CHAPTER IX. MINING CAPITAL IN ARIZONA—THE McCRACKEN...


Up: Contents Previous: CHAPTER VIII. A DESERT WHICH IS NOT ALL DESERT—FROM DOS PALMS TO PRESCOTT... Next: CHAPTER X. NARRATIVES OF EARLY ARIZONA—BLOODY DEEDS AND THE APACHES...


[page 130]

MINING CAPITAL IN ARIZONA—THE ‘‘McCRACKEN’’—THE ‘‘HANNIBAL’’—THE ‘‘STONEWALL JACKSON’’—THE GREAT PROSPECTORS, MCMILLEN AND FLOURNOY— ‘‘DEAD BROKE’’—CINNABAR, COPPER, AND TIN—ARIZONA! WHY SO LONG LAIN MUTE?

UP to January 1st 1874, American mining capital in Arizona had never even paid expenses. Bearing this in mind, the traveler is struck by the marvel in the last four years. During this time there has been many mines opened, and some of them paying large dividends. Bearing in mind these facts, it was a a matter of some surprise to me when coming down the Colorado on one of the Col. River Navigation Co's boats, to find fourteen bars of silver bullion, representing in the aggregate a value of about twenty thousand dollars. This was from the McCracken mine in Mojave county. My surprise gave way to satisfaction, when I learned from Mr. Burke, the purser, that this was getting to be ‘‘quite a common occurrence along the river now,’’ and I then concluded, as I had before surmised, that there was yet


[page 131]

a land where the old spirit of '49 might find a new vent. The ambitious have now a chance to revive the old spirit of early California without doubt. They have an opportunity of vindicating their pluck now, and their fortunes too, in this land of the Apachès.

What an advent is there already in the history of Arizona. An advent too, I must say, without much of the vicissitudes of transition. A writer on Arizona four years ago, in noticing the primitive and unsatisfactory way mining was carried on there by the Mexicans, thought that a change could not be accomplished without serious results. I must say my observation in Arizona was, that this is the most peaceable transition I ever witnessed. And Arizona now affords, to the followers of '49, an acquisition of all their cherished hopes over again, without the attending vicissitudes and hardships of that period.

After having crossed the Colorado River at Ehrenberg, and going east, information comes to you thick and fast of the future prospects of this section, and of the very flattering one of the region round about Prescott. You hear of the ‘‘McCracken’’ mine which now, and in a space of only two years, has a fifty stamp mill on the grounds, extensive tunnels, with shafts down


[page 132]

fifty to seventy five feet, and producing one hundred thousand dollars per month. Leaving the McCracken mine and the Hope district to the northwest, you are approaching the Hassayampa district near Prescott, where it is said genuine black metal is reached at a depth of seven feet. This region of rich silver deposit near Prescott, is the second in the vast mineral belt extending from the extreme southeast corner, to the northwest corner of the Territory. Some distance before reaching Prescott, you pass the abandoned works of the famous Vulture mines, in which abandonment, is again re-echoed the too often repeated story of the attacks and murders by the Indians. This is the story with all like cases of abandonment of mines in the Territory, and they abound on every hand. The country is full of them, and invariably the Indians are the cause.

The mines themselves never give out, it is said—a peculiar feature of the mines in Arizona and the southwest. This remark would seem to be substantiated in an opinion once given by Professor Ehrenberg, that there was a continuous range of gold bearing rock from the Vulture mine to a point ten miles north of


[page 133]

Prescott, embracing an area of at least one thousand square miles.

