CHAPTER XV. FORMATION OF MINING DISTRICTS
Gold Placers on Colorado—Eureka District—Castle Dome—La Paz—Weaver and Walker Diggings—Planet Mine—Antelope Peak—Lynx Creek—Big Bug—Vulture Mine—Castle Dome Mining District—Weaver Mining District—Pioneer Mining District—Yapapei Mining District—Walker Mining District—Quartz Mountain Mining District.
As we have heretofore seen, numerous attempts had been made by citizens of what is now Arizona, and also citizens of New Mexico, to organize the Territory of Arizona, which attempts up to the winter of 1862–63, did not seem to have been taken seriously by Congress, this territory being considered practically worthless and the home of the wildest set of Indians that ever cursed any portion of the continent, and it is doubtful whether the Territory would have been organized had it not been for the discovery of gold and silver within its boundaries.
The first discoveries, as we have seen, were made on the Gila about twenty miles from the Colorado, where gold placers were opened in 1858 and caused some excitement. A traveller passing at that time said he saw twenty dollars washed out of eight shovelsfull of dirt; this in the rudest manner by an unpracticed hand. The diggings were located in sand hills from a
About this time the Eureka District was located above what is now the city of Yuma, where a vein of argentiferous galena carrying from twenty to thirty per cent of silver with a small amount of gold, was discovered. These lodes were in the mountain ranges from one to twenty miles east from the river bank, and were reached by trails. A few of them were taken up in 1862, and at that time were partially developed.
Castle Dome, fifty miles above Yuma City, so called from its being located upon this isolated mountain resembling a dome, was laid out about this time. The lodes were in the mountains fifteen to thirty miles back from the river, but were not easy of access, and water was very scarce. The ores were argentiferous galena in a vein stone of fluor spar, and contained from thirty to forty ounces to the ton. For years afterwards they were extensively worked and some of them proved quite profitable.
The next district was that above the town of La Paz, and bore the same name. It was first explored in the Colorado River gold excitement of 1862. Mr. A. McKey, a member of the Territorial Legislature from La Paz, furnished to J. Ross Browne, the annexed account of the discovery of the placers that caused the upbuilding of La Paz, which became a place of considerable importance and a favorite shipping point for
Captain Pauline Weaver, and others, in the month of January, 1862, were trapping on the Colorado River, and at times would stray off into the mountains for the purpose of prospecting for gold. They had discovered what was then named and is still called 'El Arollo de la Tenaja,' which is about two miles north from El Campo Ferra, and about seven miles east from La Paz. In this gulch they had discovered gold in small quantities, and had taken out two or three dollars' worht, which Captain Weaver kept in a goose-quill.
Soon after this discovery Weaver visited Fort Yuma and exhibited what gold he had. This evidence of the existence of a commodity so much sought for in this country convinced others that gold might be found in quantities by hunting for it. Don Jose M. Redondo having heard of the discovery, at once set out to visit the newly found 'El Dorado,' in company with several others. He arrived a few days afterward at the camp of Captain Weaver, who pointed out to him and his party the particular gulch from which he had taken the gold. After a short examination of this place the party set out in different directions to discover, if possible, something which would pay to work, and the extent of the placers. Within less than a mile from Weaver's camp, south, Redondo took a pan of dirt to prospect, and when he had dry washed it, to the astonishment of himself and the party
Of the yield of these placers, anything like an approximation to the average daily amount of what was taken out per man would only be guesswork. Hundreds of dollars per day to the man was common, and now and again a thousand or more per day. Don Juan Ferra took one nugget from his claim which weighed 47 ounces and six dollars. Another party found a 'chispa' weighing 27 ounces, and another one of 26 ounces. Many others found pieces of from one or two ounces up to 20, and yet it is contended that the greater proportion of the larger nuggets were never shown for fear of some evil spirits, who infested the mines at the time. It is the opinion of those most conversant with the first working of these placers, that much the greater proportion of the gold taken out was in nuggets weighing from one dollar up to the size of the 'chispas' above named. I have often heard it said of those days that ‘‘not even a Papago Indian would work for less than $10 per day.’’
