THE NARRATIVE OF
JOHN H. CADY
Rewritten and Revised by
BASIL DILLON WOON
By John H. Cady.
THE PIONEERS WHO ARE LIVING
THE MEMORIES OF THOSE WHO ARE DEAD
in affectionate tribute to the gallant courage, rugged independence and wonderful endurance of those adventurous souls who formed the vanguard of civilization in the early history of the Territory of Arizona and the remainder of the Great West,
JOHN H. CADY BASIL D. WOON
Patagonia, Arizona, Nineteen-Fifteen.
When I first broached the matter of writing his autobiography to John H. Cady, two things had struck me particularly. One was that of all the literature about Arizona there was little that attempted to give a straight, chronological and intimate description of events that occurred during the early life of the Territory, and, second, that of all the men I knew, Cady was best fitted, by reason of his extraordinary experiences, remarkable memory for names and dates, and seniority in pioneership, to supply the work that I felt lacking.
Some years ago, when I first came West, I happened to be sitting on the observation platform of a train bound for the orange groves of Southern California. A lady with whom I had held some slight conversation on the journey turned to me after we had left Tucson and had started on the long and somewhat dreary journey across the desert that stretches from the "Old Pueblo" to "San Berdoo," and said:
"Do you know, I actually used to believe all those stories about the 'wildness of the West.' I see how badly I was mistaken."
She had taken a half-hour stroll about Tucson while the train changed crews and had been impressed by the—to the casual observer—sleepiness of the ancient town. She told me that never again would she look on a "wild West" moving picture without wanting to laugh. She would not believe that there had ever been a "wild West"—at least, not in Arizona. And yet it is history that the old Territory of Arizona in days gone by was the "wildest and woolliest" of all the West, as any old settler will testify.
There is no doubt that to the tourist the West is now a source of constant disappointment. The "movies" and certain literature have educated the Easterner to the belief that even now Indians go on the war-path occasionally, that even now cowboys sometimes find an outlet for their exuberant spirits in the hair-raising sport of "shooting up the town," and that even now battles between the law-abiding cattlemen and the "rustlers" are more or less frequent. When these people come west in their comfortable Pullmans and discover nothing more interesting in the shape of Indians than a few old squaws selling trinkets and blankets on station platforms, as at Yuma; when they visit one of the famous old towns where in days gone by white men were wont to sleep with one eye and an ear open for marauding Indians, and find electric cars, modern office buildings, paved streets crowded with luxurious motors, and the inhabitants nonchalantly pursuing the even tenor of their ways garbed in habiliments strongly suggestive of Forty-fourth street and Broadway; when they come West and note these signs of an advancing and all-conquering civilization, I say, they invariably are disappointed. One lady I met even thought "how delightful" it would be "if the Apaches would only hold up the train!" It failed altogether to occur to her that, in the days when wagon-trains were held up by Apaches, few of those in them escaped to tell the gruesome tale. And yet this estimable lady, fresh from the drawing-rooms of Upper-Radcliffe-on-the-Hudson and the ballroom of Rector's, thought how "delightful" this would be! Ah, fortunate indeed is it that the pluck and persistence of the pioneers carved a way of peace for the pilgrims of today!
Considering the foregoing, such a book as this, presenting as it does in readable form the Arizona West as it really was, is, in my opinion, most opportune and fills a real need. The people have had fiction stories from the capable pens of Stewart Edward White and his companions in the realm of western literature, and have doubtless enjoyed their refreshing atmosphere and daring originality, but, despite this, fiction localized in the West and founded however-much on fact, does not supply all the needs of the Eastern reader, who demands the truth about those old days, presented in a compact and intimate form. I cannot too greatly emphasize that word "intimate," for it signifies to me the quality that has been most lacking in authoritative works on the Western country.
When I first met Captain Cady I found him the very personification of what he ought not to have been, considering the fact that he is one of the oldest pioneers in Arizona. Instead of peacefully awaiting the close of a long and active career in some old soldiers' home, I found him energetically superintending the hotel he owns at Patagonia, Santa Cruz county—and with a badly burned hand, at that. There he was, with a characteristic chef's top-dress on him (Cady is well known as a first-class cook), standing behind the wood-fire range himself, permitting no one else to do the cooking, allowing no one else to shoulder the responsibilities that he, as a man decidedly in the autumn of life, should by all the rules of the "game" have long since relinquished.
Where this grizzled old Indian fighter, near his three-score-and-ten, should have been white-haired, he was but gray; where he should have been inflicted with the kindred illnesses of advancing old age he simply owned up, and sheepishly at that, to a burned hand. Where he should have been willing to lay down his share of civic responsibility and let the "young fellows" have a go at the game, he was as ever on the firing-line, his name in the local paper a half-dozen times each week. Oh, no, it is wrong to say that John H. Cady was a fighter—wrong in the spirit of it, for, you see, he is very much of a fighter, now. He has lost not one whit of that aggressiveness and sterling courage that he always has owned, the only difference being that, instead of fighting Indians and bad men, he is now fighting the forces of evil within his own town and contesting, as well, the grim advances made by the relentless Reaper.
In travels that have taken me over a good slice of Mother Earth, and that have brought me into contact with all sorts and conditions of men, I have never met one whose friendship I would rather have than that of John H. Cady. If I were asked to sum him up I would say that he is a true man—a true father, a true and courageous fighter, and a true American. He is a man anybody would far sooner have with him than against him in a controversy. If so far as world-standards go he has not achieved fame—I had rather call it "notoriety"—it is because of the fact that the present-day standards do not fit the men whom they ignore. With those other men who were the wet-nurses of the West in its infantile civilization, this hardy pioneer should be honored by the present generation and his name handed down to posterity as that of one who fought the good fight of progress, and fought well, with weapons which if perhaps crude and clumsy—as the age was crude and clumsy judged by Twentieth Century standards—were at least most remarkably effective.
The subject of this autobiography has traveled to many out of the way places and accomplished many remarkable things, but the most astonishing thing about him is the casual and unaffected way in which he, in retrospect, views his extraordinarily active life. He talks to me as unconcernedly of tramping hundreds of miles across a barren desert peopled with hostile Indians as though it were merely a street-car trip up the thoroughfares of one of Arizona's progressive cities. He talks of desperate rides through a wild and dangerous country, of little scraps, as he terms them, with bands of murderous Apaches, of meteoric rises from hired hand to ranch foreman, of adventurous expeditions into the realm of trade when everything was a risk in a land of uncertainty, of journeys through a foreign and wild country "dead broke"—of these and many similar things, as though they were commonplace incidents scarcely worthy of mention.
Yet the story of Cady's life is, I venture to state, one of the most gripping and interesting ever told, both from an historical and from a human point of view. It illustrates vividly the varied fortunes encountered by an adventurous pioneer of the old days in Arizona and contains, besides, historical facts not before recorded that cannot help making the work of unfailing interest to all who know, or wish to know, the State.
For you, then, reader, who love or wish to know the State of Arizona, with its painted deserts, its glorious skies, its wonderful mountains, its magical horizons, its illimitable distances, its romantic past and its magnificent possibilities, this little book has been written.
BASIL DILLON WOON.
THE BOY SOLDIER 13
FOLLOWING THE ARGONAUTS 17
ROUGH AND TUMBLE ON LAND AND SEA 37
THROUGH MEXICO AND BACK TO ARIZONA 50
STAGE DRIVER'S LUCK 61
A FRONTIER BUSINESS MAN 71
VENTURES AND ADVENTURES 80
INDIAN WARFARE 92
DEPUTY SHERIFF, CATTLEMAN AND FARMER 102
IN AGE THE CRICKET CHIRPS AND BRINGS— 115
JOHN H. CADY Frontispiece
OLD BARRACKS IN TUCSON 20
RUINS OF FORT BUCHANAN 28
CADY'S HOUSE ON THE SONOITA 44
RUINS OF FORT CRITTENDEN 60
THE OLD WARD HOMESTEAD 76
SHEEP CAMP ON THE SONOITA 92
CADY AND HIS FAMILY 108
THE BOY SOLDIER
"For the right that needs assistance, For the wrong that needs resistance, For the future in the distance, And the good that they could do."
Fourteen years before that broad, bloody line began to be drawn between the North and the South of the "United States of America," before there came the terrific clash of steel and muscle in front of which the entire world retreated to a distance, horrified, amazed, fascinated and confounded; before there came the dreadful day when families were estranged and birthrights surrendered, loves sacrificed and the blight of the bullet placed on hundreds of thousands of sturdy hearts—fourteen years before this, on the banks of the mighty Ohio at Cincinnati, I was born, on September 15, 1846. My parents were John N. Cady, of Cincinnati, and Maria Clingman Cady, who was of German descent, and of whom I remember little owing to the fact that she died when I reached my third birthday.
