CHAPTER II.PRECIOUS METALS IN ARIZONA.
REPORT OF MILITARY PROSPECTING EXPEDITION—A. F. BANTA'S STORY—SELECTION OF SITE FOR MILITARY POST—WALKER AND OTHER EXPEDITIONS—PAULINE WEAVER—EARLY TIMES AROUND PRESCOTT—ESTABLISHMENT OF FORT WHIPPLE—FRED HUGHES' STORY.
By the foregoing correspondence of General Carleton, it will be seen that the news of the discovery of placers in Apacheria created great excitement in New Mexico. Captain Pishon, with Bob Groom as pilot, following the old Beale Wagon Trail along the 35th parallel, made his way into the Valley, where he established a temporary camp. From there he discovered the Walker Party on Lynx Creek and other creeks around Prescott, and from the report which he gave to General Carleton, the great expectations which had been built up in Carleton's mind, seemed to be on the point of realization. It will be remembered that this was only about fifteen years after the discovery of the rich gold placers of California, and, at this date, 1863, mining was the business in California, Nevada and Utah. The rich discoveries of gold and silver in the two latter territories were published throughout the world. The Government, at that time, needed the precious metals to finance its military operations. The bonds of the Government, while the principal was payable in currency, bore interest which was payable in gold. This interest ranged from six to seven and a half per cent per annum, and at this time, which was just before the battle of Gettysburg, gold
Upon their return, Captain Pishon and General Clark, the Surveyor-General, after spending two weeks in the mines, reported them of extraordinary value. Men, they said, were making from ten to a hundred dollars a day with a rocker. In and around Weaver, fortunes had been picked up in large nuggets, and it was supposed that the placer fields had been only touched and were a great deal more extensive than they afterwards proved to be. In the meantime expeditions had been organized by private citizens to go to the new El Dorado. The first is that mentioned by Col. Banta:‘‘
“Much has been written about the ‘Captain Joe Walker’ party; its aims and objects, etc. One ‘authentic’ account says it was a prospecting expedition headed for the canyon of the Little Colorado river, where Walker had found gold in the early forties; all these stories are erroneous and far from the truth.
“Captain Joseph Walker was an honorable man, and a natural commander of man. Captain Sibley, of the Southern Confederacy, had undertaken the conquest of New Mexico, and the capture of Fort Union, the great depot of supplies of the U.S. Government. However, the defeat of the Sibley expedition at Apache Canyon, changed the aspect of affairs.
“In the meantime the late Col. Bob Groom, following in the wake of the Walker party, was arrested and put in the guardhouse. Bob had a friend in Congress, Senator McDougal of California, to whom he wrote to get him out of ‘hock.’ The Senator called upon Secretary Stanton, who informed him that his friend Groom must take the oath of allegiance to the U. S. Government, or remain under guard until the close of the war. There was no alternative,—Bob took the oath. After his release from the guardhouse General Carleton sent for Bob, and asked him if he desired to join the Walker party in Arizona; that he was about to send out a scouting party to look up the party, and if he so desired he (Bob) could go along as guide to Capt. Pishon, who would command the scouting party. Bob accepted the proposition and joined the Pishon expedition in search of the Walker party. Pishon's orders were to follow the trail of Walker, and if the party were permanently located, as rumor had it, to select a site for a military post as near the Walker party as practicable. The trail was followed to Chino Valley, but here it had become obliterated. However, Pishon came up to what is now known as Granite Greek, where he made camp about four o'clock in the afternoon
“It may be of general interest to know how I became aware of these ‘inside facts.’ I was at Albuquerque at the time; the country was under martial law; Lieut. Johnson was Provost Marshal; H. S. Johnson published the Rio Abajo Press; he was on the ‘inside’ in matters military and I worked in the office, so I, too, was on the ‘inside.’ Nuff sed.
