CHAPTER I. CONDITIONS IN 1867 AND 1868.


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GENERAL JAMES E. RUSLING'S DESCRIPTION OF ARIZONA-FREIGHT RATES-GENERAL RUSLING'S PARTY JOINED BY GOVERNOR AND MRS. MCCORMICK-ABUNDANCE OF MESQUITE-THE GILA VALLEY - PAINTED ROCKS - GIANT SAGUARO-MARICOPA WELLS-PIMA AND MARICOPA INDIANS - MONTEZUMA - TUCSON - SAN XAVIER DEL BAC - HEAVY RAINS-OVERFLOWING OF THE GILA RIVER-CROSSING THE GILA AND SALT RIVERS-FORT MCDOWELL - HARD ROAD TO PRESCOTT - AGUA FRIA RIVER-DANGERS AND DIFFICULTIES EXPERIENCED IN HASSAYAMPA RIVER-WICKENBURG-THE VULTURE MINE.

In 1867 and 1868, the conditions in Arizona were in all respects bad. The Apaches and the River Indians above Fort Yuma were all on the warpath, besides which, the uncertainty of transportation and excessive cost, with the dangers to life attending the hardy adventurer, made Arizona at that time anything but a desirable place of residence.

In the spring of 1867 General James E. Rusling, as agent of the War Department to inspect the posts of Arizona, accompanied by Ben C. Truman, came into Arizona, and General Rusling,


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in a book printed subsequently, entitled: "The Great West and the Pacific Coast," describes the conditions existing in Arizona at that time, from which I condense the following:

Their trip from Wilmington to Yuma, then Arizona City, was one of hardship and not of interest to us at this time. Freight was shipped from San Francisco to the mouth of the Colorado River at that time in sail boats, from which point it was transferred into small river steamers for transportation up the river. Oftentimes on account of the uncertainty of the river channel, to reach Yuma involved a trip of two months. The rates current then, according to General Rusling, were, from the mouth of the Colorado to Yuma (or Arizona City), 150 miles, twenty dollars a ton in coin; to La Paz, 300 miles, forty dollars a ton in coin; to Fort Mohave, or Hardyville, 450 miles, sixty dollars a ton in coin. The rates from San Francisco to the mouth of the river, some 2,000 miles, were from twelve to fifteen dollars per ton, coin, so that every load of freight landed at Arizona City or Hardyville, cost from thirty-five to seventy-five dollars a ton for transportation alone, to which should be added five dollars a pound in gold for each one hundred miles into the interior, which made freight cost delivered in Tucson about $250 a ton in gold, and in Prescott about the same, which, in itself, was ruinous to any mining enterprise, and, in fact, to any enterprise whatever. Even at these exorbitant rates it is doubtful whether the freighters amassed any great amount of money for frequently their trains were captured and


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the contents of the wagons destroyed. No freighter at that time but suffered more or less on that account, and the merchants in the different localities also incurred great losses. These conditions made Arizona practically inaccessible to population and trade, and gave rise to an earnest desire on the part of her citizens that a port should be opened at Libertad on the Gulf of California where supplies could be hauled into the Territory at a saving estimated at the time of over $200,000 per annum.

General Rusling and his party arrived in Yuma on the 2nd of March, and after inspecting the post there, were joined by Governor McCormick and his wife, they having left San Francisco in advance of Rusling's party, and on March 4th they continued their journey to Prescott over a road which was difficult and dangerous. Their outfit consisted of two four mule ambulances, into which they stored themselves, their baggage, rations, forage, cooking utensils, etc., with two wagon sheets to pitch as tents if necessary. These, however, they did not use except for making their beds. General Rusling declares the climate was simply unrivalled. There was no cavalry at Yuma, and the road being reported comparatively safe to Maricopa Wells, they went thither without escort, depending upon their own courage and vigilance. Nevertheless, they provided themselves before starting with firearms, giving to the cook whom they took along to provide their meals, and to both drivers, Springfield muskets, while they themselves were equipped


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with a Spencer or Remington rifle apiece, as well as revolvers.

