CHAPTER I. EARLY OPINIONS OF ARIZONA.
That the great wealth, or latent wealth, of Arizona and New Mexico was unappreciated for fifty years is susceptible of ample proof. Col. James Collier, Collector of the Port at San Francisco, who reached that place in November, 1849, upon .his arrival there, having traversed what was then New Mexico, declared that he would not accept the entire Gila Valley as a gift. Genl. W. T. Sherman, who as a lieutenant accompanied Kearny's Expedition to California, it is claimed made the statement that we had bad one war with Mexico to take Arizona, and we should have another to compel her to receive it back again. Col. Sumner, who was in command of the Military Department of New Mexico, in one of his official reports to the War Department, after calling attention to the fact that the holding of New Mexico, which then included what is now Arizona, was costing the government four millions of dollars a year, advised that the government buy out all the holders of property in that territory, remove them elsewhere, and then turn the entire country over to the Indians.
J. Ross Browne and James W. Taylor, Special Commissioners of the Government for the investigation of the mineral resources of the United States, in their report to the Secretary of the Treasury, under date of November 24, 1866, in reference to gold in California and Arizona, said:‘‘
“The first mention of gold in California is made in Hakluyt's account of the voyage of Sir Francis Drake, who spent five weeks in June and July, 1579, in a bay near latitude 38°; whether Drake's Bay or San Francisco Bay is a matter of dispute. It certainly was one of the two, and of neither can we now say with truth, as Hakluyt said seriously, ‘There is no part of the earth here to be taken up wherein there is not a reasonable quantity of gold or silver.’ This statement, taken literally, is untrue, and it was probably made without any foundation, merely for the purpose of embellishing the story and magnifying the importance of Drake and of the country which he claimed to have added to the possessions of the English crown.
“If any ‘reasonable quantity’ of gold or silver had been obtained by the English adventurers, we should probably have had some account of their expeditions into the interior, of the manner and place in which the precious metals were obtained, and of the specimens which were brought home, but of these things there is no mention.
“Neither gold nor silver exists ‘in reasonable quantity’ near the ocean about latitude 38°, and the inference is that Drake's discovery of gold in California was a matter of fiction more than that of fact.
“Some small deposits of placer gold were found by Mexicans near the Colorado River at various times from 1775 to 1828, and in the latter year a similar discovery was made at San Isidro, in what is now San Diego County, and in 1802 a mineral vein, supposed to contain silver, at Olizal, in the district of Monterey, attracted some attention, but no profitable mining was done at either of these places.
From the extracts which I have given above, it would seem that Arizona was the first of the territories under the American flag, west of the Mississippi River, in which gold had been discovered, but it remained for the opening of the large placers along the Colorado River, the discoveries made by the Walker party, and by other adventurers in 1862 and 1863, to attract general attention to the mineral resources of Arizona.
As before stated, the Walker party, after the discovery of the placers in and around Prescott, made a trip to the Indian villages for supplies, where they left letters to be forwarded east and west. Some of these letters undoubtedly reached General Carleton, in command of the Military Department of New Mexico, then embracing Arizona, with headquarters at Mesilla, New Mexico. He immediately sent Capt. Pishon, in command of a company, accompanied by the Surveyor-General of the Territory, Mr. Clark, to the new El Dorado, with instructions to prospect along the route for gold, and to report the result. Capt. Pishon, after
“I have seen two letters written by Mr. Benedict to Judge Benedict, setting forth the wonderful discoveries which yourself and party have made. I have written to the war Department and to General Halleck on the subject. The Surveyor-General of New Mexico proceeds to visit your new gold regions, and when he returns will make an official report on their probable extent and value, so that the government can be well informed On the subject. If you can do so, when General Clark has completed his observations, I desire that you will come by Whipple's route, by Zuni to Albuquerque, with General Clark and escort, so that I may employ you as a guide for a couple of companies of troops which I will Send to establish a military post in the very heart of the gold country. These companies you can guide back by the best practicable route for wagons. I am satisfied that Albuquerque will be the point from which you will draw your supplies. The people who will flock into the country, around the San Francisco
R. W. GROOM.
“I am just commencing active operations against the Navahoes. I enclose an order which organizes the expeditions. You see the new fort will be at Pueblo, Colorado, about twenty-eight miles southwest of old Fort Defiance, and this will be the nearest point for your people to get supplies in case of accident. The sutler there will doubtless have a large stock of goods, and I will tell him about keeping on hand such articles of prime necessity as you all might require. I send you a map of the country, so that you may know about where Fort Canby will be situated. I send you another similar map, on which you can trace your new gold fields.