Ah, Cincinnati! To me you shall always be my City of Destiny, for it was within your boundaries that I, boy and man, met my several fates. One sent me through the turmoil and suffering of the Civil War; another sent me westward mounted on the wings of youthful hope and ambition. For that alone I am ever in the debt of Ohio's fairest city, which I hope to see again some day before there sounds for me the Taps.... But I do not know. The tide of life is more than past its ebb for me and I should be thinking more of a quiet rest on the hillside, my face turned to the turquoise blue of Arizona's matchless infinity, than to the treading again of noisy city streets in the country of my birth.
But this is to be a story of Arizona, and I must hasten through the events that occurred prior to my leaving for the West. When I had reached three years of age my father married again—a milliner—and moved to Philadelphia. My grandmother, who had raised me practically from birth, removed with me to Maysville in Kentucky, where I was sent to school. Some of my pleasantest memories now are of that period in the old-fashioned Kentucky river town.
Just after my ninth birthday my father came back to Maysville, claimed me, took me to Philadelphia with him and afterwards turned me over to one William Turner, his wife's brother, who was the owner of a farm on the eastern shore of Maryland. I stayed at the Turner farm until the outbreak of the Civil War in the fall of '61, when my father, who was then working for Devlin & Son, clothiers, with headquarters at Broadway and Warren streets, New York City, enlisted in Duryea's Zouaves as orderly sergeant in Company K. The Zouaves wintered at Federal Hill, Baltimore, and I joined my father and the regiment there. In the spring we moved to Washington, joining there the great Army of the Potomac, with which we stayed during that army's succession of magnificent battles, until after the Fredericksburg fight in '63.
In Washington we were quartered at Arlington Heights and I remember that I used to make pocket money by buying papers at the Washington railway depot and selling them on the Heights. The papers were, of course, full of nothing but war news, some of them owing their initial publication to the war, so great was the public's natural desire for news of the titanic struggle that was engulfing the continent. Then, as now, there were many conflicting statements as to the movements of troops, and so forth, but the war correspondents had full rein to write as they pleased, and the efforts of some of them stand out in my memory today as marvels of word-painting and penned rhetoric.
When Grant took command of the Army of the Potomac I left the army, three or four days before reinforcements for General Sherman, who was then making preparations for his famous "march to the sea," left for Kentucky. At Aguire Creek, near Washington, I purchased a cargo of apples for $900—my first of two exceedingly profitable ventures in the apple-selling industry—and, after selling them at a handsome profit, followed Sherman's reinforcements as far as Cincinnati. I did not at this time stay long in the city of my birth, going in a few days to Camp Nelson, Ky., where I obtained work driving artillery horses to Atlanta and bringing back to Chattanooga condemned army stock. Even at that time—1864—the proud old city of Atlanta felt the shadow of its impending doom, but few believed Sherman would go to the lengths he did.
After the close of the war in 1865 I enlisted in Cincinnati, on October 12, in the California Rocky Mountain service. Before this, however, I had shipped in the Ram Vindicator of the Mississippi Squadron and after being transferred to the gunboat Syren had helped move the navy yard from Mound City, Ill., to Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis, Mo., where it still is.
I was drafted in the First United States Cavalry and sent to Carlisle Barracks in Pennsylvania, from which place I traveled to New Orleans, where I joined my regiment. I was allotted to Company C and remember my officers to have been Captain Dean, First Lieutenant Vail and Second Lieutenant Winters. Soon after my arrival in New Orleans we commenced our journey to California, then the golden country of every man's dreams and the Mecca of every man's ambition.
FOLLOWING THE ARGONAUTS
So it's Westward Ho! for the land of worth, Where the "is," not "was" is vital; Where brawn for praise must win the earth, Nor risk its new-born title. Where to damn a man is to say he ran, And heedless seeds are sown, Where the thrill of strife is the spice of life, And the creed is "GUARD YOUR OWN!" —WOON.
When the fast mail steamer which had carried us from the Isthmus of Panama (we had journeyed to the Isthmus from New Orleans in the little transport McClellan), steamed through the Golden Gate and anchored off the Presidio I looked with great eagerness and curiosity on the wonderful city known in those days as "the toughest hole on earth," of which I had read and heard so much and which I had so longed to see. I saw a city rising on terraces from the smooth waters of a glorious bay whose wavelets were tempered by a sunshine that was as brilliant as it was ineffective against the keen sea-breeze of winter. The fog that had obscured our sight outside the Golden Gate was now gone—vanished like the mist-wraiths of the long-ago philosophers, and the glorious city of San Francisco was revealed to view.
I say "glorious," but the term must be understood to apply only to the city's surroundings, which were in truth magnificent. She looked like some imperial goddess, her forehead encircled by the faint band of mist that still lingered caressingly to the mountain tops, her countenance glistening with the dew on the green hill-slopes, her garments quaintly fashioned for her by the civilization that had brought her into being, her slippers the lustrous waters of the Bay itself. Later I came to know that she, too, was a goddess of moods, and dangerous moods; a coquette to some, a love to others, and to many a heartless vampire that sucked from them their hard-wrung dust, scattered their gold to the four winds of avarice that ever circled enticingly about the vortex of shallow joys that the City harbored, and, after intoxicating them with her beauty and her wine, flung them aside to make ready for the next comer. Too well had San Francisco merited the title I give it in the opening lines of this chapter. Some say that the earthquake and the fire came like vitriol cast on the features of a beautiful woman for the prostitution of her charms; but I, who lost little to her lures, am not one to judge.
My memories of San Francisco are at any rate a trifle hazy now, for it is many, many years since I last saw the sun set over the Marin hills. An era has passed since the glamour of the Coast of High Barbaree claimed my youthful attention. But I remember a city as evil within as it was lovely without, a city where were gathered the very dregs of humanity from the four corners of the earth. What Port Said is now, San Francisco was then, only worse. For every crime that is committed in the dark alleys of the Suez port or the equally murky callejons of the pestholes of Mexico, four were committed in the beautiful Californian town when I first went there. Women as well as men carried "hardware" strapped outside, and scarcely one who had not at some time found this precaution useful. The city abounded with footpads and ruffians of every nationality and description, whose prices for cutting a throat or "rolling a stiff" depended on the cupidity of the moment or on the quantity of liquor their capacious stomachs held. Scores of killings occurred and excited little comment.
Thousands of men were daily passing in and out of the city, drawn by the lure of the Sierra gold-fields; some of these came back with the joy of dreams come true and full pokes hung around their necks, some came with the misery of utter failure in their hearts, and some—alas, they were many, returned not at all.
The Barbary Coast was fast gaining for itself an unenviable reputation throughout the world. Every time one walked on Pacific street with any money in pocket he took his life in his hand. "Guard Your Own!" was the accepted creed of the time and woe to him who could not do so. Gold was thrown about like water. The dancing girls made fabulous sums as commissions on drinks their consorts could be persuaded to buy. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent nightly in the great temples devoted to gambling, and there men risked on the luck of a moment or the turn of a painted wheel fortunes wrung from the soil by months and sometimes years of terrific work in the diggings. The most famous gamblers of the West at that time made their headquarters in San Francisco, and they came from all countries. England contributed not a few of these gentlemen traders in the caprices of fortune, France her quota, Germany very few and China many; but these last possessed the dives, the lowest kind of gambling places, where men went only when they were desperate and did not care.
We were not at this time, however, to be given an opportunity to see as much of San Francisco as most of us would have liked. After a short stay at the Presidio we were sent to Wilmington, then a small port in the southern part of the State but now incorporated in the great city of Los Angeles. Here we drew our horses for the long trek across the desert to our future home in the Territory of Arizona. There was no railroad at that time in California, the line not even having been surveyed as far as San Jose, which was already a city but, instead of being, as now, the market-place for a dozen fertile and beautiful valleys, she was then merely an outfitting point for parties of travelers, prospectors, cattlemen and the like, and was also a station and terminus for various stage lines.
Through San Jose, too, came those of the gold-seekers, bound for the high Sierras on the border of the desert, who had not taken the Sacramento River route and had decided to brave instead the dangers of the trail through the fertile San Joaquin, up to the Feather River and thus into the diggings about Virginia City. Gold had been found by that time in Nevada and hundreds of intrepid men were facing the awful Mojave and Nevada deserts, blazing hot in day-time and icy cold at night, to seek the new Eldorados. Since this is a book about pioneers, and since I am one of them, it is fitting to stay awhile and consider what civilization owes to these daring souls who formed the vanguard of her army. Cecil Rhodes opened an Empire by mobilizing a black race; Jim Hill opened another when he struck westward with steel rails. But the pioneers of the early gold rushes created an empire of immense riches with no other aid than their own gnarled hands and sturdy hearts. They opened up a country as vast as it was rich, and wrested from the very bosom of Mother Earth treasures that had been in her jealous keeping for ages before the era of Man. They braved sudden death, death from thirst and starvation, death from prowling savages, death from the wild creatures,—all that the works of man might flourish where they had not feared to tread. It is the irony of fate that these old pioneers, many of whom hated civilization and were fleeing from her guiles, should have been the advance-guard of the very Power they sought to avoid.