Their road, for the most part, ran along the side of the Gila river, which was swollen at that time on account of the melting snows of spring, and over the desert sands. Portions of the Gila bottoms, he claims, were fine agricultural land, but required irrigation. They found but few settlers along the route and nothing but here and there an abortive attempt at cultivation, usually unsuccessful. The bottoms everywhere were covered with bunch grass and mesquite-timber-"the one the delight of horses, the other invaluable in that treeless region. The mesquite has but little height; but its trunk is often two and three feet in diameter, though only about as many high, from which point it throws out great, sturdy, black, gnarled limbs for a distance of thirty or forty feet all around. We saw many of them, that I think could not have been more than five or six feet in height, the bend of the branches included; nevertheless, with their crooked and gnarled limbs, they sprawled over the ground for a diameter of fully seventy-five or one hundred feet. At first they strike you as dwarfs, puny in aspect and purpose; but afterwards, as stunted giants, massive in strength and power, writhing in very anguish, because unable to tower higher. For lumber purposes, the mesquite amounts to but little; but for fuel, it is invaluable, and the future settlers on the Gila will prize it highly. It occurs pretty much all through Arizona on the best river-bottoms, and everywhere seems a providential


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institution. It makes a firewood scarcely inferior to oak or hickory, and bears a bean besides, which constitutes a large part of the subsistence of the Mexicans and the Indians there. These mesquite beans make a very sweet and palatable dish, and horses, mules, cattle, etc., are especially fond of them. The Mexicans we met en route to California, were subsisting upon them almost entirely, and subsequently in wandering through the Pima village, we found them in every storehouse. A Pima belle, for a bundle of cigarritos, cooked us a dish of them, and we have eaten worse things in New York and Washington. Said an old Arizonan one day, ‘‘‚Whenever you see mesquites, strangers, look out for good land, you bet!‚’’ and we found it so invariably. Indeed, with a moderate amount of enterprise, and a small amount of capital, we saw no good reason why the valley of the Gila should not eventually be dotted with excellent farms. The land is all there, and plenty of water to irrigate it (if only the Gila can be subdued, and surely it can), and the climate the year round must be delightful. But, as a rule, we found the country desolate and forsaken, with the exception of a starving ranch here and there, whose dirty and dilapidated proprietor cared more to swear at his snarling half-coyote dogs, and sell an occasional glass of mescal or whisky, than to do an honest, hard day's work."

At Gila Bend, they were informed at Yuma, they would find Apaches if anywhere. They took the precaution to dismount from their ambulances and skirmish through on foot. As a


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consequence, they were not molested. This experience was repeated all the way to Tucson, and by exercising prudent vigilance by day, and a few simple precautions by night, they made the journey through in safety. Continuing his story, the general says:

‘‘

"A few miles west of Gila Bend, between Berk's Station and Oatman's Flat, we passed a group of rocks that interest everybody, but which nobody seemed to know much about. They stand near the roadside, and consist of smooth, red porphyry, or some such stone, curiously carved with figures of men, birds, beasts, fishes, etc. Many of the figures are now quite indistinct but sufficient remain to show what they were, and their very indistinctness-coupled with the hardness of the stone-proves their great antiquity. The rocks themselves, when struck, ring like genuine clink stones; and, it would seem, only the sharpest and hardest instruments could make much impression on them. The place is called ‚Painted Rocks,‚ and we only had time for a cursory examination; but the sculpturing seemed too remote for Spanish times, and was generally attributed to the days of the Aztecs. However this may be, they appeared to be there as a species of hieroglyphics, and doubtless have a story to tell, that some future Champollion may unfold. It may be that the ancient travel for Mexico left the Gila here, or about here, and struck across the country for the Santa Cruz and so south, flanking the Maricopa Desert, and that these sculptured rocks record the place as the starting point-as a sort of finger-board or milestone.


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This is only a conjecture; but here, at least, is work for the archaeologist and antiquarian, as well as at so many other points in Arizona."