As has been seen from the above, the gold was large and generally clear of foreign substances. The largest piece (above mentioned) did not contain an apparent atom of quartz or any other base matter. The gold from the different camps varied a trifle in its worth at the mint in San Francisco, and brought from $17.50 to $19.50 per ounce. But all that was sold or taken out here went for from $16 to $17 per ounce. Since the year 1864 until the present, there have been at various times many men at work in these placers, numbering in the winter months hundreds, but in the summer months not exceeding 75 or 100; and all seem to do sufficiently
Some parties have lately come into these diggings with what is called concentrators or dry washers, which they have been working for a few weeks, and in conversation with Mr. Finkler (an owner of one of these machines) he told me that he could make $20 per day where he was at work, and pay three dollars per day for his hands, and that he only required four to work the machine. Should these machines prove a success these placers will soon be peopled again with industrious, prosperous miners. Of the total amount of gold taken from these mines, I am as much at a loss to say what it has been as I was to name the average daily wages of the first years, and as I might greatly differ from those who were among the first in these mines, I do not feel justified in setting up an opinion as against them; I shall, therefore, give the substance of the several opinions which I have obtained from those who were the pioneers of these placers. I have failed to find any one of them whose opinion is that less than $1,000,000 were taken from these diggings within the first year, and in all probability as much was taken out within the following year.’’
It was not until 1862 and 1863 that an attempt was made to thoroughly explore Central Arizona. Whipple and Beale, as we have seen, had crossed on the 35th parallel. Aubrey and Leroux had seen something of the Verde River and the northern tributaries of the Gila, but no one had attempted more than a hurried trip through the country, although all believed it rich in precious metals.
Late in 1862, or early in 1863, Pauline Weaver, who had crossed Arizona by the Gila as early as 1832, being attracted by the placers at La Paz, was induced to look for others in the interior of the country, and started with a party of men for an exploration. They discovered what has since been known as Weaver Diggings near Antelope Creek, and located the town of Weaver some sixty miles south of Prescott. About this time the Walker party of gold hunters arrived at the Pima Villages and determined to explore the country north, from which the Indians brought fabulous reports of great wealth. This party discovered the Hassayampa, one of the main streams of Central Arizona, having its rise about ten miles southeast of the town of Prescott, and running south until it sinks in the desert some twelve miles below the town of Wickenburg. Part of the Walker party went to
The remainder of the Walker party gradually ascended the Hassayampa, finding gold at almost every point, and in the winter of 1863, took possession of the Lynx Creek and Walker Diggings, ten miles east from Prescott, from which it was estimated that not less than half a million of dollars was taken. They also gathered much gold on Big Bug, four miles east of Lynx Creek, and when these placers were exhausted, the prospectors turned their attention to quartz veins, and found there was no lack of them all along the Hassayampa, and upon the Agua Fria, a parallel stream of considerable size, and also upon Lynx Creek, Big Bug, and Turkey Creek, and other creeks in Central Arizona, lodes of gold, silver and copper were found. In the excitement, as is always the case, a great many locations were made and recorded which had no value.
About this time Henry Wickenburg discovered and located what was afterwards known as the Vulture Mine, a ledge of about forty feet wide, having a chimney of ore five hundred feet in length, the ores of which averaged about forty dollars a ton, and another chimney about six
The opening of these gold mines in Central Arizona, accounts of which, no doubt greatly exaggerated as they were reproduced in San Francisco and again in the East, were probably the incentive to Congress to organize at once the Territory of Arizona. The country, at that time, needed gold and silver to meet its war expenses, and our statesmen in Washington, no doubt became convinced that Arizona was a country worthy of reclamation and redemption from savagery.
The excitement attendant upon the discovery of these diggings drew into the Territory a large immigration, sufficient, in a way, to protect themselves from their Indian foes, which they had to do because the military, with the exception of a small guard at Tucson and Fort Mohave, was withdrawn from Arizona into New Mexico, and all the Indian tribes, with the exception of the Papagoes, Pimas, Maricopas and Yumas, were upon the warpath.
That the District wherein said veins are situated be called the Castle Dome District and be bounded as follows: Beginning at the peak known as Castle Dom—Thence 10 miles south—Thence East 10 miles—Thence north 10 miles—Thence West 10 miles to the starting point.