“If I can be of any service to yourself or party, it will afford me pleasure to help you. If I can help others to a fortune, it will afford me not quite as much happiness as finding one myself, it is true—but nearly as much. My luck has always been not to be at the right place at the right time for fortunes. I have been a little too far ahead, or else a little too much behind, for that. Yourself and your party deserve success for your industry and perseverance. Hoping that each of you will receive abundant reward for your past toil and hardships and danger, I am, captain, very respectfully,
“Have great care taken of your animals. When you arrive at the new diggings I want each of your men to prospect and wash, and I want you to report the exact time they severally work and the amount of gold each one obtains in return for his labor during that time. Much reliance will be placed upon these statistics. The people must not be deceived, nor be inveigled into that distant desert country without knowing well what they may expect to find. If the country is as rich as represented—and of this I have no doubt—there will, on your return, be a revolution in matters here which no man now can even dream of. I have written to the authorities at Washington, that if the country is rich as reported, on your return I shall send two companies of California troops to establish a post right in the heart of the gold region. Your company may, perhaps, be one of them. So you will have an eye to the best location for a post of one company of infantry and one of cavalry. In returning by the Whipple route to Albuquerque, mark the country well for the whole way from the gold region. Take your best men with
“Since you left I have seen a gentleman named Groom, who last fall came from the new gold diggings on the Colorado River, ascending Williams’ Fork to the San Francisco mountains, and thence in by Zuni to Fort Wingate and Albuquerque. He is very anxious to return to the new gold fields, having always entertained the purpose of doing so as soon as he was able. I have told him to go to Fort Craig and consult with yourself, Colonel Riggs, and Captain Pishon on the subject of your journey. He is firmly of the opinion that he can guide the party to the point indicated in Mr. Benedict's letter as the one where most gold was found—by the route from Zuni. If this can be done, a great
“All these remarks have been made having in view the decision to go via Zuni. In case you go by the Fort West route, as originally suggested, Mr. Groom, being an old and experienced packer, can be employed in that capacity. You will find him a very gentlemanly and intelligent man. He has had misfortunes and is entirely destitute, but from what I have seen of him, and what I have heard of him, he seems to be worthy of consideration, kindness, confidence and help. He is known to Colonel Rigg.
“Great care and vigilance must be exercised with regard to Indians. Never be off your guard; never become careless; be sure when your stock is grazing to have men with arms in their hands always with them, and always on the alert and awake. I cannot impress this matter too strongly upon your mind. In my experience I have found that to travel mornings and evenings, and to lie by in the heat of the day, keeps the stock in better order than to make the whole march without turning out to graze. I wish you luck.
“Colonel: I send you this note by Mr. Groom, whom you know. I have written to General Clark that if, upon consultation with yourself and Captain Pishon and Mr. Groom, it shall seem expedient to go to the new gold fields via Zuni, you are authorized to employ Mr. Groom as a guide, at a reasonable compensation. In the event of a decision among you to go that way, starting across the country directly from Fort Craig to the Whipple route, you are authorized to employ some good person as guide until that road is struck. This latter person's services will be continued throughout the journey to and from the gold fields. After the Whipple road is struck, he can act as a spy and herder, etc. In case it is concluded to go via Fort West and Tucson and the Pima villages, you are authorized to employ Mr. Groom as packer, at a reasonable compensation.
“Great care should be taken to fit out this party down to the minutest detail. Some medicines should be taken along, some lint, bandages, a field torniquet, etc., etc. The wagons should be minutely inspected, the boxes looked at, and extra linchpins, hame-strings, buckskins for mending harness, rope for packing, two lanterns made secure from breakage, (in case a man is wounded by night,) axle-grease and auger, saw, some wrought nails, &c., &c.
“General: Enclosed herewith please find the last advices from Chihuahua, Mexico, received at these headquarters. Mr. Creel's letter, dated July 15, 1863, you will find to give the true feeling of the Mexican people in Chihuahua.
“The extraordinary developments of gold and silver in Arizona, which I write to you about in another letter by this mail, are but one example of the gold and silver in Chihuahua, Sonora and Sinaloa, which states the French want, and which we should never permit them to have.
