Fort Point at the Golden Gate, the entrance to San Francisco Bay (Bartlett II, f54)

If Apache assaults and empty larders weren’t trial enough for struggling settlers like Solomon Warner, the Akes, and Elias Pennington’s brood in 1858, developments a thousand miles away in San Francisco had begun to affect public safety in the Gadsden Purchase. The Gold Rush of 1849 had attracted thousands of honest, hard-working individuals, but it had also drawn the “offscourings of other countries, and the curses to California — too lazy to work, except at debauchery — thieves, burglars, and ex-convicts,” whose haunts were San Francisco’s more disreputable “dance houses,” and seedy saloons like the Seven Dials and the Five Points.[i]

By early spring 1849, the worst of the riff-raff had formed criminal gangs, one of which called itself the Hounds, but soon adopted the more benign-sounding title of the Regulators. Taking advantage of a token police force and weak municipal authority in general, the Regulators thoroughly terrorized the boom town with strong-arm robberies, assaults, and murders. They became so bold as to affect a military demeanor befitting their new name, and marched in formation through the city on Sundays with a fife, drum, and flags, in a comedic prelude to their more vicious crime sprees.

But on July 15, 1849 they went too far, and in a riot staged in broad daylight “attacked, pillaged, beat and abused the inoffensive foreigners, and wound up by making night hideous with their prowling yells.” Indignant San Franciscans responded with a spontaneous mass meeting and an ad hoc trial of the rioters — which found a handful guilty of riot, robbery, and assault with intent to kill. Two were given sentences of ten years hard labor, others twelve months. And while those convicted never served their full terms of confinement, the public safety committee had made its point. Things quieted down for a time, and the informal group focused on establishing volunteer fire-suppression companies. But between the fall of 1849 and 1850, the city’s population swelled by nearly 50 percent, from eighteen thousand to twenty-five thousand, as word of California gold spread around the world. Many of the newcomers proved to be more undesirables — particularly those from “Van Dieman’s Land and New South Wales, where they had been sent by England as convicted felons. The voyage from Sydney to San Francisco being neither tedious nor expensive, great numbers of ‘ticket to leave’ men . . . early contrived to sail for California.”[ii]

One hundred people were murdered within a few months, and the city suffered six arson fires — with one on May 4, 1851 destroying eighteen blocks of prime real estate — in a span of two years, arousing suspicion that the Regulators were back at their malicious work, and in need of reigning in. The public safety committee responded by encouraging building contractors to use materials less vulnerable, such as stone, brick, and iron, in all new construction, and began keeping a closer eye on the Regulators and other gangs.[iii] The police force was expanded to accommodate the increase in population, but most of its officers were as likely as anyone to be mugged or murdered in the rougher parts of town, and some were compromised by the outlaws, accepting bribes. The justice system was also enlarged, but proved largely ineffective as it granted bail in serious cases, giving offenders the opportunity to flee and escape any legal accounting for their behavior. On February 19, 1851, at eight o’clock in the evening, two men entered the C. J. Jansen and Company store, asking to see blankets. When Mr. Jansen went to pull some out for display, he was beaten severely with a sap, robbed of $2,000, and left for dead.

The offenders were captured and locked up in City Hall, but word of the robbery quickly spread, and soon a crowd of five thousand San Franciscans — incensed by Jansen’s mistreatment and the general lack of public safety — surrounded the building, demanding justice. A few days later they organized a more civil mass meeting on City Hall Plaza to air their complaints, and by June 1851, many of the outraged citizens who had gathered ad hoc after the riots of July 15, 1849 had formally evolved into the Vigilance Committee of 1851. Their first order of business was to arrest, try, and hang one John Jenkins for “some vile depredation,” likely a murder, on June 10. The alarmed coroner’s inquest found that twelve people “claiming to be a vigilance committee” were responsible for his death. Support for the movement was so great that the next day two hundred more citizens declared themselves members of the Vigilance Committee, demanding to be included on the list of those responsible for Jenkins’ demise.[iv]