5. That 100 yards on each side of the vein where not conflicting with prior rights shall be considered part of the claim, and shall belong to the same, with any and every substance or thing found within these bounds on or below the surface.
11. That companies holding various claims on the same vein shall not be obliged to work all of them severaly, but that the working of any one of their claims in accordance with article 10 shall be sufficient evidence of good faith and ownership of the parties claiming.
14. The fee of Recording shall be One Dollar for each claim, and no records of claims shall be made unless a specimen of the ore, coming from said claim shall accompany the statement to be recorded, which specimen shall be properly marked and preserved by the Recorder to serve as evidence in case of dispute hereafter.
18. Any such meeting as mentioned in article 17 shall only be considered legal by having 2 notices thereof posted within the bounds of said district, and one at the Recorders office for at least 14 days previously.
1st This District shall be known as Weaver District and bounded as follows—to wit, commencing at the mouth or sink of the Hassayamp Creek following up the eastern bank of said creek to the Tanks on the Southern boundary line of Walkers, thence West to the head of the Canyon of the St. Maria, thence southerly to Indian Springs continuing in said direction crossing Date Creek near the Indian cemetery ten miles from said crossing, thence east to the place of beginning.
5th No citizens of Mexico shall hold or work claims in this District except the boy Lorenzo Para who is one of the original discoverers, and should the miners employ any of the said citizens of Mexico, they will be held responsible for their good behavior, and should the said employer fail to comply with this article he or they shall forfeit all interest in the mines & leave the District.
6th No person or persons shall purchase or sell any claims in this District for sixty days from the adoption of these laws, nor shall any person take up and hold claims for non-residents of the District.
7th There shall be one Recorder elected whose duty shall be to record mining claims & bills of sale & preserve the laws of the district in a book or books to be kept for that purpose, said Records to be open for examination (free). His term of office shall be three months & until his successor is elected. He shall post or cause to be
8th Any five miners can call a meeting of the miners of the District by Posting notices in three public places of the District stating the object of the meeting, giving five days notice and signing their names to said notices.
Sec 1st To all to whom it may concern, be it know that the 'Walker' prospecting & mining company have taken up certain portions of Ookilipava river & Tributarys for mining purposes have formed the said portion into a District to be called Pioneer District extending from the head of said river to a tree below the falls at the foot of the mountains (on which the notice of claimants is put up) taking in all tributarys, gulches, & ravines drained by said portion of river to main summit on both sides.
Sec 2d That at a miners meeting duly called & at which a majority shall pronounce pro & con, shall be in this Dist the manner by which all laws be made & adopted, disputes to rights of claims settled, extent thereof, litigation, &c, & all other business appertaining to miners & their rights usually settled at said meetings in other mining Dists—
Sec 3 That there shall be one President to preside over said meetings & one Secretary, both of whom shall be elected by a majority of votes for the term of one year from the date of election— It shall be the duty of said Presd't to call all meetings & see that business belonging to said meetings be properly brought before it & freely discussed to the satisfaction of all parties concerned— The duty of the Secty shall be to keep a true and proper record (in writing) of the proceedings of each & all of said meetings—
Resolved, That each member of the company having drawn by lottery the number of his claims shall have the privilege of exchanging one or both of them for any other unclaimed part of said river same dimensions as original being observed—
Resolved, That whereas but little time was taken to properly prospect, no claims be taken for persons outside of original prospectors until they have definitely settled to which part of said river their claim may be exchanged to—
Resolved that the President be entitled to a fee of five dollars for each miners meeting which may be called to settle disputes or other individual business, to be paid by parties calling said meeting before the meeting be called & in case of winning suit to be refunded to Plaintiff & same amount collected from Defendant—
2nd That the District be bounded on the North by commencing at the North end of Point of Mountain Range lying on the West side of the Assamp River, near the headwaters of the Agua Frio River, from thence along the dividing ridge of said Mountain in a southerly direction to a point intersected by the Trail now traveled from Peoples Ranch to what is known as the Tanks on the Assamp River, from thence along the said Trail in a Southerly direction to the South-East corner of what is known as 'Webbers Ranch' from thence in a North West direction to Williams Fork River, from thence up the main branch of said River twenty (20) miles from thence to the place of beginning.