We are now in the region too, which promises to turn out its vast quantities of cinnabar; and also in a region where the old pastimes of picking up nuggets, threatens to draw those less willing to work or dig. To the southeast again, along this same continued belt of rich mineral, over the Mazabyal range, you enter the ‘‘Globe’’ and ‘‘Pioneer’’ districts, to determine the richer of which, would puzzle the most careful and stoic calculator. In this district is the famous ‘‘Stonewell Jackson’’ discovered by the great prospector McMillen. The history of this mine is well known, and is being perpetuated in the minds and memories of men as one of the leading events in the history of mines in the Territory. The mine was discovered in 1874, and shortly after the discoverer sold it for one hundred and twenty thousand dollars. No sooner had he sold it, than word reached his ears that the parties who purchased it would have given him two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, had it been necessary to obtain it; and also, that others behind them again stood ready to give three hundred thousand dollars, rather than not obtain it. A shaft


[page 134]

in these mines, down only ninety feet gave ore running as high as twenty four thousand dollars to the ton in '76. It is said that since the purchase, the mine has been estimated to be worth eight millions of dollars.

At such events as these, having cast off diamonds, supposing them to be simply brilliant pebbles, many a man with a less courageous heart and a less liberal mind would have sunk under what they would have misconstrued as a reversion. But with the sturdy heart and the rapier judgment of a pioneer, it was not so with McMillen. He had ‘‘greater things in view’’ as he told me, when I afterwards made his acquaintance, and was talking with him on the subject of his mines and prospects in Arizona. Said McMillen to me in his quaint way, but more practicable philosophy, ‘‘“You see, Mr. Conklin, a thing in my estimation, has no real—no intrinsic value. It has only a comparative one, and is governed entirely by the relative value of the things surrounding, or immediately associated with it. Well!-——but, by the way, don't you think so, my friend?”’’ inquired this determined miner interrupting himself.

I saw at once the sharp, practical ability of this


[page 136]

MINER'S VICISSITUDES IN ARIZONA.


[page 137]

mountaineer, and felt, as has often been my wont to feel when in contact with some of the brilliant minds of our frontiersmen, that there was a comprehension of facts there that I myself might profit by; and in my anxiety to grasp and retain the full meaning and force that lit up his penetrating eye as he finished, I simply said :—

‘‘Yes, I think so.’’ I was waiting for some brilliant exposition of this man's experience, which I had so often got from the pioneers of our frontier country.

‘‘Well! You see,’’ continued he, ‘‘“I had been roving about this country and in these mountains ever since '55, when I struck this little affair up here that we are talking about. I had put my foot on several others and I'm keeping it there for a while”’’ added he, with a twinkle in his eye, ‘‘“I had put my foot on some others I say, and better ones. But I thought this little one would do to raise some money on to work the rest. You see I was broke—dead broke. Couldn't get trusted for an onion or a slice of bacon; had to wash the only shirt I had to my name, and had to sit under a bush in the shade while the shirt was drying on top in the sun. I wanted money to develop and open up my other mines; and I would have


[page 138]

taken—(here McMillen's hand came down on his knee with a powerful thump) I would have taken half the amount I got, if I couldn't have got what I did. although I knew the mine itself was worth more.”’’

The whole course of operation and the politic manner and means of securing the success of such operations, showed itself to me at once. I had now become interested in both the mines and the miner.

‘‘“I suppose then, you are now opening up some of your new mines,”’’ said I.

‘‘“Well, that depends upon what you call ‘opening up.’ We are just sending down fifty thousand dollars worth of machinery to commence on—my partner, Mr. Flournoy and myself. We are now at work on the ‘Hannibal.’* * This is an extension of the ‘Stonewall Jackson’ lode, and we expect to show the Stonewall people that—well! that they might have got more for their money, if the Stonewall had extended along over the Hannibal.”’’

‘‘But how many mines have you discovered in all?’’ inquired I.

‘‘Let me see’’ said he thoughtfully. ‘‘“There is the ‘Stonewall Jackson,’ the ‘Florence,’ the ‘Alenaden’


[page 140]

CHARLES M'MILLEN. JOSIAH FLOURNOY.


[page 141]

the ‘Little Mac,’ the ‘Lee,’ the ‘220’ and, last but not least, the ‘Hannibal.’ Oh! Yes, there is another one, the ‘First N. E. Extension to the Hannibal’—eight in all. There are a few others, but I don't recall them at present.”’’