“There was an old Mexican law of the State,” wrote an apologist and early historian of the Committee, “forbidding the immigration of bad characters into the country; this law, which had been disregarded of late was now put strictly into execution by the Committee; and, also, notices were served on persons known to be of vicious character — ‘Sydney Coves’ and the like kind — that they instantly leave the city, on fear of being forcibly expelled to the places whence they came. This was rigidly enforced and had a very wholesome effect.”[v] The Committee next hanged James Stuart, who had, indeed, arrived from Australia, having been exiled to the island from England for crimes committed there. It was claimed he had confessed to participating in several murders in California, and a number of burglaries. On July 11, he was marched down Battery Street, in what must have been a grim procession, to a gallows erected on the Market Street wharf. Next in the queue were Samuel Whittaker and Robert McKenzie, who were hanged together on August 24. Soon, those who had been “served notice” got the message and began to leave town; if they relocated to the interior valleys, they found scant quarter: Sacramento, Stockton, San Jose, and many other cities had begun organizing vigilance committees of their own. On noticing a marked improvement in the character of San Francisco residents, the Vigilance Committee suspended operations on September 16, 1851.[vi]

vigilante hangings in San Francisco, 1851. (The Illustrated London News, November 15, 1851. Australian National Maritime Museum 5965. In https://www.sea.museum/2018/05/02/the-sydney-ducks-and-the-san-francisco-49ers).

But within five years, new, richer gold discoveries were made in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas, and between the end of 1853 and the end of 1855, San Francisco’s population again jumped by fifty percent, from fifty thousand to seventy-five thousand, bringing a whole new crop of Regulators and the like. A new development was well-dressed, well-heeled opportunists, who exacerbated, if not introduced, graft, election fraud, and general corruption. Gentlemen, or would-be gentlemen, began assassinating each other on the streets in broad daylight. The old Committee was dusted off and revived as the Vigilance Committee of 1856, to deal with a social crisis which dwarfed that of five years earlier. If a New York Express article reprinted in San Francisco’s Daily Alta California on January 18, 1856 is to be believed, 437 people had been murdered in San Francisco in 1855, six had been hanged by the sheriff, and forty-six had been hanged by “mobs”. The Vigilance Committee of 1856 claimed only four of the mob executions, so clearly other vigilante groups had been quite active as well. The Alta California doesn’t report how many undesirables were deported from San Francisco, but the numbers may have been considerable. And, given that many California towns had by then adopted San Francisco’s brand of homegrown justice, there is little doubt that quite a few cutthroats and thieves had been driven from the state altogether. The Vigilance Committee historian remarked, “Thus, by almost universal effort was California cleansed of the sweepings of prisons, and the alley-thieves of other lands . . . ”[vii]

In the late 1850s, Arizona wasn’t far to travel for fugitives from California’s rough justice. San Diego and Guaymas were the first ports of call for steamships headed south, and Southern Arizona just a horse-theft and a few days’ ride from those ports. Among the undesirables deported south from San Francisco were Charles P. Duane, William Mulligan, and Wooley Kearney, placed on the steamship Golden Age, bound for Panama, on June 5, 1856; John Crow, on the SS Sonora, also bound for Panama, on June 20; and Bill Lewis, Terrence Kelley, John Lowler, and William Hamilton, on the SS Sierra Nevada, also on June 20.

John C. Cremony wrote that Arizona and New Mexico by that time were “cursed by the presence of two or three hundred of the most infamous scoundrels it is possible to conceive. Innocent and unoffending men were shot down or bowie-knifed merely for the pleasure of witnessing their death agonies. Men walked the streets and public squares with double-barreled shot guns, and hunted each other as sportsmen hunt for game.” Mining engineer Raphael Pumpelly commented on the great number of fugitives from the San Francisco vigilance committees, as well as other outlaws from the contiguous United States and Australia, he saw in Tucson. Visitor Samuel Cozzens befriended a vigilance committee refugee named Ned McGowan he found living comfortably in the old pueblo. After hiding out in California’s mountains for a time, subsisting on roots and berries, McGowan had made his way to Arizona, “a place where the statutes never trouble, and the wicked are at rest.” He seems to have been accepted in Tucson, although he was reputed to have killed a dozen men, because he never killed anyone a friend of his didn’t want dead.