’’

Aside from the mesquite, ironwood and palo verde trees, scattered here and there along the Gila and its bottom, the entire country from Yuma to Tucson was treeless. Sagebrush and greasewood abounded as throughout the great internal basin of the continent generally. On the uplands were to be found the saguaro, or giant cactus, in full vigor and maturity, increasing in height and bulk until when they reached the Maricopa Desert they were to be found thirty to forty feet in height, by two or three feet in diameter, with perpendicular branches half way up, nearly half as large as the main stem. General Rusling says:

‘‘

"This variety is a green fluted column, with its edges armed with semi-circular thorns, and bears a cluster of apples on top, from which the Indians extract a rude molasses or sugar. (This fruit was also highly prized by the Mexicans.) Inside, it is a frame work of reedy poles that serve many useful purposes in that woodless region. These immense cacti dot the country over to Tucson, and beyond-indeed, down to Mexico, and largely through it-and are a leading feature of southern Arizona. * * * How such a gigantic vegetable or immense plant can thus flourish here, where nothing else comparatively will grow, is a continuing mystery and perpetual astonishment. It would seem more fit for a luxuriant soil and a tropical


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climate. Yet here it is, magnum opus, mocking the naturalist apparently to scorn."

’’

At Maricopa Wells they entered the Pima and Maricopa reservation. The reservation was described as some twenty-five miles long by four or five miles wide, embracing both sides of the Gila, and in it were twelve different villages, two of them occupied by Maricopas and the rest by the Pimas.

‘‘

"Both tribes are a healthy, athletic, vigorous-looking people, and they were decidedly the most well-to-do aborigines we had yet seen. Unlike most Indians elsewhere, these two tribes are steadily on the increase; and this is not to be wondered at, when one sees how they have abandoned a vagabond condition, and settled down to regular farming and grazing. They have constructed great acequias up and down the Gila, and by means of these take out and carry water for irrigating purposes, over thousands of acres of as fine land as anybody owns. Their fields are well fenced with willows, they had been scratched a little with rude plows, and already (March 9th) they were green with the fast springing wheat and barley. In addition, they raise corn, beans, melons, etc., and have horses and cattle in considerable numbers. One drove of their livestock, over two thousand head, passed down the road just ahead of us, subsequently when en route to Tucson, and we were told they had many more. The year before these Indians had raised and sold a surplus of wheat and corn, amounting to two millions of pounds, besides a large surplus of barley, beans, etc. The most of this was bought by Indian


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traders, located at Maricopa Wells, and Pima Villages, at from one to two cents per pound, coin, in trade; and then resold to the government, for the use of the troops in Arizona, at from six to seven cents per pound, coin, in cash. This is a specimen of the way in which the old Indian Ring fleeced both the Indians and the government, and I give it as a passing argument in favor of the new policy. These Indians, it appears, have practiced agriculture somewhat from time immemorial, and they should be encouraged in it, as there is no surer way of ‚pacifying‚ or civilizing them. During the Rebellion they furnished two companies to the Union volunteers in Arizona, and the most of these had just re-enlisted, to serve as scouts against the Apaches. These wore a mongrel uniform, half Indian, half soldier; but the rest, only the traditional breechclout."

’’

The general evidently refers to the two companies of Indians who composed a part of the Arizona volunteers for the subjugation of the Apaches, of which we have treated in a preceding volume.

‘‘

"Their wigwams are oval shaped, wicker work lodges, made of poles, thatched with willows and straw, and this in turn overlaid with earth. An inverted washbowl, on an exaggerated scale, would not be a bad representation of one of them. They are usually five or six feet high in the centre, by fifteen or twenty in diameter, and would be very comfortable dwellings were it not for their absurd doors. These are only about thirty inches high, by perhaps twenty wide, and consequently the only mode


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of entrance is on your hands and knees. While halting at the Pima villages for a day, we managed to crawl into one, for the sake of the experience; but the smoke and dirt soon drove us out. There was a dull fire in the centre, but with no means of exit for the smoke, except the low doorway. Rush or willow mats covered the rest of the floor, and on these three or four Pimas lay snoozing, wrapped in hides and blankets. Various articles of rude pottery, made by themselves, were stowed away under the eaves of the roof; and at the further side, suspended from a roofpole in a primitive cradle, was a pretty papoose sound asleep. As we crawled in, the venerable head of the family, raising himself on his elbow, saluted us with:

‘‘

"‚Ugh! White man?‚

"To which we, in true Arizona dialect, responded:

"‚How! Buenos dias, Senor!‚

"His dignified and elegant answer was:

"‚Heap good! Bacco? Matches?‚

"We gave him some of each, and shook hands all round, when the aged aborigine was pleased to add:

"‚Pimas! Americanos! Much friends! Mui Mucho!‚

"These Indians had long been quiet and peaceable, and it would seem are already on the road to civilization. What they need is school-houses and religious teachers. They had an agent, an ex-officer of volunteers, who seemed honest and capable. But his hands were tied as to many essential things, and as a rule he was powerless for good. The Indian Bureau, with


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its then accustomed wisdom, continued to send him fishing lines and fish hooks, although there was not a palatable fish in the Gila-I suppose because the Indians formerly on the Ohio and the Mississippi needed them; but persistently refused him carts and wagons, although these were constantly called for to enable him to haul their crops and fuel. As it was, we found the poor squaws gathering their scanty fuel as best they could-often miles away-and lugging it home to their villages on their backs and heads from far and near. A single cart or wagon to a village would be invaluable to these poor creatures, and would do more to ameliorate their condition than a carload of fish hooks, or a cargo of trinkets and blankets. Religiously their ideas seemed confused and vague, except that they believed, in a general way, in some sort of a supreme being, whom they call Montezuma. On the mountains to the west of them, clear-cut against their azure sky, is a gigantic profile, which they claim is Montezuma asleep. It bears, indeed, a striking resemblance to our own Washington, and is a marked feature of the landscape for many miles."

’’’’

The trip from thence to Tucson, nearly a hundred miles, was traveled over a good road, but there was a want of water everywhere. Frequently our travelers went from twenty to thirty miles before reaching a stream or spring. In the early days of Arizona there was less population on that road than on the Gila until they struck the Santa Cruz near Tucson, where ranches again thickened up and flocks and herds on a moderate scale were not infrequent.


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The weather was beautiful all the way down and their ride was a delightful one. They heard of Apaches at one or two points, but it was always a fortnight before, or several miles ahead, and they went through unmolested.

The Tucsonians had heard of their coming and had, according to custom, held a town meeting, in which an organization was made to give them a grand reception. A band of string instruments was arranged for, and an orator was chosen for the occasion, but before the committee completed its arrangements, our travelers entered the Old Pueblo with their jaded teams, much to the disgust of the old settlers who proposed to make it a kind of a holiday or general fiesta, with a procession and accompaniments.

General Rusling says:

‘‘

"Tucson we found to be a sleepy old town, of a thousand or so inhabitants, that appeared to be trying its best to take things easy, and succeeds in doing so. * * *

"The town itself is built wholly of adobe, in thorough Mexican or Spanish style, and its population fluctuated. During the rule of Maximilian in Mexico, there was a considerable influx of Liberals here from Sonora, so that the town at one time numbered perhaps fifteen hundred souls. But with his ‚taking off,‚ and the rise again of Juarez, many had returned thither; so that the population was then only about a thousand or so, as above stated, of whom fully two-thirds or more were Mexicans, originally or by descent. Its streets are unpaved, and all slope to the middle as a common sewer, as in Spain. It boasted several saloons, one rather


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imposing, and some good stores; but had no bank, newspaper, schoolhouse, or church, except a rude adobe structure, where a Mexican padre officiated on Sunday to a small audience, with much array of lights, images, drums and violins, and afterwards presided at the customary cockfight. As specimens of ruling prices, grain (barley and wheat) sold at $3 per bushel, hay at $40 per ton, lumber at $250 per thousand, all coin, and other things in proportion. The lumber came from the Santa Rita Mountains, fifty miles away, and was poor and scarce at that.

