D. A. Millington, Trip on the Santa Fe to New Mexico in 1880.
[ED. T. JOHNSON - NOW IN ARIZONA.
JANUARY 22, 1880.
Mr. Ed. T. Johnson, now in Arizona, is a son of Mrs. S. D. Johnson, and the late Rev. Johnson, formerly pastor of the Congregational church of Winfield. He is a brother of Warner and Will. Johnson, and of Mrs. McCommon and Mrs. Peabody. Ed. married Miss Eugenia Ward, a niece of Mrs. S. B. Bruner of Winfield, and owner of the Matthewson farm east of town. Eugenia Johnson is with her husband in the wilds of Arizona. We are glad that civilization is approaching them, and hope their venture will realize them untold sums of gold and silver.
I SKIPPED THE ARTICLE ABOUT THEIR LIVING IN ARIZONA AND LOOKING FOR PRECIOUS MINERALS, ETC.
[EDITORIAL CORRESPONDENCE: FROM MILLINGTON.]
FEBRUARY 19, 1880.
We left La Junta at noon of the 8th, on an accommodation train made up of freight and railroad iron and two passenger cars. As yet no regular passenger trains have been put upon the road southwest from La Junta. TALKS ABOUT MAKING GOOD TIME THROUGH MOUNTAINS...Bald mountains, Sangre de Christo Peaks, Spanish Peaks. Before dark we passed El Moro, the terminus of one branch of the Denver & Rio Grande narrow-gauge railroad, crossing its track leading to its coal mines in a bank in sight to our left, and reached Trinidad, six miles farther.
Trinidad is a pretty town of some 3,000 in a gorge of the foot-hills of the mountains, with its residence adorning the slopes...a trading point of a large territory of stockmen. Its principal industry is the coal mining. Ex Saint joined him there. They went south to Las Vegas, the first 14 miles going up the winding gorges in the ascent of the Raton mountains, at the top of which is the famous tunnel which now supercedes the equally famous switch-back which was in use in raising the trains over the summit ridge while the work of excavating the tunnel was progressing. They arrived at Las Vegas Monday morning, the 9th, and found a two-story adobe hotel with neat, well-furnished, excellent rooms...took in town and also Hot Springs, six miles to the northwest in a mountain gorge. Said the Springs was almost complete...had a large and elegant hotel, mostly stone, in progress. The bath house was almost completed...30 bath-rooms. "We took a hot bath and ffound the spring water very much too hot for us untilo tempered down with cold water. There are in a cluster 22 of these hot springs, 13 of which are already improved and used to supply the bath-house with water, each of somewhat different mineral properties. Sulphur is readily detected in these waters but other minerals are not so readily apparent. The water is perfectly clear."
"Old Las Vegas is quite a city. Its buildings are quaint, being nearly all adobe, which looks very cheap and primitive to a Kansasan, but some of them are highly finished and well furnished. They are mostly one-story, but a few of them have two and even more stoires. The cathedral is a large structure of cut-stone, and presents a very imposing appearance. A Mexican bridal party was just leaving the chapel. Here we found John Roberts, who married into the Cochran family at Winfield, sick with measles. He was in a comfortable ranche, and had good attention. We had a visit from Mr. Morrley and lady, who are now living at Las Vegas. Mr. Morley is the trusted engineer of the Santa Fe railroad."
They left on Tuesday morning on the freight and construction train for Santa Fe...observed steam saw-mills in operation, sawed lumber piled up beside the track. "The railroad grade in many places was very steep, and the track quite crooked, winding around hills and ravines, and through deep and rocky cuts. At one part of the route the road passes down a deep, winding, rock gorge for several miles at a very steep grade, which altogheter looked frightful. We arrived at Gallisteo, the point of junction of the Santa Fe branch with the main line of railroad at 1 p.m. The branch was completed 18 miles directly north to Santa Fe, but no train was yet running on this branch, so we had to take a hack to Santa Fe, where we arrived at 5 o'clock, and put up at the Exchange Hotel, which is said to be the only hotel in the place where good accommodations can be had!
"This is a good hotel, well kept on American principles by a Mrs. Davis, the widow of an army surgeon of considerable note. This hotel is worthy of a description, as being a good sample of the better class of New Mexican architecture. It is of one rather high story, occupying a block about 200 feet square; the walls are of adobe, a kind of brick of mud and gravel dried in the sun, but which would undoubtedly be washed down very soon if exposed to heavy rains. This wall is built around the square and another wall at a distance of 18 feet within the square is built parallel to the outer wall. The space between these two walls is divided into rooms about 18 feet square. An open court is left in the center of the block, which is cut in two directions by similar walls enclosing similar rooms. The space between any two parallel walls is regularly 18 feet, which constitutes the width of the rooms, but the length of the rooms varies from 15 to 40 feet. Each room has two doors, one opening into the street, and the other into the central area. Each room has one window, sometimes in the wall next the street, and sometimes in the roof. This being a first-class building, the walls are plastered outside and inside, good, smooth, strong joists are placed across from wall to wall overhead, and are covered with good boards, planed side down, which show in the room overhead. On these boards is piled the earth which constitutes the roof of the building. The rooms are papered and carpeted and furnished in modern style. They are easily kept warm in the cold weather, and said to be quite cool in hot weather. Outside the walls are plain and bare. All that is attractive is inside the walls.
"Some of the large stores and business houses are built in this style, and some of the private houses, built in this style, are furnished as richly as the best houses in Kansas. The great mass of buildings, and there are many hundreds of them, are not plastered outside or in, and look as unsightly as a sod fence, and look much like one.
"There are a few new buildings made of brick or stone with tin or shingle roofs, and in American style, but these are the exceptions. These are occupied by army officers, civil officers of the U. S., and others.
"We visited one two-story building, which is said to be the most ancient within the boundaries of the United States. When the Spaniards first visited this country in 1588 this building was very old, and tradition among the natives gave it a very much older date. It is believed to have stood six hundred years. The doors were holes in the wall about three and a half feet high, and the windows were little holes in the wall about a foot square.
"We visited one church which was completed in 1711. It is yet occupied, and was filled with pictures and statues of saints and scenes of Bible times, with the usual amount of paraphernalia connected with the Catholic ritual.
"There are several of these old churches, and there has been in progress of erection for several years a magnificent cathedral of cut-stone masonry, which, when completed, will have cost $100,000 and will be one of the finest and largest in America. A new college of San Miguel is a fine modern building of cut stone.
"Santa Fe is located near the foot of a range of mountains on the west side, about 20 miles east of the Rio Grande, on a high slope among the mesa, or foot hills. The surrounding ridges, slopes, and plains are barren except where made productive by irrigation; the ground is bare or only slightly covered with a very thin and short grass. In summer, and even in spring and fall, the surface gets very hot, which prevents rain, and the nights are always cold before morning. The slopes and benches are well dotted with dwarf pines and cedars, and the mountains have considerable forests of pines, furnishing plenty of material for building and fuel.
"It is amusing to see those little burros, which if their ears were taken off, would look hardly larger than sheep, come in loaded with great bundles of pine firewood strapped over their backs. These burros are the principle teams of the natives. Few horses, mules, or wagons are seen. The natives plow with a forked stick, and everything else is yet in the most primitive condition.