The vast empire of Western America is strewn with the bones of these men. Some of them lie in kindly resting places, the grass over their graves kept green by loving friends; some lie uncared for in potters' fields or in the cemeteries of homes for the aged, and some—a vast horde—still lie bleached and grim, the hot sand drifted over them by the desert winds.
But, wherever they lie, all honor to the pioneer! There should be a day set apart on which every American should revere the memory of those men of long ago who hewed the way for the soft paths that fall to the generation of today.
What San Bernardino is now to the west-bound traveler, Wilmington was then—the end of the desert. From Wilmington eastward stretched one tremendous ocean of sand, interspersed here and there by majestic mountains in the fastnesses of which little fertile valleys with clear mountain streams were to be discovered later by the pioneer homesteaders. Where now are miles upon miles of yellow-fruited orange and lemon groves, betraying the care and knowledge of a later generation of scientific farmers, were then only dreary, barren wastes, with only the mountains and clumps of sagebrush, soapweed, cacti, creosote bushes and mesquite to break the everlasting monotony of the prospect.
Farming then, indeed, was almost as little thought of as irrigation, for men's minds were fixed on the star of whitest brilliancy—Gold. Men even made fortunes in the diggings and returned East and bought farms, never realizing that what might be pushed above the soil of California was destined to prove of far greater consequence than anything men would ever find hidden beneath.
The march to Arizona was both difficult and dangerous, and was to be attempted safely only by large parties. Water was scarce and wells few and far between, and there were several stretches as, for instance, that between what are now known as the Imperial Mountains and Yuma, of more than sixty miles with no water at all. The well at Dos Palmas was not dug until a later date. Across these stretches the traveler had to depend on what water he could manage to pack in a canteen strung around his waist or on his horse or mule. On the march were often to be seen, as they are still, those wonderful desert mirages of which so much has been written by explorers and scientists. Sometimes these took the form of lakes, fringed with palms, which tantalized and ever kept mockingly at a distance. Many the desert traveler who has been cruelly deceived by these mirages!
Yuma, of which I have just spoken, is famed for many reasons. For one thing, the story that United States army officers "raised the temperature of the place thirty degrees" to be relieved from duty there, has been laughed at wherever Americans have been wont to congregate. And that old story told by Sherman, of the soldier who died at Yuma after living a particularly vicious existence here below, and who soon afterwards telegraphed from Hades for his blankets, has also done much to heighten the reputation of the little city, which sometimes still has applied to it the distinction of being the hottest place in the United States. This, however, is scarcely correct, as many places in the Southwest—Needles in California, and the Imperial Valley are examples—have often demonstrated higher temperatures than have ever been known at Yuma. A summer at the little Colorado River town is quite hot enough, however, to please the most tropical savage. It may be remarked here, in justice to the rest of the State, that the temperature of Yuma is not typical of Arizona as a whole. In the region I now live in—the Sonoita Valley in the southeastern part of the State, and in portions around Prescott, the summer temperatures are markedly cool and temperate.
Yuma, however, is not famed for its temperature alone; in fact, that feature of its claim to notice is least to be considered. The real noteworthy fact about Yuma from a historical point of view is that, as Arizona City, it was one of the earliest-settled points in the Territory and was at first easily the most important. The route of the major portion of the Forty-Niners took them across the Colorado River where Fort Yuma was situated on the California side; and the trend of exploration, business and commerce a few years later flowed westward to Yuma over the picturesque plains of the Gadsden Purchase. The famous California Column ferried itself across the Colorado at Yuma, and later on the Overland Mail came through the settlement. It is now a division point on the Southern Pacific Railway, just across the line from California, and has a population of three or four thousand.
At the time I first saw the place there was only Fort Yuma, on the California side of the river, and a small settlement on the Arizona side called Arizona City. It had formerly been called Colorado City, but the name was changed when the town was permanently settled. There were two ferries in operation at Yuma when our company arrived there, one of them run by the peaceable Yuma Indians and the other by a company headed by Don Diego Jaeger and Hartshorne. Fort Yuma had been established in 1851 by Major Heintzelman, U.S.A., but owing to scurvy (see De Long's history of Arizona) and the great difficulty in getting supplies, the Colorado River being then uncharted for traffic, it was abandoned and not permanently re-established until a year later, when Major Heintzelman returned from San Diego. The townsite of Colorado City was laid out in 1854, but floods wiped out the town with the result that a permanent settlement, called Arizona City, was not established until about 1862, four years before I reached there.
The first steamboat to reach Yuma with supplies was the Uncle Sam, which arrived in 1852. Of all this I can tell, of course, only by hearsay, but there is no doubt that the successful voyage of the Uncle Sam to Yuma established the importance of that place and gave it pre-eminence over any other shipping point into the territories for a long time.
Until the coming of the railroad, supplies for Arizona were shipped from San Francisco to the mouth of the Colorado and ferried from there up the river to Yuma, being there transferred to long wagon trains which traveled across the plains to Tucson, which was then the distributing point for the whole Territory.
Tucson was, of course, the chief city. I say "city" only in courtesy, for it was such in importance only, its size being smaller than an ordinary eastern village. Prescott, which was the first Territorial Capital; Tubac, considered by many the oldest settled town in Arizona, near which the famous mines worked by Sylvester Mowry were located; Ehrenberg, an important stage point; Sacaton, in the Pima and Maricopa Indian country, and other small settlements such as Apache Pass, which was a fort, were already in existence. The Gadsden Purchase having been of very recent date, most of the population was Indian, after which came the Mexicans and Spaniards and then the Americans, who arrogantly termed themselves the Whites, although the Spaniards possessed fully as white a complexion as the average pioneer from the eastern states. Until recently the Indian dominated the white man in Arizona in point of numbers, but fortunately only one Indian race—the Apache—showed unrelenting hostility to the white man and his works. Had all the Arizona Indians been as hostile as were the Apaches, the probabilities are that the settlement of Arizona by the whites would have been of far more recent date, for in instance after instance the Americans in Arizona were obliged to rely on the help of the peaceful Indians to combat the rapacious Apaches.
Yuma is the place where the infamous "Doc" Glanton and his gang operated. This was long before my time, and as the province of this book is merely to tell the story of life in the Territory as I saw it, it has no place within these pages. It may, however, be mentioned that Glanton was the leader of a notorious gang of freebooters who established a ferry across the Colorado at Yuma and used it as a hold-up scheme to trap unwary emigrants. The Yuma Indians also operated a ferry, for which they had hired as pilot a white man, whom some asserted to have been a deserter from the United States army. One day Glanton and his gang, angered at the successful rivalry of the Indians, fell on them and slew the pilot. The Glanton gang was subsequently wiped out by the Indians in retaliation.
When the Gila City gold rush set in Yuma was the point to which the adventurers came to reach the new city. I have heard that as many as three thousand gold seekers congregated at this find, but nothing is now to be seen of the former town but a few old deserted shacks and some Indian wickiups. Gold is still occasionally found in small quantities along the Gila River near this point, but the immense placer deposits have long since disappeared, although experts have been quoted as saying that the company brave enough to explore the fastnesses of the mountains back of the Gila at this point will probably be rewarded by finding rich gold mines.
I will not dwell on the hardships of that desert march from Yuma to Tucson, for which the rigors of the Civil War had fortunately prepared most of us, further than to say that it was many long, weary days before we finally came in sight of the "Old Pueblo." In Tucson I became, soon after our arrival, twenty years old. I was a fairly hardy youngster, too. We camped in Tucson on a piece of ground in the center of the town and soon after our arrival were set to work making a clean, orderly camp-park out of the wilderness of creosote bushes and mesquite. I remember that for some offence against the powers of the day I was then "serving time" for a short while and, among other things, I cut shrub on the site of Tucson's Military Plaza, with an inelegant piece of iron chain dangling uncomfortably from my left leg. Oh, I wasn't a saint in those days any more than I am a particularly bright candidate for wings and a harp now! I gave my superior officers fully as much trouble as the rest of 'em!
Tucson's Military Plaza, it may be mentioned here, was, as stated, cleared by Company C, First United States Cavalry, and that body of troops was the only lot of soldiery that ever camped on that spot, which is now historic. In after years it was known as Camp Lowell, and that name is still applied to a fort some seven miles east of Tucson.
Captain Dean had not come with us to Arizona, having been taken ill in California and invalided home. Lieutenant Vail, or, as he was entitled to be called, Brevet-Major Vail, commanded Company C in his absence, and he had under him as fearless a set of men as could have been found anywhere in the country in those days. Vail himself was the highest type of officer—stern and unbending where discipline was concerned, and eminently courageous. Second Lieutenant Winters was a man of the same stamp, and both men became well known in the Territory within a few months after their arrival because of their numerous and successful forays against marauding Indians. Vail is alive yet, or was a short time ago.
After some weeks in Tucson, which was then a typical western town peopled by miners, assayers, surveyors, tradespeople, a stray banker or two and, last but not least by any means, gamblers, we were moved to old Camp Grant, which was situated several hundred yards downstream from the point where the Aravaipa Creek runs into the San Pedro.
