big man and one little man,’’ whereupon he and Munroe were arrested and taken to Prescott. Rush & Wells, were their attorneys. They had an examination before Judge Carter, and their discharge was ordered, but before they were released, the marshal found that the robbery was committed in Maricopa County, and took them from the Prescott jail to Yuma for safekeeping, and to await their examination. Evidence was secured for the prosecution of a kind intended to convict regardless of justice. The examination was somewhat of a persecution; the depositions for the defense, taken by stipulation with the United States Attorney, were ruled out, and the prisoners were held in $3,000 bail, which was about to be furnished, when the sad news reached his family and friends, of Swilling's death, although innocent, within the walls of Yuma Prison. He left a wife and five children, besides numerous friends to mourn


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his death. He died on the 12th day of August, 1878, at the age of 47 years. Munroe was discharged, no indictment ever having been found against him.

The Prescott Miner, under date of September 13th, 1878, contains the following:

‘‘

Jack Swilling's Statement.

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:

Yuma Prison, 1878.

To the public:

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


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these spells I have been cruel to her, at all other times I have been a kind husband. During these periods of debauch, caused by the mixture of morphine and liquor, I have insulted my best friends, but never when I was Jack Swilling, free from these poisonous influences. I have tried hard to cure myself of the growing appetite for morphine, but the craving of it was stronger than my will could resist. I have gone to the rescue of my fellow men when they were surrounded by Indians—I have given to those who needed—I have furnished shelter to the sick. From the Governor down to the lowest Mexican in the land have I extended my hospitality, and oh, my God, how am I paid for it all. Thrown into prison, accused of a crime that I would rather suffer crucifixion than commit. Taken from my wife and little children who are left out in this cold world all alone. Is this my reward for the kindness I have done to my fellow men and the pay I must receive for having done a Christian act, with Munroe and Kirby, that of going after the bones of my poor old friend Sniveley, and taking them to Gillett and burying them by the side of my dear child? George Munroe, Andy Kirby and myself are as innocent of the charge brought against us of robbing the stage as an infant babe. We went out to do a Christian act—Oh, God, is it possible, that poor Jack Swilling should be accused of such a crime? But the trouble has been brought on by crazy, drunken talk. I am willing to give up my life to save Munroe and Kirby, as God knows they are innocent. Oh, think of my poor babies and you would know that I would not leave them for


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millions of money. I am persecuted and prosecuted until I can bear it no longer. Look at me and look at them. This cruel charge has brought me for the first time in my life under a jailor's key. Poor L. G. Taylor, whom I liked and tried to help, has been one of those who have wrought my ruin, and for what I cannot conceive, unless it was for the reward money or to rob my family out of the old ranch. The reason I write this is because I may be found dead any morning in my cell. I may drop off the same as poor Tom McWilliams did at Fort Goodwin. My persecutors will remember me. And may God help my poor family through this cold world, is my prayer.

John W. Swilling.

’’

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


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the age of twenty-one years to explore the wilderness of Arizona. During the days of Indian dominancy, he had many thrilling experiences with the savage tribes, the most notable of which was the killing of Wauba Yuba, at which time he was one of the largest freighters in the Territory, owning a large number of mule teams, and engaged in hauling from the Colorado River to the different army posts, mostly under Government contracts. During this time, he had many adventures with the Indians, the principal one, as has been noted, being the killing of Wauba Yuba, the Hualapai chief, the following account of which is taken from the Journal-Miner of October 13th, 1909, and may be considered the personal statement of Mr. Miller himself:

‘‘In the early days, Mr. Miller took passengers along with merchandise, Pullman accommodations barred. He left Hardyville on the Colorado River on one trip loaded to the brim on the main deck and in the 'trail' wagon there were three families, and that means several women and more children. George Banghart was among the passengers, and with his wife, and four young ladies, the preciousness of the occasion will be appreciated, as these ladies were gifted with more than ordinary beauty and personal accomplishments. Mr. Miller, on the other hand, says he was 'skeered' up somewhat as the route of his journey lay through the Wallapai country. The trip was uneventful until Beale Springs was reached and the many wagons were parked for the night. As the sun was setting, the horizon seemed to be alive with the red devils, and it seemed to Mr. Miller that the entire tribe was in action. Suddenly, the head man of the tribe, Wauba Yuba, rode up and demanded a 'treaty,' saying that the horses and mules and the flour was all that was needed. The argument was brief. Mr. Miller reached for his Hawkins' rifle and sent a bullet crashing through the lungs of the Indian, tearing a hole in his body as big as his hand. Immediately, there were preparations made to resist an attack. This was unnecessary. Being trained to know the characteristics of the Indians, Mr. Miller knew that when once a chief falls, the 'jig is up.' He allayed all fears and felt 'very comfortable.' The entire band disappeared, and from that time there was no sign of Indians on the road to Prescott. Had the demand of Wauba been complied with, there is no question in Mr. Miller's mind that a massacre would have followed pell mell, and the women would have been taken into captivity. The rifle that did the business' is still in possession of Mr. Miller and may be seen at his home in Prescott. There is one woman residing in Prescott to-day who was present on that critical evening; she is Mrs. E. W. Wells, a daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Banghart. She is the wife of Judge E. W. Wells, and in the 60's, shortly after the memorable event at Beale Springs, she was married. She still talks of the narrow escape that signalized her coming to Prescott.’’