“In the summer of 1864, Captain Joe Walker, still having the Southern cause in mind, a plot was hatched in Prescott and Walker's Gulch to capture Fort Whipple and the Capitol, and then organize the Territory as a dependency of the Southern Confederacy. In the event of success, General Coulter—one of the Walker Party—was to be made provisional Governor, and Captain Walker, Adjutant-General. Of course, Benedict was on, and gave it away to the commanding
“In regard to Captain Pauline Weaver: Very little was known about Captain Weaver. He had lived with the Yumas, Apache-Yumas, Mohaves, Apache-Mohaves and other tribes of Apaches since 1841. He was very uncommunicative and stoical; more Indian than white. I first met Weaver in 1864, at which time he was along in years. He soon after became a pensioner of the military and at Camp Verde was taken down sick, but strenuously opposed going into the hospital, declaring he could not live or breathe in a house. Before he took sick Weaver lived in a camp north of the post, perhaps a half mile or more away, and when found sick the commanding officer ordered a party of soldiers to take a tent and erect it over the sick man. Even this was objected to by the old man, but he was too sick to do more than object. Here he died and was buried by the military; and thus ended the career of this peculiar and mysterious character. It was generally believed that Weaver had been an officer in the army at one time, but nothing of a certainty was ever known.”’’
“This military expedition comprised sixty bull teams, six mule teams and three ambulances. The wagons were loaded at Fort Union with commissary and quartermaster supplies, the outfit pulled out of Union on October 5th, 1863, with orders to rendezvous at Old Fort Wingate. The real start was made from Fort Wingate, and the expedition as a whole was composed of two companies of California Volunteers—‘F’ and ‘C,’ First Regiment,—also Capt. Pishon and a part of his company. The officers were Major Willis, Captains Benson and Hargrave, Lieuts. Nelson and Pomeroy. Dr. Lieb and wife also accompanied the expedition. I had joined the expedition at Albuquerque in the humble capacity of bullwhacker. We reached Chino Valley and established Fort Whipple there on the 21st day of December, 1863. Soon after Governor John N. Goodwin and party arrived at the post and established the temporary capital of the Territory at Whipple. Secretary R. C. McCormick had brought out a small printing outfit and started the “Arizona Miner,” a monthly publication. T. E. Hand came out to run the thing. I helped to get out the first issues of the paper.
“Some time in April (1864), Governor Goodwin selected the town site, which was surveyed by Col. Bob Groom and Van C. Smith, and afterwards named Prescott. Previous to this the placer miners on Granite Creek had become ‘public spirited,’ took a day off, held a meeting,
“Loren Jenks had the first hay contract for Whipple after its removal to its present site. ‘Poker’ Johnson took a sub-contract and established a hay camp below the ‘rocks.’ At this time I was employed by ‘Poker,’ (after I herded stock for R. E. Farrington all winter at $7.50 per month), to scout about the camp and look out for Apaches, at $75.00 per month. The hay was cut with hoes, and at that sort of work the men could not keep an eye out for reds. The late John H. Behan—my partner and chum—was here cutting hay, also a Mr. Giles and others, besides a number of Mexicans. This was in, July, 1864, and while in this camp, the first election was held and Giles was elected to the First Legislative Assembly. I, of course, did not vote, as I was not of legal age, but east my first vote in 1866.
“One Sunday a hay-cutter named Henson was out not far from the camp, perhaps a quarter of mile, where he was jumped by Apaches, and killed one with his pistol. The shot was heard in camp, and when he came in, the boys asked what he had shot at. He said, ‘I shot an Apache; he fell, and I think I killed him.’ A few days afterwards I was over the same ground and, seeing some buzzards flying around there, I made an examination and found the dead Indian. Speaking of Apaches, when I was herding for Farrington, sometimes I carried an old Dragoon holster pistol, loaded to the muzzle with powder and ball. This I carried in my hand, muzzle down. One day I got sight of three Apaches, making off with three burros. I started for them, and they turned up a canyon. To head them off, I cut across the small mountain. When I reached the top, the Apaches had left the burros in the canyon
“After the hay was ‘dug’ Charley Beach had the Contract to haul it to Whipple. The bullwhackers were Berry Dodson, Dave and Sam Smiley, Charley Washburn, John H. Behan, Dan White, and C. A. Franklin. In the summer of 1864, Jim Fine and Ely Pulteney located and built a little rock cabin above the ‘rocks.’ After we had finished hauling the hay, Beach had the teams taken to the Fine-Pulteney cabin. A corral of cottonwood poles was built about the cabin. The bars of the corral were stuck through holes in the cabin near the corner next to the door, and at night a log chain was wound around
“Up at ‘Gimletville,’ the name derisively given to Goodwin by the Prescottites, were two restaurants. One was kept by the ‘Virgin Mary’ and the other by a man named Jackson. The ‘Virgin Mary’ had come up from Tucson with ‘Nigger’ Brown, and had brought a dozen or two goats with her. Both restaurants had drawing cards. The ‘Virgin Maryrsquo; pull was goat's milk for coffee, and Jackson's was his sixteen-year old stepdaughter. As between the two ‘cards’ I think the goat's milk had the stronger pull.