"But now is about the last chance to see this country in its present condition. The completion of the Santa Fe railroad will soon revolutionize the whole country, and a new civilization will be built over the ruins of the old. The sulky plow will soon supercede the forked stick, the mules and wagon will take the place of the burro, and lumber, brick, and stone will take the place of mud for building material. But the main rush will be to the mines, and those will stimulate the rude agriculture and mechanical arts of the natives.
"Santa Fe is the capital of the territory of New Mexico, and being much the largest town, we have described it more particularly, which description, on a smaller scale, will answer for almost any other town in the territory, except as Santa Fe is changed by being the seat of government.
"The territorial legislature was in session, and we visited both houses. The lower house was mainly made up of native representatives, and its deliberations were conducted in Spanish with an English interpreter. These men were bright and active, and many of them were first-class orators, if we might judge by their graceful and vehement gestures and flow of language. The council was made up largely of active and able Americans. The
U. S. Court was in session, and some important cases were on trial.
"We met many of the officers of the territory, by whom we were treated with great courtesy, and from whom we received valuable information. Our thanks are specially due to the Governor, Gen. Lew Wallace; to H. M. Atkinson, Surveyor-General, and Judge Sidney Barnes, District Attorney, for their kind attentions. We met Ex-Governor Geo. T. Anthony here, he having been here for the last few months in the interest of the Santa Fe road. We also met Mrs. Anthony, now here on a short visit. Among gentlemen from whom we received valuable courtesies, was Maj. Finley, of Emporia; who had been in the country a few weeks, and had learned the ropes. We met many old friends from other states who were here prospecting. We must not forget to acknowledge the very kind attentions of Miss Sue Barnes, daughter of the District Attorney and sister of Judge Campbell, and of Miss Davis, of the hotel.
"The weather, since we approached the mountains, has been dry and quite cold until yesterday, when we had a severe snow storm. A person needs plenty of warm clothing to keep him comfortable out of doors. Today we start our wives homeward and ourselves down the Rio Grande to visit the various mines among the mountains to the east and to the west of that river, of which we cannot write until another time. So we close, and send this in by Mrs. M."
SANTA FE, N. M., Feb. 13, 1880.
[EDITORIAL CORRESPONDENCE: MILLINGTON.]
FEBRUARY 26, 1880.
In my last I gave a hasty glance at this quaint old city, but another day spent therein reveals many other points of interest. The population is about 6,000, I think, though 8,000 is claimed. We visited the three great stores of merchandise, and several of the smaller ones. Entering one of the largest by an unpretentious opening in the adobe wall, we found ourselves in a neat and well filled room, though not large.
From this room the affable proprietor led us through a perfect labyrinth of rooms, running out in every direction, each well filled with goods, together embracing almost every imaginable line and description. It is stated that the average stock of this house is more than a quarter of a million of dollars. These merchants have heavy capital, and have had an enormous trade for many years. I imagine, however, that their heavy trade, extending down the Rio Grande to El Paso, west to Tucson, Arizona, and southwest into old Mexico, will soon be cut off and divided among the several towns through which the A., T. & S. F. railroad is about to be extended. It is about thirty-five miles due west to the Rio Grande, most of the way down hill.
At Santa Fe we met G. W. Gully, our former councilman.
On the 13th we made up a party, consisting of F. J. Leonard, of the Kansas City Journal, O. F. Boyle, A. H. Lemmon, and the writer, and rode out southwest 23 miles to the Cerrillo mines, and put up at the principal mining camp called Carbonateville.
THE CERRILLO MINES.
On the 14th we did a hard day's work tramping around visiting the mines. There are about 3,000 claims already taken in this district, and perhaps 300 men in the camps. The district is about five miles east and west by eighty miles north and south. The word Cerrillos means "little hills." From Santa Fe this district appears like several small stacks of hay on a broad plain, but, as you approach, these grow upon your vision into quite high mountain peaks upon a high, broken plateau made up of hundreds of hills finely and beautifully rounded, and it is among these hills where the mines are found. Most of these are more prospect holes down ten feet to hold the claims. The fissures or leads of mineral generally run in a northeast and southwest direction and crop out on the surface in places. Some of these fissures have been traced over the surface for two or three miles. Under the mining regulations, a claim may take up fifteen hundred feet along one of these fissures only, so that several claims are frequently located on the same fissure or lead.
These leads generally go down into the earth nearly perpendicular to an unknown depth, and are from six inches to several feet in thickness (or width, as it is called here.). The fissures generally have well defined walls of broken porphyry, granite, and other softer rock, and the vein is easily followed. These fissures are filled with mineral very like the Leadville ores in appearance, and is largely galena, but contains silver and some gold. The assays of these ores taken as they are near the surface, run from five to sixty dollars in silver, and from a mere trace to thirty dollars in gold, to the ton of ore. Some of the deeper ones assay much higher, and some small, select specimens have assayed hundreds and even thousands of dollars, if we may credit the common reports of the miners.
Altogether, we conclude that the ores in sight are low grade, averaging not more than twenty dollars. It is doubtless true as claimed that these leads are richer the deeper you go, but as yet none of the prospects have reached any considerable depth. Very few have reached a depth of fifty feet. The claim holders are nearly all men without capital and unable to develop their claims. Some of them are obliged to lose their claims for failing to do the necessary amount of work to hold them, and for this reason hundreds of claims are offered for sale at a hundred dollars up.
Among such a large number of mines which are being pros-pected, we can give space to mention only a few of the most prominent. The Chester is said to have assayed $200, the Gen. Moore $107, the St. Clair $132, the Little Peter $138, the Belle of Texas $500. As we did not see the assays, I take these reports with many grains of allowance.
The Rolina is an old Spanish mine. the old shaft has been opened to the depth of 100 feet, with four levels or jogs in the descent. It is bounded to Carpenter and others, a company who are now putting up large smelter works at the railroad stations at the south end of the district. The Mina Del Tira is the most famous of the silver lodes, having been worked extensively by the Spaniards and their Indian peons previous to 1680. Two old shafts have been reopened to the depth of over 100 feet, where they have come to water. How much deeper the Spanish work goes is unknown, but is supposed to have been excavated to the depth of 300 feet or more, with long horizontal drifts following the vein, which near the surface is about four feet thick and widens as it goes downward. These old shafts cannot be utilized for the purposes of modern mining because they are dug down about twenty feet, then a horizontal drift of a few feet, then another twenty foot descent, thus making a series of terraced landings and descents. Down these descents, from one landing to the next, stands a twenty foot log, about nine inches in diameter, with notches cut about sixteen inches apart the whole length, for steps. Up this series of ladders and landings, the Indian peons carried the ore in rawhide pouches on their backs, supported by a band passing around the forehead. Then they probably had to pack the ore four hundred miles into Mexico to the nearest reduction works, and it seems certain that they would not have gone through this slow and laborious process to the extent they appear to have done unless the ores were exceedingly rich. How extensive were their deep underground driftings through the rock is now unknown, but the amount of refuse rock piled up outside the shafts is enormously great considering that the hole it came out of is scarcely more than three feet in diameter.