Among others whom I remember as living in Tucson or near neighborhood in 1866 were:
Henry Glassman, Tom Yerkes, Lord & Williams, Pete Kitchen, —— Tongue, The Kelsey boys, Sandy McClatchy, Green Rusk, Frank Hodge, Alex. Levin, Bob Crandall, —— Wheat, Smith Turner, "Old" Pike.
Glassman lived most of the time at Tubac. Yerkes owned the Settlers Store in Tubac. Lord and Williams owned the chief store in Tucson and were agents for the United States Mail. Pete Kitchen was at Potrero Ranch; but Pete, who was more feared by the Indians than any white man in the Territory, deserves a whole chapter to himself. Tongue was a storekeeper. Green Rusk owned a popular dance house. Hodge and Levin had a saloon. Wheat owned a saloon and afterwards a ranch near Florence. The remainder were mostly gamblers, good fellows, every one of them. "Old Pike" especially was a character whose memory is now fondly cherished by every pioneer who knew him. He could win or lose with the same perpetual joviality, but he generally won. The principal gambling game in those days was Mexican monte, played with forty cards. Poker was also played a great deal. Keno, faro and roulette were not introduced until later, and the same may be said of pangingi, the Scandinavian game.
There were several tribes of Apaches wintering at Camp Grant the winter we went there, if I remember correctly, among them being the Tontos and Aravaipas. All of them, however, were under the authority of one chief—Old Eskiminzin, one of the most blood-thirsty and vindictive of all the old Apache leaders. The Government fed these Apaches well during the winter in return for pledges they made to keep the peace. This was due to the altruism of some mistaken gentlemen in the councils of authority in the East, who knew nothing of conditions in the Territory and who wrongly believed that the word of an Apache Indian would hold good. We, who knew the Indian, understood differently, but we were obliged to obey orders, even though these were responsible in part for the many Indian tragedies that followed.
The Apache was a curious character. By nature a nomad, by temperament a fighter, and from birth a hater of the white man, he saw nothing good in the ways of civilization except that which fed him, and he took that only as a means to an end. Often an Indian chief would solemnly swear to keep the peace with his "white brethren" for a period of months, and the next day go forth on a marauding expedition and kill as many of his beloved "brethren" as he could lay his hands on. Every dead white man was a feather in some Apache's headdress, for so they regarded it.
One day Chief Eskiminzin appeared with a protest from the tribes against the quality of the rations they were receiving. It was early spring and the protest, as we well knew, was merely his way of saying that the Indians were no longer dependent on what the government offered but could now hunt their own meat. Our commanding officer endeavored to placate the old chief, who went back for a conference with his men. Then he re-appeared, threw down his rations, the others doing the same, and in a few minutes the entire encampment of Apaches was in the saddle.
Some little time after they had gone Lieutenant Vail, suspecting trouble, sent a man down the trail to investigate. A few miles away was a ranch owned by a man named Israels. The scout found the ranch devastated, with Israels, his wife and family brutally slain and all the stock driven off. He reported to Vail, who headed an expedition of retaliation—the first I ever set forth on. We trailed the Indians several days, finally coming up with them and in a pitched battle killing many of them.
This was just a sample of the many similar incidents that occurred from time to time throughout the Territory. Invariably the Military attempted to find the raiders, and sometimes they were successful. But it seemed impossible to teach the Apaches their lesson, and even now there are sometimes simmerings of discontent among the surviving Apaches on their reservation. They find it difficult to believe that their day and the day of the remainder of the savage Indian race is gone forever.
It was during this stay at Fort Grant that Company C was ordered to escort the first Southern Pacific survey from Apache Pass, which was a government fort, to Sacaton, in the Pima Indian country. The route abounded with hostile Apaches and was considered extremely dangerous. I have mentioned this as the "first Southern Pacific survey," but this does not mean that there were not before that other surveys of a similar character, looking to the establishment of a transcontinental railroad route through the Territory. As early as 1851 a survey was made across Northern Arizona by Captain L. Sitgreaves, approximating nearly the present route of the Santa Fe Railway. A year or two later Lieutenant A. W. Whipple made a survey along the line of the 35th degree parallel. Still later Lieutenant J. G. Parke surveyed a line nearly on that of the Southern Pacific survey. At that time, just before the Gadsden treaty, the territory surveyed was in the republic of Mexico. These surveys were all made by order of the then Secretary of War, Jefferson Davis, who aroused a storm of protest in the East against his "misguided attention to the desolate West." But few statesmen and fewer of the outside public in that day possessed the prophetic vision to perceive the future greatness of what were termed the "arid wastes" of Arizona and California. This was shown by the perfect hail of protest that swept to the White House when the terms of the Gadsden Treaty, drawn up by a man who as minister to a great minor republic had had ample opportunities to study at his leisure the nature of the country and the people with whom he dealt, became known.
This Southern Pacific survey party was under the superintendence of Chief Engineer Iego—I believe that is the way he spelled his name—who was recognized as one of the foremost men in his line in the country. The size of our party, which included thirty surveyors and surveyors' helpers in addition to the soldier escort, served to deter the Indians, and we had no trouble that I remember. It is perhaps worthy of note that the railroad, as it was afterwards built—it reached Tucson in 1880—did not exactly follow the line of this survey, not touching at Sacaton. It passed a few miles south of that point, near the famous Casa Grande, where now is a considerable town.
Railroad and all other surveying then was an exceedingly hazardous job, especially in Arizona, where so many Indian massacres had already occurred and were still to occur. In fact, any kind of a venture that involved traveling, even for a short distance, whether it was a small prospecting or emigrant's outfit or whether it was a long "train on hoofs," laden with goods of the utmost value, had to be escorted by a squad of soldiers, and often by an entire company. Even thus protected, frequent and daring raids were made by the cruel and fearless savages, whose only dread seemed to be starvation and the on-coming of the white man, and who would go to any lengths to get food.
Looking back in the light of present day reasoning, I am bound to say that it would be wrong to blame the Apaches for something their savage and untutored natures could not help. Before the "paleface" came to the Territory the Indian was lord of all he surveyed, from the peaks of the mountains down to the distant line of the silvery horizon. He was monarch of the desert and could roam over his demesne without interference save from hostile tribes; and into his very being there was born naturally a spirit of freedom which the white man with all his weapons could never kill. He knew the best hunting grounds, he knew where grew excellent fodder for his horses, he knew where water ran the year around, and in the rainy season he knew where the waterholes were to be found. In his wild life there was only the religion of living, and the divinity of Freedom.
When the white man came he, too, found the fertile places, the running water and the hunting grounds, and he confiscated them in the name of a higher civilization of which the savage knew nothing and desired to know less. Could the Indian then be blamed for his overwhelming hatred of the white man? His was the inferior, the barbaric race, to be sure, but could he be blamed for not believing so? His was a fight against civilization, true, and it was a losing fight as all such are bound to be, but the Indian did not know what civilization was except that it meant that he was to be robbed of his hunting grounds and stripped of his heritage of freedom. Therefore he fought tirelessly, savagely, demoniacally, the inroads of the white man into his territory. All that he knew, all that he wished to understand, was that he had been free and happy before the white man had come with his thunder-weapons, his fire-water and his mad, mad passion for yellow gold. The Indian could not understand or admit that the White was the superior, all-conquering race, and, not understanding, he became hostile and a battling demon.
So intense was the hatred of the white man among the Apaches of the period of which I speak that it was their custom to cut off the noses of any one of their women caught in illegal intercourse with a white man. This done, she was driven from her tribe, declared an outcast from her people, and frequently starved to death. I can remember many instances of this exact kind.
ROUGH AND TUMBLE ON LAND AND SEA
"'Twas youth, my friend, and joyfulness besides, That made me breast the treachery of Neptune's fickle tides."
When Spring came around in the year 1867 we were moved to Tubac, where we were joined by K Company of my regiment and C Company of the Thirty-Second Infantry. Tubac, considered by some to be the oldest town in Arizona, before the consummation of the Gadsden Treaty was a military post at which the republic of Mexico regularly kept a small garrison. It was situated on the Santa Cruz River, which at this point generally had considerable water in it. This was probably the reason for the establishment of the town, for water has always been the controlling factor in a settlement's progress in Arizona. The river is dry at Tubac now, however, except in unusually rainy seasons, irrigation and cattle having robbed the stream of its former volume.
At the time we were quartered there Tubac was a place of no small importance, and after Tucson and Prescott were discounted it was probably the largest settlement in the Territory. Patagonia has now taken the position formerly occupied by the old adobe town as center of the rich mining zone of Southern Arizona, and the glories of Tubac (if they can be given that name) are, like the glories of Tombstone, gone. Unlike those of Tombstone, however, they are probably gone forever. Tombstone may yet rise from the ashes of her splendid past to a future as one of the important towns of the Southwest, if the stories of untold riches near by her are to be believed.