“In those early days greenbacks were at a discount. The gold standard prevailed. Bacon was a dollar and a half a pound in gold, or three dollars in paper money, and the same price for coffee and sugar. A pair of the most ordinary boots cost $25 in gold. At this rate I bought no boots but made moccasins. The winter of 1864-65 found me in Prescott. John P. Burke
“The most dangerous man in Prescott at this time was A. G. Dunn. He had killed a man in Oregon and was sent to the pen, but through influential friends had secured his release and come to Arizona. In town were two ‘Sols,’ Little Sol, and Black Sol, and Dunn had some words over a Mexican woman with Black Sol, and Dunn threatened to kill Black Sol. Dunn never carried a pistol, but did carry a small Ballard rifle at all times. The little Jew armed himself with two big six-shooters and, being rather diminutive in stature, the muzzles of the two pistols whacked against the calves of his legs to the amusement of everybody. One evening ‘the woman in the case’ was at the cabin of McMahan, who had a Mexican wife. Mac was an assayer. Black Sol also put in there, too, and pretty soon someone in the house saw Dunn approaching. The Jew was frightened and crawled under the bed. Dunn had no idea that the Jew was there and entered the room, put his gun in a corner, and sat down on a chair leaning back against the bed. McMahan, fearing trouble should Dunn discover the presence of the Jew, came up to the hotel after the sheriff. Burke was under-sheriff and, with a pocket derringer, returned with McMahan
“Along in the spring of 1865, Major Staples, a paymaster in the army, paid off the troops at Whipple, and with an escort of California Volunteers, started back to his headquarters at Santa Fe. Several parties took advantage of the escort to return to New Mexico. Among those going back were C. W. Beach, George Cooler, Burke and myself, and, perhaps, a few others. We followed our old military trail via Chino Valley, Hell Canyon, Rattlesnake Tank, Bear Springs, Volunteer Springs, Antelope Springs, the present site of Flagstaff—Coconino Tanks, Walnut Tanks, the Little Colorado at the mouth of the Canyon Diablo, and so on. It was some time in the month of April, 1865, this trip was made. We had six mute wagons for baggage and grub; the escort were cavalrymen, and the Major rode a horse.
“Before we had reached the Coconino caves, I pushed on ahead of the outfit as I wanted to take a look at them. Reaching the caves I saw smoke coming out of the volcanic rocks over a considerable extent of ground. I entered one of the caves and, finding a hole leading further back in to the mountain, I crawled in on my hands and knees, and seeing a reflected light ahead, I crawled towards it. By this time the opening was so small that I was forced to lie flat in order to get in. Finally I had gone as far as was possible and here saw that the light came up through a fissure about two feet wide. Looking down into the fissure I could see about sixty
“Without further incident we reached (old) Fort Wingate sometime in May, where we first heard of the assassination of President Lincoln. In due time we reached Albuquerque, where I remained for a time.”’’
The foregoing statement made by A. F. Banta gives a description of the second expedition under Major Willis and also an outline of the general conditions in the mountain camps around Prescott at the time of his arrival with the second expedition, and some of his subsequent experiences.
It does not appear in General Carleton's letters, or elsewhere, that there was any suspicion that the Walker party were Confederates, for had their loyalty been suspected, they would all have been arrested in New Mexico and compelled to take the oath of allegiance, so it is probable that this portion of Mr. Banta's statement was founded upon camp rumors.
“The fall of 1863 found the California column, after its weary trip from California to the Rio Grande, scattered through Arizona and New Mexico, in full and undisputed possession of both territories so far as the southern Confederacy was concerned. The summer had passed principally in operations against the Apaches and Navajo Indians. The latter tribe was wealthy and possessed large herds of sheep and other stock; they were quickly whipped, and at the time at which this narrative commences, had succumbed, and were coming in and giving themselves up as prisoners of war, and were being sent to the Bosque Redondo reservation in New Mexico.
