CHAPTER XXIV. REMARKABLE RUINS IN SOUTHERN ARIZONA...


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REMARKABLE RUINS IN SOUTHERN ARIZONA—THE FOUNDERS OF THE AZTEC AND TOLTEC SYNDICATES OF MINES—THE GRANDEST PECUNIARY SUCCESS ON RECORD—THE BOLLAS DE PLATA (BALLS OF SILVER)—COL. J. D. GRAHAM.

MEXICAN tradition, relating to the Primeria Alta, being that portion of Arizona Territory embraced within the Gadsden purchase, is full of statements in relation to rich lodes, deposits and old mines, whose sites are now lost. The chief of these locations are placed in the remarkable mineral region by which on either side the valley of the Upper Santa Cruz is surrounded. The Planchas de Plata, or places of silver, around which has grown a well authenticated story of Mexican enterprise and Spanish greed and tyranny, has always been placed by the tradition within the borders of Arizona, but close to the Sonora line and to the east of the Santa Cruz valley, and the Oro Blanco Mountains. Within the past few months it is


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claimed that these extraordinary deposits have been re-discovered, and are now being quietly worked by an American miner and his associates. Chief among the traditional mines, for the re-discovery of which, the most daring and vigorous of search has been made since the occupation of the Primeria Alta by Americans, is the famous Jesuit mine, known by the name of the Old Mission, whose ruins have been so fully described in these pages—The Tumacacori Mine. Since Charles D. Boston, Herman Ehrenberg and their comrades first located an American mining settlement at the old pueblo of Tubac, six miles from the Tumacacori Mission, there has been more of endeavor, enterprise, daring and courage displayed in the attempt to re-locate this old mine, so famous in the mission annals for its richness, than in all the other efforts made to hold the country against Cochise and his Apachés. Tradition, besides statements of its richness, almost fabulous in character, has left no other indication of its whereabouts than the declaration of one of the mission histrorographers,—that the mine lay directly east of St. Joseph's Church (the Mission of Tumacacori) a morning's walk, or as elsewhere stated, about fourteen miles distant. Recent investigation in the Sierra Santa Rita growing out of the renewed activity induced by the enterprise and speculation, which organized the already successful Aztec Syndicate, and has made this


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beautifnl mountain range, the last stronghold of the Apaché Napoleon, Cochise—the scene of vigorous exploring efforts, opened numerous mines, established Toltec Camp and aroused a general interest in this region, has also been able to definitely establish the existence and site of the lost Tumacacori mine.

Following the milpas, or secondary mountain bench, from the farm of Joe King in the Santa Cruz valley which embraces the mission ruins) for some eleven miles, the traveler will reach the ruins of the old Hacienda del Santa Rita, where Wrightson, Grosvenor, Hopkins and Slack, lost their lives, and part of the defence of which in 1861, is so graphically described by Professor Raphael Pumpelly, now of Harvard University, in his book ‘‘Across America and Asia.’’ A well defined road evidently long used, and now made quite easy and accessible, is the route from the valley. To the north, Salero Hill looms up boldly, and the explorer in search of the old Tumacacori mine will follow a rough but still good road for a couple of miles to the Salero House, used by the Tyndall Company since 1875. From this point for another mile or so, the explorer will follow a rude bridle path to the Jefferson mine, one of the most valuable of those now worked by the Aztec Syndicate. To the north and east of the Jefferson for less than half a mile, an old mule track, evidently once heavily used, may be traced.


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MAP OF THE ANCIENT PROVINCE OF TUSAYAN, ARIZONA.


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It leads directly to a strongly defined lode of the same general character as the Jefferson and Georgia mines, and terminates at what is evidently an old shaft, now filled with debris, and from the mouth of which a vigorous mesquite tree may be seen growing. The evidence is abundant of old workings, and those best informed in the Mexican and Gaqui Indian traditions, like Professor Thomas Davis, who has resided and worked among them for more than a quarter of a century, have no doubt whatever, of the identity of the Bushell, as this location is now termed, with the long-lost site of the famous Tumacacori mine.

The Bushell forms one of a group of ten valuable mines now being developed under the management of the Toltec Syndicate, an organization of experienced mining experts and operators, who have already proven their knowledge of the metalliferous richness of this region, and their confidence in its development, by their successful organization of the well known Aztec Syndicate.