Cozzens, an American attorney headquartered in Mesilla, further commented, “Probably never before in the history of any country were gathered within the walls of a city such a complete assortment of horse-thieves, gamblers, murderers, vagrants, and villains, as were to be found in the city of Tucson.”[viii] Phocion R. Way, another visitor to the old pueblo, noted that six men had been killed in three months, and described an incident that must have been all too familiar to San Franciscans: “Yesterday a dispute occurred between two men about something, when one of them shot the other dead on the spot. The man is running at large and no particular notice is taken of it. His name is Fryor and he is a resident of the place. There is very little talk about it. Those I have asked about it justify Fryor. The deceased had threatened his life before and at one time had drawn a pistol on him when he was unarmed. The murdered man’s name was Batch, on his way home from California and stopping here for a few days.”[ix]

Way had arrived in Tucson from Ohio on June 12, 1858 via Isaiah Woods’s San Antonio and San Diego Mail coach, and promptly declared in his journal, with a rather Twain-like bite, “We had heard bad reports of this town all along the route, and we were fully prepared to see a miserable place — and we were not in the least disappointed.” Way found the accommodations offered by the mail line, the dirt floor in a hot adobe station house with unglazed windows, matched his general impression of the town. He considered sleeping in the street or on the plaza, as many visitors did, but thought better of it: there were some rough characters about, like Batch, who might kill you for the contents of your pockets. He felt safer in the stables, and rolled up in his blanket there, where the ground, tempered with manure, was at least soft. The next morning, at a loss for where and how he might find a meal, he accepted an offer of breakfast with the mail line crew, who spread a greasy cloth on the ground in the corral and shared their road provisions of bacon, coffee, and bread “so hard from age that you could not bite into it.” Two days later, the ambulance that was to carry Way on the final leg of his journey arrived, but was obliged to wait another day in town for the mail relay from San Diego. During the delay, Way investigated the handsome Mission San Xavier del Bac to pass time, and the following day the ambulance met him there, whence they finally set out for the new American colony in Tubac.[x]

wells on the road near Yuma Crossing (Bartlett II, 134)

In two years, a handful of European and American immigrants had revived the venerable outpost of Tubac, as it had been revived before in its century-old history, and turned it into a hub of commerce for Southern Arizona’s burgeoning mining industry — a shining, if still nascent, model of capitalist order and promise compared to sleepy, lawless Tucson. Eastern speculators, lulled into a dream of easy profits, had invested millions of dollars in Southern Arizona mining ventures to make it possible. Although Tubac was probably the largest American settlement in the Gadsden Purchase at the time, only few of the town’s residents were non-Hispanic whites, most employed as engineers and administrators by the Sonora Exploring and Mining Company and its subsidiary, the Santa Rita Mining Company. The majority of the population — Mexicans who had migrated north in search of work, and a handful of Mexican Americans — primarily provided support services for the American mining companies’ operations. In the 1860 census, more than 93 percent of the population of Tubac would list either Mexico or the Territory of New Mexico as their place of birth, and most of the balance would list Europe, rather than the United States, as their place of birth; the demographic in 1858 was probably similar, although at that time the overall population may have been smaller, and the proportion of the population from Europe and the United States may have been larger. The approximately one hundred and fifty men who provided grunt labor for the mines in the Santa Rita Mountains were largely Mexican, while the much smaller pool of on-site managers and engineers were nearly exclusively non-Hispanic whites.[xi]

A thirty-one-year-old engraver from Cincinnati, Phocion Way had been hired by Charles Poston as an agent for the Santa Rita Mining Company, and he was as wide-eyed and surprised by Arizona as a greenhorn from Ohio could be. On arrival in Tubac, he giddily noted in his journal: “Tubac is a paradise compared with Tucson. The scenery is beautiful. It is situated in a beautiful valley surrounded by mountains. The valley and hills are covered with timber — mesquite and cottonwood of a large growth. It is refreshing to the eye to look upon green foliage and lofty trees after travelling so long over sandy wastes and boundless prairies. The health here is fine, the water good, and there is plenty of good wholesome food.”[xii] But the greenhorn’s reverie was soon interrupted, and Way found himself alone with three Mexican laborers in the wilderness of the Santa Rita mining camp while his American escort returned to Tubac and Fort Buchanan, some twenty-two miles distant, to gather provisions. He had, after all, been tasked with helping supervise the building of shelter for additional mining staff who were soon to arrive, and supplies were needed for the construction.[xiii]

