Mines and Minerals of Graham And Apache Counties

Although these divisions of the Territory have not heretofore received that attention from mining men which the richness and extent of the mineral fields have deserved, it is well known that native gold, silver, copper, lead, iron, coal, and other minerals exist throughout their mountain ranges. Their remoteness from the traveled highways, and the difficulties and cost of procuring supplies and material, are the causes which have retarded the development of the mining interests of these counties. The streams throughout the Sierra Blanco range contain placer gold in large quantities, and have a sufficient supply of water to make mining for the metal, with proper hydraulic machinery, profitable. Although the formation in this portion of the Territory is of an eruptive character, there are stretches of the primitive rock in many places, giving every indication of containing mineral. But little prospecting has been done in Apache county; but the building of the Atlantic and Pacific railroad through its center will no doubt give an impetus to this as to all other branches of industry. "With its great coal-fields and salt deposits, of which we shall speak hereafter, no county in the Territory has greater natural facilities for ore reduction, and no portion of Arizona presents a more inviting field for the searcher after the hidden treasures.

GRAHAM County was organized at the same time as Gila, and formed from the counties of Pima and Apache. It contains 6,485 square miles. It is bounded on the East by New Mexico, on the West by Pinal and Gila, on the North by Apache, and on the South by Cochise County. It is a mountainous county, but, in the valleys which lie between the mountains, good pasturage for numerous herds of cattle is found. The Pueblo Viejo, through which the Gila River flows, is one of the finest farming valleys in the Territory, and is rapidly settling up. The county has also extensive mineral deposits, copper, silver and gold ore, being found in large quantities in the portion of the county lying along the San Francisco River and its tributaries, in the eastern part of the county. Solomonville, though smaller than Clifton, has, nevertheless, because more centrally situated, been made the county seat, and has a very fine agricultural country surrounding it. It has a population of about 500, while Clifton easily doubles it in this respect. Safford, the former county seat, is situated six miles down the valley from Solomonville. Graham is the youngest born of the counties of Arizona, and promises to become one of the richest in its mineral possessions. It can show the most productive copper mines in the Territory, if not in the United States. Gold, in alluvial deposits and in quartz ledges, is found in many of its mountain ranges, while silver ore and coal are likewise among its resources.



There is a large portion of Graham, not yet prospected, which gives every indication of being mineral-bearing. The famous Longfellow copper mines are in Graham county. They are situated on the San Francisco river, a few miles above its junction with the Gila. This region was known to be rich in copper ore, but it was not until 1874 that mining was carried on to any extent. Before the building of the Southern Pacific railroad, the copper mat was shipped a distance of 700 miles by wagons to the nearest railroad, and from there forwarded to Baltimore. Notwithstanding the enormous cost of this mode of transportation, the ore paid its owners a profit. The deposit appears to be a regular mountain of ore, drifts and tunnels having, so far, failed to find anything like a wall; and in whatever direction the workmen penetrated, they have encountered the ore body.



As a consequence, the mine resembles in some respects a quarry, showing copper bearing minerals in every direction. The property is owned by an incorporated company, which appears to be a very closely held corporation, not disposed to let outsiders know too much about the "good thing" they possess. The ore consists of copper glance, red cuprite oxide, and a green  malachite carbonate. Extensive reduction works have been erected on the San Francisco river nearby. The yield is about 14,000 pounds daily, which will soon be largely increased by additional reduction facilities. While the total yield from these copper mines has been has not been fully ascertained, though it is known to reach up into thousands of tons. The company give employment to a large number of men, and a flourishing camp, known as Clifton, has sprung up near the mines. The Detroit Mining Company, operating three miles from the Longfellow, have also opened up a splendid property. They are putting up their own reduction works, and intend to connect their mines by a branch road to the Southern Pacific. The ore is equally as rich as the Longfellow, and quite as extensive, and will no doubt prove as productive. There are many other copper properties in this region, which give every promise of becoming valuable.

The rich gravel deposits of the San Francisco river are the most extensive in the Territory. A Boston company have recently purchased nearly 1000 acres of this gravel bed, and are making preparations to work it on a large scale. Fifteen miles of piping have already been laid, and hydraulic machinery will be erected at once. These gravel beds have been thoroughly prospected by shafts and tunnels, and show gold in paying quantities in every foot. In the eastern portion of

Graham, and lapping over into Pinal, is De Frees district. It is about ten miles south of the Gila, in the Pinaleno mountains, and about sixty miles from the Southern Pacific railroad. The camp has plenty of wood, water, and fine pasturage. The ledges carry silver and copper. The formation is a lime and porphyry. But little work has yet been done, but the showing is most encouraging. The principal mines are the Fairy Queen, a 4-foot vein of carbonates, assaying $40 per ton; the Nez Perces, a 6-foot vein, giving assays of $60 per ton and opened by a forty-foot shaft; the Silver Glance, showing 2 feet of ore that assays $80 per ton. The Charter Oak has a shaft 35 feet, and a 4-foot vein giving $50 per ton. The Calypso, Ulysses, Ironclad, Shotgun, and Iron Cap, are all encouraging prospects.

Salt lagoons are met with in several places in Apache County. The principal lake or lagoon lies near the line of New Mexico. About 1,000,000 pounds are taken yearly from this lake, and with proper facilities it could be made to produce an almost unlimited supply. The salt is precipitated to the bottom of the lake, wagons are driven into the shallow water, and the glittering crystals shoveled in. This is one of the most valuable salt springs on the continent, and besides supplying cattle raisers in Apache and portions of Yavapai, furnishes large quantities for the working of silver ores. This salt is an important factor in the reduction of silver ores, and a prime necessity for their successful treatment. The Atlantic and Pacific railroad, passing within a short distance north, will be the means of providing a larger market for this valuable article. Next to the great fields of Pennsylvania, there is no portion of the Union which can show such immense coal measures as Arizona. This coal region embraces the northern division of Apache County.


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