"The basis of Tucson's existence, it appears, is the little Santa Cruz river, which flows along just at the edge of town, and irrigates some hundreds of surrounding acres, green just then (March 13th-18th), with wheat, barley, oats, etc. There is a good breadth of fine land here, and near here, and the river ought to be made to irrigate the whole valley. No doubt with proper husbanding and utilizing of the little stream, thousands of acres might be cultivated, and the whole region, both above and below Tucson, be made to produce largely. Peach trees were in bloom down by the river side when we were there; the grape, the orange, and the olive appeared in many gardens; and both climate and soil seemed all the most fastidious could wish. But Tucson lacks energy and capital, and besides, it seemed, the Apaches claim original, and pretty much undisputed, jurisdiction over most of the country there. Merchants complained that the Apaches raided on their teams and trains en route, and ranchmen, that the wily


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rascals levied contributions regularly on their livestock, as soon as it was worth anything, and did not hesitate to scalp and kill, as well as steal, if it came in their way. Farming or grazing under such circumstances, it must be conceded, could hardly be called very lucrative or enticing, and the Tucsonians are entitled to the benefit of this explanation.

"The livest and most energetic things, however, that we saw about Tucson were its innumerable blackbirds, that thronged the few trees about the street, and awoke us every morning with their multitudinous twittering and chattering. How those birds did chatter and sing, from daylight well on into the morning; and what a relief they were to the dull and prosy old town! The men and women, wrapped in their serapes or blankets, sunned themselves by the hour in the doorways. The dogs and cats, the goats and pigs, slept on in the streets, or strolled lazily about at will. But these plucky birds sung on and on, with all the heartiness and abandon of the robin or mocking bird in the East; and Tucson should emulate their intrepidity and zeal. She should shake off somewhat of the spirit of Rip van Winkle, and remember she is under Yankee Government now, and in the latter half of the nineteenth century."

’’

Evidently Tucson did wake up, for when the capital was moved there about a year after this writing, she began to put on cosmopolitan airs. Large mercantile firms located there and it became the distributing point for all merchandise to the military posts in the southern part of the territory, and a trade centre for large business


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with Sonora. The stores for Camps Wallen, Cameron, Lovell, Bowie, Goodwin, and Grant were all received there from Fort Yuma by contractors' trains, and then re-distributed by army teams to these posts as needed. This, of itself, gave a renewed impulse to the business of the town.

Of the Mission of San Xavier del Bac, General Rusling says:

‘‘

"South of Tucson, some ten miles, on the road to Tubac and Mexico, on the banks of the Santa Cruz still, is the famous church of San Xavier del Bac, a venerable relic of the former Spanish rule in Arizona. The road thither leads through dense mesquite and palo verde bottoms, with water enough in the Santa Cruz to irrigate them all; but, as yet, they were unbroken by husband-men. The church itself seems to have been built about a hundred years ago, and, though abandoned, is still in a good state of preservation. It is not of adobe, but of large, red, kiln-burnt brick, rough-coated with a yellowish cement that seems well nigh indestructible. It is cruciform in style, with thick and solid walls, and its antique front and towers have originally been decorated with saints, angels, griffins, etc., in niche or bas-relief, though many of these are now mutilated or destroyed. Inside it is handsomely frescoed, and was no doubt once rich in paintings, ornaments, relics, etc., though these have now mostly disappeared. Its roof seems to be a sort of asphaltum or concrete, and appears as tight and firm as when first laid. In one of the towers, there is still a fine chime of bells, that came no doubt originally from Castile


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or Arragon. The age of the church is variously reported, but from a cursory examination it appeared to have been erected about the year 1797, although we were shown a mutilated register of marriages, birth, deaths, etc., that began in 1752. This last, however, seemed to ante-date the church, as if it had been in use by the Spanish settlement here in early times, before they were able to achieve such an edifice. This church was no doubt a link in the chain of Spanish Missions, that the Jesuits a century or more ago established, from the City of Mexico to Northern California, and was abandoned like the rest of them, with the subsequent collapse of their priestly power. No doubt, in its time, it was the centre of a considerable community there; but now, only a squalid village of Papago Indians crouches at its feet, who regard the aged structure with a superstitious reverence, and will not permit its fine chime of bells to be removed to Tucson, for fear of Our Lady's displeasure. The padre at Tucson comes down and says mass occasionally, and baptizes their young children; but he cannot cajole them out of their bells, and doubtless they would fight, rather than lose them. Altogether, this church is now the best and oldest civilized structure to be found in Arizona. Very slight repairs would fit it for occupancy and worship again; but, unfortunately, there are no inhabitants there now to occupy and worship in it, except the Papagos aforesaid-and as specimens of good clean Christians, they don't amount to much now-a-days, whatever they were once."