The Aztec Syndicate having passed into the hands of eastern capitalists by purchase, the original projectors with the added experience which their wide knowledge of the Santa Rita and its mineral treasures has given them, have selected a group of ten locations, and commenced a thorough system of development and working. This project is not set up as a speculation,


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but as an investment, to be honestly developed into an affluent enterprise. The fact that Colonel John D. Graham, the successful organizer and Secretary of the first Aztec Syndicate, has been appointed Managing Director of the Toltec Syndicate, is proof sufficient to all interested in Southern Arizona, of the success that will attend the enterprise.

The Toltec mines are admirably located both for their present accessibility and the richness of the lodes on which they are situated. The Bushell and the Saint Louis Mining Companies have recently been incorporated in California, and the balance will speedily be put in the same shape. The offices of these companies and of the Toltec Syndicate, are located at No. 302 Montgomery Street, San Francisco. The first efficient Superintendent of the Aztec mines and property, John E. Magee has assumed the duties of Resident Superintendent of the Bushell and Saint Louis mines, on both of which work is being energetically pushed. He also has charge of the general interests of the Toltec Syndicate in the Territory.

The Bushell, or old Tumacacori mine is now being opened, new shafts are being sunk, and the old one already described is to be cleared out at an early day. The ore developments are all excellent. The Saint Louis mine is located on the famous Empress of India lode, in the southern portion of the Aztec district. It


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promises the richest developments of any location on that very remarkable lode. Ranging to the east and north of the Saint Louis, on the same lode and its spur, the Toltec Syndicate, own and are about to work the following locations: The Knoxville, Webster and Velasco—making a group of four valuable locations, on a remarkable lode that has been described in Hinton's Hand Book to Arizona, as ‘‘“cropping out boldly, sometimes in high cliffs or with a general width of from eighty to three hundred feet. The lode is over two hundred feet wide, and shows metal the full width. In these shallow old workings, some three or four feet deep, we have picked out ore that will assay $800 per ton. The character of the whole lode is the same, and streaks of metal can be found of green and black silver mixed with manganese from one end to the other; in some places yellow chloride. The vein matter is porphyry, gneiss and quartz, strongly colored with iron; general formation incasing the lode is granite.”’’

To the north and east of the Empress of India lode, and of the Inca mine, (one of the best locations embraced in the Aztec Syndicate) the Toltec own the Rickard and Ojero mines, both located on bold ledges, with croppings that indicate rich veins. The Rickard, so named after the well-known English metallurgist, chemist and assayer, now living at Tucson, is located on the Rickard lode near the Colorado. The Forsyth


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another valuable mine belonging to the Toltec, adjoins the famous Hamilton mine to the east of Salero Hill in the Tyndall district, while ‘‘La Purissima’’ is a little south and east of the Bushell mine on the northern side of Salero Hill, and on the eastern end of the great Napoleon lode. The character of these mines—The Bushell and La Purissima—can be seen in part from the following moderately worded report on the latter location made August 13, 1877, by John E. Magee to Col. Graham:

‘‘“The Purissima mine is on the Napoleon lode, one half mile from the old Salero mine. This lode crops out for over two miles showing good mineral at many places all the way. In 1875, Messrs. Ryan, Mansfield, and myself took up what we named the Jefferson mine on this lode and had some of the croppings assayed. The vein shows on the surface four to five feet, containing a great deal of galena. On the Purissima mine, tons of mineral can be taken right off the surface, which shows better than the Jefferson did. The Purissima is not so easy of access”’’ (at that time occasional Apaché raids made it necessary for miners to have an easy way of retreat. Their rendezvous then was the adobé building known as the Salero House.) ‘‘“or we would have taken it in preference. On the Jefferson we now have a shaft sixty-five feet deep”’’ (It is now much deeper.) ‘‘“with a wonderful showing of ore. The

THE ‘‘TOLTEC’’ MINING CAMP.