3rd That any one may locate one claim only on each Lode or Vein of Mineral that may be discovered in the District, & that in addition the discoverer of any Lode or Vein of Mineral shall have a discovery claim.
6th. That said notice shall hold said claim thirty days from the time of putting up said notice, after which time if there is no record made of said notice the claim shall be deemed abandoned and subject to relocation by any other party.
7th. That any person taking up or holding claims in this District neglects to work or does not cause to be worked for the time of Sixty days from the time of recording shall be deemed to have abandoned the same & the claim shall be subject to relocation.
10th. That there be a Recorder elected for this District who shall be a resident of the District, whose term of Office shall be six months or until his successor is elected, it shall be his duty to record all claims presented to him for record in a book kept by him for that purpose, & that it be his duty, should it be required, to furnish certificate of Record to each one recording a claim or transfer of claim or Bill of Sale. That it shall be the duty of said Recorder to deliver all records of this District kept by him to his successor in office upon presentment of a duly
11th. That for recording each claim or notice of claim Fifty cents, and for recording deeds of transfer Two dollars and fifty cents. The Recorders book shall be open to the inspection of any person who may wish to examine in the presence of the Recorder of his Deputy. That the Books, stationery, &c. necessary for the office shall be furnished by the Recorder at his own expense—
At a meeting of the Miners of Lynx Creek & Vicinity held pursuant to notice on the 24th day of November 1863 at the office of the Recorder, the President T. J. Johnson tendered his resignation which was accepted and Capt. Bogert was elected chairman.
Gentlemen Your committee appointed to establish boundaries & draft Bye Laws for the government of a Quartz Miners District would most respectfully submit the following Preamble Resolutions and Bye Laws for your consideration
Whereas owing to the increasing interest manifested by the Residents & Miners of this locality in Quartz & other Lodes containing metal of value—and to the many and various conflicting and untruthful reports that have originated and spread throughout the land concerning, and to the detriment of the Residents and Miners of this locality be it
Resolved, That we the residents & miners of Lynx Creek & vicinity will under any and all circumstances defend, protect, aid & assist any and all traders & persons whether citizens or not in the prosecution of right & legitimate business while within the jurisdiction of our laws.
Resolved, That we denounce the originators of the many falsehoods, circulated by the faint hearted many who have returned to their shin warming firesides as a set unworthy the name of Pioneers & be it further resolved, That the boundaries of this Quartz Mining & Mineral District be as follows viz. Commencing at a Bald Mountain near the sink and to the Westward of Lynx Creek running in a Southerly direction following the dividing ridge of the waters of the Agua Frio and Hassayamp Rivers to a large Pine Mountain about thirty-five miles in an Easterly direction from the place of commencement, thence in an Easterly direction to the Agua Frio River, thence up the Agua Frio River following the bed of the stream northerly direction to Woolsey's Ranch, thence in a Westerly direction to the place of beginning, and be it further
Art. 3rd. It shall be the duty of the Recorder to act as secretary of all meetings and keep a true & correct record of all claims located and when required shall accompany the person or persons locating claims as a witness of the
Art. 4th. The Recorder shall receive for each name appearing upon the notice fifty cents and for each mile traveled by him when required in locating claims provided the same exceeds two miles travel from his office fifty cents per mile and for each deed or transfer the sum of $1.50. The Recorder shall pro-cure the necessary books for his office & turn the same over to his successor
Art. 13th. No claim shall be deemed abandoned or subject to relocation after recording providing three days labor shall be performed on each claim every three months for one year, or if held by a company the number of days labor required for the number of claims held by them may be performed upon any individual claim held by such company upon that particular ledge on & after the 1st day of April next.
Art. 15th. All disputes with regard to claims shall be settled by arbitration: The parties disputant each selecting an arbitrator the two arbitrators thus selected, selecting the third, the decision of the arbitrators shall be deemed final.
Art. 18th. All sales and transfers of claims must be made by deed properly acknowledged, and a note of the same entered upon the books of the Recorder, stating the date amount sold or transferred and to who so sold or transferred.
Art. 19th. Any person or persons or company holding claims who shall have complied strictly with the foregoing laws for the term of one year from the first day of April next such claims shall be deemed and considered as Real estate & held as such
Art. 20th. The amount of labor required to be performed upon each claim or claims for one year may be performed at one & the same time, provided the same is performed within three months from the first day of April 1864, or within three months after recording if recorded on and after said first day April.