’’


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From Tucson our travelers returned to Maricopa Wells. There had been very heavy rains at Tucson during their stay, and a great melting of snows in the mountains to the east, so that the usually sluggish, half dry rivers, were now full and booming. The Gila had overflowed its banks, and its whole valley below in many places was inundated. ‘‘"Ranch after ranch had been swept away, and in several instances the scant inhabitants had barely escaped with their lives, from its treacherous waters. The fine mesquite bottom at Gila Bend was reported four feet under water, and Mr. James' house, corral, etc., there-the finest we saw coming up the Gila-were all gone. The freshet was said to be the highest known there for years, and inflicted a loss on the Gila valley alone, it was alleged, of many thousands of dollars. The road was submerged or washed out in many places, and all travel to and from Yuma was interrupted for weeks, except such as could make its way around over the hills and mesas, by the old Indian trails."’’

The two rivers, the Gila and the Salt, lay directly across their path to Fort Whipple and Prescott, for which point they were bound. Both rivers were swollen and turbid. No one had forded them for a month. They were still at freshet height, and rising, without bridge or ferry. So they decided to halt at Maricopa Wells for a few days, as they could neither go forward to Prescott, nor backward to Yuma. The delay was most vexatious at such an out of the world place where the mail was intermittent


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and the freshest newspaper more than a month old. Finally, after waiting a week, which time they employed in investigating the Pimas and Maricopas, and writing up their note books, they heard of a little rowboat owned by a German down at the McDowell crossing of the Gila (probably near Sacaton), which it was reported would suffice to ferry them over, if they took their ambulances well to pieces, and then they would have to mount the boat on a wagon and transport it thirty miles or so, overland, to the Salt, and there repeat the operation. It was slow work ferrying over these two swollen rivers by piecemeal, and was attended by many dangers and difficulties, but was accomplished without accident. It took them two days to cross the Salt, which they did at the McDowell crossing, some fifteen miles below Fort McDowell.

‘‘

"Late in the afternoon of the second day, leaving our teamsters and little escort to get the ambulances together and repack them, we proceeded up the Salt River to Fort McDowell-the commandant here having heard of our approach, and sent an ambulance to bring us. It was some fifteen miles, part of the way through a dreaded Apache canyon; but we passed safely on, though we did not reach the post until after nightfall. We found the post-the largest and finest in Arizona-short of rations, and wholly out of forage, as it had been for several weeks, because of the spring freshets as it was alleged, though there was plenty at Maricopa Wells, which it would seem might have been got there, if we could. This was suggested to the officer


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in charge, and no doubt was well heeded. We remained there until the next afternoon, inspecting the post and its bearings (it seemed admirably located for its work, well into the Apache country, protecting the valley of the Salt and the Gila) and then returned to our ambulances at the crossing. The next morning, by sunrise, we were up and off, for the Prescott road-if we could find it. At Fort McDowell, they told us we could never reach it. Some said it was thirty miles off-others claimed it was fifty or sixty, with an impassable country between. The only thing known definitely was, that there was no road at all down the north bank of the Salt, though we were sure to strike the regular Prescott road, if we kept along down that bank of the river far enough, and could get through. We might meet Apaches anywhere, they said, for it was one of their favorite tramping grounds, or we might go through unmolested, depending on circumstances. We had expected to get an escort of a dozen cavalrymen here, to accompany us to Prescott; but six cavalrymen, and six mounted infantrymen, were all the post could spare. The horses of these, though the best on hand, were so broken down for want of forage, that part were sent back before we got three miles out; and of the balance, only five went through to Prescott with us, by extra care and regular feeding with the grain which we had taken the precaution to bring along from Maricopa Wells. An army wagon, with a six mule team, also from Fort McDowell, furnished transportation


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for our escort, as the cavalry horses successively gave out.