A little to the east of Tubac and separating that town from Patagonia is Mount Wrightson, one of the highest mountains in Arizona. Nicknamed "Old Baldy" after its famous namesake in California, this mammoth pile of rock and copper was in the old days a landmark for travelers, visible sometimes for days ahead on the wagon trails. It presaged near arrival in Tucson, for in a direct line Old Baldy is probably not further than forty miles from the Old Pueblo.
We camped at Tubac during the summer and part of the winter of 1867 and I remember that while we were there I cooked a reception banquet to Colonel Richard C. McCormick, who was then and until 1869 Governor of the Territory of Arizona. I forget his business in Tubac, but it was either an electioneering trip or one of inspection after his appointment to the office of Governor in 1866.
In the early part of 1868 we moved to Fort Buchanan, which before the war had been a military post of considerable importance. It received its name from the President before Lincoln and was garrisoned by Confederates during the Civil War. We re-built the fort and re-named it Fort Crittenden, in honor of General Thomas L. Crittenden, a son of the Hon. John J. Crittenden of Kentucky, who was then in command of the military district embracing that portion of the Territory south of the Gila River. Crittenden was beautifully situated on the Sonoita, about ten miles from where I now live and in the midst of some of the most marvelously beautiful scenery to be found on the American continent. Fort Crittenden is no longer occupied and has not been for some time; but a short distance toward Benson is Fort Huachuaca, where at present a garrison of the Ninth Cavalry is quartered.
During part of 1868 I carried mail from where Calabasas is now—it was then Fort Mason—to Fort Crittenden, a proceeding emphatically not as simple as it may sound. My way lay over a mountainous part of what is now Santa Cruz county, a district which at that time, on account of the excellent fodder and water, abounded with hostile Indians.
On one occasion that I well remember I had reached the waterhole over which is now the first railroad bridge north of Patagonia, about a half mile from the present town, and had stopped there to water my horse. While the animal was drinking I struck a match to light my pipe—and instantly I ducked. A bullet whistled over my head, near enough to give me a strong premonition that a couple of inches closer would have meant my end. I seized the bridle of my horse, leaped on his back, bent low over the saddle and rode for it. I escaped, but it is positive in my mind today that if those Apaches had been better accustomed to the use of the white man's weapons I would not now be alive to tell the story.
I was a great gambler, even in those days. It was the fashion, then, to gamble. Everybody except the priests and parsons gambled, and there was a scarcity of priests and parsons in the sixties. Men would gamble their dust, and when that was gone they would gamble their worldly possessions, and when those had vanished they would gamble their clothes, and if they lost their clothes there were instances where some men even went so far as to gamble their wives! And every one of us, each day, gambled his life, so you see the whole life in the Territory in the early days was one continuous gamble. Nobody save gamblers came out there, because nobody but gamblers would take the chance.
As I have stated, I followed the natural trend. I had a name, even in those days, of being one of the most spirited gamblers in the regiment, and that meant the countryside; and I confess it today without shame, although it is some time now since I raised an ante. I remember one occasion when my talents for games of chance turned out rather peculiarly. We had gone to Calabasas to get a load of wheat from a store owned by a man named Richardson, who had been a Colonel in the volunteer service. Richardson had as manager of the store a fellow named Long, who was well known for his passion for gambling. After we had given our order we sought about for some diversion to make the time pass, and Long caught sight of the goatskin chaperejos I was wearing. He stared at them enviously for a minute and then proposed to buy them.
"They're not for sale," said I, "but if you like I'll play you for 'em."
"Done!" said Long, and put up sixteen dollars against the chaps.
Now, Long was a game sport, but that didn't make him lucky. I won his sixteen dollars and then he bet me some whiskey against the lot, and again I won. By the time I had beat him five or six times, had won a good half of the store's contents, and was proposing to play him for his share in the store itself, he cried quits. We loaded our plunder on the wagon. Near Bloxton, or where Bloxton now is, four miles west of Patagonia, we managed to upset the wagon, and half the whiskey and wheat never was retrieved. We had the wherewithal to "fix things" with the officers, however, and went unreproved, even making a tidy profit selling what stuff we had left to the soldiers.
At that time the company maintained gardens on a part of what afterwards was the Sanford Rancho, and at one time during 1868 I was gardening there with three others. The gardens were on a ranch owned by William Morgan, a discharged sergeant of our company. Morgan had one Mexican working for him and there were four of us from the Fort stationed there to cultivate the gardens and keep him company—more for the latter reason than the first, I believe. We took turn and turn about of one month at the Fort and one month at the gardens, which were about fourteen miles from the Fort.
One of us was Private White, of Company K. He was a mighty fine young fellow, and we all liked him. Early one morning the five of us were eating breakfast in the cabin, an illustration of which is given, and White went outside for something. Soon afterward we heard several reports, but, figuring that White had shot at some animal or other, we did not even get up from our meal. Finally came another shot, and then another, and Morgan got up and peered from the door. He gave a cry.
"Apaches!" he shouted. "They're all around! Poor White——"
It was nip-and-tuck then. For hours we kept up a steady fire at the Indians, who circled the house with blood-curdling whoops. We killed a number of them before they finally took themselves off. Then we went forth to look for White. We found our comrade lying on his back a short distance away, his eyes staring unseeingly to the sky. He was dead. We carried him to the house and discussed the situation.
"They'll come back," said Morgan, with conviction.
"Then it's up to one of us to ride to the Fort," I said.
But Morgan shook his head.
"There isn't a horse anywhere near," he said.
We had an old army mule working on the gardens and I bethought myself of him.
"There's the mule," I suggested.
My companions were silent. That mule was the slowest creature in Arizona, I firmly believed. It was as much as he could do to walk, let alone gallop.
"Somebody's got to go, or we'll all be killed," I said. "Let's draw lots."
They agreed and we found five straws, one of them shorter than the rest. These we drew, and the short one fell to me.
I look back on that desperate ride now with feelings akin to horror. Surrounded with murderous savages, with only a decrepit mule to ride and fourteen miles to go, it seemed impossible that I could get through safely. My companions said good-bye to me as though I were a scaffold victim about to be executed. But get through I did—how I do not know—and the chillingly weird war-calls of the Indians howling at me from the hills as I rode return to my ears even now with extraordinary vividness.
And, as Morgan had prophesied, the Apaches did "come back." It was a month later, and I had been transferred back to the Fort, when a nephew of Colonel Dunkelberger and William J. Osborn of Tucson were riding near Morgan's ranch. Apaches ambushed them, slew the Colonel's nephew, whose name has slipped my memory, and wounded Osborn. The latter, who was a person of considerable importance in the Territory, escaped to Morgan's ranch. An expedition of retaliation was immediately organized at the Fort and the soldiers pursued the assassins into Mexico, finally coming up with them and killing a number. I did not accompany the troops on this occasion, having been detailed to the Santa Rita range to bring in lumber to be used in building houses.
I returned from the Santa Ritas in July and found an order had been received at the Fort from the War Department that all men whose times had expired or were shortly to expire should be congregated in Tucson and from there marched to California for their discharge. A few weeks later I went to the Old Pueblo and, together with several hundred others from all parts of the Territory, was mustered out and started on the return march to Wilmington where we arrived about October 1. On the twelfth of October I was discharged.
After working as cook for a short time for a company that was constructing a railroad from Wilmington to Los Angeles, I moved to the latter place and obtained employment in the Old Bella Union Hotel as chef. John King was the proprietor of the Bella Union. Until Christmas eve I stayed there, and then Sergeant John Curtis, of my company, who had been working as a saddler for Banning, a capitalist in Wilmington, came back to the kitchen and said:
"John, old sport, let's go to 'Frisco."
"I haven't," I told him, "enough change to set 'em up across the street, let alone go to 'Frisco."
For answer Curtis pulled out a wallet, drew therefrom a roll of bills that amounted to about $1,000, divided the pile into two halves, laid them on the table and indicated them with his forefinger.
"John," he offered, "if you'll come with me you can put one of those piles in your pocket. What do you say?"
Inasmuch as I had had previously little opportunity to really explore San Francisco, the idea appealed to me and we shook hands on the bargain. Christmas morning, fine, cloudless and warm, found us seated on the San Jose stage. San Jose then was nearly as large a place as Tucson is now—about twenty odd thousand, if I remember rightly. The stage route carried us through the mission country now so widely exploited by the railroads. Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Monterey were all towns on the way, Monterey being probably the largest. The country was very thinly occupied, chiefly by Spanish haciendas that had been in the country long before gold was discovered. The few and powerful owners of these estates controlled practically the entire beautiful State of California prior to '49, and at the time I write of still retained a goodly portion of it. They grew rich and powerful, for their lands were either taken by right of conquest or by grants from the original Mexican government, and they paid no wages to their peons. These Spaniards, with the priests, however, are to be credited with whatever progress civilization made in the early days of California. They built the first passable roads, they completed rough surveys and they first discovered the wonderful fertility of the California soils. The towns they built were built solidly, with an eye to the future ravages of earthquakes and of Time, which is something the modern builder often does not do. There are in many of their pueblos old houses built by the Spaniards in the middle part of the eighteenth century which are still used and occupied.