The old Turquoise mines are the most interesting feature of this district. The amount of labor that was expended in these mines prior to 1680 is incalculable. The site was a large hill, almost mountain, of rock of a yellow-white, not very hard, and the precious Turquoise stones or crystals were found deeply imbedded in this rock. The two sides of the hill have been dug down and huge pits sunk, from the bottom of which drifts were excavated to such extent that all through under the mountain was a labyrinth of passages, and the mass of the mountain seems to have sunken to some extent. On the hills of debris taken from these mines are growing trees that must be near 200 years old.
The Spaniards commenced mining in this and other districts of New Mexico as early as 1588, and prosecuted the business by first employing the earlier inhabitants at but slight pay, and finally reducing them to a condition of slavery. This slavery existed until 1680, when a portion of the Turquoise hill I have been describing sunk or slid down upon the Peon laborers, burying about fifty of them a hundred feet deep. This was the event which aroused the natives and they attacked the Spaniards, and by their great numbers, either slew or drove the whole race from New Mexico. The natives then filled up all the shafts, drifts, and mines, and could not, on account of a superstition among them, be prevailed upon ever after unto this day to approach any of these mines.
In 1692 the Spaniards were permitted to return on making a solemn treaty with the natives, by which they promised never to open or work the mines again, and the church of San Miguel at Santa Fe and other churches were erected in memorial of this treaty. We are told that the Spaniards have since faithfully observed the treaty and until recently no attempts have been made by any people to reopen these mines.
Now that the railroad has reached this country and is in proximity to these mines, reduction works can be cheaply constructed in every mining vicinity, combined capital will test these mines, and the first rich ore that is reached will create a boom that will turn men and capital into this region.
At Carbonateville we made the acquaintance of a Spaniard named Aoye, who exhibited such wide knowledge, such progressive and radical views and eloquence of expression, that we christened him "the Castellar of New Mexico." From him we derived much valuable information. He is an editor, has been the leading one of Santa Fe, and now publishes the Cerrillo Prospector, at Carbonateville.
Our landlord, A. Algiero, was a very intelligent and sociable man and entertained us hospitably. A young man named Bonner pleased us much, and a Mr. Giles, a very intelligent gentleman, spent the day with us to show us the mines. We were much pleased with the mines generally, but there was one exception. We hired a man by the name of Howard to go with his team and carry us through the mines to the south and west. He appeared well enough, but proved to be a thieving scoundrel, and we parted with him at Albuquerque after two day's trial.
On February 15th, in the morning, we started for Carbonateville south for Los Placeres, or the Placer Mountains. The first five miles was down grade, among hills and winding, rock canon, to Cerrillos station, on the Gallistes river. Here the track layers were in force, laying a switch on which to run a long train of freight cars, which was standing on the main track. Here is being constructed a large smelter and reduction works by the Carpenter company. Here also are extensive coal mines. From thence we passed on south up a high mesa and long slope seven miles to Old Placers, which is an old Mexican town and around which are extensive placer gold diggings in the bars of streams and beneath the terminal moraine of an ancient glacier. Here, also, is a large forty stamp mill, large steam works for the reduction of the gold bearing quartz in the adjacent mountains. This mill has not been run of late for want of water. These mines are on a grant known as the Ortiz grant, ten miles square, and has been recently purchased by Elkins and others for $1,500,000, and the works are to be refitted and supplied with water by tubs from the head of the Pecos river, thirty-five miles off.
The placer mines were worked extensively by the Spaniards before 1680 and were evidently rich, but at present cannot be worked extensively for want of water. We passed on around and through the mountain gorges to the south and west ten miles to New Placers, where we found a Mexican town and put up for the night with a Yankee family in an adobe house which was bright and comfortable. We did not conclude that the placer mines were paying very well, but, scattered through the adjacent mountains, were many fissure mines now being prospected and opened, containing good prospects of gold and silver, some having a large percentage of lead, others of copper, and others of zinc.
On the morning of the 16th we passed on south, through mountain valleys without diverging from the good road in which we were traveling, to visit some mining camps among the Placer mountains to our left, at the base of the High Sandia range to our right. We passed several Mexican towns and around the south end of the Sandias through a deep, rocky, winding canon, until finally we emerged from the mountains, and following west down a long ten mile grade, arrived at Albuquerque at about 9 o'clock in the evening, having traveled thirty-five miles during the day.
D. A. M.
Albuquerque, N. M., Feb. 17, 1880.
[EDITORIAL CORRESPONDENCE - MILLINGTON.]
MARCH 4, 1880.
ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO
We remained over at this city on the 17th of February. Col. Manning had gone up to Santa Fe by stage and there learned that we were in the territory and had gone below. He dispatched a line to us requesting us to await him at Albuquerque until the morning of the 18th, which we accordingly did.
Here we met W. McRaw of Winfield, who was at work at the carpenter business. The expectation of the railroad was making a demand for such work, and rents had recently gone up to double and triple former rates. Carpenters are in demand and wages from three to four dollars per day. This place will probably continue to be what it has been in the past, the most important place on the Rio Grande within the territory. It now contains a population of some 4,000, and it is probable that this will soon be largely increased by the influx of a new population from the states.
Like the other New Mexican towns, Albuquerque looks, at a little distance, like a vast brick yard. It appears to consist of hundreds of kilns of brick put up and daubed over with mud ready to be fired. It is true that many of the buildings are plastered nicely on the outside and whitewashed or painted white, and present a fine appearance on a near view.
Like the other towns, the streets are very narrow, generally not more than sixteen to twenty feet wide, with mud walls of buildings or corrals about fourteen feet high lining both sides. These passages take curious short turns, and are gloomy places to pass in the evening. In fact, they give plenty of opportunities for robberies and assassinations in the dark or even daylight, and we are told that such amusements have not been infrequent in the past.
Like all Mexican towns it has its plaza, consisting of a small square in the center of the town, bare and entirely unoccupied in this and most other cases, presenting a dreary and uninviting appearance. Santa Fe is the only town that has a pleasant plaza fenced in and beautified by large shade trees, fine walks, and a grand central monument to the union soldiers who fought the battles of the nation in New Mexico, but here in Albuquerque all is bare and ugly, not a tree except the few unsightly top-clipped cottonwoods in the suburbs. We did not see an outwardly fair looking building in the place. Even the cathedral, though large, was unsightly. Many of the residence, however, were finely finished inside, and supplied with rich and costly furniture. The old business of the place, which was formerly carried on by the rich old hidalgos, is passing from their hands. Some Germans and Jews have been encroaching upon their trade for a few years past, and more recently a "formerly of Kansas" in the person of Ex-Lieutenant Governor Stover has taken the lead in business, carrying the largest stock and much the largest trade in the place. His stock consists of almost everything that is wanted in the country and he buys everything the natives have to sell such as native wine, wool, pelts, hides, onions, cabbages, etc. He is a large owner and operator in the mines and seems to be on the road to immense wealth. We have him to thank for many attentions and courtesies.
There is not a decent hotel in the place, and one or more are sorely needed. The one at which we stopped, the best in town, gave us a reasonably good room, but the table was execrable. Hungry as we were after our days of mountain exercise, the filthy appearances were too much for our appetites. In justice to the Mexicans, we will state that this hotel was kept by an American, and that we do not think any Mexican could have stretched his avarice to the pitch of charging a dollar a meal for such fare.
DOWN THE RIO GRANDE.