The perseverance, indomitable pluck and persistency of these two men, are fair types of what Arizona wants for her development; and in both their faces may be detected force of character, and that power of will that can ‘‘remove mountains,’’ as well as the gold and silver that is in them. Mr. Flournoy is a native of Georgia and is a man whose popularity in Arizona is making him a fast and sure exponent of the development of that Territory. His sterling integrity has become proverbial. With Mr. McMillen's indefatigable ability as an original and successful prospector, and Mr. Flournoy's qualifications for disciplining and working a mine, a complete success is insured.

Southeast again, into the Santa Ritas, and the Oro Blanco, districts we strike the ‘‘last but not least’’ of the mines of this great natural metalliferous belt, which lies within the boundary of Arizona. We say ‘‘last but not least,’’ and support our claim with substantial evidence; for in a continuous course of these mountains


[page 142]

over the boundary line, and into Sonora, you have what is, and has long been known as the greatest silver bearing country on the North American Continent. In this section, a little to the east of the Santa Cruz valley, is the famous placer mines, long known to exist, in and around the Baboguivari Mountains. These stories are brought to us with the name of Col. J. D. Graham, another of Arizona's matchless pioneers and prospectors. Colonel Graham was one of the first explorers and discoverers of this wild and rugged region, and knows this country ‘‘by the inch,’’ as a traveling companion once remarked to me, and as subsequent facts concerning the developments, in the whole southwest given in another chapter, will fully demonstrate. It is said that this bold and daring pioneer, when only twenty-two years of age, traveled on horse-back from the interior of Mexico to Arizona and California on special missions of trust. I will refer to the results of this man's accomplishments in a separate chapter devoted to one opening up and wonderful developments of the southwest and its mines. The progress Arizona has made within the past few years, may be realized to some extent, by the fact that in 1877, she yielded up over four millions of


[page 143]

dollars in gold and silver. As a substantial defense for Arizona and her mines, the American Cyclopedia comes forth and says:—

‘‘“No one of the mineral bearing Territories of the Pacific slope is richer than Arizona, though the mines have not been generally worked.”’’

Like stories, we have said confront the traveler on every hand in Arizona; and the most of them are substantiated upon better acquaintance. Not only in relation to gold and silver are they confined; but minerals of most all known usefulness are being discovered. Many such cases lie dormant for means of transportation. With the introduction of the steam car and rail, a great ‘‘blockade’’ will be raised, and Arizona will flood the world with its riches. Our ‘‘Emma’’ mines will never rise to the surface again, and our ‘‘Crown Points’’ and ‘‘Consolidated Virginias’’ will sink much below. Even now it is a noted fact that mines which would receive much attention further north, are allowed to lie undisturbed here. Copper enough exists in the mountain in the eastern part of the Territory, to cause one man alone to say that if he had railroad facilities, he would employ one thousand men in his mine. This is in the southeastern part of Yavapai


[page 144]

County. In another section evidences of tin are reported. Tin has never been discovered within the limits of the United States; but it is of such importance that the government has offered a large reward to the discoverer of it. The probabilities for Arizona being the favored field are not without good foundation. South, in Sonora County, Mexico, tin has already been discovered in good paying quantities, but, like many good mineral products in this vastly rich location, they are allowed to lie dormant for want of sufficient energy in the people, or protection from their government, to work them. The species here found consists of both nugget and stream tin. I have several specimens of both of these, presented me by the Geologist, Prof. Cummings Cherry, of Chicago, who has always been largely interested in, and an enthusiast over the richness of this whole section. Now! Sonora County, Mexico, borders on Arizona; and this explains why we can, with considerable reason, hope that Arizona will give our country this long-coveted possesion.

