1866: NOTES OF A TRIP THROUGH ARIZONA; Part 1.
"EDITOR ARIZONA MINER: --- In compliance with a request long since made by yourself and various members of the late 'White Mountain Prospecting and Exploring Company,' of which I chanced to be an humble member, I now propose to give your readers, in my poor way, a fuller, if not a better history of what the party saw, did and expected to do, while 'going it blind' for three months through the mountain fastness of Apachedom, than any yet published. The party consisted of 39 men. ... We had sixty-four head of animals when we left the Verde."
"July 13, 1866. This was the day fixed upon for departure from our rendezvous, about two and a half miles below Prescott, on Granite Creek, and the sun, as he sent his warm rays over the hill and tree tops, into our camp, beheld every man at his post --- some cooking, others attending to the wants of our quadruped fellow voyageurs, and still others compressing into smaller dimensions the huge packs to be borne by the animals. All were cheerful, happy, and every man expected to return a millionaire. We were composed of representatives from nearly every State in the Union and every country in Europe. We differed in religion, in politics and in a great many other things, yet each one vied with the other in making time pass pleasant and keeping up the general good feeling of the party. We had, the day previous, elected a Captain, Mr. John Brewington, who, we thought, was just the man to lead us through the unknown region we proposed to visit. A good mountaineer, and excellent packer, and brave man --- these were his qualifications, and, were it not for that blighting curse of able men --- willful and brainless advisors --- no doubt he would have proved equal to our expectations."
"At length we were ready and we took up our line of march for Bigelow's camp on Lynx creek, distant about seven miles, where we soon arrived and encamped, turned our animals out to feed upon the excellent gamma with which the hills and valleys were covered, built out camp fires and set frying pans and coffee pots vigorously at work to cook the evening meal."
"July 14. Saddled and packed up, bade good bye to our hospitable friends and struck for our next camp on Ash creek, distant about 16 miles, where we arrived in the afternoon."
"July 15. Traveled northeast about twelve miles, to a Cienega, or valley, where we found plenty of wood, water and grass. During the afternoon rain fell in considerable quantity, and those of the party who brought tents with them thanked their stars for so doing."
"July 16. Traveled northeast twelve miles, to the Rio Verde, or as some call it, the San Francisco. We descended to the river through Copper Canyon, a narrow and somewhat ugly highway, after considerable trouble in keeping the packs upon the backs of our anumals. We crossed the Verde without trouble and camped upon its east bank. As the country between Prescott and the Verde is pretty well known, I will content myself with the following brief description: ... The face of the country is hilly; covered with a luxuriant growth of nutritious gamma; is tolerably well watered, and is as fine a stock raising country as could be wished for. Along the streams there are beautiful valleys, with ash, oak and other timber. Game, also is tolerable plenty."
"July 17. Today we will move camp as we wish to see and have a talk with the old mountaineer, Pauline Weaver, of 'prehistoric' fame, who is now out as a guide for a company of soldiers." ...
"July 18. As Mr. Weaver has not returned we concluded to lay over in camp another day, and having all my traps in ship-shape I determined to take a ride round the valley, and examine the river, etc. ... I proceeded down the valley about two miles, where I found and was welcomed by some twenty-five or thirty citizen pioneers of Arizona, who had squatted down here to lay the foundation for future fortunes. They are brave, fearless and industrious men --- valuable citizens of an invaluable republic. Among them were Judge Wells, Joe Melvin, Ralston, Brown, Seidleman, the Brooks' brothers, Jack Turner, Mr. Elliott and family, Mr. Norwood, P. Saunders, Mr. Marsh and others, whose names I cannot recollect. It was surprising to see the amount of work done by these people in the short space of time they had to live here." ...
"I was informed that the river was now at low water mark, and that when it was on a bender it was difficult to cross it. I found it however, to be a stream of considerable importance. ... There are plenty of fish in its waters, and we did not find it difficult to capture them. It runs through a valley nearly fifty miles in length by from one to five miles in width, nearly all of which can be made to yield corn, cotton, tobacco, sugarcane, vegetables, etc. There is plenty of cottonwood, mezquit, ash, sycamore and huge willow. Pine in immense quantity can be had from the mountains to the northeast, by going a distance of from ten to fifteen miles. The soil is rich and capable of producing almost any kind of crop, and the climate is similar to that of the foot hill portion of California --- snow rarely ever falling in winter, but in summer heavy showers of rain are frequent ... which keeps the grass and growing crops green and beautiful, and makes irrigation scarcely necessary. The corn, wheat and vegetables planted by the settlers looked well. Two companies of the Arizona First (Mexicans) were stationed here. ... All over this long valley there are ruins of ancient dwellings, vestiges of former civilization and industry. ... A few miles below the settlements the river runs through a long deep canyon, roaring, boiling and surging until its confluence with Salt river."
"Above the crossing, a large stream named Beaver Creek flows into the valley; below, Clear Creek comes rushing down, until it reaches the dam built by the settlers, from whence it is carried in ditches to irrigate the various farms, should irrigation be necessary."
"July 19. Struck out southeast, crossed Clear and Sycamore creeks, and camped in a valley where we found Mexican soldiers. ... They were commanded by the famous Lieutenant Gallegos. ... We also met Mr. Weaver; he gave us some valuable information, but would not accompany us."
(Arizona Miner; January 26, 1867; page 2.)