“You will see by the last return of the troops in this department that the effective strength is less than three thousand men. Of these, nearly eleven hundred are in active operations in a campaign against the Navaho Indians, and many of the remainder are constantly employed in active operations against the Apaches, who are scattered through the country in small bands, committing murders and robberies almost daily. The cavalry force in this country is entirely inadequate to pursue successfully these lawless savages. There were seven companies of the 1st cavalry California volunteers, which, last winter, General Wright wrote should be sent one by one across the desert, to New Mexico, as fast as they were raised. Of these, none have come, nor do I hear of their coming. Even if they started soon, it would be winter before they would arrive. I beg respectfully to urge upon the War Department, the absolute necessity of sending to this department, at the earliest practicable moment, one full regiment of cavalry. The forage here this year is more abundant than ever, and when our stores now en route arrive,
“As soon as the surveyor general, Clark, returns and makes an official report on the richness and extent of the new gold fields, it will be absolutely necessary to post troops in that section of the country; indeed, the capital of Arizona will be sure to be established there. All of the people of Tucson, our teamsters, and employees generally, who could possibly get away, have already left for that region. These troops, together with those we need here, additional to what we have, will fall below the mark of what are required. There will be many desertions. It is therefore incumbent on the War Department to take timely measures, so that troops to come may reach here before the grass is dry on the prairies or the winter sets in.
“General: I have the honor herewith to enclose, for the information of the War Department, copies of letters received from Samuel J. Jones, Charles O. Brown, and King S. Woolsey, in relation to the new gold fields southwest from the San Francisco mountains, about which I have so frequently written you. Brown and Woolsey are men whose statements are to be credited. Jones simply transmits Brown's letter.
“In other letters heretofore written, I have endeavored to impress upon your mind the importance of sending an additional regiment of cavalry—a full regiment—to this country. Authority has been received by the governor of New Mexico to raise in the Territory two regiments more of troops, but it is very doubtful if even one can now be raised; first because of the real scarcity of men; second because other more profitable pursuits interpose; third because nearly all the floating population will go to the new gold fields. An effort will be made to raise one regiment of infantry, as there are not horses in the Territory which can be spared from other labor to mount a regiment of cavalry. If a full regiment of cavalry could at once be sent here from the States, I would have troops quite sufficient, I hope, to whip the Indians, and to protect the people going to and at the mines. The authority to raise one independent company in each county, for the protection of the people and flocks and herds of that county, should be given to me. I have no inclination to ask for more authority or more troops than I need. I beg respectfully to say, if I am considered worthy of commanding so remote a department, some confidence should be reposed in my judgment—being,
“Pray let serious attention be given to the subject of these new discoveries of gold. A new revolution in all that pertains to this country is on the eve of commencing and the government should provide for approaching emergencies. The people will flock to the mines, and should be protected.
“Providence has indeed blessed us. Now that we need money to pay the expenses of this terrible war, new mines of untold millions are found, and the gold lies here at our feet, to be had by the mere picking of it up! The country where it is found is not a fancied Atlantis; is not seen in golden dreams; but it is a real, tangible El Dorado, that has gold that can be weighed by the steelyards—gold that does not vanish when the finder is awake.
“I hope I may not be considered visionary, and therefore be denied reasonable help. This is a great matter not only for our present wants, but for the future security of our country; for, henceforth, in place of a desert, dividing peoples, we find a treasure which will attract not only a population to live upon that desert, but which will, as sure as the sun shines, bring the great railroad over the 35th parallel, and thus unite the two extremes of the country by
“I beg you will send to New Mexico a first-rate topographical engineer to map the new gold fields, and fix their position instrumentally. Congress should, by early legislation, determine whether the government shall have the right of seigniorage in these new treasures, and whether foreigners shall come and take gold from the country ad libitum and without tax.
“Sir: I have had the honor frequently to write to the War Department of the new gold fields which have been discovered along the Gila River, and upon the line of the 35th parallel, between the Rio Grande and the Rio Colorado. Enclosed herewith please to find copies of letters upon this subject which I have just received.
“There is no doubt but the reports of these immense deposits of gold are true. As a statesman you will readily imagine all of the political results which must at once ensue from such startling developments when they obtain publicity. This should not be given to them until we have official reports from Surveyor General Clark and a party I sent with him to see precisely into the matter. We know from various other sources what that report must be, at least sufficiently to make timely preparations for emergencies which will then at once arise.