These are the incentives—these are the allurers—these are the encouraging influences that take men from their homes and make them dare their happiness, their homes, their lives, their all, and too often for the


[page 145]

after good of others. But so it is. So, does nature again cunningly assert herself and say, ‘‘'tis better to give than to receive,’’ when a sturdy, honest pioneer discovers a rich bonanza, holds it awhile from the ravages of the Indians, is finally murdered, and one of his less bold and daring brothers comes and reaps the reward. Many a remnant of a mining camp will tell the same story. But the American is indefatigable. Many may be slain, but as many more will rise to fill their places; and again that theory identified: that man does inevitably follow and profit by his fellows' toil, and that we were made to serve each other. Sympathy rarely finds its vent for the hardy pioneer and frontiers-man, or at best, ne'er gives the sympathy due.

There are some, however, who have escaped, to reap their own harvest, and to tell of their vicissitudes. From these we can better get some of the more flagrant causes for the failure of those who do not live to tell their own.

In a previous chapter we had occasion by dint of narrative, to simply refer to the ‘‘Stonewall Jackson’’ Mine and the richness of the McMillen Mining District. These narratives of golden fleece and shining nuggets being so rife in Arizona, entertaining the


[page 146]

traveler on any and every trip or route he may propose or select, one can scarcely avoid asking the question why, if all these stories are true concerning the mines of Arizona, and their richness, they have not already been worked. I have been asked these questions myself over and over again; and after narrating what I saw, and having converted by actual knowledge, those fairy-like stories into absolute existences concerning the fabulous wealth of her mines, I would here offer a defence for Arizona, for the seeming lack in her mining developments.

To those who would ask the question, I would offset their interrogative by asking them why the unsurmountable conditions and the natural force of circumstances had not long ago been abolished, and Arizona as per se been born a favored child from all the stuborn ills of life. It is wished it could have been so. But rather than this, she has had more than her share to contend with.

Arizona was the last acquired, and of all our Territorial lands, situated to the further end of our national domain; until at present she was off the beaten track of our Country's physical progress, and consequently, the hardest to guard and protect, bordering a


[page 147]

country proverbially noted for its conquests, revolutions and the ungovernable traits of its rapacious subjects; filled with one of the fiercest and most warlike tribes of America's aborigines; and a victim to the most unrelenting force of circumstances of perhaps any other portion of our country. It is a marvel that the Territory shows the progress it does.

The Apachès, the most powerful and war-like tribe of Indians that the government has perhaps ever had to bring its forces against. Ever since 1853, have we been more or less afficted with them, for as early as that had the American pluck found its way into that rich seclusion of the Sonora country. In that year and with the purchase of our last acquisition to the Territory we also got, in the bargain, or as a legacy, a powerful tribe of wild, ferocious, unsubdued Indians, whose daily life consisted in hunting after, killing or torturing all human victims not of their own kind or kin. They had been at this since the time of the Spanish conquest, and had excelled. They had successfully repelled Mexico after her independence and until our purchase in 1853. Since then they have, we might say, fought us successfully also. It would have been money in our pockets, if after the purchase,


[page 148]

we had turned around and offered the Mexicans the price of the whole purchase over again to have taken their munificent legacy back, if this could have been done. One after another however, of our brave and indomitable men and women have pushed out into this open country with somewhat the spirit of '76, and one after another have they been slain. Some striking narratives told me recently by Governor A. P. K. Safford of Arizona, are graphically descriptive of the times and conditions of which I speak, and I will here give them in substance.

I would call attention to the philosophical manner with which a practical man with a practical knowledge of the thing dealt with, deals with this Indian question. Stern, yet unbiased and fair, Gov. Safford has accomplished more practical results with the Indian, than perhaps any other man.


Notes

*. The ‘‘Hannibal’’ is now one of the richest mines in Arizona.

Up: Contents Previous: CHAPTER VIII. A DESERT WHICH IS NOT ALL DESERT—FROM DOS PALMS TO PRESCOTT... Next: CHAPTER X. NARRATIVES OF EARLY ARIZONA—BLOODY DEEDS AND THE APACHES...




© Arizona Board of Regents