The barreteros, miners who dug ore out of mine walls with picks, wedges, or crowbars, earned around fifteen dollars per month; tenateros, porters who carried the loose ore to a mine’s surface, were paid ten or twelve dollars per month. Both received rations of sixty-nine pounds of flour, some frijoles, and some salt, but were paid the bulk of their wages — when they were paid at all — in cotton and other goods from the company store, on which the company made a profit of 100 to 300 percent. The mostly Non-Hispanic technicians and managers were paid between thirty and seventy dollars a month, from 100 to 600 percent more than the Hispanic laborers, and board.[xiv]

But from the outset, the unreliability of compensation for labor appears to have been a source of tension between classes, rather than cultures — pitting the Santa Rita Exploring and Mining Company executives and managers against the barreteros, tenateros, engineers, and mechanics. Men at Major Samuel Heintzelman’s Cerro Colorado site, for example, shut down furnaces and refused to work when their meager wages were not paid. Other strikers protested the size of meals, and succeeded in getting their ration of frijoles increased by 50 percent, and having it issued by measure, rather weight. But when four refused to accept musty flour, Heintzelman discharged them — without paying their wages due. A dissatisfied laborer named Espinosa claimed tools, a table, kitchen furniture, and some of the richest ore from the Arivaca mine for his compensation; Cerro Colorado miners tried to seize another thirty-six pounds of that site’s richest ore for theirs. Non-Hispanic engineers and technicians shared the insult of unpaid wages alongside the Hispanic miners, and some resigned or threatened to resign over the issue. Heintzelman complained in his journal, “It is difficult without money to get order out of chaos.”

Despite the millions invested in the Santa Rita Company, cash flow had been a problem from the outset, and was exacerbated by the financial Panic of 1857. Heintzelman managed to impress arms manufacturer Samuel Colt with the company’s glowing, if largely fictional, 1857 report — which claimed holdings of eighty mines on eighteen thousand acres of land, and a need for as many as five thousand additional employees. And Colt purchased a hundred thousand dollars worth of Santa Rita stock for ten thousand dollars in cash and ten thousand dollars worth of Colt arms. He sent about six hundred pistols and thirty rifles to Tubac, and encouraged Heintzelman to trade shares for goods from other suppliers. (He would eventually take over the Sonora Exploring and Mining Company due to its financial instability, but his weapons weren’t as popular in Arizona as he had hoped they’d be: in an 1860 letter to a friend, he promised to compensate any newspaper editor who published a favorable mention of his weapons. And Heintzelman wrote of his weapon, “I tried my Colt’s pistol this forenoon and split off an inch and a half of the side of the barrel, near the cylinder.  It does not appear to affect its firing. I have seen a number of barrels fail like this.” But much of Colt’s cash went to servicing debt, and the company’s cash flow problems persisted.[xv]

Labor from Sonora was critical to Santa Cruz Valley’s mining economy. Herman Ehrenberg’s 1858 map of the Gadsden Purchase located many of the towns that supplied miners, freighters, cooks and farmers (Library of Congress. https://www.loc.gov/item/98686018/).

Agent Phocion Way was unable to cash a Santa Rita Company draft in Tubac, but managed to purchase some tools, possibly on credit against a San Francisco draft. Regardless of the lack of compensation, he soldiered on, embarking on a marathon muleback tour of four of the Santa Rita Mountains’ five principal mines. The greenhorn’s first ride on a mule left him feeling ill, although the symptoms he describes sound more like those of heat exhaustion than saddle fatigue. In a sort of fever dream he had disturbing visions of Apache raiders, the laborers he didn’t trust and whose language he couldn’t understand, man-eating bears, rabid coyotes, scorpions, tarantulas, centipedes, and rattlesnakes. But in a few days he recovered from his illness, got used to the heat and traveling by mule, found his way around the mining district, and built up his strength. On the road, the engraver met some rough-hewn, archetypal Arizona frontiersmen, learned how to build a Sonoran viga roof and layer it with ocotillo branches, and roasted venison over an open fire. Although some of his comments about his Mexican co-workers are disparaging, he also noted in his journal “the Mexican peons here are no better than our slaves in the South, and not so well off.”[xvi]