“For myself there comes no little satisfaction in the thought that, for all the toil through the desert of the troops composing the column from California, there will yet result a substantial benefit to the country; that if those fellows, who encountered their hardships so cheerfully and patiently, who endured and suffered so much, have not had the good fortune to strike a good, hard, honest blow for the old flag, they have, at least, been instrumental in helping to find gold to pay the gallant men who have had that honor. Somebody had to perform their part in the grand drama upon which the curtain is about to fall. The men from California accepted unmurmuringly the role that gave them an obscure and distant part upon the stage, where it was known they could not be seen, and believed they would hardly be heard from; but in the great tragedy so cruelly forced upon us, they tried to perform their duty, however insignificant it might be, and to the best of their ability; and now, a finger of that Providence who has watched over us in our tribulation, and who blesses us, lifts a veil, and there, for the whole country, lies a great reward.
“General: I have the honor to report that Mr. John A. Clark, the surveyor-general of the Territory of New Mexico, has returned from his visit to the newly-discovered gold fields. He has written to me a letter giving a brief synopsis of his observations, a copy of which please to find herewith enclosed.
“General Clark is very careful to keep well within bounds in all he says about the gold, as he desires to give rise to no expectations which may not be realized. That there is a large and rich mineral region between the San Francisco Mountains and the Colorado River there can be no doubt.
“I am making preparations to establish a military post of two companies of infantry at or near the lines; and it is my purpose to have the troops leave the Rio Grande for that point some time about the 10th proximo.
“I beg again respectfully to urge upon the War Department the expediency as well as the necessity of having an appropriation for the making of a road from the Rio Grande to the new gold fields and thence to Fort Mohave on the Colorado River. From the latter point there is already a road up the Mohave River through the Cajon Pass to Los Angeles. Mail facilities should also be put upon the road. The new government of Arizona, if it ever, come, will be at the gold fields, not at the insignificant village of Tucson.
“My dear Sir: Knowing the great interest which you feel in all matters that will increase the prosperity of our country—and more particularly, at this time, in all matters that relate to the moneyed resources—I have ventured to write to you concerning the new gold fields recently discovered near the San Francisco Mountains on the 35th parallel, and between the Rio Grande and the Rio Colorado. Surveyor-General Clark, of this Territory, has just returned from these new gold fields, and has written a letter to myself, giving a brief account of what he saw. General Clark is prudent in his expressions, lest extravagant expectations might be raised on what he says, leading to disappointment. From what he says, and from what I learn from other sources, a large region of country, extending from near the head of the Gila along the southern slope of the Sierra Blanca, Sierra Mogollon, (copper mountain,) San Francisco Mountains, and thence to the Colorado, is uncommonly rich, even compared with California, in gold, silver, cinnabar, and copper. On the prieta affluent to the Gila, from the north, gold was found by my scouting parties last winter as high as ‘forty cents to the pan.’ And veins of argentiferous galena were found
“I send you herewith a specimen of copper from near Fort West, on the Gila, and two specimens of pure gold from the top ofAntelope Mountain, spoken of by General Clark. These specimens weresent to me by Mr.Swilling, the discoverer of the new gold fields,near the San Francisco Mountains. If it be not improper, pleasegive the largest piece of the gold to Mr. Lincoln. It will gratify him to know that Providence is blessing our country, even though it chasteneth.
“Now, would it not be wise for Congress to take early action in legislating for such a region; to open roads; to give force to subjugate the Indians; to give mail facilities; to claim rights of seigniorage in the precious metals, which will help pay our debts, &c.?
The world's progress has always been marked by a plenitude of gold and silver. There is little doubt but that the glory of Solomon's reign was created by the discovery of the gold of Ophir. The civilization of Greece and Rome was promoted by the working of the mines of Europe and Asia for precious metals. The civilization of the world relapsed into barbarism during the Middle Ages, but was revived by the discovery of the wealth of the Incas and the Aztecs. The gold fields of California gave new impetus to the wheels of industry in all directions, and, in our day, the highest stage of civilization of the Twentieth Century has been promoted to a great extent through the plenitude of gold and silver as a circulating medium.
In 1863 the placer mines of California were exhausted, but through vein mining and hydraulic mining, the output of gold for that State amounted to about twenty-five millions of dollars per annum. The discovery of the Comstock Lode in 1859, and of silver in other portions of