The stage from Santa Fe came in early on the morning of the 18th bringing Col. Manning, who immediately set about his business, completed the purchase of a team and buggy, or rather light but strong double spring wagon suitable for seating four persons; and taking in A. B. Lemmon, O. F. Boyle, and the writer, drove down the valley of the Rio Grande.
Around the suburbs of Albuquerque we observed thousands and thousands of cords of sod cut up in chunks, about twenty inches long, ten inches wide, and six inches thick, and piled up to dry and harden; and to be used as adobe or brick for building purposes. The real adobe is made by mixing up mud of water, earth, and straw, moulding into shape and drying in the sun, when they become quite hard and durable on account of the peculiar nature of the sand, gravel, and clay packed earth. These sods seem to be cheaper and answer the same purpose, but can only be obtained in low, wet places near the river, where the roots of the grass have ramified through the earth, binding the surface mass together. These swarded spots are exceedingly rare in New Mexico. We observed that these awarded spots or tracts were alkali land, the wet and the alkali giving the surface the color of strong lye. Most of thhe valley is alkali land, but presents a dry surface, and the alkali appears over the surface like a heavy sprinkling of flour or soda.
What may be called the Rio Grande valley is forty or fifty miles wide, extending from the first series of high mountain ranges on the east to those on the west, but the greater part of this space is occupied by long slopes down from the mountains toward the river, interrupted by lower ranges, hills, and bluffs. Within the lower bluffs the valley is about five miles wide, along which the wide, shallow, sandy river, with its low banks, meanders its turbid waters.
From these bluffs the slope is gentle inward toward the river, and these gentle slopes are cut up all the way by numerous irrigating ditches. The amount of labor that has, during three centuries, been expended on these irrigating ditches, is incalculable. The main ditches start from the river, where they are supplied with water, and lead away from it as fast as the descent of the river will permit, and it usually takes several miles down stream to rise enough to reach the foot of the bluffs, and these mains are so frequent that in passing from the foot of the bluffs to the stream, several of them would sometimes be crossed. These main ditches are mostly not really ditches at all, for the bottom is about as high as the natural surface of the ground, and on each side high ridges of earth are piled to keep the waters within the limits of the channels thus formed. Some of these mains are probably over twenty miles long. From the sides of these are thousands of small sluices to lead water from the mains to every part of the fields within the mains.
The general appearance of the whole valley now is bare, sandy, dry, and desert-like, but there are some trees in places which have evidently been planted and cultivated. Most of them are cottonwood and many of them are quite large.
The inhabitants seem never to have thought of a tree as an ornament or a shade, but only for fodder for their burros and for fuel. They climb the trees and cut off the principal limbs, on which their little donkeys browse and almost make their living; what they cannot eat is used for other purposes so that nothing is lost, and then the trees put out another crop of limbs during the following summer to be harvested the next winter.
The roads were good in some places, but there were long, wide, areas of deep sand that could not be avoided, which constituted the worst kinds of roads. With a light load a team could not well pull through but a few minutes without stopping to breathe. It was the slowest traveling for so long a distance we ever saw. The soil is sand and gravel with some clay mixed, sometimes hard packed and sometimes loose and drifting. We saw numberless sand drifts, some of them covering many acres each. It did not seem to us that this soil was capable of producing any kind of a crop, but by means of irrigation they make it wonderfully fruitful. We saw white onions from six to ten inches in diameter, cabbage heads of enormous dimensions, red peppers of the largest kind hung up in store houses by the ton, the largest and most beautiful white wheat we ever saw, and many other things indicating wonderful fertility. All along in places we saw vineyards fenced in with the same material of which their houses are made, and we were treated with native wine by the mug full. We are told that they sell wine to the merchants at $12 per barrel, and that most of the other products sell at low prices.
The population of this valley is considerable. Every mile or two along both sides of the river is one of those brickyard-looking villages, containing a population from fifty up to hundreds, besides the principal towns, which reach each perhaps a thousand or more. These people are mostly Mexicans, who though reputed to be indolent, really do a great deal of work. Many of them have discarded the forked-stick plow and log-wheel cart, and are using American plows and wagons.
They are eminently social people and love to work in gangs. We saw them plowing in the fields in gangs of two to a dozen teams, and in gangs of ten to one hundred men in repairing old irrigating ditches, making new ones, and letting the water in. We came upon one gang of perhaps a hundred, who were just finishing a ditch miles in length and letting the water in at the head. They were jubilant and had a high old time of shouting and singing on the completion of the job, and finally started off down the river mounted on their little burros, about an average of two men on each animal.
The roads were so heavy with deep sand that, notwithstanding we were behind an excellent team of black horses in an easy buggy (as it is called here), we did not reach Belen, 32 miles, until awhile after dark. We put up at an adobe hotel or boarding house kept by American people, where Col. Manning made his headquarters.
In the morning we viewed the town. It has nothing remarkable about it for a Mexican town and nothing American in its outward appearance, but the site is good and the business is mainly done by one hidalgo firm and three Dutch firms, all of which had large stocks of goods. The population and business seemed to be considerable, but it had no printing office; in fact, there seems to be little reading and little demand for news and newspapers. The only papers we saw at Belen were copies of the Winfield COURIER and of the Topeka Commonwealth, which had been forwarded to Colonel Manning from Winfield.
On the 20th we four started out from Belen with the fine team of the Colonel to visit the mines and mountains of the Ladrones, La Joya, Soccorro, and Madalena. The Ladrones are about twenty-five miles southwest of Belen, the Madalenas about twenty-five miles southwest of the Ladrones, the Soccorro between the Madalenas and the town of Socorro, which is on the Rio Grande river forty-five miles below Belen, and the La Joya are about three miles east of the river and twenty-five miles below Belen.
It was a full day's drive over the mesa and up the long slopes to the Hanson mining camp, in the foot hills of the Ladrones mountains. Here we examined the principal lodes that were opened, but none had been opened to a depth of more than a few feet for the reason that they are newly discovered, being entirely unknown up to thre months ago. A great many claims have been taken, but it is too early yet to determine their richness. Several veins of mineral have been discovered and some of them have been traced three or four miles over the hills and gulches. Some assays have been made of selected specimens showing hundreds of ounces to the ton, but I think it not probable that any considerable lot of ore taken across the entire vein would mill more than twenty to forty ounces of silver and some gold. The veins are much wider than those of the Cerillos, and seem to be at the same depths somewhat richer. As nothing specially rich has been struck, there is no excitement and no rush.
These are a low range of mountains in the east part of the Rio Grande valley. Two or three mines have been heretofore worked by the Mexicans for the lead, which appears to be about 50 or 60 percent, of the ore. The Mexicans had rude smelters resembling stone forges used by blacksmiths, in which they melted out the lead, cast it into bars, and sold it to the merchants as lead only, who forwarded it to St. Louis; and the St. Louis purchasers got the benefit of what silver was in it. Some two years ago the price of lead went so low that the mining operations were suspended. Recently some Americans have got in there, Colonel Manning among the number, and have discovered that though valuable for galena at the present prices of lead, they are much more valuable for the silver they contain; and a new impulse has been given to prospectors, new leads have been discovered and traced, and the mines are likely to prove valuable, and possible bonanzas are looked for. The veins of mineral are from two to twenty feet wide, and look promising for richness at greater depths than have been yet reached.