On the evening of July 3, a stray coal from the campfire at the Santa Rita mining camp ignited some grass nearby, and within minutes the fire engulfed the whole valley. Way, another man, and an Indian woman managed to clear the area around the sole building and tent and save them, but the fire frightened away the oxen before a strong wind blew it up one side of the valley and away from them. The following day, while most Americans were in Tubac toasting the nation’s independence with cups of muscle (the workmen’s pronunciations of mescal), a rider arrived at the camp with news that Edward Miles — over whose Tucson store the American flag had first been raised — was seriously wounded. A Hispanic man who had worked several years for him as a servant had shot him in the chest, and the rider had been dispatched to Fort Buchanan to summon surgeon B. J. D. Irwin to attend him.[xvii]

On Monday evening, August 30, 1858, Solomon Warner’s foreman and storekeeper Nelson Van Alstine discovered that his Hispanic wife’s young sister, who lived with the couple, had gone off for the night with a boy. Van Alstine became indignant over the tryst, insisting the boy make an honest girl of his sister-in-law by permanently cohabitating with her, and threatened to kill him if he refused. A contrary acquaintance of Van Alstine named Cotton or Conner rather sided with the boy in this family debate, which incensed Van Alstine all the more.

The following morning both men went to a local saloon for breakfast and Cotton continued his annoyance, sharing it with several other patrons. It is unclear whether Cotton and Van Alstine revived their ethical debate from the previous evening, or if Cotton’s abuse was of a more general nature, but Van Alstine finally had enough of his jabber and struck him. Cotton drew his pistol, Van Alstine pulled his own sidearm, and Cotton fled the bar with Van Alstine in hot pursuit. The chase slowed momentarily when Cotton got to the middle of the street, glanced over his left shoulder, and tentatively raised his weapon. Van Alstine fired without hesitation, and his ball hit Cotton in the back, exited near his left nipple, and slammed into his cocked pistol’s upper cap. Solomon Warner’s foreman returned to the saloon. Cotton fled about another hundred yards and found refuge in a Hispanic woman’s house, but witnesses declared his wound so severe it seemed unlikely he would survive.[xviii]

A crew of six men had been tasked with constructing fortified stage stations for the Butterfield Overland Mail Company — a competitor to the San Antonio and San Diego Mail Line — between the Rio Grande and Tucson, and buildings and a corral measuring some forty-five by fifty-five feet had been completed at Dragoon Springs in August 1858. The structures, located near a pass at the northern end of the Dragoon Mountains, had been built of stone as defense against anticipated assaults by Apache raiders. By Wednesday, September 8, the finishing crew, tasked with framing and putting roofs on the buildings, was nearing completion of the station.

That night, twenty-two-year-old Silas St. John, a New Yorker and one of the Butterfield line’s original mail riders, arranged his bed in an unfinished room in the northwest corner of the corral by the main gate. Kentuckian James Laing, having just completed his security watch, lay down in a room in the center of the enclosure, and Iowan Preston Cunningham went to sleep in a storeroom in the southeast corner. James Burr, a line blacksmith from Watertown, New York, slept outside the main gate next to three Mexican laborers who had been hired to supplement the crew. Two other Americans had gone ahead to the San Pedro River the previous day to work on the stage station there.[xix]

At midnight, Silas St. John roused Guadalupe Ramírez from sleep so Ramírez could take over the security watch, then went to sleep. Around an hour later the sound of restless livestock—often a sign of trouble on the frontier—woke him, and he heard a low whistle followed by “blows and outcries.” As he rose to investigate the sounds, the Mexican laborers, armed with axes and a stone maul, rushed into his room and attacked him.

When discovered by a reporter for the Memphis Avalanche, and the road-building train of Col. James B. Leach, days later, St. John’s left arm was nearly amputated, Cunningham and Burr were dead, and Laing was taking his last breaths. Two runners were sent to Fort Buchanan to fetch Dr. Irwin, who immediately amputated St. John’s left arm at the socket. A week later, the lone survivor of the Dragoon Springs murders was moved to the fort in a long wagon ride, and in another two weeks he was able to ride horseback to Tucson. It was never determined why the laborers — Sonorans Guadalupe and Chino Ramírez, and Chihuahuan Bonifacio Miranda — assaulted the Americans. The Butterfield Company offered a generous reward for their capture, but they were never apprehended. Some thought they had withdrawn to Mexico.[xx]

the Patagonia or Mowry Mine (Browne, 206)

Enter filibuster on the Sonoita to continue.