"For the first fifteen miles or so, after leaving the Crossing, we found a well broken road, used the year before as a hay road from the river bottoms to Fort McDowell. (This was probably the road built by J. Y. T. Smith to deliver hay at the Fort in 1866-67). But, ultimately, this ended in a bend of the Salt, and from there on all was wild and unbroken-a veritable terra incognita. We found the Salt crookeder than a ram's horn, or a mesquite tree, or anything else that is most crooked and involved. Laying our course partly by the compass, and partly by the Salt's fringe of cottonwoods, we struck across from bend to bend of the river, sure only of one thing, and that was-keeping near to water. We found the river bottoms, as a rule, thick with chemisal, relieved here and there by dense mesquite groves, looking in the distance like old orchards, through which it was almost impossible to penetrate with ambulance or wagon. Now and then we had to flank a slough, or flounder through a quicksand, and sundown still found us pushing along through these bottoms, though we had made fully thirty miles since morning. We went into camp by the river side just at dusk, thoroughly worn out, and not without a degree of anxiety, as we had crossed a number of Indian trails during the day, though none seemed fresh. Our animals were well blown, especially the cavalry horses, and the best we could do for them was a bite of corn, as we had no hay along, of course, and it was too late to graze them."

’’


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They were on the road early the next morning, and a struggle of three miles or so brought them to an ill-defined track running in the supposed direction of Wickenburg, and so to Prescott, which they resolved to take, though quite certain that it was not the regular road. It was lucky they did for, in a short time, this road struck directly across the Agua Fria, and came into the true Prescott road near White Tanks. ‘‘"This Agua Fria, usually one of Arizona's ‚dry rivers,‚ we found with three feet of water in it, and bad quicksands beneath that. However, we discovered a practicable crossing, and soon after nightfall reached the vicinity of White Tanks, some thirty miles, since morning."’’

From the White Tanks to the Hassayampa was a difficult journey. The narrative continues:

‘‘

"The Hassayampa itself flows through a wild and rocky canyon, with high precipitous walls on either side; and it was soon apparent that our only alternative was either to flounder through its quicksands, or retrace our steps to Maricopa Wells. The latter was out of the question as our rations and forage were both about exhausted, and, besides, our improvised ferry boat had returned to the Gila; so that the only thing left for us was to try the Hassayampa, and get through, somehow, at all hazards. We had heard of a trail, across the ridge and over the mountains, by the Vulture Mine, and so into Wickenburg, by a roundabout course; but a careful reconnaissance revealed no trace of it. We called a ‚council of war,‚ and discussed the ‚situation,‚ pro and con, with


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due gravity, and finally decided that there was nothing for, us to do, but to ascend the Hassayampa; and so, into it we plunged. And, verily, it was a plunge. Nothing but a prolonged flounder and plunge, from ten A. M. to six P. M.! Now into the stream; now out on a sandbank; now deep into the quicksand; crossing and recrossing, from side to side, to take advantage of any land-not less than fifteen or twenty times in the course of the twelve miles! Sometimes a cavalryman on horseback, ‚prospecting‚ the way for the ambulance, would go down, until it seemed impossible to extricate him and his horse. Again, an infantryman, on foot, would suddenly sink in to his armpits, and call out to come and rescue him. The ambulance would slip to one side, and half of it commence sinking, while the other half remained on solid ground. Then our six mule team would go in, and half of the mules would flounder over the tongue, or turn a summerset out of the harness, and, perhaps, come near drowning, before they could be extricated, while the rest would be all right. Now we would be all ashore clambering along the rocky walls of the canyon, to give the ambulance a better chance; and now, all hands would be out into the water, to start a stalled team, and then such a whooping and shouting, such a whipping and tugging at the wheels, one seldom sees equalled. I campaigned with McClellan, on the Peninsula; I was with Burnside in his Mud Campaign, after Fredericksburg; we had bad roads down in Tennessee and Georgia, when after Joe Johnson and Hood. But this tedious and toilsome drive, through the


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canyon and quicksands of the Hassayampa, beat all these; and we never would have got through had we not had light loads, and skilful, plucky, magnificent drivers."