MADALENA AND SOCCORRO.
These mines are mostly high up in the mountains. One vein has been traced about seven miles over hills, gorges, mountains, and canons. It is about twenty feet wide and of unknown depth. Other veins of similar width have been discovered and traced less distances. Like the La Joya, these mines have heretofore been worked for their galena, work suspended on account of the decline in lead, and now again commenced because found valuable for silver. These older mines have now fallen into the hands of Yankees, who will proceed to develop them. New leads are being discovered, and probably during the coming year these mines will be tested in considerable depths. The ores, contracts, and walls are pronounced to be much like those at Leadville.
The writer did not go to invest money in any any of these mines, but went only to see for himself something of New Mexico and her mines, now beginning to attract such wide attention and interest, but did run across a lead that looked very promising and did locate a claim thereon and named it the COURIER. When that mine will sell for a million he is ready to sell out, but he will not spend much money at present to find out how much it is worth.
In our travels and conversations, we heard of new mines on every hand. On the west side of the Ladrones, on both sides of the Del Oso, on both sides of the Manzanas, on both sides of the Sandias, at the Jicarillas, and at a score of other mountain ranges all over New Mexico, gold or silver mines have been discovered.
The mines which are now attracting the most attention are those of Grant county, in the southwest part of the territory, known as the Silver City and San Simon districts, and the gold mines of Lincoln county, in the central part of the territory. In the former districts, which have lately become much more developed than the more northern and eastern mines, it is stated that immense bonanzas of silver ore are reached, which will mill 200 ounces to the ton; and in the latter district, it is reported that extensive lodes of quartz have been discovered, extremely rich in wire gold, meaning that one can see threads of gold running throughout the quartz. These and other reports of rich discoveries must be taken at a heavy discount, of course. The limited time and expense which we had allowed ourselves prevented us from visiting these more distant mines, but we saw enough to convince us that New Mexico, with her hundreds of short mountain ranges and her hundreds of thousands of foot hills, has concealed within her bosom untold thousands of undiscovered mines of gold, silver, copper, and other valuable metals, that now the attention of prospectors and capitalists is being turned that way, that many of these mines will be thoroughly tested before very long, and that it would not be strange if Leadville and Virginia City would have rivals in New Mexico.
Now that the A., T. & S. F. railroad has reached the capital of this territory and is rapidly pushing on toward its most southwestern limits, making it as accessible as Colorado, the tide of emigration, of energy and capital, will flow into this oldest as well as newest part of our national domain, and something will come of it.
Having thus tried to be just to New Mexico and her mines, we have one word more to say.
In all mines and mining countries, it is the very few, comparatively, that better their condition and make money; but the many lose their time, their money, their health, and their morals. Perhaps, in the most favorable localities, one or two in a hundred make money and save it, but the ninety-eight or ninety-nine, if they ever come out alive, come out financially and in other ways much worse off than they went in. Perhaps Leadville was last year as favorable a place to go for mining as any ever known. How many of the 80,000 to 100,000, who went there last year, have or will come out better off than they went in? One thousand do, you say? Well, that is only one, or two at most, out of each hundred who went there. The best mine, the sure mine, is the mine of rich soil. The man who has 100 acres of good Cowley county land and works it faithfully and judiciously, under ordinary health and circumstances, will surely become wealthy, honored, and respected, and will enjoy life. Out of one hundred such, not more than one or two will be likely to fail. What a contrast! Never leave the farm, the shop, or any other calling for the mines, however wonderful the success of a few may have been.
These letters being written as observations and experiences of the writer along as they occur, are necessarily rambling and disconnected. It is proposed to continue them, however, in the succeeding numbers of the COURIER.
Belen, New Mexico, Feb. 24, 1880. D. A. M.
OUT OF DATE SEQUENCE....
FIRST LETTER FROM ARIZONA BY E. T. JOHNSON.
[LETTER FROM ARIZONA.]
THURSDAY, JANUARY 22, 1880 - FRONT PAGE.
BEDROCK, Yavaipai Co., A. T., January 3rd, 1880.
ED. COURIER: Having had letters of inquiry about this far-off territory, and thinking that more of your many readers might, perhaps, like to hear something of the country, I take this means of answering their several inquiries.
We are here situated in what will ere long be as good a mining section as is found anywhere, but as in California, Nevada, Colorado, and elsewhere, it requires time and capital to develop the mines.
There are gold mines within half a mile of our cabin, that have kept their owners in plenty for years, by simply packing a few loads of quartz on two burros, from the ledge, which is several hundred feet up the side of the mountain, down to the arastra, the most primitive way of pulverizing quarts, and taking out by this crude process $500 a month, when they work steadily, which they seldom do. When questioned by me as to why they didn't keep the old horses going, they replied that they took out enough gold to keep them in grub and clothes, and that was all that they wanted. They were slowly developing their mines, and after awhile somebody would come along and give them a good price for them; and I suppose their logic was good for they are now in Prescott to receive $35,000 from a Chicago company for some of them, and say they have others just as good left.
A Mexican arastra is a circular bed of rock with an upright shaft in the center, to which arms are attached and to which heavy rocks are tied; to the upper arm an old horse is hitched, and dragging the rocks tied to the lower arms over the rock bed pulverizes the quartz, which is broken up into pieces about the size of Walnuts. Quicksilver is put in the cracks of the bed, and water thrown in to form a pulp, which causes the fine gold to sink and coming in contact with the quicksilver, is held there.
There are several silver mines that will work from $200 to $300 per ton. It seems almost incredible that such riches should be lying dormant, but considering the inaccessibility of the country a few months since, it is not to be wondered at. The murdering Apaches, too, a few years ago, made mining a very risky business, as several graves not far off conclusively show; but that is over now, and Mr. Indian is about as scarce here as with you in Winfield; and if the Santa Fe road runs through as the talk now is, the country will develop amazingly, and who knows but some time in the future, when Arizona's stores of gold, silver, copper, lead, etc., are opened out and her population more dense than it is at present, that Cowley will not contribute of her surplus wheat, corn, etc., in exchange.
This is not an agricultural country, nor will it ever be, though there is considerable good farming land, but farmers are never sure of a crop except by irrigating, and even that is uncertain as the streams often give out just when the water is most needed. There has already fallen more rain this winter than for any winter for several years, and the mountains are covered with a foot or two of snow; so there are hopes of better times for both farmers and miners another season.
It is a good deal harder pioneering here than it was in Cowley, for there a person could drive with a team nearly anywhere. Here, no roads; nothing but mountain trails that even a burro is squeamish about traveling over. My "pard" and I have managed to build a comfortable cabin of three rooms over two miles from the end of the wagon road, and had to pack everything on our shoulders; building materials, eatables, cooking utensils, etc. Your readers may judge this hunting for gold and silver is not all pleasure. Still there is a fascinating excitement about it, unexplainable to those who have never engage in it. Even the little ones soon learn it. Yesterday my little daugher (4 years old), picked up an old tin can and went down to the creek, saying she was going to "wash out some gold." Having seen me pan out some, she thought that she must.
We have a placer or gravel claim at which we are about ready to commence work. We have had to pack our lumber for sluices over two miles, but hope to get paid for it before long.
