Yavapai County, Arizona History

 

This county is bounded on the north and west by Mohave county; on the east by New Mexico, and the south by Maricopa county. Nearly the entire county has an elevation of from 5,000 to 6,000 feet above the level of the sea, and several mountains rise to the height of 12,000 to 14,000 feet. It contains large forests of excellent timber, and many valleys superior for agriculture. Grass is abundant everywhere, and the advantages for stock raising cannot be excelled. Considerable attention has been paid to farming, and with the exception of two dry seasons, the yield has been equal to that of other favored grain growing States. The farmers of this county have depended entirely upon the rain fall to grow their crops. Experience seems to prove that irrigation will have to be resorted to in order to insure a certain yield. The most prominent streams of water in this county are the Little Colorado, Verde, Salt, Sipicue and White rivers. They all abound in excellent fish; and turkey, bear and deer, are plentiful in all the mountains of Arizona.

MINES - Owing to the hostility of the Apache Indians, prospecting and mining has been much retarded over a large portion of the county, but sufficient explorations have been made to demonstrate the fact that it contains extensively rich mines of gold and silver-scarcely a mountain has been examined that does not show rich deposits of these metals. Placer gold is found over a large extent of country, and during wet seasons are worked with great profit. If water can be carried to these mines by means of artificial ditches (and it is believed it can be from the Verde river), lucrative employment would be given to hundreds of miners. The discovery of gold and silver quartz lodes are so numerous that it is out of the question to give room in this pamphlet to mention but one or two of the leading ones: The Vulture mine at Wickenburg is principally of gold ore; the lode is large and well defined, and is being worked now to a depth of about 300 feet; 200 men are constantly employed, and a forty stamp mill is regularly operated with paying results. The ore is drawn on wagons, for reduction, fifteen miles, at a heavy cost. If machinery was erected at the mine, vast quantities of ore that will not pay for transportation, could be worked, and the profits on all would be proportionately greater, and this mine would take front rank as a gold producing mine. The Bradshaw mines have been but recently discovered, and have already a wide and valuable reputation. The Tiger lode gives promise of taking an important position beside the great silver bearing mines of Mexico and the United States, and there are many other lodes in this district that prospect well. There has yet been no machinery erected for the reduction of ores, but many tons have been shipped from the Tiger to San Francisco that has yielded over $1,000 00 per ton. With safety from Indians and capital to develop the mines of this county, many millions of gold and silver would be annually extracted and put in circulation.

TRADE AND FREIGHTS - Goods for this portion of Arizona are partly purchased in New York, and shipped by R. R., to the terminus of the Kansas Pacific R. R.; thence by freight teams via Albuquerque to Prescott. The cost of freighting by this route is about $360 per ton. A portion of the supplies is purchased in San Francisco and shipped by steamer to San Pedro, thence via Los Angeles, or via the Colorado river and Eherenburg, and thence by freight teams to Prescott and other points. The freights by either of these routes cost about $300 per ton.

Towns - Prescott is located 155 miles east of the Colorado River by the wagon road, and 403 miles west of Albuquerque, New Mexico. It is the county seat of the county, and the headquarters for the Military Department of Arizona; contains a population of about 1200; is pleasantly situated in a valley, surrounded by a forest of pines. The buildings are generally constructed of wood, and have the appearance of taste and comfort. Its green hills, tall pines and. productive gardens, give it an appearance of beauty and comfort rarely excelled. The people are energetic and enterprising, and use every exertion possible to overcome the obstacles of Indian hostilities, high transportation, and to develop the resources of the county. They are justly proud of their mountain home, and generally desire to remain there for life. It contains several large mercantile houses, two of which are fire-proof, and would do credit to any old settled town. There are many families here, and a school has been kept open, mainly by private subscription, during the past three years. Efforts are now being made that will undoubtedly secure a free public school. The Good Templars have a flourishing society, and a Methodist Church is in process of construction. Divine service is held on Sundays, and is generally well attended.

WICKENBURG - This town is located on Hassayampa creek, about 90 miles south of Prescott; contains a population of about 500, and was named after Henry Wickenburg, the discoverer of the Vulture mine. It is centrally located to extensive mining regions, though the larger portions are yet undeveloped. It contains a number of mercantile houses, and is destined to grow with the development of the county.

CLIMATE AND HEALTH OF THE COUNTY - The climate of this county taken altogether, can hardly be excelled. Over the larger portion, the thermometer rarely shows a higher degree of heat in the summer than 90 deg., while the winter months are bracing and cool, but never severe. The mercury seldom falls below zero.

With the exception of two or three locations (where swamps cause chills and fevers), malarious diseases are almost unknown, and bronchial and lung complaints are always benefited in this climate.

Source: Resources Of Arizona Territory. Francis & Valentine, Steam Printers And Engravers. 1871.

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