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Another account of this same incident is contained in the Miner of April 25th, 1866, which is as follows:

‘‘

On the night of the 30th of March, a cabin at the Willows on the Mohave road, in which Edward


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Clower, formerly of Prescott, was sleeping, was totally destroyed by fire, and Clower lost his life, his body being burnt to a crisp. The story goes that Clower had lost his horses and been engaged for a day or two in hunting for them, assisted by a Hualapai Indian. On the night in question, the night of the eclipse of the moon, when Clower returned to sleep in the cabin, the Indian was permitted to sleep there also, and it is suspected that he first murdered Clower and then started the fire. This suspicion is strengthened by the evidence that all the arms and provisions had been removed from the cabin and no traces of the Indian being found. Two men encamped near the cabin thinking Indians had gathered in numbers, were afraid to venture there until daylight, and they started next day, for Hardyville. After a day or two, they met with Mr. Milton Hadley of Prescott, whom they met at the Cottonwoods, and who had been living with Mr. Clower and was returning from a hunting excursion, and met the trains of Messrs. Miller and Bowers, and returned with them. Hualapais hovered around their camp at night, but none came near until Tuesday following the fire, when Wauba Yuba, the chief of the Hualapais, presented himself, bearing a paper certifying to the treaty sometime since made with him by Mr. Hardy. After consultation, it being the judgment of the party that the Hualapais meant to make war, and that the killing of Clower and the burning of his cabin was the commencement of the hostilities, they determined to kill Wauba Yuba, and he was at once shot.


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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


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years, and until his death on October 12th, 1909. He was survived by four sons and a daughter. Miller was a man of great firmness and force of character. He was honorable in all his dealings and universally respected; a valuable citizen in any community. He refused political preferment, preferring always a quiet home life.

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.


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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


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of the people, a thoroughly clean and Progessive Democrat.

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.


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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.

His wife, now over seventy years of age, is engaged as a reporter for a daily newspaper in Santa Cruz, California.

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,


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in which year he crossed the plains, and for some years thereafter practiced medicine to some extent in California in conjunction with mining and prospecting. Upon his arrival in Arizona he took up mining and prospecting in the vicinity of Prescott. The Apache Indians being troublesome the following winter, he accompanied King Woolsey on an expedition against the tribe as surgeon of the command. He was appointed the first Territorial Treasurer of Arizona, and served during the administration of Governor McCormick. In 1868 he was elected to the Legislature as the representative from Yavapai County. In 1869 in company with his wife's brother, W. L. Osborn, he settled in the Salt River Valley, about a mile northeast from Phoenix, and thereafter was intimately connected with the development of this section. He was elected to the legislature in 1870, and aided in the organization of Maricopa County. The same year he was Probate Judge of the new county. His term in the Assembly expired in 1872. He was admitted to the practice of the law in Arizona in 1871, and afterwards served as District Attorney of Maricopa County, after which he served again in the Legislature. In 1886 he was nominated for County Treasurer of Maricopa County, but died in September of that year prior to the election. In the intervals of his public duties, he was actively engaged in the practice of law, and won an enviable reputation as a member of the bar. He was a member of the Odd Fellows, the Knights of Pythias, and was prominent in Masonic circles, being a past officer in the commandery and its representative


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in the Grand Lodge of the Territory. He was a strict Methodist in religion and in politics a Democrat. He was twice married, his first wife being Louisa A. Osborn, a daughter of John Preston Osborn, one of the pioneers of Prescott, and his second wife being Anna D. Murray. Some of his descendants are yet living in the Salt River Valley.

JACKSON McCRACKEN.

WILLIAM SANDERS OURY.

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