1864: THE GOVERNOR'S EXPEDITION; February 18.
"On the 18th, Governor Goodwin and Judge Allyn, having been detained a week after all preparations had been made, by a severe snow and rain storm, started to explore the vallies of the Verde (or San Francisco) and the Salinas. They were escorted by a detachment of Company H, 11th Missouri Volunteers, and some of the California troops from this post. Col. Chavez commanded the expedition. Major Willis, Lieut. Pomeroy and Lieut. Robinson accompanied it, and at Woolsey's Ranch, Capt. Walker, King Woolsey, Judge Howard, and Mr. George Blake of Colorado were also in the company. The governor expected to be absent about thirty days, and to thoroughly examine the country on and about the Verde and Salinas for many miles."
(Arizona Miner; March 9, 1864; page 3.)
"A report of Governor Goodwin's expedition to the Verde or San Francisco, furnished by a member of his party:"
"Our whole party numbered 84 men, and we had provisions for thirty days. We left Fort Whipple on the morning of the 18th of February, and reached Woolsey's Agua Fria ranch on the 19th, camping over night at Granite creek. On the 21st we left the ranch, striking due East toward the San Francisco. The mules were many of them fractious and tried hard to get rid of their packs, but we made about 15 miles the first day, and camped at a spring we called Cotton-wood spring. There was an abundance of water, and some of the miners in the party found 'the color.'"
"Next morning we pursued our journey at 10 o'clock and came to the main branch of the Agua Fria which runs nearly North and South. We crossed it and kept the Indian trail bearing to the East. On the next day we lost the trail in a dry creek and took our course towards a pass in the mountain range before us, hoping to find a trail through it leading to the river, but in this we were mistaken. Coming to an almost impassable canyon we descended for some distance and found that the mules could not get footing, while some of them rolled 40 or 50 feet into the abyss below. It was difficult to get back and we encamped for the night. Some of the footmen went through to the San Francisco and were rewarded for their pains by having no supper, nor breakfast the next morning."
"The next day the whole party got through the canyon by sending men forward to prepare a pathway. We reached the river at 11 o'clock. Governor Goodwin named the canyon through which we had passed, Cascade Canyon. The San Francisco is a larger stream than I had supposed it to be. It runs rapidly through the mountains and we found it impossible to follow its banks owing to the high bluffs and rocks. We were compelled to make a detour over a mountain in order to ascend the river and reach the upper valley, some 7 or 8 miles distant. It is upwards of 20 miles long, varying from half a mile to two miles in width. The soil is of a sandy nature and there are heavy deposits from the freshets. There are mountains all about the valley, except on the North-West which is bounded by high bluffs stretching in the direction of Fort Whipple, to which place a good wagon road could apparently be made. The North-West fork leads in that direction and probably the Cienega creek at the fort, is the head waters of the fork."
"On the 28th of February, while traveling up the valley, Major Willis saw some Indians ahead near the banks of the river. He and Colonel Chavez started in pursuit and most of the party followed. A rancheria had been surprised, and the Indians were crossing the river to escape. There was much firing by both parties, and some of the Indians standing very gallantly. An arrow passed through the ear of the Major's horse. Private Fisher, of Captain Pishon's cavalry co., was wounded in the side by an arrow and has since died. This was the only casualty on our side. Of the Indians five were killed and we burned the rancheris."
(Arizona Miner; April 6, 1864; page 3.)
A note from the Governor "to the Secretary, sent by King Woolsey, Esq., and dated on the Verde, Feb. 28, says:"
"'We are pretty well up on this river. We attempted to pass the divide between the Agua Fria and Verde, at a point considered by the old mountain men to be easy and accessible, but which no white man had ever attempted. We found it to be very steep and precipitous and almost impassable. It led into a canyon from which we were two days in reaching the river.'"
"'Yesterday we had a fight with Indians, on the river bank, surprising a rancheria of about fifteen of them. We killed five and wounded one or two more. An arrow was shot through the ear of the Major's horse, and private Fisher, of Capt. Pishon's company, was wounded in the side.'"
"'We stop here to day on his account, and to rest the animals, and tomorrow to go across the country in the direction of the Salinas.'"
"The Governor also wrote under the date of the first instant, from the east bank of the San Francisco, sent by a party who returned with the wounded soldier to Woolsey's Ranch, where we regret to say, the unfortunate man died, it being impossible to remove the arrow head from his side, without surgical aid, which was not at hand."
"Quartermaster Nelson, who had gone to Woolsey's brought the body to the post on Saturday, and on Sunday it was buried with military honors. At 2 o'clock p.m., the Rev. H. Read preached to the garrison, a sermon appropriate to the solemn occasion."
"Private Joseph Fisher enlisted in Captain Pishon's Cavalry Company in 1861, at Marysville, California. He was German by birth, and aged about 24 years. He will be remembered as a good soldier, and his death as the first at this post."
(Arizona Miner; March 9, 1864; page 3.)