The climate here is very healthy and invigorating. Excellent drinking water, and any amount of timer; the hills are all covered with good pine timber, oak, walnut, juniper, alder, and ash: the latter all rather diminutive. Flour is $6.50 per sack of 98 lbs., butter 50 to 60 cents per lb., Bacon 25 cents, eggs, $1.25 per dozen, when they are to be had, potatoes 4 to 5 cents per lb., and green apples 25 cents per lb. So we don't have many green apple pies.
We are located on Big Bug Creek, 14 miles by mountain trail from Prescott, but over 30 miles by wagon road. Ladies are a scarce commodity: my wife and a lady four miles down the creek, being the only ladies in this section. Two or three companies are going to extensive operations in the spring, when population will come in, but it is a barbarous country, and as soon as we can sell out some mines for a good round figure, we want to go back to Winfield, and have some happy times with the old friends, "as in bright days of yore."
E. T. JOHNSON.
[INFORMATION ABOUT E. T. JOHNSON - IN ARIZONA.]
JANUARY 22, 1880.
Most of our readers will be interested in the letter on the first page of this paper from Mr. Ed. T. Johnson, in Arizona, giving a vivid pen picture of life and mining in that state. Mr. Johnson is a son of Mrs. S. D. Johnson, and the late Rev. Johnson, formerly pastor of the Congregational church of Winfield, a brother of Warner and Will. Johnson and of Mrs. McCommon and Mrs. Peadody. Ed. married Miss Eugenia Ward, a niece of Mrs. S. B. Bruner of this place, and owner of the Matthewson farm east of town. She is with her husband in the wilds of Arizona. We are glad that civilization is approaching them, and hope their venture will realize them untold sums of gold and silver.
[NOW I GO BACK TO DATE ORDER AND GIVE THE SECOND LETTER FROM ED. T. JOHNSON, IN ARIZONA.]
[OUR ARIZONA LETTER.]
MARCH 4, 1880.
BEDROCK, Yavapai to., A. T., Feb. 10th, 1880.
ED. COURIER: The following questions have been asked me to be answered in your valuable paper, and I cheerfully comply, as I don't think I can "blow" this Territory enough, by my letters, to depopulate Cowley very perceptibly.
1. What is the distance from Santa Fe to Prescott, and
what route is best for emigrants?
About 450 miles, but it is off the road. Albuquerque is about 75 miles nearer, and the railroad is completed to that place. Passengers go through from the railroad in four days by daily stage, and I should think that would be the best way. There is another wagon road down the Rio Grande, that comes in by Tucson in the southern part of the Territory.
2. Are there any settlements on this route, and can
supplies for man and beast be obtained?
There are stage stations all along the route, and accommodations for travelers. Good grass all the way.
3. Are there any freighters, or goods to freight, over
4. Can emigrants reach your place on this route with the two-horse Kansas wagon?
Yes, if in good trim.
5. Are mules or horses best for emigrants?
Some claim mules are the best, and others say horses.
6. Could an outfit of two or three two-horse wagons and teams be sold at reasonable rates, and could
employment be obtained for them in freighting in the
mines or elsewhere?
They might, or might not; very uncertain at present.
7. Are there any valuable lands subject to preemption
or homestead law?
Yes, but not in this part of the Territory, as what little agricultural land there is, is mostly occupied.
8. Is there employment for new-comers and their families?
Not much at present, but will be very soon.
9. Are there any placer mines which can be successfully
10. Can industrious men obtain work in the quartz mines
for a part of the yield?
Such cases might occur but not very often.
11. Is it now believed that the railroad will pass
through Prescott and how soon?
Yes; inside of twelve months.
I would advise any of your readers, who think of coming out here, not to start without enough to keep them supplied with the necessaries of life, for a considerable time, for provisions are high and employment is scarce. It will be different after awhile when the boom reaches here that has already struck Colorado, and it is bound to come, for we have just as good mines if not better. Companies are forming in many of the cities of the east to operate here, and I predict that in a few years Arizona will head the list as a bullion-producing state.
Since writing my last we had had one of the heaviest snow storms I ever saw; more than four feet on the level, but it is mostly gone from the south hill sides. The oldest settlers say it has been, by far, the coldest and stormiest winter they ever knew in Arizona. It is threatening another snow storm as I write this. It will be a great benefit to the whole Territory the coming season. We had had cold, frosty nights for some time but we don't feel the cold, as the days are warm, and at night we pile the logs on the fire-place and burn about a quarter-cord of wood each day. The weather has been such that we have not been able to do much but keep up the supply of wood.
To give you an idea how simple little accidents are often the means of finding rich mines, I will give you an illustration.
A few days since we had to go to the camp above us to sharpen some mining tools, and coming back we kept up the hill, above the trail, to avoid the deep snow, picked up a piece of float (quartz detached or broken from the ledge) from a spot of ground where there was no snow, brought it home, and examining it, found several specks of gold; went back the next day and found plenty more, by picking and shoveling. We think we have what will prove to be one of the richest gold mines in the country.
There seems to be more luck or chance in finding mines than anything else, for there were several old prospectors hunting for mines all last summer, who almost every day went within a very few feet of where we found the rock full of gold.
I would not be understood as holding out inducements that your readers would be equally fortunate, should they come out here, but there are undoubtedly hundreds and hundreds of mines, good mines, to be found all over the mining districts of Arizona, and one person is just as apt to stumble upon them as another, after he becomes a little familiar with the different characters of quartz.
We have a good saw-mill two miles below us, with a five-stamp quartz mill attached, and expect two ten-stamp mills to go up in the spring, when I think the mines of Big Bug mining district will be heard from. We believe we have bright prospects, and live with great expectatins. More anon.
E. T. J.
MARCH 4, 1880.
We saw on the Mountain Division of the A., T. & S. F. railroad, running between Trinidad and Santa Fe, a magnificent new locomotive, bright as a dollar, with six large drive-wheels, bearing the charmed name of WINFIELD. How proudly grand that engine looked to us! We felt that our bright young city was honored among the far off mountains, and it seemed to us that we owned a share in that machine.
NOTE: THIS HAD TO BE WRITTEN BY MILLINGTON!
[EDITORIAL CORRESPONDENCE: LAST PART MILLINGTON'S JOURNEY.]
MARCH 11, 1880.
We left Belen, New Mexico, on the night of February 24th at midnight, on the stage, and arrived at Albuquerque, 32 miles, at 8 o'clock a.m. of the 25th. It took all day and until 9 o'clock in the evening to make 50 miles further, to Harlowe station, on the railroad. The road from Belen to Harlowe station up the Rio Grande was mostly over a plain, but much of the way the sand was so deep that our progress was very slow. From this station to Santa Fe, 25 miles, the road was excellent though uphill, rising about 2,000 feet or more in this distance, but we got along well and reached Santa Fe before 3 a.m. of the 26th.
While we were down the Rio Grande valley, the days were quite warm and pleasant, but the nights were invariably cold. The night we spent in Manning's tent, at the Ladronas mountains, was so cold that, though bountifully supplied with blankets, it was impossible to keep comfortable. The other nights we slept within the adobe houses, which are always warm and comfortable. During the night, wherever there was a wet place, the mud and water was frozen solid, but would soon thaw in the daytime. We encountered no storms after the snow storm the day succeeding our first arrival at Santa Fe. That storm extended down the valley below Belen, but in two or three days the snow had entirely disappeared except among the high mountains.