Article 1st. That this District shall be known & called the Quartz Mountain District, and shall be bounded and described as follows: Commencing at a Bald Mountain known as the North West corner of the Walker District running along the west line of said District to its South West corner. Thence in a North Westerly course along the Divide between the Waters of the Hassayampa and Granite Creeks to the Granite Mountain. Thence in a straight line to the place of beginning.
Article 2nd. That this District shall have a Recorder who shall hold his office one year from the time of his election, or until his successor be elected and qualified, and whose duty it shall be to visit, examine & measure either himself or Deputy the ground claimed in any notice presented him for record before recording the same, & shall be entitled to receive one dollar for each claim so recorded and examined.
Article 3rd. A claim on any Ledge or Lode of Mineral Rock in this District shall not exceed 300 feet, running with the main Lead, together with (150) feet of ground on each side of the main Lead or Lode with all the Minerals contained therein.
Article 6th. Any notice claiming ground for Mining purposes on any Metalic Vein or Lode of Quartz or other Mineral Rock posted according to provisions of Art. 4th of this code, shall be deemed sufficient to hold such claim or claims for the term of sixty days from date of such notice. But after the expiration of sixty days, such notice be not found recorded or filed for record with the recorder of the district, the ground so claimed shall be deemed abandoned & subject to relocation.
Article 7th. All notices claiming ground for Mining on any Metalic Vein or Lode of Quartz or Mineral Rock in this District properly located according to the provisions of Art. 4th of this code, shall be deemed sufficient to hold such ground until the first day of May One thousand eight hundred and sixty-four (1864). But if any claimant or claimants to any ground in this District, located & held as here in above described, shall perform or cause to be performed the am't of (6) six days labor to each claim on any part of his or their ground at any
Article 8th. Any person or persons holding ground for mining purposes in this District, on and after the first day of May 1864, shall be required to perform or cause to be performed thereon the amount of three days labor to each claim, in every ninety days, and if any person or persons shall comply with the above provisions for the period of one year, he or they shall thereby acquire perpetual title thereto. The labor to be examined and certified to by the Recorder, as provided in art. 7th; Provided always that the labor be performed or record renewed according to Art. 7th of this code—
Article 9th. If any person or persons holding ground for Mining purposes in this District perform or cause to be performed thereon the amount of twelve days labor at any time after the first day of May 1864, Shall thereby acquire perpetual title thereto; The labor to be examined & certified to by the Recorder; And provided always that labor be performed or record renewed as provided in Article 7th of this code.
10th. A miners meeting may be called at any time by putting notices in three conspicuous places in the District, ten days previous to the time of holding the meeting, stating in such notice the object for which the meeting is called, and place of holding the same, all such notices to be signed by the Quartz Miners of the District.
Article 11th. All persons owning ground & residing in this District may vote at any meeting properly called by Quartz Miners. All persons non-resident of this District may vote by proxy; provided they hold at the time of such meeting one claim in the District.
Article 12th. The Recorder shall furnish at his own expense all books necessary for the recording of claims deeds of transfer &c. pertaining to his office, and keep the same open to the inspection of the public; and turn them over to his successor in office free of charge.
Article 13th. An election shall be held on the first Monday in December of each year for the purpose of choosing a Recorder. A majority of the votes cast by ballot to elect. The Recorder so elected to commence his duties and take charge of the books on the first Monday after his election.
Article 14th. In case of the death or resignation of the Recorder, an election shall be ordered as provided in Art. 10th of this code for the choosing of a Recorder to fill his unexpired term of office.
We the undersigned committee appointed to draft and report By-laws & regulations for the better government of Quartz mining in Quartz-Mountain District, having examined the foregoing Laws, do certify them as a true & correct copy of the Original Laws as adopted at the meeting called for this purpose Dec. 27th 1863.
The foregoing mining districts were formed under the old California mining laws, which allowed miners to form their own mining districts, and designate the number of claims, and their size, which could be located. Claims on placers covered certain areas, and vein mines were located on the ledge vertically, in general not following dips, spurs and angles.