We arrived in San Francisco a few days after our departure from Los Angeles, and before long the city had done to us what she still does to so many—had broken us on her fickle wheel of fortune. It wasn't many days before we found ourselves, our "good time" a thing of the past, "up against it."
"John," said Curtis, finally, "we're broke. We can't get no work. What'll we do?"
I thought a minute and then suggested the only alternative I could think of. "Let's get a blanket," I offered.
"Getting a blanket" was the phrase commonly in use when men meant to say that they intended to enlist. Curtis met the idea with instant approval, if not with acclamation, and, suiting the action to the words, we obtained a hack and drove to the Presidio, where we underwent the examination for artillerymen. Curtis passed easily and was accepted, but I, owing to a wound in my ankle received during the war, was refused.
Curtis obtained the customary three days' leave before joining his company and for that brief space we roamed about the city, finishing our "good time" with such money as Curtis had been able to raise by pawning and selling his belongings. After the three days were over we parted, Curtis to join his regiment; and since then I have neither seen nor heard of him. If he still chances to be living, my best wishes go out to him in his old age.
For some time I hung around San Francisco trying to obtain employment, without any luck. I was not then as skillful a gambler as I became in after years, and, in any case, I had no money with which to gamble. It was, I found, one thing to sit down to a monte deck at a table surrounded with people you knew, where your credit was good, and another to stake your money on a painted wheel in a great hall where nobody cared whether you won or lost.
Trying to make my little stake last as long as possible, I roomed in a cheap hotel—the old What Cheer rooming house, and ate but one "two-bit" meal a day. I was constantly on the lookout for work of some kind, but had no luck until one day as I was passing up Kearney street I saw a sign in one of the store windows calling for volunteers for the Sloop-o'-War Jamestown. After reading the notice a couple of times I decided to enlist, did so, was sent to Mare Island Navy Yard and from there boarded the Jamestown.
It was on that vessel that I performed an action that I have not since regretted, however reprehensible it may seem in the light of present-day ethics. Smallpox broke out on board and I, fearful of contracting the dread disease, planned to desert. This would probably not have been possible today, when the quarantine regulations are so strict, but in those days port authorities were seldom on the alert to prevent vessels with diseases anchoring with other shipping, especially in Mexico, in the waters of which country we were cruising.
When we reached Mazatlan I went ashore in the ordinary course of my duties as ward-room steward to do some marketing and take the officers' laundry to be washed. Instead of bringing the marketing back to the ship I sent it, together with a note telling where the laundry would be found, and saying good-bye forever to my shipmates. The note written and dispatched, I quietly "vamoosed," or, as I believe it is popularly termed in the navy now, I "went over the hill."
My primary excuse for this action was, of course, the outbreak of smallpox, which at that time and in fact until very recently, was as greatly dreaded as bubonic plague is now, and probably more. Vaccination, whatever may be its value in the prevention of the disease, had not been discovered in the sense that it is now understood and was not known at all except in the centers of medical practice in the East.
Smallpox then was a mysterious disease, and certainly a plague. Whole populations had been wiped out by it, doctors had announced that there was practically no cure for it and that its contraction meant almost certain death, and I may thus be excused for my fear of the sickness. I venture to state, moreover, that if all the men aboard the Jamestown had had the same opportunity that I was given to desert, they would have done so in a body.
My second excuse, reader, if one is necessary, is that in the days of the Jamestown and her sister ships, navy life was very different from the navy life of today, when I understand generous paymasters are even giving the jackies ice-cream with their meals. You may be entirely sure that we got nothing of the kind. Our food was bad, our quarters were worse, and the discipline was unbearably severe.
THROUGH MEXICO AND BACK TO ARIZONA
"Know thou the spell of the desert land, Where Life and Love are free? Know thou the lure the sky and sand Hath for the man in me?"
When I deserted from the sloop-o'-war Jamestown it was with the no uncertain knowledge that it was distinctly to my best advantage to clear out of the city of Mazatlan just as rapidly as I could, for the ships of the free and (presumably) enlightened Republic had not yet swerved altogether from the customs of the King's Navee, one of which said customs was to hang deserters at the yard-arm. Sometimes they shot them, but I do not remember that the gentlemen most concerned had any choice in the matter. At any rate, I know that it was with a distinct feeling of relief that I covered the last few yards that brought me out of the city of Mazatlan and into the open country. In theory, of course, the captain of the sloop-o'-war Jamestown could not have sent a squad of men after me with instructions to bring me back off foreign soil dead or alive, but in practice that is just what he would have done. Theory and practice have a habit of differing, especially in the actions of an irate skipper who sees one of his best ward-room stewards vanishing from his jurisdiction.
Life now opened before me with such a vista of possibilities that I felt my breath taken away. Here was I, a youth twenty-two years old, husky and sound physically, free in a foreign country which I felt an instant liking for, and no longer beholden to the Stars and Stripes for which I was quite ready to fight but not to serve in durance vile on a plague-ship. My spirit bounded at the thought of the liberty that was mine, and I struck northward out of Mazatlan with a light step and a lighter heart. At the edge of the city I paused awhile on a bluff to gaze for the last time on the Bay, on the waters of which rode quietly at anchor the vessel I had a few hours before quit so unceremoniously. There was no regret in my heart as I stood there and looked. I had no particular love for Mexico, but then I had no particular love for the sea, either, and a good deal less for the ships that sailed the sea. So I turned my back very definitely on that part of my life and set my face toward the north, where, had I known it, I was to find my destiny beneath the cloudless turquoise skies of Arizona.
When I left Mazatlan it was with the intention of walking as far as I could before stopping, or until the weight of the small bundle containing my worldly possessions tired my shoulders. But it was not to be so. Only two miles out of the city I came upon a ranch owned by two Americans, the sight of whom was very welcome to me just then. I had no idea that I should find any American ranchers in the near neighborhood, and considered myself in luck. I found that one of the American's names was Colonel Elliot and I asked him for work. Elliot sized me up, invited me in to rest up, and on talking with him I found him to be an exceedingly congenial soul. He was an old Confederate colonel—was Elliot, but although we had served on opposite sides of the sad war of a few years back, the common bond of nationality that is always strongest beyond the confines of one's own land prevented us from feeling any aloofness toward each other on this account. To me Colonel Elliot was an American, and a mighty decent specimen of an American at that—a friend in need. And to Colonel Elliot also I was an American, and one needing assistance. We seldom spoke of our political differences, partly because our lives speedily became too full and intimate to admit of the petty exchange of divergent views, and partly because I had been a boy during the Civil War and my youthful brain had not been sufficiently mature to assimilate the manifold prejudices, likes, dislikes and opposing theories that were the heritage of nearly all those who lived during that bloody four years' war.
I have said that Colonel Elliot was a friend in need. There is an apt saying that a "friend in need is a friend indeed," and such was Colonel Elliot as I soon found. For I had not been a week at the ranch when I was struck down with smallpox, and throughout that dangerous sickness, lasting several weeks, the old Colonel, careless of contagion, nursed me like a woman, finally bringing me back to a point where I once again had full possession of all my youthful health and vigor.
I do not just now recall the length of time I worked for Elliot and his partner, but the stay, if not long, was most decidedly pleasant. I grew to speak Spanish fluently, haunted the town of Mazatlan (from which the Jamestown had long since departed), and made as good use generally of my temporary employment as was possible. I tried hard to master the patois of the peon as well as the flowery and eloquent language of the aristocracy, for I knew well that should I at any time seek employment as overseer at a rancho either in Mexico or Arizona, a knowledge of the former would be indispensable, while a knowledge of the latter was at all times useful in Mexico, especially in the cities, where the possession of the cultured dialect marked one for special favors and secured better attention at the stores.
The Mexicans I grew to understand and like more and more the longer I knew them. I found the average Mexican gentleman a model of politeness, a Beau Brummel in dress and an artist in the use of the flowery terms with which his splendid language abounds. The peons also I came to know and understand. I found them a simple-minded, uncomplaining class, willingly accepting the burdens which were laid on them by their masters, the rich landlords; and living, loving and playing very much as children. They were good-hearted—these Mexicans, and hospitable to the last degree. This, indeed, is a characteristic as truly of the Mexican of today as of the period of which I speak. They would, if needs be, share their last crust with you even if you were an utter stranger, and many the time some lowly peon host of mine would insist on my occupying his rude bed whilst he and his family slept on the roof! Such warm-hearted simplicity is very agreeable, and it was a vast change from the world of the Americans, especially of the West, where the watchword was: "Every man for himsel', and the de'il tak' the hindmost." It may be remarked here that the de'il often took the foremost, too!