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vein in the bottom is nine feet eight inches, solid good ore of fair milling quality, which assays $187 per ton average.’’“

This lode is all now taken up from one end to the other. It has an easterly and westerly direction. The vein in the Jefferson shaft pitches slightly south—hanging wall pure granite—foot wall syenite granite and some porphyry. A clay gorge lies along the footwall, sometimes against it and then again four to five inches away from it. The formation is perfect and if there is such a thing as a true fissure in mining, this vein is certainly one of them. The old Santa Rita Mining Company owned and prospected this lode under the name of the ‘‘Bustillo,’’ and in their reports put it down as a ‘‘fine rich vein.’’ * * * Mr. Magee thinks thst the ore from La Purissima ‘‘“will give a higher assay than the Jefferson, for it certainly has a finer appearance.”’’ He adds that ‘‘“he knows it is an excellent mine—a first class property of good average ore with a true fissure vein.”’’ J. Ross Browne described the lode on which La Purissima is located as quite rich, showing silver sulphuret and galena. Mr. Wrightson, superintendent of the Santa Rita Mining Company, writing in 1859 of the ores on the Napoleon lode then known as the ‘‘Bustillo’’ says:— ‘‘“The ores are suited to both smelting and amalgamation. The smelting ores are those in which there is a very large


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admixture of lead, or very rich sulphurets of silver and copper. The amalgamation ores—those where the culls of silver and copper predominate. * * * * The Bushell and the Ojera mines yield ores which by assortment can be treated by both processes.”’’ Of the Hamilton lode, on which the the Forsyth mine is situated, Professor Davis says in a report made May 1877, that he found thereon ‘‘“four old shafts and workings from ten to twenty-two feet in depth; height from tide water at upper shaft, 4,600 feet. This is an immense vein, or rather two veins exactly parallel and nearly contiguous. Are all of a higher grade; should judge would yield two hundred dollars per ton; vein well defined, from eight to ten feet wide and growing wider as you go down—metal the whole width of the vein, and all of the works show the same.”’’

The Toltec Syndicate property thus admirably located is bonnd within a short time, under the energetic management of its owners and the vigorous direction of Col. Graham to become one of the very best in Southern Arizona. I have been thus particular in describing it, because to the ability and energy of the gentlemen engaged therein, assisted by the recognized capacity for observation and statement of Col. R. J. Hinton, whose journeys and descriptions of this region are unquestioned for correctness of detail and picturesque vivacity, belong very much of the credit which is


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due the influences that have so recently made the mineral wealth, climate, soil and romantic beauty of this region, a subject of interest to the whole country, and so brought about that present activity of labor, skill and capital which bids fair ere long to make the Santa Cruz Valley and the region of which it is the centre, one of the richest and most enterprising mining districts within the United States.

Persons desirous of more especial information relative to this section of country should address Col. John D. Graham at 302 Montgomery street, San Francisco Cal, a gentleman who has done more to develop and bring to the front the resources of Southern Arizona than any other living man. The author of this volume was the guest of Col. Graham in a remarkable pleasant trip—from Yuma to the Santa Rita Mountains during last December and January, and it was during this trip that the excellent views contained in this volume were taken, being the first photographs ever taken of these historic and interesting localities. Knowing Col Graham and his associates in the enterprise above spoken of we most heartily recommend all persons desirous of information relative to this subject to put themselves in communication with him, and we desire here to specially record our thanks for unlimited courtesies and very valuable aid and assistance during our memorable trip to Southern Arizona.


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In dilating upon this region; it seems to me the recollections of facts and hearsays flash upon me faster, and more prominently than usual, and than I can note. In referring to this section, the versatile writer, J. Ross Browne, in describing Tubac which lies in the Santa Cruz Valley, says: ‘‘“It lies on a pleasant slope in one of the most beautiful parts of the valley of the Santa Cruz, and that it overlooks two of the richest mining districts within the limits of the Territory.”’’

Again; the New York Mining-Record, in referring to the same region, says:— ‘‘“It is located in the heart of the extraordinary metalliferous region of the Santa Cruz River in Southwestern Arizona, where formerly the Jesuit priests, with the Spanish inhabitants and Indian neophytes mined with rich results though scarcely breaking ground, and having, as the many remains attest, but the rudest and most imperfect means of smelting or converting the ore into bullion. The fame of the ‘Bollos de Plata’ (balls of silver) of Arizona in the beginning of the last century was such at the City of Mexico and finally in Spain, that a royal ordinance issued from Madrid, declared the district of Arizona to be royal property as a Criadero de Plata: that is to say, a place where silver was formed in the processes of nature. There is also in existence a royal paper of Philip V. of May 1741, charging among other


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embezzlements of royal mineral property in Arizona that of a mass of virgin or pure silver weighing two thousand seven hundred pounds.”’’

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