CHAPTER XIV. MINES AND MINING—POSSIBILITIES OF THE TERRITORY—RESUMPTION OF MAIL AND STAGE LINES.


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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


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and silver mines has ever been found by white men.”

’’

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;


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one a five-stamp mill, built by Charles Tyson, another a five-stamp mill built by Jack Swilling at the place where F. H. O'Brien afterwards owned a ranch; another a ten-stamp mill, and the fourth a twenty-stamp mill, half a mile above the present town of Wickenburg. This last mill was run two years when twenty more stamps were added, after which it was run until 1871. James Cusenberry built the twenty-stamp mill, and also added the twenty more stamps. He turned the management over to a man named Sexton, who ran it into the ground, and was over one hundred thousand dollars in debt in Arizona in 1871, when he had to close down. C. B. Genung, says that it is hard to tell how much the Vulture owed in California at that time, and that it is doubtful if any of the debts were ever paid.

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.


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The result was an eighty-stamp mill, and a seventeen mile pipe-line to it. It was not worked to any extent until 1912, when the property passed to a Canadian company.

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:

‘‘

“To the Editors of the Journal of Commerce:

“Your editorial headed ‘Safety Valves for Superfluous Pugnacity,’ suggests a matter worthy not only of the consideration of our now unemployed volunteers, but also of the government.

“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


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rifle practice. But the excitement of the territorial life will consist principally of prospecting for, and working mines, and contending with the natural difficulties of the new and almost unexplored land. As the chances for making a fortune will be great, so the obstacles to be overcome will be forbidding to all but strong arms and hearts such as American soldiers have carried through the four years war. There could have been no better school than this work to educate men to grapple with the problems of a miner's life.

“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.’

“This is the life, stirring, unrestrained and with great risks to be taken, and great chances


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for gain, that our irrepressible volunteers will seek if there is no further need of their services in the army, or no well and properly organized movement against Maximilian.

“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 territories besides offering cheap, wholesome and profitable homes to our disbanded soldiers of all trades and tastes, present a field of occupation and development which will be a national


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service and blessing. Next to fighting for the preservation of the Nation, what can be more patriotic and praiseworthy than earnest, energetic, enthusiastic efforts to provide for a speedy payment of the war debt, and the substantial prosperity of the Republic?

“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,


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not only for the unemployed thus to have the benefit of the territories and of the whole country, government must take action. In a letter to a contemporary journal I have dwelt upon this matter as one of great consequence and eminently proper. At a cost of five million dollars, or less, I assume that one hundred thousand of the discharged volunteers may be sent to the territories, even to the Pacific. In what way, I ask, can the general government expend five millions of dollars in a manner more likely to bring quick and ample return to the national treasury than in making such a large and valuable addition to the population of the territories? Let this be done and there will no longer be a demand for troops to keep off hostile Indians or for money to build roads and to make other improvements. As a matter of reward for faithful service; for provision for the health and prosperity of those who merit every recognition and respect, and of political sagacity and economy, it commends itself to the attention of the government.

“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


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the census early in 1864, have not yet been paid. No appropriation for a territorial library, especially needed at the beginning of the government, has yet been made, and the courts and the Legislature have met without even a copy of the United States Statutes before them. The most inadequate provision has been made for protecting settlers against the Apache, ever active and barbarous in his hostility. Until within the present month there has not, from the hour of its recognition, been a regiment of troops stationed within the Territory, which is three times as large as the State of New York. A reasonable appropriation for the improvement of the navigation of the Colorado River, the great highway of communication from the Pacific, not alone with Arizona, but with Utah and the other northern Territories, and one of the most important rivers upon the continent, was denied by the late Congress. Such negligence and littleness ill becomes a great and successful government, and is not at all in accordance with the spirit and desire of the people.

“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


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generous in their care for the broad domain, the development of which will be a crowning glory of the times, and a lasting one to American enterprises.

“I am your obedient servant,

“R. C. McCORMICK,

“Secretary of the Territory of Arizona,”

’’

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.

Of the mail service and stage lines, Fish, in his manuscript, has the following to say:

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“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


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letter mailed in New York October 3d, which reached Cerro Colorado, May 31st of the following year. The express carriers had been the main and about the only dependence whereby the people could communicate with the outside world, but with the close of the Civil War, many changes were made, and especially in the matter of mails. Finally mail service was established, and on September 1, 1865, the first locked mail sack in four years reached Tucson on horseback. Buckboards were put on shortly afterwards to carry the mails regularly, and in a few months the stage line was re-established.”

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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.

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