[i] The San Antonio and San Diego Mail Line advertised the road mileage between Tucson and San Francisco as 1,024 miles. Weekly Arizonian, March 3, 1859. Frank Meriweather Smith, ed., San Francisco Vigilance Committee of ’56, with some interesting sketches of events succeeding 1846, (San Francisco: Barry, Baird & Co., Printers and Publishers, 1883), 7, 9.

[ii] Frank M. Smith, 7-9. Van Diemen’s Land refers to Tasmania, which was settled as a British penal area in 1803. Originally part of the colony of New South Wales, Tasmania became an independent colony in 1824.

[iii] Frank M. Smith, 8, 10.

[iv] Frank M. Smith, 9-11.

[v] Frank M. Smith, 12.

[vi] Frank M. Smith, 13-14.

[vii] Frank M. Smith, 15-83, 32-33 (excerpt from the Daily Alta California). See also James O’Meara for a quite different account of the Vigilance Committee of 1856 and its activities. O’Meara, who was neither a Committee member nor a member of the Law and Order Party, argues that some members of the Committee had fnancial and political motives for some of their activities, and were just as guilty of crime and corruption as many of those they exiled and hanged. James O’Meara [under the pseudonym A Pioneer California Journalist], The Vigilance Committee of ’56 (San Francisco: James H. Barry, Publisher, 1887). Stephen Palfrey Webb, the mayor of San Francisco in 1854 and 1855, and a member of the Vigilance Committee of 1856, describes the events of 1856 in some detail. His account was originally produced as a lecture in Salem, Massachusetts in 1874. A document which incorporates material not included in his lecture is presently in possession of his granddaughter, Mrs. Raymond H. Oveson, of Groton, Massachusetts. It has been published a number of times. Stephen Palfrey Webb, A Sketch of the Causes, Operations and Results of the San Francisco Vigilance Committee in 1856 (1874), http://digital.library.upenn.edu/webbin/gutbook/lookup?num=5802. Frank M. Smith, 14 (quote, “Thus, by almost universal effort . . . ”).

[viii] Browne comments that between one hundred and two hundred passengers disembarked from steamers when they landed at Mazatlan and Guaymas, and recounts the adventure of a woman he found in Cocóspera who had apparently been abandoned by her companion after they disembarked. Browne took her back to Tubac and the American frontier, then found her a seat on a freight wagon to Tucson. J. Ross Browne, Adventures in the Apache Country: A Tour Through Arizona and Sonora (New York: Harper and Brothers, Publishers, 1869), 173, 180-86. Frank M. Smith, 82. The Maritime Heritage Project, Sources of Detail . . . , http://www.maritimeheritage.org/ships/ss.html (accessed May 8, 2010). John C. Cremony, Life Among the Apaches (San Francisco: A. Roman and Company, Publishers, 1868), 117 (first quote). Although Cremony was referencing the whole decade of the eighteen fifties, his observation certainly applied to Tucson by 1858. Raphael Pumpelly, My Reminiscences, 2 vols. (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1918), 1:200. Samuel Woodworth Cozzens, The Marvelous Country . . . (1873; reprint, Secaucus: Castle, 1988), 204-205 (second quote, regarding McGowan), 153 (third quote, regarding Tucson). For a biographical sketch of McGowan, see Constance Wynn Altshuler, ed., Latest from Arizona: The Hesperian Letters, 1859-1861 (Tucson: Arizona Pioneers’ Historical Society, 1969), 261-64.