We observed daily, however, banks of clouds hovering over the high mountains which sometimes lapped down the sides, and after these clouds had disappeared, the mountains would be whiter. The mountain range between Santa Fe and Las Vegas is the highest which we saw in New Mexico. This range extends north four hundred miles, even beyond Leadville, in Colorado, and is known as the Sangre de Christo range. From the 8th, when we first came in sight of this range, to the 27th, when we last saw it, the amount of snow that seemed to have accumulated there was immense. These seemed to be in a snow storm much of the time, though where we were, down the valley, the skies were clear.
Some of the old inhabitants expressed the opinion that more snow had fallen among these mountains in these nineteen days than had ever before been known to fall in the same length of time. They predicted that the streams which rise in these mountains, the Rio Grande, Pecos, Cimmaron, Canadian, Arkansas, and Kaw, will be high during May and June.
During the winter a year ago they say but little snow fell among these mountains, and the result was that the slopes of the mountains and the valleys of these streams were not watered by the melted snows enough to produce vegetation to any considerable extent; the ground was left bare, no rains fell, and last summer was the dryest season they ever had.
The prospective melting of the snows among the high mountains will fill the Rio Grande, and thus that valley will be well watered this year; but the lower ranges of mountains in the central and southern parts of the territory have but little snow, so that the table lands, canons, gorges, and mesa on either side of the Rio Grande, embracing a large part of New Mexico, seem to have no better prospect than last year.
In the valleys of streams supplied with water from high mountains, irrigation is the rule, and they raise excellent crops of almost everything, but outside of these valleys, the country seems almost bare of vegetation. Frequent dwarf cedar bushes, clumps of sage brush, cactus bushes, and yucca or soap weed are all that appear now, but there is a fine, short grass that grows in little bunches, sometimes widely scattered and in places half covering the ground, that affords sustenance to thousands of herds of cattle and flocks of sheep the year round. We could scarcely see this grass as it makes so little show now; but we saw many cattle and sheep feeding, or at least pretending to feed upon it, and these animals, though far from being fat, were in very good condition for the time of the year.
It is claimed this is an excellent grazing country, that the grasses are wonderfully nutritious, equal to grain, and much more healthy for stock. It is true that there are thousands upon thousands of animals pastured here that do well; but it seemed to me that 160 acres of Cowley county prairie would feed as many cattle and sheep as 160,000 acres of New Mexico table land would.
While on our way to the Madalena mountains, when about eighteen miles from the Rio Grande in the recesses among the mountains, we came upon a flock of three thousand sheep, which were shut up in a pen enclosed with a ledge and pine and cedar brush, and about thirty Mexicans were having a general sheep shearing sprre. While some caught sheep and tied their legs, others with their long bladed shears slashed skilfully into the wool. The shearers were considered experts, and did really dispatch the work with amazing rapidity, sometimes cutting over eight to ten square inches to a clip. We were told that one of these experts would shear two hundred sheep in a day. We did not observe that they took off much skin, but should think they took off at least two-thirds of the wool, and left the sheep looking as though they had been sheared by a threshing machine. The wool left on the sheep is not lost for they will get it the next shearing, and they shear twice a year.
These sheep were natives and not well wooled at the skirts of the fleece. The wool was coarse, of good length for a six month's growth, unwashed, but very clean, comparatively, and would weigh from three to four pounds to the fleece. They twisted up the fleeces and threw them upon the pile. These sheep were good sized and in fair condition. We were told that large numbers of such sheep could be bought at from seventy-five cents to a dollar a head, and it is thought that the cheapest way to get into the sheep business largely in Cowley would be to buy these and drive to Kansas, and there cross with the Paular Merino, which produces a hardy breed, most profitable for wool and increase, and of value for mutton.
The cattle of this country are natives not as large or as long horned as the Texas cattle, and from what we know about them, we can conceive of no use for them except for beef.
While in New Mexico we heard much of Victorio and his band of Apache Indians. One day it would be rumored that he was one side of the Rio Grande, the next day we would hear he was on the other side. There were reports of small fights, but no further reports of other depredations. On our way down, at Albuquerque, we saw two companies of colored cavalry on their way to join in the pursuit. The next we heard was that the Indians had disappeared and all trace of them was lost. On the 22nd of February, when we were at the Madalena mountains, 160 miles southwest of Santa Fe, we met some Mexicans who told us that Victorio was only twenty miles from us southwest, hiding in the San Matteo mountains. There does not seem to be any trouble between the Mexicans and Apaches. The trouble, say the Mexicans, arose from the persistance of Americans in going into what Victorio calls his territory and mining there after he had forbid them, and the Mexicans seemed to sympathize with Victorio in the position he took.
The fact is, Victorio and the Apaches are savages. Their tribes have always been wild and uncivilized, and always will be. So long as they exist, they will do as their nature and religion teach them, and prey upon others as far as they dare to. There is not the least use to try to teach them better, to civilize them. Long before you can teach a single one of them to respect the rights of Americans, their race will be extinct. Perhaps you might educate a rattlesnake so that he would not insert his fangs, but it will not do to depend upon him. Savages change only the slowest. It takes generations to make a perceptible change in the character of a tribe.
THE FOUR CIVILIZATIONS.
There are four civilizations now existing side by side in New Mexico. The Apaches, Utes, and some other type of "the noble red man" of the sensationalists of the past, low, dirty, de-
graded, beastly, treacherous, having nothing but their fears that can be trusted. The next race is the Pueblo Indian or Aztec; the third the Mexican; the fourth is the new comers or Americanos.
These people are called Indians, but are not properly so called. They are named from the Spanish pueblo, village, because when first found they lived in villages. They are generally considered to be the same race which Cortez found occupying Mexico 350 years ago; but I conclude they are a somewhat different race, that of the Moquis found in Arizona and perhaps even more ancient than the Aztecs, and when first discovered by Europeans, more highly civilized than were the Aztecs. They have always been an agricultural, and a quiet and peaceable people. They keep goats, burros, and some cattle and sheep, and cultivate the land, raising various crops by means of irrigation, as their ancestors have done from time immorial. They are rather smaller in stature than either the Indians or the Mexicans, dark complexioned, regular features, but straight, black hair.
Their style of building is the feature of their life most distinct from the Mexicans. Their houses are of adobe walls and dirt or earth roof, but different from Mexican houses in that they have no openings, either doors or windows, in the outer walls of their houses, and in that their houses are two stories. The first story walls are about twelve feet high to a shoulder of dirt covered roof of a few feet wide to an inner wall, which goes up about ten feet higher, forming a second story. The entrance is through the roof of this upper story. When you visit them, you approach the castle and call out. An inmate hears and climbs up a ladder one story inside, pulls up the ladder and climbs on it to the upper roof, pulls up the ladder and descends on it to the lower roof outside, places the foot of the ladder on the ground outside when the visitor climbs up to the jog, the ladder is pulled up and both climb on it to the upper roof, from which both descend on the same ladder to the interior.
