1908: REAL DISCOVERERS OF THE UNITED VERDE MINE; Part 2.
"THE REAL DISCOVERERS OF THE UNITED VERDE MINE: STATEMENT OF MR. F. F. THOMAS, WHO PLACED THE PROPERTY."
"The Eureka mine was owned by Mr. Chas. Lenning, of Philadelphia. As I knew my friend Prof. Silliman was well acquainted with Mr. Lenning, I told him I was anxious to get a bond on the Eureka and would secure him some commission stock if he could bring it about so that I could get a working bond on that mine on favorable terms. This was accomplished after introducing me to Mr. Lenning and making two trips to Philadelphia. Mr. Lenning, by the way, told me the mine had cost him $105,000 --- $95,000 purchase price and $10,000 spent in working it a little and getting a patent and all incidentals."
"On leaving Prescott Mr. Treadwell gave me letters to several of his friends. I never met but two of those to whom I had letters, and they would not even listen to my tale or entertain any proposition and I wasted no valuable time on them. I proposed, when we gathered all the mines in one group and incorporated, to call the company the United Verde Copper Company as the mines were situated in the Verde district and too many companies put 'consolidated' before their other name --- borrowing title in part from the successful Consolidated Virginia and Nevada."
"To go back once more, the bond on the Wade Hampton was to expire December 1st, 1882. On making representations of the proposed trip to New York and promise of payment of $7,500 by January 1st, following, the McKinnon brothers reluctantly extended the bond for one month --- the balance of $7,500 was to be paid in three months thereafter. On making these arrangements I left for New York, stopping off at Bisbee to get furnace measurements from my friends, the Williams Bros., then in charge of the Copper Queen. I had left Prescott on my eastern trip, which on my arrival in New York began to look like a wild goose chase at the start; armed with my reports, rough maps and various letters; with a checked trunk of beautiful specimens which required extra charges for extra baggage at each terminal, and which by the way, after arrival in New York at the hotel went out of commission. I arrived at the Gilsey House on the 23rd of December, 1882. Moneyed men were all out of town, I was told, on account of the approaching holidays. Mr. W. B. Murray, of whom I have spoken, was awaiting me at the hotel. He had been trying to place the property, but as he had not seen it, he had uphill work. He had only the promise of a friend from Tombstone, a Mr. Clapp, to put in $1,000 on the venture. Mr. Eugene Jerome had also promised to invest $1,000, and he told me on being introduced that the investment would not matter, as it was not his little all. When I found out from Mr. Jerome, who was a lawyer, that we could not incorporate on bonds, under the laws of New York State, I thought we were up against it, to use an expression in later years quite current. Mr. Jerome informed me we had to have some property to incorporate on, and said if we paid $7,500 for half of the Wade Hampton we would have a basis for the incorporation, and could then go ahead. the next proposition we were up against was to raise the $7,500 and telegraph it to Prescott by January 1st. Mr. Murray and I then planned to give a joint note for $7,500 for 60 days, and to make it attractive to acceptors we agreed to pay the money in 60 days with a high rate of interest or furnish 7,500 shares at $1.00 each in a general incorporation of 300,000 shares, which would include the Eureka mine and all other bonded claims --- selected specimens of ore, maps and reports accompanying. We succeeded in raising the money on the first application, telegraphed the money to Prescott on time and astonished the McKimmon brothers with our promptness, and the amount, I am quite sure, was more than they had ever had."
"At the Gilsey house, where I stopped, I met an old college acquaintance whom I had not seen for years. His hair was gray, though younger than I am. Prof. Silliman reintroduced us. I told him why I was in New York and mentioned the proposition I was engaged in. He said off-hand he would take 10,000 shares of the stock for $10,000 'just the same as if I were betting on a horse race, and I'll never squeal if I lose.' I also met Mr. Edward R. Searles, who was living in the hotel. The scheme seemed very attractive to him. As he came in my room the day after I had been showing him the ores, he told me he thought he would go in with me and asked me how much he ought to take, 5, 10, 15, 20, or 25,000 shares. I said, 'Oh! perhaps 5,000 shares; put in 5,000 just as if you were betting on a horse race,' using Mr. Bushnell's expression. When I found out how slow was the work of raising money afterwards, I regretted I had not insisted on his taking 25,000 shares. My regrets were multiplied when I ascertained that he was well off and had no family. You had told me all along that you would take stock, and Mr. Jerome and his family considered the matter of taking a large amount."
"I proposed that we call the townsite I had previously surveyed after Eugene Jerome. Mr. Murray, who was his cousin, cordially acquiesced. We were about this far, and seemed to stick in our efforts to raise money. I remember well that you proposed to me to introduce you to Jerome, and you said you would invite Henry Butler, a mutual friend, and Mr. Jerome and the writer to dinner, and you thought, but were not sure, you could together swing the whole proposition and take up the balance of the stock --- this you succeeded in doing. For 20,000 shares of stock in the United Verde Copper Company and $75,000.00 at 6 per cent per annum, payable in six months, taking note and security on 180,000 shares of the stock, Mr. Lenning bonded the Eureka mine to us with the stipulation that only one-third of the ore should be taken from the Eureka mine before the purchase: also he agreed, when we raised 50,000.00 for working capital, to add $10,000.00 more, making $60,000.00 in all. That was the working capital. When the money, $7,500.00 was raised by the joint note of W. B. Murray and F. F. Thomas and telegraphed to Prescott and receipted for, the incorporation of the United Verde Copper Company was effected and the corporation launched with James A. Macdonald, President and Eugene Jerome, secretary and treasurer. I might say that the parties who took up our note, on being informed by Mr. Murray that he thought they could get $1.50 per share for their stock, retained enough 'to place them on velvet.' F. F. Thomas was appointed by the board of directors, superintendent and general manager, and was authorized to purchase furnaces, water pipe, coke and supplies, and build a wagon road to the mines and operate the property generally as accredited agent."
"I left New York on the 23rd of March, 1883, having been there three months engaged in placing the properties, as you will recollect. Usually I do not hear of my name in connection with the property. Had the property proved a failure, I would have been notorious."
"I purchased the first pipe of Crane Brothers in Chicago, and Fraser & Chalmers, under my direction, made the first two water jackets. I built the wagon road from Sanders to the mine, and opened up the mines, and built a second wagon road over the montains during my administration. The first 50 ton furnace made phenomenal runs on oxidized ores, unusually good in silver. My last work was to erect a second 50 ton smelter."
"We closed down temporarily, waiting for a rise in copper, but the price kept falling. Through my old friend and subordinate R. A. Elmer, second assistant postmaster general, I had the first post office established at Jerome and the first mail route started into camp."
"(Signed) F. F. Thomas"
"Note --- Property leased to W. A. Clark, February 1888: control of property bought by W. A. Clark, January, 1889."
(Jerome Mining News; Saturday, February 8, 1908; page 1, etc.)