[ix] Phocion R. Way, “Overland via ‘Jackass Mail’ in 1858,” part 2, ed. William A. Duffen, Arizona and the West 2, no. 2 (Summer 1960), 160. No one named Fryor appears in the 1860 census for Tucson, but Duffen noticed the similarity to a name he transcribed as Fryer. A thirty-year-old farmer, born in Tennessee, whom census enumerator David J. Miller counted as Alfred L. Friar does appear in the census. Friar claimed real property valued at forty thousand dollars and personal property worth four thousand, and shared a dwelling with forty-one-year-old James Wilson, a carpenter born in Pennsylvania, and John Bunt or Burt, a thirty-one-year-old blacksmith born in Virginia. Additionally, the name Alf Fryar appears on two plots in an 1862 map of Tucson’s community gardens, and Alfred Fryar in the chain of deeds for Tucson housing plots seven and eight in the Pima County Book of Deeds. As no one else in the area bore a similar name, Alfred Fryar appears to have been a well-established resident, and the killing of Batch created no protests in the community, it does seem likely that the man William S. Oury listed in the property records book as Fryar is the man who shot Batch. Way, cited in W. Clement Eaton, “Frontier Life in Southern Arizona, 1858-1861,” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 36, no. 3 (January 1933), 178n22. Way, part 2, 159n29. Decennial U.S. Census (1860), County of Arizona, New Mexico Territory; Tucson Division, 13; enumerated on August 3, 1860. J. B. Mills, Map no. 1 of the cultivated fields in and about Tucson, A.T. [a k a the Fergusson Map], AHS G4334.T8 G46, 1862, M55 Map; Pima County Book of Deeds no. 1, Deeds of Real Estate, RG 110, SG 5, ASLAPR.

[x] Way, part 2, 159 (first quote), 162 (second quote), 160-64.

[xi] Way’s estimate of Tubac’s population as 150 may have been low (page 280). By September 10, 1860, two years later, the population would be 352. Almost 55 percent would declare Mexico as their birthplace, 38 percent would declare New Mexico Territory, 4 percent Europe, and only 2.8 percent the United States of America outside of New Mexico Territory. Tucson had a population of 918 in 1860, and the town’s commerce was scaled to serve the residents’ needs, rather than the mining industry’s. With a population of 918 in 1860, Tucson would declare only 27 percent of its residents born in Mexico, but 53 percent born in New Mexico Territory (modern New Mexico and Arizona), 16 percent born in the United States outside of New Mexico Territory, and a little over 4.47 percent born elsewhere. Decennial U.S. Census (1860), County of Arizona, New Mexico Territory. Diane North, however, estimates that two-thirds of fifty direct support staff in Tubac were non-Hispanic whites: twenty-nine Americans, two Germans, one Spaniard, and one Irishman. Diane North, “‘A Real Class of People’ in Arizona: a Biographical Analysis of the Sonora Exploring and Mining Company, 1856-1863, Arizona and the West 26, no. 3 (Autumn 1984): 271. Cremony wrote that as many as three hundred Americans could be found at the Santa Rita copper mines, near the headwaters of the Gila River, in the summer of 1850. Cremony, Life Among the Apaches, 48, 81. It is unclear whether the 1858 population was comparable. Way, “Overland via ‘Jackass Mail’ in1858,” part 3, ed. William A. Duffen, Arizona and the West 2, no.3 (Autumn 1960), 280-81.

[xii] Way, “Overland via ‘Jackass Mail’ in1858,” part 1, ed. William A. Duffen, Arizona and the West 2, no. 1 (Spring 1960), 35-6; Part 2, 163; Part 3, 279&n1, 280&n2, 280 (quote), 281. Eaton, “Frontier Life.” Sylvester Mowry, Arizona and Sonora, 3rd ed. (New York: Harper and Brothers, Publishers, 1864), 79-85, 202. When the Sonora Exploring and Mining Company was organized in Cincinnati in 1856, Major Samuel P. Heintzelman, who had established Fort Yuma in 1850, was named president. Way, part 3, 280n2. Samuel P. Heintzelman, Concerning the establishment of a post at the junction of the Colorado and Gila Rivers, transcribed by Creola Blackwell (Yuma, Arizona: Yuma County Historical Society, 1989), May 20, 1853. Jerry D. Thompson, “’Near 106 Yesterday. It Has Been a Cool Summer’: Samuel P. Heintzelman Views Yuma Crossing and Arizona Territory,” Journal of Arizona History 41, no. 3 (Autumn 2000), 255, 258-61.

[xiii] Way, part 3, 281-92.

[xiv] Raphael Pumpelly, Across America and Asia, 5th ed. (New York: Leypoldt & Holt, 1871), 32. Mowry, Arizona and Sonora, 166. Daily Alta California, December 25, 1857. Diane M. T. North, ed., Samuel Peter Heintzelman and the Sonora Exploring and Mining Company (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1980), 96n, 135. The practice of paying miners in commodities from the company store would diminish as more mining companies became established and the market for labor strengthened.