’’

Evidently this trip was made from somewhere about Smith's Mills or Seymour into Wickenburg as the distance was twelve miles and was up the canyon along which the Phoenix & Prescott road is now built. By good luck they made the trip and got into Wickenburg about dusk, with animals thoroughly blown and men pretty well used up. It had taken just a week to come from Maricopa Wells, usually a drive of a day or two, or three, at the farthest, but the Gila and the Salt were still unfordable, and they would have been detained at the Wells probably a fortnight or more longer had it not been for Louis Heller's boat. They were the first party to pass through in a month, and no one was expected to cross the Hassayampa either way, for a month or so to come.

‘‘"Of course,"’’ the narrative continues, ‘‘"with such rivers and roads-rivers without either bridges or ferries, and roads that follow the beds of rivers-our only conclusion was, that Arizona was in no hurry, for either population or business; and, I judge, this is about so. She must bridge her streams, and construct good substantial roads-at least between all chief points-before she can expect to grow and prosper. This is fundamental in all civilized communities, and she would have recognized it long since, had her population been more from the busy North, than from the indolent, happy-go-lucky South."’’


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Evidently our author was somewhat prejudiced against Southern people and while, according to his own statement, Arizona had a territorial area at that time, including Pah-Ute county, of about a hundred and twenty-seven thousand square miles, she had only a population of about three thousand people, the native Americans being about equally divided between the citizens of the Northern and Southern states, most of whom were engaged in trade, farming and teaming, and she was not able to construct bridges across the treacherous streams of Arizona. All Arizonans know the expense attending such enterprises, and when we had an assured population, the legislatures were constantly giving franchises for ferries, etc., over the rivers, particularly along the Colorado, but they had to be supported by travel, and were rather primitive affairs at best. The Apache was the disturbing element, preventing real development in all lines of industry. As we shall see later on, when this menace was removed, Arizona went forward by leaps and bounds, increasing rapidly in both population and wealth.

Wickenburg was found to be an adobe hamlet of perhaps two hundred inhabitants, depending chiefly on the Vulture mine. Here the party halted for two or three days to rest and recruit, which afforded them an opportunity to visit the mine. The General reports it as follows:

‘‘

"It is really a fine specimen of gold-bearing quartz, off in the mountains, some fifteen miles west of Wickenburg, whence the ore was then wagoned to the mill, on the Hassayampa at Wickenburg. It consists of a fine vein of free


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quartz, from five to fifteen feet wide, and mostly devoid of sulphurets, or other refractory substances. Seventy or eighty men-half of them or more Mexicans-were hard at work, sinking shafts and getting out ore; and already a large amount of work had been done there. One shaft was already down a hundred feet, and another half as far-it being intended to connect the two by a lateral gallery to insure ventilation, etc. Unfortunately, no water could be found near the mine, and all used there then was transported from Wickenburg, at a cost of ten cents per gallon. So, all the ore taken out had to be wagoned, from the mine to the mill at Wickenburg, at a cost of ten dollars per ton. The cost of everything else was about in the same proportion. Nevertheless, we were told the mine paid, and that handsomely, and I sincerely trust it did.

"The mill at Wickenburg, belonging to the same company, was a fine adobe structure, roofed with shingles, and had just gone into operation. They had previously had a small five stamp mill, which paid very well; but this new mill ran twenty stamps, and would crush forty tons of quartz per day, when worked to its full capacity. Their ore was reputed to average from fifty to seventy dollars per ton, though of course ‚assaying‚ much more, and we were assured would pay for working, if it yielded only from twenty to thirty dollars per ton. If so, we thought stock in the Vulture Company must be a ‚gilt-edged‚ investment; and their noble mine was certainly the best looking enterprise we had yet seen in Arizona. It appeared,


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however, to be a sort of ‚pocket‚ vein, as prospecting on either side of it as yet had failed to discover other points worth working. Fine as it was, the mine was embarrassed by financial difficulties, and was then in the hands of creditors, authorized to work it until their claims were met, though these troubles it was thought would soon end."

’’

This was the time when Charley Genung took hold of the mine as one of the creditors, and paid it out of debt by working the ore.

Up: Contents Previous: Contents. Volume VI (as in the original volume) Next: CHAPTER II. CONDITIONS IN 1867 AND 1868 (Continued).




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