CHAPTER XIV. MINES AND MINING—POSSIBILITIES OF THE TERRITORY—RESUMPTION OF MAIL AND STAGE LINES.
EARLY PROSPECTING IN GILA COUNTY—DISCOVERY OF COPPER AT CLIFTON—CAPTAIN HARDY'S PROSPECTING EXPEDITION—MINING AT THE “VULTURE”—R. C. MCCORMICK'S OPINION AS TO POSSIBILITIES OF THE TERRITORY—RESTORATION OF MAIL AND FREIGHT LINES.
Although the first excitement created by the discovery of the placer mines in the vicinity of Prescott had somewhat died down, mining and prospecting were still carried on to a very large extent, not only along the Hassayampa and in Yavapai County, but in other parts of the territory. The first record I have of prospecting or mining in Gila County is given in the Fish manuscript, which states:‘‘
“The first man to explore and prospect in the vicinity of Globe was a man by the name of Stowe, and but little is known of him, for he was alone, and very reticent as to his doings. He visited old Camp Goodwin in 1864-65. He went to the camp for supplies, which the boys gave him. He was furnished provisions from the commissary, for at that time the government supplied any and all travellers who needed food, even though the parties had no money. This prospector made four or five trips to the Post, each time securing enough provisions to last about three months. He finally failed to put in a reappearance, and no trace of him or his gold
In the Fish manuscript it is stated that the wonderful copper deposits at Clifton, which have made the mines in that place famous throughout the west, and placed them at the head of the list in the production of copper, were first discovered by soldiers on some of their scouting expeditions after the Apaches as early as 1865, although it is finally claimed that the real discovery was in 1870. The history of these mines will be treated farther along in these pages.
In 1866 a prospector reached Hardyville and displayed some rich specimens of copper and silver, creating much excitement among the residents of that place. Captain W. H. Hardy formed an expedition to go in quest of the silver mountain, which the prospector said was near the mouth of the Little Colorado. The party reached its destination but, failing to find the silver mountain, started to return to Hardyville. Near Cataract Creek the party was attacked by Indians, but escaped by flight, turning their mules loose; and some of the mules reached Hardyville before the men.
Much has been mentioned in a previous chapter of the discovery of the Vulture Mine, and this mine, as old residents of Arizona know, had some very varied experiences. After Henry Wickenburg, its discoverer, had managed to get the first ton of the ore packed into his camp in 1864, and ground, he sold to anyone who would put up an arrastra, the ore for $15 a ton, the buyer mining and sorting the ore himself. During the years 1865 and 1866, there were four mills built within less than one mile of the present town of Wickenburg;
The ten-stamp mill was owned by Wm. Smith, Fritz Brill and others, and was moved from Wickenburg to a point about thirteen miles down the Hassayampa, in order to get wood, as the wood had all been consumed near the town. This mill was run until 1878 and 1879, when Smith & Company sold out, their claim and hold on the Vulture reverting to James Seymour of New York, who had bought the old Wickenburg interests. Seymour employed James Cusenberry to superintend the working of the property, and he moved twenty stamps of the old mill down to a point on the river about eleven miles below, and the twenty stamps were run at the place which was called “Seymour” for nearly a year, when a man named Shipman was put in charge. Instead of moving the other twenty stamps to Seymour, he advised the building of a larger mill at the mine and pumping the water from the river to it.
R. C. McCormick, the Secretary of the Territory, afterwards Governor, and then delegate to Congress, probably did more for the advancement of the Territory than any other one man. He was enthusiastic as to the possibilities of Arizona, as more than one of his letters to the eastern papers are evidence.
In a previous chapter I gave one of his letters to the “New York Tribune,” which was designed to give publicity to the Territory. Mr. McCormick was not only an enthusiastic believer in the possibilities of Arizona, but was a student of national affairs, as the following letter, dated June 20th, 1865, will show:‘‘
“Just as California offered a safety valve for the superfluous fighting element of the country after the Mexican War, so the territories which have recently been proved to be equals of California in metallic wealth, offer the desired opportunity for working off the excess of pugnacity which survives the great Rebellion. We do not mean to say that the discharged soldiers who migrate to the territories will have much fighting to do. There will be a taste of it occasionally in scaring off the hostile Sioux, Pah-Utes or Apaches. This, with hunting and other wild sports, will enable them to keep up something of their
“The mineral bearing territories undoubtedly offer a wide and tempting field for those who by reason of their work and experience will regard the common occupations of life as monotonous. Primarily they represent a climate unsurpassed in the world for its salubrity, and with which that of any portion of the nation where our armies have operated is unworthy of comparison. If compelled for months, or even for years, to live in the open air, it will be to the benefit rather than to the injury of the physical condition. The certainty of fine weather gives not only a pledge of life and longevity, but a facility for active and continuous labor unequalled in the States. For a time in some quarters there will be a fine field for pugnacity in fighting the hostile Indians and the excitement in hunting and trapping, but, as you aptly put it, ‘the excitement will consist principally of prospecting for and working mines and contending with the natural difficulties of the new and almost unexplored lands.’