[xv] North, Samuel Peter Heintzelman, 29, 32-33, 81, 88, 90, 93, 99-100, 120, 123, 135, 100 (quote). Second Lieutenant John Cooke was en route to Magdalena on May 7, 1859 in an attempt to exchange a government draft for coins when he was recalled to Fort Buchanan due to the Sonoita murders. I. V. D. Reeve to J. D. Wilkins, Acting Assistant Adjutant General, Fort Buchanan, New Mexico [Territory], May 20 , 1859. NA Records Group 98, Records of the War Department, U.S. Army Commands, Letters Received, Department of New Mexico, Box 12, R 22-1859. North, Samuel Peter Heintzelman, 162 (quote), 171-73. Leah S. Glaser and Nicholas Thomas, “Samuel Colt’s Arizona: Investing in the West,” Journal of Arizona History 56, no. 1 (Spring 2015): 36-37, 41-42, 43, 48, 52n37.

[xvi] Way, part 3, 281-92, 289 (quote).

[xvii] Way, part 4, Arizona and the West 2, no. 4 (Winter 1960): 354n2. Family history researcher Charles E. Kern, a nephew of Edward Miles, reports there was some long-standing disagreement between Miles and Granville Oury. And Kern invokes an unnamed source who claimed Granville Oury had paid the Hispanic servant to kill Edward. After a brief political career and some speculation in California’s potato market, Edward’s younger brother Benjamin Harbaugh Miles joined him in Tucson. There, Benjamin is said to have “interceded” in the dispute between Granville Oury and his brother, and ended up in a rifle duel with Oury, which took place on April 27, 1857. According to Kern, Benjamin drew the first shot and, regarding the event as merely a symbolic defense of his brother’s honor, deliberately fired his rifle over Granville’s head. Granville, however, took careful aim and cleanly shot Benjamin dead. Benjamin Harbaugh Miles, 1828-1857, biographical file M 643B-2, AHS. Cornelius C. Smith, Jr., “The History of the Oury Family,” 100-101. Cornelius C. Smith, Jr. Papers, MS 738, Box 1, folder 10, AHS. Way, Part 4, 354n.2. Given this report of bad blood between the Miles brothers and Granville Oury, it is surprising to find that when Edward Miles was shot by his servant a year later, and lay grievously wounded, Granville Oury rose to his defense when Greenbury Byrd and some others attempted to take property from him — based on a dubious claim that Miles owed them $1,600. [Solo (Solomon) Warner, “To the People of Arizona: The Testimony of an Old Citizen on Hon. Granville H. Oury;” in Cornelius C. Smith, Jr., “The History of the Oury Family,” 85-6.] While William Duffen agrees it was Granville Oury who held a grievance against Edward Miles, Cornelius Smith claims it was Granville’s brother William. (Way, part 4, 354n2.  Cornelius C. Smith, Jr., William Sanders Oury (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1967), 100-101.)

[xviii] North, ed., Samuel Peter Heintzelman, 68-69, 207n24. The 1860 census would find Nelson Van Alstine living with twenty-four-year-old Rita Campo, born in New Mexico, and two-year-old Antonio Van Alstine; no younger women were listed in the household. Decennial U.S. Census (1860), County of Arizona, New Mexico Territory; Lower Santa Cruz Settlement Division, 52; enumerated on September 11, 1860.

[xix] Thomas Edwin Farish, History of Arizona, 8 vols., (Phoenix: The Filmer Brothers Electrotype Co., 1915-18), 2:5-6. Roscoe P. Conkling and Margaret B. Conkling, The Butterfield Overland Mail, 1857-1869 . . . , 3 vols. (Glendale, California: The Arthur H. Clark Company, 1947), 2:140-42, 146. North, Samuel Peter Heintzelman, 84. While both the Farish and Conkling accounts are secondary, they share so many similarities they suggest a common source — which could be Silas St. John, the sole survivor. The only major discrepancy between the two is that Farish lists the last name of the blacksmith from Watertown, New York as Hughes, not Burr.

[xx] Farish, History of Arizona, 2:6-10. Conkling, The Butterfield Overland Mail, 2:142-46. Despite his wounds, Silas St. John would live to the age of eighty-four, passing away in San Diego in 1919.