When I left the hospitable shelter of Colonel Elliot's home I moved to Rosario, Sinaloa, where was situated the famous Tajo mine which has made the fortunes of the Bradbury family. It was owned then by Don Luis Bradbury, senior, the same Bradbury whose son is now such a prominent figure in the social and commercial life of San Francisco and Los Angeles. I asked for work at the Bradbury mine, obtained it, and started in shoveling refuse like any other common laborer at the munificent wage of ten dollars per week, which was a little less than ten dollars more than the Mexican peons laboring at the same work obtained. I had not been working there long, however, when some suggestions I made to the engineer obtained me recognition and promotion, and at the end of a year, when I quit, I was earning $150 per month, or nearly four times what my wage had been when I started.
And then—and then, I believe it was the spell of the Arizona plains that gripped the strings of my soul again and caused them to play a different tune.... Or was it the prospect of an exciting and more or less lawless life on the frontier that beckoned with enticing lure? I do not know. But I grew to think more and more of Arizona, the Territory in which I had reached my majority and had found my manhood; and more and more I discovered myself longing to be back shaking hands with my old friends and companions, and shaking, too, dice with Life itself. So one day saw me once more on my way to the wild and free Territory, although this time my road did not lie wholly across a burning and uninhabited desert.
It is a hard enough proposition now to get to the United States from Mazatlan, or any other point in Mexico, when the Sud Pacifico and other railroads are shattered in a dozen places and their schedules, those that have them, are dependent on the magnanimity of the various tribes of bandits that infest the routes; but at the time I write of it was harder.
To strike north overland was possible, though not to be advised, for brigands infested the cedar forests of Sinaloa and southern Sonora; and savage Yaquis, quite as much to be feared as the Apaches of further north, ravaged the desert and mountain country. I solved the difficulty finally by going to Mazatlan and shipping from that port as a deck-hand on a Dutch brigantine, which I remember because of its exceptionally vile quarters and the particularly dirty weather we ran up against on our passage up the Gulf. The Gulf of California, especially the mouth of it, has always had an evil reputation among mariners, and with justness, but I firmly believe the elements out-did themselves in ferocity on the trip I refer to.
Guaymas reached, my troubles were not over, for there was still the long Sonora desert to be crossed before the haven of Hermosillo could be reached. At last I made arrangements with a freighting outfit and went along with them. I had had a little money when I started, but both Mazatlan and Guaymas happened to be chiefly filled with cantinas and gambling-hells, and as I was not averse to frequenting either of these places of first resort to the lonely wanderer, my money-bag was considerably depleted when at last I arrived in the beautiful capital of Sonora. I was, in fact, if a few odd dollars are excepted, broke, and work was a prime necessity. Fortunately, jobs were at that time not very hard to find.
There was at that time in Hermosillo a house named the Casa Marian Para, kept by one who styled himself William Taft. The Casa Marian Para will probably be remembered in Hermosillo by old-timers now—in fact, I have my doubts that it is not still standing. It was the chief stopping-house in Sonora at that time. I obtained employment from Taft as a cook, but stayed with it only long enough to procure myself a "grub-stake," after which I "hit the grit" for Tucson, crossing the border on the Nogales trail a few days later. I arrived in Tucson in the latter part of the year 1870, and obtained work cooking for Charlie Brown and his family.
It was while I was employed as chef in the Brown household that I made—and lost, of course, a fortune. No, it wasn't a very big fortune, but it was a fortune certainly very curiously and originally made. I made it by selling ham sandwiches!
Charlie Brown owned a saloon not far from the Old Church Plaza. It was called Congress Hall, had been completed in 1868 and was one of the most popular places in town. Charlie was fast becoming a plutocrat. One night in the saloon I happened to hear a man come in and complain because there wasn't a restaurant in town that would serve him a light snack at that time of night except at outrageous prices.
"That's right," said another man near me, "if somebody would only have the sense to start a lunch-counter here the way they have them in the East he'd make all kinds of money."
The words suggested a scheme to me. The next day I saw Brown and got his permission to serve a light lunch of sandwiches and coffee in the saloon after I had finished my work at the house. Just at that time there was a big crowd in the town, the first cattle having arrived in charge of a hungry lot of Texan cowpunchers, and everyone was making money. I set up my little lunch counter, charged seventy-five cents, or "six-bits" in the language of the West, for a lunch consisting of a cup of coffee and a sandwich, and speedily had all the customers I could handle. For forty consecutive nights I made a clear profit of over fifty dollars each night. Those sandwiches were a mint. And they were worth what I charged for them, too, for bacon, ham, coffee and the other things were 'way up, the three mentioned being fifty or sixty cents a pound for a very indifferent quality.
Sometimes I had a long line waiting to buy lunches, and all the time I ran that lunch stand I never had one "kick" at the prices or the grub offered. Those cowboys were well supplied with money, and they were more than willing to spend it. Charlie Brown was making his fortune fast.
After I quit Brown's employ, John McGee—the same man who now is secretary of the Arizona Pioneers' Historical Society and a well-known resident of Tucson—hired myself and another man to do assessment work on the old Salero mine, which had been operated before the war. Our conveyance was an old ambulance owned by Lord & Williams, who, as I have said, kept the only store and the post office in Tucson. The outfit was driven by "Old Bill" Sniffen, who will doubtless be remembered by many Arizona pioneers. We picked up on the way "Old Man" Benedict, another familiar character, who kept the stage station and ranch at Sahuarita, where the Twin Buttes Railroad now has a station and branch to some mines, and where a smelter is located. We were paid ten dollars per day for our work and returned safely to Tucson.
I spoke of Lord & Williams' store just now. When in the city of Tucson recently I saw that Mr. Corbett has his tin shop where the old store and post office was once. I recognized only two other buildings as having existed in pioneer days, although there may be more. One was the old church of San Augustine and the other was part of the Orndorff Hotel, where Levin had his saloon. There were more saloons than anything else in Tucson in the old days, and the pueblo richly earned its reputation, spread broadcast all over the world, as being one of the "toughest" places on the American frontier.
Tucson was on the boom just then. Besides the first shipment of cattle, and the influx of cowboys from Texas previously mentioned, the Territorial capital had just been moved to Tucson from Prescott. It was afterwards moved back again to Prescott, and subsequently to the new town of Phoenix; but more of that later.
After successfully concluding the assessment work and returning to Tucson to be paid off by McGee I decided to move again, and this time chose Wickenburg, a little place between Phoenix and Prescott, and one of the pioneer towns of the Territory. West of Wickenburg on the Colorado River was another settlement named Ehrenberg, after a man who deserves a paragraph to himself.
Herman Ehrenberg was a civil engineer and scientist of exceptional talents who engaged in mining in the early days of Arizona following the occupation of the Territory by the Americans. He was of German birth and, coming at an early age to the United States, made his way to New Orleans, where he enlisted in the New Orleans Grays when war broke out between Mexico and Texas. After serving in the battles of Goliad and Fanning's Defeat he returned to Germany and wrote and lectured for some time on Texas and its resources. Soon after the publication of his book on Texas he returned to the United States and at St. Louis, in 1840, he joined a party crossing to Oregon. From that Territory he went to the Sandwich Islands and for some years wandered among the islands of the Polynesian Archipelago, returning to California in time to join General Fremont in the latter's attempt to free California from Mexican rule. After the Gadsden Purchase he moved to Arizona, where, after years of occupation in mining and other industries, he was killed by a Digger Indian at Dos Palmas in Southern California. The town of Ehrenberg was named after him.
[Footnote 1: This information relative to Ehrenberg is taken largely from The History of Arizona; De Long, 1905.]
STAGE DRIVER'S LUCK
God, men call Destiny: Hear thee my prayer! Grant that life's secret for e'er shall be kept. Wiser than mine is thy will; I dare Not dust where thy broom hath swept. —WOON.
I have said that Wickenburg was a small place half-way between Phoenix and Prescott, but that is not quite right. Wickenburg was situated between Prescott and the valley of the Salt River, in the fertile midst of which the foundation stones of the future capital of Arizona had yet to be laid. To be sure, there were a few shacks on the site, and a few ranchers in the valley, but the city of Phoenix had yet to blossom forth from the wilderness. I shall find occasion later to speak of the birth of Phoenix, however.
When I arrived in Wickenburg from Tucson—and the journey was no mean affair, involving, as it did, a ride over desert and mountains, both of which were crowded with hostile Apaches—I went to work as stage driver for the company that operated stages out of Wickenburg to Ehrenberg, Prescott and other places, including Florence which was just then beginning to be a town.
Stage driving in Arizona in the pioneer days was a dangerous, difficult, and consequently high-priced job. The Indians were responsible for this in the main, although white highwaymen became somewhat numerous later on. Sometimes there would be a raid, the driver would be killed, and the stage would not depart again for some days, the company being unable to find a man to take the reins. The stages were large and unwieldy, but strongly built. They had to be big enough to hold off raiders should they attack. Every stage usually carried, besides the driver, two company men who went heavily armed and belted around with numerous cartridges. One sat beside the driver on the box-seat. In the case of the longer stage trips two or three men guarded the mail. Very few women traveled in those days—in fact, there were not many white women in the Territory and those who did travel usually carried some masculine protector with them. A man had to be a good driver to drive a stage, too, for the heavy brakes were not easily manipulated and there were some very bad stretches of road.