“All of the territories present inducements for migration, but the pressure will naturally be toward those presumed to be richest in the precious ores. Every emigrant means to be a miner until he finds that he can do better at something else. Arriving where quartz preponderates, and the placers are uncertain in their yield, he will find it difficult to accomplish much on his individual account unless possessed of large means. Quartz mining is not a business adapted to the poor man, except as affording him wages for his labor. As capital opens the ledges and puts machinery upon them, as the mines are worked with system and extensively, the territories will become a market for unlimited labor at the best rates.
“There is, however, no greater mistake than the idea held by many that if one has no capital to work a mine, or no disposition to labor for another in the same, he can do well in a mineral region. A moment's consideration must make it apparent that for all trades and callings, for all classes of labor, the payment is in proportion to the settlement of the country. Where there is a growing population, shoemakers, butchers, bakers, blacksmiths, and carpenters, are as much needed as miners, and may generally accumulate wealth as rapidly.
“The extent of the mineral wealth of the territories as already known, is beyond calculation, and in several of them, prospecting for lodes is partly begun. A district of Arizona nearly as large as the State of Pennsylvania is yet unexplored, while tradition designates it as richer in gold than Havilah or Ophir. Every day affords new proof of the greater metallic and agricultural resources of our Pacific possessions. The story of their aridity and worthlessness, long a popular belief, is no longer credited. The harvests of precious areas and of the fruits of the arable soil have spoken for themselves. Their value is not more surprising than the time at which they are forthcoming—the hour of the national necessity. Properly directed and encouraged American enterprises and industry will speedily sweep away the national debt from sources which but a few years since would have been thought barren and unproductive. There is every reason why our discharged soldiers should go to the territories, but it is my apprehension though, that but a few comparatively will reach there at an early day unless by the interposition of government. The cost of the journey by the usual means of travel is too great for the volunteer, however prudent he may have been with his pay. Private expeditions may, in instances, afford economical transportation, but to insure the extensive and immediate emigration which is desirable,
“In this connection may I plead for a more intelligent and liberal consideration of the Territories in all their relations upon the part of our representatives in Congress, than has hitherto been given? None but those who have experienced the obstacles and discouragements arising from illiberality at Washington can realize what the Territories have had to contend with. It was more than a year after the organization of Arizona before there was a mail route or postoffice in the territory, and at this writing but a small part of the Territory is in the enjoyment of a mail service. The men who, at the risk of their lives and with great labor, took
“The territories are worthy and should command prompt and liberal and encouraging legislation on the part of Congress, and the best treatment in the departments. The encouragement given them while yet in their swaddling clothes will be returned a thousand fold. No bread ever east upon the waters will come back more speedily or more abundantly. While the nation was involved in an extensive and trying war there may have been some excuse for inattention to the territories. Now there is none, and the people should see to it that their representatives in all branches of the government are active and
As stated in a previous chapter, the Overland Mail was discontinued in 1861, when the property of the company was forcibly taken possession of by some of the states through which the line ran, notably the State of Texas; such property of the company as could be controlled, was moved to the northern route via Salt Lake, and Arizona was left without mail or any public facilities for communicating with the outside world for several years. The first public mail that reached Tucson after the Civil War, came from California on horseback, arriving September 1st, 1865, and the first through mail from the eastern states, Barlow, Sanderson & Company, arrived in Tucson August 25th, 1866.
My authority for the above statement is Sydney R. DeLong, who came to Arizona as a member of the California Column, and who was for many years, and until the time of his decease in 1914, a citizen of Tucson, and prominent in political and mercantile history.
“For a year after the organization of its government, the Territory was without a mail route or a postoffice. Letters were carried by the courtesy of the military officers. The transit was not very rapid. One instance was that of a
Although the people of Arizona were for a long time cut off from public mail and passenger service, the freight business was continued, as it had of necessity to be, but the residents of the Territory paid heavily for all supplies which were brought into the Territory. The “Miner,” in 1866, says that transportation of supplies via the Colorado River and La Paz cost sixteen cents a pound, and occupied at least ninety days, and that via Wilmington, and from thence overland, it cost seventeen to twenty cents a pound, but the time was greatly reduced, it only taking from thirty to forty days to freight the goods. This, of course, applied only to the town of Prescott.