This old style of building was adopted in early times when a peaceful people wanted protection against warlike enemies. Their quiet disposition leads them to observe the forms of the prevailing Catholic religion for the sake of peace with their hot-headed, superstitious neighbors, but they adhere, in fact, to their ancient religion, which is substantially that of the sun worship with its attending isms, but, withall, at least as little superstition as attends the prevailing religion as held by the ignorant Mexicans.
These are a mixed race of Spaniard and Indian or Aztec, largely of the latter blood. They are scarcely more intelligent than the Pueblos, and less industrious and moral. In each of their principal towns or grants is a head man, who usually claims to be pure Castilian, is usually intelligent, and appears to own most of the property of the community, and, as Manning says, "is the big bull of the herd." Some of these are extremely wealthy and live in barbaric splendor, mixed with the accompaniments of European and American wealth. The names of Baca, Chaves, Romero, Otero, etc., are among the few which are heard as the head men of these grants. These seem to have in charge the material interests of their communities, as the priests have control of the spiritual interests.
E. C. MANNING.
Before arriving at Belen we heard many stories concerning what Manning was doing in New Mexico, and as many have inquired of us and seem to take interest in his operations, we would say here that these reports are generally wide of the truth.
Mr. Manning has not invested $10,000 in the mines, nor is he building a hotel; but he is stirring around among them, and laying the foundation for a fortune. He has bought interests in several of the best mines of the Ladrones, La Joya, Soccorro, and Madalena districts, and has located for himself a considerable number of mines on leads which are very promising, discovered by the aid of a Mexican whose services he has secured, and who is familiar with the whole country. His mining interests would now sell for a large sum, and should something in their vicinity prove to be very rich, as is probable during the coming season, he will realize large sums. He is engaged with several of the leading men of the territory in a town site scheme, which site being central to several important mining camps and central to the territory, sure of a railroad this summer, and a probable point for the junction of the Guaymas and California branches, has facilities for a town of no mean importance, and a possibil-ity of becoming the future capital of the state. The name of the town will probably be Galena. He keeps an excellent team for getting about over the country, is in good health, and appears to enjoy his situation.
More next week.
[ARTICLE ON NEW MEXICO BY EDITOR OF THE LOS CERILLOS.]
MARCH 18, 1880.
The article on New Mexico was written by O. V. Aoy, editor of the Los Cerillos, New Mexico, Prospector, at the request of
O. F. Boyle.
The best of mines - the surface of the earth when properly cultivated: Mines and mining have converted Spain into a nation of gamblers, old maids, and courtizans, with their inseparable physical and social evils. Mines caused the demoralization of the aborigines of the Western Hemisphere, after being almost miraculously conquered through the mild spiritual power of the missionaries, who, unfortunately, were always followed by the lash of inquisition and the insolent high tone of the Spanish hidalgos. This word, hidalgo, ("hijo de algo" = son of something or somebody of rank) signifies "petty noble folks," and was then conferred on a great many persons who most unscrupulously abused their power.
Mining was followed by the Spaniards soon after their arrival, and hundreds of shafts (many of them now open) extensively developed, evince the great thirst for gold that ruled for hundreds of years the moorish sons of the Iberian peninsula, in America. These adventurers found in or about the center of this territory not only the finest mineral croppings, but also the finest specimens of humanity; the most intelligent Indians, which the conquerers christened Quivirs or Quiviras, i.e. Westerns or true Westerns; and in the course of time they built the largest and most important city they ever had in all the West: the region now known as Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico proper, all of them forming but one territory then. These Quivirs or Quiviras, despite their manliness and dignity, were soon brought under the Spaniards, and were the chief agents to aid the conquerers in their aims. On account of the great advantages that this central mineral point possessed, the greatest cathedral in the West was built. Its walls were made of red sand stone, cut in the shape of large flat bricks; the building was not only large and imposing, but constructed in the most solid and elegant style; and under the high altar there is a basement or lower floor which served as a graveyard for the missionaries who died there. It is supposed that in some of the several cells of this lower floor under the altar, was deposited all the mineral smelted in the several furnaces at that great mineral metropolis, at the massacre in 1680.
It is curious enough that the nearest water source about that locality was no less than fifteen miles, and a very good ditch of stone and cement from the Manzanas mountains was constructed to obtain all the fresh water necessary for smelting purposes, etc. Considerable portions of this stone ditch are until today seen, in good state of preservation, on account of the superiority of the cement used in its formation. Some huge apple trees are also found all along the said ditch, probably planted there by the missionaries from seed imported from Europe.
By looking at the map of New Mexico, we find at about the center of it these words, "Ruins of Gran Quivira," and this is the place where the Spaniards held their greatest smelting works; for it was, and we can affirm it is up to this very day, the central point of the richest mineral region in New Mexico. Look again at the map and observe, Ladrones mountains, Jicarilla, Sierra del Capitan, Manzanas, etc., in that neighborhood. These are all very rich in mineral, and hundreds of shafts which have been covered up by the aborigines have to be found in the near future, and the said city now in ruins has to bloom like the rose as soon as the proper prospecting takes effect in that locality. The name of "Gran Quivira" means the Great Western or Great Metropolis of the West. Quivir is a Moorish name or rather a provincialism imported from Morocco, meaning the west and western; thus, Quadalquivir, the name of the river that passes before Seville, in Spain (Andalusia in Western Spain), means River of the West. The Quadalquivir empties into the Atlantic Ocean at the Western shore of Spain.
The legion of the Indians employed in mining by the Spaniards were under the control and direction of the Franciscan Friars, in the number of over twenty, whose ruler was the "Custodio" or the supreme authority of their order from Durango to Utah. This Custodio was acting also as Bishop or Apostolic Vicar, and was the head of the Catholic church of New Spain. The Archives of Durango, old Mexico, clearly explain this fact. The name of the last Custodio was Geronimo Lluch, a native of the Balearic Islands, who was ordained priest in the city of Palma de Mallorca, in the church of San Francisco in said city, in the year 1645. He was massacred by the Indians in 1680, at the age of 60, when he was preparing himself for a return to Spain.
The Sandia mountains, at the west of the New Placer, contains also a great mineral wealth. The placers to the southwest of Cerrillos will soon show the untold treasures now hidden in their bosoms.
In 1862 there were no less than 4,000 Mexicans working at the New Placer, and several stores, saloons, and even billiard tables were there seen. But the Texan invasion dispelled them all, except the family of Aranda, who still lives there.
Between the New Placer and Sandia mountains there is a very important locality called by the Mexicans "Los Alamitos," or Copperville by the Americans. Here are found furnaces and abandoned smelting machinery, with plenty of fresh water. Near by there is a copper mine of 32 feet vein. Said copper contains gold, silver, and several other metals.
Belen, now a small town in Valencia county, will soon be of great importance, as it is the post office of the miners now prospecting in the Ladrones (the thieves') mountains.
La Bajada (the descent), 20 miles southwest from Santa Fe, and about 12 from Cerrillos, is a historical point. It was the headquarters of the Spaniards on their second return here.
The Pueblo Indian towns of Santa Domingo, Kochiti, San Felipe, etc., are situated on the Rio Grande, about from 12 to 10 miles from Los Cerrillos. Every visitor of New Mexico ought to spend a few days among them to study their peculiarities. They are remarkable for their honesty and cunning commingled. They are christians in name, but follow the rites of the old Montezuma religion. Some of them are married to Mexican women; and though not rich, are very happy.