Apropos of what I have just said about stage drivers being slain, and the difficulty sometimes experienced in getting men to take their places, I remember that on certain occasions I would take the place of the mail driver from Tucson to Apache Pass, north of where Douglas now is—the said mail driver having been killed—get fifty dollars for the trip and blow it all in before I started for fear I might not otherwise get a chance to spend it.
The stage I drove for this Wickenburg company was one that ran regular trips out of Wickenburg. Several trips passed without much occurring worthy of note; and then on one trip I fell off the box, injuring my ankle. When I arrived back in Wickenburg I was told by Manager Pierson of the company that I would be relieved from driving the stage because my foot was not strong enough to work the heavy brakes, and would be given instead the buckboard to drive to Florence and back on post-office business.
The next trip the stage made out of Wickenburg, therefore, I remained behind. A few miles from town the stage was held up by an overwhelming force of Apaches, the driver and all save two of the passengers massacred, and the contents looted. A woman named Moll Shepherd, going back East with a large sum of money in her possession, and a man named Kruger, escaped the Indians, hid in the hills and were the only two who survived to tell the story of what has gone down into history as the famous "Wickenburg Stage Massacre." I shudder now to think how nearly I might have been on the box on that fatal trip.
I was not entirely to escape the Apaches, however. On the first return trip from Florence to Wickenburg with the buckboard, while I was congratulating myself and thanking my lucky stars for the accident to my ankle, Apaches "jumped" the buckboard and gave me and my one passenger, Charlie Block of Wickenburg, a severe tussle for it. We beat them off in the end, owing to superior marksmanship, and arrived in Wickenburg unhurt. Block was part owner of the Barnett and Block store in Wickenburg and was a well-known man in that section.
After this incident I determined to quit driving stages and buckboards and, casting about for some new line of endeavor, went for the first time into the restaurant business for myself. The town needed an establishment of the kind I put up, and as I had always been a good cook I cleaned up handsomely, especially as it was while I was running the restaurant that Miner started his notorious stampede, when thousands of gold-mad men followed a will-o'-the-wisp trail to fabulously rich diggings which turned out to be entirely mythical.
It was astonishing how little was required in those days to start a stampede. A stranger might come in town with a "poke" of gold dust. He would naturally be asked where he had made the strike. As a matter of fact, he probably had washed a dozen different streams to get the poke-full, but under the influence of liquor he might reply: "Oh, over on the San Carlos," or the San Pedro, or some other stream. It did not require that he should state how rich the streak was, or whether it had panned out. All that was necessary to start a mad rush in the direction he had designated was the sight of his gold and the magic word "streak." Many were the trails that led to death or bitter disappointment, in Arizona's early days.
Most of the old prospectors did not see the results of their own "strikes" nor share in the profits from them after their first "poke" had been obtained. There was old John Waring, for instance, who found gold on a tributary of the Colorado and blew into Arizona City, got drunk and told of his find:
"Gold—Gold.... Lots 'v it!" he informed them, drunkenly, incoherently, and woke up the next morning to find that half the town had disappeared in the direction of his claim. He rushed to the registry office to register his claim, which he had foolishly forgotten to do the night before. He found it already registered. Some unscrupulous rascal had filched his secret, even to the exact location of his claim, from the aged miner and had got ahead of him in registering it. No claim is really legal until it is registered, although in the mining camps of the old days it was a formality often dispensed with, since claim jumpers met a prompt and drastic punishment.
In many other instances the big mining men gobbled up the smaller ones, especially at a later period, when most of the big mines were grouped under a few large managements, with consequent great advantage over their smaller competitors.
Indeed, there is comparatively little incentive now for a prospector to set out in Arizona, because if he chances to stumble on a really rich prospect, and attempts to work it himself, he is likely to be so browbeaten that he is finally forced to sell out to some large concern. There are only a few smelters in or near the State and these are controlled by large mining companies. Very well; we will suppose a hypothetical case:
A, being a prospector, finds a copper mine. He says to himself: "Here's a good property; it ought to make me rich. I won't sell it, I'll hold on to it and work it myself."
So far, so good.
A starts in to work his mine. He digs therefrom considerable rich ore. And now a problem presents itself.
He has no concentrator, no smelter of his own. He cannot afford to build one; therefore it is perfectly obvious that he cannot crush his own ore. He must, then, send it elsewhere to be smelted, and to do this must sell his ore to the smelter.
In the meantime a certain big mining company has investigated A's find and has seen that it is rich. The company desires the property, as it desires all other rich properties. It offers to buy the mine for a sum far below its actual value. Naturally, the finder refuses.
But he must smelt his ore. And to smelt it he finds he is compelled to sell it to a smelter that is controlled by the mining company whose offer he has refused. He sends his ore to the smelter. Back comes the quotation for his product, at a price ridiculously low. "That's what we'll give you," says the company, through its proxy the smelter, "take it or leave it," or words to that effect.
Now, what can A do? Nothing at all. He must either sell his ore at an actual loss or sell his mine to the company. Naturally, he does the latter, and at a figure he finds considerably lower than the first offer. The large concern has him where it wanted him and it snuffs out his dreams of wealth and prosperity effectively.
These observations are disinterested. I have never, curiously enough, heeded the insistent call of the diggings; I have never "washed a pan," and my name has never appeared on the share-list of a mine. And this, too, has been in spite of the fact that often I have been directly in the paths of the various excitements. I have been always wise enough to see that the men who made rapid fortunes in gold were not the men who stampeded head-over-heels to the diggings, but the men who stayed behind and opened up some kind of business which the gold-seekers would patronize. These were the reapers of the harvest, and there was little risk in their game, although the stakes were high.
I have said that I never owned a mining share. Well, I never did; but once I came close to owning a part share in what is now the richest copper mine on earth—a mine that, with the Anaconda in Montana, almost determines the price of raw copper. I will tell you the tale.
Along in the middle seventies—I think it was '74, I was partner with a man named George Stevens at Eureka Springs, west of Fort Thomas in the Apache country, a trading station for freighters. We were owners of the trading station, which was some distance south of where the copper cities of Globe and Miami are now situated. We made very good money at the station and Stevens and I decided to have some repairs and additions built to the store. We looked around for a mason and finally hired one named George Warren, a competent man whose only fault was a fondness for the cup that cheers.
Warren was also a prospector of some note and had made several rich strikes. It was known that, while he had never found a bonanza, wherever he announced "pay dirt" there "pay dirt" invariably was to be found. In other words, he had a reputation for reliability that was valuable to him and of which he was intensely vain. He was a man with "hunches," and hunches curiously enough, that almost always made good.
These hunches were more or less frequent with Warren. They usually came when he was broke for, like all prospectors, Warren found it highly inconvenient ever to be the possessor of a large sum of money for any length of time. He had been known to say to a friend: "I've got a hunch!" disappear, and in a week or two, return with a liberal amount of dust. Between hunches he worked at his trade.
When he had completed his work on the store at Eureka Springs for myself and Stevens, Warren drew me aside one night and, very confidentially, informed me that he had a hunch. "You're welcome to it, George," I said, and, something calling me away at that moment, I did not hear of him again until I returned from New Fort Grant, whither I had gone with a load of hay for which we had a valuable contract with the government. Then Stevens informed me that Warren had told him of his hunch, had asked for a grub-stake, and, on being given one, had departed in a southerly direction with the information that he expected to make a find over in the Dos Cabezas direction.
He was gone several weeks, and then one day Stevens said to me, quietly:
"John, Warren's back."
"Yes?" I answered. "Did he make a strike?"
"He found a copper mine," said Stevens.
"Oh, only copper!" I laughed. "That hunch system of his must have got tarnished by this time, then!"
You see, copper at that time was worth next to nothing. There was no big smelter in the Territory and it was almost impossible to sell the ore. So it was natural enough that neither myself nor Stevens should feel particularly jubilant over Warren's strike. One day I thought to ask Warren whether he had christened his mine yet, as was the custom.
"I'm going to call it the 'Copper Queen,'" he said.
I laughed at him for the name, but admitted it a good one. That mine today, reader, is one of the greatest copper properties in the world. It is worth about a billion dollars. The syndicate that owns it owns as well a good slice of Arizona.
"Syndicate?" I hear you ask. "Why, what about Warren, the man who found the mine, and Stevens, the man who grub-staked him?"
Ah! What about them! George Stevens bet his share of the mine against $75 at a horse race one day, and lost; and George Warren, the man with the infallible hunch, died years back in squalid misery, driven there by drink and the memory of many empty discoveries. The syndicate that obtained the mine from Warren gave him a pension amply sufficient for his needs, I believe. It is but fair to state that had the mine been retained by Warren the probabilities are it would never have been developed, for Warren, like other old prospectors, was a genius at finding pay-streaks, but a failure when it came to exploiting them.