“During the summer a party of hardy prospectors and mountaineers from Colorado and California, under the lead of a noted trapper, named Captain Joe Walker, had pushed forward into the country around where the city of Prescott now stands, and had discovered rich gold placers. This new discovery had created excitement, and all that prevented a general stampede thereto was the difficulty of getting
“It was during the early part of this year that Congress had passed the act organizing the territory of Arizona and at the time of which I write the territorial officials had been appointed and were on their way out from Washington to their posts of duty. Governor John N. Goodwin the head of the delegation, had decided to locate the capital of the new territory, in the vicinity of the new gold discovery made by the Walker party. General Carleton, who was then in command of the department, also decided to locate a fort there, ostensibly to protect the miners against the Indians, but in reality to guard against organization in our rear, for it was known that most of the people going to the new discovery were sympathizers with the Confederacy. The company to which I then belonged was located at Fort Craig, on the Rio Grande, better known then as Val Verde, and we were detailed by General Carleton as one of two companies to proceed to the new discovery and locate the fort. We were first to proceed to Los Tinos on the Rio Grande, where we were to meet the new territorial officials and escort them through the Indian country to their destination. We reached Los Tinos in the middle of October, but the officials had not arrived, and after waiting for them about ten days, and they failing to appear, we were ordered to proceed to old Fort Wingate and await their arrival there. We proceeded to Wingate, and remained there a week or ten days and they not appearing,
“Our expedition left Wingate on the 17th day of November (1863). It consisted of Companies ‘C’ and ‘F’ of the First California Volunteers, and some forty or fifty wagons, four-fifths of which were ox-teams. The winter proved to be exceedingly cold and stormy, and by the time we reached the Little Colorado, our oxen began to peg out. We had as yet had very little trouble with the Indians. At Inscription Rock they had stolen some horses from a party of citizens who were accompanying us, and who had ventured too far from the command, and struck a party of Navajoes under a chief named Nannelity, who had as yet refused to submit and come in off the warpath. By the time we reached the base of the San Francisco mountains our cattle were giving out and dying to such an extent that it became necessary to either destroy part of our stores, or cache them until the command could go on to its destination. The latter course was determined upon, and I was detailed to remain behind with ten men and guard the cache until they could return and relieve us. It was nearly a month before they returned. In the interim we enjoyed ourselves hunting to our hearts' content, for our camp was a veritable hunters' paradise. It was at a point then called Snider's Water Hole. Bear, elk, deer, antelope and furkey abounded in greater numbers than I have ever seen, either before or since. While hunting we would see Indians almost daily and being as we now were in Tonto or Hualapai Apache country, we knew them to be Apaches, and really
“The next day we were surprised to have a train of four wagons pull into our camp, coming from the direction of the Rio Grande. They proved to be a party of Americans and Mexicans from Santa Fe and Albuquerque, en route to the new gold diggings. They had followed our trail out from the Rio Grande. They had laid over the day before to rest at some springs about ten miles from our camp, and it was without a doubt their mules I had seen the day previous. Jack Collins, a noted crack stage driver, who was afterwards killed by Apaches, near where the town of Pantano now stands, was at the head of the American party with this train. They had heard nothing of the Arizona officials before they left the river.
“It was about three weeks before the second party got back to relieve us, and in the meantime no Indians had visited our camp, nor had we seen any while hunting. The new relief party was commanded by Lieutenant Griff Taylor, afterwards a noted Prescottite. Taylor came with orders to relieve us, and on his return to attack the Hualapai camp at Rattlesnake Canyon. Evidently it was the impression that these Indians were the ones that stampeded our herd.
“I learned in the meantime that when we left our camp at Snider's Water Hole, one of the relief party had posted a notice on the pine trees there notifying parties to look out for Indians at that particular place. The notice was particularly addressed to the expected territorial officials. I notified Col. Willis of this fact, and of the trouble likely to ensue, should these officials, whom we expected daily, first find this notice and then encounter these Indians. He said he would send out a party to either meet the territorial party or take down the notice. Col. Willis was probably a little dilatory about this matter, and unfortunately the Arizona officials
“This camp Clark, of which I speak in this letter, was the first capital of Arizona Territory. It was located at the point now known as Little Chino Valley, and remained there for three or four months before it was moved to Prescott. The ‘Arizona Miner’ was first published at this camp. The press had been brought out by R. C. McCormick, then secretary of the Territory and afterwards governor, and delegate to Congress. The ‘Miner,’ however, was edited by a man named Hand, the first numbers being printed on colored mapping paper. It was about a 12×20 single sheet and devoted principally to furthering the political ambitions of Secretary McCormick.”’’