Mon, June 24

1923: LOST MINE; Tragedy of the Past.


"Two men dead, one with a bullet hole squarely in the middle of his forehead and the other apparently shot through the body; two dead mules harnessed to a wagon and evidently dying of starvation where the owners had tied them; an old arrastra; several tons of wonderful gold ore piled at one side of the arrastra and covered several feet deep with brush and dirt."

"These are the elements from which an Englishman prospecting in the Fossil Creek country is attempting to reconstruct a tragedy of the past."

"THE FIND: The English prospector was working the country across Fossil Creek in Gila county last week and in the course of his wanderings, entered a small canyon near Pine. He declines to give any more exact information until he has exact information and until he and his associates have located the ground. At the upper end of the canyon, to which his attention had been attracted by an almost obliterated trail, he found the ruins of an arrastra, the two dead men, the dead mules and the pile of ore."

"He immediately came on foot to Jerome and left the next day by train for Williams where he proposed to join some companions and return to the scene of the discovery, prepared to locate, if possible the ground from which the ore had been taken."

"There was not the faintest clue as to the identity of the men and it was apparent that the bodies had been lying where they were found for several years. The body of the man shot through the forehead was in a fair state of preservation but dried to an unrecognizable mummy. A blue denim shirt was in a fair state of preservation and the trousers were also whole. The other body was torn, apparently by coyotes. The line by which the mules were hitched was still attached to their bridles and the harness was still in position. It was evident that the animals had starved to death where they stood."

"The Englishman brought with him a specimen of gold ore that seemed half solid metal and he declared that there was a heap of several tons of the same stuff lying beside the arrastra floor."

"A COMPLETE MYSTERY: The Englishman could frame no theory other than the one that must occur to everyone, that the men had discovered a tremendously rich outcrop and had begun to work it; that they had built the arrastra and had hauled several loads of ore preparatory to beginning extraction; that perhaps they had quarreled or perhaps that someone else killed them --- and that the bodies have laid where they were found for many years."

"He promised to return to Jerome and give further particulars after he and his associates had revisited the gulch and completed their locations."

"There appears not the slightest doubt of the correctness of the story and certainly the ore that he brought with him was of almost unthinkable richness. If his statement that there are several tons of the same stuff at the arrastra is true, he and his friends are rich men today."

(Verde Copper News: Jerome; Tuesday, January 23, 1923; page 1, columns 1-2.)


"The silence of Arizona's wildest and lonesomest wilderness seems to have swallowed Thomas Temble, English soldier of fortune, and his partner since they plunged into the Fossil creek country, bound for the scene of a frontier tragedy and a wonderfully rich mine discovered by Temble while prospecting there."

"It will be recalled that on January 23 the Verde Copper News published an account of an Englishman who had come to Jerome with a story of having found two mummified murdered men, two dead mules, the remains of a wagon and camp equipment, somewhere near Pine. Nearby was a pile of very rich gold ore and the Englishman had several specimens with him. One was pronounced by experts who saw it to be half gold."

"LOCAL CONFIDANT: The Englishman had left for Williams to join his partner before the News heard the story and no one could be located who even knew his name. It develops, however, that while he was here the Britisher struck up a friendship with Gus Johnson, of the St. Elmo pool hall. He gave his name as Thomas Temble and told Johnson many stories of an unusually adventurous life. According to his story, during the war he was sent by the English foreign office to Asia Minor and he spent a long time there spreading propaganda for the Allied cause."

"Temble said that near the scene of the tragedy he had found two ledges. One, from which the rich ore came, was comparatively small, but the other was quite wide and could be traced for a long distance. The second ledge was all good milling ore and because of its size was of far more importance than the high grade shoot."

"While waiting in Jerome for word from his partner Temble urged Johnson to go in with them and help them develop the property. Johnson was impressed by the story and offered to send a substitute with Temble to look over the ground, explaining that his business was in such shape that he could not well leave it at that time. This offer did not seem to please Temble and he left suddenly one day without even bidding Johnson goodbye. Since then no one in Jerome has heard anything from him."

(Verde Copper News; Jerome; Tuesday, February 20, 1923; page 1, column 1; page 5, column 3.)